Reader Mail

Demographic Desires

The West's incentivized decline. Chic concerns about Sudan. The meaning of United 93. Vietnam on film. Plus much more.

5.5.06

Send to Kindle

POPULATION TAXES
Re: Reuven Brenner's Demographic Self-Indulgence and Its Remedy:

Might I also mention the elephant in the parlor? Confiscatory tax rates.

Consider that the average, not rich, family in the U.S. pays about 40 percent of its annual income in federal, state and local taxes. Therefore before we can contemplate children, much less supporting them, we must pay the taxman before we can shelter, clothe or feed our kids. Notice that birthrates tend to be higher in red America versus blue America. Is it coincidence that taxes and the general cost of living are lower in red America? Or, is out of control government spending and the therefore requisite taxes the ultimate in anti-family policies practiced by our government?
-- Eugene Podrazik
Casper, Wyoming

The article "Demographic Self-Indulgence and Its Remedy" by Reuven Brenner finds one cause of the demographic crisis in Europe in the realization by prospective parents that having children imposes costs on them that will result in a reduction in their freedom. That is, there are opportunity costs in having children.

Another important consideration depressing European's willingness to have children is the constant barrage of environmental propaganda. Europeans are constantly warned that there are too many people in the world, that a growing population threatens the ecology, that disaster is about to befall the world. If people have been told often enough that "Human beings are the problem," they will feel guilty about bringing more children into the world. The suppression of the population is one of the main goals of the environmental movement and it has been very successful indeed in Europe.
-- Jack Penkrot

WIRELESS RISKS
Re: Michael Fumento's False WiFi Fears :

Actually, Mr. Fumento, WiFi is a health risk in the U.S., but it only affects Democrats! We're just learning about the test results since Algore (the inventor of the Internet, and probably WiFi, as well) went mad. The experiments on Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are continuing, and show promising results. Karl Rove gave them all cell phones for Christmas, just last year. No one seems to know if he gave any to RINOs, but Senator Specter has been exhibiting symptoms. Lincoln Chafee wasn't on the list since he's a known alien from the Alpha Centauri system and WiFi has long been a problem there.

This is so much fun!
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

SOME LIVES ARE MORE VALUABLE
Re: Christopher Orlet's On Our Watch:

I always wonder if people like Gorgeous George have ever taken a step back and examined their positions for inconsistencies. How can they merely shrug at the evidence of a human rights nightmare in Iraq by the former regime and then demand action in Darfur? Why do mass graves, rape rooms, and torture chambers in Iraq matter so much less than a civil war in Africa?

We non-celebrities have to deal with reality. He really wants to put our troops in Africa between two warring Muslim armies? This is a good idea? Is he going to volunteer?
-- Chris

Why is it that the left always wants to defend Muslims (except in Iraq and Afghanistan), but ignores and/or encourages the slaughter of Christians in places like southern Sudan, Rwanda (where Bill Clinton with the UN and French abetted the genocide), Nigeria, Indonesia, China, etc. I know they hate the deluded followers of Christ in the U.S., but if persecution and genocide is wrong isn't wrong everywhere? I mean how could the enlightened left not always do the right thing they're such "nobler people" than most Americans and Christians?

What happens when we put troops in Darfur and stop the genocide? How soon will the Democrats, the media and Hollywood be clamoring for Bush's impeachment for lying about genocide in Darfur? Wouldn't US intervention be denying Muslim fanatics a free expression or religion?

Here is a suggestion for the rent a mobs of the left -- why don't you go to Darfur and form human shields to protect the victims of Muslim extremism. I'm sure the extremists in Khartoum will treat you better than the tyrant George W. Bush.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

IMPERFECT, BUT SOLID
Re: James Bowman's review of United 93:

My take on United 93 was that those with preconceived beliefs about the enabling factors in 9/11 will see in the film what they wish to see whether it is there or not. My local paper's review nitpicked over a repeated phrase being said by one of the central FAA characters and the "incompetence" of the military. I didn't even hear the phrase the central FAA character was supposed to have repeated several times and the military as well as every other entity in the movie appeared overwhelmed and confused about what was going on. There is a difference between "incompetence" and trying to work a system by the book that does not work. I'm not sure what relevance a "competent" military response would have been to the passengers on those four aircraft? Shooting down all four aircraft before they hit anything is the best we could have done. Given that the events shown in the movie happened in real time and parallel but have to be shown in serial in the movie, some people will simply not realize that all that confusion took place in a relative short period of time. I'll let the 9/11 Commission's written report speak to all the things that went wrong on that day, but there are some things that I think the Commission did not speak to and an objective person could conclude from the film's estimate of what went down on United 93 that might be worthy of remembrance.

