Activist groups must be credible and not doctrinaire!

107 Nobel laureates sign letter blasting Greenpeace over GMOs


Maintaining Credibility!


p 332 of "An Action Manual":


Fitting into the Program, of course, requires each entity to accept Program values and to play nice with everyone else. It also means, among other things, that each component of the structure has adapted to the Program's approach–facts and data based; rational; science and technology respectful; and humble in its assertion of policy and planning positions. Every organization must follow quality "best internal practices" templates just like we want everyone on the outside to follow. Affiliation with the Program necessarily implies a duty to protect its Credibility. 


We have to recognize that not every social activist change position (even though generally in harmony with Program principles) has been clearly thought out or has appropriately balanced multiple perspectives. We can't have that. There have been, for example, efforts among activists (of all parts of the political spectrum) which are too narrowly focused, lacking in perspectives, and stubbornly rigid in principles (and therefore not Credible, by Program standards.) 


Some examples of non-credible positions include environmentalists reflexively opposed to economic development who espouse a high-principled hierarchy of holding even the most minor of species (e. g., the snail darter) over people, jobs, and development no matter what. Some environmentalists prematurely and intensely oppose hydraulic shale oil extraction even before sufficient evidence has been developed regarding its negative effects upon the environment and an assessment made of overall benefits and detriments. Some are not open to rational compromises which might be made between economic production and human and environmental needs. A pretty good consensus exists that genetically-modified foods are safe and offer a tremendous overall benefit to society but many well-meaning but wrong-minded folks act as if they represent a sci-fi type catastrophe. 


Even worse, the activists lobbying hard against incandescent light bulb improvements (apparently out of reflexive resistance to "government intrusion") regardless of any objective merits or balancing of interests are making outright fools of themselves and killing their own credibility among fair-minded people. The most extreme example (and irony) of lack of good judgment is that of pro-life zealots killing physicians (with spouses and families) in order to save the lives of fetuses (cellular organisms with no social history.).


For the most part, normally well-meaning folks get off the right track because of distortive psychological attitudes, limited thinking, and bad habits which diminish credibility and can be counterproductive. There are also cynical, hardened haters of nearly everything and everyone except those sharing their parochial attitudes. They have little credibility outside of their own group. The most ideologically strident have been contrarian almost out of principle, picking fights (which should not be fought) perhaps from habitual or irrational psychological motivations, or just reflexively opposed to anyone not surrendering completely to their way of thinking (i.e., zealots.) 


It is surely understandable for anybody in our cynical cultural environment to start with a jaundiced view of private citizen activities or partisan positions. The point, however, is that the Program supporters need to earn and protect their Credibility. That's done by adhering to the Program's approach to issues and problem solving. But the necessary next steps of a credible approach are: 1) acquiring all the relevant facts, 2) understanding all the relevant perspectives, and 3) using good judgment (a balancing of multiple perspectives) in taking a position. When the Program speaks, it wants people to know that what it says contains truth, seriousness, deliberation, and good judgment. In so many things, Credibility is nearly everything! It should not be compromised or squandered.


Write a comment

Comments: 4
  • #1

    Vince Dashner (Thursday, 02 February 2017 23:36)

    I got this web site from my friend who shared with me concerning this site and now this time I am browsing this web page and reading very informative posts here.

  • #2

    Peggie Gaccione (Monday, 06 February 2017 00:25)

    I'm not certain where you are getting your info, however great topic. I must spend a while studying much more or understanding more. Thank you for fantastic information I used to be on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  • #3

    Angella Provenza (Monday, 06 February 2017 09:02)

    Somebody necessarily lend a hand to make critically articles I would state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and so far? I amazed with the analysis you made to create this actual put up extraordinary. Wonderful job!

  • #4

    Author (Sunday, 19 February 2017 09:42)

    Vince, Peggie, and Angella,
    Thanks for the kind words. I think the ideas are important and timely enough to be spread as much as possible. These who sincerely want smart governance and a way to get beyond the chronic disfunction we have now in America ought to be provoked and perhaps activated.