I had a professor in college who was a so-called expert in industrial effluents. When he was invited to speak to the potato industry, his presentation would be about steel industry effluents. When he spoke to the steel industry, he would talk about the effluents from the potato industry. He simply would not discuss the topic with experts on their own turf.
That professor reminds me a great deal of John Brenan, who recently defended capitalism on the Gazette-Times opinion page. I’m not sure whether it would be more damning of Mr. Brenan to show he is simply wrong or to allow that he is smart enough to intentionally cherry-pick facts for an audience he knows is ignorant of economics and history.
His is a cheap shot to formulate the question, “Would you rather live in Corvallis or Cuba?” He could instead compare Corvallis with Scandinavia, with Germany, with Canada, with Australia — all of which have a higher standard of living, a longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, higher per capita income, etc. Mr. Brenan’s beloved “unbridled capitalism” results in rivers that catch on fire, child labor atrocities, a devastated middle class, etc. Balanced economies flourish, unbridled economies collapse in societal-damaging great recessions (can Mr. Brenan not remember eight years back?) I suggest he bring some experts into the discussion. However, I suspect he will simply keep preaching to his own choir. (By the way: Cuba’s infant mortality rate is 20 percent lower than the U.S. rate.)
Corvallis (June 25)