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As Long as We Remember...

November 22, 2011

“Torment For Our Own Good”

Farrell Keough

“That’s not fair!” “Because we know the parents won’t do it, so we must integrate these programs into the school system.” “If we cut back on that program, children and seniors will likely go without food.”


We commonly hear these arguments presented, and they are generally accepted as legitimate by the mainstream. When we step back and consider the premise of these arguments, we realize they are false; but so many repeat them and so many accept them, we forget to reconsider and recognize we do not need to accept false premises. What’s worse – many of our political leaders will accept these arguments and determine to find a solution knowing the premise is flawed.


For instance, recent studies show improvement to the Chesapeake Bay. A Baltimore Sun article noted the following:


Efforts to reduce pollution of the Chesapeake Bay are starting to pay off, a major new study says, finding that despite weather-driven ups and downs, the "dead zone" that stresses fish and shellfish every summer has actually shrunk, on average, in recent years.


Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science teased from 60 years' worth of water-quality measurements what they described as one of the first clear signs of progress in the costly 27-year-old campaign to clean up the bay.




They found that the size of the early-summer dead zone was influenced by changing physical conditions in the bay, possibly long-term shifts in prevailing winds and a slight rise in sea level.


The water quality data was teased from the 1950’s. Considering the Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1972, one must wonder how the 20 extra years of data was established. And then there is the buried paragraph which speaks to “shifts in prevailing winds” as a possible causation. If winds are a major cause, how will new costs and regulations actually help?


Couple this information with a WJLA – ABC 7 report indicating the Bay is becoming worse:


In its annual State of the Nation's River report, the conservancy [Potomac Conservancy] gave the waterway [Potomac River] a D grade, down from D+ in its first report in 2007.




"The nation's river continues to face significant threats," said H. Hedrick Belin, president of the Potomac Conservancy.




The river's vital signs have leveled off or declined as a result, the conservancy said, noting that in 2010 the river had the second largest decline in scores compiled by Chesapeake EcoCheck, a government university partnership, with four of six major health indicators declining.




The conservancy said progress has been made in the past five years, but not enough to get ahead of the growing problems.




Small waterways, which sometimes do not have water year-round, are "hot spots of biological activity"' that help remove pollutants, but they are often turned into culverts, channelized, or paved over.


Indicators range from known chemicals to dried streams as parts of the causation. The chemical findings portray the ability to measure a wider array and smaller amounts, but not an established health or environmental issue. And, to consider a dried stream bed an unnatural circumstance or a basis for a waterbody issue is preposterous. Every summer these streams dry up – that has been a natural cycle from time immemorial.


Many groups have a financial interest in showing these waterbodies need continued monitoring and regulation. Continued attempts to placate them will only yield a lose-lose scenario and outcome. This is when we must recognize we cannot accept the premise. If there is something so very flawed in the measurements or analysis, accepting the overall findings ensures further regulations will contain more flaws.


So, does this mean the Chesapeake Bay is in fine shape and we should ignore the myriad studies and other indicators showing problems? No!  The problems occur when we see contradictory evidence that the plans in place are working or showing progress. Just as with Global Warming, there is no consensus on how to deal with the Chesapeake Bay. For instance, many in this field of study are equally convinced that re-seeding oysters will create a natural filtering system that will provide both a much better expense and a viable crop for the fishing industry.


As has been mentioned in previous columns, PlanMaryland has much of its justification in both the Global Warming push and the Chesapeake Bay model. Computer models are the major basis for both Global Warming and the Chesapeake Bay. These models are very useful and exist in many fields of study. The problem lies in their use and the reliance upon them as a complete portrayal of reality.


Models are just a tool, an indicator of what may be true and what may occur if changes are made. But, as noted by Baltimore Sun article, (above) it may be that changes in wind patterns are an equally likely culprit. When we see a problem with the results, we must accept that the solutions promoted may be flawed and the need for flexibility is required. If something is not working, what possible logic forwards continuation of that practice?


These proposed “solutions” are generally very expensive and involve the loss of property or liberties. Government attempting to restrict our liberties, especially under the guise of helping us, is neither new nor ultimately beneficial. As noted by C.S. Lewis, those who want to force their help upon us can be the most dangerous.


Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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