Reader Mail

Taking Back the Night

Pie-throwers forced to eat crust. Plus: AmSpec's national guard. Could China collect? Dr. Krugman's prescriptions. What other welfare cuts? And more.

4.15.05

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TAS'S STRONG BENCH
Re: Reader Mail:

I've wanted to comment on this for some time, so I don't know why I chose today. In addition to all the fantastic writers featured daily on TAS, I absolutely love the regular letter writers. It has come to the point where I go to reader mail first (not only to see if my occasional observance made the cut). John McGinnis from Texas, Pete Chagnon from Vermont, Joseph Baum from Ohio, Kitty Myers from Painted Post, NY, Cathy Thorpe and David Shoup from Georgia, Martin Kelly from Glasgow, and too many others who've slipped my mind make a terrific "bench," to put it in sports terms. Thank you all for tremendous contributions. I would love to have the opportunity to meet these All-Star letter writers at the same time. It's so comforting to know intelligent people with a similar logical worldviews come from all over the globe.

Wishing there were more of us in the People's Republic of Massachusetts,
-- William H. Stewart
Boston, Massachusetts

LIBERAL REPRESSION
Re: George Neumayr's Pie in the Sky Liberals:

Amen!
-- JG

Two nights ago we had John O'Neill (Unfit for Command) here at the University of Dayton to talk. Protesters passed out leaflets in advance, and at least two people (before I left) tried to monopolize the microphone with speeches (not questions) during the Q&A. At one point, a guy went on for a good five minutes before O'Neill interrupted and the man said, "I'm not finished," to which O'Neill said, "Oh yes you are!" to a standing O. To our credit, the UD students, even those who disagreed with O'Neill's positions, were polite and asked to-the-point questions. It was the moronic adults -- so-called "vets" and "peace activists" -- who pulled the shenanigans.

I discussed some of these problems with Rush Limbaugh in the March interview of the Limbaugh Letter and in a symposium, "Can the University be Saved?"
-- Larry Schweikart
Co-author, A Patriot's History of the United States

I attended a talk given by David Horowitz at the U of Texas last night [Wednesday]. He was as brilliant as ever and, as expected, there were the usual group of agitators trying to shut him down. They yelled over him, rang their cell phones and set off air horns. He is on to them and asked that they be removed early. As a young man came at him down the aisles spouting some rhetoric, I and some friends in the front row stood to confront him, yelling back to "shut up and let him speak." It got very noisy. He was removed, as a tepid campus police called for backups. The rabble-rousers continued but were met with our anger and words to let him speak. They finally left as they were either removed or their ADD kicked in once they had to listen.

I don't think they expected our response. These speakers need our help and protection. Supporters in the audience need to get angry as their right to hear speech is denied. These whiners have nothing to contribute to the dialogue and just want to make noise (or throw food) to intimidate and shut down others, and I resent it.

One final note: I wonder if these students realize they are pawns for tenured teachers to keep their cushy jobs and are just being manipulated. Tools. It's sad.
-- Kim La Cava
Austin, Texas

Mr. Neumayr has articulated, better than I ever could, the hedonism, illogic, and selfishness inherent in '60s liberalism. Of course, it is present once again in this early 21st century liberalism. I have, for years, made the point to my students that the major difference I am able to identify between the '50s and the '90s is the reversal of the order of consideration of rights and responsibilities among individuals. I repeatedly tell them that those same urges that guide their choice-making machinery today existed just as vitally in the '50s as they do now.

The difference between the two times was: (a) Society placed a great deal of pressure on the individual to live up to his community responsibilities, and (b) Individuals were taught early on that those responsibilities were the cornerstone of his or her adulthood. This is why we young men didn't all go out and sire children out of wedlock. This is why we didn't indulge in every vice, legal and illegal, that was available to us. It wasn't that we didn't have those "urges." We did. We just, for the most part, controlled them. It wasn't that we didn't crave the mental vacation that a good buzz would bring. We just fought against giving some chemical compound that kind of control over our thought processes. When rights became more important than responsibilities, and people became more concerned with what they could do than with what they couldn't, the fraying fabric of Society split apart at the seams. "If it feels good, do it" became the watchword of the '60s. The idea that individual behavior had an affect on the social fabric as a whole became anathema and "do your own thing" replaced the Ten Commandments. Of course modern liberals want God out of the government, the schools, and virtually all of the public arena. These areas are the residue of the belief in responsibility toward society. They are the finger shaken in our faces, reminding us of what we are supposed to be. Just as there is a special place in the afterlife for children who deny their parents, there may very well be one for countries that deny their founding precepts.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

BRECK GIRLS
Re: David Hogberg's Minister of Socialist Health Care:

David Hogberg's excellent piece "Minister of Socialist Health Care" was deadly accurate. He explained several reasons for the rising cost of health care in America: rising individual wealth, third-party payments, and regulatory burdens. The only addition that might have made his article perfect would have been a look at the John Edwards Expense, i.e., the cost of malpractice insurance.

Many of us thought the medicinal use of leeches went out with Theodoric of York, Medieval Physician. Every lawsuit lottery winner is not just buying his attorney a new Maserati, he's also padding your medical bill.
-- Jim Bono
Midlothian, Virginia

Hogberg's article about Paul Krugman was enlightening. I particularly liked this Krugman quote he highlighted: "If we don't want to become a society in which the rich get life-saving medical treatment and the rest of us don't, we'll have to pay much higher taxes."

To paraphrase Tonto, "What do you mean 'us,' Kemosabe?" Since when does being Princeton professor and a regular columnist at the New York Times allow him to pose as a representative of the struggling masses? Or are budgets at the Ivy League and the Gray Lady a lot stricter than we've been led to think?
-- Sean Higgins
Washington, D.C.

