Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 10, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
Tuesday, December 10, 1974 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD 5 Miraculous medicine causing problems By Max Wilde, London Observer commentator GENEVA Even as the idea spreads that all men have equal rights, the progress of 1 medicine is generating the most glaring inequalities. The number of patients saved is increasing in absolute terms, but the percentage of patients saved compared with those who might be saved is steadily diminishing. This paradox is examined by Professor Jean Ham- burger, a member of the Academy of Sciences of Prance, and an expert in kidney transplants, in the Chronicle of the World Health Organization. Professor Hamburger cites the fact that people die every year from destruction of their kidneys, but that only about five per cent are saved because they live where ar- tificial kidneys are available and kidney transplants can be performed. But even if all the dis- parities in the availability of medical care were removed and all countries became fully developed, Professor Ham- burger maintains that we could be going out of the fry- ing pan into the fire, for the immediate results would be an enormous increase in the world's population and the ex- plosive growth of an already very alarming demographic problem. It is largely through the development of hygiene and medicine that mankind has let itself be drawn into a popula- tion expansion that has been gathering momentum at an unbelievable rate for some years past. "It took years for human population to reach million, and it will take 35 years for this figure to double." Science, Professor Ham- burger believes, has reached a point imagined in Goethe's ballad, when the sorcerer's apprentice cries: "Master, O Master, the peril is great: the spirits I have called up have escaped my This myth has now become a reality. Man is acquiring un- dreamt of powers: the progress of science makes him every day more able to act upon the world and upon events. Yet the consequences of these new powers have by no means been wholly beneficial and are in fact creating a host of new and dis- turbing problems. Until recent years a physi- cian described the sicknesses of man but did not change their course. Today he takes a hand in destiny: he has the means of preventing or curing half the diseases that were once invariably fatal. Doctors can counterfeit certain essen- tial organs such as the kidney; vaccines exist which give protection against a whole range of communicable dis- eases; old men can be prevented from dying of pneumonia and newborn babies from contracting dis- eases of the blood. And yet that very power is giving rise to 101 unexpected difficulties, partly because the traditional organization of medicine has been unable to adjust itself fully to these changes. From the practical point of view the amount of new data the doctor has to absorb is increasing at such a rate that it is no longer possible for anyone to know the whole of medicine. There are over 150 antibiotics, each with its own dosage schedules and side effects, while there are more than varieties of poisoning listed at the anti poison centres. Even in a speciality as narrow as transplant immunology (Professor Hamburger's own) he relates that his laboratory had to take out subscriptions to 31 different journals from which it extracted, catalogued and classified, for the last year alone, over articles. In short, even the specialist is unable to keep pace with the growing abundance of new data, many of which are nevertheless essential if every patient is to benefit from medical progress. Another problem emphasiz- ed by Professor Hamburger is that the progress of medicine may endanger the genetic quality of the human species by allowing individuals with hereditary defects to survive, procreate and thus make such defects still more widespread. In the case of phenylketonuria, which affects one individual in and results in the early death of physically and mentally retarded children, it is only necessary to prescribe an appropriate diet for the child to become an apparently nor- mal adult, but capable of propagating the abnormality. Another example is hereditary pyloric stenosis. Since the surgical cure for that disorder was discovered, one expert maintains, its fre- quency has already increased 50 times. Professor Ham- burger comments: "If one thinks of all the diseases that have a genetic component diabetes, mental disorders and many others one cannot but be frightened at the speed at which the new resources of medicine may reasonably be expected to enable these dis- eases to propagate themselves in geometical progression, from generation to generation." When it comes to finding solutions for these and many other problems Professor Hamburger decisively rejects the "anti scientific movement" that has been emerging in recent years. He says: "We cannot turn the clock back; man cannot go back to cruelty and disease. We cannot pretend to forget what we have learned; we cannot escape our destiny, shaped as it is by the desire for knowledge and the power Berry's World 1974 by NEA. Inc "But Mom and Dad because of the cost of living, we were planning to move in with German political life leans towards conservatism By F. S. Manor, Herald special commentator summing up my European journey I cannot but return to Germany and her future. Today, economically the Western world is carried on two pillars, the United States and Germany, two countries with strong economies and solid currencies. (There is a feeling in Europe that the dollar is purposely undervalued to keep down America's foreign trade Whatever buffeting the United States may yet ex- perience, her economy is basically sound. The question is whether the same applies to Germany. Geographically, Germany is an encircled land. To the east she faces a hostile Communist world, and all the comforting phrases about the benefits of the Ostpolitik will not make the Soviet divisions disappear. South and west she faces countries whose economies are disintegrating under the impact of the present crisis. Italy is on the verge of collapse, and it is impossible to forecast what will happen