Greenspeak strategy: How the West will be lost?

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by T.W. Scott

For more than 50 years, there has been a growing campaign against the beneficial use of natural resources. The campaigners have several names: preservationists, conservationists, radical environmentalists, and greens. I will use “greens,” since it is rather inclusive and short. Years ago, it may have started as a movement to preserve some outstanding scenic or historic locations as parks, however it has expanded into a much more general opposition. The targets have been timber and mining, and more lately, hydro and even agriculture.

There are three main components to most of the campaigns: persuasion, litigation and legislation. Persuasion relies on greenspeak to convince and justify the litigation and legislation to follow. Greenspeakers use favorite words that are chosen to elicit favorable or unfavorable images or concepts.

Greenspeak is based on psychological principles, – guilt manipulation, loss aversion, and use of the indirect approach. If this sounds cynical, it is, but it also has been quite effective. In order to combat this sort of manipulation, one must be able to recognize when and why greenspeak is being used. So how can you identify greenspeak and greenspeakers?

Buzzwords

Some of the most frequently used buzzwords are: roadless, pristine, wild, ecosystem, wilderness, clean water, biodiversity and ancient forests (or old growth). Actually, they have become code words. “Old growth” means, “don’t cut that tree; it’s older than you are! It would be like killing your old white-haired grandma!” It is probably no accident that the word “cut” is used. It sounds painful.

Another example of using implied pain is the phrase, “It would be like mugging a burn victim.” This was originated during the opposition to the proposed salvage of the 1987 Silver Fire. It so successful, that when the Biscuit Fire started in 2002, there were so many snags and large down trees remaining in the Silver Fire area, it was extremely hazardous for firefighting crews. They had to fall back to safer firelines. Consequently the Biscuit fire soon grew to 500,000 acres.

Loss aversion

“Save” is another favorite word, used to imply that anything it is attached to will be “lost” if they are not able to keep your hands off it! This is based on the principle of “loss aversion,” which is the strong desire not to lose something one has, which is stronger even than the desire for new acquisitions. This tactic is used most frequently for wilderness, as a compare and contrast scenario: “Look at these pictures of an untrammeled, scenic view versus this nasty field of stumps in a clearcut!” What they don’t show you is a wilderness after a fire that spread because roadless access restrictions prevented timely fire control. And, like in “Animal Farm,” where some animals were “more equal than others,” most of these buzzwords appear “more equal” and have an aura of “goodness” that the greenspeakers cleverly use to capture the high ground in any verbal battle.

On the negative side, some of their favorite words are: extinction, pollute, and (their all-time favorite) clear-cut. “Clear-cut” seems to be an almost universal word for any cutting they don’t like, which is pretty much any cutting. Recently, there is a new forestry concept called “Forest Restoration,” which involves thinning the smaller trees and leaving the bigger trees, which would eventually become “old growth” and thence off limits.

But even this type of harvesting has recently been protested as “clearcutting!” Their eco-mercenary vocabulary is generally based on these words and concepts so, when you see them, you will know that there is a “green” message being sold.

Spurious analogies

Another favorite tactic is their use of the spurious analogy, or false comparison, that is intended to leave you with a shockingly horrible image, such as the “mugging a burn victim,” as mentioned above. They want to leave you with an image of a burned and bandaged person, not the actual situation. It’s just a clever way of changing the subject, sort of a bit of magician’s sleight of hand.

An older spurious analogy was the classic “Canary in the Coal Mine,” comparing a threatened species (the northern spotted owl) with the proverbial canary, as an “indicator species.” Since coal mines are not the naturally favored habitat of canaries, this comparison doesn’t really work and also appears really to be obsolete. But, lacking new buzzier words, it has come back, just as spurious as before. Most people’s reaction to the suggestion that the forests and timber industry would be shut down by this small owl would be, “You’ve got to be kidding!” But no, greenspeakers use the Endangered Species Act with a straight face. They take it even further by claiming that “virtual” (theoretical) owls need protection.

