In the “Environment & the Economy” discussion in the Sunday Commentary section, two writers presented their cases to support or oppose President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

I feel that the writer opposing the president’s move was on the right side: The Paris agreement, while flawed, is still a step in the right direction to address the very important issue of global warming and its effect on our climate. Regardless of the writer’s position, though, I feel his understanding of democracy and how it works was itself very flawed and a more immediate danger to our society. One of the writer’s final statements was disturbing: “In a democracy, lies are supposed to be countered, shouted down, and acted against until they stop.”

That is dead wrong. Yes, lies, distortions, and even honest ignorance need to be countered, but it must be kept in mind that you are not just talking to the liars and distorters, but also to the millions of people who, for one reason or another, may be undecided on the issues of global warming and what should be done about it. You are not going to win their hearts and minds by “shouting down” anyone. That is not how democracy is supposed to work.

No one, not even the writer of the article, knows everything about global warming. “Shouting down” is a good indicator of ignorance and fear of learning something new. We should keep in mind the statement attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Ellis Burruss

Brunswick

(18) comments

petersamuel

Mr Burriss, excellent letter. You have it exactly right. Those who shout down people they disagree with display not only arrogant intolerance, but also a fear that, just maybe, the facts are not on their side, and that their case is weak.

BunnyLou

FNP practicing their right to censor contrary opinion. Hiel FNP!!!

Alice Jones

Equating your opinion to nazi Germany stinks of desperation and ignorance.

hooknew

No, they are practicing their rights to make discourse civil. You have no shame so they have to shame you by deleting you.

Obadiah Plainsmen

It appears that the Frederick News Post does not subscribe to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Maybe the FNP headline should say "“I disapprove of what you say, and I will delete it to the death to silence you”

Comment deleted.
hayduke2

And you just proved the letter writer's point. Nowhere does it mention the mythical "left" or "right". Who is ignorant?

seanjames

counterpoint: it is good actually. especially when the "opinions" being shouted down are not only objectively false but also a danger to my children's future

gabrielshorn2013

No sj. Shouting down those whose opinions you oppose insults the intelligence of the listening audience. Opinions should stand or fall on their own validity. Shouting down, name calling, or violence have no place in civil discourse.

DickD

As with almost any debate there are facts on both sides. In the case of climate change the facts of how humans are changing the climate outweigh those that don't believe.

awteam2000

Regardless of one’s political position, whether you believe it or not climate change is taking its toll on the physical planet. It will cause social, economic, and political chaos as refugees flee areas that can no longer sustain them.

If this prediction seems a bit extreme, all you have to do is look at recent weather events across the globe that keep breaking records to confront the possibility that the threat from climate change may indeed be existential.

Yet, in spite of the evidence at hand, climate change remains the toughest, most intractable political issue we, as a society have ever faced. Climate changes won’t wait for political consensus. Atmospheric doesn’t give a d... about your politics, beliefs, truths or lies. Sure, you definitely have your right to be stupid but ignorance isn’t an option.

Comment deleted.
Thewheelone

Bunny look at JSK's and garbrielshorn's comments. Both of these folks are closer to the far right side of the fence (I believe) than me and other left leaning commentators, yet they both see value in this LTE. You on the other hand, see that the writer does not totally deny the idea that climate change is real and you attack and do exactly what the writer is talking about. Yesterday, the president tweeted that democrats were "human scum." Is that OK with you? Please let me know...

jsklinelga

Mr. Burruss,

Excellent points.

DickD

Jim, Ed lives close to you and he is a liberal. [beam]

gabrielshorn2013

Hear, hear Mr. Burriss!

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