Thursday, February 22, 2007

Stern, Suzuki and the silent majority

Here is an excellent discussion of the latest media blitz seeking to invoke continued fear for climate catastrophe and necessity for self-anointed guardians of correctness (the "smart", intellectual elites) to control the world. The same people promoting fear are those who supply the answers that require them to take control for "the good of all".

Funny thing happened on the way to the forum, however. First up, the media itself is refusing to lay down and die while the vestiges of political discourse are denied by "liberal" thinkers such as David Suzuki. Secondly, it seems the general public is not quite as gullible and malleable as eco-advocates would want either.

All in all, the three commentaries re-enforce a faith in the human condition and civil society. That while we empathize and are compassionate, allow intellectuals space to float out ideas and constructs, the general masses are not inclined to completely trust abstract models, projections and/or alarmism, especially when the fears that they seek to promote fly in the face of an individual's own life experiences. Perhaps, perhaps, the eco-advocates may just be guilty of over-stating their case, past the point of redemption. Between the ice in New York of The Day After Tomorrow and the self-promotion implicit in An Inconvenient Truth, the general public just can't accept that we collectively have any certainty about the climate for the next century, simply because no-one appears able to even forecast next week's weather on a consistently accurate basis. Mentally, it is an awfully big leap of faith to go from inaccurate weather next week, to any sense of confidence in life-changing policies based on anybody's projection for the state of the world 100 years from now. Given we don't know what the price of gas will be 5 years from now, the scale of certitude claimed by proponents of AGW is just too much outside of most people's general belief box.

I'm reminded of all the old Monty Python skits, where the response of the old lady to any extended philosophical debate was always a polite "that's nice dear."

So, for the Nicholas Sterns and David Suzukis of the world, just smile and say "that's nice, want some tea?"