Few expect more
Cal Thomas’ article, “With a growing federal deficit, a plan for debt relief” (Oct. 27 Eagle), makes an argument that we all think the government owes us. The problem with that argument is that it conflates three different ideas which used to be taken separately.
The first is the idea that at one point our society agreed to support the “social contract,” giving up some individual control to a government better able to provide social security, Medicare, etc., than we could do as individuals or as states.
The second, lately used to embody a political slur, is that these programs be called “entitlements,” implying “wrongly earned or undeserved.”
The third, the attitude of real entitlement, embodied by some millennials and younger people, who are removed from ideas of sharing and sacrifice developed in the pre-WWII years. These younger people, aided by parents whose main goal was to make it easier for their children than they themselves had, have enabled a divide between what has been earned and what has been given with no earning needed.
The conflation of these ideas has enabled Mr. Thomas to argue that “too many Americans have an entitlement mentality, the notion that government somehow owes them something.” I would argue that relatively few people expect more of their government than those people earned, and what they are getting does not support the social contract. Examples abound—veterans, school children, the disabled, etc. Let’s separate these ideas, get rid of the political slur, and deal openly with the other two.
Cathie Hay, Wichita
Reject all political violence
Steve Scalise recently said that Democrats must renounce political violence. Rand Paul warned of heightened assassination peril due to calls from the left to confront conservatives after the Kavanaugh confirmation. It was all really hilarious to the liberal media until explosive devices were mailed to George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo, Maxine Waters, Eric Holder, CNN and others. Apparently, now it’s no longer funny.
Hopefully this will provide a wake-up call to those who smirked when Sarah Huckabee and Ted Cruz were belligerently forced out of restaurants. Hear that Saturday Night Live, there’s nothing important enough in political differences to drop to this level. Everybody in DC should recognize the slippery slope they’ve created and step back from the edge of insanity. The next stop is a full-blown banana republic.
Michael Mackay, Mulvane
Free speech isn’t license
The article by Erwin Chemerinsky (“Hate Speech Is infecting America,” Nov. 1 Eagle) was thought provoking but lacked two important elements between his two extremes of upholding the First Amendment right to free speech or creating laws that would punish any speakers a group doesn’t like. These two elements were invoked by the Supreme Court and go hand-in-hand. They are common sense and the risk of harm to others. The Supreme Court long ago restricted free speech in the example that “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.” Common sense dictates that would very likely lead to harm to persons that act was intended against. This is a guideline that has stood the test of time.
We are fortunate to live in a country where we are not automatically arrested or persecuted for speaking our minds. But it’s also our minds, along with our conscience, that tell us words can lead to irresponsible and potentially deadly consequences. It’s time that all who want to share in the privilege of our freedoms start using those freedoms in a sensible and responsible manner that build rather than destroy what our Founding Fathers fought so hard to create.
Stephen W. Lincoln, Wichita