Happiness has no price tag: Some people say that we were stupid for giving back $640,000 ["The $640,000 Question," July 16]. Some say that we could have traveled the world, gone on shopping sprees, and enjoyed the good life. Some even say that we could have been better off than we are now if we had kept it, but I beg to differ. Nothing could be better than the way things are now. When we gave back that $640,000, it was the best thing we had ever done, and no matter what people say, we are not bitter, now that it's gone and we're broke.
When I read the article, I became angry, because it didn't reflect in any sense who we really are. The article's main purpose was to make us look like stupid poor folks who will always be stupid and poor, and never have the finer things in life. It stated that we ate spaghetti three days in a row. First of all, we didn't have spaghetti that week at all, and secondly, even if we did, what does that have to do with us doing the right thing? We eat just as well as the next working citizen, and even if we had kept that money, I'm sure we would still be having spaghetti. Besides, spaghetti gets better after the second day.
I'm very satisfied with the life I live, and no amount of money would mean that I would be any happier. Being happy comes from loving yourself, being loved, and sharing love, and not from the love of money. So judge us if you will. Maybe God gave us this opportunity because we could handle it and you can't.
I was upset about how we were portrayed in the article, but now I see that God is using this very article to speak out to the people. We humbled ourselves and put away our selfish needs to do the will of God, so if that ain't good enough for people, then shame on the people. My breakthrough is coming, and I'm going to be ready. When Jesus comes back, He won't be catching me sneaking into the back-yard to dig up the money to go on a shopping spree. I'll be standing at the door of my house on the rough side of town, ready to offer him a plate of spaghetti.
Better living through shame: In response to "Proficiency Test" [July 9]: Do you think the behavior of problem students could be improved by instilling some sense of shame in them? I mean, when a student hits a teacher, it would make more sense for the teacher to put the student in a chokehold until he calms down, then stand him up in front of the class and invite students to try and explain to the punk why hitting teachers or cursing at people is generally wrong. Stuff like that. Given certain generational characteristics, this will probably result in more juveniles or 18-year-old ninth graders committing murder, but it might sink in eventually.
Hail to the Fringe Party
Libertarians almost do many things: Sarah Fenske's "The Very Dark Horse" [April 30] seems kind of mean, appearing to belittle Libertarians. She seems to take some delight in looking up the least impressive-sounding Libertarian elected title she could find. This is one we've heard over and over. Maybe you didn't know that.
Meanwhile, there are quite a few other Libertarian achievements that she could have mentioned. It was a Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, for instance, who last year nearly pulled off passage of a ballot measure to eliminate the Massachusetts income tax (the vote was about 40 percent in favor). This same person almost beat the Republican candidate in her 2000 Senate run. Then there's the fact that in 2000, this was the first alternative party in nearly 70 years to field candidates for a majority of U.S. Congress seats.
The idea that libertarians are "right-wing" is a common misunderstanding. We are for limited government. In the case of civil liberties, this means that we abhor legislated morality -- hardly a right-wing position. And we favor economic liberty, too. This means opposing such policies as price-fixing. It also means opposing subsidies to private companies and the use of eminent domain on their behalf. Many of us were raised as Democrats and then became Libertarians, but we never looked twice at Republican come-ons.
You say that "voters tend to equate Libertarianism with anarchy." What voters? Did you do some polling? As you are probably aware, a huge challenge for the Libertarian Party is simple voter awareness. Are you saying most voters already have a strong opinion about the party?
You say moving from "staunch Republican" to Libertarian standard-bearer is not a "huge shift." Did you read this from Gary Nolan's website? It says there, "We must stop providing aid and support to authoritarian regimes and dictators around the globe. We must remember that our own government helped arm and train the military of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein -- the same military that our troops later faced in brutal combat. We must not allow something similar to happen again . . ."
Do you know what the Libertarian Party position on prostitution is? (Hint: it's more like Canada's.) Or what the LP says about new government drug subsidies, such as that just passed by Republicans? One more question. You report that Libertarians are a fringe party. Fine. Can you please list the non-fringe parties and your criteria?