by Guy Page
On our long-awaited Florida vacation, we went to the beach. I love to sit and read and tan, tan and read, drink a little, then read and tan some more.
That’s my Happy Place.
Then crisis struck. With two whole beach days left, I finished my designated beach book, the third volume of Blake Crouch’s awesome Whispering Pines trilogy.
I drove our golf cart (how I love Florida!) to Dunedin’s Roadside Lending Library and selected a trashy spy novel.
“I hope it’s not trashy,” a loved one said. Knowing.
I muttered “trashy is relative” but then exchanged it for Allan Bloom’s 1987 classic, “The Closing of the American Mind.” He describes how American academia lost its appetite for the bread of Truth and Reason and became addicted to the artificial substitutes of ideology, relativism and emotion.
Although the bloom is off my tan, I’m still thinking about Bloom. I’ve concluded that closed minds have sent Vermont down a dark intellectual tunnel on three important issues: climate, gender and housing the homeless.
Mistake #1: Climate change will destroy the world, and therefore bold, painful steps like S.5 are morally justified.
The truth is that no-one knows how much man-made climate change will affect the world. (I could cite data, reports, facts in support, but others already have done so, and dissuading climate believers isn’t my goal here.) Climate policy makers – zealots, skeptics, hucksters, everyone – should humbly seek the scientific truth – then decide what Vermont should do.
Mistake #2: Gender is a social construct. The truth is that sex-at-conception is a biological reality. Like all other realities, biological reality can be ignored. Strenuous, semi-satisfying efforts to alter it can be attempted. But….compassionate, constructive help for transgender and questioning youth must begin with telling them the truth.
Mistake #3: The solution to homelessness is housing. This statement is technically accurate: give a homeless person a home and ipso facto they no longer homeless. But it overlooks the many and chronic causes of homelessness. In the name of compassion, suffering is perpetuated. Vermont’s Housing First policy does not require the housing recipient to address the conditions that led to homelessness. Ipso facto is not presto chango.
The author is editor and publisher of Vermont Daily Chronicle.
Categories: Letter from the Publisher