Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Is it possible that a quarter century in uniform has made me hyper-sensitive to the efficacy of disinformation? I tend not to think of myself as a label wearer of any sort--political party, religion, etc. That doesn't mean there aren't things I believe, and strongly. It just means that I eschew labels, vehemently when applied to me, and as a general principal most of the time. I could write a whole post on this, but, another time.

I had intended this post to be about PETA, or about disinformation, or about, what? What it's really going to be about is skepticism. I tend to think of it as healthy. Then again, I am in a job (not to be named here, but familiar to those who actually know me) where a healthy dose of it is mission essential. After a while, it becomes habit.

Thus it is that when my inspiration for blogging in the first place (see Enrevanche) posts an article on PETA, sans comment, I find myself wondering whether it's being taken at face value or not. I can't take it that way. Not that I'm the least shocked by the actions for which some PETA folks are facing trial in NC, but I find myself highly skeptical that their actions fairly represent the organization for which they are being held forth as poster children. And so, I dig a little. What I found when I did was that the organization giving this so much publicity strikes me as being in the same club with all an oil company lobbyist trying to convince us that global warming is a myth. Yea, right.

For the record, here is the operative admission, honestly enough put forth on their About Us page. "The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices" (emphasis added). Translation: "we're about protecting the profits of the first two groups by ensuring the freedom of the third to contribute by any and all means." "Defending enjoyment is what we're all about!" Uh-huh. I could deconstruct that entire page, but that would be overkill. The operative principal behind this "Center" is pretty much summed up by my favorite quote from Al Gore's movie (and I'm paraphrasing here): "It's difficult to get a man to recognize the truth when his livelihood depends on his not recognizing it."

(And yes, most of my friends think of me as a Republican, and yet I just quoted Al Gore. Feces occurus when you eschew labels.)

So, did two PETA employees kill animals in NC? Probably. Is that what PETA's really all about (along with brainwashing our children and sucking our wallets dry)? Well, only if you believe that trans-fats aren't really all that bad after all, and the whole mercury thing was overdone, and CSPI is just out to scare you about everything.

Skepticism. I highly recommend it. And when all else fails, follow the money. Who stands to gain if you believe one way or the other? No one is ever wholly disinterested. And that statement, like all universals, including this one, should be treated with skepticism as well.

I leave you with a paradox: The only rule to which there are no exceptions is that there is an exception to every rule, and it is an exception to itself.