Daily Archives: November 1, 2015

BBC Radio 4: Moral Maze…


Date: November 01, 2015

01) BBC Radio 4: Moral Maze

02) Direct Download Link [MP3]

“When Professor Averil Macdonald, the chairwoman of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said that women are opposed to fracking because they don’t understand it, the reaction was predictable. She was accused of being sexist, patronizing, misogynistic. But in all the brouhaha what was missed was the difficult moral question at the heart of her argument. Professor Macdonald was citing research that shows only 31.5% of women are in favour of shale gas exploration compared to 58% of men. She argued that while women do accept the rational benefits of shale gas, they prefer to give more weight to their emotional fears about its possible impact. Setting aside the issue of gender, fear has been a powerful motivator in many campaigns such as GM crops, nuclear power, the MMR vaccine and numerous others. Combine that with an understandable streak of nibby-ism and you get an implacable and emotionally charged opposition to progress or developments that could benefit the majority of people in this country. It took eight years to apporve Heathrow’s terminal 5; a third runway is being fought even harder and HS2 is yet to get beyond the stage of computer generated graphics. Do we rely too heavily on public opinion? Should we trust politicians more to make the correct decisions on our behalf? Or are we abdicating our powers and responsibilities to a new breed of scientific philosopher-king? Rather than a toxic blend of ignorance and self-interest are these kinds of protest the sign of a healthy and thriving democracy where the voice of the minority is not only heard, but also counts and a reminder that there are values that go beyond the bottom line? Chaired by Michael Buerk with Matthew Taylor, Giles Fraser, Michael Portillo and Anne McElvoy. Witnesses are Ross Clark, David Babbs, Peter Tatchell and Patrick Diamond.”

Interesting discussion about making public decisions, and the political weight of minority voice versus “expert” opinion.

I’ve often had a problem with this very question and issue…because it typically sidesteps the point of fact…that being part of a minority, means you normally have important and clear insight into the minority you come from…it’s needs…it’s problems…it’s outlook…What has worked within it, and what has not. Yet outsiders dictate from their high ivory towers [or at least high horses], what they feel a minorities fate should be, and how to deal with that minority…It’s so often a decision based out of ignorance…and the alienation of the minorities, themselves…that’s just a massive part of the problem.

They’re marginalized out of even being taken seriously, and being treated as human.

This way of things will lead nowhere good…People are rightly angered by it.