[Marxism] Spiked online update

Paddy Apling e.c.apling at btinternet.com
Sun Nov 6 07:02:18 MST 2005

At 17:44 04/11/2005, Louis wrote Subject spike online update:
a general attack on spiked-online and others, finishing with the comment:

>Someday a scholar will write an authoritative history on the 
>defection of large sections of the radical movement over the past 10 
>years into the enemy camp. There certainly will be a chapter on this 
>peculiar subspecies of Marxism gone wrong.

   and then on Fri, 04 Nov 2005 20:10:31 Subject Cancer and the 
environment wrote
>(Here's the polar opposite of spiked-online, an article by Peter 
>Montague of Rachel's Health and Democracy that makes the essential 
>connection between the environment and cancer. The article cites 
>Wilhelm Hueper, who figures heavily in "The Politics of Cancer," a 
>book by Robert N. Proctor that I am reading now. I used to work at 
>Memorial Sloan-Kettering in the mid 1980s. I never got used to 
>seeing sick children there. About 500,000 people die of cancer in 
>the USA each year. More than half are directly attributable to 
>environmental factors. The fact that a gaggle of ex-Marxists can 
>basically make a living trying to deny such connections is simply disgusting.)
>Counterpunch November 4, 2005
>The Environmental Causes of Cancer
>Why We Can't Prevent Cancer

More in sorrow than in anger I cannot avoid a response, firstly, with a quote:

         "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the public 
alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with 
an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." (H.L. Mencken, 1923)

to say I am sorry to see Lou falling for such hobgoblins - and to 
issue such generalised attacks.

I thought Marxism was a guide to successes in the class struggles of 
the time - and generalised attacks on industry and on scientific 
advances are not this - but rather a symptom of falling for 
the  nonsense environmentalism of Rachel Carson, whereas I would have 
thought that, for Marxiss, the major environmental question to be 
fought was the brutalised enviroment in which so many of the poor 
have to live, the world over, but "even. in Britain and America.

Lou's attack is so wide that it requires a book to refute,  so I will 
confine further remarks to the proposition of the "essential 
connection between the environment and cancer" and that "cancer has 
been steadily increasing in the U.S. for 50 years as people have been 
exposed to more and more cancer-causing agents, including chemicals 
and radiation."

Now I know that medical statistics are themselves very doubtful as 
"causes of death" are essnetially guesswork unless there has been a 
post-mortem, but if one makes a comparison over the years for England 
and Wales we find

1891  Population 34M  Deaths from Infectious diseases 88K and from cancer 26K
1931  Population 46M  Deaths from infectious diseases 44K and from cancer 46K
1981  Population 56K   Deaths from infectious diseases 2K and from cancer 132K
1991  Population 58K   Deaths from infectious diseases 3K and from cancer 137K

In 1881 the infectious diseases were various (TB, typhoid, etc), 
while cancer was probably much under-diagnosed. and in 1931 mainly TB.

Meanwhile the expectation of life at age 0 has changed from 43.4 
Male, 46.7 female in 1891 through 58.7 & 62.0 in 1931 to 74.4 & 79.6 
in 1994 - so clearly people live longer among the so-called 
"increasing pollution by chemicals"

There are the results of chemical control of disease - and it only 
natural that concomitantly death-rates from cancer (and heart 
problems) have increase - we all have to die and cause of death is 
always ascribed to something.

Cancer is all all-embracing term, of course, and for very few types 
of cancer is the immediate cause known - but all involve "mistakes" 
in DNA during cell-replication. - These are random in nature 
throughout life, and most are aborted by the immune system - and it 
is fatuous to ascribe these to the tiny amounts of compounds we 
imbibe which may be shown to produce cancers in susceptible rodents 
subjected to vast amounts in laboratory experiments - as was assumed 
by the Delaney amendment to the FDA

In truth many cancers, noteably, of course, breast cancer are being 
treated and controlled with ever=increasing success by the medical 
profession and cancer is much less of a terrifying phenomenon than it 
was 50 years ago.



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