Indirect Approach

Their use of the Northern Spotted Owl was a classic example of how to use the “indirect approach.” This was originally described by the ancient Chinese general, Sun Tzu, in a book the “Art of War.” It means looking for the enemy‘s weak point and attacking there, not where they are strong. So, when they wanted to stop timber harvest, rather than simply saying “Don’t cut that tree, you nasty logger,” which likely would have elicited the response “why not?” instead they looked for a weak point. In the northwest forests, the handiest weak attack point turned out to be a bird, the Northern Spotted Owl, which was declared to be “threatened” under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. This gave owls “more equal” status, and meant that its survival was put first in BLM forest management planning, – even ranking ahead of the 1937 O&C Act, which mandated priority to forest timber production under sustained yield management.

As it turned out that the main threat to the little owl turned out to be its bigger cousin, the barred owl, and not the cutting of “old growth,” which had been pretty much stopped anyway by the NW Forest Plan in 1995. So it is not surprising that the owl has continued to decline, as competition with the barred owl is the real problem.

Who are the Greenspeakers?

How can you recognize their groups? As well as their selling buzzwords, they have favorite words they like to use for their organization names, such as: council, task force, alliance, project and center. The message that they are trying to convey is that there are large numbers of activists involved and, in the world of politics, numbers count.

Any serious campaign needs foot soldiers to carry out the program on the ground. I call them “eco-mercenaries,” – somewhat like the troops hired by the British during the American Revolution. In this modern case, it has been the big green 501(c)(3)s, the tax-free foundations that do much of the major funding of these local groups which are usually found in cities, generally with colleges or universities, to facilitate recruiting of young greens.

These young people are often impressionable and can easily be taken in by greenspeak if they are not widely informed. So, what better place to recruit than in a college town, where there is usually a shortage of practical experience, but idealism and theory are in ample supply. This might be called the “Pied Piper of Hamlin” system of recruiting. Many college students are living away from a familiar home environment for the first time, and trying to fit into new surroundings with their new friends and acquaintances. So it is not surprising that, when “Pied Pipers” come along, singing their song of saving the world, they can find recruits.

One might expect that these environmental organizations would try to recruit graduates with backgrounds and expertise in the environmental sciences. However, that’s not the case, according to the executive director of the most active litigating green group, the Center for Biological Diversity:

“I’m more interested in hiring philosophers, linguists and poets. The core talent of a successful activist is not science and law. It’s campaigning instinct. That’s not taught in the universities, it’s discouraged.”

Their lack of technical training frequently allows them to ignore facts they don’t understand.

This may explain an observation by Senator Wyden recently, that “environmentalists have an allergy to compromise!” (The old expression, “don’t confuse me with facts!” comes to mind.)

Their “campaigning instinct” also includes much more than the use of greenspeak words for persuasion; it includes litigation and legislation. The litigation is used to stop or stall government management programs, and the legislation is used for the more permanent “fix” – wilderness status. And greenspeak words and tactics are used to support and sell these more aggressive aspects of their agendas.

Watch what we do, not what we say

A rather good bit of advice came from a surprising source, an environmental attorney. It was: “Watch what we do, not what we say!” The “say” is the persuasion and selling part, which may sound good enough to fool some, but the “doing” he was referring to is the real “teeth,” – litigation, not persuasion. He said this, more in the nature of a threat, as he went out the door at a Congressional hearing, but it is good advice even if he didn’t really intend it to be. He should know, since he works at one of the litigation factories. They have developed litigation into a successful “cottage industry” that has brought them many millions of dollars, – $21 Million at last count in 2014 – from the Equal Access to Justice Act alone, which is considerable but not their main financial support.

Follow the money

So, how has the green movement gotten so large and financially powerful? The old saying, “follow the money,” is the key. This can be a bit like looking for icebergs; only a small part shows above the waterline. Mainly, these are the “little green” 501s, while the “big greens” are largely out of sight underwater. Although, the fact that they are out of sight hardly means they are unimportant. Reputedly, as much as a billion dollars annually flows down to the little greens. This buys quite a bit of the greenspeaking agenda!

One has to wonder what really motivates the big greens. Could some of them even have been sold by the little greenspeakers to get their financial support? In the Middle Ages, the church developed a system (although gimmick might be a more accurate word) called the “indulgence,” which allowed guilty rich “sinners” to buy their way into heaven! Since much of greenspeak is built on implied guilt, maybe it also works upward, like the old indulgences. Plus, these contributions are tax deductions for the big green foundations!

