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The Rest of the Schori

Our favorite Swiss replies to his critics. Plus: There once were men. Also: Inspired by Kerry.

8.24.04

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THERE ONCE WERE MEN
Re: Christopher Orlet's Is Evolution Leaving Men Behind?:

Engineering and Business schools are dreary? Ouch! This mechanical engineer begs to differ with Orlet's education elitism. Did he graduate from law school and not get past the bar exam? Orlet forgot to stick his liberal arts education thumb at medical school too. I guess if you are fortunate to find yourself in such dreary schools and your GPA matches your number of thumbs it would be dreary indeed. In engineering college there is a saying that if you do not make it there you go to business school. The next stop is teaching. In Orlet's case it was journalism. News to Christopher Orlet: not all baccalaureates are created equal. There are probably a lot more engineers that could be lawyers and journalists than the other way around. Great example of a liberal arts snob ruminating on liberal snobs.
-- Diamon Sforza
Dreary Engineering School Graduate
San Diego, California

I would suspect that what we are seeing is the devaluation of higher education and its rewards, making the victory of women a pyrrhic one. As noted, as professional schools become more politically correct and dependent on government, men instinctively withdraw to practicalities. Without some sort of government coercion, practicality always rises to the top.
-- J.L. Joseph
Goldfield, Iowa

I understand the concept of Mr. Orlet's column, however, it isn't evolution that is leaving men behind -- it's the college campus PC b.s. that's leaving men behind. Just read a column by Mike Adams, who writes for townhall.com and is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I suggest this one, or this one.

The campus has been taken over by radical feminists, girlie men and haters of men. Why would a normal, healthy male want to put up with that? Universities need to wake up or they will find a permanent shortage of men.
-- Deborah Durkee
Tampa, Florida

Loved your piece by Christopher Orlet. A funny, thought provoking, refreshing change of pace! Thanks.
-- L. Stanley

KERRY OVERDONE
Re: The Washington Prowler's The Way It's Done:

I have requested that the FEC investigate the information supplied in this article. It would seem to me that the Kerry campaign and MoveOn.org have a very clear relationship in complete violation of current campaign financing regulations. It is also very suspicious that other news reporting agencies (media like the AP) have not noticed this information.
-- Jim Eilert

Having lived through Hurricane Fran when it smashed up Raleigh, N.C. and central North Carolina years ago, I don't remember any of my neighbors or me-or anyone else I knew there-saying that what we went through that night was "inspiring."

You know, though, maybe it was. I never looked that way at having no electricity (some people had no water because water-well pumps failed), power lines down and streets impassable because of fallen trees everywhere (some penetrated the roofs of trailers and houses, including one trapping in his bed, literally, the son of a couple with whom I went to church), flooding and mud everywhere, people displaced and surviving the mini-tornadoes.

For sure, though, there was a lot of prayer said for each other and no one I knew was hurt or killed. And the sky over Raleigh was beautiful the first night after hurricane. There was still no electricity in most, if not all, of the city, and you could see the sky and stars so clearly. Also, for days and longer, people pitched in and helped one another in truly generous and kind ways.

Still, with respect to what John Kerry said in Florida, as many pundits and others have said, what is bad for America is good for him and the Democrats. But what do you say about a man who said such devastation of Hurricane Charley was "inspiring"? Whatever could be said-and there's a mouthful or two-I won't repeat it and you wouldn't print it.

I hope, though I doubt, he really meant rousing, stirring, stimulating or exciting. That's how his spinmeisters would revise what Kerry said, I'm guessing. I would.

But, then, I wouldn't-nor would any sane or sensitive person I know or have known-have ever called the devastation "inspiring" in the first place.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

Good article, but Florida's senator is BILL Nelson, not Ben -- please fix the typo !
-- Peter Ford

John Kerry has shown the American people that he doesn't work well under pressure. And if he doesn't have the ability to understand what the "real" problem is, there's not too much hope that he'll be able to take care of it.

Kerry and his campaign spokesperson Debra Deshong do not understand that it's Kerry's own "Band of Brothers" who are questioning his military service, not President Bush. They also have a problem with what he said about the soldiers who were still fighting in Vietnam as well as those being held captive in the Hanoi Hilton.

