My school newspaper actually printed this? Buh?!

I have never before been inspired to write a letter to our campus newspaper, but this past week’s issue included the single most retarded “Letter to the Editor” I have ever seen, entitled “Are Democrats really helping?” I am shocked that they actually printed this garbage. I just made me want to scream “CITE??” The original letter can be found HERE (on the newspaper’s website, not sure if it will still be up in a week or so). I honestly don’t understand what they thought printing this would accomplish. Here is the e-mail I sent to them.

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the letter to the editor that appeared in Jan. 29th’s Flashlight entitled “Are Democrats really helping?” I am confused and surprised that the Flashlight, from which I normally expect some higher standards, actually printed this letter. It appears to me to be an irrational, poorly written and unsubstantiated attack, generalizing an entire political group and accusing them of many things, with absolutely no evidence to back up its claims. It makes emotional appeals without citing any facts, only repeating, “The Democrats did this, and it’s bad, and they did it and they suck.” The letter makes various blatantly inflammatory and emotionally charged assertions, but provides not a single source of evidence that these are true. Statements like, “The Democrats passed a law to keep the poor people from trying anything on their own to better themselves.” What?! What law is this? Did I somehow miss the passing of the “Oppress the Poverty-Stricken” bill? “The Democrats are controlling the poor childrens’ lives by keeping them illiterate and in poverty…” These claims are patently ridiculous and unfounded, and frankly I’m very surprised and disappointed that The Flashlight would print such a misguided and confused letter. Imagine if the letter, instead of being about Democrats, had said “Jews,” or “White People.” Would you have printed it then? It is the same thing, attacking a group. Not a racial, ethnic, or religious group, but a group nonetheless, that deserves a little more respect than this unsubstantiated almost-libelous babble. I respect the author’s right to free speech and the paper’s right to print what it wants, but this is a little ridiculous. I fully invite the author of the letter to supply some facts to back up his wild claims. Until he does, I implore your readers to think twice before taking any of the letter’s assertions to heart. And I implore The Flashlight to think twice before again printing a letter such as that one.

I can only hope that they print my letter… I can’t imagine what they were thinking when they put that crap in the newspaper. Yes, the person has the right to express themselves and the newspaper has the right to publish it, but for the love of Pete, I’m sure they get plenty of Letters To The Editor that they DON’T publish, why this one? Did they just need to fill up space and there was a lack of letters this early in the semester? What where they thinking? Argh!
The lack of proper paragraphing in my response is due to the limits of the email program I used to send it and the newspaper’s apparent inability or disinclination to print indentations even if I did use them.

Wow, cool. Democrats are controlling people’s lives!

Well, I know there’s nothing more I like to do after a long day of work than pen up poor people and force their children to commit crimes.

Except on Wednesdays. Enterprise and Law and Order are on on Wednesdays.

I think it’s pretty neat that after december retired, he signed up to go back to college, again. I wonder how the commute across from New Jersey is going for him? Maybe he and AntaresJB could have a dope fest?

Damn, beat me to it.

It’s really sad. Without commenting on the author’s opinions, it’s depressing to see a college student who cannot even express them intelligently. Poor people in cages, indeed!

He left out the part about the welfare mothers driving Cadillacs. That was always my favorite part.

Dr. J

Now, you see, that’s the problem right there. All of this welfare-statism would have worked if we had gone with Lincoln town cars.

Now, you see, that’s the problem right there. All of this welfare-statism would have worked if we had gone with Lincoln town cars.

In an effort to become more Euro-sensitive, the Welfare Mothers now drive Beemers or Volvos.

Wait. December is over the age of 13?

Is this a whooshing? Am I stupid?

Did you notice the signature line for the inane letter? I began to wonder if it might not be “Captain Ed” of “racist scumbag” SDMB BBQ Pit infamy.

The letter is an editorial. Editorials are for opinions. The writer expressed his. He need not supply any “evidence” for his opinion. He’s giving his viewpoint — the way he sees what the Democrats have done. The laws he is talking about are welfare laws. He sees these as, in total, encouraging whatever behavior might invoke them. His opinion is that there is no point in struggling to hold on when there is a guaranteed net right under your feet. He is describing some of the unintended consequences of a welfare state as he sees them.

