Unpublished Correspondence

"Democracy is on the march."

Some American elected officials extol the use of military power to spread democracy around the world. These pronouncements sometimes have a Biblical tone. Reminiscent of Old Testament prophesies or Jesus' apocalyptic teachings, the political statements suggest that democracy's spread will ultimately usher in a new era or worldwide peace. Dennis Byrne echoed this hope in his 4 July 2005 column in the Chicago Tribune asking rhetorically “When was the last time we were invaded by a free nation?”

I wonder if human aggressiveness, not a particular form of government, causes most wars. Republican government, while checking some of this aggressiveness, does not do away with it. Click here for our correspondence.

Helicopter Parenting

Julie Lythcotte-Haims, Dean of freshmen and transfer students at Stanford University, wrote in the Chicago Tribune's 16 October 2005 Perspective section that parents are increasingly finding it difficult to let their college-age children fend for themselves. They constantly intervene to badger professors and administrators with questions and demands. She unflatteringly dubbed them "helicopter parents."

The Tribune published my response to her column in which I stated that many parental questions likely arose from the fact that, next to buying a house, purchasing a child's college education was likely to be most parents' biggest lifetime purchase. Parents ought to know what they're getting for their money.

My letter evoked a response from a Northwestern faculty member, who dismissed me as yet another helicopter parent who tried to undermine a university's meritocracy and who was insensitive to the academic pursuit of truth. MYOB was his message to parents.

In an unpublished follow-up letter, I suggested that true helicopter parents were probably rare. Moreover, I found "helicopter professors" in some university study-abroad programs. Click here for the exchange.

Rescuing or Changing the GOP?

Columnist Clarence Page suggested that the GOP has strayed from its roots as the "Party of Lincoln." African-Americans used to overwhelmingly vote Republican and Mr. Page cites the lack of African-American voters' support today as proof of the GOP's wayward direction. I suggest that the GOP's reluctance to view poverty and healthcare as problems needing government intervention explains more the desertion by many African-Americans, who in leaving have chosen the "Party of FDR" over the "Party of Lincoln." Click here for the letter.

To whom was the movie United 93 dedicated?

George Clark expresses dismay to a Louisville-Courier journalist that the makers of the film, United 93, dedicated it to all those who lost their lives. Click here for his statement.

The FDA's reluctance to oversee drug imports

Raucus left-wing protest groups aren't the only ones opposed to greater free trade and globalization. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry, especially after its use of trademarks to block imports was struck down by the courts, is feverishly working to prevent the reimportation of cheaper drugs.

The U.S. drug industry supports free trade if it means outsourcing U.S. jobs abroad, but opposes free trade if it leads to greater domestic price competition. In a letter to the Chicago Tribune I question the truth of the FDA's assertion that it can't oversee drug imports. Click here for the letter.