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To the Editor:

A recent Metroland contains a little report of a study indicating that conservatives and Republicans profess greater happiness than liberals and Democrats [Newsfront, May 8]. The headline: “Happy assholes.”

The story suggests “that conservatives are able to rationalize economic and social inequalities that trouble the conscience of liberals.” Liberals seem to believe they alone possess consciences, a kind of virtue and human feeling that others lack, and that only liberals want the best for humanity, while conservatives don’t give a shit. In other words, that liberals are good people and conservatives are, well, just assholes.

Conservatives do tend to take a different view from liberals concerning issues of equality. In a nutshell, they generally believe that, by and large, people who are successful and wealthy achieve that by earning it, and not at the expense of other people, but rather by contributing to the welfare of other people, by providing them with the goods and services they want and willingly pay for. That, in fact, is what creates the wealth of society—without which the less fortunate would be even worse off.

It is not surprising that people who have this basic understanding are happier with life than are those who instead think all disparities of wealth are simply a form of injustice. To label the former “happy assholes” is—at the risk of stating the obvious—patently offensive, juvenile, and moronic. It can only serve to indicate that the underlying political viewpoint is likewise juvenile and moronic.

But I actually don’t think liberals (apart from whoever wrote that headline) are assholes. I believe they are sincere in wanting what’s best for humankind. I only wish that belief were reciprocated.

Frank S. Robinson


Stuck on Steck

To the Editor:

We take issue with the Steck campaign’s assertion [“Steck in the 21st,” Newsfront, May 15] that he’s the only candidate with support in Rensselaer.

Tracey Brooks has been endorsed by Troy City Councilwoman Ginny O’Brien, former Rensselaer County Democratic Chair Lynne Mahoney and well-known Rensselaer County community leader Rocco DeFazio, to name a few. Tracey Brooks also has the support of numerous Rensselaer County Democratic committee persons.

Nonetheless, while endorsements are nice and always appreciated, the primary race in Rensselaer County—like in all seven counties in the 21st Congressional District—will not be decided by party or elected official endorsements but by the voters. And from what we’ve seen so far, the voters are looking for new leaders—like Tracey Brooks—with a clear vision, the right priorities, a different set of experiences and the ability to make change happen.”

Kyle Kotary

Tracey Brooks Campaign


Age Can Be Deceiving

To the Editor:

I very strongly agree that school libraries in New York State need additional funds to purchase library materials and employ certified library media specialists [“Read ‘Em And Weep,” May 15].

However, I do not want the public to think that most of the books in school libraries in New York State are out-of-date. I am the library media specialist in a school of approximately 700 students in the Capital District. Like most librarians I know, I weed our book collection periodically to remove books containing outdated information. This year alone I purchased over 600 new fiction, nonfiction, and reference books. Would I like to purchase more new books? Certainly I would, but our collection is reasonably current. Examining the average copyright date of a collection can be misleading because some “old” books are timeless works of fiction or are about historical topics.

Please support budget increases for school libraries, especially for high-needs districts. However, recognize that “schools just aren’t buying books anymore” is an inaccurate generalization.

Carol Kadamus


Editor’s reply:

The study conducted by New York Library Association, which was outlined in the aforementioned story, surveyed the average age of school library books, not the average copyright date. The study determined that the average physical age of a public-school library volume is more than 20 years old, and that the average public-school library can afford to purchase only one new book for every four students. Having the funding to purchase 600 new books for 700 students is heartening, but it is well above the norm.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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