Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thought Terminating CAOs

With respect to the CAOs, many of our residents have asked for a long time, "What is the problem?" We have been at a loss to understand why new restrictive environmental regulations are needed here, of all places.  Why would we need giant buffer strips more suited to areas of large-scale crop production?

The truth is that none of us in the San Juans are causing any widespread problems to the San Juans. Global and regional problems may affect us, but the scale of those problems far outweighs our poor power to add or detract.

When the logic of the CAO proponents has been exhausted, they usually resort to a thought terminating cliche. We have heard them say, "Our hands are tied", "We have no choice", or my personal favorite, "It won't be that bad". 

These easily memorized and easily expressed statements are used by the speaker to quell their own cognitive dissonance, and they are symptomatic of an absence of thought. Thought-terminating cliches are just one more example of a seemingly endless stream of fallacious arguments used to advance the CAOs through our local system. When it comes right down to it, there sometimes seems to be little support at all for many CAO proposals except fallacious arguments. When we hear our public officials say things like "Our hands are tied", they are using a convenient phrase to advance the CAOs and end discussion, not make a point.

This is where our public officials have really let us down, in my opinion. When we hear them use celestial teapot arguments, thought terminating cliche's, and all the other gimmicks of avoidance and distraction, we know we are dealing with folks inculcated in a belief system. We are dealing with zombies and the psychology of totalism

The question really isn't "What is the problem?" anymore.  The question is "What is the problem with our public officials?"

Feeling himself unable to escape from forces more powerful than himself, he subordinates everything to adapting himself to them. He becomes sensitive to all kinds of cues, expert at anticipating environmental pressures, and skillful in riding them in such a way that his psychological energies merge with the tide rather than turn painfully against himself. This requires that he participate actively in the manipulation of others, as well as in the endless round of betrayals and self-betrayals which are required. But whatever his response - whether he is cheerful in the face of being manipulated, deeply resentful, or feels a combination of both - he has been deprived of the opportunity to exercise his capacities for self-expression and independent action. - Psychology of Totalism

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