But the Kerry campaign wants to confront President Bush about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads rather than have to face his former "Band Of Brothers" because he'll be able to prove the President wasn't in Vietnam and he was and not only that but he was decorated with three purple hearts, a Silver and a Bronze star. Depending on which story the paper was in the Silver and Bronze star might have a Combat V or a Combat V For Valor. And did he tell you that President Bush wasn't in Vietnam?

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were in Vietnam, and most of them were in Vietnam at the same time Kerry was there because they were his real "Band Of Brothers" and they are the ones who are questioning his military service, so if Kerry is to have any chance of resolving the issues they've raised, he will have to do so in front of them.

He's already tried to suppress their charges against him as well as telling the public that they are liars. And the MSM has portrayed them as lying drunks whose only motivation is to prevent Kerry from winning the election in November.

Senator, you said "Bring It On".

They said "Here Ya Go." Enjoy.
-- Gary Barton

For months I have been pretty much been saying the same thing about Mr. Kerry's bragging about his military service. I am a student of military history, and have from my readings learned one fact about heroes. That being that the ones that awarded medals and commendations are always in awe of those that died serving their country. The real ones NEVER talk about their experiences.
-- Richard Woitowitz
Long Island, New York

MY TURN
Re: The "A Not So Neutral American" and "The Pursuit of Happiness" letters in Reader Mail's The Swimmer and Dog Days and Kurt Schori's letter ("Swiss Miffed") in Reader Mail's Consumer Reports:

Many true and wrong things have been written in reaction to my "pursuit of happiness" letter, and as I can't answer all of them in detail, I would like to pick out a few of the main points.

ON AMERICAN THREATS
For some time now we have been listening to voices of American opinion makers, even seasoned politicians, who see Europe as their new "enemy", and in my understanding, enemy explicitly does not mean competitor. (Any quick search in the Internet will give you the names of those warriors.) In the past 200 years, Switzerland has had enough examples in its neighborhood and worldwide that demonstrate how a nation, when misled by "agents provocateurs" (sorry, it's a French word), can be readied to wage war against former friends within a few years. Since we do not have the intention to end as "collateral damage" of some American power game, we react upon such noises early on, and that's exactly what I'm doing: to tell you how much you underestimate the negative effect the threats of a superpower have on the public opinion of smaller nations, and that they may actually result in a spiral of mutually deteriorating relations.

ON AMERICAN HELP
With no word did I write that I or any other European expects you to cope with all the trouble spots of our world (it's a task you have defined for yourself). On the contrary, I think that you are largely overestimating your powers to help everyone out. Reversely, you will have to accept that we won't hop on your bandwagon every time, especially when we believe that your initiative will lead to new, even more serious trouble. (I'm really concerned that the readers of the Spectator jump to wrong conclusions so easily - did they all flunk their logics course?)

ON THE BALKANS
My reading of the conflict is that it started long before the Serbs got nasty. Several powers, including the USA, after they had decided to "crack open" a market that was still shielded off by the corrupt socialist regime of Milosevic, gave substantial support (arms, money, expertise) to the ethnic groups of their choice, and one more decisive factor was the influence of fundamentalist Muslim forces on a formerly moderate Muslim population. For decades, many people from all those Balkan provinces have been working side by side in Switzerland, slowly building their own little fortune back home, and things were developing nicely. It was therefore a great crime to fuel that conflict and to demonize the Serbs early on, which drove them into vicious reactions.

ON SAVING EUROPE
Of course I never said anything against the merits of American military interventions in Europe (some readers really ARE lousy in analyzing a text!). However, it is wrong to assume that without the USA, Europe would be fascist or communist even today. Fortunately, most oppressed people take up the fight with their dictators themselves, especially those who have known free societies before. And others have helped you to maintain your own standards of liberty, too. Frankly, we are getting fed up with your claim that the USA is the sole source of freedom. No matter which politician tours your country, it's always "we're the greatest", "we're the best", "we're the saviors of the world" - which makes onlookers elsewhere in the world feel rather silly. Wake up folks, there are millions contributing massively to your own fortune. (By the way: our jobless rate is presently at 3,7%, other places in Europe are not worse off, and we have been consuming your products constantly even though we could get the same stuff elsewhere too.)

