Work for that bounty

In response to J. Blair Reeves' slamming me ["Do blame Mr. Sutz," March 17] for my [March 10] letter, "Don't Blame No Child," it is worthwhile to note that the author completely avoids the central theme of what I wrote, and the facts I presented regarding the shockingly low level of young Americans' knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and the gross misperceptions they harbor regarding its provisions.

Reeves insinuates that I'm opposed to people having food, shelter, and health care. To the contrary, I want everyone to have these benefits. He claims that these values are part of the "limitless bounty" that America, "the wealthiest, most prosperous nation on earth," has produced.

But what causes these values to come into existence, and how can they be obtained? They result from focused thought, applied to constructive action. They can be obtained in only one of two ways: (1) voluntary value-trades between people, by mutual consent and to mutual benefit, or (2) at the point of a gun. The former is how a free society operates; the latter is what every socialist, communist, and totalitarian nation must resort to.

To assert, as Reeves does, that one has the legal and/or moral "right" to any value that is produced, offered, or owned by others, is to advocate putting a gun to the victim's head, and saying, "Give it to me or else."

And whether Reeves does this himself– or whether he "hires," via elections, government agents to do so on his behalf– it's wrong and antithetical to any rational concept of freedom, justice, and individual rights.

Yes, there were inconsistencies in our original Constitution– and they've since been corrected. But to twist, distort, or deny the revolutionary, freedom-oriented principles that America's Founders advocated– as so many schools and demagogues do today– is to surrender to the belief that everything an individual man or woman achieves, produces, and owns is subject to confiscation and "redistribution" at the hands of a government acting as destroyer of his/her rights rather than as defender of them.

This is the root of socialism, which has destroyed one society after another throughout history. And no matter how much Reeves denies it, this is the essence of what is being taught to our young people today, and which is progressively choking off the opportunity for all Americans– and most acutely, the poor and disadvantaged that he supposedly champions– to participate in the "limitless bounty" he refers to.

Jon Sutz
Albemarle County