Published in the Suburban Trends, July 1st, 2012

Dear editor:

At the outset of this letter, let me state as I have in the past that I do not believe in "public education" (government-run schools).

It is a socialist concept from beginning to end. The idea that government at the local, all the way up to the federal level, should confiscate the earnings of some to benefit the children of others is simply wrong – let’s be real, it is a form of stealing!

Education, like health care, is a good or service that should be handled in a private competitive manner, the assumption that either one is a "right" implies that someone else is compelled to pay for it (via taxation) against their will.

Having made my Libertarian and pro-individual liberty position on this abundantly clear, let us move on to the main topic of this letter, namely the comments made by Board of Education member Wayne Gottlieb at West Milford’s recent graduation ceremony.

First, let me say I do not really know Wayne Gottlieb. I know who he is simply by seeing him help staff the polls at West Milford Town Hall when I vote.

I do not consider him my friend or my enemy, so I have no personal stake in this issue except one – free speech.

To be sure Wayne Gottlieb’s comments about snipers and explosives under the podium may have been in poor taste and a bad attempt at humor, but deserving of all the uproar that followed? – I think not!

This eagerness to censor people’s comments on certain topics is what I find troubling. Free speech means that you will hear things in life that you don’t agree with or find hateful, disgusting, and upsetting.

If you have a problem with that then perhaps you’re living in the wrong country. This isn’t a Left v. Right thing either, since both groups want to muzzle people and ideas they don’t like. With the Left they want to stifle speech they call "hate" or any mention of firearms (guess they don’t believe in the Second Amendment either!). Those on the Right flip out over any mention of sex, drugs and rock music, or any questioning of America’s belligerent foreign policy.

What has happened to our once great country? We are now afraid of ourselves! Once again the Republic’s founders are no doubt spinning in their graves!

Mark Richards