Archive for March, 2015

Upon hearing a climate change denier rant today that the world’s scientists are involved in a hoax called global warming, I realized something:

The oil lobby, the gun lobby and the tobacco lobby have pretty much all worked their magic the same way: They have helpfully allowed their faithful to ignore the dark clouds of statistics and say, “You’re smarter than the numbers. You are secretly wise because you have intuition the scientists must not have. You know smokers who have lived to age 90. You heard a gun was used in self-defense. You see it is obviously snowing outside during so called climate change.” In this way they have freed you from having to apply your mind to unhappy abstractions and troubling numbers, which tell you the dice are mostly going to roll against you if you smoke, own guns or continue to burn fossil fuels. They let you believe that just by yelling “hoax” you are somehow as intellectual as people who have thought about something deeply or studied the numbers with rigor. Such lobbyists have liberated you from the pain of curiosity, empowered you to stop asking questions, freed you to see every scientist with bad news as a Cassandra, arranged in a conspiracy against you personally. By politicizing a fairly obvious problem, for fairly obvious pecuniary reasons, these lobbyists have taken an issue to you and made it about your personal identity, which, if you lost it, would make you feel helpless, cut off from the Petri dish of family and peers. And most important, these people, with their obvious motivations, tell you it’s all right to be the way you are and keep living the way you’re living. That’s a feeling more powerful than love. You will do or say almost anything they want after that.

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