Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 28 1998 3:30 AM

Dear Readers,

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Prudence is greatly pleased at the confidence so many of you have shown in her by asking her advice. Sadly she must, however, return to her needlework now.

In leaving, Prudence would like to offer this last piece of advice:

Except in a very few instances, Prudence is neither better informed nor wiser than the persons who write to her. She is able to offer helpful advice only because the problems described are not hers; she is not emotionally involved in them and can consider them objectively. So her advice has two parts: First, when you are greatly troubled with a problem you should write it down in the form of a letter--which you may, if you wish, address to Prudence. The act of translating the problem into written words, rather than brooding over it endlessly and incoherently, will itself be helpful. It will enable you to see the problem in its true dimensions. Second, you should not mail the letter but should read it over to yourself and imagine what Prudence would say. You will find--not always, but often--that you know the answer. As Prudence read the letters she received, she often felt that the writer knew the answer but only wanted some confirmation. Try it seriously for yourself.

--Prudence, fondly bidding you farewell

Dear Prudence,

How should I respond to a (relatively) good friend who ridicules my Libertarian attitudes? Or to other people who are misinformed about the Libertarian Party?

I don't bring it up, my friend does. I try to change the subject, as I am tired of defending my political views to him and to other people. Many people don't understand Libertarian philosophies, nor do they seem to want to. And, when people do want to talk about it, they erroneously link Lyndon LaRouche with the Libertarian Party (he's a registered Democrat, for God's sake!) or just reject out of hand the Libertarian Party's principles.

Any suggestions?

--Dan the Man

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