A recent letter, with respect to the coronavirus, criticizes the Capital Press for being “unscientific.” This is a common and arrogant error, for the writer to assume than anyone who differs from him is ignorant and unscientific, when what is really happening is that reasonable people differ about the science and its applications.

The Press and its readers are thoughtful, scientific people, who understand that science and policy are complicated and disputed, and that national and Oregon/Northwest leaders, however well-meaning (and they are not always honest or well-meaning), are not always in agreement, competent, or correct.

There is a wide range of issues where the science is unsettled, policies disputed, and interests different. Some states have handled the virus well; others (e.g. New York) have not. Some governors have displayed competence and leadership; some have not.

Oregon’s leaders have not distinguished themselves these last few years and months with their ability, e.g. with PERS and unfunded pensions, Children’s Services perennial problems, ObamaCare computer programs, the (Un)Employment Department’s mis-management of jobless applications, or Portland’s and Seattle’s recent past and recent handling of violent “protests.”

It is irrational to prohibit church attendance and business re-openings, while allowing and even praising and rewarding protests and riots. Oregon’s present leaders are mostly distinguished for their ability to get elected; not for what they have accomplished in office. The only “science” they know is that of Machiavelli and Hobbes, and there they likely know only the practice and not the theory.

Alan L. Gallagher

Canby, Ore.

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