Both conservatives and liberals are compassionate people. They have a fundamental difference of opinion on how to express that compassion to the community. The governor’s charitable giving ($1,000 on more than $300,000 income) is an honest expression of that difference (“Dayton ashamed of the drop in his charitable giving,” Nov. 14). Liberals feel that compassion should be expressed by the government and that it is the primary entity that can and should provide relief.

Conservatives are the opposite. They believe people should provide assistance and compassion to others through religious organizations and many other fine nonprofit organizations when needed. Give people a chance to provide for themselves through hard work, and the rest falls into place.

The other day, my 18-year-old son said to me: “When your generation [last of the baby boomers] grew up, you knew you had to work hard or end up without anything to eat or a place to live, but today people know the government will provide for them, so they don’t spend the time investing in being self-sufficient and are satisfied with not having many things or a nice place to live.” This is a fascinating statement.

So, Governor, don’t feel bad. I suspect you can tell most liberals from conservatives by looking at their tax returns.

BRIAN D. LONG, Rush City, Minn.