While we may not be able to agree on what is knowledge versus what is orthodoxy, we must agree on the criteria by which that distinction is made if our democracy is to survive. There may be no perfect Truth, but there are certainly claims that can be verified by empirical facts and those that cannot, and our democracy depends upon the capacity to recognize the difference.
Historical facts are subject to corroboration by an examination of the documentary record. Scientific fact is subject to validation through data and testable hypotheses. Belief, on the other hand, can be neither confirmed nor falsified. American democracy is compromised when we substitute opinion and prejudice, however passionately held, for science and reason.
In the words of Chris Hedges, “A populace deprived of the ability to separate lies from truth, that has become hostage to the fictional semblance of reality put forth by pseudo-events, is no longer capable of sustaining a free society.” Facts must prevail if freedom is to survive.
In the debate over whether 80 years of California Fish and Game Commission aquaculture leases in Drakes Estero should continue to provide 55% of California’s sustainable shellfish production capacity, perhaps, for the sake of our civil democracy, we can agree that that decision should be based, not upon belief, however fervently held, nor orthodoxy, whether of the Sierra Club, the EAC, the NPCA, or the NPS, but upon verifiable facts, supported by untainted data and informed by open, rational discussion of the options, and the actual -rather than illusional- consequences of this choice, so critical to the future of our community, our state, and the anticipated 21 million human inhabitants of our beleaguered region.
Surely, as representative, democrat, and environmentalist, Mr. Huffman will support an open Congressional airing of the scientific, legal and policy questions surrounding this matter, so seriously impacting the present, and future, well being of his District.