Friday, November 18, 2005

Somebody needs to invent a pesticide that works on these kinds of pests

This is too bad…

Environmental and health groups applauded a Supreme Court decision Wednesday upholding a Toronto pesticide ban they say allows cities across the country to stop the use of lawn chemicals.
The London Free Press, November 18, 2005.
Of course they applaud — the moral authority of their activism is now theirs by default, acclaimed by the force of legislation instead of by promoting its merits.

I have […] no objection to anyone who declines to use pesticides on their own property — I'm not inclined towards them myself, but if I did I'd kindly remind those squeamish of the supposed risks to stay off my property in the first place.
In London, city staff were asked Monday by a council committee to revise a proposed pesticide bylaw. The bylaw limits where and when pesticides can be sprayed. It also calls for fines for homeowners and lawn-care companies that violate the rules.

"I think we'll be seeing a flood of these type of bylaws now that it's clear that municipalities have jurisdiction to enact them," [Justin] Duncan [of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund] said.
… and the pretension to ascribe to their own subjective political judgments the authority of generalized moral judgments about what is good or bad for everyone else. Flattering local politicians' conceits is a much easier thing for activists to do than to persuade Canadians who just want to mind their own business. This is a triumph for politics and arbitrary science.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

If what you mean is that aesthetics should trump potential health risks, why not just say it?

You describe as moral judgement what most see as measured caution in response to a reasonable suspicion of danger.

Should I decide that the most expedient solution to the problem of a growing collection of plastic grocery bags in my kitchen is to start burning them in my backyard, am I just minding my own business? Should I codemn to the busybodies who bedgrudge me the practice?

"Stay off my property!", I'll tell them. "You're the one who decided to breathe the air around here. Take some responsibility!", I'll say.

MapMaster said...

If what you mean is that aesthetics should trump potential health risks, why not just say it?

I won't say it because I don't mean it. Measured cautionreasonable suspicion… even your own description affirms that the issue is one of judgment. The moral part comes in because pesticide ban proponents want to force their judgment down the throats of people who may judge differently.

If you can demonstrate that your neighbour's burning plastic bags harms you, then the damages are yours to claim and penalties can justifiably be applied under some existing legislation I'm sure. Does the use of pesticides meet this criteria? From the London Free Press:

Coun. David Winninger and others gave impassioned arguments supporting a ban. Winninger said the reason there's no scientific proof pesticides pose a health threat is because they may be tested only on animals.

He argued Dr. Graham Pollett, the city's medical office of health, along with various medical organizations support a ban on pesticides.

"We don't have all the answers, that's quite clear," Winninger said. "But that hasn't stopped other municipalities from passing bold legislation. If we really care about the people of London and our children and grandchildren, then every one of us ought to be voting against this bylaw."


People are welcome to use emotional arguments to regulate their own activities, but if that is all you can assert to justify governing other people, I suggest that you'll find yourself governed by other people's caprices that you do not share, if you don't find that already. I'd rather not live in that brave new world myself, for all the supposed environmental benefits incurred by surrendering my own judgments.

Lisa said...

Coun. David Winninger and others gave impassioned arguments supporting a ban. Winninger said the reason there's no scientific proof pesticides pose a health threat is because they may be tested only on animals.

In the interest of public health and safety, rumour has it that city council plans to enforce a bylaw requiring citizens benefitting from public housing to show up at the city laboratory.