Originally Posted by Seiryu
The suggestion I made earlier was not supposed to be targeted at you individually.
Nonetheless, you having thought that the common protestors are at the wrong standpoint, while this group is at the right standpoint, is insinuating the air of arrogance.
I'm sorry, but I think characterising some of our objections with regards to the issue as 'elitist' or 'arrogant' is pretty unfair. In the first place, thinking that someone with different or opposing views to your own is in the 'wrong standpoint' and thinking your own views is the 'right standpoint' is what everyone naturally does - or else it wouldn't be called 'belief', would it? Is it arrogant if say I believe that the world is round, and that I am right? Would it be arrogant if I think that flat-earth proponents are wrong? I don't think so, because by definition if we believe in something, then obviously we take those beliefs as true, and then by extension we think we are right in that.
Everyone protesting LYNAS is on the right standpoint. The most important, fundamental standpoint is people agree that the refinery has not reached the political and operational assurance that it is safe for our future generation. If fundamentally the otherwise were true - this group is confident to champion that the refinery is safe -then yes, the standpoints differ, and proving why the others' standpoints are wrong is justified.
But the fact is, no matter how much you try to pedantically disprove the common protestors' evidences, play the game of shooting down the parallels, you come back to the same stance as the common protesters i.e. this issues need to be discussed further, with caveat that the protestors are "misinformed" and are "protesting for the wrong reason". Why flog a dead horse?
As a matter of fact, are we really so sure that the parallels drawn by the common protestors should be neglected? Engineers may tell us that LYNAS have differences that are worlds apart from the well known accidents, or how safe and careful these facilities can be built to avert a large scale catastrophe. Medicine can assure us that given the little exposure to radioactivity, the impact is confined. However, in real life above engineering and medicine, what governs are politics and management. Malaysian government is one with the history of doing things under the table, building apartments on loose footings and designing sewage system that causes floods. How can we be so sure that, despite flawless engineering (not exactly, we still have not dealt with the waste management issues) and the limited medical impact (how sure are we on this?), political mismanagement may not change the parameters? How then, can we flag the commoners' causes as "impaired objectivity", or that they are "misinformed", if they come from the basis of mistrusting the government?
I don't think anyone here is pro-Lynas in the sense that we are saying 'The Lynas project should go forward!'. In fact I think if anything, we're mostly wary of the project, for all the reasons you've very rightly pointed out (I agree with your points completely). At the very least, what I'm objecting against is the amount of misinformation used to lead people in objecting to Lynas. Should the people oppose the project? Yes, in my opinion - our government's track record speaks volumes as you've said. But does that mean it is alright that they be misinformed in order to do so? No, it is not, because it means that for any other issue, people can be misled as well. I don't think it is elitist or arrogant to suggest that the various parties involved in the issue (read: not the people themselves) should be more careful and more honest in disseminating information.
If I'm being honest, I doubt it's an issue of education - to me it's an issue of access. I'm not calling the opposition overblown because I studied radioactivity or rare earths or the Bukit Merah incident - I take my stand because I've got an Internet connection, and I thought of doing a little bit of research just to see what it's all about. Yes, education does certainly come into play, but for our society I think it goes beyond that. This is also pretty much the issue with our politics - it's not that the people in rural areas support the government more because they're less educated, it's because they've had less access to both sides of the issue.
Anyway, I'd like to bring up a quote to explain something:
"Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done."
In other words (in the context of this Lynas issue), it's not enough that something is in absolute terms good - it must be perceived as good too. Which means that just because we all say that rare earth plants can be safe and the whole project can be carried out with no incident, does not mean that we are proposing that the company bulldozes ahead with the project despite the objections of the locals, whether founded or unfounded. It is not enough for Lynas to be scientifically safe. The people must see it as safe too. So despite the fact that I'm against people making misinformed decisions on the matter, I would never ask that they go ahead with the project there if so many people are still against it.
(Reading many articles about the issue, it's pretty clear a lot of people are very nervous about the project, and worried about their own living - that's enough reason to not have it)
In fact the IAEA themselves advocated communicating with the people in their Lynas report - they've noted that for things like this it's important not just to meet physical standards of safety, but to make assurances that the place actually is safe for the sake for perception.
To be perfectly honest, the level of affected assurance made by the group on an issue that is not really "assurable", further insinuates the air of arrogance.
Rather I think the problem some of us are trying to get at is that it would be a shame (and indeed it would) if an otherwise safe and potentially (only potentially, for now) beneficial project is scrapped because people are afraid. Of course, Lynas has still not proved beyond all reasonable doubt that it is safe and will be safe, but I suppose that some of us fear that even if they did, the misinformation would still be enough to inspire some irrational opposition to the project. IF is the key word here. They have not so far, and so the problem does not yet arise.
The feeling I'm getting from what you're saying here, if I'm not misunderstanding it, is that you think we're making all the claims that the plant will be safe and that it's a non-issue, only to seemingly make all that meaningless by saying that oh, in the end it's not quite assuredly safe after all. That is not the case. We are not lumping all opponents of Lynas into one group, and we are saying that for those who oppose the plant based on exaggerated claims and wrong facts, they should be given the right information. In addition we also note that a lot of the opposition ALSO stems from distrust of government, to which we are saying YES, that is valid.
I hope none of us are 'insinuating the air of arrogance anymore'. Thanks.