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See the latest reader comments and hear John explain some of agriculture’s complex topics.
Kudos for John's World
Sep 17, 2010
I really liked your commentary this week. Is there any way that I could get a written version, with your byline of course? I have it recorded, but would rather not transcribe it. You had some great comments.
I had a great related quote for you on page 191 of A Patriot’s History, but Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen. The context is 1840, but it could be now…
“The democratization of the news produced a population of people who thought they knew a great deal about current events, but who lacked (now lack) the theoretical grounding in history, (I’d argue economics,) philosophy, or politics to properly ground their opinions (in reality).”
Dave E. Anderson
***Editor's Note: Below is a transcript of John's commentary...
TWO UNRELATED DEVELOPMENTS IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK SIGNAL FOR ME A HOPEFUL CHANGE IN PUBLIC DEBATE. FIRST, AS AL TOLD US, WAS THE IOWA FARM BUREAU'S EFFORT TO RETHINK FARM POLICY AND AG ENTITLEMENTS. THE SECOND WAS THE QUIET ANNOUNCEMENT BY BJORN LOMBORG, AUTHOR OF THE "SKEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST" AND ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AND RESPECTED VOICES AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE LEGISLATION, THAT HE NOW SUPPORTS EFFORTS TO DECREASE CARBON EMISSIONS. THE COMMON THREAD IS THE RARE DISPLAY OF COURAGE NEEDED TODAY TO SAY "I'VE CHANGED MY MIND" IN PUBLIC. FOR ALL THE WORDS HURTLING AROUND US 24/7/365, RESEARCHERS HAVE SHOWN THAT ARE LESS LIKELY TO BE PERSUADED TO A NEW OPINION THAN EVER. IN FACT, THE INTERNET AND IDEOLOGICALLY-ALIGNED TV CHANNELS NOW ALLOW US TO MAKE SURE WE RECEIVE ONLY REINFORCING MESSAGES. INSTEAD OF THREE NEWS CHANNELS WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF WAYS TO EXPERIENCE CURRENT EVENTS. THE RESULT IS INCREASINGLY HARDENED POSITIONS AND SCORN FOR THOSE WHO BREAK RANKS TO FOLLOW THEIR OWN MIND OR HEART. IT MEANS COMPROMISES WILL BE HARD TO COME BY, AND CONSEQUENTLY ACTIONS TO ADDRESS OUR PROBLEMS. THIS TREND DENIES THE OPPORTUNITY TO UTILIZE THE WISDOM OF THE CROWD, AND INCREASES UNNEEDED SOCIAL FRICTION. TO MR. LOMBORG AND THE IOWA FARM BUREAU, I SAY THANK YOU FOR REMINDING US WHAT RESPONSIBLE PUBLIC DEBATE SHOULD LOOK LIKE.