Free market

To the Editor:

To tag along with a previous letter Hoarding Hunters, yes, there were hoarding hunters in primitive societies. They kept the meat they hunted and didn’t share. Soon they died out. The wise hunters learned to trade their meat with others for things they needed. Soon their standard of living increased along with the other tribes with whom they traded. This was the start of the Free Market.

What most of us never learned was that the original contract the Pilgrims brokered with their London sponsors required that everything the Pilgrims produced was to go into a common store, and every member was to be allotted one equal share. This is what we now call collectivism or socialism.

It was a disaster. In the two winters beginning in 1621 and 1622, many died from starvation, pneumonia, or both. These idealistic people had no reason to put in any extra effort without the motivation of personal incentives to do so.

Wisely, in 1623, the governor abruptly abandoned the practice of collectivism. Instead, he assigned a plot of land to each family, permitting them to keep everything they grew or made and to market anything they didn’t consume themselves. He actually created a free market system.

The Pilgrims soon had more food than they could eat or trade among themselves. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Native Americans. They paid off their debts to their London sponsors and soon attracted a great European migration.

When it comes to bettering the life of the common man, free markets and capitalism work — the alternatives don’t. Communism collapsed in Russia. Socialism has Venezuela in ruins and the contrast between North and South Korea is a perfect example of free market prosperity vs. socialistic poverty.

JB Dugan


Out There column is a winner

To the Editor:

Just wanted to send compliments and gratitude for the Out There column by Guy McCarthy.

He writes so well – one can almost feel and see where he is through his descriptions of hikes, landscape, rivers and streams. I enjoy his reports of his outings – even though I am not able to take him up on the idea of hiking with him.

Especially of note is his ability to express his concern for our beautiful county – and country – without haranguing or exhorting readers to certain actions.

Thank you, UD, for adding Guy to our paper.

By the way, I have been gratified to see a few more conservative Letters to the Editor – even if the cartoons are mostly pretty one sided in the other direction (in my humble opinion).

I include our wonderful country in my prayers – and hope God has better plans for us than what seems to be going on now.

Thanks for keeping our little hometown paper coming out to us five days a week.

Paula Johansen


Odd Fellows have history of charity

To the Editor,

I write on behalf of the Sonora Odd Fellows, which was referenced solely for its cemetery in the Union Democrat’s 2017-18 Know It All. This troubles us since the Sonora Odd Fellows is among the oldest service organizations in the county (established in 1853), we are alive and well, and in the process of revitalizing our organization and growing its membership.

There was a time the Sonora Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) were in danger of closure, but a small group of dedicated members refused to see the historic lodge hall sold, its history forgotten. The Sonora Odd Fellows helped countless people for over 164 years, members have been mayors, outstanding citizens, helped build now historic buildings such as the Red Church. We hope to further influence our community, thus more recognition to our fraternal organization is due.

The Odd Fellows believe that communities should take care of each other, and established the order to educate our foster youth, take care of the sick, assist the elderly, and bury the dead, as no federal or state programs existed to provide these services.

Today Sonora IOOF raises funds to provide scholarships and services for our county’s youth and elderly, and to provide for the maintenance and preservation of our historic non-endowment cemetery.

We recently created the Sonora Odd Fellows Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, for the purpose of furthering our work and receiving tax-deductible donations.

We have two major events in the near future: a Living History Tour at our historic cemetery on Sept. 16 with tours at 5, 6, and 7 p.m., and a Burns Supper on Jan. 27, 2018, at the Hurst Ranch Barn. Details for both events can be found on our website at:

As the youngest Noble Grand in the Sonora IOOF’s history, I can speak to its renaissance and its values of camaraderie, chivalry, and citizenship renewing interest in the community. We sincerely hope the Union Democrat’s readers will support our charitable work by attending our events, and/or making a donation, or best yet, becoming a part of history by joining us.

Kurt Bryant

Noble Grand

Sonora IOOF

Look at what the founders actually said

To the Editor:

A letter published on Aug. 18 stated that the constitution doesn’t mention “separation of church and state” but that “the ACLU, atheists, liberal judges, etc.” insist that the constitution requires separation of church and state.

Actually it was President Thomas Jefferson who insisted that this was the meaning and intent of the First Amendment. In an address to the Danbury Baptist Convention in 1802 he said: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” (Emphasis mine.)

Since Jefferson and James Madison were the architects of religious freedom in America, the Supreme Court looked to their statements as to the meaning of the First Amendment as authoritative and quoted and adopted Jefferson’s words. Chief Justice Rehnquist did not suggest that the principle of separation of church and state should be abandoned, but only objected to the metaphor of “a wall of separation” since, in his view, it was not useful in deciding whether a particular practice violated the First Amendment.

The argument that the constitution does not require the separation of church and state is a favorite of right-wing so-called evangelicals who also argue that the United States is a Christian nation. When evaluating such arguments we need to look to original sources to see what the founders actually said and intended.

Steve Ralston

Mi Wuk Village