- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2003

Twins of moral relativism?

I must confess I am enjoying the "debate" on cloning entirely too much. People who usually decry judgmental behavior in the name of "tolerance" are out making apocalyptic moral pronouncements. Others, such as Paul Greenberg, who I suspect derives his moral condemnation from a religious source, ("Clones come marching in," Commentary, Saturday) will still hesitate to defend that source in the public square.
Perhaps we should not be surprised. C.S. Lewis, in "The Problem of Pain," tells us that our (internal) knowledge of morality and God are derived separately. Hence it is not uncommon to see dripping self-righteousness displayed in non-religious moralism or non-moral religion.
Mr. Greenberg may be right on the issue of cloning, but how would we know? Why isn't cloning, for example, an issue of reproductive freedom? He has made no attempt to logically argue his case; instead he makes fun of his opponents and makes moral pronouncements without telling us where he derives his moral authority. The same is true of the relativists. Why do they speak as if it is a foregone conclusion with which others will agree? If you agree that morality compels behavior, tell us where that morality comes from. Otherwise, you are not rational. And the irrational is the absurd.

Lusby, Md.

Down with 'diversity'

James Metcalf's column "Forget diversity" (Op-Ed, Friday) was a lucid expose of the racial mischief-making rampant in many universities.
In their quest for racial or ethnic diversity, admissions officers routinely put students together in the same classes despite often radically different levels of academic preparation and mental discipline. Rather than undermine negative stereotypes, these racial and ethnic double standards actually perpetuate them.
However, students are not fooled. They notice who does well in classes and who does not. They look around on graduation day and notice how few of the special admissions students are there in cap and gown. This is what makes "diversity" such a tragedy and a farce.
Let's hope that the Supreme Court finally outlaws "race-conscious" admission policies when it rules on the University of Michigan cases this spring.

Chico, Calif.

Maryland's gun-grabbing Democrats

I recently read with interest the plan of Maryland Democrats to thwart Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s repeal of some of Maryland's strict gun laws ("Repeal of gun laws unlikely," Metropolitan, Wednesday). The Democrats still don't get it. Wherever gun laws are the most numerous and restrictive, crime escalates and innocent Americans are killed in ever-increasing numbers.
John Lott's scholarly research proves that gun laws have consistently failed to reduce crime, while concealed-carry laws have proven effective at reducing crime and saving lives. Although some might question Mr. Lott's motives, no one has ever successfully been able to refute his conclusions. Perhaps Maryland Democrats are satisfied with a certain level of killing in order to keep their pet issues alive for political purposes. In their view, it's apparently better to save an issue than save a life.
Will the Republicans engage in this debate? Perhaps they are afraid that they will be called pawns of the National Rifle Association. Why? Is the NRA any more a "special interest" than the various gun-grabbing organizations? The Republicans should proudly claim kinship with the millions of law-abiding Americans who share a belief in the "right to keep and bear arms."
Liberal Democrats rely on the socialist tradition of gun confiscation to force their agenda on an unwilling populace. On the other hand, gun-rights advocates rely on the rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. These rights were placed there to stop such abuse of power. The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that supports the "individual" gun-ownership-rights view. Even Lawrence Tribe, a liberal constitutional scholar, has acknowledged that this is an "individual" right.
Likewise, the Democrats' restrictive gun laws interfere with the ability of law-abiding businesses to do business. Mandates for built-in safety locks have forced some manufacturers to pull their products from Maryland gun stores. Ballistic fingerprinting, an unproven method of tracking guns used in crimes, has had a similar effect. The end result is that the price of guns has skyrocketed, making self-defense more costly. Of course, this is not a problem for criminals. The best friend that a criminal has is a socialist, liberal, gun-grabbing Maryland Democrat.

Perry Hall, Md.

Targeting the stimulus package

Tuesday's editorial, "Stimulus package essential," should make one realize that we seem to have lost sight of two main economic issues in the United States: unemployment and an ailing capital market. The Bush administration's efforts to cut taxes and make those cuts permanent will certainly help, and this should be done immediately. However, unemployment and lack of investment are the root of the problem.
According to recent Commerce Department figures, gross domestic product appears to be growing, albeit slowly. The three-year decline in the U.S. equity markets and lack of capital investment by corporations has produced the mildest recession in U.S. history, with the mildest recovery.
Everyone seems to agree that until corporations start spending again, the economy will continue to simply hop along. Unemployment and investment do not seem to be targeted by this stimulus package. The government obviously cannot and should not directly intervene in the capital markets. What Uncle Sam can do is ease the regulatory environment to promote an influx of liquidity into the equity markets. Why not raise the amounts investors can contribute to their 401(k)s and IRAs?
Entrepreneurial spirit and investment is what catapulted the 1990s into the annals of economic history. Now, we have a mountain of liquidity sitting on the sidelines. The resources are there to boost the stock market, and any stimulus must address inducing this capital back into the markets.
Any stimulus bill that makes it through Congress must have provisions that help employers retain employees rather than lay them off. Tax breaks and accounting treatments must favor the businesses of this country as opposed to the taxpayer. An unemployed taxpayer, whose taxes would be less if he were employed, doesn't do anyone any good.
Any stimulus package that makes it to the president's desk should target two things: promotion of liquidity into the equity markets, and easing of tax burdens for businesses, thus allowing them to retain employees. Once the equity markets rebound, access to liquidity will improve, corporations will start to hire again, more tax revenue comes in, and so on. The stimulus should be aimed at stopping the bleeding. Once the bloodletting has eased, a capitalist economy will stimulate itself.


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