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In today's pages: Note to Bhutto and national happiness

January 2, 2008 |  1:15 pm

The editorial board sees a post-Bhutto future as a chance for White House policy to "get on the right side of history," and writes an open letter to her son on his, and Pakistan's, future:

If you truly wish to struggle for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan, you need to make your own way. Identify worthy candidates with the values, skills and experience you believe are needed to run Pakistan, and work for their election. Or start your own NGO. Or go to graduate school and decide for yourself which policies will help your country. Or run for parliament. In 2008, legitimacy cannot be inherited. It must be won with ballots.

Please learn to be the democratic and wise leader your country yearns for. Pakistan will need you — just not now, not in this role. We wish you luck.

The board also tells the city to mind its own business and stop meddling in private labor disputes.

TrainOn the Op-Ed page, historian Joseph J. Ellis waxes skeptical about presidential campaign promises, and Manhattan Institute fellow Tamar Jacoby warns that when it comes to anti-immigration sentiment, don't believe the hype. Author Eric Weiner kicks off the New Year by tossing out his self-help books:

Social scientists studying happiness (or subjective well-being, to use the academic term) have found that external factors — quality of government, social interactions and, to an extent, money — determine our happiness more than anything else. In other words, happiness does not reside inside of you. Happiness is out there.

Readers take sides on current state malpractice law. "To put it more bluntly," writes John Fortman, "we need the doctors more than we need the lawyers." Lisa Smock, who describes the fallout from her mother's botched surgery, points out, "to use a 1975 dollar amount for malpractice awards today is a disgrace to the ones who have put their trust in doctors but have been injured by them."

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