The central players in the events of 9/11 were the air crews, passengers, and terrorists on board those four planes. The ultimate fate of those planes rested with those people, not the military, the FAA or anyone else. The ease at which the four planes were taken was the consequence of a risk adverse society that is driven by liability concerns to the detriment of its own security and survival. The "sharp pointy thing" armed terrorists were able to not only hijack all four planes in quick succession but take over the cockpits with relative ease all thanks to the predictable behavior of the flight crew and passengers. Three decades of conditioning and liability-driven life in this country made the job for the terrorists relatively easy. The pacifist Scandinavian character's stated views in the movie illustrated that mindset precisely. Do nothing and all will be well. The idea that a fortified cockpit door would have made any difference is quietly put to rest in the movie. Anyone that has ever flown a commercial airline and been able to observe the operation of the flight/cabin crew in flight already knows this. The door gets opened during the flight, period.

Had every seat on the plane contained a two-foot section of sharpened PVC pipe, the odds of the terrorists being able to gain control of the passengers would have dropped almost to zero. Had the flight crew had a rusty 1851 cap and ball revolver, the attempts at entering the cockpit would have ended badly for the terrorists. The degree to which we surrender our inalienable rights to the needs of government/corporate lawyers helped enable 9/11. Regardless of what the military did or did not do on 9/11, the fate was sealed for the passengers on those flights by our illusion of security and need to protect some "entity" from the prospect of a liability suit. Most of that is still in effect today and one of the reasons I do everything I can to not fly on commercial aircrafts.

Regardless, United 93 is a powerful movie presentation of what 9/11 felt like using the information available. It will not please everyone and I doubt that was even a consideration by those that made the film. The downplayed heroism of key passengers is obvious as Bowman points out but I suspect that is done more out of respect for those "unknown" passengers that may or may not have contributed something meaningful but we have no information on. What I would hope people take from the film is the need to be personally in charge of your own life and not sign away your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to suit the liability concerns of either corporate or government lawyers. A lot of people died on 9/11 not because of what the government did not do but because of what the terrorists on those planes were allowed to do. All the money in the world paid to someone else to protect you isn't going to save you from a committed killer that can use your own inactions against you. I salute those on United 93 who realized the folly that had fallen upon them and acted in accordance with what used to be traditional American values. I only wish that spirit had arisen earlier and on all four aircraft. The story and message of 9/11 would be quite different had that been the case. There will always be those that blame someone else for not protecting them or looking to profit from someone else's failures but the ultimate right of self-defense rests with the individual and many if not all on United 93 realized and acted upon that. I'm not sure this society understands that even today.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

FILM HISTORIOGRAPHY
Re: James Bowman's review of Sir! No Sir!:

It is dismaying to note the extent to which polemics such as James Bowman's review of Sir! No Sir! (Movie Takes, April 27) reflect a highly disingenuous portrayal of the history of the Vietnam era. Besides demonstrating that he missed the basic point of the film itself -- that opposition to American policies in Vietnam was also expressed by its practitioners in the field -- it also reveals the lengths to which commentators will engage in the avoidance or distortion of historical fact in order to promote the assertion that such anti-war activities caused the American public to malign Vietnam veterans as "war criminals."

