|Paper||Canyon Country Zephyr|
|Rights||In Copyright (InC)|
|Rights Holder||Tonya Auden Stiles, Moab, Utah|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Canyon Country Zephyr|
This is supposed to be the letter of the month but the publisher lost the writer's address. If the writer will contact the Zephyr, we will send you a free year’s subscription. Dear Jim Stiles, Your August/September "Take It or Leave It" column triggered more lines of thought than I could hold onto at.one time, revolving, primarily, around the concept of "finding the good" in everything. Often in mythology, a symbolic message is aimed at the naive and sleeping conscience when some vulnerable young thing attempts to dispel the evil or danger that is being perceived, perhaps only intuitively, by determining to see the good. therein and acting on that misconception. The ingenuous attitude acts, in this instance, as a simple (and perhaps simpleminded) defense mechanism. Often this naive person or creature is gobbled up without much more ado, but occasionally they are saved in the end by being aroused to consciousness that enables them to reject and repulse the threat. At any rate, and for whatever reasons, we tend to take a long time to be able to look at threats straight on without trying to veil them in something more playable. So between that, and the strong desire most people have to avoid confrontation, combined with a little mush-brained thinking, we have a lot of problem on our hands. Finding the good, unfortunately, tends to be somewhat of a liberal position as we become ever more deeply mired in an anti-science, list and polarized world that tilts steadily closer to fanaticism of all brands. So that now, seeing the good, as you pointed out, is a luxury we could better do without. But who, after all, feels like taking on these maniacs? These guys will kill for their beliefs or their jealous fiery-eyed god! (Abortion offends you: bomb the women and doctors. Homosexuality bothers you: make pariahs out of them (here in the Land of the Free) Or worse, we might become like them. Seeking to look on the positive side seems often to prevent us from seeing flaws. We allow creationists to overthrow education and science so as not to offend their precious beliefs. (Beliefs-a collection of dogma concerning specific doctrine, by the way, is quite distinct from faith, which lends itself to mere open-minded trust.) We tolerate the dismantling of the Constitution in the furtherance of "drug wars", for who dares raise intelligent objections to such hopped-up rhetoric tying all drug use to Evil Incarnate? Easier by far to nod our heads safely and concede that at least some of what they say is true and perhaps the rights that are being abridged won’t affect us, anyway. We allow sensationalism to take over the news media so that the loudest of fearmongers and the lowest of smut-peddlers replace any attempt at true and accurate reporting. And good-bye forever to the concept of privacy....The list could go on and on, but in short, we have let loose an incredible number of destructive elements while chanting mantras to ourselves about finding the good, looking on the bright side and respecting rights. ' Which brings me to my next point: rights without concurrent responsibilities can’t exist as rights. "Animal rights” for example is an oxymoron for the simple fact that animals cannot take responsibility for what they do; therefore they have no rights, as such. We, however, have all the responsibility for the planet which includes protection of all the animals and. their habitat. So we may have the right to eat a few of them, but we most certainly don’t have the right to wholesale destruction because we aren‘t capable of taking responsibility for whatever that might mean on a global scale. We tend to think that everyone has rights now, including the right to their own beliefs, which, of course they do. But only so long as those "rights" don’t destroy things that they have no way of taking responsibility for. People do not have the right to endlessly propagate their small-brained selves for the simple fact that they cannot in any way take responsibility for the damage that the population explosion is doing to the planet. But we don’t want to tell people they can’t do that. We try to find the good in it by calling it something smarmy like "family values” instead of questioning the real values here: how are you planning on feeding, clothing, educating, providing clean air and abundant good water, fulfilling lives and healthy spirits in a world rapidly being depleted of its limited resources? Over here we have had developers, who like to claim to be environmentalists while happily destroying all the perfect pristine country their greed has brought them, justifying themselves with the self-righteous notion that they’re doing it better than someone else would. Well, sorry fellas, rape is still rape no matter what you call it or how "good" you do it. But in their own sorry way they too are victims of the "seeing the good” idea, i.e. if I do it must be good. They assume rights (it’s my land after all) without any real responsibility to the community or way of life they are helping