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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

College liberals stand opposed to true diversity

After reading Robert Maranto's column "For true diversity, include conservatives" (Opinion * Commentary, July 31), I can only add a heartfelt amen.

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It confirmed for me just how out-of-touch many liberal professors are with reality. As Mr. Maranto observes, unlike those of us in the business and professional world who must answer to clients, patients, and constituents, "professors can hold dumb ideas for decades with no accountability."

Indeed, attempts to call them on the carpet for inflammatory statements are often met with shrill cries of "academic freedom." The aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks is replete with examples of this.

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The conservative professors whom I have come across correctly believe most of the fundamental tenets of conservatism. They tend to believe that with rights come responsibilities. They believe that America, being the greatest nation on Earth, is worth fighting for.

They realize that the freedom they hold dear is a gift from God but that it had to be fought for and defended.

It is a travesty that professors audacious enough to hold "archaic" views such as these are objects of ridicule and scorn.

True diversity should include conservatives. Diversity should involve people who can respect differing viewpoints without sharing them.

But diversity, as liberals define it, means nothing more than different-looking people who all think identically.

John Crooks

Baltimore

Promoting agenda isn't professor's role

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I found Robert Maranto's column "For true diversity, include conservatives" (Opinion

Commentary, July 31) to be an exercise in fuzzy thinking, self-pity and intellectual road rage.

I recently retired from 30 years of teaching political science at the college level. One of the things I am most proud of is how few of my students knew my political beliefs. I kept them to myself and concentrated on the subject matter, placing students in situations where they could discover and shape their own political thinking.

My job was to educate students in the discipline, not be an ideological recruiter.

Republicans or Democrats who would use the classroom for their own political purposes are pushing academic freedom way beyond the right to discuss controversial issues. There is plenty of material to cover without turning the classroom into a partisan or ideological freak show.

Professor Maranto should spend less time fretting about the number of Democrats and Republicans in academic departments and lost opportunities to mentor ideological soulmates.

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He really needs to concentrate on teaching his students objectively and letting them make up their own minds.

Don Jansiewicz

Catonsville

Checks and balances for Revenue Authority

It seems that County Executive James T. Smith Jr. thinks he knows what is best with regard to the Revenue Authority of Baltimore County ("Nominee battle blurs Smith's vision for board," Aug. 3). He has a vision, but he has not told the citizens what that vision is.

I applaud the County Council members who are asking to uphold the tradition that one member of the Revenue Authority be appointed by the County Council.

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Good government processes should have checks and balances so that citizens are well-represented. The issue is not who is appointed but who is doing the appointing.

And I think the County Council should continue to have a place at the table of the Revenue Authority.

Meg O'Hare

Carney

The writer is president of the Carney Improvement Association.

Putting critical areas on life support?

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Shame on the Maryland Court of Appeals. What good is a "critical area" buffer if anyone can build in it whenever he or she wants ("Buffer site ruling has bay allies worried," Aug. 1)?

And shame on Edwin H. Lewis. If everyone follows his example, where will the wildlife this "avid hunter" hunts live?

Jeff Thorssell

Ocean Pines

Service cuts impose long-term costs

Mayor Martin O'Malley and President Bush, take note: Public services such as libraries and Amtrak don't need to be profitable to be good public investments.

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For instance, Mr. Bush's plan to shift responsibility for Amtrak to the states because it is not making money is short-sighted ("Laying track for future of rail," July 30).

The consequences of the death of Amtrak that will result from this policy far outweigh any short-term savings.

John G. Bailey

Edgemere

No wall separates church and state

The editorial pages of the past two Mondays have brought forth columns, by Myron Beckenstein ("Chipping away at church-state separation," Opinion

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Commentary, July 28) and Ellen Goodman ("Zealots deal the 'Catholic card' down and dirty," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 4), commenting on the wall of separation between church and state.

They suggest that it was articulated in the Constitution or had been established by some other means. I dusted off my copy of the Constitution, and the First Amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." I cannot find any reference to a wall of separation between church and state.

I don't believe the government should set up one particular church, nor do I believe the church should run the government.

But to put forth the notion that a person with a deep faith in Jesus Christ must divorce that faith to serve in a public office is not only absurd but dangerous.

Robert Balderson

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Reisterstown

Ehrlich family values inspire comfort, trust

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s marriage is the point ("Ehrlichs' marriage is beside the point," letters, Aug. 1).

Although a leader does not have to be married to be responsible, history has shown that many of our greatest leaders, especially our Founding Fathers, led moral, godly lives humbled by a strong sense of commitment to their families.

Mr. Ehrlich's solid commitment to his wife and son and Kendel Ehrlich's solid commitment to her husband and son comfort me and my family that we are finally in the hands of people we can trust.

Gary Gamber

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New Windsor

Heartwarming tale of family solidarity

I want to commend The Sun and writer Patricia Meisol for the heartwarming story about the Vinton family ("An Unexpected Journey," Aug. 4). The writer's account of one family's valor and grace under horrific circumstances brought tears to my eyes.

Surely, there could be no better manifestation anywhere of family love and solidarity than that expressed by all the Vintons. Equally impressive was the immediate and generous support of their neighbors, relatives and friends.

Mary Frances Johnson

Parkville


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