Whatever the motivation, they have undertaken major campaigns and, despite all their green talk, what is it they really want? By “watching what they do,” it is pretty clear that their eventual aim is to stop timber cutting and other utilization of Federal lands. The best way they have found to do this permanently is by wilderness designation. They usually claim this will “save” the area, but from what exactly is often not specifically stated, (although “clearcutting” or worse is usually implied.) The contradiction here is that “saving a wilderness” actually causes the loss of its resources and can make it more vulnerable to loss by fire. Despite these realities, “more wilderness!” has been the greenspeakers answer to pretty much everything. Loss aversion stood on its head!

Following the money locally is still useful, since many of the little green groups are run by eco-mercenaries, some of whom are very well paid. It can be revealing to see where their money is coming from, since it usually comes with the big green agenda. Their IRS filings, and even the organizations own web sites, can tell you quite a bit about identifying the opposition. Publicizing their stated agendas can make it clear that often they are not really working in the best interests of the local communities. Some green groups gather local business supporters who may not be aware of the negative impacts the local greens have on the local areas and their own businesses and customers. Ask them if they know what they are really supporting.

Another big dollar expense caused by the green appeals and lawsuits is the $1.1 billion that flowed from the U. S. Treasury and the U.S. taxpayers to the Oregon O&C counties under the “Secure Rural Schools Act of 2000.” This doesn’t benefit the greens directly, but it is largely to help minimize the damage to county government finances caused by their activities. However, it does little to reduce unemployment or to help the local economies, which have withered away due to the raw material shortages. These artificial shortages have even caused measurable changes in rural demographics – a tilt to the older age classes – as the younger working group had to move away to find employment. As regional economies have declined, there are further negative changes in affected areas, falling public safety budgets, increased crime and drug abuse and declining real estate values. In fact these are all the attributes of a recession – an artificial recession but all too real.

So what now? The nationwide situation has become so serious that the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee formed an Endangered Species Working Group that held hearings on the abuses. In 2014 they proposed four bills, HR.4315 thru HR.4318, which were approved by the House, but were among the many bills that were not acted on by the Senate last year. When reintroduced in this session, they should have a better reception in the Senate. We can let our legislators know that we support these changes so the ESA can get back to the stated job of actually working on species recovery.

In a more general context, we must demand that decisions – affecting vast areas, major natural resources, and extensive rural populations – be based on peer reviewed, real science. One step in the right direction is a 9th Circuit law case which stated that, when Federal agencies’ research decisions are based on “best available science” and not found to be “arbitrary or capricious,” they were presumed to be correct and not vulnerable to appeals or lawsuits.

Any new wilderness areas or monuments proposed must to have recreational values that are outstanding and clearly be of a higher priority than any other values that will be foregone. And new proposed areas should be rigorously examined as to whether their fire protection plans are realistic.

The broader lesson we need to learn from greenspeak is that fine sounding proposals, concepts and words can be adopted and used by groups with entirely different aims from the common usage of the words themselves. And, if they are clever and unscrupulous, their use of greenspeak can continue to mislead most of the public as to what their motives actually are.

Their use of greenspeak has allowed the greens to largely escape responsibility for these negative effects. By pointing out their methods and the long term consequences, it is hoped that this study will allow us, as they suggest, to “watch what they do,” and no longer be fooled by “what they say.”

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Posted by at 07:05 | Posted in Environment, Natural Resources, Timber | 60 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jack Lord God

    A lot of what this comes down to is what environmentalists like to call externalities.

    In that concept, an externality is if a power plant burns coal for fuel, it should pay not just for the cost of the coal, but the cost of treating some kid with asthma downwind.

    We need to start applying this concept to Big Green. These massive corporations are at war with rural states. They make money by destroying any endeavor that involves natural resources. Not so coincidentally, this often happens to occur in red state areas. The idea is first to fatten their wallets, with a secondary effect of impoverishing areas of the country that tend not to agree with their political agenda.