ON EXTERMINATION
I don't know how you call it, but first of all, the USA grew on the extermination of indigenous tribes. (Of course you can say, at the time Americans were still half-European.) Dropping nuclear warheads to erase entire cities and their civilians in Japan isn't trivial either (obviously your generals wanted to prove they were capable of genocide and didn't care to find less crowded military targets). And downplaying the devastation in Laos doesn't wipe out the fact that you pounded it (with as many bombs as on Europe in WWII) - mainly hitting a rural population that was as belligerent as a mouse in a snake pit. (Isn't it absurd that today, you seem to be doing business with communist Vietnam - you could have started it without driving your troops through hell.)

ON DOWNPLAYING EUROPE
Check the archives of CNN (the world's most subtly camouflaged state propaganda network in action). Or read up on the Spectator.

ON WASTEFUL AMERICA
The USA burn up double (or more) the oil per head and produce double the waste of other countries with comparable standards of living, that's a fact. Plus: Having a big output doesn't necessarily mean that the products offered contribute to general wealth. You can build a cheap home that will cost you lots of energy later and will only last 50 years, or you can build one that will hold for centuries and only needs a little refurbishing once in a while. Building bombs boosts the economy, but in the end, it only weighs on your budget. You can decide to offer every one of your teenie kids their own car (which they will take to meet their friends a mile away), or you can see them happy on a bicycle and not getting obese. If for good cultural reasons many French decide not to work so much, to spend more time with their friends, to have lower wages, smaller cars and longer holidays - how can you dare calling them lazy?

ON BASIC SERVICES
True, the USA provide excellent services in many fields. Your own government statistics will show you the gaps. And then again it's a question of benchmarks. Take water management: Our Lake of Bienne is fed by a river that passes through Berne, a nuclear power plant and lots of industry, and in spite of that, it has drinking water quality. The same water, after it has passed Basel with its chemical and pharmaceutical giants, is still clean enough to host thousands of swimmers down the Rhine on a summer weekend. Such standards cost us a lot of money, make us less competitive at the moment, but they're an investment in the future. (You're right, not all Europeans are dedicated to the same philosophy either.)

ON SWISS ACHIEVEMENTS
We will probably have to live with your insults concerning our country's role in WWII forever. It's one of your most effective slander campaigns, and an interesting case study. Let me tell you anyway why I think the generation of my parents didn't do all that bad:

Switzerland was the only country with a German speaking ethnic majority that didn't fall for the lure of the Nazis, in spite of many sympathizers (and as you know, many of them were in the USA, too). Which means we didn't contribute with half a million soldiers to the army of Nazi forces against the Allies.

Switzerland was the only central European country that brought all its citizens, including the Jewish population, through war unharmed, in spite of massive pressures from Germany. Switzerland only closed its borders to even more refugees, when other countries (including the USA) had signaled, on the occasion of a conference, they would not accept any more of them passing through Switzerland.

It is silly to write that a country (occupied or bordering on warfaring nations) did do good business at the time. Every war is a terrible loss -- economically and humanly -- for everyone involved. Of course there are always companies and individuals that thrive on such historic occasions. Look at your own history, find out which businesses made it big as suppliers -- very revealing all that.

Switzerland has remained the place that hosts more refugees in proportion than any other industrialized nation, and they are coming from all across the globe. In addition, our aid to other countries is high in comparison too (one billion francs equals an effort of forty billion in your big nation). It goes from destroying biological weapons in the former Soviet Union to the individual effort of a Swiss surgeon who risks his life by giving on-site help to victims of gang wars in South Africa.

No Sir, I don't hate Americans, and I'm always happy to welcome your species over here. Sometimes I think you're nuts, but so are we, I guess, in some minor way. The only thing that bites me ... yes, of course it was in your Declaration of Independence and not in your Constitution: "the pursuit of happiness" -- my mistake -- there was a time when I knew it by heart.

Have a nice day. (Congratulations for bringing your troops back home.)
-- Kurt Schori
Bienne, Switzerland

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