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“I had inherited what my father called the art of the advocate, or the irritating habit of looking for the flaw in any argument.” – John Mortimer, Clinging to the Wreckage, 1982


Day 11:  Why Competitive <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Enterprise Institute.  One of the most common questions or comments I hear while doing interviews about this project regards my affiliation with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. 


Several years ago, I started researching the animal rights movement, and my reading soon expanded to books and materials published by groups intent on fear mongering and controlling the public with idealistic notions of some sort of promised utopia (provided the general populace would follow these leaders unquestioningly).  I was horrified to find out that some well-known, non-profit groups, far from being concerned about the public welfare, were more interested in deceiving the public in order to maintain the status quo than in making life better for the world as a whole.  Fortunately, during the course of my research, I came across a number of highly acclaimed but little known books that challenged the doom and gloom predictions of the big non-profit “green” groups that have until recently dominated our worldview.


To tell you the truth, I was delighted to find such well-written and thoughtful books from groups like CEI and Reason, which not only cast a very different light on where we were heading as a species but also challenged the reader to explore old, politically correct, unfounded notions about global warming, chemicals, biotech food, and more.  I was fascinated and educated enough to be able to understand the logical arguments calling for a major shift in our thinking and a call to individuals to educate themselves so they are less likely to be influenced by things like junk science masquerading as legitimate scientific data. 


I am honored by the Adjunct Fellowship which CEI has bestowed upon me.  It is an acknowledgement of the hard work and research I’ve engaged in over the years, and I thank them for their support of my efforts to debunk the obesity myth.  I would like to point out that I am not being paid by CEI to do this project; and while I’m on the subject, I’m not receiving any compensation from McDonald’s either.  (In the spirit of full disclosure, I did work for the Golden Arches in my teens.)  My main source of income is from my appearances on Camo Country (www.camocountrytv.com), educational programs featuring live animals, and providing trained animals for commercial, TV, and movie work.  So like most people I work hard to make my money, and suffer through the usual peaks and valleys of financial feast or famine.


For a quick overview of some of the information I have mined over the years, please refer to my 2004 Calendar entitled The World Will Not End Tomorrow, A Calendar for Optimists.   Each month explores a different topic and a few calendars may still available through the CEI web site.  As for the books that have fueled my research over the past few years, I highly recommend the following:


Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths, How the Environmental Movement Uses False Science to Scare Us to Death – Competitive Enterprise Institute, Ronald Bailey, Editor


Junk Science Judo – Steven J. Milloy


Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate, How Truth Became Controversial –

M. Mihkel Mathiesen


Statistics You Can’t Trust, A Friendly Guide To Clear Thinking About Statistics In Everyday Life – Steve Campbell, Ph.D.


It Ain’t Necessarily So, How Media Make and Unmake the Scientific Picture of Reality – David Murray, Joel Schwartz and S. Robert Lichter


The Culture of Fear, Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things: Crime, Drugs, Minorities, Teen Moms, Killer Kids, Mutant Microbes, Plane Crashes, Road Rage, & So Much More – Barry Glassner


Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death? How Pessimism, Paranoia, and a Misguided Media are Leading Us Toward Disaster – H. Aaron Cohl