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Letters to the Editor: Regarding Walter Williams

Regarding Walter E. Williams’ “Our Planet is Not Fragile” [April 10], the difference between volcano eruptions and human CO2 contribution is the planet has a natural cycle of adding and removing CO2. Humans add CO2 without removing any. In 2010 we were emitting over 9,000 million metric tons of carbon. The effects include rising temperatures, snow and rainfall pattern shifts, and more extreme climate events. All of these are already happening and are linked to carbon released by human activities, according the Environmental Protection Agency of the USA. 

Furthermore, atmospheric CO2 concentrations for the past 420,000 years, found by studying air trapped in ice cores, was from 180 to 280 parts per million by volume [pmmv]. In contrast, the current concentration of atmospheric CO2 is 400 pmmv. The increase has been mostly linked to the combustion of fossil fuels by mankind, of which carbon emissions have increased six times in the last 60 years. 

It is already known that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are linked to the global temperature. In the last 100 years, following the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, the net global temperature has increased by 0.8 °C, or 1.4°F. [S. K. Tandon and Jyotirmoy Mallik, 2018] 

Species with very specific niches will go extinct rapidly, and already the global extinction rate is up to 50,000 species/year, compared to the natural rate of up to five species per year. To ignore the scientific evidence proving manmade climate change and its effects is, in the words of Williams, the “height of arrogance.” 

Climate change is a preventable problem, if we actually do something. Ultimately, it would be a shame if the human race caused the extinction of billions of organisms and themselves. 

Cassandra Schoene

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As much as I enjoy the neighborly feel of West Newsmagazine, it is troubling to read the persistently narrow viewpoints of Walter E. Williams. I much preferred the local interviews with people of interest.

In “Millenials for Socialism” [April 17], he casts all Millenials into one basket and makes sweeping statements about socialism. He cites college professors – and he is one of them – as ignorant. To be clear, universities, professors and millennials, just like those in other professions and age groups, should not be cast in a single point of view just to exaggerate a point.

The deeper question is why this learned man has such a need to do so? What drives his ego needs? I don’t mind a provocateur stimulating varying viewpoints. But I do object to crass and pointless commentary in a neighborhood magazine that should bring us together as a community. 

Michael R. Bleich

• • •

In “Millennials for Socialism,”  Walter Williams whines about the “disastrous failing of our educational system and the news media.” Yet, it is apparent to me that many do not understand the meaning of “democratic socialism.” I contend the U.S. has been a democratic socialist republic since its very inception. Our government taxes the populace and then uses the money for the general welfare of the nation. If you drive on a public road, attend a public school, enjoy a public park, museum, clinic – you might be a socialist. If you collect Social Security, then you are definitely a socialist. You are welcome. 

I know of no major figure in U.S. politics who advocates governmental takeover of all or nearly all “means of production,” as Williams puts it. Of course, a huge debate presently raging in U.S. politics is over socialized medicine. But even in the most extreme scenarios there would still be private doctors and private hospitals, which begs the question: Why did Williams fail to use any of the countries with socialized medicine as his examples of socialist countries.

Democratic socialists embrace a free-market economy but believe in a social safety net. Williams correctly pointed out “there has never been a purely free market economic system.” 

As a society we actually do a “cost-benefit” analysis for every business. For example, a town might approve zoning to allow a factory to be built because the town will be provided with jobs and valuable products. Yet, the factory is regulated as to how much it is allowed to pollute that community. If the pollution becomes too serious, the community might decide to shut down the factory. This is an example of a socialist-regulated economy, and we have operated under this system since our inception. You are welcome. 

It is time for the educational system and media to step up and point out that socialism is not a four-letter word, dirty word or pejorative. Folks are making too much of the word socialism in this generation the way the term “communist” was used as a cudgel during the McCarthy era. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be McCarthy. We are all socialists and you are welcome.

Tom Buettner

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