I chuckled upon reading your Feb. 28 editorial questioning the need for a “National Institute for Civil Discourse.” Such an institute is indeed useless, because “civility” is so very much in the eye of the beholder.

Several weeks back, we were treated to a lengthy lesson by the press about the grave dangers to democracy of the alleged uncivil behavior of certain conservative talk radio hosts. Earlier, the press had worked overtime at various “tea party” rallies looking for examples of conservative uncivil behavior (with little success).

But if we turn our attention in recent days to Madison, Wis., we find the left unabashedly engaging in some of the most uncivil behavior observed in recent memory, including placards suggesting various unpleasant things that should happen to Gov. Scott Walker.

A few weeks before that, we were treated to a leftist rally in California, where it was loudly proclaimed by (white) leftists that Clarence Thomas’ alleged crimes were so heinous that he (and his wife) should be hanged (it is easily viewed on YouTube).

Remarkably, none of this recent copious incivility seems worthy of condemnation by the very same organs of mainstream respectability that were so recently crying out for “a new civility” in public life. Is it not striking that those committing uncivil acts on the left are getting a clean pass, while Sarah Palin’s bull’s-eye-on-a-political-sign is treated as the height of incivility?

Could it be that, while all varieties of incivility are equally wrong, some kinds of incivility — namely, those committed on the left — are “less equally” wrong than others? George Orwell would recognize this kind of “civility” for what it really is — partisan politics by other means.

Michael R. Montgomery

School of Economics, University of Maine

Orono 

Land-based wind power costs more than it’s worth

We recently took a snowmobile onto one of the mountains in Highland Plantation on a clear, cold night to see if we could see the Northern Lights.

A group of us, some from out of state, wanted to go as high up as we could and hopefully get a great view. As we huddled together looking up at the night sky, we couldn’t miss the other light show just slightly to the left of where we were looking.

There were many red, blinking lights from the Kibby Wind Turbine Project about 30 miles away. I couldn’t believe they were 30 miles away because they were so big and intrusive.

It was hard to keep our attention on the beautiful natural light show because those big, red, blinking lights kept redirecting us, much like airport lights do. It made me feel sad to think that this is just one project in Maine taking away from Maine’s beauty as there are other wind projects planned.

The wind industry wants to string these lights all through our state, not just this one location. Maine is known for its night sky and the natural beauty of the mountains, and these enormous industrial machines will forever change that.

I live in Highland Plantation, where they plan to erect 39 or more wind turbines surrounding my home. My home is a little over a mile from the sites, and I just can’t imagine what kind of light show I will have.

Some people say that I’m just one person and one backyard, but they’re wrong. Just looking at the Northern Lights the other night proved it.

It only took one project 30 miles away to take away from the spectacular event we were all hoping to see. Just imagine if the wind industry gets its way with our beautiful state. There will be more than just my backyard affected.

Heidi Emery

Highland Plantation 

The arguments against the clearcutting of Maine’s most remote areas for wind turbines, and the opposition to forever losing Maine’s rural, essential “sense of place,” are both well founded.

When weighed against short-term job creation, which is real, and long-term independence from foreign petroleum, which is wind industry propaganda, the pros and cons can be argued until we’re blue in the face.

But there is an underlying truth here that every Maine citizen should find disturbing. The majority is being ignored.

Backroom politics and blatant cash contributions from the wind developers to organizations including the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine have run roughshod over the democratic process.

Numbers don’t lie. WABI Channel 5 in Bangor did an opinion poll on Feb. 24 regarding industrial wind development in Maine.

Out of 909 respondents, 17 were in favor of building turbines on land. Less than 2 percent in favor of the growing destruction we’re witnessing in rural Maine. But on and on it goes.

Permitting for wind development falls on the shoulders of the Land Use Regulation Commission, a Maine government agency. By definiton, in a representative government, LURC’s responsibility is to represent the wishes of the people — not the wishes of out-of-state developers, former governors’ companies, former governors’ sons — or southern Maine contractors and blasters who are trading the future of rural Maine for short-term financial gain.

Jack Gagnon

Lakeville 

Attention all Mainers, everyone who hunts and fishes, hikes or skis, owns land or a camp, takes a Sunday drive, anyone who runs a tourism-based business, anyone who loves the out of doors, anyone who looks up at the stars in the sky on a cold winter night.

Do your homework before you jump on the land-based wind-power bandwagon. It really has nothing to do with green energy and a lot to do with money, and specifically government money.

Let’s have a moratorium so we see the real effects of land-based wind — effects on watersheds, wildlife, property values and the quality of life that we all love and appreciate.

Why are we in such a rush to blast our mountaintops? Land-based wind power is unreliable and inefficient. Please educate yourself, shut your lights off when you leave a room, don’t leave your truck running when you go in a store, shut your computers off and come to the mountains.

They are the backyard for all Mainers.

Nora West

New Portland 

Wind power is our future; Mainers should embrace it 

Regarding Mr. Allen Bingham’s March 3 letter on wind power (“Facts on power production show wind has tiny effect”): He reads his own electric bill and assumes it reflects that state’s use of electricity.

It’s not the case, and to further extrapolate to conclusions regarding wind energy is misguided.

Customers do not need to accept CMP’s “standard offer” as their electricity source. This spring CMP will offer a new green power alternative with higher percentages of hydro and wind energy. In addition, they can buy green energy credit offsets from Maine wind power.

Yes, we’re increasing our overall power in Maine from wind. When projects in northwest and Down East Maine come online this summer and fall, 10 to 15 percent of the electricity production will come from wind.

Some grids are not tied together, some production goes across borders. However, when measuring overall generation, these number are up every day. These are very significant amounts in most energy analysts’ opinions and mark a huge shift to green energy.

Wind would actually compete with oil and natural gas if all subsidies were counted equally. Thus, we could reap a huge reduction in our oil imports with carbon-free electricity.

Offshore, we could produce more than three times the amount of power we now use in our state. We could export electricity and make money and create jobs.

Oil is the most subsidized form of energy, from the $10 per barrel we spend for the military to protect shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf, to the cost of two wars and the billions of dollars lost in externalized costs to the environmental destruction caused by drilling, mining (Canadian tar sands) and burning it.

Need we not forget the Gulf oil spill?

Wind is our future — we should be embracing it!

Paul Weiss

Cumberland