In all likelihood, the 1971 Winter Soldier hearings received more public attention during the 2004 election campaign than they had in all of the preceding 33 years, seeing as they were: 1), largely boycotted or ignored by the national news media at that time, and 2), heavily overshadowed by the initial verdict of life in prison in the court-martial of Lt. William Calley Jr. that was delivered a month later. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that pundits also conveniently avoid discussing the details of the public's response to that decision, which was in fact overwhelmingly in support of the defendant -- the single individual held legally responsible for the killings at My Lai -- and intensely hostile toward the jurors who had determined his guilt based both upon the evidence and their own combat experience. More telling is the tendency to cite rather than read and judiciously interpret "criticisms" of Winter Soldier, such as Guenter Lewy's admission that he could not recall having actually seen the Naval Investigative Service report which allegedly debunked the testimonies of the participants, but that he was "quite confident the information is authentic."

Perhaps most disconcerting is the manner in which Anderson overlooks conventional scholarly interpretations of the war. Even a casual perusal of this literature will reveal that the South Vietnamese leadership and security forces were at times regarded by U.S. diplomats, foreign correspondents and civilian aid workers alike as fascistic, oppressive and war-mongering -- conditions that made its successful defense essentially problematic. That U.S. policy in Vietnam did not make it a priority to introduce a more benevolent and reliable system of government in the South as an alternative to the Communist insurgency betrays the sentiment that our sacrifices were made solely on the behalf of its people. In all, op-ed articles like Bowman's illustrate how journalists will often promote the versions of history that they wish to believe, rather than those based upon sober determinations of fact.
-- Jason Strakes

ALL PARTIED OUT
Re: Larry Thornberry's Listed for Life:

Your piece was necessary to point out the needless multi-mailings of identical material that often insult the intelligence of the readership. (And fill their mailboxes)

The MBAs responsible for the assault on fellow Republicans perceive us as big-egoed people with bottomless pockets having few functional cortical cells. It is unlikely that many are fooled by the "opinion" polls we are asked to fill out -- often with a "serial number," suggesting that our opinions are superior to those of bartenders or others. Of course the last page invariably has that series of "boxes" with dollar signs in ascending amounts. Is there any liaison between the numerous committees? Judging from the frequent duplicities I doubt much communication goes on.

This attempt to buy any political process has always left a distinctly bitter aftertaste in my mouth and I suspect it does to many others as well.

One other question: Are the names of donors bandied about or given to list-sellers? I've had tons of requests for money from everywhere since donating to the Republican Party.
-- D.G. Kohler, M.D. (ret.)

MORE SCIENCE TRICKS
Re: Stanley Leavy's letter ("Household Science Proofs") in Reader Mail's Subtle Undermining:

From one moron to another, let me suggest that you go back to the last earth warming or ice age. Now, light a fire in your cave. (Hint: rub two sticks together for a long time.) Last, roll the boulder that keeps the bad things out in front of the cave entrance. Enjoy!
-- Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico

He suggests we go to our garages and close all the doors. Pretend this that is the earth! Start our cars and set there until our entire tank of gas has run empty, so that we can get an appreciation for the effects of carbon dioxide.

Mr. Leavy should put plants in his garage, suck out all of the carbon dioxide and take note of how it will take for the plants to die. Or better yet, have him pump in pure oxygen and take note of how long he lasts.
-- Steve S.
New Castle, Delaware

WRONG MAKES RIGHT
Re: Larry C. Johnson's letter (under "CIA CYA") in Reader Mail's Republican Lists:

Larry C. Johnson is another left-wing hack that always transfers to those they hate the worse attributes they themselves own. Thus he writes, "Guess it is fair to say you folks are strong supporters of the methods of George Bush. Like him, you ignore history, you butcher facts, and you have a healthy fantasy life. God save the United States of America."

His letter was typical of left-wing nutcases. Full of nonsense, sanctimonious, and dripping with utter hate as to cloud reality. It also proves Jed Babbin hit a nerve which, as we all know, is a sign of getting this right.

Keep it up, Jed!
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

SOME FAMILY
Re: Mark Tooley's On a Roll...:

Wish to howl a bit. The reference to "family" made by these folk ranks up there with their rankest insults. Trashing of words, and the word "family" surely is one of them, must be pointed out before words, along with so much else in our culture, lose their virility and meaning. Their crashing the party was not so much "tasteless" as blatant, further evidence of fanatical efforts to shove and push into what once was considered normal and healthy and a desideratum of sane citizenry. End of howl.
-- Wayne Shelton

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article