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Mailbag

Issue: "Star makers, heartbreakers," Sept. 2, 2000

Thrilled

I was thrilled that George W. Bush selected Dick Cheney as his running mate. He is a class act. - Jim Urish, Lander, Wyo.

Less than thrilled

Misspelling the Republican vice-presidential candidate's name is not the only thing you got wrong this election year. I don't believe that the Bush/Cheney ticket is conservative, compassionate or not. - Mrs. Michael Thompson, Trinity, Ala.

Efficiency vs. values

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Regarding "Today's Great Escape" (Aug. 5), I happen to work for a government agency, but I also support limited government. You acknowledge that American people expect government to do what ordinary people should do but don't discuss why, in your example, 51 different agencies and private groups must approve a project to turn a back alley into a park. It would be more efficient for a single agency to have the power to do that with a snap of the fingers, but that would be too high a concentration of power in a culture that distrusts government. And when Americans disagree with a decision, they are among the first to suggest checks and balances, due process, public input, etc.-i.e., "red tape." American conservatives should decide whether they support small governmental units that make concerted action difficult but preserve tradition and homegrown values, or large, centralized operations (like the business paradigm so beloved by conservatives) that can be more efficient. Either can operate as "limited" government, but they are opposed to each other. - Ralph Gillman, Burke, Va.

Profound

I have just finished reading Andree Seu's "Declaring independence" (Aug. 5) for the third time, out loud, to myself. Hers is some of the most beautifully crafted, profoundly thoughtful writing I have ever read. - Layton Talbert, Travelers Rest, S.C.

Unworthy

The gratuitous description of those who oppose the economic embargo against Cuba as "lapdogs" for Fidel Castro is unworthy of WORLD's own standards of journalism and biblical courtesy ("Doing business with a dictator," Aug. 5). The analysis ignores the fact that many reasonable people believe, with solid evidence, that neither the Cuban nor other embargoes (such as that against Iraq) are effective foreign policy tools, and that America's continued trade with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was instrumental in the re-birth of political freedom in those regions. - Chip Watkins, Arlington, Va.

Not for an instant

Joel Belz's editorial on the size of the federal government and the loss of states' and individual rights was well thought out, but I am appalled by his friend's comment that it "would have been worth it" to wait for a peaceful end to slavery to protect the Constitution ("How big is too big?" Aug. 5). To tolerate slavery, even for an instant, is unacceptable. - Al Philips, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Largest vote last

I am generally in favor of the "new" way that we choose presidential candidates, rather than allowing the party bosses to decide who will be the candidate ("Death of the parties?" July 29). But I agree that the "front-loaded" approach allows too much influence to just a few states. The "tiered" approach, holding the primaries in the largest states last, would give the states with the most electoral votes the greatest influence at the end of the primary season. It would also force candidates to campaign hard even in states with few electoral votes so they develop momentum for the larger ones. - Craig L. Shoemaker, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Libertarianism gone amok?

I find it outrageous that Cal Thomas considers that the government has "intruded on individual choice" in a Florida court's decision to award punitive damages to people that the tobacco industry has harmed ("Stubbing out freedom," Aug. 5). That is not conservatism but libertarianism gone amok. The industry maximized profits by adding substances to make tobacco still more addictive while trying to cover up its dangers. In acting against the tobacco industry, the government is fulfilling its God-given responsibility to protect its citizens. - Charles McCordic, Pleasant Hill, Tenn.

Some guy named George

As a Canadian who very much enjoys your magazine, I was shocked by your endorsement of The Patriot ("Finally, a conservative movie," July 22). The portrayal of a loyalist colonial as a church-burning toddy angered me greatly, along with the other hyperbolic misrepresentations of British troops. For example, according to the Toronto Star, Upper Canada's (Ontario's) first lieutenant-governor, John Grave Simcoe, at the battle of Brandywine during the Revolutionary War, ordered his troops not to shoot three fleeing American officers in the back-one of them some guy named George Washington. Also, the movie neglected the fact that many loyalists were robbed or beaten before escaping over the Canadian border. Here's hoping your movie reviews are not blinded by your patriotism the next time around. - Michael Nicholson, Toronto, Ontario

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