Looking the Other Way on Abortion
Jay Nordlinger’s article “No More Baby” (September 26) concludes that we are a “deeply hypocritical society” because we won’t admit that killing a newborn baby is not much different from killing a pre-born baby by abortion. I agree with this conclusion, but I believe the hypocrisy goes much deeper. Nordlinger asks whether Emile Weaver, who was given a life sentence for killing her newborn baby, is “worse — all that much worse — than her counterparts who dispose of their babies earlier and more neatly.” But by focusing on this question, we avoid other questions that are even more difficult to face: Are these women “all that much worse” than people who support politicians who take pro-abortion positions only because they calculate it will further their career? As their supporters include friends, relatives, members of religious communities, and possibly someone sitting next to us at dinner, isn’t it more convenient for us to place the blame elsewhere? And is what these supporters do “all that much worse” than our choice of easy targets in our determination of where blame is placed?
Merit-Based Education Reform
Rarely do we hear intelligent solutions to the problem of America’s failing educational system — even from reformers, who get caught up in the “golden goose” approach of alighting on a single issue. Frederick M. Hess’s “Ten Priorities for Education Policy” (October 24), however, is a practical and rational approach to the entire issue. While teaching in one of the school systems Hess mentioned — Baltimore’s — I had the pleasure of working with fine teachers (and some not-so-fine), but I left, like many others, because of the shortcomings to which Hess intelligently proposes solutions.
Most insightful of all, Hess suggests to “permit for-profit educators to compete on their merits.” This was the marrow of education — of all true learning — from the appearance of the human race on the planet until the late 1800s, when schooling became mandatory. Merit-based, “boutique” education was, on the whole, vastly more effective, cost-efficient, and entertaining to students and teachers alike. I would add to this homeschooling and “unschooling,” which have recently proven to be extremely effective means of education. These small centers of true learning should receive the benefit of tax breaks, freedom from governmental meddling, and a general approbation from the vox populi — for their efficiency, and for their great virtue of relieving an overstressed system and an overtaxed people.
John C. Young
In “Russia’s Bloody Tsar” (August 15), David Satter wrote that in May 2007, when he testified before the House Foreign Relations Committee about the 1999 Russian apartment bombings, he was the only person publicly accusing the Russian government of involvement who had not been killed. He mentioned Alexander Litvinenko, the author of Blowing Up Russia, as one of the victims but did not note that Mr. Litvinenko’s co-author, Yuri Felshtinsky is, we are pleased to say, alive and very well.
“Unsullied” (Ross Douthat, October 10) mistakenly identified the flight that Captain Sullenberger famously piloted as United 1549. It was, in fact, US Airways 1549.