You are here: home   Issues   A fractured party   Denial and delusion

Denial and delusion

Document Actions

Your cover story featuring Jeffery Lockwood's article, "Why the West needs Mythic Cowboys," is an apropos commentary (HCN, 6/9/08). However, Mr. Lockwood is missing the point -- namely, most of the fiction and movies on the subject are constructed to support the principle that "might makes right" and that conflicts are settled with rifles, pistols and nooses. Owen Wister's archetypical novel The Virginian, written to calm the furor over the Johnson County Wars, deludes the reader into thinking that the cattle barons who hired a posse to commit these atrocious acts are really the good guys. But the lands the cattle barons were occupying were taken at gunpoint from the Indians. When the small-time ranchers and the female companions (Cattle Cate) on the plains that helped make life tolerable stood in the way, they too had to be chased away.

Unfortunately, the whitewashing of the past with a false coping myth is not my idea of progress. We need to think clearly and deal honestly with the reality and consequences of our decisions, otherwise there will be more denial. Such denial leads to equally delusory thinking, as many commentators like Rush Limbaugh prove when they scream about how the ice caps and glaciers aren't really receding and that global warming is a fiction created by wacko liberals. This type of thinking is designed to support agendas, not to promote progress and environmental responsibility.

Steve Olson
Portland, Oregon

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Why I am a Tea Party member |
  3. The privatization of public campground management | All the info you need to decide whether you love o...
  4. Efficiency lessons from Germany |
  5. The Latest: Interior commits to restoring bison on select lands | The “odd ungulate out” gets a tentative win.
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  3. What's killing the Yukon's salmon? | An ecological mystery in Alaska has scientists and...
  4. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
  5. North Dakota wrestles with radioactive oilfield waste | Regulators look at raising the limit for radiation...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
 
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone