Now it is not my intention to refute the idea of Catastrophic Anthropogenic (man made) Climate Change (CACC). For that I refer the reader to web sites like "Watts Up With That" and "C02 Science" and "Climate Audit" or "SEPP" and "Climate Depot" just to name a few. There the reader will discover the evidence against CACC is overwhelming.
My purpose is to alert the reader to the techniques used by some intellectuals who are pushing an idea, like climate change, to promote an agenda, like more government control over citizens.
The Detroit Free Press print edition of Sunday Nov 1st carried an oped by staff writer Nancy Kaffer titled "Who will lead on climate change?" A subtitle reads "The issue is likely to be divisive in the 2016 election campaigns."
Although these headlines may not belong to Ms Kaffer, editors usually like to write them, they are interesting in their premises. The first headline is premised on the notion that climate change needs a leader and now that that fact is established the only question remaining open for discussion is who should it be. Naturally I disagree. Climate is always changing and people always adapt to it by preferring warmer climes to colder ones. Even if man's contribution to atmospheric CO2 doubles from three hundredths of one percent to six hundredths and you find it to be intolerable, all you'd have to do is move say 100 miles or so north and you should be just ducky, no need to give up air conditioning, your SUV or anything else.
The second headline declares the issue 'to be divisive' to the election campaigns of 2016. Let's look a little closer at 'divisive.' The headline writer could have used the word 'controversial' or 'contentious' or some other. But 'divisive' carries with it a negative connotation, the separation of a whole, disunity or disorder which is designed to evoke an emotion in the reader as something undesirable. And that is the goal, to get the reader to associate the negative feeling with views opposing climate change. The hope is that the negative feeling will translate into an action favorable to the writer e.g. support.
Today's professional intellectuals often use 'divisive' to besmirch any and all opposing views on just about everything. So when you see or hear that word 'divisive' applied to a proposition you can be sure the writer is trying to nudge you into a certain frame of mind. It is an argument from intimidation. 'Don't be divisive and disagree with me'.
Now let's look at the oped's text.
"Nearly everyone gets it about climate change.
A majority of Americans, according to Gallup, the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community, and even most Republicans say it's a cause for concern, even if they disagree about the causes. That should make it a wedge issue in the 2016 presidential campaign."
Consensus is a concept that refers to opinions. Not facts. If you have a large number of facts, you have verification. A large number of opinions (consensus) is just that, a bunch of opinions. Also, overwhelming majorities have believed in many things that turned out to be false: like the Earth being the center of the universe, or man will never fly and so on. Facts however are not determined by head count, popular vote or consensus. She is using the argument from popularity which says in essence, 'all these people believe it to be true so you should too.'
The phrase "wedge issue" is the concept 'divisive' renamed.
Ms Kaffer adds the Department of Defense to her consensus and its claim that climate change is
""an urgent and growing threat to our national security," that will aggravate poverty, social tensions, ineffectual leadership, weak political institutions and threaten stability around the globe."Wow! What a hodgepodge of calamities we are to fear! Might as well throw in more potholes and toothaches. And that dear readers is the aim of the entire oped. To get readers to fear hordes of demons and cry for safety. An excerpt from my post "Bad Climate Advice for Republicans":
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H. L. Mencken
When I was growing up it was acid rain that was going to destroy the planet unless we humans changed our evil ways. Then it was global cooling that would end all life on earth unless we seriously changed our evil ways this time. (The planet did cool by 2 tenths of a degree celsius from 1940 to 1975 and this 2 tenths of a degree was said to portend of "The coming ice age" as Time Magazine declared).
About the same time another demon was announced: the Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich. He announced in his book by the same name that millions of us were going to die of starvation in the 1970s because the planet simply could not sustain such a large population. His solution was for us to give up our industrial and technical civilizations and return to a more primitive lifestyle i.e. change our evil ways.
That was followed by global warming which will destroy the world by creating a blanket of carbon dioxide (CO2) which will heat up the earth so much it will destroy all life unless we stop emitting CO2 into the atmosphere i.e. change our evil ways."Global warming has since been repackaged as climate change. The oped continues:
"The report was the latest in a series of increasingly serious alarms about the impacts of climate change--not in some nebulous, hypothetical future, but in the very real present."What this is saying is never mind the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's repeated reference to catastrophic consequences arriving around 2100, they're arriving now. This means the climate change mongers are getting desperate. The demon is on our doorstep they say. We must give up our rights, freedoms and of course our cash, now! These demons will then go away, supposedly.
