Letters to the Editor

Russian-born novelist Ayn Rand is shown in Manhattan with Grand Central Terminal in the background in 1962.
Russian-born novelist Ayn Rand is shown in Manhattan with Grand Central Terminal in the background in 1962. (AP Photo)
Posted: August 23, 2012

Libraries are socialist, too

The renewed interest in Ayn Rand and her works because of their influence on Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is interesting, but a look at her writings does not reveal a great love for stock-market capitalism. She believed in a completely free market where one stands or falls on one's own.

Rand's heroes are entrepreneurial capitalists who create companies and keep control of them. A major component of her dislike - OK, hatred - of socialism was the dilution and diffusion of ownership, where everybody owns everything. Stock-market capitalism is slightly less reprehensible because only hundreds or thousands own the enterprise, and not millions upon millions, but it is still a dilution.

Rand's heroes might issue bonds, but would never consider an IPO to generate needed capital. Ownership and control are kept within a narrow group. Her second tier of good guys are the managers who might not be able to create a company, but can keep an established one running and thriving.

As an aside, I have a friend who says he would never get involved in anything that sounds so socialistic as a co-op. But a co-op is a joint-stock company, and a joint-stock company is pretty representative of capitalism. If anyone hates socialism to the point of rejecting everything even remotely tinged with it, public libraries will have to be at the top of the list of evil things. Will the tea party and its allies next urge the burning of library cards?

J.B. Post, Paoli

Akin's brain reflexively shut down

I was not aware that the female reproductive system knew when a rape was occuring and could shut itself down so a pregnancy does not occur. Apparently, Rep. Todd Akin's brain knows to shut down when his mouth is engaged.

Marge Casey, Philadelphia

Finally, some bipartisanship

Finally, after years of contentious partisan bickering that has polarized government and rendered it totally ineffective, Democrats and Republicans have found something they can agree on - condemning the moronic "legitimate rape" remark by Rep. Todd Akin.

Why? Because there was no other side to take. Both parties nauseate me.

Stephen R. Schwartz, Medford, thegr8rgood@aol.com

Campaign season lasts too long

It is about time, by constitutional amendment, if necessary, to limit the amount of time devoted to campaigning for president of the United States. It is axiomatic that a politician's first job is to be reelected, so, in effect, every action of a president or governor has political overtones. Thus, he is constantly campaigning.

The amount of money spent in our present system is obscene, and the time away from official duties is scandalous. The public is the loser. It makes more sense to have an official campaign season of perhaps 60 days. Thanks to our electronic media, it should not take longer than that to get a message to the electorate.

Mud-slinging, character assassination, and libel have, unfortunately, been part of the process since Jefferson ran against Adams. One would think after a couple hundred years, we would have a better system. Presidential campaigning today is comparable to my asking my employer for six months off with pay, so I can have time to look for another job.

Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington, ralphdbloch@yahoo.com

On voter ID, consider the source

Several points need to be made concering Hans A. von Spakovsky's eloquent defense of Pennsylvania's new voter-ID law ("Voter-ID objections miss the real need," Sunday).

First, while the writer's Heritage Foundation affiliation is noted, that think tank may not be known to all your readers. Heritage's core mission, according to its Web page, is "to formulate and promote conservative public policies," and conservative generally means Republican, which generally means in favor of voter ID. Once we know von Spakovsky's employer, his opinion is predictable.

Second, as his examples of alleged voter fraud go back as far as the 1970s, what is the rush to enact voter ID now? Why not wait until after the Nov. 6 presidential election to provide ample time for everyone to acquire the necessary ID? The answer, of course, was provided by state House Republican Leader Mike Turzai, who said voter ID "is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."

Tom Frangicetto, Langhorne

Pros could have forced action sooner

So the boys in the vaunted (in their own minds) Augusta National Golf Club have deigned to finally admit two women to their exclusive boys-only lair. One black woman, one white woman - talk about tokenism. While some may see this as a win for women in 2012, it is hardly that.

It really would have been impressive had the famous golfers who rake in money and prestige at the club manned up decades ago and boycotted Augusta National until the club stopped discriminating against their mothers, sisters, and wives.

S. Reid Warren III, Elverson, Pa., srwjmw@dejazzd.com

Cutting welfare funds a mistake

The admission by a Department of Public Welfare spokesman that "I have never heard of" Philadelphia's recovery houses is a direct result of the Corbett administration's unwillingness to include citizen input in the budgeting process ("Loss of Pennsylvania aid worries drug-recovery homes, and their neighbors," Monday).

County executives, legislators, editorial boards (including The Inquirer's), advocates, and other citizens have tried to tell administration officials that the general assistance program - costing a mere $150 million out of a more than $27 billion budget - was a cost-effective tool for leveraging state money to save millions while successfully giving people the temporary means to get their lives back on track.

Eliminating general assistance is a lose/lose proposition based solely on the fact that it was "one of the few line items that the state has the power to cut," without regard to how much such a cut actually costs in dollars and lives.

Tax-paying citizens must demand that Harrisburg listen to them before the counties once again are forced to raise our taxes to pay for the increased public costs and human suffering caused by Harrisburg's uninformed, shortsighted, and cruel budgeting process.

Debbie F. Plotnick, Director of Advocacy, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Climate change can't be about politics

It is very difficult, if not virtually impossible, to change a person's political perspective once it is ingrained in his or her psyche. However, we must not let politics skew perceptions when discussing climate change. Virtually all climatologists with no political axes to grind are reaching startling and foreboding conclusions about mankind's future. If folks worldwide do not alter the way they consume energy, catastrophic consequences cannot be avoided.

No longer should we debate the existence of global warming or its causes. Developed and developing nations, burning oil and coal wantonly, are changing the world's climate in a potentially disastrous way. No doubt, coral reefs are dying; shellfish shells are thinning; droughts, floods, and severe weather conditions are becoming commonplace; ice caps are melting as temperatures are rising. All these events are correlated with the burning of fossil fuels. The empirical evidence is abundant and clear.

Economic priorities and systems matter little when resources are scant, and when our globe begins to morph into a burning ember, much like a bit of residue left in a coal furnace. Once accelerating inhospitable climate change reaches a point of no return (hopefully it hasn't already), when "drill, baby, drill" leads to "burn, baby, burn," we're all cooked.

Lawrence Uniglicht, Galloway, N.J., lrunig@gmail.com

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