Steven Pinker’s Angels of Better Nature on The Pebble Mine debate
The grandkids are in residence. They take less than five minutes to cover the living room floor with a blanket of plastic crap. I revolted; gathered the plastic pieces into a plastic bag; and threw the lot out. Yet within another five minutes they have covered the floor with paper. I gave up.
We went riding in the woods; to the bike park and tricks and belly-bending humps; to ice cream and soda; and too much sugar. Then we swam and cavorted. Now they are watching a movie.
I sought adult entertainment in Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. Here is the concluding paragraph of the section I read before coming ot write this posting:
People, especially men, are overconfident in their prospects for success, when they fight each other, the outcome is likely to be bloodier than any of them thought. People, especially men, strive for dominance for themselves and their groups; when contests of dominance are joined, they are unlikely to sort the parties by merit and are likely to be a net loss for everyone. People seek revenge by an accounting that exaggerates their innocence and their adversary’s malice; when two sides seek perfect justices, they condemn themselves and their heirs to strife. People can not only overcome their revulsion to hands-on violence but acquire a taste for it; if they indulge it in private, or in cahoots with their peers, they can become sadists. And people can avow a belief they don’t hold because they think everyone else avows it; such beliefs can sweep through a closed society and bring it under the spell of a collective delusion.
I wondered how these perspectives affect mining? The fight over Pebble is becoming each day bloodier with beliefs unfounded in reality sprouted daily by interested observers and participants. Even professors from prestigious universities fail to tell the truth but fall prey to false beliefs avowed by others, when in private they deny such beliefs. Just see what next week’s hearings bring.
Men of opinions are gathered to sort ideas by dominance mechanisms. Merit is unlikely to prevail, for the most meritorious have not been invited to participate. Rather trusty old warriors proven loyal in the battle ranks have been chosen.
Let us be sure that innocence is over-proclaimed and the evils of the adversary over-emphasized. We are condemned to eternal strife over Pebble. For next week’s hearings will settle nothing. Anglo has too much at stake; the adversaries have too much at stake.
Maybe we need a truth and reconciliation commission on this one. Let all tell the truth, hard as it will be to stomach. For I have heard truths I cannot repeat. I have been forced to delete whole blog postings least what I wrote shed bad light on one side or the other.
How in an atmosphere of lies and censorship can any decent decision be made?
Go read Pinker before you decide on Pebble.