Friday, April 16, 2010

The Right to Remain Silent

The following blog entry to Grumbles and Grins was written by my friend and 'over the mountain' neighbor David Corrigan, a registered Maine Master Guide. He did not write this to submit it to a blog, did not type it to send to a newspaper editor or magazine publisher. He wrote it because he was frustrated, and he's a writer. We writers express ourselves best this way; through the written word. I was honored when he shared this with me, and I asked if I might have the privilege of publishing it here on GAG. In truth, he hesitated. The quotes listed below were uttered by his own friends and acquaintances, and Dave is a good guy. A real good guy. He doesn't want to offend.

I have confidence that he won't. I trust that, instead, he will do his utmost to bring factual information to the people of his community, and in a patient and gentlemanly manner. Like I said... Dave is one of the good guys.


It’s been a stressful week. In between painting a shed, prepping the garden, cutting firewood and all the other spring chores, I’ve been talking about wind. Specifically, I’ve been talking to people about why I oppose the Highland Plantation Wind Project.

I’ve detailed how the project will negatively impact the environment, the local economy, and my way of life. I’ve explained that the project is not financially feasible, and can only happen by being granted millions of tax dollars in the form of subsidies. I’ve talked about the health problems, lack of sleep, and loss of property value suffered by others who live near industrial wind projects. I’ve shared my belief, backed by the evidence, that wind projects like this one will have no significant effect in reducing green house gas emissions. I’ve even explained how if this project goes through, we will likely see as much as three hundred miles of Maine ridgeline turned over to industrial wind development within the next ten years, at enormous tax payer expense.

Most people have been sympathetic, even supportive, of my views. Predictably, some have also been apathetic, simply believing that it did not affect them one way or the other, and so was none of their concern. Then there were the frustrating few who should know better, but insist on supporting wind power on the strangest of grounds.

These few, who are intelligent, educated, well adjusted, voting members of society, have absolutely astonished me with some of their arguments. They had the right to remain silent, but apparently, not the ability.

“It’s the wave of the future, so it must be a good thing.”

“The wind blows and we get free energy, of course we should do it.”

“If it wasn’t good, the Government wouldn’t be promoting it.”

“I don’t mind wind mills, I think they look kind of cool up on the mountains.”

“It will be good for our economy.”

“Well, they do it in Europe, and it’s about time we caught up with the rest of the world.”

And my personal favorite; “They have had windmills in Holland since the time of Don Quixote, so they must be a good thing!”

All of these, of course, being uttered with complete confidence, as conversation enders, by people who have not bothered to do any real research. To put it simply, by people who should have known better, but have instead chosen to be completely, simply, and sadly, ignorant!

The woman who uttered that last quote is a well educated, very smart friend of mine, but to tell you the truth, when she said that, I almost had one of those moments myself, where I had the right to remain silent, but not the ability!

What I really wanted to do was to slap her up side the head and yell; “What the hell is wrong with you? Did you even hear what you just said? Forget that Don Quixote was in Spain, not Holland, what I really want to know is, how many kilowatts do you think those 16th century windmills were producing? Do you even realize that you are comparing primitive milling or pumping machines, built by hand on open level ground, with 400 plus foot tall modern machinery, being built in some of the most important mountain habitat in the Northeastern United States?”

I mean really, it was all I could do not to jump up and down and turn red in the face while screaming at her to stop being a sheep following the party line, and to open her damn eyes and do a little real research, so that she would be qualified to deliver an informed opinion! But, I didn’t. For once, I took advantage of my right to remain silent, and I simply offered to share some of my research, if she was interested, and then I let the conversation calmly end.

My mouth, or rather, my inability to keep it shut when someone desperately needs correcting, has a tendency to get me in trouble. I was proud of myself. For once in my life I had had the ability to keep my mouth shut when I REALLY wanted to say something. I did it, and it was probably a good thing, but damn it was hard!

Top Photo is of Bigelow's Indian Ledges-taken by Greg or Jenn Perkins


  1. Generalisation is the rationalisation of the uneducated.

    Crookedpaw, back pocket philosopher
    (1960- )

  2. I'm sorry, but the first thing I want to say is: THANK GOD! CP's older than me!! (Older than I am? Aw, hell...)

    Okay... I'm all better now.

    What was that you were saying, CP? It sounded fairly serious. But not as serious as quantum mechanincs. You know... the dreams that stuff are (is) made of?

    Heh... I'm happy now. You're an old timer like me. (Like I am? Aw, hell...)

  3. Just that little bit older now. Today (April 17) is my birthday. I'll let you work out what year.

  4. Aw, happy birthday, sweetheart! Technically, though, you still haven't had it-- for it is only the 16th, of course! For another three and a half hours, you're still...not over the hill! You're still young enough to use prune juice instead of suppositories! Young enough to comb your eyebrows instead of trim them! Young enough to cough or sneeze without wearing incontinence pants! (Or is that just a girl problem? Not sure, there... hmmmm.)


    Where was I? Oh, yeah! Live it up, Crookedpaw! Up here at the 45th lat, you're still only a little bit older than me (than I am? Aw, hell...)

    Happy birthday, my friend. It'll be okay. Fifty isn't THAT old... (Judas Priest, the man's a dinosaur...)

    Big hugs from little old (but not as old as YOU are) me!

  5. Of course, you realize that my young contributor, Mr. Master Maine Guide, is in the first blushes of youth? I have it on good authority (his) that he's only 2/3 my age. Myself, I'd never point out such a glaring fact to my elders... (Holy crap. I just called myself an elder. It's all over but the crying, isn't it?)

    Anyway, young Corrigan is a promising lad... if he'll just learn to FORGET THE AGE THING.

    Sadly... I still think of myself as a young and vibrant twenty-five year old. Quite unfair, really. On the plus side, I never get carded when I'm buying booze...

    You know what? That didn't help, either. Why is it that YOUR birthday has me all depressed? Hehehe... think I'll go put my dentures in and have some comfort food.

  6. Just a kid from over the mountainApril 16, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    Well I'm usually late with these things, but it's still yesterday here at my house, so I can say "Happy Birthday" to our resident Back Pocket Philosopher, and not feel like I missed something.

    Since I was taught to respect my elders, I won't make any smart comments about just how old everyone else seems to be.........

  7. Now that's talent! An insult from the safety of a (back-handed) compliment!

    Oh, you'll go far, my friend. Hehehe.

    Your (fairly respectable) elder...

  8. you all sound like 'anklebiters' category to one of my years.
    if you're in the 'elders' category then I must be in the 'anciens' one.
    but then you get your kicks on 'Route 66'

  9. Ali g, you will NEVER be ancient in my eyes! EVER! You are young at heart, and a mighty handsome fellow, too.

    On the plus side, you can act all patronizing to us upstarts and get away with it. I don't let many men get away with stuff, you know... you're in a category all your own!

    (It's snowing, with 5 inches of new stuff on the green grass and covering the newly budded trees! I simply need to whine to soneone, and you get the honor! You're welcome!)


  10. that's a picture of Claude not me. he is very handsome and young at heart I agree
    Whats happenned with the snow? you seem to have lost an inch.

  11. Yeah... when Steven measured, the number was bigger. Go figure! Hehehe... ooh, I'm a meanie.

  12. when it comes to inches I guess we boys do tend to exaggerate a little

  13. (Shhhh. I won't tell... it's best if that stays between us... fragile egos are involved, after all...)