Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mountian Xpress

Excerpt from:

Right on target, Conservative activists decry big government, high taxes
by David Forbes
Mountain Xpress
Oct 11, 2006 / vol 13 iss 11

[...] Club member Tim Peck is a libertarian blogger who was an associate editor and webmaster for the Mountain Guardian. His long political life, he says, has led him to believe "that the proper function of government is the protection of individual rights – and little else."

Peck feels the difference between liberals and conservatives lies in their responses to "issues we all agree are problems ... such as affordable housing, education and homelessness. The left usually runs to government first to solve those problems. Conservatives first look towards liberty-oriented solutions."

Liberals, says Peck, favor "subsidized housing, demanding that the government take money and distribute it to people to whom it doesn't belong. Conservatives want to stimulate economic growth, bring in jobs and raise wages. Either way, you get more affordable housing. But one is liberty-oriented, and that's a key difference."

The club's billboards sparked a fierce outcry. Vandals spray-painted accusations of racism on several of them, and some residents condemned the billboard campaign at the Aug. 22 City Council meeting. Council member Bryan Freeborn charged that the Republican Party was "rolling this out to pit citizen against citizen in an election year" (see "A Heaping Helping," Aug. 30 Xpress).

But Peck maintains that "conservatives have been addressing this issue for more than a decade. If conservatives were swept out of power, this would still be the most pressing crisis facing this country."

Lack concurs. Freeborn, she says, "implied it was just because of the election. That's ridiculous; it just happened that the election's here." She favors "closing the border and enforcing our laws" to curtail illegal immigration. "We can also vote with our dollars and boycott businesses that are contributing to this."

Both Lack and Peck condemn the attacks on their billboards, which they say indicate a general lack of tolerance on the part of their political opponents.

"Before I got involved, I thought people who were more liberal were more open-minded. I'm finding quite the opposite," says Lack. "When you're in the minority and you express an opinion that is not popular, they'll do everything in their power to shut you down. ... There's very little interest in free and open expression."

Peck agrees. "Asheville is plainly intolerant of diversity," he says. "I also work with the Coalition of Asheville Neighborhoods, with Democracy for America; I mingle with all sorts to find solutions for difficult problems. I'm seeing those [solutions] coming from the conservatives and libertarians in town. But we're in the minority, and on top of that we've got a left-leaning media here. We do what we can."