Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 17, 2004

Human liberty, forced service not compatible

By what right does Stephen Budiansky demand "universal national service" ("Service, sacrifice for all," Opinion * Commentary, May 12)?

America's only obligation is to protect its citizens and its national interests from assault by others. There is no other legitimate reason to place the lives of our service men and women at risk. Compulsory service - whether "community service" or military draft - is a gross violation of the principle of individual rights our nation is founded upon.

Have we not learned the lessons of the 20th century? The age where sacrifice was elevated to the status of religion? When World War I was fought to make the world "safe for democracy"? When we saw the rise of communism, fascism and all the lesser variants requiring mass sacrifice to the "Volk" or the "proletariat" or simply for personal whims of dictators?

Contrary to Mr. Budiansky's claim that it is dangerous to the health of our nation not to have universal service, it is precisely such a collectivist ideology that threatens the fabric of our free nation.

No one has the right to command the life, liberty or property of others without their consent. Compulsory service only empowers those in power to sacrifice Americans in all manner of wars or conflicts.

Universal national service and individual rights are mutually exclusive and cannot co-exist in the same nation. Sooner or later, one or the other will prevail. It's either freedom, or some version of slavery to the state.

Manfred Smith

Columbia

Putting English last insults native-born

I agree with the editorial "No bunk" (May 13) that Maryland needs people of all talents, no matter where they were born.

However, by listing the English version of the text last, The Sun insults Americans who were born and raised here. It implies that if you only speak English in America, you are not very valuable.

Lois Seegal

Pikesville

Lame excuse for rant against immigrants

Mayor Martin O'Malley is right. Immigrants are an important ingredient in the development of Baltimore ("O'Malley rebuts `English' remarks," May 12).

And to say that those who work for certain business establishments must speak English to be able to transact business with customers is a lame excuse for denigrating non-English-speaking immigrants.

Gracianus R. Reyes

Baltimore

Expressing concern of a silent majority

The comments by Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. that were critical of multiculturalism and the decreasing assimilation of many recent immigrants are entirely reasonable ("Ehrlich has no apology as immigrants protest," May 13). They reflect the growing concern of the silent majority of Americans that immigration is out of control.

And the stifling constraints of political correctness, under which anyone who questions the wisdom of multiculturalism is denounced, are reminiscent of the 1950s, when U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his supporters played a nasty game of character assassination against anyone who challenged that era's political correctness.

G. Houghton Huppman

Manchester

Intolerance remains freedom's true foe

Two lunch counters, 44 years apart, teach us that we as a people still have miles to go in our quest for liberty ("A stand for justice," Opinion

Commentary, May 13).

From a Louisiana lunchroom in 1960 to a McDonald's restaurant in 2004 ("Speaking out against `English' comments," May 11), we learn that the ugly face of intolerance is, more than anything else, the true threat to our freedom.

Leo Ryan Jr.

Towson

Slots referendum gives citizens a voice

So, the governor does not want the citizens of Maryland to express their preference for slots or casinos at the voting booth ("Ehrlich against slots on ballot," May 7).

But we are a democracy, remember - a government of the people, by the people and for the people. With so many issues pending during political campaigns, and so much lobbyist money bandied about Annapolis, I find it difficult to choose candidates whom I can trust to vote my wishes, regardless of what they promise.

At least a referendum would give citizens a chance to voice our choices.

John Hinze

Thurmont

Just pass a bill legalizing slots

The continuing irresponsible frustration of the people's will regarding legalized slot machines by the Democrats in the House of Delegates and their chosen leader, Speaker Michael E. Busch, has become extremely tiresome.

We do not need a referendum on slots ("Slots summer session backed," May 12). We already had one - the 2002 gubernatorial election.

A clear majority of Marylanders wants legalized slot machines. And, just as certainly, because of the huge, unfunded Thornton mandate with which we were saddled by the previous administration and many of these same House Democrats, we need the substantial revenue they would generate.

A summer session is a good idea, but not to authorize a referendum on slots.

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