I'm troubled by Walter Rodgers's Dec. 6 column, "Revenge and the death penalty," as I feel it misrepresents the positions of all death penalty advocates as vengeful and extreme. I support the death penalty, but not as revenge.
In the column, Mr. Rodgers also characterizes Sen. Mitch McConnell's goal that President Obama not be reelected as an example of vengeance in politics. I also oppose Mr. Obama's reelection, not as vengeance, but because I disagree with what he has done and what he wants to do. Further expansion of the federal government is not the answer to any problem; I believe it has expanded too much already.
These differences are not based in vengeance; they are just strong disagreements over policy.
In response to John Hughes's Dec. 6 column, "Why I keep my (paper) Encyclopaedia Britannica": There is one more reason to keep the printed volumes. It is all too easy for those in control to rewrite history. What our children are taught will be the current version of what happened before. Keeping these printed volumes gives us a check against revisionist history.
The ideological divide
Michael Laser's Dec. 6 commentary, "Conservatives vs. liberals: Neither side owns the truth," fairly presented the two ideologies, by and large. Laser's description of the conservative viewpoint on taxes highlighted a troubling fact for me.
If conservatives believe the top 10 percent of earners are "[o]ur most productive citizens," how about the other 90 percent who provide the labor for our shelter, food, transportation, defense, and the conveniences we enjoy?
Instead of productivity, what we are really seeing from the top 10 percent of earners is their widening influence on politics through massive campaign contributions.
Ronald B. Blackburn
Mr. Laser did a good job explaining the differences between liberal and conservative ideologies, but he still missed a key tenet of the true conservative standpoint.
Conservatives demand obedience to the rule of law according to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
While the author correctly cites the conservative view that people who become dependent on the government for welfare lose their will to work, he misses the basis of conservatives' larger objection to welfare: The government cannot do anything that hasn't been specifically enumerated for it to do in the Constitution.