David Hogberg does a most commendable job exposing left-leaning (or is it staggering?) economist Paul Krugman's inability to generate any kind of worthwhile intellectual thinking and writing in his field. Hogberg's endeavor to expose Krugman's fatuous attempts to address properly what he considers to be a "health-care crisis" in this country is matched only by Donald Luskin and the "Krugman Truth Squad"'s meticulous dissection of Dr. PK's lame arguments against PRAs and Social Security reform over at the NRO website.

But folks, please be careful next time. When I opened my Internet Home Page (the SPECTATOR) today as I always do first thing in the morning, I was ill-prepared for the visage of the Neanderthal-like Krugman to be suddenly staring out at me. Damned near gave me an MI and sent me looking for my nitroglycerine tablets (of which, I don't have any as I don't need them...yet). I prefer my eye-opener in the A.M. to be a good cup of coffee, not THAT scary sight!
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

OWNERSHIP SOBRIETY
Re: James G. Poulos's East of Eden:

James G. Poulos's "East of Eden" was a well-reasoned and thought-provoking geopolitical analysis, but I find his grasp of the economic angle less certain. He too quickly accepts the popular but unfounded proposition that foreign governments that are large holders of U.S. Treasury securities can seriously damage our economy by selling their holdings. First, while China is a large purchaser of our government debt, Europe and Japan are far bigger buyers; were China to dump their positions onto the markets the disruption would be temporary and modest as other buyers eagerly took up the slack. Besides, I doubt China intends to return to the days of economic isolationism and internal self-sufficiency advanced by Mao and his Great Leap Forward. Two, foreign private investors, in contrast to foreign central banks, have been buying an increasing share of our debt. Third, there is no other market with both the needed size, liquidity and safety required to soak up all those dollars earned by our trading partners. Finally, if a large holder were to suddenly sell his holdings the main consequence would be to drastically reduce the value of that holder's portfolio -- it would be cutting off his nose to spite his face. Or as the old saying goes, if you owe the bank $10 thousand the bank owns you; if you owe the bank $10 million you own the bank.
-- Paul M. DeSisto, CFA
New York City

The easy way to do this is to have a straw poll. Give the voters of China and Formosa a choice. Which would you rather have as your government? The Communists in Beijing or the capitalists in Taipei? Vote now!
-- Bruce Thompson

DIGGING OUT EARLY
Re: Doug Bandow's Americans in Transition:

History without exception shows that Americans (and probably most people in general) do not move off the dime except in times of catastrophe. The term "sleeping giant" was right on the money. A modern day exception could be the Iraq war because it was waged and not because an overwhelming majority approved. A future catastrophe was no doubt averted.

Industrial advancements were achieved by the necessities of war. Medical miracles happened because of wide spread life threatening disease. Our computers and most of today's electronic marvels are offspring of the Space Race courtesy of the Sputnik. Environmental science flourished because we were starting to choke on our waste. American autos' fuel efficiencies were increased after the oil price shocks of 25 years ago. Many people usually initiate action in their personal lives only after a catastrophic event forces them to transition or whither away.

Social Security reform seems like a huge snow storm we know is coming soon but many do not want to think about digging out of until that time is upon them. We have been plenty warned about the impending Social Security upheaval but somehow it isn't real because it's not here yet. I wouldn't count on your neighbor to help you dig out of this one, especially if they have heeded the warnings and you have not.

Better if the catastrophe happened sooner than later.
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

Doug Bandow makes a good case for Social Security reform. He figures there is about 90 billion per year spent on corporate welfare that could be channeled into private accounts. There are other pools of revenue out there also. Since lower income earners are the ones to get the most out of these accounts we should tap the Earned Income Tax Credit money that is currently out there. We could also ear mark the child care credit money to be put into private accounts. This way lower and middle income workers would be saving more of their own money for future retirement without picking the pockets of higher income earners.
-- Steve Walde
Danbury, Connecticut

GAME DELAY
Re: Ben Stein's The Truth About DeLay:

This article by Ben Stein purports to tell the truth about Tom DeLay but actually only mentions two or three things. The whole truth about Tom DeLay and his unfortunate character and lack of morals constitutes much more than this. Mr. DeLay is said to be involved in the hideous bilking of Indian casino owners along with Abramoff and other arbiters such as Dr. James Dobson and Ralph Reed. If these people are innocent, they should, as Senator Santorum has suggested, come forth, explain their actions, and defend their innocence, instead of blaming Democrats and others for the pickle they are in.
-- Mildred Perry Miller

BEATNIK
Re: David Holman's A Neo-Jesuit Education:

In an article titled "A Neo-Jesuit Education," David Holman wrote about the dismissal of Scott McConnell from Le Moyne College. In that article, Mr. Holman asked, "If this Catholic college's academic freedom allows supposed theologians attacking church teaching, why not McConnell, who merely believes in firm discipline?"

Firm discipline? Mr. McConnell had advocated violently striking children. From my perspective, there is a huge difference between "attacking church teaching" and attacking a child.

Le Moyne College should provide an environment in which students have the "academic freedom" to debate theological doctrines. However, Le Moyne College has absolutely no obligation to provide a forum for the advocacy of violence against children. The dismissal of Mr. McConnell from Le Moyne College was an appropriate response to his advocacy of violence.
-- Scott G. Beach

SHINING LIGHT
Re: George Neumayr's Protection Racketeers:

Bravo! Keep trying to rip off the mask, so the whole world can see the real Roger MaPhony!
-- unsigned

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