Conservative speaker hopes for honest dialogue in Carbondale | AspenTimes.com
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Conservative speaker hopes for honest dialogue in Carbondale

Joel Stonington

Vance Serchuck, a research associate at a conservative institute, says he’ll argue that liberals should instinctively support the war in Iraq when he comes to Carbondale tonight.”The overarching argument I’m going to make,” Serchuck said, “is that if you believe in human rights and if you consider yourself to be a liberal then you should support the war in Iraq. There should be an instinctive sympathy for the goals, for the aspirations, for the ideological framework that is driving our efforts there.”Serchuck will speak at 7 tonight at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale. The lecture is part of the Young Activist Speakers Series, organized by Tomorrow’s Voices. Serchuck says he deeply believes in the ideas behind the war in Iraq and in what the Bush administration is doing in Afghanistan. He has spent time in both countries and speaks passionately about efforts there. “The thing I value above anything else is the critical examination of one’s beliefs,” he said. “If an ideal is worth something, then you should be able to surround yourself with people who disagree and have that discussion. Far too often, we don’t do that. We surround ourselves with people who think exactly as we do.”Piper Foster, executive director of Tomorrow’s Voices, said the organization was looking for a conservative voice. Foster said Serchuck was a Fulbright scholar, went to Princeton and is now running a major foreign policy area for the American Enterprise Institute. Foster said Serchuck will be discussing partisanship, American foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how he became a young activist.”I was impressed,” Foster said. “Even though he’s working for a conservative institute, he feels that the dichotomy between liberal and conservative is something we don’t need. If people align with either the left or right, then they’re missing an import part of public discourse.”After Serchuck graduated from Princeton with a B.A. in history and spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in Russia, he went to work for Jean Carnahan, a Democratic senator from Missouri.”The whole red state-blue state thing doesn’t get us very far, I think,” he said. Serchuck said he is interested in further opening dialogue. He sees communication problems between left and right and would like to see more honest discussion. “I will come ready to listen as much to speak,” he said. “More than anything else I’d like to have less of a lecture and more of a conversation.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com


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