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The term 'educrat' is really a flattering one; it implies government by educated people

To The Daily Sun,

Ordinarily, I do not write in response to hateful responses to my column. I will as far as my letters are concerned, but not my column. I learned that from Bob Meade, who disagrees with me.

I will, however, make an exception for A.C.R. Piper. In a recent letter, Citizen Piper wrote: "So, Mr. Cracraft's twaddle-speak has been elevated to column status." She or he also referred to "Mr. Cracraft and his 'educrat' ilk." Wow! What a use of language!

I am unsure what "twaddle-speak" is. Perhaps Citizen Piper could explain it. I am pretty sure the writer meant it as an insult. As for "educrat," I am sure he or she meant that to be insulting too. After all, educators have become the national whipping boys and girls for almost every problem. Apparently, it is becoming increasingly fashionable to be stupid in America.

Citizen Piper is obviously angry that I believe in vaccinations and in human-caused climate change. He or she apparently does not, and like many without good facts to back them up, lashes out at those who disagree. Educators seem to make a good target for these people.

However, I really like the term "educrat." I had never heard it before but it is a good one. It connotes government by the educated. I wish we had an "eduocracy." Of course Citizen Piper likely thinks that statement is elitist and that I want to put academics in charge of governing.
Actually, I believe in government "by the people." I wish all the people were educated and practiced critical thinking. It would certainly make government better if everyone, including those who disagreed with each other, at least put up rational, thought-out arguments for their social, political, medical and scientific positions.

Our founders also believed in an "eduocracy" because they assumed that the America of the future would be one where everyone was educated (even if only self-educated). They envisioned a majority of citizens who took part in the political process and in political and social debates because they knew what they were talking about. They envisioned an America that would value education, schools, and educators and one where people read books and newspapers and did not reject science, logic, and reason. I suppose that dream of the founders has floundered.

As for climate change, there is no doubt that our planet has gone through natural warming and cooling cycles. But there is also no doubt among 99 percent of climatologists that what is happening now has a strong human element as its cause. Those who disagree are listening to "scientists" who are being encouraged and even funded by those who do not want us to believe that this is a danger to the human future. It is similar to the "doctors" hired years ago by tobacco companies to "prove" that smoking is not really dangerous to health.

As for Citizen Piper's tirade against vaccination, he, like many "anti-vaxxers" comes to the false conclusion that just because our pharmaceutical companies are profit-driven and that often people are over-medicated that it follows that these companies do not make things that actually work. After all, we are living longer and healthier lives due to vaccines, antibiotics, and other drugs. The citations used by Citizen Piper seem to come largely from anti-vaccination sites.

There is no proven link between vaccines and autism. Many anti-vaxxers like to cite a paper published years ago in the British medical journal, The Lancet, which claimed a connection between autism and vaccination. Don't they know that this study has been completely discredited? The author was found to have falsified his data and lost his license to practice medicine. That says a lot to me, but for people like Citizen Piper, it is likely "proof" that the international medical community is involved in some grand conspiracy to shut them up.

I am sure many of the "anti-government" writers to The Sun will yell "crucify them," but there is a growing number of us who think that society and the state are not tough enough on anti-vaxxers. A growing number of schools are refusing to admit kids whose parents do not vaccinate. In addition, more and more pediatricians are refusing as patients the children of anti-vaxxers. Many doctors are saying, in effect, "I have kids who cannot take vaccines for valid medical reasons. I do not want them sitting in my waiting room with some kid shedding measles virus because his or her parents were too stupid to have the kid vaccinated." This is a good start.

I would go even further and make childhood vaccination mandatory unless there is a valid medical reason not to. As for religious or "philosophical" objectors to vaccines, it is important to understand that "parental rights," like any rights, are not without reasonable limitations. For instance, if you take a seriously ill child to a faith healer and the kid dies when medical treatment would have made her or him live, you can face criminal charges of child abuse and neglect.

A Jehovah's Witness who does not believe in blood transfusions can refuse a life-saving transfusion for himself or herself if he or she is an adult, but cannot make that decision for a minor child. The same should be true of vaccinations. Furthermore, if a quack practitioner advises parents against vaccination when valid medical doctors recommend it, that practitioner should be held liable for civil damages should the child be injured or die.

Finally, I never said all chiropractors are quacks. I have received good care from chiropractors on the recommendation of my M.D. I have nothing against chiropractors who stick to what they are good at. The quacks are those who say they can cure major diseases and boost immune systems through chiropractic manipulation. "Holistic" medicine is a good thing but "holistic" means inclusive and not totally rejecting modern medicine.
E. Scott Cracraft

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People see how billionaires bend the system to their self interests

To The Daily Sun,

Even as the world recovers from a deep recession, the number of billionaires around the world has dramatically increased. This statistic comes from research done by Ruchir Sharma. His new book "The Rise and Fall of Nations" indicates that there has been an 80 percent rise in billionaires all over the world since 2009, based on figures released by Morgan Stanley Management.

Sharma tells us how billionaires invest and spend their wealth can tell us about the strength of our economy. Billionaires are able to make more money by investing in real estate and the stock market, illustrating the old saying that the more you have the more you get. In fact the United States has more billionaires than all other countries in the world.

Why should we care or be concerned? Isn't it part of the American way to celebrate those who do so well (or in this case "weller than well")?

The problem it seems is that when nations have that much concentrated wealth at the very top, these billionaires will use their wealth and access to influence policies in the country where they live, as well as in any country where they have one of their multiple homes or business interests. The drawback is that this concentrated wealth is used to bolster their own narrow interests at the expense of not the 99 percent, but the 99.9 percent.

The domination by the uber-wealthy few also creates a backlash. People aren't blind. They see how the billionaires bend the system to their narrow self-interests, and how everyone else is left out or ignored. Neither their wealth nor their power is shared in any way. There is no sense of proportion or responsibility.

Hostilities develop naturally. People won't put up with this forever. Those in the middle or poorer classes won't be content to suffer because the billionaires want to continually take more and more. They are the real "takers," not those who work and struggle every day to get ahead, or to at least keep their heads above water.

The growing inequality of jobs, wages, housing, education, and buying power, among other things, cannot be sustained indefinitely. In the end the plutocrats will reap what they sow.

Bernadette Loesch

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