in France. A collapse in Italy could be infectious and have stark repercussions upon the future of the Western world. At present, Germany has a stable government, a chancellor who is an economist, has political courage and does not have to worry about election that is still two years away. The unions, too, being largely led by trained economists, under- stand the meaning of economics. A union official told me that relations between the unions and employers are better now than they were even in the halcyon days of the Weimar republic. Thus the unions oppose featherbedding and agree that the crisis- stricken industries auto- mobiles, textiles and construction should reduce their productive capacity be put on short time while their excess labor is retrained to seek employment in in- dustries that still have labor shortages. The union official said high wages should be mercilessly taxed to provide capital for social expansion. He did not speak about "soaking the or about "corporate rip-off." He was quite happy that the steel industry was making a 14 per cent profit, although last year labor agreed to only a 5.7 per cent wage increase. No union wants to kill the goose that is still laying the golden eggs of prosperity. "We want better education for our children and an improved quality of life rather than more money in the wage he said. These sentiments were echoed by Willy Brandt, the former chancellor, at a small party which I attended. He acknowledged that the trend amidst university and high school students was away from the leftwing parties, towards the centre. He had an ingenious explanation for this. In the post-war years, he said, the teachers and professors were mostly hold-overs from the past, nationalistic and reactionary, and the youth reacted to them by embracing leftwing doctrines. Now the leachers are radically left- wing and the youth is again reacting, by turning away Berry's World 1974 lyy "He's been inspired again! He's cranking out stuff he thinks might appeal to the oil from their teachers and their Marxist propaganda. Mr. Brandt was quite con- cerned about the influx of aca- demics into the Social Demo- cratic party, people who were pushing out both veteran com- rades and sound ideas, bring- ing in instead their strange, purely academic concepts. The leftwing demand for wholesale nationalization fill- ed Mr. Brandt with abhorrence. He quoted a pre- war socialist who visualized a socialist economy as one huge state enterprise. "I am ap- palled by such a Mr. Brandt said. He acknowledged that in Germany, and perhaps elsewhere too, there was a swing back towards conser- vatism, and he himself was not opposed to conservatism. "A good reformer wants to conserve what is good in society and reform what needs and he add- ed that his last election cam- paign, that brought the Socialist party to power, was based on such a half conser- vative platform. The ieftwing Young Socialists, the German equivalent of Canada's Waffle, agree that the trend is to the right, adding that the Social Democratic party is more than half-conservative. Their chairman in Munich, a 31-year-old university lecturer in political science, thought that many of the socialist par- ties in Northern Europe appeared tired. In Germany, student unions that until three years ago were in the hands of Marxists now have Christian Democratic executives. He believed the problem of socialism cannot be solved nationally, and although he described himself as "anti- he thought the only way to bring about- a socialist Europe would be through close collaboration with the Italian and French Communists. He was, however, scathing of the German Communists, who in his view are too close to Moscow. In Italy and France, he said, it is different: The Communist parties are no longer totalitarian and have adapted themselves to parliamentary democracy. He also remarked that he almost never travelled abroad, which may account for his rosy vi- sion of the foreign Com- munists. Yet even this young man did not expect socialism of his Marxist brand to come to power in Europe earlier than in about 20 years. The swing away from socialism does not go any further than the right of- centre Christian Democrats. No experiments, seems to re- main the abiding watchword of the German electorate, which remembers the woes Nazism had brought to Ger- many, and which can see, across the zonal boundaries, the woes communism brings to their fellow Germans. However, as the young Socialist chairman correctly diagnosed, an electorate will always blame the government for economic disasters even though the government's margin of action is very narrow. Therefore, should Germany's prosperity dis- appear in a general economic crisis and the unemployment rise to two million, the Schmidt government would be in serious trouble. Many speak of the possibili- ty of a new grand coalition, an all-party government with Helmut Schmidt as chancellor. Yet people con- tinue to wonder whether this would solve Germany's, problems. Last-century economics have become obso- lete, a woman political scien- tist, and a prominent Social Democrat, told me. There are too many subsidies given to industries, the middle classes are being squeezed, family cohesion is weakening and we have nothing to put in its place. Another academic thought that even though revolutionary theories have lost their attraction, liber- alism remains bereft of any cogent theoretical basis, which makes it unattractive. Germany has avoided the major economic ills of her neighbors, but is suffering from the universal political malaise that has afflicted the Western world. The traditions of Enlightenment have fragmented our critical analysis, and we have no ideals left with which to face the future. This worries thoughtful people even more than the spectre of an economic collapse. