Columnist’s logging protest piece attracts varied reader responses

Letter writers respond re: Avatar sequel bombs in Walbran (B.C. Views, Jan. 13)

Re: Avatar sequel bombs in Walbran (B.C. Views, Jan. 13)

Thanks for Tom Fletcher’s piece in which he chastised folks who don’t realize that trees are a renewable crop. As he points out, Avatar had an anti-capitalist message. Unfortunately, the anti-capitalist folks have no idea what capitalism really is.

The general basis of capitalism is described in Adam Smith’s 1776 book, The Wealth of Nations. Smith was describing a system for generating the most good for the most people. His book was not titled The Wealth of Greedy People.

Over the last hundred years or so, the form of capitalism being practised is a nasty sub-set called Utilitarianism. This is an immoral system promoted by Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economists. Friedman actually wrote: “Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible … If businessmen do have a social responsibility other than making maximum profits for stockholders, how are they to know what it is?”

People who are suffering under the current system might suggest that Friedman and his disciples should consider moral and ethical guidelines such as The Golden Rule, which appears in almost every body of religious thought in the world. Rotarians promote the concepts of service, truth, fairness, goodwill and mutual benefit.

Fortunately, there are capitalists who are trying to introduce ethics and morals to corporate officials who have been trained by Utilitarian professors. I recommend the Caux Round Table (cauxroundtable.org/) and the Global Financial Integrity Program (gfintegrity.org/) to anyone who would like to improve the prevailing corporate culture.

David StocksColwood

 

Sierra Club fights back for forest protection

Re: Avatar sequel bombs in Walbran (B.C. Views, Jan. 13)

According to Tom Fletcher, “an employee of the B.C. branch plant of Sierra Club lurks, apparently co-ordinating media and protesters” regarding logging in the Walbran Valley

He’s referring to me. Far from lurking, I’m proud to be campaigning with Sierra Club BC to save the some of the last significant stands of unprotected old-growth on Vancouver Island. (And, to correct but one of the many misleading or false claims in Fletcher’s piece, Sierra Club BC is entirely independent.)

Fletcher’s diatribe reveals him as Teal Jones’ willing stenographer, uncritically regurgitating the logging company’s talking points. Fletcher and Teal Jones may believe it is morally and ecologically acceptable to cut down these magnificent trees and destroy complex, delicate ecosystems. Sierra Club BC doesn’t, and nor do the majority of British Columbians, who support concerted action to defend endangered old-growth trees, wildlife, a stable climate, clean water and clean air.

British Columbians know that these things form the life-support system of our planet and support long-term prosperity and a diverse economy, including sustainable second-growth forestry for current and future generations.

A growing list of independent reports from B.C.’s Auditor General, the Forest Practices Board and even a Liberal MLA highlight the need for urgent action to save our forests.

It’s long past time for the provincial government to reverse the damage done when it gutted the rules governing logging.

Fourteen years of trusting corporate interests to manage our forests with little or no oversight has got to stop.

Mark Worthing

Sierra Club B.C