Kicking the Habit
I did not think I would live long enough to read an article dealing with the subject matter in “Breaking the Growth Habit,” by Bill McKibben. During my 72 years as a citizen of the U.S., I’ve lived out West, back East, up North and down South. There was always a local chamber of commerce stating that if a town was not in a perpetual state of growth, it was not healthy. Isn’t growth for the sake of growth the philosophy of cancer?
Much of what McKibben writes is silly. The idea of completely stopping economic growth is not only crazy but in one fell swoop dooms the couple of billion people living below the poverty level on Earth, as well as their descendants, to bare subsistence living for eternity. That is not only nuts, it is morally indefensible. His ideas on local agriculture are also way off track.
I happen to have lived in a rural community before “industrial farming” existed. I remember the lean diet we had during winter: root vegetables, cabbage as the only salad, canned beans and tomatoes, etcetera, but no fresh green vegetables at all. I do not want to go back to that, nor do I need to. I like having fresh Chilean blueberries available in midwinter, crisp lettuce all year long as well as a cornucopia of other fresh, healthy produce. If McKibben wants to revert back to the lean old days, fine—but do not preach it to me!
Richard L. Huber
New York City
As an investigator, I appreciate how Thomas R. Insel’s “Faulty Circuits” ends with a few comments regarding the transition taking place in psychiatry from a subjective, mental-based discipline to one thoroughly grounded in neuroscience. The intrinsic Cartesian dualist bias that has for so long restrained psychiatry may at long last be loosening its grasp, thus allowing psychiatry to join the other medical specialties, thoroughly grounded in sound scientific practice.