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Dear Conservative:

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You are proud of what you personally have struggled to accomplish and of your country. But you are angry at our government and some fellow citizens. Some of your dissatisfaction has just cause. But you frequently complain about government or taxes or “those people.” “Those people” frequently have even less education and less money than you do.

But pride is not a virtue. It's a sin according to every major religion's scriptures, the Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, and those of Hinduism and Buddhism. And scriptures also tell us that anger is sinful too, and needs to be controlled. What happens is God's plan. Anger at it is a rejection of God's plan. And anger harms the angry person himself: it raises blood pressure and contributes to strokes and heart attack.

Why are governments “instituted among men?” Our Declaration of Independence says it is to secure to us the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But you don't have a right to life really, if you don't have air you can breathe without getting sick from it, water that safe to drink, cook and bathe in, safe food, adequate clothing, shelter and some medical care. And you don't have real liberty or ability to pursue happiness unless you can get an education that enables you to get skills that allow you to choose to work in one or more jobs or places.

These fundamental things aren't cheap! They are expensive! I know that you frequently don't have much money to pay taxes. But sometimes you are complaining about people even poorer than you, while the truth is that very rich people get off paying proportionally much less of their incomes in taxes than you do. Before complaining about taxes and too many government workers, please remember main functions that government employees perform.

What government workers should we have less of? Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Veterans hospital workers, police, troopers, and prison guards who protect life and liberty? Should we have instead more privately employed retail clerks? Or maybe there should be a cut back in Water Department workers who make sure the water is safe to use, or Sewer departments that take poisonous wastes away? In their place should we have more privately employed workers in plastic factories? How about cutting out infrastructure maintenance and having more private janitors, etc.? Think how expensive it is to maintain or replace bridges or levees in New Orleans or along the Mississippi river: it costs hundreds of billions of dollars. Whatever the source of climate change may be, the U.N. Has estimated that the nations of the world will have to spend $20 trillion to adjust to it over the next 20 years. Where there are costs, there will also be benefits, but the wealthy will find ways to exploit those benefits.

Would you really want to give up Social Security and Medicare to cut payroll taxes? Are you sure on the income you have had that you could voluntarily have saved enough to pay your own medical bills and for decades of retirement? If you want SS and Medicare for yourselves, even though it is partially paid for by the taxes of others, is it fair to complain if some of your taxes go to help pay for it for others?

Education is very expensive, but do you really want to cut school taxes greatly? If the next generation of kids aren't educated well enough, they won't be able to be employed productively enough to contribute to your social security and medical care.

Why was the Constitution of our country formed? The Constitution itself says:

“We the people,... in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure Domestic Tranquility, promote the General Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...”

Increasing inequalities of wealth versus poverty make for a less perfect union, envy, and anger. They promote crime, which is injustice, not justice and Domestic disturbance rather than Tranquility. Poverty restricts rather than enhances Liberty. The poorer you are, the less free you are to go where you want and do what you want. And please remember the purpose “to promote the general Welfare!”

You complain about personal laziness and schools not doing their job. The truth is that children of very poor people, whether black, white, yellow or red, are disadvantaged from birth, or maybe even before conception. Their mothers have poor diets, and other health problems that leave their babies less healthy, born into poor homes. Spina bifida, for example, is related to a deficiency of folic acid in mom's diet. Studies of meaningful differences in the experiences of young American children show that the poorest adults speak much less to their babies and offer less encouragement than do adults in middle class families, and middle class adults speak somewhat less to their children and encourage them less than do wealthy adults, who also provide much more stimulus from toys and learning objects, not just TV. And runaway fathers are hardly confined to black men who may have no resources for support. By the time very poor children get to school, they are much less capable of schooling than middle class and wealthy family children. Schools are a false scapegoat for the effects of poverty!

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I could be Bernie Sanders older brother by similarity. I was born in Manhattan, 1940, he, about a year later, in Brooklyn. I too am a white male American. A retired college professor of philosophy. We both were born of Jewish parents. I was (more...)

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