    We need to start charging Big Green corporations, through heavy taxation, for the externalities of their operations. Why in the world should a coal plant have to pay for some kids asthma but Big Green is not on the hook for putting people out of work?

    Exhibit A – Logging on federal lands in Oregon is essentially nil.

    Externalities Big Green is responsible for – Massive unemployment, The taxpayer should not have been on the hook for subsidies to rural Oregon counties, this should have been taken directly from the coffers of those responsible, Big Green corporate entities. They are also responsible for an increase in air pollution, as wood product usage didn’t simply go away, all that happened was luimber had to be trucked in from Canada.

    We need to start looking at these massive crony capitalist corporations a lot more closely. They are ripping off the country and it is time they started paying for the damage they cause. Why the hell should an out of work logger be subsidizing billionaires like Elon Musk?

    • DavidAppell

      “In that concept, an externality is if a power plant burns coal for fuel, it should pay not just for the cost of the coal, but the cost of treating some kid with asthma downwind.”

      If polluters should not pay for their negative externalities, who should?

      Just whoever the pollution happens to fall on — just from bad luck?

      • MrBill

        We already deal with most of the bad effects of fossil fuels collectively through the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. On balance I’d go so far as to say that burning fossil fuels is a net plus and that the benefits of improved sanitation, nutrition, and shelter outweigh the negatives.

    • DavidAppell

      “Why in the world should a coal plant have to pay for some kids asthma but Big Green is not on the hook for putting people out of work?”

      Don’t you believe in a free market?

    • DavidAppell

      “The electricity system is shifting to clean,” Michael Liebreich, founder of BNEF, said in his keynote address. “Despite the change in oil and gas prices there is going to be a substantial buildout of renewable energy that is likely to be an order of magnitude larger than the buildout of coal and gas.”

      — “Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables: This is the beginning of the end,” Bloomberg News, 4/14/15

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-14/fossil-fuels-just-lost-the-race-against-renewables

  • David Clark

    One theory is that their goal is total depopulation of land outside of high density urban centers to “save the earth.” A companion theory is that this is actually an act of war started by the Soviets decades ago to destroy its enemy (US!) and eagerly sucked up by many “useful idiots” here.

    • DavidAppell

      Mr Clark: try not to believe every dumb utterance you read on the Internet.

      • David Clark

        I don’t.
        I didn’t even fall for Gore’s climate scam like you did.

        • DavidAppell

          I know the science a million times better than you do. So, yes, I know that what Gore says is true.

          • David Clark

            The why did the IPCC say the Earth might be cooling?
            “As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to 0.15] C per decade), which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] C per decade). {1.1.1, Box 1.1} “
            From bottom of pg 2 of : https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf

          • DavidAppell

            In no way does that imply the world is cooling. Read harder.

          • David Clark

            I quite clearly says that cooling is withing the limits of measurement uncertainty.
            Don’t you understand error bands and measurement uncertainty? I thoughjt you “know the science a million times better”

          • DavidAppell

            No, it says no such thing.
            Keep reading, but even harder.

          • DavidAppell

            No, it is not.
            Do you really think that “global warming” only means “surface warming?”

          • David Clark

            Take it up with the IPCC.
            It is their statement of warming. Are you suggesting that the ocean warming of 0.2 C/ century is a problem?
            BTW David, I am still waiting for you to show actual evidence that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous global warming.

          • DavidAppell

            What do you mean by “dangerous?” To whom? In what way? Please define.

          • David Clark

            You are avoiding the question. AGAIN.
            Or can a PhD really not know what “dangerous ” means?

    • Eric Blair

      I wouldn’t give those the importance of being theories. I don’t they even reach the level of being hypothesizes. Those are just fiction based upon paranoia.

  • Myke

    When confronted with the proposition of ‘green environmentalism’, those philosophies detrimental to the effects of its own implications, I take solice in implicating the advocate in their support of ‘global warming’, the mother of all green ideologies. It is inherent to any honest discussion that the end results be tied to the origin of the actions that create the external problems associated with the greater society, more importantly, assigning responsibility to those individuals who push and advocate for such policies with ignorance or indifference to whom they harm. Global warming, by the mass release of store CO2 in forest and grass lands, by uncontrollable fires caused by neglected and poorly managed areas are attributable to ‘hands-off’ policies.

