Stephen B. Young's commentary on the "New Left" was an interesting take on the divisiveness of the body politic, but he ignored that the demand for entitlements cuts across the "social Darwinism/nanny state" divide ("The origin and evolution of the 'New Left,' July 29).
Consider that many corporate boards feel they are entitled to their large salaries, stock grants and other perks that they grant themselves. How dare shareholders want a say in these entitlements?
Consider that many corporations depend on an extensive highway system, but they feel it is an imposition to expect them to pay taxes for these highways.
Consider that many corporations are constantly seeking "qualified" employees, but they feel that others should train these employees, including through taxes that the corporations should not be required to pay.
Consider that many corporations actively seek government contracts at the same time they support an organization that claims government has gotten too big.
Consider that many corporations complain bitterly about loans and subsidies to their competitors but actively seek the same for themselves. What is missing is a meaningful debate about governance.
MELVYN D. MAGREE, DULUTH
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Thanks for running Young's commentary, in which he says, "We have now lost the comprehensive vision of our founders, and no one has yet appeared who can save us from our self-indulgent divisiveness."
America experiences division in part because it fails to observe other divisions that matter:
• The difference between long-term self-interest and short-term selfishness.
• The difference between needs and wants.
• The difference between humble self-acceptance and cocky self-esteem.
• The difference between the creation of jobs and the production of assets.
Failure to make such distinctions fuels self-indulgence to the detriment of our future.
SAM CRABTREE, MINNEAPOLIS
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As one who has known Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for more than 30 years, I almost laughed when I read Katherine Kersten's recent screed about him and the proposed legislation regarding voting regulations ("Mark Ritchie is a disgrace to his office," July 29).
Ritchie is without question one of the most ethical people I have ever known. When Kersten describes one of his actions as "pulling a stunt," it's just too much. She complains that West Coast "elites" support his campaign. What about the Tea Party's contributions to various campaigns against progressive candidates all over the country?
POLLY MANN, MINNEAPOLIS
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I agree with Kersten. The title of the ballot amending the Minnesota Constitution should be clear and correct. I suggest, "Should the Constitution of the state of Minnesota be amended to make it more difficult for Democrats to vote?"
DAVID M. PERLMAN, NEW HOPE
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Kersten's column was not only over the top, it also reflected a deep distrust of dissent in our political discussion. We should remember that the protection of dissent and minority rights is at the heart of our democracy. The voter ID amendment was born as a totally partisan national proposal that failed to achieve any bipartisan support in the Minnesota Legislature.
The reason is simple: It eliminates same-day registration, severely amends absentee voting (including for soldiers fighting overseas), and creates a complicated and costly provisional ballot system. None of these ingredients were mentioned in the title given to this amendment by the partisans in the Legislature, yet Kersten loudly defends this omission. What nonsense. The public is entitled to full transparency.
ARNE H. CARLSON, PLYMOUTH
The writer was governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999.