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Your "Hustling for the Good Life" [May 17] was interesting and gave me a memorial blast from the past. My former girlfriend lived an identical life--only "Janet" was fortunate not to end up dead; there's a dark side to that life.

Sure, my girlfriend and I had designer clothes, diamond jewelry, a condo in D.C., a house in New York, an Audi, a Pathfinder, a Lexus--all part of the good life. But there were also jealous liars, dangerous robbers, corrupt cops, drug-related murders, unfair court trials, dirty hearts with smiling faces. It got me a death sentence, and left me only pictures and thoughts of the life I left behind.

Kudos to The Independent for the manner in which you presented the National Alliance correspondence ["Made in Amerika," May 31]: no editorial commentary, no cartoonish lampooning and no analysis of the content--nothing but the frightening content itself, which was more than enough.

The decision to print the piece like that is a shining example of the fact that sometimes less is more. The nature of what was written was scary enough without being expounded upon.

Upon reading Hal Crowther's "hit piece" on the Libertarian Party ["How Much Freedom?" June 14], I find that I am really quite pleased. He sums up the differences between his view of humanity and our party's quite clearly and with as much precision as his pessimistic outlook will allow.

The significant difference is almost exactly as he says. Libertarians believe that the vast majority of adults are responsible enough to run their own lives without constant government oversight. The only demand we make of our fellow citizens is that they respect the rights of others. Liberty won't create any kind of utopia, but it will give everyone the means and opportunity to make a better life for themselves and those they care about.

There are two errors of fact. First, he asserts that we advocate an "unrestricted freedom" that apparently includes the inalienable right to send other people letter bombs. Libertarians do indeed place two big restrictions on freedom: Don't hit people, and don't take their stuff. (This is actually a rather simple standard of behavior that does not require anything approaching "moral perfection," as Crowther claims.) Knowing this view of ours, it's rather specious of Crowther to infer that Libertarians would do away with the police. Unlike current big-government policy, Libertarians believe that rapists, murderers and thieves should be in prison, rather than being released to make room for a couple of million drug users.

Crowther's second error of fact is that Libertarianism is somehow elitist. As a Libertarian, I don't expect anyone to be like me, but rather hope that people have the maximum opportunity to be themselves. Earlier in the very same column, Crowther focuses on our desire to let people run their own lives as opposed to giving the job to big government. As for himself, he says, "I don't need much government to keep me in line. But I'm not so sure about you." Now that is about the most succinct definition of elitism I have ever read.

Still, I applaud Crowther for correctly stating the fundamental political question. Would you rather decide how you are going to run your own life, or would you rather let Jesse Helms, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Al Gore argue over which one of them will get to tell you how to live? Would you rather give power to the people or concentrate it in places like Washington and Raleigh where it is easily available to the highest bidder? Would you rather live out someone else's dreams or your own?

The Libertarian Party is the only party that will let you live your life your way. Everyone else is simply competing for the power to run your life their way.

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