In October, I heard this quote by Anita Dunn, who is the communications director in the Obama administration. She had been invited to speak to students at an Episcopal High School. This is what she said: “Two of my favorite political philosophers are Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa.”

I took umbrage at the idea of Ms. Dunn placing Mao Tse Tung on the same level with Mother Teresa, even though Ms. Dunn’s reference to them was as philosophers. I cannot know whether the students she was speaking to realized that Mao Tse Tung is stained with the slaughter of 34 million of his own people in his 34-year reign as chairman. Webster’s definition of a philosopher is: “A person who is calm and rational under any circumstances.” And his definition of philosophy is: “Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.” In my view, neither of these definitions fits Chairman Mao.

If all of us can just practice one thing during our lives, it should be as Mother Teresa taught us, to reach out a helping hand to all those less fortunate than ourselves.

Dominic A. Contardo, Dracut