Written by Opinion Wednesday, January 30, 2013 12:00 am
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To the editor:
Mr. Grossman claims in his Jan. 24 letter that my criticisms of his columns were distortions. Distorting his claims was unnecessary; in defending himself, he addresses counterclaims using irrelevancies and spaghetti logic.
For example, he claims that he never said that poverty was self-inflicted. However, if you link his claim that the Constitution has provided sufficient opportunities (education, liberty and prosperity) for racial minorities (uses Frederick Douglass as example) together with the claim that residents of the Gates “hang around and watch TV,” then you get exactly what I said that he said.
Backing up and blaming government doesn’t work either. Private business large and small is often part of the problem in skirting hiring and workplace laws.
As an apparent free-market fundamentalist, Grossman defended the casinos and disparaged the TechCenter and Stockton. Small-minded provincialism in the industry and region – not government regulations or a shutdown in advance of a storm – has resulted in the casino complex having hardly grown into more than one big head shop. The overwhelming proportion of ex-casino employees that I have spoken to would not work there again.
Last week a letter writer nicely elaborated on the industry’s management attitude. My observations as a former CoC member forced me to reconsider doing business with them. The TechCenter has produced documented implementable strategies to improve transportation safety, and despite some politics and strong personalities, generally is less dysfunctional than most private industries. People like me who worked on drill rigs in the South and crunched numbers in the North saw the hollow business landscape and fled. Aviation and health care are industries to anchor regional business, whereas entertainment has utility but is gravy. Asking rhetorical questions about purported congressional back scratching and corporate politics doesn’t counter the above facts.
Mr. Grossman’s universal argument of government and public education as the primary causes of social ills and business failures while offering private business as the chained savior is just too simplistic for anyone but a conspiracy theorist, and such a frame apparently serves his own career choice.
He was not very convincing, as his “method of proof” usually amounted to asking rhetorical questions, cherry-picking information, extrapolating beyond the data and relying on fringe sources.
Fairness implies that we seek varied sources for information on issues, even if those sources differ from our own predisposed opinions or political bent. His column became more acrimonious at the end of its run. If he wants to escalate this as a letter writer, that’s his decision.
Sometimes T.H. Huxley’s advice applies: “Life is much too short to occupy oneself with the defeating of the defeated more than once.” Let's move on.