(March 29, 2004)
Regarding articles on Zimbabwe published on Swans
To the Editor:
Just got finished reading ALL the articles I was able to find on your site having to do with Zimbabwe. I spent 50 of my 53 years living in Rhodesia/Zimbawe/Zambia/South Africa and Mozambique. The last three I have spent here in the United States. My comment/question is this...Surely these articles are not written about the Zimbabwe where I was born and raised? There must be another! Have any of [the] writers actually BEEN to Zim? What a load of dung you have here.
Some town, some state, USA - March 10, 2004
Regarding Gilles d'Aymery's & Jan Baughman's Ralph Nader: If Not Now, When?
To the Editor:
Terrific commentary... Couldn't agree with you more wholeheartedly... Isn't it good to have an intelligent near-left in the Democratic Party in the person of Howard Dean without whom the Democrats would define themselves entirely differently. If only Ralph Nader would just disappear... I would be a supporter of a third party candidate who had important new issues to elucidate or, better yet, have a chance of splitting the vote three ways, but this run by Nader is just his vanity... Too bad... We had, as you know, a really interesting candidate for mayor in San Francisco from the Green Party (Matt Gonzalez). We need more of his kind in national politics. But until we do, for heaven's sake, let's elect a good Democrat with heart, soul and mind -- and what a woman as a wife! -- that could make us proud to be an American again. It would be a whole new epoch: one that might last a while (or his like kind).
Thank you for the learned and piercing commentaries of you and your colleagues that keep me informed and engaged.
San Francisco, California, USA - March 14, 2004
Regarding Phil Rockstroh's A Poison Pen Letter To Our Apostle Of Perpetual Psychosis, Brother Mel Gibson
To the Editor:
The Passion has stirred up Jewish hatred once again. When we discover the heart of the problem we are in a position to come upon a permanent solution. My commitment to a hate free world is total. I'm willing to do whatever I can. I believe there is a solution that will end this irrational hatred once and for all. I was raised Christian and my husband was raised Jewish. The Jews have been unjustly accused of killing Christ for over 2000 years and this insanity keeps resurfacing and being inflamed. We need to ask some obvious questions, so the whole ridiculous idea of blaming anyone for Jesus' death be seen as preposterous -- questions like:
1. If Jesus is God, how can he be murdered?
2. If Jesus can be killed, doesn't that make him vulnerable and thereby not a savior?
3. Is it reasonable to seek revenge today for a crime that was committed 2000 years ago?
4. If there's to be punishment for Jesus' death, wouldn't that be God's business? Wouldn't God, who is all powerful, be able to handle that one, dole out justice where appropriate...?
5. There are those who believe that God willed Jesus' death. If that were so, what are they blaming the Jews for?
6. Christianity teaches that salvation lies in believing that Jesus' death atones for sin. If you follow that (il)logic, shouldn't they be thanking those who put him on the cross?
I have written a book entitled "Not Guilty." It's about how we all thought we were guilty for crimes we never committed. We all hired the wrong attorney-ego. Ego wants us guilty so it can survive at our expense. Part of its strategy is to project that guilt outside by blaming someone else so you are off the hook. Christians who feel guilty for any reason, (it does not have to be for Jesus' death; it can be for being unfaithful to one's spouse, or for corruption in the workplace...)project that guilt out onto their Jewish brothers and make them Christ killers. In that act they think their guilt is assuaged and that someone else is going to suffer the consequences for their actions. The fact is, projecting guilt is how you keep it. Nothing has changed in 2000 years because by blaming the Jews, the problem has not been solved, but rather has been exacerbated. The solution of course is to lead a life of purity so one doesn't feel guilty and subsequently feel the need to accuse someone else falsely to assuage that guilt. Ego survives by coercing us into acting in ways that make us feel guilty and then keep that guilt by seeing someone else as the guilty party. Ego is a vampire that feeds on guilt. As long as anyone is guilty, it doesn't matter whether falsely accused or not, ego survives.
[...] In my book, I attempt to make a case for how the problem is ego and the solution is seeing it for what it is -- nothing.
If interested, you can read "Not Guilty" on my website. I pray constantly for the end of suffering for all humanity, both the victims as well as the victimizers. We have all fallen victim to ego's clutches and it is from ego that we must seek salvation, not each other. I am available to offer lectures and workshop on world peace. I am supported by a non-profit organization and which covers my travel expenses. There is no charge for my offering.
Peace and love
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, USA - March 15, 2004
Regarding Manuel García's Oil, Population And Global Warming
Thanks for advising me of your article, but I believe that you are mistaken on a number of matters.
