The sum of our fears is a big black hole that cannot be filled. We stink at assessing real risk, balk at phony threats; and, we’re assailed by so many fears we’ve got to pick and choose when to be frightened.
We’re too trusting. “The innate human tendency to soak up, trust, and internalize cultural norms,” says Jeffrey Knutsen (author of A Memeplex for the Cultural Evolution), “causes most of us to blindly follow our perceived societal authority figures, experts, and institutions, no matter how they achieved their status. Most of us don’t have the time, inclination, or the resources to question authority because we are so busy surviving. We can only assume, or at best, hope, that they know both what is good for us, and have our optimal interests at heart.” Do politicians and lifetime-tenured academics in their ivory towers give two schitts about what’s good for us?
For example, what bigger waste of time could there be than the fear of a hotter, more intimidating world than it actually is prompting a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat? As a guide, what have politicians and academics done in the past in an attempt to frighten us? Looking back, the benefit of hindsight bathes us in the floccinaucinihilipilification of all our past fears–e.g., how about the ominous-sounding DDT scare.
Environmentalists believed this relatively innocuous chemical was harmful to animals. It is hard to measure the success of the resulting global ban: if the real but unstated fear was overpopulation, the ban has caused genocide so… success? (See–e.g., Documentary Exposes the Horrific Human Cost of the DDT Ban: “3 Billion and Counting is named for the number of malaria victims worldwide throughout history. It exposes genocide in poor countries committed by bureaucrats in wealthy nations who kill with the stroke of a pen.”)
Overpopulation— Acid Rain— Ozone Hole— Nuclear winter (Kuwati Oil Fires)— SARS— Fracking— Fukushima (Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, The China Syndrome)— Rising Seas— Polar Bear Deaths— there is no end to what we can choose to be insanely worried about. A push by those who are politically and ideologically motivated is all it takes to get the ball rolling. All it took to commence a pogrom against modernity was to trot out all of the fearmongering from the Ozone Depletion hoax and simply substitute CO2 for CFCs.
How many people remember the peril of nuclear winter? Crichton shows how the entire concept was “from the outset the subject of a well-orchestrated media campaign” conducted for political ends. A Washington DC public-relations firm was paid $80,000 to publicize the research. The first appearance of the work in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature was in the December 23, 1983, issue of Science (Turco et al., 1983). But the dangers of nuclear winter had been heralded nearly two months earlier by Carl Sagan in the October 30, 1983, issue of Parade magazine, a supplement to Sunday newspapers (Seitz, 1986). By 1986, it was apparent that the conclusions of Turco et al. (1983) were suspect, and that the entire field of research was highly politicized. Writing in the January 23, 1986, issue of Nature, K. A. Emanuel (1986, p. 259) noted that “nuclear winter research…has become notorious for its lack of scientific integrity.” ~David Deming
How scary is the imminent demise of rain forests? Will runaway capitalism wipe out the Amazon jungle? “By one estimate, for every acre of rain forest cut down each year, more than 50 acres of new forest are growing in the tropics on land that was once farmed, logged or ravaged by natural disaster.” ~Elizabeth Rosenthal, ‘New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Rain Forests,’ New York Times)
“The Amazon is actually the least endangered forest in the world,” according to Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace (see, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout…). Despite all the warnings, “only 10 percent of the Amazon,” says Moore, “has been converted to date from what was original forest to agriculture and settlement.”
Moore believes we need a different prescription (although one that Leftists do not accept), as follows:
- We should be growing more trees and using more wood, not cutting fewer trees and using less wood as Greenpeace and its allies contend. Wood is the most important renewable material and energy resource.
- Those countries that have reserves of potential hydroelectric energy should build the dams required to deliver that energy. There is nothing wrong with creating more lakes in this world.
- Nuclear energy is essential for our future energy supply, especially if we wish to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. It has proven to be clean safe, reliable, and cost-effective…
There’s a common misconception that per capita consumption of energy and resources is directly related to negative environmental impact. We’re told that, because the average North American consumes 80 times as much as the average Bangladeshi, we cause 80 times the damage. But all one need do is travel to Bangladesh to see the impact of poverty on the environment. Forests are stripped bare for subsistence farming, rivers are fouled for lack of sewage treatment, and wildlife is severely reduced through poaching. These people need more resources, not less… As a sensible environmentalist, I believe we should be planting more trees and using more wood-the world’s most renewable resource- while building upon and sharing everything we’ve learned about forest sustainability.” Dr. Patrick Moore
Global Warming— Trees or no trees the pseudo-science of Global Warming already has metamorphosed and been transmogrified to Climate Change. So, perhaps there is hope for yet another change — to something far more realistic –e.g., ‘it’s the weather, stupid.’ Unfortunately, the environmentalism movement has been hijacked by the Left.
“I don’t blame them for seizing the opportunity. There was a lot of power in our movement and they saw how it could be turned to serve their agendas of revolutionary change and class struggle. But I differed with them because they were extremists who confused the issues and the public about the nature of our environment and our place in it. To this day they use the word industry as if it were a swear word. The same goes for multinational, chemical, genetic, corporate, globalization, and a host of other perfectly useful terms. Their propaganda campaign is aimed at promoting an ideology that I believe would be extremely damaging to both civilization and the environment.” ~Patrick Moore
Unlike Eskimos we don’t need 20 different words to describe snow. For our survival, however, we do need to spend more time to more accurately describe how the culture is being polluted–e.g., we might as well march off into a blizzard wearing pajamas if we continue paying government scientists to label an increase in atmospheric CO2 as the sole cause of a change in the climate and then pay government teachers to indoctrinate schoolchildren about the catastrophe of it all.
Nothing of consequence will ever result from counting spotted owls in trees. It is all so politically correct but also is simply one of a million other ways to avoid facing the truth: all of the global warming alarmists are Leftists who are interested only in killing the Golden Goose of free enterprise capitalism. The Left — comprised of tribal believers in socialist Eurocommunism (that’s failed every time it’s been tried) — is more than willing to fight to the death of the last productive person in the country if it serves the greater purpose of helping the Left achieve its mythic liberal Utopia.
The dreams of a free people are an anathema to what the Left sees as the public good. The politically correct liberal fascist Bureaucracy of the Left is now the greatest threat to personal freedom and the celebration of the will of the individual to overcome adverstity through personal achievement.
Yet the history of the world has been one of evolutionary change. If we attempt to maintain stasis, we risk limiting our ability to adapt to change when it inevitably comes. The ultraconservative strategy encouraged by environmentalists is far more dangerous to human survival than a strategy that embraces risk and change. ~Philip Stott (Tropical Rain Forest: A Political Ecology of Hegemonic Myth Making)