How do I get my Petting Zoo colleagues to stop referring to my former employer, Think Tank, as a "corporate funded front group"? There are lots of things you could say about Think Tank (that is, Old Think Tank, as opposed to what became known as New Think Tank just before I came to the PZ). I've said more than a few on this blog. But, goddammit, their Fuck the Polar Bears campaign is not funded by corporations. It is funded by a (very small group of) very rich and very delusional lunatic individual(s). And, no, it's not the Koch brothers, as much as you would like to believe it and my former colleagues at Think Tank wish it were true.
There is now a war of words between Think Tank and the Petting Zoo. It's beyond absurd, and, sad to say, the Petting Zoo started it -- not as an attack but with some wording used in a fundraising attempt that, presumably, they didn't expect Think Tank ever to discover.
I am embarrassed for them. Also, strategically, from the point of view of Expanding Habitats, the new program I'm working in, we're supposed to be getting past this rhetoric of blame.
Yeah. Good luck with THAT when so many people here can't get past their belief that eveybody who works at Think Tank is "evil" and "a dick."
I'm sorry, but just because somebody has an opinion you think is "evil," even if they are blatantly wrong in that opinion, it doesn't make them evil as a person. We call it an ad hominem attack in rhetoric because you're attacking the person and not the argument. Same thing with "dick." When somebody says something dick-ish, it doesn't make them a "dick" as a person. The Petting Zoo likes to hold itself up as representing the moral (as well as factual) high ground, but you know what? Nobody at Old Think Tank ever called the people who disagreed with them -- or was ideologically distant -- "evil" or "a dick."
Can't we have smart AND civil discourse?
What I really want to do is send an email to the president of Old Think Tank and the president of the Petting Zoo introducing them to each other. I'd tell them I like(d) working for both of them and that I think this quarrelling is silly. They should recognize that they're never going to agree on some things and stop the proven-to-backfire attempts at attacking each other's funders. Then I'd invite them out for a drink.
Of course, I will never actually write this email because I'm sure my words would be used against me in one way or another ...