Being pissed off about what he has written is at least equally as irrational as what he has written. Your response letter reeked of exactly what you complained about — unsupported emotional ranting: You shouldn’t have printed that! Did I not get the memo? What if he had said something racist? And so on.

Well, I don’t know about that, Lib. I think if one is going to publicly express an opinion about a subject with at least some factual basis, one ought to be obliged to back up one’s opinion. I’m not saying people who don’t do this should be censored–certainly not by the government, at least; the owner of a private forum can set higher standards for participation–and I’m not saying that questions of politics can just be reduced to questions of fact–reasonable people will disagree about the interpretation of the facts even when the facts themselves are not in dispute. But I don’t think saying “Well, that’s just my opinion” will really cut it for things above the level of “Chocolate ice cream tastes better than vanilla”.

Suppose someone said that “Libertarians are against public schools because they are scheming to keep everyone illiterate so they can be more easily exploited by the plutocratic fat cats. They want to keep the poor ground down into the dirt, that’s why they’re against every program to provide any sort of social justice, so there will be a huge, wretched underclass to be exploited!” Would you consider it adequate if someone else said “But that’s just his opinion–that’s just how he sees Libertarians, you can’t ask him to back up his opinion with any evidence”? After all, the writer of that letter to the editor went beyond claims of the purported unintended bad consequences of policies favored by Democrats; he actually claims to know that Democrats desire those purported bad consequences of their polices, for nefarious and selfish ends. I think a claim like that really requires something to back it up (the secret transcripts of the Democratic National Committee meetings or whatever), otherwise it’s not really ethical behavior towards one’s fellow citizens and human beings.

Of course, that’s just my opinion.

I’ve seen a lot dumber things than that said about Libertarians. But if I saw it in a letter to the editor section (which I consider to be a newspaper’s way of filling space), I’d probably fire off a response and explain why the opinion is unsound. It would seem silly to send a letter that said nothing more than “He’s an idiot and you shouldn’t have printed his letter.”

Ah, but saying that the response was also inadequate is not the same thing as saying “The writer expressed his [opinion]. He need not supply any ‘evidence’ for his opinion”.

Right. That’s why I had two paragraphs.

It’s possible that the editors of the paper printed the letter to further their own political goals. Nothing like making your opponents sound like moronic psychos to gain support for the more enlightened liberal discussion.

I have to assume that that’s how a certain letter to the editor was printed in the newspaper at my school. It was foolish to the point of absurdity, so much so that every person I showed it to burst out laughing at least once while reading it. I can’t speak for everyone, but my favorite part was when the author attempted to deny possible accusations of homophobia with “…I often eat at [Women’s college], which is home to a large lesbian population.” :rolleyes:

My guess is that the letter was printed because it represents a POV held by a certain percentage of people. It’s easy to overlook the points made in the letter because of its style. To make the letter clearer, I have re-written it.

Great Society programs have had the perverse consequence of harming the poor.

Public housing is atrocious. The program has been a failure.

Welfare requirements have the impact of restricting a recipient’s actions.

More criticism of public housing.

Welfare programs are designed more for the benfit of middle class people working to provide welfare than for the poor.

Welfare requires that a father not be present in the home. Welfare in effect paid a woman to have more welfare children.

The Democrats are controlling the poor childrens’ lives by keeping them illiterate and in poverty, destroying their hopes and dreams, their respect for themselves and their fellow man, forcing them to be out of control drug dealers, users, killers, bank robbers, car jackers and house burglars.

Social programs are blamed for poor schools. inner city crime, etc.

Democrats intentionally enacted ineffective social programs.

It was all right for the Democrats to force the poor children to be lawbreakers, providing jobs for police, lawyers, judges, bail bondsman, guards and undertakers.

The real beneficiaries of social welfare programs are the venders, not the recipients.

Social programs are contrary to the view of the Founders.

A different approach would have worked better.

Well done, December.