“Shocking” doesn’t begin to describe my reaction to John Balentine’s selfish and racist diatribe on the meaning of individual liberty (“Do you still desire freedom?”, July 2).

When he characterizes young people as having “favorable views of socialism and communism,” he goes on to say that acting for the collective good and having personal freedom are mutually exclusive concepts. Aside from his racist questioning of who are “real” Americans, I just have to ask: Was he raised by folks who did not value or teach the meaning of sacrifice for others?

Many individuals make sacrifices for the health and well-being of others, and they are to be commended. An example are the public school teachers, police and firefighters who sacrifice higher paying jobs to serve their communities.

We just survived a pandemic, and in good part because there were many who were willing to sacrifice their “personal freedom” for a greater cause (stopping the spread of a deadly disease). Balentine’s article has the effect of making him look small and selfish. Clearly, the ability to grow a beard does not indicate maturity.

John Houchin
Bath