Sunday, April 17, 2005

A Vision Thing

I was struck by two occurrences in the blogosphere over the weekend. Really, in the grand scheme of blogness, they were tiny, minor. But I was struck by them.

First, over at ANWR News, there are two readers who have taken to ruthlessly debating the merits of the last few posts over there. These guys--one an oil-industry insider, the other, a biologist/journalist--are carrying on hours' long conversations in each comment stream, giving Haloscan a run for its money. (Good thing it's free.) What strikes me is not the passion, which I appreciate. That can be found in every corner of the blogworld. What strikes me is how these guys are throwing facts and citations at each other in support of their cause: one link to an oil site, one to the USGS, another to a Senate hearing, another to a North Slope newspaper. On and on. "Facts" v. "facts".

Reading over it, I have no idea which facts are actually facts or which facts are opinions that look like facts. In order to find out the truth, one would have to devote solid days online and on the phone to figure out where the data came from and who did what with it. I and few others have time for such independent research.

What I'm realizing is that out in the blogosphere there really are no facts that will win over a person who has his own facts. Why? Because it's like two attorneys arguing over the facts and merits of a case without a judge or jury. There is no objective party willing to fully digest the information.

So, while it's interesting to me as a reader to watch the "facts" stream by, I'm left empty. Sure, I might come away with a few new ideas, but I feel like I've been watching commercials end-on-end for days. In a dark room. In an unfinished basement.

Civil lawsuits in this country are decided by a preponderance of the evidence. Criminals are convicted by juries only when there is no reasonable doubt of their guilt. Based on the evidence. I'm all for the evidence. But in the context of the blogosphere, does the "evidence" matter out here, or are folks just flogging each other?

I realize this is not profound. I also realize I've done my fair share of citing to what I consider facts. So maybe this is all hooey. But I was struck by it.

That brings me to the other post I saw. This was at althippo, home of the Beltway commenter who seems refreshingly removed from the Beltway. It's a simple concept. Recounting a conversation he had, he wrote on April 15, 2005 that he was struck by this idea about responsibility: "Your kids are going to live there someday. That captures in a nutshell so many of my concerns about current events: the bankruptcy bill, Social Security, or destroying a wildlife refuge. Put in other words, we have a generational responsibility."

This is not particularly profound either.

But it meant so much more to me than reading about all the facts.

Because at the end of the day it's not about the facts. It's about the gut feeling, the worldview, the attitude, the priorities, the spirit that runs you.

I'll use ANWR as an example. Why don't I want drilling in the Refuge? Because when my daughter grows up I want her to live in a country where she can dream about the land, about wildlife, about nature removed from humans. And I don't want her dreams to be longings for what once existed.

As althippo said, it's about vision. I can see beyond 25 years' worth of replacement Saudi oil. I can even see beyond the need for oil, even though I and every other citizen in this country can't live without it today. I can see beyond ANWR to other resource conflicts. More and more of them. I can see beyond my own lifetime on this planet. I can even see beyond my daughter's. And her daughter's.

It's when I allow myself to see beyond the existence of relatively wild, relatively open, relatively untouched landscapes that my heart sinks.

What depresses me is that so many people don't want to gaze that far. Their vision is myopic.

4 Comments:

Blogger ANWR News said...

Yeah, I agree with you on your "facts" conundrum, and I applaud you for bringing it forward. I wonder too about this new "balkanization" of facts. It pains me that we (as a culture, planet, nation), cannot seem to agree on a set of facts over which to debate. It seems reasonable to hope that we could at least agree on some basic facts, then proceed from there to a values-based decistion on what course to pursue.

ANWR is certainly an excellent case in point, and as the instigator of the discussion you cite, I hope we can move forward from his Balkanization. I mean, if we can at least agree that the area is biologically important, shouldn't that lead to a values-based decision to (at a minimum) take unusual measures to protect the environment there if we do drill?

And I think your insight about the althippo piece is brilliant. Unfortunately, I think you're right. Most people simply don't want to gaze that far. They only want to gaze as far as their wallets and their next tank of gas. How that happened is something I'm still trying to figure out.

9:44 PM  
Blogger The Accipiter said...

Thanks for the comment, ANWR News. Perhaps over on your site you might suggest a basic set of ANWR facts that would provide foundation for an intelligent debate. Your point is well taken.

I hope others understand the futility of arguing the merits of one strategy or another when the basic countours of the subject are not well defined.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BUY CHEAP SUPER VIAGRA ONLINE AND SAVE 70 % OF MONEY...
CIALIS LEVITRA VIAGRA ONLINE
CREDIT CARDS.AMERICAN EXPRESS MASTER CARD

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BUY CHEAP CIALIS
HALF-PRICE CIALIS...LOW-COST LEVITRA...CHEAP VIAGRA...
TRATMENT IMPOTENCE
BUY CHEAP VIAGRA ONLINE
ACNE MEDICINE ONLINE
buy acctane
WHAT IS ANTHELMINTICS
discount Albenza
ANTIBACTERIAL MEDICINE & CARE
AMOXIL LOW-COST
AMPICILLIN ONLINE
online ampicillin
BUY CHEAP BACTRIM
bactim
NEW DRUGS & PILLS… SUPER-VIAGRA…
HALF-PRICE CIALIS
BUY CIPRO ONLINE
ONLINE DISCUSSION new forums and CIPRO FAQ:
BUY CHEAP DIFLUCAN ONLINE
CHEAP DIFLUCAN ONLINE
BUY CHEAP SUPER VIAGRA ONLINE AND SAVE 70 % OF MONEY...
DISCOUNT LOW-COST CIALIS VIAGRA LEVITRA

CHASE CARDS RATES

7:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home