1. When I received my B.S. in mechanical engineering from UCB (1973), Hubbert gave the commencement address complete with a slide presentation on his predictions. However, despite your claims, his predictions (as well as those by Ehrlich and others) have since been shown to have been wrong as enormous quantities of oil reserves have been discovered since his prediction of peaking out. In addition, known fossil fuel supplies other than oil are vast, including coal, shale oil, and natural gas. The prospects for depleting such supplies in the knowable future are remote.
Of course, there are indeed finite resources in fossil fuels as there are of any energy source or commodity. All earthly energy sources are simply reconfigurations of solar energy derived from the Sun, itself also a source of finite energy. Moreover, energy and matter themselves are not exactly in short supply on Earth or elsewhere, and conversions to usable energy forms will no doubt continue based on existing technological and economic factors.
2. The claims over population growth simply do not fit the data. Fertility rates in Europe, much of Asia, North America and elsewhere continue to decline, and this process continues to spread as standards of living rise around the world. Population doom-saying based on Malthusian formulas is simply wrong. In addition, it is a fallacy to believe that population growth itself is bad. Somehow, there is the view that if someone has more chickens or cattle, he/she is wealthier, but if one has more children, they are necessarily poorer. This simplistic notion is also wrong.
See Population Growth: Disaster or Blessing? by Peter T. Bauer :
Population is only a problem depending upon other factors, especially whether individuals are free to make their own choices regarding the acquisition, use and exchange of property (including the right of any woman to own her own body and reproductive functions).
3. Your predictions over global warming are also wrong as has been show in numerous recent studies. The climate models repeatedly do not bear out with actual measurements of temperature change. Michael Mann's work is just not good science.
See New Perspectives in Climate Change: What the EPA Isn't Telling Us (scroll down to PDF file):
4. There is a growing number of scholars who have had the courage to point out the fallacies in so much of what is popularly and politically considered "science." However, the "limits to growth" paradigm continues to hold sway with many intelligent and sincere people who do not understand the economics of the "tragedy of the commons," affording interest groups easy prey for their pet schemes to use government power for their own vested purposes.
Here also is a selection of additional publications in this regard:
A Poverty of Reason: Sustainable Development and Economic Growth, by Wilfred Beckerman:
After Kyoto: A Global Scramble for Advantage by Bruce Yandle:
Environmental Colonialism: "Saving" Africa from Africans by Robert H. Nelson:
The Ivory Bandwagon: International Transmission of Interest-Group Politics by William H. Kaempfer and Anton D. Lowenberg:
Doomsday Every Day: Sustainable Economics, Sustainable Tyranny by Jacqueline R. Kasun:
Endangered Species Act: Who's Saving What?, by Randy T. Simmons:
Fixing the Endangered Species Act by Randy T. Simmons:
The Environmental Propaganda Agency by Craig S. Marxsen:
Free Riders and Collective Action Revisited by Richard L. Stroup:
Regulation by Litigation: Diesel Engine Emission Control By Bruce Yandle and Andrew P. Morriss:
Wolf Recovery, Political Ecology and Endangered Species by Charles Kay:
To Drill or Not to Drill: Let the Environmentalists Decide by Dwight R. Lee:
Thanks again for sharing your article with me.
David J. Theroux
Founder and President
The Independent Institute
Oakland, California, USA
Dear David,Dear Manuel,
Thanks so much for your further note. I greatly appreciate your sharing with me your further comments on these matters.
You might keep in mind that just 300 years ago, the North American continent sustained about 200,000 people at a subsistence level. If we were to extrapolate from the known reserves of energy resources then, we would no doubt have made dire predictions.
Yet today, the same region sustains well over 1,000 times this number of people. The difference here is the degree of technology and the freedom of individuals to make there own choices regarding physical resources. The same is true today worldwide.
Dear David,Dear Manuel,
I fully share your view of the truly tragic treatment of natives in North (and South) America as a result of colonial conquests. Such invasions refused to respect the property rights of resident people.
However, my point remains that for the estimated 3 million who lived prior to European arrival lived at near subsistence levels, while with the same amount of natural resources, today 1,000 times this many live at an astounding higher standard of living and life-span.
As for distinguishing among choices, as discussed in the many studies I gave you as links, property rights resolve the problems created by "tragedy of the commons."
We appreciate and welcome your comments. Please, sign your e-mail with your name and add your city, state, country, address and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country. (Letters may be shortened and edited)