Dear Editor:

Originally it was my intent to write or call Jason Okin of and ask him why he is so upset with my letter regarding the history of Camp Midvale Weis Ecology Center. The local phonebook showed no listing for a Jason Okin in Ringwood so I will respond via your letters to the editor section.

He doesn’t like the "tone" of my letter. Why is it that whenever a person takes a principled stand on behalf of individual liberty they are attacked with the smear word of "hate?"

If Mr. Okin had read my letter carefully he would have seen that I said that I defended the right of the Camp Midvale people to have any views they wanted, even though most Americans would have opposed those views. Evidently defending the First Amendment rights of people you oppose isn’t good enough for Mr. Okin. What he wants is endorsement of the viewpoints one is defending.

Well that isn’t going to happen. I reject any and all philosophies and ideologies that embrace collectivism. The individual is what is important, not the group–an idea that all authoritarian regimes throughout history reject.

How is defending individual liberty in a consistent manner as we Libertarians do, somehow a form of "hate"?

This isn’t the first time I’ve been attacked for my views and I’m sure it won’t be the last. When you defend individual liberty on all issues and also debunk the "official version" of history, you get attacked from both ends of the political spectrum.

For example, a lot of "Conservatives" I know think I’m "Satan Incarnated" because of my pro-choice views on marijuana, pornography, gambling, and consensual sex outside of marriage. What they don’t get is that favoring liberty on these topics doesn’t imply endorsement. By the same token "Liberals" go ballistic when you defend guns; individual choice on who an employer hires, fires or does business with; the right to choose your own health-care plan; or whether a worker should be compelled to join a union.

Let’s face it: Quite a few people in this "land of the free" don’t really like freedom to act in a way that they don’t approve of.

These groups really deserve one another. I just wish they would leave the rest of alone and let us live our lives as we choose! "A plague on both their houses!"

Mark Richards,
West Milford