Thursday, October 29, 2009

On getting heated -

I have until now retained a (hopefully fairly dignified) silence on the subject of global warming, climate change and carbon dioxide levels. That in large part is because I am somewhat undecided on the merits (and otherwise) of the various people involved.

There are two parts to the “problem” –

First, whether the planet is getting warmer or not.

Second, if it is getting warmer, what is causing the change.

I (quite intentionally as it happens) got somewhat passionate about TF’s post that further distributes the idea (that Monckton has put forward) that the Copenhagen agreement on global warming is going to spell the end of the US and freedom as we know it; that the agreement is the first step toward socialist (read communist as well) dominated world government. That “passion” also requires an explanation.

Now I know that TF will protest once more that the “End of the USofA” he wrote of is something other than climate change. We have a disagreement there for a starter; primarily because in the speech advertised by TF, Monckton is actually slating the climate change movements as “just another step” toward socialist world government and domination. I intend not to pursue that line any further than I have already pursued the climate change argument.

I want to introduce a third line of thought at this point.

Over this last weekend (a four day weekend for the lucky ol’ probligo as NZ celebrates the advent of the 40 hour week – a total victory for socialism!!!) there was a discussion on radio about the relative “natures” of talkback hosts and bloggers. One of the questions that started the discussion was why most if not all talkback hosts espoused right-wing political positions rather than liberal, centrist or left-wing. Among the opines given in response to the question was that the liberal/left-wing faction were more given to thoughtful presentation and logic compared with the right-wing penchant for bald, largely specious, statement.

The consequence is (and I “know” this empirically) that the talkback radio audience is largely dominated by people of the “far” right who listen in order to get more of their confirmation bias fix, there are a smaller number of people from the left who still have that misguided ambition and fire in their bellies to try and “save the world from itself”, there is that confused part of humanity who will believe anything said by someone with authority in both voice and stance, irrespective of how specious the statement. Oh, and there is the small proportion of unfortunates, the drunks and the over-tired who call in total confusion because there is no “reality” on their tv and thinking that something is “really happening” on the radio.

I can not say that the blogiverse is dominated in the same way by “liberals”. There are enough right-wingers around the blogiverse to keep me happy for a whiles to come.

Having those thoughts in mind, I want to return to Monckton. Well, no. I want to return to a group which includes Monckton along with the likes of Michael Moore (the American one, not the retired head of WTO), Al Gore (as TF rightly points out), even Michael Laws, Paul Holmes, Phil Hannity, Phil Donahue and even perhaps the ol’ probligo if it comes to that.

The common personality trait with all of these people is not the nature of their politics, their style or their message. The common link is that they have a message which they promote without stint nor favour; a message that they present with a minimum of justification and logical support; the message is in reality no more than the presentation of themselves to people who want to believe them.

So if I were to listen (as I do not) to the likes of Laws or Holmes in the full flight of their “oratory” I could expect to hear statements which can only be politely described as “intending to get the audience in the mood, their breeches around their knees, while bowing to the west”. The whole process is not dissimilar to that of the more charismatic churches – there’s an idea, I should have included Bishop Brian Tamaki in the mix as well. You preach to the converted. You cater to their personal biases. You tell them what they came to hear. Then you add a little more. Then you add a little more. Before long the “truth” that people came to hear has expanded to a new idea. There is as much truth in the new as there was in the old. Then you add a little more. Before you know it you can name yourself "King"; the latest in the line of "King Davids", the chosen ones.

How many times has the “world government” conspiracy been around the traps in my time. Beyond number almost. It ranges from the UN taking over, to climate change, to Islamic extremists, even shady organisations like the Opus Dei (which does apparently exist despite The Da Vinci Code), Scientology, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and even perhaps the High Council of Zion.

There is a point to all of this.

Power, all Power and hence all Government, is reliant upon fear. That fear can be of your next door neighbour (who just has to be a communist or a undercover member of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee depending upon your own politics), the bogeyman under your bed, Islamists, Jews, Russians, anything that has to it an element of power that might intrude (or does intrude) on “your” lifestyle. It works the other way too – in the fear that X will stop or prevent you from attaining the ends that you deserve; be it riches beyond imagining, the right to bear arms, a 42” tv set, or 72 virgins. It can be the fear of the consequences if you fail to observe Rules, whether made through democratic or autocratic processes; the fear of failing to attain the 72 virgins in dying for your god, our burning in hell for failing to observe the right obeisances at the right time, or of being burned at the stake for speaking out against the ruling order.

