Rational Apathy – The Slow Death of Outdoor Recreation
By Del & Stacie Albright
America has become a society of media hype, slanted education and brain washing, starting with kids in daycare school learning to hug trees, tolerate excessively and not listen to their parents’ teaching. At the same time, interests like outdoor recreation are being pushed aside for looming other priorities, some real, and some media-induced distractions purposely intended to keep us spinning in circles. We quickly lose sight of our passions and don’t even realize there is a slow death occurring.
One of our heroes, Chris W. Cox, NRA-ILA Executive Director recently wrote about “rational apathy” when it comes to the erosion of Second Amendment Rights (gun ownership issues). In his January 2014 column he talked of how people can be concerned about only so many things at once, “so unless they perceive an immediate threat to their own interests, they ignore small infringements on their rights, allowing them to accumulate over time,” Mr. Cox said. Certainly, this is a slow death for outdoor rights and access, particularly in our off-road world.
America is being distracted politically at nearly every turn. When something life-changing or threatening occurs, it seems we have something more pressing and near-and-dear to our hearts to deal with – and I’ll leave it to you to fill in the political blanks. We are at war, but all of a sudden our housing market collapses. We lose people overseas and the economy looms over our very ability to earn a living. Unemployment jumps off the charts, and all of a sudden a state enacts a law restricting detachable magazines in rifles. And the distractions continue on and on.
So yes, we get rationally apathetic. Rational means we have reason, or understanding. Apathetic means not having much emotion or interest. So when we combine these two terms, we see some Americans justifying – or rationalizing – not paying right now their membership dues in organizations, or not making donations right now to charities of concern, and in general being distracted by other issues that seem more pressing. In the meantime, the slow death permeates every crease and corner – eventually destroying a part of our rights and access.
In reality life gets in the way and we are all distracted by one thing or another. It’s been interesting to watch how there are plenty of scandals going on and the media is constantly using distraction tactics. Remember Benghazi, Fast N Furious, and Extortion 17; and did Osama Bin Laden’s body really get a burial at sea? Every one of these topics and issues has had their share of smoke and mirrors as well as media hype, while putting us in media overload. So once again we go about our everyday lives of working, trying to sort out our priorities, and surviving by telling ourselves that somebody else will take care of it and that there is only so much we can do.
Meanwhile, the anti-access busy-bodies who are passionately dedicated to shaping the world in their own exclusionary elitist likeness continue to chip away at our rights and freedoms. Much of the media and Hollywood types jump right in and “educate” us in the ways we “should” know – their way. We must moderate them and in some cases, we must stop them. We must not drop our passion in the outdoor sports we love. In fact, may we suggest, “Pass On the Passion” – keep it alive. Pass it on to kids; pass it on to elected officials; and pass it on to your favorite organizations fighting with you.
The key may be to focus on what your primary passions are. Maybe it’s gun rights and off-road; maybe it’s land rights and access and the kids ball team; whatever it is, stay in the game and do something about saving your passions with a once-a- week commitment. Or consider our “One for One Proposal” (http://www.delalbright.com/articles/one.htm) which suggests for every fun, outdoor day you enjoy, you write one letter, or make one phone call, or attend one meeting about landuse/politics. Or make one donation to your favorite group like BlueRibbon Coalition or your state, sport-specific organization.
Please do not let life’s distractions and myriad of priorities contribute to your losses and the slow death of outdoor recreation. If we pass on the passion and keep our rights and freedoms in the forefront of our lives, we can stop the slow death! The cure is to not lose sight of your rights and freedoms!
Del & Stacie Albright, aka “Team Albright,” are authors and outdoors advocates, writing internationally on landuse, access, rights and freedom. Learn more at www.delalbright.com. Del is the Director of Operations for BlueRibbon Coalition (http://www.BlueRibbonCoalition.com).