Intense emotions are distorting clear thinking

By Richard Levak

Dr. Bierman’s response to my letter suggesting “fear of change” could be a factor in the opposition to Prop. J was instructive of the opposition’s perspective. He begins with a reasonable assertion that suggesting fear as a motivator unfairly prejudices the opposition’s perspective. Fair enough. However, he reveals in the same sentence and throughout his letter the opposition’s belief in the moral superiority of their perspective. His implied request for linguistic reasonableness is absent when he describes the Prop J supporters as holding “specious arguments” and “foisting changes” on, what he later says, is a “quiet and persistent majority.” “Foisting?” Really Dr. Bierman? Over 90 public meetings is hardly “foisting.” What makes you presume you are in a majority? Remember that an election will decide the “majority” and neither side has been quiet! The sentiment of the opposition, that Prop J is “top down” and has been forced on them and that they are a “quiet and persistent majority” with “common sense” is well expressed in his letter that started as a criticism of presumptiveness but quickly became judgmental and highly presumptive. How can he call the engineers “bungling” when he suggested “fear of change” was presumptive! The good doctor’s letter could not better reveal that intense emotions are distorting clear thinking.