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Faith in framers

October 25, 2008

Re: "Forgotten wisdom of the framers," Opinion, Oct. 18

Noting that the Constitution was designed to cure the weakness of the post-Colonial federal government, which relied too heavily on public virtue, this article claims that the separation-of-powers and checks-and-balances provisions of the Constitution show that it was designed to encourage the pursuit of self-interest.

Rubbish. The Constitution recognized that its new, stronger federal government might be dangerous, so it included those provisions to ensure that freedom and self-government could survive those dismal periods, like the present, when self-interest runs amok.

Public policy that best serves the common good cannot be expected to emerge unaided from the battle of self-interest against self-interest. Public virtue is a mindful freedom, "liberty tempered by the Constitution," as your editorial, "A force for good again," phrases it.

John C. Nangle

Palm Springs

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