    It is also comforting to help them acknowledge their support for mass habitate distruction and their disregard for wildlife, much of which is wiped out during such catastrophic events, such as wildfire. Additionally, it is important to help them recognize their disregard, even contempt, for poor and middle-class families, many of whom have lost their homes, livelihoods and whole communities from the devastating effects of such narrow minded, selfish policies. They even, though their neglect to understand simple çause and effect, promote and foster individual hopelessness, poverty, domestic violence, drug abuse and crime.

    Evil comes with many faces, often with a smile and the promise of good intentions. Are all who advocate for these ‘green’ policies evil? No. But, they are complicit to the harm caused to others. And the harm caused is diverse to more then just humans, or our local. It is generational, covering an expanse of time beyond ourselves. It is utmost our responsibility to ‘help’ people understand the true results of these policies, and to hold them accountable, both personally and organizationally for the costs associated. Their methods of tying up resources in the courts is as valid a method to use against them. It would be to the benefit of the citizenry of a county, who’s O&C funds have been frozen due to the lose of harvestable timber receipts to seek those funds from those responsible for the lose, those very green litigants who initiated the suits. Simply put, you pay to play. And for the havoc that they cause, they should pay.

    • DavidAppell

      Do you think CO2 doesn’t absord infrared radiation, or do you think the Earth doesn’t emit it?

      • Myke

        So your question relates to what???

        • DavidAppell

          If you don’t understand the question, you don’t need to be listened to. Good bye.

          • Myke

            CO2 are co elements. The earth doesn’t emit them, they are part of the makeup of the whole. And your question is irrelevant to the complicity of the ‘green’ movement to the greater destruction that is caused by their narrow minded policies. And David, we’ve already figured out your a fraud.

          • DavidAppell

            CO2 is not an element, Einstein.

          • Myke

            Carbon and Oxygen are, pretender. That would be one carbon and two oxygen. Just so you can say you learned something today.

          • DavidAppell

            Wow, who knew that C and O were elements? Thanks for the update.

          • Myke

            Don’t mention it. Its my pleasure to enlighten the less informed.

          • DavidAppell

            The Earth emits IR. Do you say CO2 doesn’t absorb it?

      • David Clark

        Irrelevant – Mans annual CO2 emission has increased by 50% since 1998 and the temperature has remained statistically constant.
        That is powerful evidence that man’s CO2 has NO effect on climate.

        • DavidAppell

          If you think the “temperature” (of what?) has remained statistically constant, prove it. Show your math.

          • David Clark

            Take it up with the IPCC.
            It is their statement of warming:
            “As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to 0.15] C per decade), which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] C per decade). {1.1.1, Box 1.1} “
            From bottom of pg 2 of : https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf

            Are you suggesting that the ocean warming of 0.2 C/ century is a problem?
            BTW David, I am still waiting for you to show actual evidence that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous global warming.

          • DavidAppell

            Another fake name, Karlock?
            What are you so afraid of?

        • DavidAppell

          In fact, just recently the direct effect of CO2 on surface temperatures was measured:

          “First Direct Observation of Carbon Dioxide’s Increasing Greenhouse Effect at the Earth’s Surface,” Berkeley Lab, 2/25/15
          https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/02/25/co2-greenhouse-effect-increase/

          “Observational determination of surface radiative forcing by CO2 from 2000 to 2010,” D. R. Feldman et al, Nature 519, 339–343 (19 March 2015)
          https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v519/n7543/full/nature14240.html

          • David Clark

            So what?
            The Earth quit warming two decades ago. That disproves that CO2 has any effect in the real world.
            “As one example, the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to 0.15] C per decade), which begins with a strong El Niño, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] C per decade). {1.1.1, Box 1.1} “
            From bottom of pg 2 of : https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/AR5_SYR_FINAL_SPM.pdf
            BTW David, I am still waiting for you to show actual evidence that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous global warming.

          • DavidAppell

            “The Earth quit warming two decades ago.”

            Prove it.

