Objectivity is dead, and we have bought and paid for its death

So, you want to build a railroad through land covered in Native American tradition and culture? Just hire someone that will say that it will not actually “hurt anything”. If that doesn’t work, all one needs to do is put more money in to debunk any significance, take a few pictures of it and say, “we saved it.” If that is all too much for you, simply declare that there is no reason to even look at all of that in the first place. One way or another you can buy your way out of objectivity too and today only for the low, low price of $2995.

As a absolute representation of what consumerist culture is, strives to be, and what it does, Thomas King shows a million and one ways to overlook any kind of culture, history, and environmental concerns about what you want to build in the name of….(wait for it)….”progress”. That is right. I said it. Need a railroad built but don’t think you should have to deal with pesky laws? Put the burden of better ideas on the other side, completely avoiding any and all responsibility.  “It’s really pretty simple. When a specialist is hired by a project proponent, no matter how skilled, professional, and even honorable that specialist may be, he or she can’t help but be influenced by the client’s interest in moving his or her project forward quickly and at least cost.” (43)

Think the idea of that is wrong. No problem. let’s bring in an unbiased third party. But wait, there’s more. Is the unbiased party unbiased? Even when the BLM brings in a third party, “The proponent pays, but the agency calls the shots. Sometimes, however— as we’ll see in Chapter Seven— the ostensibly independent “third party” contractor for the agency turns out to be the very firm that is also under contract with the proponent.”(43)



Better yet, just bury everyone in a bunch of jargon that you choose to not bother defining gumming up the entire works for anyone even attempting to figure out what you are doing.(74-77) You may even get lucky and have no one to show up to speak out against your project, as long as you make sure that it is a public hearing and that you create paperwork that you can later ignore.(114)

If none of those work to get you to the place you need to be, just wait. Over the next four years it is likely that we will see such a cutback in the systems in place to protect these places, you may be able to just do whatever you want and there will be no one there to even stop you. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/us/politics/budget-epa-state-department-cuts.html)

With these steps, you too can destroy the Earth, other cultures, and resources in five easy steps… assuming you have the money and where you want to build is in an area of regularly marginalized people.

One thought on “Objectivity is dead, and we have bought and paid for its death”

  1. This book kinda broke my heart a little. King described a pretty bleak picture about how significance is relative and the myriad ways companies and congress can blow right past what regulations are in place, but he had the EPA and a few other agencies he could lean on to help in some cases. With the current administration in place, it would not surprise me in the least if we lose conservation areas, national parks, and culturally significant sites left and right. What an absolute waste.

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