Commentary | Letters

Kudos, brah.

Re: “Don’t Defame. Debate.”  | Commentary | October 6
Dear McGill Daily,

Kudos to Richard Carozza for “Don’t Defame. Debate.” A few parts were, I thought, a bit of a stretch, but on the whole everything in the article sounded genuine and heartfelt, and, what’s more, completely reasonable. I look forward to reading more from him in the future.

Sam Baker
U2 Joint-Honours Mathematics and Economics
VP Communications of the Economics Students’ Association

This is ridiculous

Dear McGill Daily,

I really need to vent about the little known fact that due to the McGill strike, all vaccinations and immunizations are currently unavailable. This might not sound like a big deal to those of you from nearby McGill, but, for international students, it really really sucks. Since we don’t have provincial healthcare anywhere, we’re forced to go to private clinics and pay several dollars up front for one of these shots.
Maybe this sounds whiny, but the whole point of vaccines is that they are preventative medicine. In my case, I went to McGill seeking the second shot in the time sensitive HPV vaccine. It requires three different shots over a three to four month period. It’s bad enough my primary healthcare service requires me to wait in line several hours for any appointment, but now I have to pay $100 to $400 up front because I don’t want cervical cancer.
The crazy thing is, there is a semi-solution. As far as I can tell, students can get dental services at Concordia’s clinic because of the strike. (This is what I have been told, it could be up in the air.)  Why can’t McGill have a reciprocal arrangement for something like vaccines or the flu shot? They take all of three minutes, so they wouldn’t be a huge burden.

Thanks for listening,

Erin Hale
U4 Philosophy Honours
Former Coordinating News Editor 2009-2010

You are a fabulist

Madam Principal,

Your most recent communication regarding the strike, “We are all McGill,” seems to say two contradictory things at once: both that “we are all McGill,” and that “by dint of their recent actions, MUNACA members are not a part of McGill.” It has the clear intention of rallying its readers both around you and against MUNACA members while saying nothing either substantive or documented about why exactly.
A university principal used to be a practicing academic. You are a practicing bureaucrat and fabulist. A university principal used to have an interest – and pride – in the knowledge and calibre of its graduates. You have an interest in their money and influence. You know very well that “sharp but civil” discourse is a losing tactic for anyone but yourself and your cabal of administrator cronies, since it is in fact not discourse that wins the day here at old McGill, but money and power. Your tenure as principal of this university is an embarrassment: certainly to my parents and me but also to many with whom you presume to stand in solidarity. I can only hope that you will, in time, come to see for yourself exactly how shameful it is.

Sincerely,

Cole Powers
U2 Philosophy

Don’t discount nuance

Re: “Daily, please don’t drink the corporate Kool-Aid”  | Commentary | October 13
Dear McGill Daily,

The commentary article “Daily, please don’t drink the corporate Kool-Aid”, written by Niko Block in response to a Daily feature about private research funding (“The Oil Patch and the Ivory Tower,” September 17) gives a misleading, vitriolic and myopic account of how scientific progress is credited and funded. The two main points of his commentary seems to be: ‘Scientific progress must be rescued from those who want to make a buck, and anyone with mixed feelings on the subject is uninformed.’ This attitude is, quite frankly, insulting to anyone who works in scientific research.
Public and private research teams have their own strengths and weaknesses, and these differences are critically important to scientific advancement as a whole. Private companies invest enormous capital into basic science investigation, testing, and product production; in return they expect to make a profit. Public research labs invest resources into research, with the goal of publishing scientific articles and subsequently receiving more public money. The uniting factor between these two groups is the scientific process of validation. If one particular research group reports an important discovery, others will attempt to repeat these findings. Scientists are not stupid; they do not simply accept news at face value.
Suggesting that publicly funded scientists have been fed “corporate Kool-Aid” implies that academic researchers are too blind or too stupid to question anything that comes out of Big Industry. Block appears to believe that a scientist who accepts private money is clearly misinformed and must be educated about the inherent evilness of corporations. Those best suited to evaluate scientific partnership between public and private industry are scientists themselves, not armchair critics. The relationship between science and profit is complicated; Palus’ measured discussion of the issue is a far better piece of journalism than Block’s offensive, knee-jerk reaction.

Alex Danco
Masters 1 Neuroscience

Don’t assume it’s self-evident

Re: “Crisis and action”  | Commentary | October 17, 2011
Dear McGill Daily,

While I agree with the general sentiment expressed in the article “Crisis and action” about income inequality, I feel that the author has made the common mistake of presenting statistics in lieu of real arguments about the harms of income inequality. All too often, we on the Left simply assume the self-evidence of our stance against income inequality without addressing the competing idea of meritocracy. The reality is that meritocracy and income equality stand on equal moral high ground and, in order to win over the general public, we must not ignore arguments coming from the other side.
The great stumbling block to arguing against income inequality is the idea most people have that not only is meritocracy fair, it is also essential for a healthy economy. Our job, as activists, is to show how reducing income inequality does not necessarily conflict with meritocracy, and is actually beneficial to the functioning of the economy. There are many arguments that can be made to prove this point, such as pointing out the negative externalities of poverty, the decreasing marginal utility of money, and the psychology of monetary incentives.
Unless we go beyond using only vague feelings of unfairness to support our position, the public will continue to see the Occupy movement, and the Left in general, as naive and out of touch with economic realities. It is essential for us to challenge this stereotype by making much more of an effort to flesh out our position with concrete arguments that address the economic as well as the moral aspects of the issue.

Xiuqi (Rex) Xia
U1 Political Science and Microbiology and Immunology

America needs wealth creation

Re: “From Tahrir Square to Wall Street”  | Commentary | October 17
Dear McGill Daily,

Regarding Carozza’s Hyde Park on the state of the American economy: while I welcome the attention that Carozza has drawn towards such an important issue, I couldn’t help but find his conclusion rather counterproductive to his apparent aims.
It is no secret that the American “corporatocracy,” as it is referred to in the article, is a sizable behemoth, one that stands in the way of much needed economic and political progress. Yet, the real problem is not that these companies are earning too much, but that they are sitting on their earnings, too scared to invest. What is needed is an economic atmosphere where growth can occur, and as the free-market has seemingly failed to create this, it is necessary for the government to do so artificially.
This does not mean raising taxes. This means working with and being tough on businesses. For too long debate has revolved around numbers, and not persons. A social security paycheck is not equivalent to a paycheck. The threatening rhetoric of Carozza – “citizens…made an investment in you. Now it’s time to cash in” – runs counter to the clarity, objectivity and far-sightedness that is precisely necessary at this critical moment. Just as the middle class does not need to be the target of austerity measures, neither does business. America needs wealth creation, not wealth redistribution.

Chris Liu
U1 Political Science and Philosophy


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