Victory of the Denialists…

Read Robert Manne’s recent article in the monthly? The man has it right and it’s about time we admitted it. The climate change denialists have won the fight, haven’t they? Their simple and endless assertions of doubt have won out over the consensus of fact-based scientific opinion. Often without even having to cite a single fact, or without even admitting that they were fighting, they have won their battle to leave things as they are.

The victory is silent and smug. Most passive denialists wouldn’t even want to admit that they had won, because then they’d have to admit they’d been taking a position about something in the first place. But they have won.

And they will continue to win. If people have not been convinced by now, it is clear that they will not listen to mainstream scientific opinion on the issue. So, I say the only thing that is ever going to count as ‘valid proof’ for them is when, in about 2025, those first big waves start washing up above the high tide line in their town, and never go back down again. Then, some of them might slowly begin to accept that the science many of us has accepted since 1990 has been right all along.

Until then it is basically hopeless. You can’t argue with blank denial, because it will not even admit that it is arguing. It just ignores the evidence, or finds any reason it can to dismiss it.

Not for the sake of the planet, but just for the sake of justice between the generations, I hope that when the waves do come, some of these people are still alive, to look out on the swelling sea where there used to be land, and finally see the prize they have won, by fighting to leave things as they are.

And I hope that at least some of them have the guts to admit that in their denial, or even in their passive and uneducated doubt and uncertainty, they were fighting to keep things the way they are.

And that means they are responsible.

But I doubt that any of them will ever have the guts to admit that.


2 thoughts on “Victory of the Denialists…

  1. Denial’s not the right word, really. It suggests a commitment to a single solid ground on which to prevent action.

    The reason to do nothing shifts according to the tactical scenario. If it’s not the climate science, it’s the transnational politics. If it’s not the transnational politics, it’s the legislative mandate. If it’s not the mandate, it’s the nature of the legislation. If it’s not the legislation, it’s the consequences to the economy. If it’s not the known economic consequences, it’s the uncertainty.

    The spoiling chorus is led by the profiteers, those who will later refer to the further riches obtained by their committed perversion of public perception as evidence of their exceptional acumen, and concomitant right to rule.

    I think the only way round it is to convince average people that they’re going to get screwed. Most of them are, but how to tell them?

    • I have no idea how to convince the average person of this because:

      – They are becoming increasingly aware that if they change their minds now they will have to admit to being visibly wrong for the last 20 years
      – Their idea of science is of progress. Science is not supposed to say that we can’t do the things we used to do.
      – They think that their lives will be terrible if they DO accept the truth and not the other way round
      There is no hip pocket effect to being a denialist so there is nothing stopping them from keeping on doing it. Any form of unnecessary sacrifice will be seen as personal loss if others are not doing likewise.
      – It is very difficult for the average person to stand against the tide, and their lives are already really hard anyway.

      I can’t think of a way to convince people that ultimately they and their kids are all going to be much, much worse off – especially if they are still waiting for things to finally turn around for them, and they are still trying to master the present situation. For many people it must be like someone changing the rules to the game just when they finally started wining.

      And these are all the reasons why government intervention was so important. People really needed leadership on this. We can’t get out on our own.

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