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Personal decisions, policy different

March 20, 2008 - Lee Smith
The editorials we write, and those supplied to us by Ogden Newspapers, are generally considered "conservative." I can't disagree with this, although I would argue that we are generally fiscally conservative and more libertarian when it comes to personal freedoms. I guess I view this as consistent. Call it keeping the government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom. Also, when we write editorials, we sometimes push for major changes, such as questioning whether government should be involved at all in various aspects of our lives. At other times, our editorials reflect the reality of the moment, acknowledging that certain institutions exist whether we like them or not. In these cases, we ask how these entities can be changed or whether the decisions they are making are proper. Something I remember when I write editorials is that personal decisions and public policy do not have to coincide. Someone may believe it is their duty to help the poor, for instance. I view that as a personal decision, and I believe in a country where if that person wants to help the poor, they won't be stopped. To institute this belief in public policy, however, means creating all kinds of expenses — public buildings, personnel costs, etc. — that have little to do with helping the poor. If you donate $1 to the Salvation Army, most of the money is going to help a poor person in your hometown. If you are taxed (probably by the federal government and the state government) to pay for a massive government bureaucracy to help the poor, the money is used less effectively. And you resent the intrusion of government into your paycheck. In any case, we always welcome opposing views in our Letters to the Editor. The opinion page can sometimes spark emotions, including anger. We'd prefer feedback that offered the community more insight into the issues at hand. Our largest goal, after all, is to inform readers and have them take part in the processes that lead to various decisions throughout society.


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