Sunday, December 05, 2004

"The delusional is no longer marginal"

In 2002, Bill Moyers attended the Earth Summit in Johannesburg. Despite all the "serious talk by serious people who've come here from the world over to see if we humans can treat the Earth as if we intend to stay," he found little encouragement. "I can't help wondering if the Earth won't one day return to the silence of the cradle where it all began," he said in an NPR commentary. "I don't fancy that. I have four grandchildren who deserve a future, but it could happen to all nine billion of us if all the talk is just talk."

Two years and one grandchild later, Moyers won the Global Environment Citizen Award from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. His acceptance speech was mostly no less depressing:

One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the oval office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.

. . .

I read all this and look up at the pictures on my desk, next to the computer--pictures of my grandchildren. . . . I see the future looking back at me from those photographs and I say, "Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do." And then I am stopped short by the thought: "That's not right. We do know what we are doing."

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