What we have is the question of motivation. Why do people like Garth George and Paul Holmes write newspaper columns, especially when anyone in their right minds would turn the page before they puke? Why does Michael Laws use talkback radio to spread his particularly strange version of politik real? And why do “hosts” like Hannity and Donohue exist at all?

Each in their own way provide comfort from fears. Each in their own way builds on existing fears as a way of presenting comfort. That comfort is from the “understanding” the fear; you are not alone; together we must defeat this…

There is also the motivation of denial. “Fear not because I am right and ‘they’ (whoever ‘they’ might be) are wrong. Together we will prevail”.

So, where does the ol’ probligo stand on the climate debate?

First up, is the planet getting warmer? There is some evidence - concrete evidence - that climatic changes are occurring. The unproven question is "How fast?"

Second, is the cause human (what do they call it now? "anthropological outputs"? Not proven, either way. That is where the science is at the sharp end of the debate.

The truth is, and the reason why the “debate” is so heated and divisive, we just do not know the causes. All of the positions taken, whether scientific, political or personal, are based upon suppositions and assumptions which are very open to dispute. There is no empirical, scientific, experimental evidence strong enough to constitute “proof” to the point where it is incontrovertible. No one can take a planet like Earth, run an experiment to show "Yay" or "nay" on a repeatable basis - the essence of scientific proof.


T. F. Stern said...

It’s nice to agree and disagree all at the same time. The problem with the Church of Climate Change, formerly the Church of Man Made Global Warming and yet still run by the same High Priests and charlatans is how they use governments to enforce their belief system on folks of other denominations ( those who disagree ).

We, at one time, had the most individual oriented government on the planet here in the US. This has changed more toward a European form of quasi socialism/fascism. The tragedy as I see it, a once bright future of individual opportunity is being destroyed and one of the tools being used is the Church of Climate Change, a hot bed of crisis that, regardless of scientific evidence or facts, must be used to impose full and complete authority and replace individual God given rights ( a thorn in your side ) with government entitlements. That, my friend, is the sole purpose for the Copenhagen meetings, a think tank of left leaning socialists trying to figure out a way to steal as much money as they can to enslave as many as they can.

The probligo said...

It is not a matter of "agree and disagree all at the same time". One of the very big mistakes I think most Americans make is the "you are either with us or against us" mentality.

The said, the rest of what you have written, here and at your own place, requires reflection, analysis, and most of all a cooler head before replying.

The probligo said...

What this comes down to is not the subject of the debate.

Your choice, TF, is based solely upon the (seemingly natural - or should that be God-given?) human tendancy to seek out the "answers" that make you the most comfortable, that are the most likely to allow your present circumstances to continue.

Remember a couple years back, I first worked the ol probligo's thoughts through "confirmation bias"? This is a simple and direct application.

The very "simple" rebuff for the likes of Monckton, Gore, and Moore is to look at the facts they present objectively.

In this particular instance, the connections /globalwarming/socialism/end of the US/Copenhagen/ has some very emotive appeals. There are at least three hooks that I can see there which would attract your agreement.

You are on the right track, as are those who propound global warming. My objection is to the self-promotion over substance of Monckton, Moore and the rest. You, everyone on "your" side, could do much better by calm and objective examination of the science involve, the statistics presented, and actually trying to understanding the problem.

As it is Monday morning, I will cut this short here with this thought for you -

The greatest single enemy of the US is internal. It is the polarising and adversarial nature of all systems - from political administration on down - that is the source of the threat.

It is reflected in the "for us or against us" attitude.

It is the consequence of placing "individual" ahead of "all else"; selfishness, self-interest, and self love (I hesitate to use "narcissism" here) are the goals.

Humans are social animals. That is how we evolved. "US-ism" is no more the answer to the survival of this planet than is "socialism".

Keep your trust in your God, old friend. It is the only security blanket you have...