The headline over Norman Podhoretz's column {op-ed, July 2} about Allan Bloom's book "The Closing of the American Mind" asks, "How Can an Indictment of Liberalism Be a Best-Seller?"

The book is not an indictment of liberalism in the original and true sense of the word. It is an indictment of statism masquerading as liberalism.

Today's "liberals" are not truly liberals at all. The word "liberal" stems from the Latin "liber," meaning free. True liberals stand for freedom as understood by Herbert Spencer and his followers, for "the man against the state" as Spencer put it.

Those whom we have for far too many years taken for granted as liberals are, in truth, the exact opposite of true liberals. They are "liberals" of the Kremlin type, Marxist "liberals," statist and totalitarian.

That "there is no firm basis for distinguishing between right and wrong or good and evil" is not a liberal concept. It is essentially Marxist, and any mislabeled "liberals" who adhere to it are Marxist-type pseudo-liberals.

The only freedom today's "liberals" promote is freedom for the state, freedom to plunder in the name of taxation and to maximize itself by minimizing the individual.

That "highly educated liberals" are flooding to buy "The Closing of the American Mind" may indicate that they have been mis-educated, or it may herald a renaissance of true liberalism and an understanding that those whom we label "conservatives" are, in fact, the true liberals, in that they are fighting to preserve what the counterfeit liberals are diminishing and threatening with destruction -- individual freedom.

HAROLD RANSTAD Washington