Readers write: Hope for the future, blustery weather, and animal rights

Letters to the editor for the Feb. 17, 2020 weekly magazine. Readers discuss animal rights, science fiction writers, blustery weather, and more.

Hope for the future

I enjoyed the cover story titled “The world in 2050” in the Dec. 30, 2019 & Jan. 6, 2020 Monitor Weekly, which covered speculative and science fiction. People often dismiss these genres as unimportant or repetitive, but in fact, science fiction authors are experimenting with the possibilities of the future. That probably explains why their viewpoints are often dystopian. But most also end in hope or at least the chance of survival.

Robert A. Heinlein, for example, knew the limits of life in space. No air or water means no life. 

Ursula K. Le Guin had so many ideas on the state of the world. In “The Lathe of Heaven,” a character whose dreams become reality is still challenged by the racism, lack of resources, environmental problems, and overpopulation issues that affect us all. 

John Scalzi, who writes very humorously and yet also seriously about humanity, has given us “Old Man’s War,” in which regenerated humans get to feel alive again and fight aliens – then realize that maybe their situation isn’t quite so simple.

But all these authors offer a chance at survival. We may still change the future if we can save ourselves. It’s hard to have happy endings when the world is slowly being destroyed by warfare and neglect.

Linda Combs
Converse, Texas

Blustery weather

Murr Brewster’s Jan. 27 Home Forum essay, “Me, my garbage cans, and the spinning of the globe,” is wonderful – more, please, from this writer. Thanks from a former Kansas girl who loved the power of a windy, thundering storm! (Lovely follow with Melissa Mohr’s In a Word column on folderol, too!)

Carolyn Leigh
Tucson, Arizona

Animal rights

Regarding “Property or person? How animal rights could open a new moral frontier” in the Dec. 16 Monitor Weekly: 

Where would it lead if animals gain rights as people under the law? Will a man who keeps a service animal be convicted of slavery? If a dog kills another dog, must it be convicted by jury and sentenced to life imprisonment? Will chimpanzees be able to own and inherit property? 

Judges are bound to class more and more animals as sentient enough to be, as discussed in the article, “nonhuman person[s].” There are ways to avoid mistreatment of animals without the fiasco of designating them as people, or demeaning humans by classing them as “animals,” as this article does.

John Juedes
Yucaipa, California

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.