destroy, let alone the environment. The only responsibility any of these folks are willing to take is completely self-serving, as if tracts of private land were not an integral part of the planet. And because we aren’t getting radioactive waste leaking into our ground water from these guys, we all more or less opt to be nice about it. Of course, this whole rampant selfishness and greed is part and parcel of our history. Ask any Walve American what happened to the last bunch who tried to stand in the way of "progress." Everybody’s got rights these days! Ranchers want rights to public land without any responsibility to the public interest, not to mention what might really be the best stewardship of the land itself. Environmentalists, bless their little green hearts, want to save everything on the planet (except maybe cows), which is a fine and noble goal. But I can’t help wondering why all this saving has to take place somewhere like Utah, and not in their very own dirty backyards, where I’m quite certain there is plenty of saving that could be done if any one really cared bout the environment as a whole. But, OK, move here if you want to, jack the prices of land up even higher and bitch about how you can’t find a decent head of lettuce anywhere. Contribute your taxes to the local economy and then start telling your neighbors how to come up with enough money to live on while hammering them on what they do with their stupid cows. And the Government....what a great-idea....build a Monument to remoteness so everybody will know where it is! Kind of like bombing the village to save it....Who wanted to even question the goodness of this idea (except the ranchers and locals whose lives were being overhauled by it)? And yet the rules were already in place via the BLM to manage and preserve this area had they been implemented. I’m not a conspiracy buff, but it makes you wonder when you see the_ rules and regulations being considered to control the impact of all the Monument-generated tourism. I, too, remember Arches way back when and there is a serious downside to this level of bureaucratic maneuvering. Now it’s a done deal, we all try to see the good in it. Personally, however, I fear we're being gobbled up. Well Jim, I do go on now, don’t I? Better not even get started on GPS units, etc.—but I could! Best Regards, Gwendolyn Zeta Escalante, Utah Dear Mr. Stiles: The letter by John Holland entitled "The Betrayal of the Environmental Movement" in your last issue deserves comment because it is factually incorrect and it tries to polarize people through the use of labels and name calling rather than a logical evaluation of the issues. In my experience, people who resort to name calling and emotional tags simply have a very poor grasp of the issues and have nothing substantive to offer. Holland is clearly one of them. Holland uses words like extremists, liars, land thieves, narcissistic, evil, cynical, fanaticism, and close-mindedness to describe members of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) and the Sierra Club; yet in my experience most are well-meaning individuals who simply believe in preserving some land as wilderness. Many own 4-wheel drive vehicles and use them. As to Holland’s choice of words, in my book, people who generalize individuals of any group are racist and it is easy to believe that Holland would use the same, or possibly worse, terms to describe an individual of a given religion or nationality. For example, were anyone to say that Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Indians, Blacks, Caucasian, or Samoans were evil, lying fanatics, they would be quickly labeled as racist. From the tone of his letter, one can do nothing but assume that Holland is rather free with his discrimination and racial hatred. If Holland wants to be taken seriously and given the credibility he appears to want so desperately, he first needs to stop his vitriolic hatred of groups and understand that groups comprise individuals who may be good or bad. It is unfair and certainly in very bad taste to talk about, or characterize, groups in the manner Holland does. It appears from the tenor of his letter that Holland is delusional and lives in the past. For example, he continually writes about the wild west and freedom; yet those ‘shoot-em-up’ days died a long time ago. Nowadays, the Intermountain West is the fastest growing part of the United States. Urban sprawl is rampant and one only need visit Salt Lake City, Denver, Fort Collins, Las Vegas, or Phoenix to understand the concept. Water is polluted, public lands are sprayed with poison, contaminated with radioactive waste, and clear-cut. Predators have been BROWNTROUT PUBLISHERS P.O. Box 280070 San Francisco, CA 94128-0070 800-777-7812 www.browntrout.com Browntrout was founded in 1986 as a book and calendar publisher. Our success with calendars (almost 500 titles in 1998---the largest in the country) has kept us very busy. In 1994 we launched our book program. The books we publish fall into two categories: photographic portfolios and trade books. Look for many of our books and calendars at: Back of Beyond in Moab or call us direct. 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