Musings on one-sided debates and the conundrums of advice

To the Expositor:

I’ve visited many anti-turbine websites, with which I must include the Manitoulin Coalition of Safe Energy Alternatives (MCSEA) website (although the MCSEA purports to espouse safe energy alternatives, not simply blind opposition to turbines). These sites invariably invite participation from concerned citizens. They reach out warmly to the “community.” Unfortunately, when I write and express approval of large turbine projects, only silence ensues. It seems that my participation in the “community’s” decision-making is limited to opposition to wind farms. Perhaps in their eyes, I forfeit any membership in the Manitoulin or, indeed, human community if I am concerned about green energy and supportive of cogent attempts—with which I include large turbines—to re-supply the human endeavour with electricity. Has it become de rigueur to project tolerance and warmth in one’s public relations toolkit? I search my memory to find when I have been treated with such silence indicating disdain. I suppose my circular vision of the future simply must fit the square hole of these opponents’ vision of rural paradise.

One much-vaunted anti-turbine site is The Society for Wind Vigilance (it is quick to note that its members are doctors, engineers and professionals). It has a public “disclaimer” in its site to the effect that the information in the site is true, to the best of its knowledge. However, this information is subject to change without notice. Wind Vigilance also disavows any endorsement of information in the sites linked to it, such as the MCSEA site. Finally, any information in the site is not to be taken as “advice” in any particular matter.

While we are advised not to be advised in any particular matter (sort that out, if you can), we are provided with avenues for registering, and urged to lodge, complaints about turbine projects. We are emphatically not provided with avenues for expressing approval of or support for turbines. Stupid as I am, I cannot understand how this one-sided provision of information could not be construed as “advice.” Oh, modern legalese, I suppose. I’ve written to them for clarification. Yup, silence. I mean, one who can’t understand advice not to be advised probably wouldn’t be capable of following their explanations.

I want to mention one Jane Wilson who rather haughtily dismissed one of my earlier letters supporting the McLean’s Mountain project. She was chief executive (may still be – it’s hard to keep up with the rapid hirings and movements in this rich anti-wind sector) of Wind Concerns Ontario. The parliamentarian MCing a gala convened for the presentation of Jubilee Medals from our Queen Elizabeth specifically mentioned important contributions to the preservation of the rural way of life when introducing four recipients of these high honours. Ms. Wilson seems to have been honoured for saving the rural way of life. It would appear to me that saving the rural way of life could mean saving it from the health harms of wind turbines and leaving the saving of urban areas to the efforts of urban dwellers. Or it could mean that Ms. Wilson was simply honoured for striving to keep the turbines out of rural Ontario, thereby preserving the rural ‘way’ of life. I infer from this second interpretation that turbines are “urban” and “industrial.” Apparently she was not specifically honoured for preserving the urban way of life. Is it “life” that Ms. Wilson seeks to protect, or is it the ‘rural way of life’ that she seeks to protect? Or both? A curious honour, to my mind. Again I learn that I am woefully deficient in understanding my betters.

Phil Dabous