"Armies of the Right, in Populist Disguise"

Published NY Times: August 12, 2006

To the Editor:

Re ''The Culture Crusade of Kansas'' (column, Aug. 8):

I agree with Thomas Frank that the ''pseudo-populist offensive'' of the radical Republican right is not going to cease as long as it is not confronted directly. But part of the problem is that by referring to the philosophical divide in our society as a ''culture war,'' people like Mr. Frank inadvertently give equal weight to ideas that are not deserving of such elevation.

The attacks on evolution, stem cell research, women's reproductive rights, education and homosexuality are not rooted in rational thinking, objective observation or even intuitive understanding. The positions of these righteous radicals are based in superstition, primitive beliefs and fears of the Other, no different from the attitudes that once led ''God fearing'' people to burn women to death for supposedly being witches.

Moderate Republicans and Democrats must stop empowering the far right by treating its arguments as an ''uprising of the little guy'' or part of ''American political traditions.''

Completely contrary to the progressive character of our nation's history, these attitudes are part of a repressive, retrogressive movement that is ultimately doomed to obscurity.

Peter Loffredo
Brooklyn, Aug. 8, 2006