Wednesday, April 25, 2018


April 25, 2018

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Okay, but…

I read your tweet yesterday about working to “mitigate the increase of jet engine noise over our neighborhoods” and thought to myself, “Okay, but…”

The “okay” is that it’s certainly a good thing to reduce noise pollution—over our neighborhoods and elsewhere. It’s a good thing to reduce every kind of pollution that impinges on our quality of life, whether air, or noise, or light, or indeed any other form. Life in contemporary America is hard enough. We have too many sources of stress, which result in all kinds of uncivil behavior. The human species survived, evolved, even—if you happen to believe in evolution, as I do and apparently a large number of Americans do not—on a planet that did not have these particular health hazards, so our bodies and minds are ill-prepared to accommodate to them.

So there is a “but.” There is, in my view, more than a taste of “not in my back yard” provincialism to your pronouncement that I find questionable. All very well to cater to the mild discomfort of our generally wealthy and materially comfortable communities; but this should not be accompanied by neglect of the huge problems of pollution that affect the entire planet. While you, in comfortable Orange County, complain about the noise of the jet planes that carry us in relative luxury and with amazing speed on our trips throughout the planet, there are literally millions of human beings who are forced to suffer the consequences of our national embrace of fossil fuels and our failure to accept responsibility for our contribution to world-wide pollution.

While you complain about the noise of take-off and landing, you do nothing about the pollution that is distributed liberally in the earth’s atmosphere in between.


Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

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