Merchants of Fear
The Climate change discussion came my way uninvited, as one of those innocuous branches in the road of life that you happen upon accidentally. For sure, it’s been around for a long time, but not something that bothered me in the context of 4.5 Billion years of things that went bump in the night to get us to the breathable oxygen – CO2 – sunlight photosynthesis Merry-Go-Round for the 7+ billion bags of protein who cycle thru the system at the moment.
What piqued my interest was a social gathering that I attended where there was a cluster of well-meaning folk handwringing that we were heading for a cliff because of Human contribution to the 0.04% CO2 part of the multiple non linear cycles at play; – that their kids were likely doomed and so on. There was a genuine fear in their eyes, they were sincere in every way, and were convinced of the “Science” that they were ascribed towards. It had pretty much taken over their previously happy lives and circumstances. Very sad to watch.
I listened, and over the next few months of thinking and doing some basic calculations on the matter, realized that the foundation of their fear was not firmly based in actual fact. Sure, it was getting warmer, but this was not the first rodeo for the planet’s cycles, nor was it the warmest or the worst. The alarmist conversations and models were coded and biased in such a way that inferred it “could”, “may”, “might”, possibly” be the human contribution as the smoking gun.
Some were 100% convinced that “it would” be the dire future outcome. The vague data, experiments and models they pointed to were simple, suspect and not in agreement with the verifiable past.
Not one of the regular folk in that social worry circle of doom and gloom was knowledgeable around the real physics, thermodynamics, entropy, enthalpy, calculus, derivatives, flux, feedbacks and so on at play. To me, it was akin to them piling on to a populist conclusion of an experiment that if a dog has four broken legs and you tell it to jump, (and it doesn’t), it can’t hear. The climate boondoggle seemed to be a similar phenomenon; – an example of Cause and Effect being misdirected for some nefarious reason. (Note: No Dogs were harmed in the above paragraph.)
So I got to thinking some more. How much of this is crowd sourced Fear feeding forward? And is it really any different than any other world class fear mongering that is carried on the winds of social media by any of the many Merchants of Fear that pop up regularly in the nightly news?
Why do such hollow pronouncements get so much traction, one might ask. In a word: Directed Fear.
Fear is how you get a few to stampede a huge herd, and lever a small input pronouncement bigtime. It’s very cost effective whether in terms of effort, money or accelerated social influence. Fear is never tied to now; it’s always coded into some future postulation wrapped in some defendable statistical probability.
Fear is the single emotion about the future that will make us ‘Do Political Stupid’ on a global scale in the Present. It comes from the Seat of Human Desire for future stability and certainty. Of course, such doesn’t ever exist and never has been anything but a virtual utopian smoke and mirror game backed by Political Promises on every Campaign Trail. Think of the great wars if you need some examples.
And we ‘all’ (is that too sarcastic?) know that Politicians don’t do, don’t care or don’t understand physical Science, Logic, Math or the material universe. If they did, they wouldn’t have to do Politics except for the ego or money addiction part.
Politics of all stripes are well matched to the current media circus and are collectively able to manage the Levers of Fear very well. Fortunately for greasing their Pairing Skids, Media ‘Don’t Do Math’ well either. That way, they can both look directly into the voter’s eyes with the conviction that only the innocence of ignorance can pull off.
But lately, it’s beginning to look like voters across the globe, across many oceans might not be buying what they’re peddling to (maybe, perhaps, might, could or not) save the earth a century from now from “a sure thing” definitely caused by human activity and populations.
Even though they have told us at least a thousand times that the Science is settled, we might not be listening any more.
Politics to Media:.. Didn’t they hear the latest trending cry of “WOLF!!” …? Why aren’t they running?
Me and you and a Dog named Blue, the “Wolf” of Australia.