Will's disservice to conservatismIt is a sign that the...

Letters

September 11, 1996

Will's disservice to conservatism

It is a sign that the presidential campaign is in full swing when normally reasonable political commentators abandon logic and consistency in the pursuit of partisan advantage.

A perfect example is George F. Will's column of Aug. 26. Will, perhaps the foremost proponent of American conservatism, professes to divine the innermost thoughts and beliefs not only of Bill Clinton but of the entire Democratic Congress.

In Will's opinion, Clinton is cynical because he does not truly believe what he says, unlike Ronald Reagan, who was a man of principle in belief and action. Will asserts that the Democratic members of Congress secretly believe, whatever they may say in public, that Clinton's support of the welfare reform bill betrays their party's principles.

Will's claim to direct access to the thoughts of others, quite apart from their words, contradicts both logic and the conservative principles for which he stands. . . .

As for principles, for about 200 years conservatism has had the salutary role of reminding politicians about the limits of human understanding, especially when confronted with such complex entities as social institutions and the free market. In previous writings, Will has endorsed this idea by railing against liberalism's hubris in designing grandiose schemes of social planning.

But by pretending to know the inner-most thoughs of others, Will now practices a hubris of his own and abandons conservatism's skepticism about the limited reach of human knowledge. All in order to score political debating points. Conservatism deserves better.

Eric Heavner

Towson

What the poor need from welfare reform

Thank you for publishing the Sept. 3 Opinion Commentary article, ''The Welfare Rap,'' by Bill Stephney. Now it turns out that the ''mean spirited'' Congress and befuddled administration are joined by some of the victims of the current welfare system.

The facts and research quoted by Mr. Stephney are but the tip of the iceberg of the research on the damage the welfare system has done to our nation.

When a young unmarried woman signs on to the welfare system for its above-minimum wage scale, she also weds Dame Poverty. Her future is clouded at best and only a few of the highly motivated and talented escape. Most never do.

''What about the children?'' is the mantra of the supporters of the present system. Anyone who attacks the current mess is accused of child-bashing.

Yet all the facts and research point out with awesome consistency that the children of unwed mothers experience poor school performance, trouble with the law, and a host of other ills to a far greater extent than the children of father-mother marriages.

These are hard, cold and chilling facts. How can anyone who cares about the welfare of children support a system proven to destroy their potential and future?

If we really care about the ''poor'' and the ''children," hopefully the new welfare reform bill will provide a means to reward lower class working married parents.

We must find ways to discourage childbirth out of wedlock, or at least make it less profitable than it is now. We need to look upon welfare programs as a way up and out of poverty, not an enticement to perpetuate it.

We need to accept the proven fact that a child from a two-parent home has a much better chance of success than an unwed mother home. Even the victims recognize the reality. Now it is our turn.

Paul H. Wragg

Baltimore

Don't they make that stuff here?

From the Sept. 3 story on the expansion of the Convention Center: "The 61,000 square feet of plate glass had to be flown from Pilkington, England."

No company in the U.S.A. makes plate glass?

Dan M. Bowers

Randallstown

Saddam Hussein digging his grave

By reacting forcefully to Saddam Hussein's bloody violations, President Clinton has turned a problem into an opportunity.

Despite repeated warnings from the U.S. and the United Nations, Saddam has continued to call our bluff by pursuing a "cheat and retreat" strategy. If the U.S. had failed to respond promptly, decisively and forcefully, it would have provided a dangerous inducement both to Saddam and to others and that would have damaged our credibility.

Saddam has been getting away with murder. We now have an opportunity to remove this malignant despot. We can facilitate, and perhaps even induce, his overthrow by weakening and humiliating him. This time the master of miscalculation has presented the U.S. with an invitation to his own political funeral and we would be foolish to demur.

If the administration can persuade the Europeans and our other allies to support a decisive military response, that would be ideal. But clearly we must lead and under no circumstances should approval from others be required for us to act in our vital national interests. Once this international threat is eliminated, both friends and foes will be free to express their relief.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Political purity is an oxymoron

Gov. Parris Glendening's attack on his administration's critics is similar to the outburst of a spoiled child who is not getting his way. Calling businessmen and politicians who are holding a meeting to which he is not invited "gubernatorial wannabees" really sounded childish.

He states that "none of these people is pure" and "they all have some self-interest." This is a revelation? No one uses the words pure and politicians in the same sentence.

Isn't a $100 million arts center in Prince George's County self-interest? The governor needs to continue to buy the votes in his home county in order to assure his re-election. Without Prince George's County and Baltimore City votes he wouldn't be governor now.

I get the same feeling watching and listening to Governor Glendening as I did when I watched the movie serials during the 1940s. The acting is terrible but I can hardly wait for the next episode.

Joe Ayd Jarrettsville

Pub Date: 9/11/96

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