Should there be moral absolutes in a democracy?
In response to the Sept. 26 Opinion piece, "Lincoln's lessons for today's culture wars": In the piece, Allen C. Guelzo argues for a perspective of moral absolutes.
Arguing for moral absolutism on the one hand while cherry-picking the issues you want addressed by law undermines the whole argument.
Our first colonies were founded by various religious groups fleeing persecution in their home countries. It's no wonder that the Constitution was written to require a separation of government and religion. In essence, it shows an agreement to disagree.
I have to wonder how you expect the national government to decide which moral absolutes require law enforcement? Even further, how is it supposed to decide what penalties to impose?
Our society is constantly changing. Trying to force its current challenges into an either/or solution based on your own moral absolutes is counterproductive to cohesiveness.
Regarding slavery, Lincoln made the right choice. However, he had to have significant support in acting on it. That's democracy at work. Even though it's flawed, it gives everyone at least some voice. I'd call that healthier than Professor Guelzo's alternative.
Thank you so much for printing Professor Guelzo's valuable essay. He explains in a clear and arresting manner that societies in which there are no moral standards result in tyranny, because the methods for evaluating right and wrong become arbitrary.
Hyde Park, N.Y.
America needs a revised dream
Regarding the Sept. 29 Opinion piece, "The evolution of the American dream": The problem with the American dream is that it has evolved over the years into a rat-race pursuit of exorbitant wealth.
Destructive greed has greased the American economic engine and made the rich richer at the expense of the middle class and the poor.
Our country would be better off if the American dream centered more around the philosophy of a Middle Eastern proverb: "Enough is a feast." Most countries would thrive if the global economy worked to provide each nation's citizens with at least enough food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and educational opportunities.
If we can divorce greed from the American dream, it can be reborn.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr.
Don't call it a bailout
In regard to the Sept. 26 editorial, "The post-bailout agenda": The term "bailout" is misleadingly negative.
The greedy money lenders are going bust. The government can put them into receivership, appoint managing conservators, inject capital, bring the businesses back to viability, and then sell the new businesses to the public via initial public offerings.
What a profit for the government, and what a profit for the people – us, the taxpayers!
Why does anyone think that it is a bailout? The current shareholders lose all of their share value, and no mortgage holders or bank account holders will lose a penny.
It is profitable for the country, and the financial institutions and mortgages are saved.
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