Good News Is Good NewsMy 11-year-old son was talking out...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 11, 1992

Good News Is Good News

My 11-year-old son was talking out loud to himself while reading the newspaper the other day. What is amazing about that statement is twofold:

First, Jonathan was actually reading the paper starting with the front page. Usually, if you can find him with the paper at all, he is buried in the comic section or giving the sports page the once over looking for the result of his favorite team.

Next, and of equal or greater importance, was what he was saying out loud. It seems his school teacher had given him the assignment of reading the paper and cutting out an article on "good news." He was to take it to class for review the next day.

Jonathan attends Immaculate Conception School, Towson, and it is common practice for a teacher to teach a lesson in this manner. The problem he was having and what he was being so vocal about is that he could not find any good news being reported.

As a normal parent, I immediately challenged him with, "You are not looking carefully and really don't want to do the assignment anyway! Give me that paper!"

To my amazement, I, too, found it difficult to find any good news being reported. We settled on an article about a Somali warlord flattering the U.N. and U.S. on aid efforts.

I had not realized until I was helping him how difficult it was to find much good news, and how little time and space is dedicated to these events.

With all the problems in our world being reinforced to us through the media, wouldn't it be great if some paper somewhere (maybe even The Sun) dedicated a section or even a column or two to just good things that are happening?

Although they may not be as sensational or as newsworthy, it may just be a nice touch to reinforce to all of us that life does have its better and brighter moments.

Richard R. May

Phoenix

Self-Destruction

I regret that I must agree with Prince George's County Del. Timothy F. Maloney, who "outraged" City Council President Mary Pat Clarke by stating that "simply increasing education aid . . ." will not address the major problems of Baltimore City's public schools.

I have been an educator in the city public schools for over 32 years, and I have seen the system deteriorate with each passing year.

Every time a new administration takes over there is the ritual pontification about "system-wide goals," the Disneyesque prognostication of better things to come and the restructuring of organizational charts showing the newly appointed apparatchiks ensconced in rectangular boxes with an impressive array of arrows pointing hither and yon to other rectangular boxes and arrows.

The conventional wisdom seems to be that by constantly rearranging the boxes and arrows progress must be inevitable -- facilitated is a favorite word. No one questions why the boxes should be there in the first place.

Some years ago, the Goldseker Foundation financed a report entitled "Baltimore in the Year 2000." It proposed that the very first change in the public school system was that it should be "blown up."

That won't be necessary. Eventually the system will self-destruct.

Arthur L. Laupus

Columbia

Singing the Blues

There seems to be a paradox in the saying "singing the blues." To some this has an air of sadness. Not to the recently departed president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross/Blue Shield. With his reported $2.5 million "golden parachute" he must be singing the blues all the way to the bank.

William H. M. Finney

Baltimore

Capitalism

During the Iraq crisis, President Bush repeatedly stated that the purpose of American intervention was to "help the people of Kuwait" -- and not to protect the American oil interests upon which our civilization depends. Bush's critics claimed that he didn't mean it. Well, we now know that he did mean it. And the chicken has come home to roost.

At present, the roosting chicken is headed for Somalia. The widespread support for American action in that country rests on an incorrect -- yet equally widespread -- idea about the purpose of government. The idea is that government (meaning, in a democracy, the citizens) exists solely to serve the needs of others.

According to this view, the quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which Thomas Jefferson and others envisioned, is immoral and unjust. The more influential this idea becomes, the more power the government is granted to sacrifice the lives of its citizens for the often questionable good of others.

The alternate view of government is implicit in our Constitution. It involves the idea that individuals are ends in themselves and must be left free to use their own judgment about whom to help and whom not to help.

According to the Jeffersonian view, the sole purpose of government is to protect its citizens from objective violations of individual rights -- namely, physical force and fraud.

It is not the purpose of government to turn its armed forces into social workers, frantically circling the globe in search of mouths to feed and infants to nurse.

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