Founders found culpable; column not chronological
But why is it that when the issue is slavery or the cultural and institutional racism that used to plague this county, we often are asked to reserve judgment to look at people of previous eras as simply “people of their time,” not fully deserving of our condemnation? Clearly, from the beginning of American history, many people recognized the evil of slavery. By Mr. Hentoff’s logic, those who supported the institution of slavery should be held responsible for their actions, as Mr. Adams should be for his.
Columnist Nat Hentoff’s defense of Thomas Jefferson is quite appropriate (“The architect of freedom,” Op-Ed, July 16). But Mr. Hentoff’s assertion that the Constitution was not ratified by the states until the Bill of Rights was added is grossly wrong. The Constitution was ratified when New Hampshire voted yes on June 21, 1788; it was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was not submitted to the states until Sept. 25, 1789, when the First Congress met at its first session in New York City. It did not go in force until Dec. 15, 1791. Three of the original 13 states did not ratify the Bill of Rights until 1939: Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut.
CHRISTOPHER P. BERG
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Pakistan’s ‘irrational jihad factory’ a threat to global stability
Pakistan’s irrational jihad factory does not bode well for the stability of the world. It becomes all the more frightening when one realizes that Pakistan is in possession of nuclear weapons and a powerful military.
Singapore internet story full of Western hypocrisy
The report, from the Associated Press, states that the Singapore government has a “firm grip on the flow of information.” I’m in Singapore, and I used the Internet to read this one-sided story. I also can access any Web site in the world critical of Singapore’s government. In addition, the BBC World Service Radio airs here. The Singaporean government certainly cannot control what BBC broadcasts from London. The major American newsmagazines are sold here as well. They are required to be fair and allow the government a “right of reply” when it perceives they are unfair. This seems, however, to be asking for no more than journalistic integrity.
Sadly, it was integrity that this report lacked. No regulation has yet been introduced in Singapore, but the reporter sounds as if he is sure it will be draconian. Meanwhile, the U.S. government has been busy trying to regulate Americans’ freedom of speech during elections. Is it just that we’re (mostly) white and Western that we believe we can be trusted with such regulations, while Asians cannot?
JOHN B. CARPENTER
Columnist derives lesson of ‘true feminism’ from Condit story
My heart breaks for Chandra Levy and her family. I hope she is found alive soon. I also believe Americans should stop treating abominable behavior as being acceptable as long as it is kept private. Finally, it is time that young women value themselves as more than powerful men’s mistresses. Thanks to Miss Charen for reminding us what true feminism is about.
RANI RUSSELL SHEA
Bush budget scuttles Pluto mission
I believe a mission to Pluto is a special case, worthy of extra consideration in the budget for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. If the mission is canceled now, we will lose the opportunity to explore this planet for decades, if not centuries. Pluto is the only unexplored planet in the solar system. Certainly, the one-third of 1 percent increase in the NASA budget such a mission would require is justifiable and would have public support.
Oak Hill, Va.