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Home » Archives » December 2006 » Letters In Response To Weissinger Column

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12/03/2006: "Letters In Response To Weissinger Column"

The Devil Incarnate Responds To Weissinger
To the Editor,

This writer was dining with Bill Weissinger and did make a statement to the effect that even if we stipulate that global warming is a fact, the consequences (of warming) would be less detrimental than those that would occur if we subjected ourselves to the dictates of bureaucrats to so something about it. (The related Weissinger Column: Dining With The Devil -Ed.)

My statement made no reference to the "widespread devastation" that Mr. Weissinger quotes. The intent was twofold: one, to indicate that the effects of global warming are likely not to be as dire as extremist proponents cry so loudly about; and two, to make a political point about "what to do."

Housing provides an instructive corollary. In America, about two-thirds of our housing stock is owner-occupied (the highest ratio in the world); and in spacious homes with kitchens and appurtenances that are the envy of the world. The key to our success is a respect for property rights and a trust that "we, the people" are the best resource to provide whatever it is that we need. In corresponding socialist societies, such as the failed USSR, housing was a state responsibility in which decisions were made by bureaucrats. In that and similar systems, the result was typified by "Stalin blocks" (row after row of dreary walk-ups with minimal or no appurtenances).

This corollary is especially applicable to Mr. Weissinger's closing comments about whether "our" response to global warming will end up despoiling our world. In the system advocated by one of us, the best of all possible solutions for housing was created by according an ascendant importance to property rights and empowering individual citizens. In the alternative system, the specifically announced goal was to create a "workers' paradise," and the empowered bureaucrats produced horrible results.

Herb Meyer's letter correctly points out that the debate is not about whether we are experiencing global warming. Rather its more pertinent points have to do with the degree to which it is attributable to human activity (or naturally occurring cycles), how much further warming might occur and the likely consequences.

Mr. Weissinger's editorial does not engage the substance of the issue. Just as he terminated the dinner table topic with a dramatic reference to me being the devil incarnate; his editorial simply avoided any direct discussion of global warming and only obliquely referred to the political principles that underlie my disdain of empowered bureaucrats.

As to the specifics of whether "reigning in Hell or serving in Heaven" is a matter of "conflicting power relationships on a vast scale;" readers are invited to ponder whether we are better served to align ourselves with the principles that underlie a bureaucratic "dictatorship of the proletariat" environmentalists or the sovereign individual principles embodied by our phrase "we the people." This comparison, unlike Milton's poetic one, pertains precisely to the choices that global warming presents to us.

Albert Hall
Friday Harbor

Weissinger Takes It On The Chin
To the Editor,

You can almost always assume that arguments with demonization as the premise are false.

For instance: This guy is the devil therefore whatever he says is false. Mr. Weissinger should try out his unique type of logic next time he goes to court. Just grab the chin of the opposing council and say, "Your Honor, this man is the devil incarnate. I rest my case!" Game over.

Then you can drive away in your big gas-guzzling pick-up truck and mutter to yourself about all the other idiots who are destroying the planet.

Gordy Petersen
San Juan Island

Weissinger Up To His Old Tricks
To the Editor,

I see that my friend Bill Weissinger is up to his old tricks again: Namely, outlining a ridiculous position -- then labeling it "conservative" so he can trash it.

This time the subject is global warming. In his latest column , Bill recounts a dinner conversation with a "conservative" friend, at which this friend allegedly makes "the obligatory conservative assertions that there is no proof we are undergoing global warming."

If Bill's dinner companion really said this, he's an ill-informed fool. Measuring our planet's temperature isn't a matter of politics; it's a matter of science. And the science shows that since the mid-19th century the Earth's temperature has warmed by about 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit. It's done this in two phases -- from 1910 to 1945, and then from 1976 to the present.

The question serious people are debating is why our planet has been warming. Some scientists believe it's because of human activity, while others aren't so sure and raise the possibility that our planet warms and cools in natural cycles. Moreover, the doubters wonder why the Earth stopped warming between 1946 and 1975 -- a period of intense global industrialization. (Oh, and scientists at the University of Tasmania reported three months ago that Pluto is warming. They haven't the slightest idea why -- but it probably isn't because Plutonians are whizzing around in SUVs.)

Bill and his "conservative" friend are entitled to their own opinions. They are not entitled to their own facts. Nor is Bill entitled to label a position "conservative" just so he can take a cheap shot at a political philosophy he doesn't share.

If you want to read the clearest, most concise outline of what we know about global warming -- and what we don't know -- click on the link By the way, it's from a magazine called The American, which is published by the American Enterprise Institute -- one of our country's leading "conservative" think tanks.

Herb Meyer
San Juan Island

Chill Out Bill!
To the Editor:

A Response to Bill Weissinger on global warming issue:

I don't know whether there is global warming or not. I try to learn all I can about it. There are good arguments on both sides. After all, Greenland was once green and known for farming. Now it is covered with ice and snow with freezing temperatures. There are Polar Regions that were once navigable, and are now covered in ice. In the 70's there was a scare about temperatures dropping. I remember hysteria then too.

The good thing about the issue, IMHO, is that we are more concerned about energy, trying to conserve, recycle, clean up our air, pollutants, and trying to be less dependant on foreign countries for our oil. We should be more worried about the countries of the world who have little concern. I do think we should be using our own vast resources in Alaska, despite some radical environmentalists who feel the caribou will be endangered. The caribou could care lessin fact studies have shown that drilling can be done in such a way that it would have little impact. That is a vast wasteland that few ever see except the caribou. We need to consider our priorities and be more reasonable.

Ted Kennedy was all for windmill power until it was proposed off the shores of his home where he likes to sail. Then, he and other wealthy property owners there blocked it. We have many similar stories right here on the island. Mr. Weissinger represented a group of my neighbors who objected to my building a two-room bed and breakfast in their neighborhood. I had four Board of Adjustment hearings, and four Superior Court hearings in order to finally get my building permit. We heard every argument from him about how the neighborhood would be effected, traffic generated, my guests would be "peeping Toms" looking in their windows, it would no longer be safe to walk on our road, property values would go down, etc. etc. Then, I find out that Mr. Weissinger himself had applied for a bed and breakfast permit in Hannah Heights previously and was turned down! What hypocrisy!

I have many friends who preach to me about global warming, yet drive big SUV's. I don't bring that up with them, as I really don't like confrontations and value my friendships more than trying to change their opinion, (which rarely happens by the way!) What do you drive Mr. Weissinger?

The dinner table is certainly not the place for such a heated discussion. I can just imagine how everyone else at your dinner table felt and became uncomfortable from your description of what occurred:

"So, back to the dinner table: After my conservative friend's pronouncement, I reached across the dinner table, grasped my friend by the chin, and told him he was the Devil Incarnate!"And then your opinion "My conservative friends are entitled to live in as pristine or as squalid a home as they can afford or wish or as to which they can convince their spouses. But here, it isn't a house of squalor we're discussing it's a world. And, it's my world too. And yours. Better to serve in Heaven than reign in Hell."

I don't think global warming will be a popular issue here for awhile after this past week with record rains, snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. I hope it has also cooled Mr. Weissinger down a little. Let's all be more tolerant and try to respect the opinion of others. Just because we don't all get on his bandwagon doesn't mean that we don't all deserve to live in our Heaven here on San Juan Island.

Helen King, Innkeeper
The Highland Inn of San Juan Island

Tom Bauschke
John Evans
Mary Kalbert
Ron Keeshan
Gordy Petersen
Janice Peterson
Bruce Sallan
Terra Tamai
Amy Wynn
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