"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Just say No to politically correct pandering

Jon Strocel, the increasingly well-known and well-read guy behind the local news site, thev3h.com, has criticized the position I took the other day in Council regarding the GHG-reduction strategy being drafted for the City (see March 6 item, below).

I've responded on his site, but will take the opportunity now to reprint part of Jon's comments, and my entire answer, as follows:

Jon Strocel: In our next episode of Coquitlam Councillors Say the Darndest Things, this week Councillor Terry O’Neill’s blog is Exhibit B. The topic is the Community Greenhouse Gas reduction strategy, essentially what the City can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Terry trots out the usual arguments against doing anything to protect the environment. Doing anything will cost too much, and if climate change exists at all, there’s really nothing we can do about it, so we should just adapt.

Global warming is not a controversy, it’s a fact. You may quibble with spending Coquitlam city staff time on how we can help the environment, but obvious contempt for environmental concerns doesn’t win a lot of votes in this town. Let’s review our top vote getters in the past three Coquitlam civic elections: Fin Donnelly and Selina Robinson. The biggest environmentalists on council. We the electorate care deeply about this stuff. Come on Terry, join the forces of growth AND care for the planet AND precious electoral votes. Our children and grandchildren will thank us for it...

My response: It seems to me that there are two distinct parts to your criticism of my position on GHG reduction. 1. That I am wrong and should embrace the truth for the truth's sake. 2. That, regardless of my personal beliefs, I should heed the will of the electorate (which has consistently given poll-topping support to environmentalists) and change my position so it aligns with the majority.

On No. 2, let me say this: I did not run for office to be a mere conduit of received wisdom. My views as a climate-change sceptic were well-known, and I believe that my successful candidacy gives a voice to those who share my position. To change now for the sake of political expediency would be nothing more than political pandering. And, frankly, I don't care if my position makes me unelectable. I'd rather be faithful to what I see as the truth than grovel before the grubby altar of misinformed public opinion.

On No. 1, I am not saying that the climate is not changing. But I do say that: a) the change might be entirely natural. b) But even if mankind is changing the climate, why is it so horrible when mankind is responsible for changing the climate, but it is such a wonderful part of the natural cycle when Mother Nature changes the climate, as she has done innumerable times through the life of our planet? c) And that, regardless of what's behind the climate change, it makes far more sense to adapt to the change than to throw billions of dollars at it--expenditures that will impoverish us, but won't likely make a dent in the climate.

1 comment:

  1. If by "pandering" you mean "adhering to the overwhelming scientific evidence" then I say pander away. Terry, you are tragically blinded by the "science" of desperation propagated by the lawyers of big business. You are just plain wrong. And your wrongness would not be such a sin, but you're a civic leader, and likely to use your wrongness to promote damaging policy.