  • Bob Clark

    Yes, earth day is celebrated in urban heat sinks forced in part by draconian land use laws, keeping people locked up behind artificial walls Soviet style; and this benefits the peace of mind mostly? And this, with only large doses of brainwashing by institutions such as government

    Rural areas are left in accentuated poverty, most urbanites can’t and/or don’t access these wilderness areas, Farmers are held captive most of the time in an industry usually treading water financially, and the artificial government land cartel causes land price inside urban areas to spike (making housing less affordable). But the enviro country club lawyer, drives his upper end earth friendly car to Salem and back and to home up in the West Hills or other well heeled digs.

    • DavidAppell

      My sister lives in Portland. Her and her family are thriving. They aren’t complaining about “Soviet style” artifical laws.

      If you don’t want to live in Portland, then live anywhere else in this huge world. Stop whining.

      • Myke

        Its nice to know that your sister and her family are comfortable living with the “Soviet style” laws. Mentioning her is a fallacious argument.

        • DavidAppell

          More lying. They in no way think they live in some kind of Soviet gulag. No one does. Why are you trying to pretend otherwise?

          • Myke

            Just going off of what you said, and mentioning her was STILL a fallacious argument.

          • DavidAppell

            Never said that. But you’re lied enough times about it now to warrant ignoring in the future. Good luck.

          • Myke

            You said, “They aren’t complaining about “Soviet style” artificial laws.” That construeds that, in the context of “Soviet style” laws, they must be comfortable with them, since they aren’t complaining about them. Really, now!

          • DavidAppell

            Sure, because we all know Portland Oregon is a gulag, run by gulag rules with people who eat thin gruel for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

            Isn’t there anyone serious on OC anymore?

          • .

            Then why blather here, eat al?

  • DavidAppell

    Why is there no bio here for this ‘T W Scott?” How do we know he exists? Why won’t he reveal his identity, and who he might be writing for?

    • redbean

      Why not keep the discussion to the ideas he presents, rather than smearing by association? No need to resort to ad hominem attacks as it’s unlikely you lack confidence in your own arguments.

      • DavidAppell

        I’d like to know who he is representing, and why the OC doesn’t care enough to disclose his funders.

        • redbean

          Why is it important to know who he “represents?” How would knowing his bio change the response to his ideas?

          • David Clark

            It is important to people who cannot evaluate data, so that they can dismiss any arguments they don’t like by attacking the messenger. Warmists specialize in this as do smart growth fools.

          • Eric Blair

            It’s important to know if they are representing actual research, or an industry that has a stake in denying global warming.
            As an example, think of how long it took for the mining industry to actually acknowledge black lung disease. Or the oil companies to acknowledge that adding lead to gasoline lead to cognitive disorders in refinery workers, not to mention increased pollution.
            It is always important to know the viewpoint of people making statements. I’m not sure why you are so against that?

          • redbean

            “It’s important to know if they are representing actual research, or an industry that has a stake in denying global warming.”

            EB, are we responding to the same article? I’m referring to the one about the green movement, public relations, and forestry politics. I guess I missed the part about global warming or posted in the wrong place.

            “It is always important to know the viewpoint of people making statements. I’m not sure why you are so against that?”

            Context matters. This is an opinion article, not a court of law. The writer’s viewpoint is evident in his statements.

          • Eric Blair

            We are responding to the same article. Well, I’m responding to you. Perhaps you were unaware.

            I know this is an opinion piece, and I further know that it’s not a court of law. You make quite a forceful and obvious distinction. Are those my only two choices? (My, you get defensive).

            As you say, context matters, and I happen to believe that it’s important to know who a writer is representing, or what their affiliations are. In short, I prefer more context. How can that be a bad thing?

          • redbean

            Oh dear, I didn’t realize I’d made a “forceful and obvious distinction” – is that a “bad thing?” How embarrassing, since I’d actually toned it down from “witch hunt.” Thanks for pointing out my sloppy thinking. It’s much appreciated.

            Of course, you can have more than two choices.
            I’ll try again: “This is an opinion article, not a 1) thesis defense, 2) deposition, 3) interrogation, 4) congressional inquiry.” I apologize for being a nitpicker, but the concern about an opinion writer’s “affiliations” and “funders” (a la Mr. D.A.)
            reminds me of McCarthyism. Guess I’m just defensive.

