Editorial: Blame the bears

From all accounts, the Earth Day litter cleanup, sponsored by the local Democratic Committee, was a great success (see Jed Duvall’s letter this week). Apparently there is now much less litter on Route 211.

But is that a good thing? The question should be asked.

For some of us, the colorful food packaging and shiny soda cans, sparkling and dancing with the rays of the early morning sun, are not necessarily eyesores, as claimed by shrill environmental activists.

One man’s trash, everyone knows, is another man’s treasure. It’s a subjective judgment.

We should not be afraid to admit that litter can be a beautiful addition, individually expressed, to the otherwise same-old, same-old landscape. And so we should not allow ourselves to bow to currently popular aesthetics, no matter how trendy and politically correct.

Beyond beauty, you have to ask yourself the fundamental question: Would there be any so-called litter at all if God didn’t want there to be litter?

As for those people who claim that litter is caused by human behavior, I’d like to see the objective evidence: real, scientific proof that isn’t fabricated by left-leaning professors at elite universities, like the one down the road in Charlottesville.

Of course, no one is silly enough to deny that humans created the plastic and other stuff that became litter. But those man-made creations came about to meet consumer demand in a free market, and that’s got to be, by definition, intrinsically good: cheap to produce, and those cost savings are passed on to today’s consumers, who can then buy even more stuff.

It’s up to us the consumers — not big government, local government or anybody else — to decide how to dispose of these man-made creations. And if we didn’t think the stuff was pretty, why would we decorate the highways with it? It’s all about liberty and freedom of choice.

But who’s to say that humans even disposed of the stuff along the highway in the first place? As any Rappahannock resident knows, that could well be the handiwork of black bears messing around in neighbors’ trashcans.

So, please, let’s stop do-gooders, like the local litter police, from trying to make us all feel guilty about trash, melting glaciers or anything else for which we the people have absolutely no responsibility.

Walter Nicklin


  1. Right, that’s what I was trying to explain to Mr. Alcott, i.e., that it was satire. But come to think
    of it, maybe Alcott’s letter was satire also….
    So I’m shuttin’ up. And lightenin’ up.
    Sides, Walter explains it all in this week’s issue.


  2. When is a joke not a joke? Well, when nobody gets the joke, that’s when. Satire only works
    when there is just enough distance from what could be the heartfelt opinions of some crank that one can get the joke. Seems to me that also happpened recently with the Eric Cantor column. So perhaps Mr Nicklin shoulld brush up on Mr. Twain and Mr. Mencken. Walter is just too subtle for
    all of us smart people to discern the subtleties.
    I think he should be punished by picking up all those copies of the Rappahannock News that
    have been tossed from vehicles by angry readers.

  3. Although I cannot say that I agree with Mr. Nicklin’s conclusions, the editorial was imaginative and fun to read. And, I am curious as to what it is you guys are smoking or drinking over there at the office :)

  4. The privilege afforded to publishers of small provincial newspapers carries a burden of social responsibility that was sadly lacking in The Rappahannock News and Editor Walter Nicklin’s inane and self serving column last week. The article which seemed to be about the beauty of litter, personal freedoms, and the audacity of “Do Gooders” who want to travel through a litter-free environment, appeared to be little more than the ramblings of a publisher with a personal platform to express his confused consumerist ideas. Humans are not responsible for the waste on 211, opines Nicklin’s column, bears are! “Would there be any so called litter if God didn’t want there to be litter?” “And if we didn’t think the stuff was pretty why would we decorate the highways with it?”

    The column coincidently ran alongside a letter to the editor which reflected on the efforts of a group of “Do Gooders” or “Litter Police,” as publisher Nicklin prefers to call them, who were part of the Earth Day litter clean up and dedicated part of their weekend to pick up other peoples trash along route 211. This merry bunch of “Do Gooders” was, it would seem, encroaching on Mr. Nicklin’s freedom to litter if he sees fit. It would seem that the same old landscape becomes boring for Mr. Nicklin, and he seems to suggest we should decorate it with a little litter if we feel like it. I, for one, love a clean landscape and hope there are people in the community who care enough to try and keep it looking pristine and a shining example of what a caring community can do.

    Mr. Nicklin’s column seemed to have no other purpose than to condone littering and belittle a Democrat sponsored Earth Day clean up crew who were doing their part in cleaning up the mess left by others along Route 211. If this was not his intention, then it was poorly expressed and badly written (or was it just an opportunity to have a dig at the Democratic Party volunteers). In any event, this self serving drivel seemed to do little other than encourage littering. His inane comments and use of “Do Gooders” and littering as a metaphor for his personal ramblings on freedoms were shallow, inappropriate, and revealing.

    The declarations of community participation, thoughtful journalism, and social responsibility by Mr. Nicklin and staff upon taking over The Rappahannock News were sadly lacking in last weeks issue. Their Readership deserves better and so does the community!

    Robert Alcott
    Washington, VA

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