Two juxtaposed articles on the front page of November 22 were ironically linked: “Afghan family ready for new life” and “Study shows more in US excludes children.”
The “experts” are worried about the declining birth rate in the United States, which they say may not fuel enough population growth to keep the economy and future social programs afloat.
Yet our world is already suffering from too much: 7.8 billion, increasing at the rate of 9,000 per hour. This is fueling deforestation, drought and dwindling water supplies, which play an important role in political unrest and desperate mass migration.
Note that the featured Afghan family arrived in the United States with six children, all of whom will contribute to our economy. Perhaps they will fulfill their mother’s hopes as nurses, doctors and teachers.
There is hope in looking at the concern for our declining birth rate from a global perspective – not just an American one.
Roberta Merryman, Parc Saint-Louis
CRITICAL BREED THEORY
Like many readers, I have been following the Pearlstein / Nimtz debate over the past week, including fan comments from either of these men. This morning I decided to go back and take a closer look at their original November 13-18 essays. To my surprise, I found common ground.
Pearlstein (“Making sense of the debates on CRT and ‘systemic racism'”) writes: “After centuries of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, redlining and the like, it is obviously true that racism remains ‘systemic’ at one level How could it not be? In that sense, CRT advocates are right, again at a certain level.
In Nimtz (âCRT’s Real Flaw: It’s Not Revolutionary Enoughâ), we read: âIn the good sense of capitalism, there are indeed people and institutions, as Pearlstein also suggests, that invest in focusing exclusively on breed. It advances their business model. For this reason, they conveniently ignore facts that challenge their claim that racism is as prevalent today as it was in the 1960s. “
One could therefore reasonably conclude that these men agree that systemic racism is still with us and is a major contributor to the ongoing social inequalities in the United States. They may disagree on the extent of the problem, but at least they agree on the general terms of the argument. In this age of polarization, we can be grateful even for that little taste of common ground.
Jim Hart, Stillwater
Reading comments on Nimtz and Pearlstein and their opposing views on Marxism and capitalism, I remembered two books. One is “The New Class” by Yugoslav Milovan Djilas. He observed that under communism party and state officials formed a class of their own, who used nationalized property to their advantage. In the 1911 book “Political Parties” Robert Michels wrote that the “iron law of oligarchy” is inevitable even within democratic entities. A paradox develops; a ruling class that centralizes power and seizes privileges.
These concepts were expressed more clearly in the following, which came from John Kenneth Galbraith or was a popular saying in the former Soviet Union, or both: âUnder capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it is quite the opposite.
James M. Dunn, Edina
While the Ohio ministry that sent missionaries and young children in clear and present danger to Haiti may have had good intentions, its decision-makers actually made terrible choices, and now we are faced with the dilemma of knowing How much are we, American taxpayers, paying to help save those who have been kidnapped and threatened with death? Are we obligated to foot the bill for religious activities? This saga reminds me of the crazy and expensive antics of American balloon billionaire Steve Fossett.
In August 1998, Fossett crashed his balloon off the coast of Australia and it cost $ 500,000 to save it. It was just one of a series of Fossett’s crashes and misadventures over a few decades that cost several countries a lot of money to haul a wet and crumpled millionaire. Fossett did not learn – a few months later, in December 1998, the US Coast Guard spent $ 130,000 to rescue three balloonists off the coast of Hawaii, including two multimillionaires – British tycoon Richard Branson and Steve Fossett. The noble cause of Fossett? He wanted to be the first to go around the world in a balloon. It seems to me that if adventurers accept the honors of a successful mission, they should also accept the costs and risks of an unsuccessful mission. In Fossett’s case, he gets the praise, but taxpayers around the world are paying the costs.
Fossett’s story and the American missionaries who were kidnapped for profit in Haiti have some commonalities. Taxpayer resources (in Haiti, the FBI is involved in missionary rescues, and it is not known if there are other expenses related to rescue attempts) are being spent on prosecuting people who have knowingly embarked on a dangerous adventure for reasons of their own. From the point of view of the US government, flying around the world in a balloon should be no more and no less than promoting a specific religion in dangerous circumstances away from home. Maybe Fossett and the ministry that sent the missionaries should have had a little more money in the bank to fund a rescue before they got into their misadventures.
There are many ways to provide assistance to Haiti, including Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and other worthy rather than reckless organizations. The mission of the US government should not be to save adventurers or missionaries.
Erica Klein, Richfield
FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
Referring to âThe Pope to the Young: We Need You to Protect the Environmentâ (StarTribune.com, November 21):
On Sunday November 21, Pope Francis addressed a congregation of “young faithful” during the celebration of Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. He “congratulated the young people for their efforts to protect the environment of the Earth”. As I read about it, I thought of Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in which she shamed politicians for their lack of action on climate change: âYou come. all of us young people to hope. How dare you ! I echo his words in response to Pope Francis. How dare you count on us to inspire ‘brotherhood’ and solve the climate crisis, and present it as a courageous and ‘exciting’ task.
I’m afraid for the future. The climate crisis threatens my livelihood and my security. I am a climate advocate because I have to be, it is no longer a choice. The generation of Pope Francis had the choice to defend the planet; it failed. And now he’s looking at us.
In his sermon, Francis entirely ignored the fact that his own church has contributed to the dissemination of vague and false information regarding climate change just in recent history. Even today, many American Catholics continue to deny or downplay the climate crisis. In addition, many American Catholic bishops still do not respond to Francis ‘appeal in âLaudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,â in which he addressed climate change.
We must ask more of our leaders. We must demand accountability and follow-up. Because our livelihood depends on it.
Jocie Anderson, Minneapolis
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