In response to your Nov. 28 editorial, "Europe's telltale year": The Monitor's View cannot be more wrong in its assessment of why the Europeans rejected the current integration progress of the European Union.
You suggest the reason is mostly because of "fears about an immigration threat - of Muslims invading French and Dutch culture...." But if you had asked the French, the main reason for the rejection is the dichotomy between the French people and the political class, which resulted in a very bad draft for the European constitution.
I voted, with ambivalence, against the document proposed because I saw it as a recipe for failure - and not at all because I'm against the evolution of the EU.
To be specific on the top issues, the draft constitution: (a) had an imperfect text "cast in concrete" and very difficult to amend; (b) lacked definition of the executive power; and (c) had a proposed text that was way too long and tended to blur the definition of the constitutional principles with the laws which must be voted for and amended by the European Parliament.
Now many groups are working on a better text, and there is no doubt in my mind that this setback will yield a better EU constitution, which will be widely accepted. There may be a silver lining in this wait.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Regarding the Dec. 28 article, "A pill they won't swallow": I'm delighted to read that medical students are questioning their relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. Refusing the logo-emblazoned pens may be a symbolic gesture, but I hope it represents deeper questioning of this relationship.
There is an even more concerning relationship that has evolved between the pharmaceutical industry and medical research and education. Having lost most of the governmental and institutional monies to fund research and education, much of the money now originates from the pharmaceutical industry. This has created a significant conflict of interest in the "evidence-based medicine" that has become the new mantra - one that indeed makes it difficult for patients to continue to trust physicians.
It is critical for more physicians to wake up and speak out. We need to scrutinize evidence more objectively, instead of being spoon-fed by the pharmaceutical industry under the guise of "evidence-based medicine." At the hands of pharmaceutical corporations chasing our dollars, we have allowed one modality - medications - to dominate what we know today as "Western medicine." Do we truly want a medical system that ignores centuries of wisdom in other modalities?
As long as the pharmaceutical industry is running the show, medical education certainly isn't free to be objective toward alternative medical practices. I wonder how long the US medical system will continue to be revered.
Anne French, MD
Regarding the Dec. 30 article, "Better living ... as measured by PCs, VCRs": I am curious as to whether or not poorer citizens are gaining access to material items like dishwashers, air conditioning, and PCs through their salary or through creditcard debt. If poorer people are acquiring material possessions along with debt, it can't be good for the future of our nation. What's the trade-off? Is the quality of life without a PC or a dishwasher so bad that it has to be ameliorated by accruing debt?
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