Why Do Farmers Hate Us City Folk?

Why do farmers hate us city folk so much? Why do they assume we are ignorant about how agriculture works? We’ve been to college, right? We know what’s happening with the climate. We know we have to reduce green house gas emissions. We know all the factors that are mucking up our atmosphere. We know agriculture has take its share of the pain required to get the world back to normal. 

Hmm. Well sometimes it’s easier to learn a lesson by going outside our own little yard and looking at things from a slightly different perspective. So today, I offer you one articulate, if somewhat foul-mouthed, Canadian farmer. He is upset with a plan coming down from on high (Ottowa) that would ask Canadian farmers to scale back their use of fertilizer. 

I think this guy is a great science communicator, i.e. a person who can explain complicated sciencey things to ordinary people in a way that might help us understand how policies can have unintended consequences. 

I offer you a complete degree in agriculture in just 13 minutes with Quick Dick McDick:

The Canadian Fertilizer Ban  

Why We Fight

“War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning”

The intransigence of far right and far left voices on abortion have contributed to the polarization of America. Our current divide is so deep that some believe a second civil war is possible. I do not see that on the near term horizon, but I nonetheless fear for my country simply because we are no longer able to govern ourselves. Our form of government necessitates compromise, and too many of our elected officials have simply lost the ability to concede any ground in order to pass laws that most of us would support. Why?

It’s been years since I’ve read the book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, by Chris Hedges. The book is good; read it if you haven’t. But the title says it all. Try to imagine Compromise Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. It just doesn’t work, does it. So it’s war, then.

Obviously, when one group of people feel aggrieved, they will agitate for change. But what America is experiencing right now is a situation where life is fairly good, and, in my humble opinion, not much is so awful that we must take to the streets to push for revolution. Still, politicians have to distinguish themselves from the opposition on some grounds, so many of them poke around in the muck until they find a wedge issue that will work for them. 

Abortion has a been a fundamental wedge issue for over 50 years for conservative Republicans who have other priorities. Their focus on abortion has been very useful in working their way toward a Supreme Court that is conservative on this and many other issues. Democrats have never been able to focus so entirely on the Supreme Court or the appointment of lower court judges, and, as I said, “compromise” doesn’t fit campaign rhetoric, so here we are with a high court decision that doesn’t square with what a majority of Americans want.

I ran a test question past a group of friends recently; their reaction explains exactly why we are where we are. My question was this: If Congress were to consider national legislation that allowed abortions, unchallenged, within the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, with protections for the life of the mother, would you encourage your representatives to support it. Howls of condemnation erupted. What would they support in order to settle this issue so that we could change the election landscape and pay more attention to other issues?

“Roe!” they said. 

“We’re not going to get Roe,” I said. “The alternative is continuing warfare on this issue and sidetracking of every other important issue.” 

One friend mentioned that Ireland had legalized abortion via a public referendum. I quickly looked up the Irish abortion law: 12 weeks! Yes, with provisions for mom’s health later on. The fact is that Americans, who look to Europe with envy, don’t realize that no European nation has an abortion law as generous as Roe. 

My personal preference would be that the government just stay out of my private life; I’m surely not going to get that wish. But I would accept a compromise on abortion that protects the life of the mother. Would you? Or is this war the force that gives your life meaning?

Here are some resources to save you the trouble of searching:

Gallup: Public Opinion About Abortion

Pew Research: Public Opinion on Abortion

Abortion Laws in Europe

What’s Going On With Seattle Police?

Gallery

According to Twitter, Seattle Police are out of control. They’re arresting journalists right and left, harassing everyone they encounter, and relying on crowd control tools when polite conversation would suffice. Prior to creation of the CHAZ/CHOP police-free (but not weapons-free) … Continue reading

Two Women Hold Civil Conversation

Gallery

I am doubly fortunate today. The sun is shining without killing us with heat, and I’ve discovered a civil conversation online about an issue that’s been perplexing me since pre-coronovirus days. I cannot pass along the sunshine, but I can … Continue reading

Debating Medicare for All in the Era of Covid-19

Gallery

Will Covid-19 change the politics of our health care reform debate? Yes? No? Maybe? I’m mildly optimistic. If this scourge cannot change our thinking about our neglected public health system and the limitations of an employment-based health insurance scheme, then … Continue reading

Public Health v. Private Health

Gallery

In the most recent debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the topic of health care in the age of Covid-19 was batted around. Bernie, of course, claimed that Covid-19 proves the importance of passing Medicare for All. Biden countered … Continue reading