Readers Write (March 2): 'Fear and firepower,' Minnesota Orchestra

  • Updated: March 1, 2013 - 6:23 PM

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In labeling liberals, editorial kept up a myth

While I agreed with 98 percent of the Star Tribune’s Feb. 23 editorial “Fear and firepower on the American frontier,” I have to take exception to the assertion that “while the political right often feasts on conspiracy, the left is not immune.

“At various points, liberals have feared that Wall Street manipulators, the religious right and the Tea Party have cast a spell over the nation. And liberals often dismiss all conservative thinking as anti-intellectual — a claim that borders on paranoia.”

This ignores that operators on Wall Street, through use of dubious financial products and lax credit underwriting, almost brought down the world financial system. It ignores that the “religious right” and the Tea Party movement, with divisive politics, have driven all moderates from the Republican Party and have made compromise a lost art. It ignores that the recent version of “conservative thinking” so easily dismisses science and mocks anyone who tries to make a logical and factually based argument.

These things are not paranoia, they are reality. It’s up to the news media not to perpetuate a myth.

Michael R. Johnson, Burnsville



Do we want to be great, or just above average?

The stalemate between the Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management reflects Minnesota’s cultural traditions and is reminiscent of the current political debate in the United States.

The claim of management, as expressed by president and CEO Michael Henson, is that the community cannot afford the high-priced talent that has vaulted the orchestra into the top rung of world musical groups.

Although the orchestra board can hide behind the truth that the budget must be balanced, the unstated management philosophy, in the finest Garrison Keillor tradition, is that excellence may be shunned in order to maintain the goal of being “above average.” Being too good has always made true Minnesotans uncomfortable.

The budget proposed by management is designed to guarantee the survival of the orchestra for decades to come. Rather than seriously and creatively seeking new revenue, the board has proposed draconian cuts in expenses, much like the stalemate in Congress between those who advocate for spending cuts and those who propose a balanced approach.

When one has excellence, great care should be exercised in threatening it. If, as Henson has claimed, the orchestra’s financial crisis has been driven by the national recession, this temporary lull in revenue may well be reversed in the future.

Jay N. Cohn, Minneapolis



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