News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

January 6, 2014

Readers’ Forum: Jan. 7, 2014

TERRE HAUTE — Determining role of government

A conflicting understanding of our government’s purpose and functions is facing America. What is the proper core function of our American government?

If Americans want a government to provide for them from the cradle to the grave, then all Americans will have to accept what the government deems necessary for them in all aspects of their lives. If Americans want individual freedoms and liberties, then the core function of government will be completely different from that of a government that determines and provides for everyone’s needs. The two are not compatible.

Where is the line to be drawn? Where is the line to be made that our government cannot cross? Our political representatives at all levels of government have conflicting views of the government’s role in our lives. Some want to control our lives more, some want to control our lives less. Even the courts have different views of our government’s functions and powers.  Dissenting views of jurists show that.

So, are voting Americans to shop around to choose and patronize today whatever government sounds the best from a political speech? Is that the basis of government? Is that how our government’s purpose and functions are determined? Or is good government merely based on our wishing for leaders with good intentions, but hoping that whatever our political representatives decide benefits “me” more than it benefits “my neighbor”? Is this what we want from government? What kind of government do we want?

One view allows our government to do, even by whim, whatever it chooses. The other does not. The short-term and long-term consequences for the American people will be a direct result of the choices made.

— Charles Bean

Terre Haute

It’s not easy to attract the ‘best’

The following comments are offered in response to a letter from Denny Smith, published in this space in this newspaper on Dec. 29.

In this letter, Mr. Smith poses several questions, two of which I believe that I am well-positioned to answer, so here goes.

At the close of his third paragraph, Mr. Smith writes: “Just who could it be who might not be willing to come to ISU if the ban passes?” Well, Mr. Smith, having served on ISU search committees in the past to select and recommend new faculty/professional staff hires, I can answer your question in the following manner.

A search committee, having posted for an open ISU position, begins by reviewing received applications. Such committees look for people who are highly knowledgeable in their field, having not only taught, but also published in scholarly journals, and who, by advanced study and experience, have added, in some manner and degree, to the basic body of knowledge in their field.

But that’s not all. We also look for folks who will participate in and contribute to the ongoing social and intellectual life of both the institution, the immediate surrounding community and its hinterlands.

Sad to say, Mr. Smith, it is partially because of published opinions such as yours that attracting “the best and the brightest” to come to work at this institution, and, especially, to live in this community, is increasingly difficult.

Consider the following, Mr. Smith: It was only two years ago that Forbes magazine listed Terre Haute and its surrounding hinterlands, out of 200-plus similarly sized areas, as the second worst city in America (exceeded only by a place named Anniston, Ala.), to do business. Every citizen has, or should have, a role in seeking to advance the area. How, Mr. Smith, have you contributed to making this overall community a better and more desirable place for newcomers?

I hope that the above not only answers your first question but gives you some food for thought.

Your second question, Mr. Smith, while not written in the form of a question, is nonetheless just that: a question. You wrote, “I do have serious doubt about my ISU education.” Well, Mr. Smith, having read your letter and trusting that it is an accurate reflection of your overall worldview, so do I.

Perhaps, Mr. Smith, in selecting ISU for your education, when possibly all you really wanted was a technical training institute, you made a serious error. Since you have such “serious doubts” about your ISU education, you could consider asking ISU to rescind your degree.

ISU may or may not comply with your request, but either way, don’t expect a refund.

— Earle L. Harvey

Terre Haute

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