Cares What People Think?
According to a recent Harris News Poll,
74 percent of the people surveyed in the U.S. who have heard of global
warming think there is global warming . My response to that is... so what?
If it was absolutely, positively proven that the earth would be struck
by an asteroid tomorrow and there was a poll that said that 54% of white
males thought the grim news was true, who cares what they think? It doesn't
alter the facts.
In ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy, criminal trials often
involved the entire population of the city as the jury, and the entire
town, having heard the facts, reached a consensus by their vote to determine
guilt or innocence. The point is, even in a true democratic situation
such as that the Greeks shared, opinion had a place when it involved cases
of human matters, but they never voted to determine if the earth was round
or not. Once the Greek scholar Ptolemy determined the earth was round,
I don't remember reading how the Greeks took the matter to the polls to
determine who believed he was correct.
It seems a little scary to me that national policy may rest on a poll
that is intended to demonstrate how many citizens believe in a given fact
or shared assumption. If they don't, thenÉ? After all, if a majority of
Americans believe there is such a thing as global warming, what is that
saying? That a majority of people may be misinformed on the subject? What
if national policy is set on this poll and somewhere down the road we
earthlings discover the tragic truth that global warming not only never
existed, but that our efforts to resolve the non-existent problem proved
to be far more disastrous than what global warming may have done? And
just what are the facts of global warming? Is there proof? Are we all
of the single opinion that global warming is a fact? I mean, we're talking
about a subject that is -don't excuse the pun- hotly debated, and has
never been concretely established as fact.
While I was snowed in this winter with record cold, I was contacted for
a phone survey and asked if I wanted to see more nature trails along the
Mississippi River. I asked the young lady conducting the survey if she
was aware of how misleading that question was and the potential harm it
could do. First, who in their right mind hates nature and would say, "No!
I hate nature! I hate nature trails!" Since the obvious answer to a seemingly
innocent question would be, "Yes! I love nature trails!" the person being
surveyed perhaps plays into the hands of environmental lobbyists who could
take that information to state and federal legislators to make the case
for removing perhaps tens of thousands of prime agricultural land from
private ownership for the purpose of creating nature trails that may or
may not be economically feasible and in any case, would end up costing
us all a whopping sum. Needless to say, I told the young lady on the other
end of the phone that I felt compelled to side with private ownership
in this matter, and was forced to the ridiculous reply that I actually
hate nature and hate nature trails. I was in my right mind, by the way.
It is a disturbing trend in this country to allow this sort of playing
with words, scheming and placing words in peoples mouths to get them to
approve of perhaps unwanted agendas or political ambitions. These polls
twist facts with clever wording to get people to agree with something
they would otherwise never approve of in a ballot issue or referendum
that I believe is becoming the new way for creating national policy. Throw
away democratic rule, throw in trickery and idiotic polls that prove nothing
but serve to fool enough policymakers in what Americans "think".
Who cares what people think? We should all have opinions in matters, but
it is dangerous to confuse opinions with facts.
I think it's a given fact that half the time I'm wrong, but I may be right
on this. Should we take a poll to find out?
21st February 2003