To the Editor:

Give me a fish, I eat for a day, teach me to fish, I eat for a lifetime, a familiar saying at the heart of a debate that has existed since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Two philosophies: One side, side D, believes that humans are malleable and not confined by inherent human failings. For example, if you take enough of other people’s money and give it to those that need to eat, you have solved the problem, i.e. forced benevolence.

The other side, side R, believes that people should be free to make and create on their own food and wealth, unhindered by bureaucratic force. This side believes that man’s inherent failings are unchanging, that their inclination toward selfishness compels him or her to want to act charitably on their own, to either improve their environment or to act benevolently for personal spiritual growth.

Both sides wish to end poverty. It is a conflict of visions that internationally acclaimed economist Thomas Sowell articulated in his book of the same name. Tuolumne County currently has an estimated homeless population of around 2,000 people. Some are mentally ill, some single parents, some with criminal records all do not have a place to go, begging the question, which vision is the correct response to address the problem?

One thing the local paper can do to help the homeless population resolve its crisis is to not only expose its readership to option D and the demonization of people like president Trump who are for side R. Professional fiduciary duty requires that both sides of every option be presented, whether you are a brain surgeon, a bridge builder or a judge. Everyone has the right to know both sides of the story so that a complete and thorough answer can be found.

Suzanne Cruz


Russian naval officer

To the Editor:

Notwithstanding the claims of many world religions, one could make the case that the savior of the world is Vasili Arkhipov. Who is he? Born on January 30, 1926, he was a Russian naval officer. During the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 he was on a submarine in the Caribbean. The captain, thinking, probably correctly, that “quarantine,” the official US policy, was the same as “blockade,” which was an act of war, wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo. The political officer agreed. But launch required Arkhipov’s assent for the required unanimity. He said, “Nyet.” The torpedo was not launched . . . the likely nuclear exchange was averted . . . and the world was saved.

What is the purpose of the military? Someone said that if war breaks out, the military has already failed. I believe that the proper use of military power is for deterrence, to be used to promote peace, not to terrorize or destroy a country and its people in order to force one nation’s will upon another.

And what is a military hero? Well, Arkhipov gets my vote. And at this time we had better hope that there are a lot of soldiers like him, both in America and in Russia and in every military in the world. Our salvation might just depend on it.

And hopefully our political leaders will not allow us to get to the point where we have to rely on a wise, caring and humanitarian military leader to save us as Vasili Arkhipov did.

Phil Nichols


Civil rights

To the Editor:

In a letter on April 15, a writer asserts that “Civil rights are guaranteed under the Constitution … and you must understand that every time a person or group of persons receives more rights, someone or some other group has some rights taken away.”

I am an attorney who has handled civil rights cases for over 50 years, and I do not understand at all that when some persons attain full civil rights then someone else has any of their civil rights taken away or diminished. To give some examples, when African Americans or Latino Americans gain the equal voting rights guaranteed by the Constitution, no one else has their right to vote taken away. Similarly, when the Supreme Court held that the Constitution guaranteed gays and lesbians the fundamental civil right to marry, no one else had their right to marry taken away or weakened in any way.

In short, when the civil rights laws are fully enforced no one “receives more rights,” to use Mr. Wilson’s words, in the sense that any one else must give up their own rights. The purpose of the civil rights statutes is not to divide up a limited supply of rights, but rather to ensure that the Constitution’s promises of freedom and equality are realities for everyone.

If all of us respected the dignity and worth of all of our fellow human beings, we would not need civil rights statutes or even the Constitution. Unfortunately, there are those who believe that they are entitled to a privileged status because of their race and/or gender. Until they understand that they have no right to deny civil rights to others in order to protect their own privileges, we all will need the protection of the Constitution and the civil rights laws.

Steve Ralston

Mi-Wuk Village