But acid rain did not destroy the Earth. Neither did global cooling, nor the population explosion nor global warming. Neither will climate change. People are beginning to suspect that climate change just isn't the dire threat its made out to be. Since there has been no global warming for over 18 years despite us humans still pouring CO2 into the atmosphere at about 40 billion tons per year, the powers that be now feel the need to dress up this demon in the most scary and frightful garb as per all the calamities listed above as well as these:
"Add to that what's happening in Syria, California, Antarctica, the Arctic, Alaska, the US Gulf Coast and East Coast, at countless spots around the globe where our rapidly changing climate is having devastating effects on the way people live, and it's impossible to deny that climate change is happening, that mankind has at least contributed to its effects, and that building on the regulatory actions already in place to mitigate its potential to significantly damage our country and our world should be a governmental imperative."
It should be clear that this paragraph is talking about weather. Droughts, floods, storms and other phenomena have always happened and will continue in the future because they operate in cycles. It misrepresents weather as climate. But I want the reader to see that this oped uses a favorite technique of those with a government agenda, overload citizens with mountains of danger, so many evils to fear that the ordinary citizen is overwhelmed and gives up.
Ms. Kaffer goes on to cite some Republican presidential candidates who criticize the climate change mantra although she doesn't use that descriptive term. After naming names of the GOP candidates who diverge she writes:
"Compare the candidates to the American public at large, or even to members of their own party, and it's clear that they're out of step"Again, out of step means don't agree with the consensus. How about the Democrats?
"It's universally accepted among Democratic candidates--former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Vermont Sen.Bernie Sanders--that climate change is happening, that mankind has contributed to it, that it's a national security crises and that the next president must combat it."
That the Democratic Party is all in on climate change is for sure; that climate change is happening is a sure thing too. Call any university physicist and he will tell you that there is no such thing as stasis in nature, stasis being a set of conditions that don't change. Climate therefore is always changing as it must. But the notion that mankind is a meaningful cause and that governments are even capable of combating it is very much a fantastic stretch of the imagination.
The oped then goes on to mention that India and China have joined the consensus.
"The president claimed a significant victory early in his first term when he brought China and India to consensus, and last year in agreeing with China to limit emissions in each nation, something that sets the stage not just for the Paris conference, but is something the National Resource Defense Council's David Goldston says is crucial to getting Americans to act."Ok, why is it crucial that China's and India's opinions are needed to motivate Americans to action? Again this is another example of argumentum populorum or the argument from popularity applied to nations; in other words, 'these nations have joined the popular opinion so America should too'. No we shouldn't. At least not on that basis. The oped continues:
""It's hugely important both substantively and politically," he said. "Substantively, because if we're going to make progress as a planet on this, China and India have to play also. And the converse is true--the U.S. has to play. Opponents of action always try to cite what they claim is inaction elsewhere as an excuse.""The key phrase here is 'as a planet.' I say that because the chief adviser, Maurice Newman, to Australia's PM, recently declared:
"“This is not about facts or logic. It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN."'New World order' and 'as a planet' is an equivalency. So we see then that Australia is one nation that has not joined the consensus. Russia happens to be another. From the website of The Daily Caller:
"Russian President Vladimir Putin believes global warming is a “fraud” — a plot to keep Russia from using its vast oil and natural gas reserves."
Wow! Have you ever looked at Washington DC or your own state capital and observed the intelligence and wherewithal to fully understand much of anything?
When I was a little boy I wanted to be a policeman or the Lone Ranger to nab bad guys and Captain Marvel to save the world. There is nothing wrong of course with hero worship and the desire to save the world. But it is not the nature of governments to do it. Government is brute, physical force. It is not a creative force but a destructive one. Its only function is to protect our individual rights. We all need to defend ourselves from its natural desire to force its version of the good upon us under the guise of caring for us.
In closing then lets revisit our tools of climate self defense.
1. Remember the concept 'consensus.' It refers to opinions not facts
2. Watch for the word 'divisive' being used to nudge you into a certain frame of mind. It is an example of the argument from intimidation.
3. Be wary of huge numbers of dangers threatening you. More intimidation by fear mongering.
4. Watch out for the argument from popularity, just because lots of people believe something does not make it true.
5. Related to the argument from popularity above is the argument from authority. It says these people (like the IPCC, or NRDC) have credentials therefore we should believe them. Credentials mean their owners should be listened to. Not believed on faith.
6. Actively look for contrary evidence.
There are lots of other tools of deception regarding junk science out there. I hope these few will help you defend your clarity of thinking.