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Most `Futures-Thinking' Not So Fantastical

In the book review ``Probing the Cultural Roots of War,'' Jan. 4, the author makes the following statement in reference to the latest book by Alvin and Heidi Toffler: ``Like all futurist tomes, `War and Anti-War' has a tendency to indulge in large amounts of technological fantasy prediction.'' This is in the same league with statements that all journalists are superficial sensation-mongers.

I have been reviewing futures literature full time for the past 15 years. ``Technological fantasy prediction'' - not to be confused with serious technology assessment - is a very small part of futures-thinking.

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The reviewer also misinterprets the cutesy chapter subheads in the Tofflers' book. Of course the serious reader doesn't need ``that kind of hype.''

But this book is not aimed at the serious reader. The frenetic style was employed in all of the previous Toffler bestsellers.

It is a mistake to judge the book on intellectual terms, rather than as show biz between covers. Michael Marien, LaFayette, N.Y.

Unlimited terms

The call for term limits for members of the United States Congress (and others) is clearly a serious movement, as illustrated by the article ``Term-Limit Law Turns Into Legal Drama,'' Jan. 13.

I believe that the lessons of history indicate that term limits will encourage unethical people to steal faster, discourage long-range planning and investment, and leave the government more than ever in the hands of bureaucrats and lobbyists.

But I have an even deeper objection to term limits: If people want to elect a crook or a fool repeatedly, it is their democratic right and a responsibility they must face up to. Edward T. Stephenson, Bethlehem, Penn.

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Unmasking religious persecution

Regarding the opinion-page article ``Pakistan Falls Short on Religious Freedom,'' Jan. 5, about the Pakistani Supreme Court's use of a trademark law to justify a crackdown on a Muslim sect: I am grateful because the article makes a contribution to containing growth of fundamentalism and promotes respect for human rights and religious freedom. Yusef A. Lateef, Amherst, Mass.

Unmasking religious persecution

The article ``Pakistan Falls Short on Religious Freedom,'' displays great courage and wisdom. Many news periodicals have been contacted by members of our community over the past 20 years, during which the subject covered in this article has unfolded. Newspapers have been kept updated on the progressively barbaric practices of the Pakistan government, yet very few have had the courage to write anything substantial on the issue. Waseem Ahmad Sayed, Chino Hills, Calif.

Population update

Regarding the article ``Population Shifts Remake National Map,'' Jan. 11: That certainly is true here in Wausau, Wis. Unfortunately, the author must have laid hands on some fairly old population data for Wausau.

As of 1990, Wausau's population stood at 37,060. The Hmong (Laotian) population was 3,927. A local official told me that they are the only portion of the population that is growing. The immigration of the Hmong refugees started here some ten years ago. Wausau, though a small city, has the largest number of Hmong students in the state. You can perhaps imagine the effects of the influx of a large number of non-English speaking students on the school system. That's a story in itself.

Wausau also has some other minority residents - Blacks, Latinos, and other Asians. So, certainly Wausau now stands at something well under 90 percent white, rather than the 98.5 percent cited in the article. Mary Sanford, Wausau, Wis.

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