I had a chat with a local politician yesterday, at a party of a mutual friend. It did not go well. Claire and I have been moving a sustainability agenda in town (and elsewhere!) for a few years, and have gotten somewhat adept at getting attention in the right places. Not necessarily support, mind you, but having support of a town committed to “Build, baby build!” (akin to “Drill, baby drill!”) isn’t a plausible thing. In any case, the interaction was negative, and while I did not call anybody names, I sure felt like it, and I felt like I was being talked down to. The lady’s representation of our environmental situation as one supported only by us was downright unfactual (we got several votes), and seemed like a need to maintain control. Work through the system, she implied. You need allies, she said. No doubt, I surmise, after working on a bunch of issues which are unrelated, they may throw us an environmental bone. Woof.
No matter. An 8 mile run through Hale Reservation and on nearby roads, and a part of
Noanet Woodlands run by the Trustees, and reading a bit from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Carl Safina set it right.
All science has one aim, namely, to find a theory of nature … We are now so far from the road to truth, that religious teachers dispute and hate each other, and speculative men are esteemed unsound and frivolous. But to a sound judgment, the most abstract truth is the most practical. Whenever a true theory appears, it will be its own evidence.
No doubt the lady politico esteems me “unsound and frivolous”.
And from Carl, always reminding me of a peaceful place in a neurotic human world:
We’re borrowing heavily from people not yet born. Meanwhile, the framework with which we run our lives and our world — our philosophy, ethics, religion, and economics — can’t seem to detect the risks we’re running. How could they? They’re ancient and medieval institutions, our of sync with what we’ve learned in the last century about how the world really works.
So, in net, I was expecting too much, way too much. The politico is a representative of a medieval, failed political and economic system which is incapable of dealing with the important problems of today. In fact, multiplied many times over across the United States, they are contributing mightily to the problem. Paraphrasing Carl, How do could they do otherwise?
So, I’m done talking to these people. Or working with them. I should have known better.