By Rich Kozlovich
Many years ago I was watching a television show dealing with how seriously peer pressure impacts children, in this case teenage children. They demonstrated a study using a classroom as the lab for this experiment in human nature. Two sentences appeared on the blackboard, sentence “A” and sentence “B”. The class was asked; “Which sentence was the longest?” I don’t actually remember which sentence was the longest, but for this commentary let’s say that sentence “B” was actually the longest. This test was structured in such a way that only a small number of the kids in each group was unaware as to what was going on and could vote which- ever way they saw fit. All the rest were in on it and their job was to vote for sentence “A” as being the longest when in reality it was the shortest. Now the question! How many of the test students voted along with the crowd for sentence “A” as being the longest, ignoring the obvious truth that sentence “B” was in reality longer? It appears that 93% of the test subjects chose to go along with the crowd rather that have the courage and integrity to stand up for the evidence of their own eyes. Going along to get along!
My original thought was that this number seems to be high. I had reason to change my view some time later. One of my accounts was a local high school where once a year I would make presentations to the science department on pesticides, the theme being, “Risk Versus Benefit”. At the beginning of each program I would write a number on the blackboard (which was always around 50,000) and tell each class this was how many people died last year as a result of using this product. Then I would ask, “Should this product be removed from the market?” The answer was always a resounding “Yes”. At the end of each class I would tell them that these people were killed on the nation’s highways by automobiles. Then I would ask; “How many of you want to do away with cars?” In every class except one, they all wanted to keep cars on the highways. Out of about 200 students only one was willing to stand up and say, “Get rid of them”. Is this a going along to get along attitude being expressed here? Is this a matter of personal self interests? Probably a little of both, it did make me wonder; is 93% a valid number?
Although a recent study actually put the number at 95%, studies have a way of proving what the creator of the study wants proven. Therefore there is no way of knowing if 93% is a truly reliable number. Does it matter? Would it matter if the numbers were 90% or 80% or even less? Probably not, because science should be proving things that we can easily see going on around us and our own experiences in life show that the pressure on youngsters to go along is tremendous and most youngsters succumb to that pressure in greater or lesser degrees.
What is the point of all of this? The desire of young people to fit in is well known, but this isn’t really the issue. The real issue is this. How serious is this problem as we age? Quite frankly, I don’t think it changes all that much except on little issues. Adults have the courage to stand up for issues that don’t amount to much. I used to work with someone who was always the first to stand up and be counted. Always the first to criticize over any tiny issue that really didn’t matter much and would have had little impact on anything, especially his job. How did he respond when a serious issue arose between the company and the employees? Such as a change in how we were to be compensated? This was one of those issues where standing up and being counted could possibly cost you your job. The silence was deafening.
Adults, like children, also have convenient memories. Some years later at a social gathering this came up in discussion and his recollection was, “if you remember, I was the only one to speak out on this issue”. Since he was generally regarded as being outspoken no one questioned it, at least until someone actually pointed out what was actually said and happened at that meeting. Memories became clear again because it was pointed out that after the boss temporarily walked out of the room his comment to the only one speaking up was “why don’t you shut up, I just hope this is all that they take away”.
I would appear that whenever issues become complex or challenging you get the same result with adults as you get with children. Why? Just because issues may appear to be a small matter to adults it doesn't mean it isn’t “big” to children. They don’t have the same concerns as adults. Being accepted by their peers is extremely important to children, especially teenage children. To their perspective, it has the same level of importance as major issues do for adults. It is a matter of perception, and once we realize this it is easy to realize why so many adults make so many decisions to go along with programs and issues that are clearly detrimental to their own interests. We use the term “peer pressure”, but in reality it isn’t a peer pressure problem. It is a herding problem. The innate desire to go along to get along. The need to be part of the herd. The size of the issue is a matter of perspective and fear of rejection, fear of being ridiculed, fear of job loss and fear of isolation cause people to go along to get along. Coupling these fears with a lack of knowledge and proper understanding of important issues absolutely assures the 93% rule. Is 93% the actual percentage for adult decision-making? Once again, I have no idea, but the rule certainly applies as a principle because the actual percentage is immaterial when that percentage is still very large.
Pesticide use is one such issue. We have pest controllers, entomologists, trainers, consultants, university researchers and even owners and their technicians working to promote IPM and other foolish programs that will ultimately destroy the pesticide application industries and there is neither outcry nor any contrary commentary from any of the information deliverers or “leaders” of our industry. In fact the leaders of our industry are promoting these green concepts.
• Is it possible that no one sees the obviousness of promoting IPM or so-called “green” pest control is destructive to our industry?
• Does no one see that calling pest control something other than pest control implies that what we have been doing is wrong and that the environmentalists have been right all along?
• Is it possible that no one sees the obviousness of supporting the Montreal Protocol and eliminating the use of methyl bromide is counter -productive to our industry and mankind?
• Is it possible that no one sees that the fruitage of the environmental movement has been the unnecessary death of millions along with wretched living conditions and sickness for millions more?
• Is it possible that no one sees the devastation that has ensued in the third world as a result of promulgating environmentalist programs?
• Is it possible that no one sees that most of what the environmental movement has promoted has been based on fear mongering and lies? At the very least lies of omission?
• Is it possible that no one sees that the EPA is not a neutral government agency and at its very beginning was willing to make decisions that have been disastrous to mankind without any scientific basis what so ever? One could even say fraudulent science!
• Is it possible that no one sees that there is no scientific basis for the promotion of any of these policies?
• Does no one see that these policies are detrimental to humanity?
Either we are making uninformed decisions or we are guilty of the 93% rule. Going along to get along! The appeasement mentality of Neville Chamberlain was in reality the 93% rule.
"It has now become the duty of the pesticide application, manufacturing and distribution industries to obediently ignore obvious and provable realities. Inculcated deep within the collective psyche of the pest control industry we have now come to believe every bit of the horse pucky so-called experts and consultants and university researchers heap upon us.”
“We are required to stand up for things which are unproven or unprovable. To support things that are not true, while refuting or rejecting those things which are true! We must proclaim our unwavering resolve to support IPM or whatever the latest “green” philosophical flavor of the day is. We must resolve to support the idea that pesticides cause a whole host of maladies and are destroying the environment. We must accept the fairy tales of people like the Mother of Junk Science, Rachel Carson and her acolytes (including many in our industry) and call it science.” The only thing left is to hallow that which is unholy! This is what green means.
What Does It Mean To Be Green?
What Does It Mean To Be Green, Part II
What Does It Mean To Be Green, Part III
What Does It Mean To Be Green, Part IV