          • Eric Blair

            LOL.. like you I toned down my comment. What I meant by “obvious distinction”, was that it was so obvious that is was banal. Banality is a bad thing.

            Witch hunt? McCarthyism? All this from just wanting to know who, if anyone, T.W. Scott represents? Defensive is a gross understatement bordering on paranoia.

          • redbean

            I agree, banality is not what I was aiming for and I’ll try harder to avoid that in the future.

            Projection, sir, is also a bad thing, or perhaps you are a mind reader. My edited version asked whether suspicion about the motives behind this tame article were paranoid musings. Although the author is obviously ignorant about the Catholic practice of indulgences in the Middle Ages (as are most folks), there is not much here to get riled up about. Still wondering why you referenced global warming in your earlier reply; I’m just not seeing the connection.

            To the concern about whether the writer received any remuneration for the effort, I say, “So what?” No claim of objectivity was made, and none was assumed, at least on my part. If I’m in the mood for a little feigned objectivity, I could always seek out state organs like the NYT or WaPo.

            Personally, I would have preferred that he/she delved into the question of why the richest people and corporations on the planet continue to fund the Green Movement, and how the Green’s activities fit into global investment ventures. Guess I’ll have to look elsewhere on discussions about controlled opposition.

          • Eric Blair

            Those are fun questions, and I have no problem you asking them.

            I’m not sure why you assume the author is ignorant of indulgences. LOL.. I think linking this article and and responses to the Reformation is stretching things a bit.

            I’ve explained why I, personally, find it important or at least interesting who authors represent. I seriously doubt that such a desire was worthy of such grandiose imagery as witch hunts and McCarthyism. I simply explained why some people, myself included, find the additional information useful. As for becoming riled up, I’m not sure why you did.

          • redbean

            “I’m not sure why you assume the author is ignorant of indulgences.”

            You did read the same article, right? I didn’t make the link, the author brought it up. From the section, Follow the Money:

            “One has to wonder what really motivates the big greens. Could some of them even have been sold by the little greenspeakers to get their financial support? In the Middle Ages, the church developed a system (although gimmick might be a more accurate word) called the “indulgence,” which allowed guilty rich “sinners” to buy their way into heaven! Since much of greenspeak is built on implied guilt, maybe it also works upward, like the old indulgences. Plus, these contributions are tax deductions for the big green foundations!”

            Scott’s analogy works in that the green movement’s piety has attracted hucksters looking to shear the sheep. Unfortunately he/she repeated commonly held myths. You’re obviously asking for a history lesson – I’m happy to “indulge!”

            Indulgences were not a “system” or “gimmick” developed by the Church. They’re rooted in biblical teaching, predate the Middle Ages by centuries, aren’t limited to the rich, were never about buying your way into heaven, and the scandals over them never involved the whole Church. A few bad actors misrepresented the teaching for personal gain and were exposed and disciplined. Indulgences are about temporal penance – “temporal,” i.e. here and now, not at the pearly gates, and “penance” i.e. reconciling oneself to those you’ve wronged, which may involve the voluntary giving of alms.

          • Eric Blair

            I had glossed over that section as just hyperbole and promptly forgot about it. Thank you for reminding me.

            For the history lesson, thank you so much. However, be careful with assumptions, they will frequently come back to bite you. I’m already tolerably educated about the issues that lead to the Reformation. But, you did give a nice succinct overview.

          • redbean

            I knew you didn’t need the history lesson – I was just looking for an excuse to give one:) Would have preferred to send it directly to the author, but as you know, no links were provided.

            While the details of Scott’s comment were off, I think the comparison was sound – like medieval penitents, the greens’ well-meaning supporters have had their sentiments manipulated by schemers.

            Your sound advice and kind comment are much appreciated!

  • Eric Blair

    LOL.. as if the forestry extraction industries don’t have their own set of buzzwords – such as “Health forests, healthy communities”, and “beneficial use of natural resources”, “sustainable forest management”, “overstocked” (too many trees), “healthy harvest”.

    So that takes us to this author, and his dismay with, “watch what we do, not what we say.” Evidently this pertains only to environmentalists.

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