Readers respond: Why a depth of information matters

Letters to the editor published in the Jan. 2, 2023, weekly magazine. Readers comment on a coup plot in Germany, the meaning of the South Pole, and more. 

Depth of information

Much of what’s in the Monitor Daily article “‘Protecting our democracy’: German police foil alleged coup plot” I already knew. But I only knew it because I read all the viewer comments underneath several Deutsche Welle and MSNBC videos on the recent arrests. The newsfeeds themselves did not give this depth of information. 

Thank you for presenting it in a concise manner. Many Americans may now be thinking that our own Department of Justice is chicken, without any awareness of Germany’s depth of experience over many years with this type of infiltration, and without any awareness of the difference in our two countries’ domestic terrorism laws and political party systems. In my view, both of those things made possible Germany’s actions to head off the growth of this latest snake. They also make it very difficult for our own justice system to be as active.

Bonnie Hargrave
Black Forest, Colorado 

Fodder for my book club

Kudos on the “book-laden” issue from Dec. 19! It was a pleasure to read about your 2022 book recommendations; the practice of Jólabókaflóð, or “Yule Book Flood,” in Iceland; and Robert Klose’s Christmas memory of being given and getting lost in a book. I plan to share these articles with my book club when we gather to celebrate the holiday.

The digital versions of these stories make spreading the joy of reading them easier. And it promotes your outstanding magazine. Keep up the great work, and happy holidays to all of you at the Monitor.

Jane Everham
Fort Collins, Colorado

High-cost degrees

The Oct. 24 commentary, “Student debt: Where does empathy fit in?” raises some valid concerns, but I feel it misses the point.

I do empathize with young college graduates as they face a more competitive and discouraging environment than my generation could have imagined at their age. But empathy doesn’t prevent us from requiring that citizens take responsibility for the choices they have made. If students have “bought into the idea of college to make a better life for their families,” perhaps that is part of the problem.

The letter from 20 governors opposing the debt relief plan wisely points out that “a high-cost degree is not the key to unlocking the American Dream.” Even if it were, should this really be the main objective of higher education? Should we continue to incentivize institutions that have become – in the words of one critic – high-priced credentialing services whose goal is customer satisfaction, rather than the pursuit of knowledge?

I believe we should make amends where predatory lending has taken advantage of students’ or their parents’ lack of acumen to saddle them with debts they will not be able to repay. Perhaps some level of debt reduction would be appropriate under the current conditions. 

But before we pass the cost of our broken education system on to future generations and to non-college-educated people, we need to take a critical look at the system itself.

Jennifer Quinn
Abingdon, Virginia

Antarctica, the continent

In the Overheard section of the Dec. 12 issue on research in Antarctica, the words the South Pole should have been replaced by Antarctica. Antarctica is a huge continent. The South Pole is a unique place on this continent at 90 degrees south latitude where the United States has operated a year-round research station since 1957. 

Robert F. Benson
Silver Spring, Maryland

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