Our political discussions would be helped considerably if participants would read relevant documents with care and use words in accord with their proper meanings.
May I note two recent letters to support that statement?
The writer of the Jan. 15 letter “Why America didn’t change,” arguing for the right to own guns, cites “the actual Second Amendment” and argues from the meaning of the word “militia” there.
The phrase used in the actual Second Amendment is, “A well regulated Militia.” A collection of otherwise unspecified citizens owning guns would not necessarily be well regulated.
At the very least, a requirement of background checks for all gun sales without exception to try to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those with serious mental problems would be consistent with the language of the amendment.
Such a requirement is in any case only common sense, and gun rights advocates have presented no plausible reason to oppose it.
In the Jan. 15 letter “Danger of creeping socialism,” the writer says, “Our form of socialism attempts to distribute wealth by using government regulation and taxation.”
The first definition of “socialism” given by Merriam-Webster is “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or government ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”
A condition of society in which such a theory is put into practice is the essence of the second meaning.
Whatever one thinks of the policies the writer addresses, it is clear that they are not socialism, even with the verbal trick of calling them “our form of socialism.”
Of course, some commentators and politicians have taken to calling anyone to the left of Ayn Rand a socialist, but it’s exactly that kind of misuse of language that we need to eliminate.
George L. Murphy
Confronting our way of death
From a reading of the obituaries, it’s evident that the majority of those who compose them are convinced that their dearly departed are on the fast track to Heaven.
How is it, then, that so often those left behind attempted everything possible, including appalling torture (outlined by Dr. David Baker’s thoughtful Jan. 17 commentary “Let’s start talking about the end of life”) to delay the passage of their loved ones to the presence of God?
Is it written somewhere that the more we suffer here the likelier are our chances of entering the realms of everlasting peace? If we believe this, perhaps it will give us some measure of comfort when we are faced with our own, probably uncomfortable, deaths — and a reason for allowing the dying to suffer long and needlessly.
But when that time comes for those who perpetrate harsh and cruel delaying tactics on the ones they profess to love, do they imagine that they will be forgiven their acts of selfish cruelty? Faith, often so strong in the professing, can become a flimsy thing as we struggle to avoid the inevitable.
Justice in suffering
Is there a reason why a murderer not suffer during his execution? Did his victim not suffer?
Y. Grace Porter