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Ideal ChildhoodsEditor: I have heard the well-intentioned...


Ideal Childhoods

Editor: I have heard the well-intentioned argument against gay adoption presented by Leticia Lyford-Pike (letter, Dec. 21) before. But it is based on the false assumption that life circumstances may be controlled to make an idyllic childhood possible.

Children, the argument goes, should be protected from something that prevents their being "like their friends." Of course, "two mothers and no father" is only one such scenario.

What of a family poorer than those of a child's peers? (Never mind countless American success stories which include childhood poverty as a starting point, spurring the determination to triumph over adversity.)

What of a family that moves frequently, uprooting the child and challenging her to make new friends? What of single parents? From personal experience, what of immigrant parents (when the culture at home differs dramatically from the American standards of friends); and again from personal experience, what of older parents (mine were almost 40 when I was born; perhaps my mother would not have died when I was 16, adversely affecting my formative years?)

And what of potential parents who smoke, who are in less than perfect health, who are dramatically overweight?

All of these conditions and many others are likely to detract from an idyllic childhood, whether found in a natural or adoptive family.

So perhaps it would be far better to recognize the inevitable diversity in individual backgrounds and to teach children to respect these differences. Perhaps it would be far better to recognize the inevitable losses we each face and to teach children the value of a life that is less than idyllic.

Attempts at creating a soothing homogeneity in childhood is a way to raise intolerant, insecure adults. It will be they who "suffer unnecessary psychological problems" when eventually faced with the realization that there is only so much one can control and ensure in life.

Would it not be far better to focus on the potential of a parent to instill in a child self-respect, dignity and the skills needed to succeed in life?

There is no evidence that such characteristics are disproportionately abundant in the children of privileged, physically healthy, picture-book families. Certainly they are scarce in orphanages and the all-too-common successions of foster homes too many of our children must settle for.

Raimund J. Kirstein.


Real Idiots

Editor: Referring to Roger Simon that hunters on the whole are blundering near-sighted idiots, these idiots are doctors, lawyers, officials and decent hunters who respect the law.

The real idiots are the developers who rob the deer of their natural habitat and food supply. The population of deer in this state has reached an all-time high, and it's about time to harvest some of them to keep a healthy herd. Where I live it is not unusual to see a herd of 5 to 13 deer at a time. They are damaging my fruit crops. If the herd is not managed they will invade everyone's back yard.

Does he know where his lamb chops, burgers, steaks and turkeys come from? Does he know that over 750 deer are killed every day by automobiles in the United States, and hundreds die of their injuries?

I worked for the Department of Natural Resources for 16 years teaching hunter safety. Accidents will happen, such as a hunter who shot a man out of a tree stand some years back. Roger Simon should never go to the woods for fear that he might also kill a tree climbing deer. Simple Simon should get the facts first.

Joseph Bonarrigo.


Perfect Georgia

Editor: The Dec. 29 Perspective section printed Hal Piper's colorful and fascinating personal recollections of the embattled president of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, and his wife.

Mr. Piper may have betrayed his own rather subjective perspective, however, when he described Georgia as "small and remote." Remoteness, I have always felt, depends on where you are standing.

For centuries Georgia has been right at the center of the major European and Middle Eastern cultures, a major crossroads for traders, religions and peoples of all kinds, easily accessible by land and sea. Indeed, its rich cultural heritage derives from this very lack of remoteness.

As to being small, I presume Mr. Piper meant compared with Russia, next to which most countries would qualify as small. But with respect to its claim for recognition as an independent country, Georgia's population is bigger than that of fully half the members of the United Nations and substantially bigger than such countries as Denmark, Norway and Ireland. And Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, for example, is twice the size of Baltimore.

Perhaps more important, Georgia is a land of creative and experienced entrepreneurs looking for American partners.

Its size and location may be just perfect for it to become a valuable trading partner for Maryland business and industry interested in developing markets in this important region.

John Adams.


U.S. Making U.S.S.R.'s Mistakes

Editor: Regarding Scott Shane's article, "The Bankrupting of Utopia" (Dec. 29), I find it ironic that even as communism in Russia collapses, our own country continues to make the same ideological/economic mistakes the Soviet Union did, albeit on a smaller scale.

Over the past 40 years, the United States has transformed itself from a manufacturing to a service-oriented nation. This change ignores a basic economic axiom, the rejection of which brought Soviet communism to its knees: Namely, that production equals wealth. This axiom is the cornerstone of capitalism and free enterprise, which in turn is the only economic system compatible with the political rights we hold as Americans.

One may observe examples of our own peculiar brand of socialism almost every day.

We hear politicians proposing increased taxation for the rich, punishment, I suppose, for their damnable ability to make more money than the rest of us. Yet it is the rich whose entrepreneurial skills increase production and create jobs. Such a new tax law will, as it has in the past, reduce their incentive to produce and increase efforts at tax fraud, or both.

We complain of the overwhelming flood of Japanese products pouring into this country, yet few in industry care enough to produce quality products at reasonable prices, and in quantity, thereby edging out our foreign competition. Instead we seek protectionism and trade barriers, which will only encourage mediocre performance and raise prices for items that Americans obviously want to buy.

Union leaders in the United States deplore and condemn GM's decision to close plants and lay off workers, without understanding that they and the "I'm entitled to" attitude that they infect their workers with is a large part of GM's problem.

Many welfare dollars continue to go to people who are quite capable of working, and government, at the state and federal level, continues to support an immense bureaucracy with plenty of useless programs staffed by employees earning far higher salaries than their production warrants.

Those in this country who are productive cannot long support a system that consistently consumes more than it produces.

The Soviet Union was a closed society politically, and private enterprise was illegal. The United States is an open society where private enterprise, incentive and ambition represent the basis of our economic system. The differences between our two systems make it difficult to see the connection between our mistakes and theirs.

Nevertheless the problem is there: A continuously non-productive society will gradually sacrifice its wealth, and without wealth its economic, and eventually its political system will grind to a halt.

Charles H. Thornton.


Humdinger Year

Editor: The year 1992 is sure to be a humdinger. It is the quincentenary of the discovery of "the new world" by Cristoforo Colombo and a "presidential year."

With all the celebrations on behalf of old Cris and the antics of the aspirants to the highest office in the land, we shall be more than amply entertained. Perhaps all shenanigans will divert our thoughts from the dire condition of our nation's economy and the calamitious situation in Eastern Europe; for as H.L. Mencken once wrote, "there is no underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

J. Bernard Hihn.


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