It was said that “Those who do not believe in god then are open to believe in anything.” OK fair enough. But the problem lies with people who are so certain of what they believe that they are ready to re-create the worst of human authoritarianisms to enforce those beliefs. Check out this example from Australia, where crypto-enviornmentalism has reached the proportions of religion with totalitarian tendencies.
The author of this post might also need to be reminded that Al Gore already bought property on low lying land, specifically a five million dollar condo on beach front in San Fran. So I guess he also should be one of the first tattooed as clearly Gore doesn’t believe a word he says or he would never have bought a property that by his own admission should be underwater already.
The dangers of bone-headed beliefs
>June 6, 2011
Illustration: Simon Letch.
Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.
Not necessarily on the forehead; I’m a reasonable man. Just something along their arm or across their chest so their grandchildren could say, ”Really? You were one of the ones who tried to stop the world doing something? And why exactly was that, granddad?”
On second thoughts, maybe the tattooing along the arm is a bit Nazi-creepy. So how about they are forced to buy property on low-lying islands, the sort of property that will become worthless with a few more centimetres of ocean rise, so they are bankrupted by their own bloody-mindedness? Or what about their signed agreement to stand, in the year 2040, lashed to a pole at a certain point in the shallows off Manly? If they are right and the world is cooling – ”climate change stopped in the year 1998” is one of their more boneheaded beliefs – their mouths will be above water. If not …
OK, maybe the desire to see the painful, thrashing death of one’s opponents is not ideal. But, my God, these people are frustrating. You just know that in 20 years’ time, when the costs of our inaction are clear, the climate deniers will become climate-denial-deniers. ”Who me? Oh, no, I always believed in it. Yes, it’s hard to understand why people back then were so daft. It’s so much more costly to stop it now.”
That’s why the tattoo has its appeal.
Not that the other side isn’t frustrating. There’s a type of green zealot who appears to relish climate change. Every rise in sea levels is noted excitedly. Every cyclone is applauded and claimed as a noisy, deadly witness for their side.
Suddenly, it’s as if they have the planet’s assistance in their lifelong campaign to bully everyone else into accepting their view of the perfect world. One without any human beings. Except for them. Living in a cave. Wearing an unwashed T-shirt that not only says ”Support wildlife” but actually does.
Is it possible to get the politics out of the climate-change debate? The first step might be to acknowledge the way ideology informs attitudes to climate change on both sides.
People on the left instinctively believe in communal action, the role of government and the efficacy of international agencies such as the UN. They were always going to believe in climate change; it’s the sort of problem that can best be solved using the tools they most enjoy using.
The right tended to be sceptical about climate change from the start and for exactly the same reasons. It’s the sort of problem that requires global, communal action, with governments setting rules. It is a problem that requires tools they instinctively dislike using.
These initial responses to global warming, on both sides, were understandable. But there’s a point in any debate where what you want to believe comes up against what you know to be true; where ideology yields to reality.
Facts that don’t fit one’s world view can be difficult to see. Consider the way the left spent decades ignoring the horrors of Soviet communism, horrors that were obvious to anyone who cared to look from at least the early 1930s. The facts didn’t fit in with the way they wanted to see the world, so they spent decades in denial, looking the other way.
For most of the left, that blindness ended, dramatically, with the invasion of Hungary in 1956: it became impossible not to acknowledge the brutal realities of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Now it’s the right’s turn to face up to a similar uncomfortable, ideology-challenging moment. Hopefully, they’ll do it a bit quicker than was managed by the left.
Aside from the frothing fringe of the environmental movement, no one is secretly pleased about global warming. We’d all rather it just went away. Who needs to feel guilty about having a long shower, flying to Paris or eating T-bone steak?
Who needs to be worried about their children and grandchildren and the way we are pushing the burdens of our time on to them?
As Cate Blanchett put it this week: ”I can’t look my children in the face if I’m not trying to do something in my small way and to urge other people.”
Each generation of people has a job to do; a burden that falls to their time. Sometimes, it’s a war or depression. Sometimes, it’s the work of building the first railways and roads. Sometimes, it’s a plague that wipes out half the population or a fire that destroys a whole city.
Looked at through this lens, our generation has it easy. Already wealthy and armed with new technology, we need to front up to the challenge of building a low-carbon economy.
The tool we’ll use is a carbon tax that seeks to subtly redirect some of our choices. Cut your power bill by more than the compensation offered and you get to keep the change.
Is that really so onerous compared with a depression or war?
Our grandparents didn’t fail us, even though the challenges they faced were so much greater. So why are we in the process of failing to live up to their example?