What does it mean when an elected official chooses to disbelieve in climate change? No doubt they believe they are following in the footsteps of Cato the Elder who once said, “It is sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity.” And what a height we have climbed.
Imagine two knights upon a great wall of ice. They quarrel over whatever the raven cawed. Meanwhile, winter is coming and legions of the undead march forth. We, the viewers, know the truth, but the knights know nothing. All we can do is watch in horror. A few us will get so upset we’ll throw the nearest object, maybe an ashtray, at the TV screen. The rest of us will sit on the couch and wait for the Queen of Dragons to save Westeros from itself.
There was a time in America when elected officials refused to believe that 3/5 of population were in fact human. They manufactured an arsenal of pseudo-scientific and Biblical proof to justify that chattel slavery was a moral good.
A similar mass delusion is now happening in the 21st-C.
When a child cries to his parents that a monster lives in his closet or under his bed, most parents will do their best to set the child at ease. They will investigate and dispel the horror with reason. They will allow the child to sleep with door open or with the lights on. Some callous parents will tell their child to go back to sleep: Bogeys don’t exist. But what if there was a bogey? Maybe the child mistook a serial killer hiding out in the closet as a bogey, but the parent failed to listen?
And then there is the psychopath parent who denies the existence of the bogey while also knowing it truly exists. They buy life insurance and begin plans to start another family in a different neighborhood. The bogey is an opportunity to capitalize upon and move on up to a higher tier of the pyramid.
These people are correct most of the time and confidence is power, right? It got them where they are now, on the corporate board, in the senate, a seat on a couch in the halls of power. What they fail to realize is that the stakes are exponentially raised when a mistake means worldwide degradation, possibly destruction, of civilization as we know it. A stiff lip against climate change is not the same thing as changing the state bird. Should it be a hawk or a dove?
By denying climate change they say that this slightly possible, dreadful bogey is preferable to admitting a human error of judgment, that the bogey might actually be real and worth doing something about. Maybe there is somebody in the lunatic fringe who says climate change is impossible, that it’s 100% certain climate change cannot happen because the the universe is a perfectly God-built clockwork mechanism.
Such a person, if he even exists and I think almost everything is possible, especially if you could easily imagine it, should take his finger out of his nose, and taste his own snot-green reality. We’ll tell him what happens next later.
But I digress.
Denying climate change also means denying free will, essentially believing that planning for the worst and hoping for the best is an ideological heresy. Hurricanes don’t exist, and if they are forced to see one on TV or feel a wet gust in their face, they’ll bank on and pray it hits some other city. If upon the slightest chance it does hit his house, his city, his state, then fuck it because he has insurance and money to take a holiday where the sun always shines. Twenty years from now these people will feel guilty and say, mistakes were made, please accept our apologies.
To they who will say this, I say: Listen motherfuckers, good luck with that shit talk up in The Hague.
On the other hand, if by–let’s just say, “a great chance”–climate change is a hoax, and ordinary people are tricked into shelling out a few extra bucks, and corporations have to comply with new regulations, and there is some short term loss of GDP, and ordinary people are tricked into using public transportation, and then people realize it was all just a money-making racket, then maybe the criminal mastermind of the climate change conspiracy will go to white collar prison. And we’ll all have good laugh and rush to the nearest Hummer dealership to take advantage of their overstock. And drill, baby, drill till the fuck all end.
However, this little rant presumes that elected officials and other leaders truly believe they are right in denying climate change. They are blind, but it is a human blindness that descends upon us all through a cosmic lottery of genetic and environmental factors such as family background and education and tribal affiliation. I have not taken into account the possibility some climate change-deniers could be feigning blindness or obfuscating stupidity for personal gain. Like a Wall Street cyborg trader who uses high speed black-box computer programs to gain a precious few milliseconds of prescience to make a financial killing, these Obfuscators deliberately thwart governmental action in order to buy more time to privately capitalize on climate change. Crisis is opportunity.
I don’t know if such Obfuscators exist in the world, but if they do, they probably don’t see themselves as malevolent predators, but rather as pragmatic, actors of rational self-interest. This is why vampires, and other undead carnivores cannot see themselves in mirrors. They are blind to their own souls; they don’t have a reflection. They have lived among us since days immemorial and while the bell tolls for us all, they play hide and seek in a forest of bared necks.