Sidney J. Cohen, Mount Laurel
Dependence on government
Finding inspiration for economic policy from the works of Ayn Rand makes about as much sense as using Huckleberry Finn or Winnie-the-Pooh as a basis for social programs, or modeling law-enforcement work on the Hardy Boys series ("Ayn Rand again? Let's get to real issues," Wednesday).
Rand's work, while brilliant in many ways, remains a fictional espousal of her own philosophy. It is not rooted in fact, data, or science; it is essentially an abstraction.
While abstract concepts are easier to grasp and require little or no work to accept, the devils remain in the details. Paul Ryan, while belittling the role of government, seems to wish to forget that his own dependence on government begins - like mine, yours, and like his running mate's - the instant his car tires touch a paved road, if not before.
Dave Kalkstein, Philadelphia
Ryan has left in a panic
It's funny to watch how threatened the left has become by the selection of Paul Ryan as Romney's vice presidential pick. Democrats are now stuck with a candidate who, for the first two years of his presidency, ignored the economy, and instead used his political capital and complete control of Congress to pass his own pet projects. The so-called stimulus failed to stimulate, and the wildly unpopular health-care law is poison to his own campaign. President Obama is out of ideas and therefore has resorted to lies and slimy attacks on Mitt Romney as the only avenue left for him to run on.
Now enters the highly respected Ryan, who is more knowledgable than the president and the Democratic leadership on the economy and how we can work ourselves out from under the huge debt and unemployment the president's policies have produced.
No wonder the left is in a panic. Ryan's presence has forced it to stop the Romney demonization and instead defend policies that have been proven to be indefensible.
Steve Heitner, Jefferson Station, N.Y.
Campaign ads appeal to emotions
We don't have an involved, well-informed electorate, and a good bit of those who bother to vote don't have a clue about the issues. Because of this, our election process has predictably devolved into a merchandising campaign fueled by unlimited special-interest money - except there are no truth-in-advertising rules governing the process. The game goes to the ad men, whose political ads are irrelevant to the issues and only appeal to our basest emotions.
Voters complain about the negative ads, but the truth is that the intolerable state of our electoral process will not improve until we have an involved, well-informed, issues-oriented electorate. Good luck with that.
Richard McFadden Sr., Plymouth Meeting
Who is despicable and desperate?
In the letter "Resorting to lies to win" (Wednesday), the writer, who calls Mitt Romney a "pathetic man who has to resort to lies against President Obama to achieve the presidency," shows how quickly liberals forget. I'll refresh his memory: the man in the ad who claims that Mitt Romney practically killed his wife; the claims by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that Romney has not paid taxes in 10 years; the ad that shows a Paul Ryan look-alike throwing an old woman off a cliff. U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D., Fla.), head of the Democratic National Committee, says she has no idea where that ad about the man's wife came from or what party it is affiliated with. Who is despicable and desperate?
Patricia Perrone, Swarthmore
Lending credence to reality-show farce
Like Gen. Wesley Clark, I am a Vietnam combat veteran. Unlike Clark, who was severely wounded in combat, I would have been embarrassed to associate my name with such fluff ("'Reality' shows shouldn't trivialize combat," Wednesday). My aversion isn't to the absurdity of the show or the fact that it glorifies combat. Hollywood has been doing that for a long time. What makes this different is that a well-known soldier such as Clark would lend credence to this farce.
Terry A. Williamson, president, Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Glenside
Religion not part of discourse
Contrary to the letter "What Obama inherited" (Tuesday), the Bill of Rights does not mention God. The opening words of the First Amendment are "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." That is, religion is a personal matter, not the government's. Proposed as amendments to the Constitution, and adopted by the states after much deliberation, the Bill of Rights implies that religion should not be part of our national political discourse.
Dale Kinney, Bala Cynwyd
God and the Constitution
The Declaration of Independence gives a good case for equality under the law, and mentions the natural rights of man given by God, but is not actually treated as the law of our nation. The Declaration of Independence gave our reasons for breaking away from England.
The Bill of Rights refers to the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, which is law, but there is no mention of rights coming from God. In fact, there is no mention of God in the entire Constitution, except in the date at the very end of the document, which, according to the custom of the time is "in the year of our Lord."
Gloria Schor Andersen, Voorhees
Change free-market capitalism
A letter writer eloquently described the incredible citizens this nation is fortunate to have produced, and properly adds them to the list of things President Obama inherited. However, none of that diminishes the magnitude of the absolute disaster Reagan ideologues have wrought upon average Americans. Their trickle-down economic theories created the mess inherited by Obama, and now they refuse to help him clean it up. Mitt Romney wants the same policies that created the failure in the first place. Obama wants to change how free-market capitalism works by giving it some heart and soul. Let him continue that.
C. Theodore Lang, Wenonah
Note to Truman's grandson
It's August, time for America to apologize again for winning World War II ("Truman's grandson is attending memorials to Hiroshima victims," Aug. 5). I'm old enough to remember the Rape of Nanking, and the Bataan Death March. Japan does not have annual ceremonies for these events; nor do they want to remember them.
Someone should tell Truman's grandson to first lay a wreath in memory of Japan's victims, and for the Americans who died on the battlefield to defeat the people who gave us Pearl Harbor.
James Warren, Wyncote