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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Power of Indefinable Words

By Rich Kozlovich

Originally published on March 8, 2009 and updated 11/2/15 

Words are powerful tools, especially when those words evoke an emotional response and yet can't properly be defined. Safe is one such word! After all, who is going to support un-safe products and practices? Everyone wants their families to be safe, and certainly everyone wants safe products.  

Well, what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that there can be no margin for error? Does that mean that nothing must ever go wrong? Yet tens of thousands of people have died on our nation’s highways year after year. So it’s clear – driving isn’t safe is it? Why then are we still driving?   Why do we still sell cars?  Why are we still building and repairing highways – which are clearly “unsafe”! Every year people die from accidental electrocution.  Is electricity safe? Every year a great many children drown. Is swimming safe? 

But what about products?  Is it possible to show that any product is safe? Actually ....... NO!

You can only prove something is unsafe – to demand proof of safety is asking someone to prove a negative, a factual impossibility. We can only prove what things (or people for that matter) do, not what they don’t do.   As an example - a
sk someone if they're cheating on their spouse, and when they say no - ask them to prove it!   You can only prove that someone is cheating, you can in no way prove someone isn’t cheating.

Yet we are being required to show that pesticides are safe before we use them. This is irrational, it’s unscientific and the activists know it. It's called proving a negative - scientifically impossible! Unfortunately this is being done with support from many in and around our industry. Why? Because demanding everything be safe unites people in a cause that makes them feel all warm and fuzzy - not mention the sense of moral superiority it gives them.

These issues surrounding DDT demonstrate the unintended consequences of such emotional causes. Even after all the evidence has shown most of what Rachel Carson said was inaccurate, even to the extent of misrepresenting the facts - even after everything she predicted turned out to be wrong - even after all the pain and suffering that has been, and is still being caused by the ban on DDT,  people will not properly connect the ban with the disasters banning DDT caused.

There are those who will still defend the ban with fallacious arguments and demand more bans and more restrictions in the name of safety, claiming it’s "for the children"! They simply refuse to admit they were wrong, in spite of all the pain and suffering, and mostly "to" the children. Why? It isn’t simply a matter of pride either. This refusal to admit that which should be obvious to the most casual observer is being driven by a misanthropic philosophy called environmentalism.

Call it an “organic” philosophy, call it a “green” philosophy, call it a return to nature, call it being at one with the bio-sphere, or simply call it IPM - it doesn’t matter - the goal is to eliminate products that allow more people to live longer, healthier lives, and they do it with fallacious health claims about pesticides - using our own values against us.

Thomas Sowell, in his book, Economic Facts and Fallacies, defined logical fallacies in the following manner. Fallacies are not simply crazy ideas. They are usually both plausible and logical – but with something missing. Their plausibility gains them political support. Only after that political support is strong enough to cause fallacious ideas to become government policies and programs are the missing of ignored factors likely to lead to “unintended consequences,” a phrase often heard in the wake of economic or social policy disasters. Another phrase often heard in the wake of these disasters is, ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time.” That is why it pays to look deeper into things that look good on the surface at the moment-

Let’s take the Fallacy of Composition. It goes like this: DDT is found in birds, ergo, DDT must have killed the birds.  Ban DDT!  Since DDT was a pesticide, and it was found in birds that died, all pesticides must kill birds.  Ban all pesticides! Pesticides are chemicals, so chemicals must kill birds.  Ban all chemicals!  Logical fallacies are long on fallacies and short on logic! 

Our industry is so hot to be green and yet we don’t seem to have a clue as to what “going green” is going to mean to society as a whole. GO GREEN! GO GREEN! is the cry, but where is this leading? The activists never explain their motives or ultimate goals, and no one seems to ask them to do so.  So, what are those goals? Let us have no doubts the elimination of pesticides is one of them.   
The radicals in the environmental movement claim mankind is a “virus” that needs eradication, and the moderates within the movement offer no condemnation for these misanthropes.  Why?  Because the moderates within the environmental movement claim the world is over populated to the tune of between four and five billion people…....which they want to eliminate......and they’re the moderates!   Is it any wonder they’re against pesticides, chlorine in our water, inexpensive abundant energy and every other thing that makes our lives better and longer.  So much for their claims “it's for the children”!   

Actually, it should be immaterial to intelligent, knowlegeable, insightful and compassionate people whether these activists explain their goals or not. We should be able to see what their motives and goals are by the devastation they have wrought in the rest of the world.  An argument can easily be made they’ve been responsible for more deaths than the socialist monsters of the 20th century, like Castro, Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Pot Pol, which history records at 100 million.   

That doesn’t even count the unnecessary afflictions, pain and suffering their policies have inflicted on so much of humanity, which history records at hundreds of millions.  Dystopia follows environmentalism like Sancho Panza followed Don Quixote – a madman!   

We know environmentalism isn’t safe. So tell me - do you think environmentalism should be banned?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great article and to the point. Thank you!