Re: (Fwd: *C&CD*) The main problem (*DIGEST*) (17 lines)

John McLaughlin (
Thu, 26 Oct 1995 14:04:13 -0500

On Thu, 26 Oct 1995 wrote:

> Me or you giving the cheap shot? I certainly did, and felt bad all day.
> But let me set up a scenario for you. The law provides that a writing
> specialist be assigned to any interdisciplinary group writing an Environmental
> Impact STatement. Let's assume that I'm the writer for a the Department of
> Transportation, which wants to throw a freeway through my favorite canyon.
> I'm violently opposed to this, but as the process unfolds, I lose the fight
> and the freeway is approved. In writing up the statement, I must record
> a process and a decision that I loathe. But my job is to inform the
> public. Nor would I be an ethical person if I slanted my writing to make
> it appear the other side was a bunch of crooked slobs. In most cases
> of this sort, even the one you mention, it's not a case of Luther before
> the Pope. It's differing views. Ron Shook

Circumstances alter cases, and hard cases make bad law. But this one's easy.

As your boss, I wouldn't let you within a mile of this job. You've got
such a clear vested interest in the outcome that I'd be torturing you if
I made you write that report. More -- because you're a human being -- I
couldn't trust you to do the job fairly, under these circumstances,
without heavy supervision. So you've become a problem, rather than a
solution. (I believe you when you say you want to act "in the public
interest," which has nothing to do with "helping your opponent," the
oroginal premise on which this argument began, but which your scenario
has rendered moot; your opponent didn't need your help here).