Morality of Measure C

Morality of Measure C

I learned that leadership was always best when you lead by example.  Yet many of the “Yes on C” campaign wine industry “Team Leaders” and supporters seem to adhere to the parental style of leadership of “Do as I say, not as I do.”  I understand that morals reflect the values of a society and societies change and different societies differ in what is important and not important.

It is with this in mind that I challenge the supporters of Measure C to morally justify how Measure C is constructed and the actions of some of its leaders.  I oppose Measure C, regardless of its intent or content, because Measure C is constructed to take something of value from a minority group for the alleged necessity of a majority.

Tyranny of the Majority

Direct democracy can have a very dark side to it when the majority puts their own interests above the rights of the minority.  Imagine three wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.  The sheep objects to the election, but the wolves console the sheep that it was a fair election, it was democracy after all, and the sheep lost.   Measure C is no different in principle than all previous historical oppressions of minority groups.  If Measure C passes the majority will take property rights from a minority group for their own benefit.  How does this differ in theory from the Athenians condemning Socrates to death because he spoke out against his government, or the Salem witch trials or the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II?

Supporters of Measure C have written letter after letter to the various newspapers wailing about the importance of “our watershed” for more and cleaner water as the justification for Measure C.  Yet not once has any supporter, let alone the authors, Mike Hackett and Jim Wilson, ever spoken of “our mutual responsibility” to correct the problem.  Measure C supporters are more than willing to force the burden of providing more clean water onto the shoulders of the landowners of the oak woodlands, yet aren’t willing to share that burden.  I believe that if such an existential threat is real then all of us, without exception, should bear our share of any such burden.

Lead by example?

In the same vein, I don’t understand how Warren, Beth, Andy, Randy, Joyce, Christian, Cherise, Robin, Tom and Yeoryios, who are members of the “Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture” and also vineyard owners, can justify forcing others to do what they seemingly are not willing to do themselves.  Specifically, Measure C will force larger stream buffer zones for all new vineyards, yet their vineyards will be exempted.  If it is imperative that larger stream buffer zones are needed to protect our environment then shouldn’t we all bear that burden equally?  Why should any of us be exempt while the newbies bear all the environmental burden for improving our lives?   By hiding behind this exemption, it makes me believe that, like me, they really believe there is no environmental necessity for Measure C.  In fact, it appears that their support for Measure C is a convenient way to stop new vineyards so that their Napa grapes and vineyards become more valuable.

Forcing others to do what you are not willing to do yourself is morally repugnant to me and smacks of hypocrisy.  Now if they stipulated that when it comes time to replant their vineyards they’d adhere to the new setbacks then I’d take their commitment to Measure C more seriously.

I wonder how Warren, Beth, Andy, Randy, Joyce, Christian, Cherise, Robin, Tom, Yeoryios or any of the Measure C supporters would feel if their property was put at risk because of an initiative?