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Another Ralston rant.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Imagine Dave Ralston's reaction if a fellow member of the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency's Board of Directors publicly accused Ralston and others who believe humans aren't responsible for global warming of being agents in a secret conspiracy to line the pockets of industrialists and capitalists at the expense of the poor.

That's not likely to happen, even though most of Ralston's fellow board members don't share his curious but sincerely held belief that "the science isn't there" on global warming. The reason is that most of them, unlike Ralston, are willing to accept that Ralston's views on global warming simply differ from their own. While they may disagree with Ralston, they don't feel it's necessary to impugn his motives by alleging that he is part of some vast, dark and imaginary conspiracy.

Not so Ralston, who recently described in an interview with Register-Guard reporter Diane Dietz why he believes time spent by LRAPA on climate change would be wasted.

"The science isn't there," Ralston said. "If we stopped doing anything we thought might have any effect on global warming, we couldn't reverse (global warming). We're not going to make (global warming) worse by continuing what we're doing."

It would have been fine if Ralston had stopped there. Even though most scientists agree there's no longer any reasonable doubt that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to global warming, there are plenty of people, including a few scientists, who agree with Ralston. Instead, he launched into a rant about environmentalists, who he accused of commandeering a natural warming process to advance their furtive agenda.

"It's all about a shifting of the power," Ralston said. "It's about making the rich feel guilty. It's about making industrialists and capitalists feel guilty for taking advantage of someone. It's all about spreading the wealth somehow. Taking from the rich and giving to the poor."

Ralston has a history of making outrageous statements that sound as if a mob of conspiracy freaks and radio talk show hosts have hijacked his brain.

In an e-mail to fellow members of the Springfield City Council last year, Ralston urged councilors to adopt ordinances cracking down on illegal immigrants. While that's a sentiment shared by many Springfield residents - and many Americans - Ralston couldn't resist launching into a rant, accusing undocumented immigrants of wanting "to invade and not assimilate." "This is America and we speak English," Ralston said. "Love it or leave it."

Then there was the memorable moment several years ago when Ralston protested the Springfield City Council's plans to name a street honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Ralston argued that there was no public support for such a move and that political correctness "has gotten way out of hand."

There's nothing wrong with expressing contrarian views on subjects such as global warming, and, in fact, such views can help ensure a vigorous debate in which all perspectives are considered.

But there is something fundamentally wrong in not recognizing that those who hold beliefs different than yours are people of good will and who hold their convictions just as deeply and sincerely as you do your own.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Editorials; This time global warming is the topic
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 12, 2007
Previous Article:Rolling back deadly folly.
Next Article:Protect laws that ban bias against gays.

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