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Peaceful way the best Occupations, marches and border closings. Just how long will the few militant Indians continue to fight the very laws that make this country so good to live in while all of the law abiding ones suffer for the ill manners and ill behavior of the few? Then to make matters worse the militants in Canada have so little support from other Canadian Indians they have to call on the militants from another country who can go home after they have made the fight look like a large number of Canadian Indians are interested. There is no question that in some ways the treaties have not been kept and that in many ways the Indians need the right kind of help to get de- cent housing, education, medical care and other basic things that most Canadians take for granted but to fight the government that pays the bills fur these things is nut the way to go about it. The Indians must work for these things in a peaceful way. They must go to the pi oper government officials in an orderly and mannerly way like civilized human beings, not like ignorant wild savages. We, like all other Canadians, have our needs and our rights. Were others to go after things in a militant way we soon would have so much internal chaos that no one would feel safe and law and order would soon dis- appear. Then no one would have anything good. There would be no peace and the government would become as it is in so many other countries', always falling, or a police state would result. Freedom in a country like Canada does not mean freedom for a few to make trouble for the rest of the peo- ple or to push them around. Freedom means the free right to vote and then to ask for the elected officials to carry out the wishes of the people. SHEEP WOMAN HUNTER Cardston Demonstrate concern As Christmas approaches Southern Albertans have the opportunity to show other Canadians that we are concerned about the suffering and death of our brothers elsewhere. We can do this by supporting the Cup of Milk Fund, the Dec. 19 National Awareness Fast sponsored by OXFAM any agency of our choice. Canadians have done nothing to deserve the lux- uries that we enjoy and the starving have done nothing to deserve the misery and dis- ease caused, in some cases, by foreign ownership of their lands. A little "conscience money" will not do the job but a firm commitment to rid the world of hunger can succeed. W. SCHMID Lethbridge to acquire it. On the contrary, what we probably need is vastly more research, infor- mation and thought to over- come the problems that are facing us." Professor Hamburger concludes that the problem is, in the last analysis, political. Experts can work out reasonable solutions compati- ble both with the survival of the human species and man's desires and moral im- peratives, but they cannot gain general acceptance of what they propose: "Neither the biologist nor the physician can help the politician to set- tle this vital question." Can individuals help? By Eva Brewster, freelance writer The greatest misfortune of this century in our part cf the world is the negative approach to life we have instilled in our young. In this area, more than in any other, individuals can help to make amends. Parents, teachers, society as a whole, should rethink attitudes and start again. Most of us blame young peo- ple for copping out, lack of initiative and in- difference; just to discover, somewhat late, that in many instances we are barking up the wrong tree. To give an example: It took me three years of being a guest speaker on freelance writing at the LCC's journalism class to arrive at an answer to an apparently simple question: Why was a large percentage of aspiring journalists so con- spicuous by their absence from lectures? This year, I tried to narrow the generation gap by asking an unusually enthusiastic group a few questions. "What kind of journalistic career do you have in mind? What would you do if you didn't immediately find the type of employment you are looking for? Would you sit on your backsides, get stale and hope for better times? Would you switch jobs and forget about your chosen career? Hardly, if writing is in your blood." The answers surprised me. Most students hadn't decided what they wanted to do except to just write but they had been told one couldn't live on the income from freelance work. What was such a negative approach doing to the love of adven- ture once so natural to the young of every generation? And doesn't your ability to "live on your income" depend largely on what you want out of life? My own approach is that freelance jour- nalism is rewarding and exciting for these simple reasons: as a freelancer you are not tied to a desk, subject to a single employer's likes and dislikes, policies or moods. Instead, the whole wide world is your oyster. You can take on and learn about other people's jobs; you can travel (lack of money never stopped adventurous youth) and gain experience. As a result, your work becomes that much more interesting. Writing like any other job you want to do well requires patience, discipline and stamina but, once you have proved you are reliable and sincere as well as hard working and talented, the rewards are great. If a person who started writing at an age when others begin to think about retirement can make a career of it, how much better a chance for youngsters who have their whole life ahead of them? But being told they couldn't exist on future earnings discouraged these students from finding out about the vast fields available and the many organizations in Canada alone that exist to help and support young writers. This lack of encouragement is not confined to college and journalism students. Parents dampening their toddlers' enthusiasm: "You want to be a truckdriver or a fireman? Forget it, you'll go to university and earn a lot of money when you grow are starting the pattern and it continues in our schools. A high school teacher, failing the funniest, most brilliant essay on Greek mythology I ever read, explained in red ink underneath: "This subject did not ask for light hearted treatment." The boy who wrote it never dared vent his puckish sense of humor again an irretrievable loss to a world so lacking in fun and laughter. Another teacher, who happened to be a football coach, evaluated his students in different subjects on their prowess on the football field. Youngsters, no matter how good in anything else, didn't stand a chance of getting good reports unless they belonged to the team. Winning to this man was everything and he literally burst into tears and penalized his students whenever they were defeated in a