Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Letter to the editor -- The elephant and the third rail

Herewith is a copy of a letter to the editor of the SB Independent that I emailed today, October 15, 2019. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

Update: The letter was published on the Independent's website on October 22, 2019, here: https://www.independent.com/2019/10/22/the-elephant-and-the-third-rail/ 

The elephant and the third rail

Kudos to the author of the letter to the Independent about human overpopulation, chiding the Indy for avoiding the "elephant in the room" as the dominant factor causing pollution and climate change. I agree with the elephant metaphor but (somewhat) defend the Indy's silence.

Indy's newsroom is hardly alone in elephantless-ness. One web-searches in vain for articles that, in addressing the pollution/climate-change matrix, confront (or even mention) the impact of the increase in number of Earth's dominant animal. While diligent assessments are made of the smothering of our planet with chemical and carbon-based output – invariably cautioning that this output must be curtailed – not a whisper is heard about curtailing offspring from us seven billion folks.

Why is this? In part because it's much easier – culturally cozier – to preach that people should stop using plastic bags and straws than that they should stop procreating. Indeed, calling for wiser consumption merely plucks the low-hanging fruit of the problem while providing little effect except instant gratification. No, the solution is to reduce the number – certainly the increase in the number – of humans on the planet, which is where one encounters the problem's "third rail." 

No matter the approach to our overpopulation problem – from voluntary to involuntary contraception; from education to indoctrination; from taxation to legislation, to name the most obvious – the debate invariably slides into explosive issues, insoluble topics of freedoms, religious beliefs, governmental intrusion, racialism/genetics, immigration/migration – issues preferably, conveniently, avoided.

Hence, the elephant abides.        


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Letter to the editor

Herewith is a letter to the editor of the SB News-Press that I emailed today. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

Update: The letter was published in the News-Press on Sunday, April 7, 2019.

Pundits wonder why Donald Trump lies so frequently. Perhaps, they suggest, he can't help himself – it's in his nature, a genetic trait or something. Mysterious to pundits too is how forgiving his base is about his repetitive falsehoods. They marvel at the sustained loyalty of his followers despite his constant prevarications. To quote Rogers and Hammerstein, "is a puzzlement."

Pundits are even more befuddled about why Trump lies about facts that are both meaningless and readily refutable. For example, his claims about his golfing prowess turn out to be a tissue (that is, a scorecard) of lies, the result of grandscale cheating. Who cares – except, presumably, Donald Trump – about his handicap?  Dwight Eisenhower, an avid golfer, commanded us to victory over Germany and governed us for eight solid years and yet never found it necessary to fib about his skill at striking a sphere along a lawn. 

Trump's latest odd and silly lie  – that his father, Fred, was born in Germany – is a "fact" he's repeated many times, including a few days ago to the NATO  Secretary General. In fact (emphasis intended) Fred Trump was born in New York, well within the gestation period after his mother's arrival in the United States.

You'd think, after all the attention Trump spent investigating the birthplace of his presidential predecessor, he'd take care to speak accurately of his father's. But no. Apparently, to Trump, it's more important that he not admit to being the offspring of an anchor baby.