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Now I have heard everything. Heaping salutations and laudations upon an aberrant who could not control a rude outburst toward the president during a joint session of Congress should not be considered an act of defiant patriotism ("Joe ‘had the guts to speak out,’" letter, Sept. 16).

Rep. Joe Wilson has — as he should have — apologized for his anomalous rudeness, and yet, these so-called "conservatives" continue to hail his incivility. As a political conservative, I find the actions of these seemingly intellectually deficient "activists" who quixotically scour America looking for an outlet for their misguided animus while labeling themselves "America-loving patriotic conservatives" beyond abhorrent. Frenetic populist rage is not a conservative attribute and should not be heralded as an act of civil debate in a free society.

We true conservatives lament the loss of voices such as William F. Buckley Jr., Russell Kirk, Sen. Barry Goldwater and even President Ronald Reagan, all of whom had the acumen that allowed them to engage the left intellectually and with the utmost civility and erudition. But the "conservative" voices showcased in the media now are, for the most part, shrill pretenders and demagogic charlatans who have taken on affectations not consistent with the intellectual right.

Our national political discourse has devolved into a professional wrestling match with the maniacal voices of the uninformed (death panels?!), uncouth ("You lie!"), and maladjusted ("Nazi policies!") reigning supreme. While I would never discourage free speech, I would hope that we as a nation could encourage rational (and perhaps, dare I say it, polite) speech and let the voices of insanity (on both the left and the right) drift off into obscurity where they belong. For the sake of the conservative movement, I hope this happens in the near future.

Christopher I. BushCamp Zama, Japan


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