game. Youngsters' negative attitudes aren't helped by the odd police officer who won't forgive past sins and threatens kids found, against his expectations, to be innocent of a suspected misdemeanor: "I'll get you yet; you won't make a fool of me again." This treatment is hard on young persons who made a real effort to straighten out. Nor is their belief in justice encouraged by the odd judge whose verdicts are vindictive or dic- tated by his own passions or prejudices. And then there are employers who exploit young people. The list of discouragement from childhood through adolescence is endless. Most of us agree that life isn't fair but we can help to make it so, excluding disasters beyond human control. Since almost all of us fall within some category able to help the young regain their spirit of initiative and trust, we can each do something to make our world the exciting adventure it was to previous generations. REPORT TO READERS Developing opinions of the news By Jeanne Beaty, Herald staff writer Writing editorials is one of the most satisfying jobs in journalism. It is also decep- tively demanding. The amount of information that can and should be absorbed by an editorial writer is endless. Primary sources include daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports from Statistics Canada, as well as reports from other government agencies; news releases and monthly publications from private industries, labor organizations, commercial institutions; and reports from foreign embassies in Ot- tawa. Secondary sources include The Financial Post and Financial Times, the daily press of Canada, daily resumes of the foreign press, the weekly Economist, the daily Inter- national Herald Tribune from Paris, The Wall Street Journal, FP, New York Times and Observer columnists and much more. It might be said, offhand, that a good editorial writer is one who knows when to stop reading and start writing. The editorial should be lucid, logical, con- cise and purposeful. Its purpose can vary. Editorials can be informative, or a'dvocative. or inquisitive or persuasive or they can simp- ly be commentary. But they should always be honest. Although interpretation of the news is a critical function of a newspaper, editorial writers do not pretend to be omniscient. They are producing opinion, albeit informed opinion, and they do not consider themselves to be infallible. It is a source cf disappointment and even frustration that, generally speaking, Herald editorials do not arouse much intellectual dis- cussion via the letters column or articles sub- mitted for publication. Hundreds of persons living in The Herald area have valuable ideas and information to offer on subject matter raised in editorials but do not make use of the opportunities to do so for a variety of reasons. It is a common assumption that this news- paper has a political leaning. If so, it has es- caped the notice of this writer in more than a year of producing daily editorials. The motives of the editorial page staff seem to be centered not around the fortunes of a given political party but around ideas. The staff has a concern for Lethbridge and its relationship with the province, for Alberta and its relationship with the country as a whole, and for Canada and its relationship with the rest of the world. There exists on the staff an overriding conviction that readers should be made aware of the interdependent nature of their existence on this planet. From a personal point of view, an editorial should ask the questions that no one else seems to be asking. It should hold common assumptions up to the light of public scrutiny. It should remind politicians of what they said yesterday and remind voters that tomorrow is their direct concern. It is the policy of this newspaper that editorials should clarify sub- ject matter and that simply to provoke controversy is not a suitable purpose. With few exceptions, the editorials in this paper are produced by three people: Cleo Mowers, the editor and publisher, Doug Walker, editor of the editorial page, and me. Infrequently there are disagreements about interpreting some trend or single item of news, but it should be said that no one writes what he does not believe. All are free to say what they think ought to be said about topics which they believe should be discussed. This responsibility is one of the delights of the job and it is a rare occasion when the editor and publisher, who should have the final word, turns back an editorial. If an editorial is initialed in its published form, this is because it is looked on more as a personal opinion than the opinion of the newspaper. The Herald editorial page is sometimes criticized for its American content. The charge can be answered in two ways, once one has settled on a definition of American content. In the first place, a check of back issues will not uirn up a disproportionate amount of American content. In the second place, it would be a head in the sand at- titude to ignore the powerful and populous na- tion to the south of this country. Whatever happens to the U.S. economy does matter to Canada. Whatever happens on the cultural and social scene does affect this country. The defence posture of the U.S. is vital to Canada. It would be foolish and editorially unwise to ignore these de facto ties. It helps in writing editorials if one is a skep- tic. Subject matter is easier to find. It also helps if one is an optimist. It makes- the necessary concentration of effort seem worthwhile to hope that someone, somewhere will gain from having read the editorial column. Most of all, it helps if one has made the magnificent, and possibly philosophical discovery that life is not finding the answers; life is asking the questions. Letting himself in for something By Doug Walker Mel and Helen Fowler of Edmonton called at our place on their way to a wedding at Assiniboia, Saskatchewan. Elspeth and Helen had some CGIT business to consult about. When it was learned that Mel was to be master of ceremonies at the wedding recep- tion Elspeth said to Helen, "Do you trust Mel to do a thing like "I'm scared to death of what he will Helen replied. Elspeth said to> Mel, "how corne the groom asked you to be master of "Oh, he's a dumb said Mel.