Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Week in Denialism

Last week, Don Martin gave us a perfect example of an emerging trend in denialism, when he sneered at polar bears and seals for appealing to our sentiments instead of restricting themselves to cold hard facts. The very urgency of our emotional response to these creatures proves that we're being manipulated; if we had any self-respect, we'd resent it, much as we'd resent a bum who overstated his case by calling our attention to his missing leg.

All the world's a stage...and aren't we getting a bit tired of hackneyed characters like "the poor person," and "the endangered animal," and "the victim of industrial poisoning," no matter how well they dress for the part? Why not focus on more interesting, unexplored for instance conservatarian enfants terribles who smoke cigars and wear bow ties and listen to Blink 182?

This week, Alex Beam expands on Martin's approach by noting the shopworn elements of a lawsuit against the fossil-fuel industry. First, there's the fact that it is a lawsuit. If this doesn't prove that the system is out of control, what will? Second, the villains are "fossil-fuel baddies." Last, and most offensive, "the Inupiat Eskimos are perfect, jury-worthy plaintiffs" because they're poor.

Or are they?

(Pay no attention to those all-terrain vehicles zipping around town, and the kid flashing the gang sign.)
Beam notes that if oceans rise, people who own yachts might have to build new why is this lawsuit "all about impoverished Eskimos losing their patrimony to the fat capitalists in the oak-paneled boardrooms"? 'Cause we're being manipulated, natch. If they didn't wish to mislead us, they would've chosen plaintiffs who don't seem to be victims, and defendents who don't seem to have done anything wrong.

The worst of it is, this charade just might work:
Hagens Berman played a key role in the groundbreaking, multi-state litigation against the tobacco companies, and now they are going back for more....
First they came for Big Tobacco, and I did not speak up because I was not a board member of R.J. Reynolds.

Then they came for Big Oil, and I did not speak up because I was not an ExxonMobil shareholder.

Then they came for Steven Milloy, and I did not speak up because he was such a douchebag.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up (except for WorldNetDaily, and they were too busy covering the connection between immigration and Morgellons disease).

Beam's argument, stripped of its gnarly, in-your-face 'tude, is that the fossil-fuel industry is a scapegoat for our collective decision to overconsume fossil fuels, even though they've begged us and begged us to cut down. Granted, "the suit also accuses ExxonMobil, British Petroleum, Duke Energy et al, of funding questionable scientific research that covers up their culpability in global warming," but didn't we drive them to it, in a sense? And haven't we benefited from the peace of mind they brought us? A lot of you hippies are probably paying some koan-spouting Buddhist charlatan to help you transcend your everyday cares...and yet you resent BP when it tells you that your worries are mere illusion, gratis and free of charge.

Meanwhile, Johnnie B. Byrd is worried that high gas prices will cause Americans to question their hatred of central planning.
“We cannot drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times,” says Obama the Messiah. And, the masses say, “Obama! Obama! Obama!”

The forces of socialism are on the move. The times are ripe.
Ripe as the times may be, the forces of socialism fail to reckon with "the inevitable advance of progress and the immutable laws of economics":
In a free market substitutes for oil will be quickly and easily found because any overpriced good will cause entrepreneurs to find and consumers to use substitutes. This is the law of substitution.
Among other things, this immutable law explains why Mr. Pibb sells so briskly in times of drought, and why people eat weeds and gnaw their shoes in times of famine.

As excited as Byrd is about the forward advance of progress towards the future, he objects to Obama's interest in "purely hypothetical energy technologies in the near term," such as "low-cost alternatives to fossil fuels, greater energy efficiency, and reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions." We'll chase these rainbows when the Law of Substitution requires it, and not a moment before, under pain of being called "socialists" by Johnnie B. Byrd.

And finally, Edward John Craig slips the surly bonds of earth, and observes that Jupiter has a new red spot. His conclusion?
That anthropogenic global warming is certainly powerful stuff.
I hear Mars has been having dust storms, too. Deforestation in the Amazon must be getting pretty bad, eh?

1 comment:

echidne said...

Sorry to be off topic, but I've lost your e-mail address, Phila. Could you send it to me (vtyg at netzero dot com).