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Letters to the Editor

Sunday, November 15, 2020


The "longshoreman philosopher" Eric Hoffer posed the following theory of the basis upon which people vote one way or the other. I think his thoughts may be of interest in today's political analysis.

The following three points are my interpretation of Hoffer's premise:

1. Voters, especially those on the extremes of the political spectrum, share a belief that the political system in place at a given time plays a significant role in determining their position in the socio-economic hierarchy.

2. Those who are basically content with their lot in society tend to vote to preserve that system and their place in it.

3. Those who are not content with their place are interested in changing the system in hopes that a different system will allow them to do better.

It is my belief that Hoffer's idea offers a less divisive explanation of our political choices. It would seem that this viewpoint supports the idea that the more well off people are, the more likely they are to be conservative in their political views in that they will see the maintenance of the status quo as serving their best interest.

While intolerance of one kind or another tends to garner headlines, it is, I believe, unwise and unproductive to label voters on either side as doing anything other than following the idea Hoffer so well described.

Regardless of the system in place, it is in everyone's best interest to do what it takes to make it work to benefit the most people.

The famous band director, Wm D. Revelli, proffered this idea, albeit in a different arena.

"There is controversy in music circles regarding the musical value of marching bands. There is, however, no disagreement over the musical value of bad marching bands."

Gordon L. Sabin

San Marcos

Dear Editor,

Instead of attempting to safely house and rehabilitate inmates, the goal of private prisons is to make as much money as possible. According to The Sentencing Project, about 10% of America’s prisons were privately owned in 2017, and that number has increased 39% since 2000.

Private prisons wouldn’t be a problem if they actually achieved their purpose of saving taxpayers money and keeping prisoners safe, but they’ve repeatedly failed to perform these tasks. According to the Justice Policy Institute, for-profit prison employees are paid and trained less than public-sector prison employees in attempts to save money, which increases job dissatisfaction and danger for the inmates. Assault rates are more than twice as high in private prisons than public prisons. Also, private prisons have been shown to cost up to $1,600 more per year than public prisons.

It is clear that for-profit prison companies, such as Management and Training Corporation (MTC), care more about increasing their profits than keeping their prisoners safe. It’s time to abolish this system that exploits taxpayers and achieves poor safety standards. If private prisons are not abolished, American inmates will continue to be neglected, abused, mistreated, and in danger. Kyle Correctional Center in nearby Kyle is a private prison operated by MTC.

I encourage you to join me in expressing concern to your local congressperson to help us rid America of private prisons. If we begin with de-privatizing Kyle Correctional Center, more will follow.


Eleanor Krellenstein

Texas State University

San Marcos Record

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