Readers’ Forum Mar. 1


Food insecurity

In my position as a custodial supervisor I have had occasion to see a few starving students. I look at some students as pioneers who are willing to sacrifice all to be able to come to BYU, including food. However, we as fellow wanderers in this life should not allow this to happen.

I am reminded of the account of Karl G. Maeser as told by his grand-daughter, Anna Maeser Tanner: “Picture this gentleman…taking his wheelbarrow and going from place to place trying to collect something from those who owed him for teaching. He might get a few carrots or turnips, a cabbage head, some potatoes, maybe a half dozen eggs, but seldom any money…Frequently he returned with the wheelbarrow empty.”

Karl G. Maeser paid a huge personal price to put Brigham Young University on the map. Many students can well relate to his story as they are paying a similar price. One story related to me by one of my students was similar:

Her friend had come from Peru to learn English. In Peru she was wealthy.  For some reason the wealth was not available to her here. She was able to get a part time job as many do here but had no food to sustain her while she waited for her first paycheck. She had been two weeks without food.

Just this year I heard an account of a similar student actually fainting from hunger as he walked in to a BYU building.

So, I ask all of us: What will we do to assist our fellow man?

— Fauna Smith
Provo, Utah

Socialism or capitalism is not the question

A recent opinion piece asserted that the 2016 Presidential Election would be a choice between socialism and capitalism. Let’s clear up some misconceptions.

First, “Socialism is a range of social and economic systems characterized by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production.” Socialism is not a system of government but an economic system that may be instituted by a government to varying degrees. In many ways we already live in a somewhat socialist state (public education, social security, the military and department of defense, highways and roads, etc.).

Second, there is no full-fledged socialist running for president. Bernie Sanders is probably the closest, and he is a democratic socialist. In other words, he believes in democracy and in expanding some aspects of the social programs we already have in place, while curtailing others.

Third, as capitalism and socialism are both economic systems and not governmental, neither is enshrined in the Constitution. Capitalism has undoubtedly blessed the world in a number of ways, but without regulation, it can be ruinous. In America, 62 percent of people born in the top fifth of incomes, stay in the top two-fifths, while 65 percent of those born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths. These findings suggest that it is extremely difficult to move up. Incidentally, Canada and Western Europe, have higher social mobility than the United States.

There are important issues at stake, learn the facts and vote your conscience.

— Conor Hilton
Idaho Falls, Idaho


This time of year at BYU, we are confronted with a very interesting phenomenon: BYUSA elections. 

After spending 3 years at BYU, I still don’t know what the point of the BYUSA officers are and what they do.  Who are these people that want me to vote for them? I don’t know what they will do or can do if elected.  Because of this, the election seems silly.

I suggest that BYUSA explain more of the function of these officers because I feel like the majority of the student population is unclear about why it is important to vote.

Otherwise, it seems like the only reason to vote for someone is so that they can put it on a resume, which begs the question of who the BYUSA actually serves.

— Ben Jacob
Provo, Utah

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