- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 23, 2006

Public schools miseducating the young

The headline of Tom Knott’s Thursday column, “Crime is a price paid for failed public schools,” belies the substance of his article (Metropolitan). Mr. Knott relates how the D.C. schools are failing, but also points out: “Absentee parents, broken schools and the lure of the so-called ‘easy money’ on the streets all play a part in the forming of a young criminal. Government is not in the business of parenting. But it is in the business of educating the young.”

Unfortunately, the government is undermining schools and parents by desensitizing youngsters to the idea of premarital sex and inviting them to engage in sex by giving them condoms and telling them how to use them. This results in sex with multiple partners and is the root cause of many problems: weakened families, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, abortion, illegitimacy, single parent families, poor education, poverty and crime.

Such promiscuous sexual activity undercuts parental and classroom discipline. Society can’t have the schools promoting premarital sex and still expect the students to pay attention to academics and avoid other activities, such as drugs and violent crime.

FRANOIS L. QUINSON

Gaithersburg

Defending freedom

If Israel’s incursion into Lebanon indicates one thing, it is that democratic nation-states that vigorously defend themselves are a necessary force in world politics. Of course, saying as much is not fashionable in certain circles. The tonier ones among them deem such thinking to be archaic or worse (“Israel pounds Hezbollah,” Page 1, Friday).

Still, no other entity can better protect the welfare of its citizens. Not that nation-states are inherently virtuous. As our recent past demonstrates, and as Iran and Syria currently attest, they are capable of immense evil. One wishes, though, that Lebanon would have exhibited a more zealous regard for its own sovereignty. Its failure to crush Hezbollah has forced Israel to do what it should have done itself.

For acting unilaterally, Israel has incurred censure, mostly from so-called progressive opinion. However, the critics overlook an important consideration. If Israel declined to seek the benediction of the United Nations, it was because of its disappointing history with that body. Like many other multilateral forums, the United Nations is burdened with moral confusion and a false sense of guilt, which leave it vulnerable to dangerous influences. As a result, it ostracizes those who are committed to genuine justice, such as Israel, while excusing the real troublemakers, such as the members of Hezbollah and their supporters. Under the circumstances, then, Israel can hardly harbor confidence in such entities and survive. “Put not your trust in princes,” admonished one great Jewish leader of old. Nor in institutions that lack a sense of constructive purpose, he might have added.

CHARLES H. RIEPER

Columbus, Ohio

Managing the earth

As an ecologist I have to disagree with Jack Ward Thomas’ pro-management opinion (“A future for forests and wildlife,” Commentary, July 14). Unfortunately, what we see over and over again when we attempt to manage nature is unintended consequences of our management. To manage well assumes we have good complete knowledge and further, that we apply that knowledge rationally — neither of which holds true with regards to our understanding and management of ecological systems and landscapes.

One of the greatest problems of our times is the assumption that we can manage the Earth when what we need is to manage ourselves and leave the rest of the earth alone to the greatest degree possible. We cannot hope to be gardener for the entire planet and we should not aspire to such a position.

GEORGE WUERTHNER

Eugene, Ore.

Maryland Democrats’ hypocrisy

Maryland Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lierman (“GOP points to legal setbacks,” Metropolitan, Friday) has no idea what “fairness and opportunity for employers and employees in the workplace” is. The Democratic Party’s attack on a major state employer (Wal-Mart), conducted under the guise of looking out for employees’ health care, is an example.

Employers can deduct health insurance costs from their taxes. Employees cannot. Is that fairness and opportunity?

Employers can choose any insurance plan. Employees cannot. Is that fairness and opportunity?

Employers can ignore worries about losing affordable health care. Employees cannot. Is that fairness and opportunity?

In reality, the Democratic Party has no desire for employees to have health care. If it did, it would have taken an entirely different approach. It would have tried to provide employees with the same advantages employers have rather than bashing the employers.

If the Democratic Party really desired to provide fairness and opportunity it would have made sure all employees had access to health plans for an employee-owned Health Savings Account. It would have made employee health insurance costs deductible. It would have provided the opportunity to complement an HSA with a Limited Flexible Spending Account to cover preventive care and save the HSA for major unplanned costs.

Moreover, isn’t it time to make all of this — deductions, plans, and ownership — available for everyone? That’s what I call real fairness and opportunity.

RICK MARVIN

Gaithersburg

Dubious anti-gun arguments

Though I disagree with Clarence Page on many of his positions in relation to public policy, I strongly agree with his July 18 Commentary column, “Crimes make a comeback,” as it relates to Bill Cosby’s statements. Although urban crime has as a root cause in the poor rearing of black youth, there also is the fact that victims have little or no means of deterrence available to them other than house alarms.

City leaders in each major city Mr. Page cited are very hard on gun owners, the District being the worst. Many years ago, in an upscale Northwest house, a famous syndicated columnist for The Washington Post named Carl Rowan was accosted by an invading errant teen, and this vociferous advocate for strict gun control whipped out an illegal pistol to defend himself. Though the furor lasted but a brief moment, not one article I could find anywhere in his paper addressed the fact that the hypocrisy of the situation screamed of elitism.

The rich and famous are given breaks and protection, while advocates of gun control, such as Sarah Brady and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, make callous statements imploring people simply to dial 911 when confronted with mortal danger. It is easy to make such statements when one is afforded bodyguards and gated communities, but those of us who are unprotected need the means to defend ourselves. As Mr. Page noted, these young criminals are no longer content simply to rob and steal; they are seeking sport in murder and other forms of mayhem.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie

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