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  For a Political Neophyte, the Preacher's Approach
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Last EditedCraverguy  Oct 09, 2008 11:32pm
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News DateWednesday, October 10, 1990 05:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionThe trouble with the United States, said John R. Silber, the resolutely unorthodox Democratic nominee for governor of Massachusetts, is too much prosperity and too much materialism.

Quoting Francis Bacon and Juvenal and comparing Americans to the ancient Israelites, Mr. Silber said that the United States had ''enjoyed prosperity on an unprecedented scale for an unprecedented length of time,'' and that ''only a very small percentage of our population hasn't participated.''

The result, he said, sounding more like a preacher than a politician, was inevitable, because ''luxury destroys the moral fiber and temper and sense of realism and common sense among people and they begin to get a lot of fanciful ideas.''

For Mr. Silber, the 64-year-old president of Boston University who is on leave to make his first bid for public office, the worst of those fanciful ideas are the social and foreign policies advocated by most liberals. In an interview this week he heaped scorn on the way that Massachusetts and the country as a whole have dealt with problems of race, drugs, education and public health.

'Sheer Malice'

He castigated television for exposing children to ''the total sordid range of human experience at very tender ages.'' He attacked journalists, who, he said, ''express their power by destroying things, because it takes a hell of a lot longer to build something.'' In his own campaign, Mr. Silber said, many journalists had demonstrated ''sheer malice'' toward him.

''If we want to stop the drug trade,'' he said, ''we have got to stop the demand, and the only way to stop the demand is first of all to recognize that the big money in the drug trade comes from people who earn their money honestly, and not from hoodlums and not from people who are drug pushers working in the bowels of the underclass. These are highly responsible lawyers, doctors, socialites, socially accepted women, professional women, who use drugs recreationally.''
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