RE: NANFA-L-- Endangered Species Act

Mark Otnes (markotnes at
Thu, 22 Sep 2005 08:08:42 -0500

I have a comment on DDT. There is evidence that the early fears of an
environmental apocalypse resulting from the use of DDT were overstated. Im
not going to try to make the case for it here, but there is easily available
contrary evidence for those willing look for it.

What is undeniable though is that millions of people (mostly children) in
the undeveloped world have died from malaria and other vector born diseases
that could have been prevented with the use of DDT. The apparent ease at
which so many in the environmental movement lay their heads on their pillows
at night and ignore these deaths disturbs me. You can say that this is
propaganda from Big Chemical, but are you sure? If these kids were dieing
in your county, your neighborhood, or even in your household, would you be
so certain in the decision to ban DDT?

We should remember that the movement to ban DDT was not given life by solid
science but by the emotional novel Silent Spring. The movement was more Al
Gore than Albert Einstein. We all have a tendency to assign to our beliefs
the same solidness as to a formula born of the hard sciences. You can go
back and look at any more distant time and see that popular views held by
the intelligentsia then appear foolish now. And no group believes that its
cultural bromides are the very fountainhead of knowledge and wisdom more
than does todays environmental movement.

Im not saying we shouldnt protect the environment and put curbs on free
market capitalism. Im just saying that the environmental movement needs
more introspection and humility. Just as capitalists need to recognize
externalities to free markets, environmentalists need to recognize that
there are things that are vital and important that are not addressed by
their world-view.

Mark Otnes
Fargo ND
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