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Business Observer Friday, Oct. 24, 2003 18 years ago

Scorched-earth rhetoric

A letter to the editor, from William Schneikart, a Largo trail lawyer, taking issue with Review Editor and Publisher Matt Walsh's Review and Comment article on Oct. 3.

Scorched-earth rhetoric

Dear Editor:

As a member of our business community, I was saddened and embarrassed to read the Review and Comment article in your Oct. 3 issue entitled "Democracy Gone Awry."

The system of government in our great nation has always been a balancing act between the rights of the many and the rights of the few. This has often been an untidy and tumultuous process, but it has brought our nation and our people a level of economic prosperity and personal freedom unparalleled in human history.

Mr. Walsh, wallowing in vitriolic self-interest quotes a cynical humorist of the last century in calling believers in democracy "jackals and jack asses." I sincerely hope that I was not the only reader of that article made uncomfortable if not angry by this attack on our country. Mr. Walsh seems to want absolute personal freedom to do whatever he wants and feels no responsibility whatsoever to help support the society that has offered him the opportunities that he has benefited from.

After all, nations and businesses and governments are all made up of individual people - human beings who all have hopes, dreams and aspirations for a better future. Would not Mr. Walsh agree that on some level we have a responsibility to be "our brother's keeper?"

It appears that Mr. Walsh's conservative rhetoric champions a form of lawless individual action where business and economic interests have no responsibility to anyone or anything except the desire to profit. Would Mr. Walsh favor a return to the days of "robber barons on capitalism," child labor and 50% infant mortality? I personally feel that respect and compassion for my fellow man is an important component of a meaningful life and a society worth living in.

Mr. Walsh ridicules those who have other opinions and has totally lost touch with the time honored principle of a "loyal opposition." The level of his rhetoric seems difficult to understand in the current political environment where conservative interests completely control federal and state governments. Business interests have never benefited from such a loose regulatory environment or a more favorable legislative climate. The list of laws passed recently benefiting business and conservative interests is unprecedented.

Finally, it is a shame that trial lawyers are again demonized as the "enemy of choice" by conservative and business interests. Trial lawyers support and defend everyone's constitutional right to trial by jury and seem to be the only "interest group" to stand up for the rights of the average American against the excesses of government and "scorched-earth" capitalism.

Trial lawyers are no more anti-business than any other business people. I for one feel that responsible citizenship should be a part of every personal and business decision and that there should be some reasonable balance between individual rights and the general welfare. Mr. Walsh's cynical and selfish attack on our balance form of government does a disservice to honest, public-spirited businessmen everywhere.

William M. Schneikart

Trial lawyer


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