Cue the Tumbrils…
However phony the cry “Fix the Debt!” may be [“Stacking the Deck,” March 11/18], it seems the superrich have prevailed. Their castle was gallantly defended at the ramparts by their minions (vanquishing loophole closures and taxes on their gold). The superrich will continue to live in comfort in the castle, and outside, the country will be in turmoil. But sooner or later the castle dwellers will hear the roar from outside…
King Coal Deposed
Kudos for suggesting that the climate crisis requires a radical solution in “The Keystone Test” [March 11/18]. But when it comes to coal-fired electricity plants, your solution isn’t radical enough. The answer isn’t improved emission standards; it’s the elimination of coal as a fuel. Utopian? Not in Ontario. By 2014, this province will have closed its entire fleet of coal-burning power facilities, which at their peak produced as much air pollution as 6 million cars. And many of the jobs connected to coal combustion will be preserved because the plants are not being destroyed; they’re being converted to burn cleaner things such as natural gas and sustainably harvested wood pellets. Ontario is proving that an advanced industrial economy can renounce the most climate-destructive fuel while still providing sufficient power. What we need from The Nation is not more discussion of emission standards but insistence that the “zero option” is now entirely viable.
GIDEON FORMAN, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Aquarian Love-Rock Be-In
About author Seth Rosenfeld’s letter on Berkeley in the late ’60s [March 11/18]: the writer either never attended a performance of the Living Theatre’s Paradise Now or didn’t understand what was going on. “Stripping down and lighting up” was not a disruption of the performance; it was one of the goals of the performance. Audience participation (of whatever kind) was what the theater troupe was trying to incite. It didn’t follow a typical script.
The Bureaucrats of Academe
After asking “When was the last time a college or university president produced an edgy piece of commentary, or took a daring stand on a contentious matter?” [“University Presidents—Speak Out!” March 11/18] Scott Sherman takes us way back to the presidencies of James Conant, Robert Hutchins, Kingman Brewster and Clark Kerr and, working his way up to the present, cites a few examples of leaders who have spoken out on issues that are “closer in to higher education.” He ends his timely and provocative piece by citing a 2001 article by Theodore Hesburgh, the former president of Notre Dame: “We cannot urge students to have the courage to speak out unless we are willing to do so ourselves.”