Something’s Coming

To the editor:
A line-item veto directly interferes with the ability of Congress to negotiate legislation among the people’s representatives [“It’s Not Your Founding Fathers’ Republic Any More,” Summer 2014]. As ugly as legislative horse-trading can be, vetoing lines will just result in endless redrafts. Overruling the Court likewise makes law “what Congress says it is,” without recourse to the Constitution. Nor is there evidence that direct election of senators makes them less responsive to the needs of the states. Lastly, having committees renovate the Constitution—or even a constitutional convention—is really a bad idea.

Abu Nudnik

To the editor:
The Constitution, or any other man-made system, cannot create love of neighbor, and without that, all nations are doomed to failure. It does not matter what laws men write or what system they try to create to invent this utopia they seek. It’s all in vain because they do not love their neighbor.

There is no fixing this system. The USA was built on the same principles as the original Roman Republic, where the “people” created their own government, elected their senators, picked their emperor, and created their own laws. America will fall, just as Rome fell, because of its debauchery. We are reaping what we have sown.

Patrick Duffy
Austin, Texas

To the editor:
It has nothing to do with liberals or conservatives. It is the nature of government to take complete control of a nation and its people. Just look at the history of our world. It is all about the government taking our money and having power over us. Until such time that We the People unite as one nation, reduce the federal government by 50 percent, and restore power back to the states and local communities, this nation will fail. America is on her last lap unless we wake up.


Myron Magnet responds:
Even though I know how deeply the Obama presidency has depressed many Americans, I’m a lot less pessimistic than Paul and Mr. Duffy, especially since I well remember how the general despondency of the Carter years promptly gave way to morning in America, how the certainty that Japan would be the world’s Number One economic power evaporated like a wisp of smoke, and how the “hollowing out” of American industry so bemoaned by the press gave way to a tech boom that boosted the wealth, productivity, and quality of life of millions. America has a remarkable capacity to renew itself, and the point of my article was to suggest that the long movement away from the nation of free and self-reliant citizens that the Founding Fathers framed to the centralized, statist rule by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats that the Progressives sowed and that the New Deal brought to full bloom is no less reversible than any of the other malign and supposedly irresistible trends that we have reversed over the last 35 or so years.

To be sure, one can quibble with this or that suggestion about how to effect this reversal that the authors I cite in the article make, as “Abu Nudnik” does (and, as his nom de guerre suggests, likes to do). But the key point is that we need to rein in the out-of-control administrative state by shrinking it, bringing it under the control of the people’s elected representatives (whom term limits will prevent from becoming a perpetual caste of rulers), starving it of funds by adopting a flat tax or some other limitation on income redistribution and confiscation, ensuring that legislators (not courts) make the laws, and strengthening the strand of liberty and self-reliance in our culture (which our elites practice) rather than the strand of victimology and dependence (which our elites preach).

Too bad the people aren’t as quick to perceive their real interest as we are, George Washington sighed to the Marquis de Lafayette in 1780. “It is one of the evils of democratical governments that the people, not always seeing and frequently misled, must often feel before they can act right.” I see everywhere signs that the American people are beginning to feel that something has gone wrong with our republic, and I share Washington’s confidence that, eventually, they will act to put it right.

Testing on Trial

To the editor:
I strongly favor keeping standards high with the same admissions criteria that has skewed things in favor of poor, hardworking Asian scholars [“The Plot Against Merit,” Summer 2014]. As a barrio-raised Mexican-American who is familiar with California public schools, I know that many Latino and black students become academic cripples due to noxious school environments, peer pressure, family indifference, and other problems.

I feel proud that Asian kids from poor backgrounds can rise to high academic levels in America. Asian-American parents seem to have no time for excuses for failure. I love that. We need to study how these families manage to raise good kids even in bad environments.


To the editor:
In Baltimore, affluent high school students congregate at a local Starbucks, as they must do everywhere. I see them checking their text messages, listening to music, flirting, and whatever white teens like to do. One teenage boy sits in an armchair intently studying his chemistry text. Standing over him is his father, prodding him, criticizing him, correcting him. They are the only Asians at this particular store. While the average white kids text and have fun, the Asian teenage boy is intent on studying. Right before me is the reason why Asians are doing so much better than any other racial group.


To the editor:
I’m a 37-year-old Asian-American male who went to a specialized high school like Stuyvesant. So did many of my Asian friends. We were first-generation Americans. Our parents were immigrants; we were not rich and couldn’t afford to hire expensive tutors to help us prepare for the admissions exams. Heck, most of us were eating school lunches paid for by the government and living in Section 8 housing. But we went to school every day, studied every night, and did all our homework. We bought an admissions practice prep book or borrowed a copy from the library, and studied for the few weeks leading up to the test.

So the excuse for kids not getting in to Staten Island Tech, Stuyvesant, or Bronx Science because their families can’t afford to pay for test prep is a bunch of baloney. This might come as a surprise for many people: academics are not a passion for most Asians. We did well in school because we saw it as a responsibility, even at an early age. It was instilled in us by our parents, who took our schooling seriously. Asian parents don’t brag to one another about the type of cars they drive or where they went on vacation. They brag about their kids’ grades.

It starts with the parents—they are the secret to getting their children to do really well in school. Parents who want their kids to go to these schools need to be more proactive in their children’s education. But many will not do so . . . and therein lies the problem.

Ronald M. Lam


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