Denying Global Warming: The Definition Of Evil
Earlier this week, Rupert Murdoch said this to Al Gore:
Al Gore. Pls explain record increase in Arctic ice. Other greenies crippling US growth in opposing safe tracking for natural gas.
— Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) September 15, 2013
That makes him evil.
Let me clarify: not everyone who denies global warming is caused by manmade causes is evil, though I think most of ’em are pretty dim. There are those who’d argue that the rise in temperatures is caused by the end of a mini-Ice Age, or whatever flavor-of-the-week justification they can haul out – and though I think they have to be a mental contortionist to get there, hey, I can dig how some people love alternate explanations.
And not everyone who denies global warming is evil. Many of them are simply dumb. If they’re taking their cues from elsewhere, they don’t look at the full history, they might be suckered in by evil guys like Rupert Murdoch.
But Rupert? He’s the head of a major news organization. You don’t get to be head of a major news organization without seeing actual facts somewhere.
Which means he had to have seen these charts.
No, seriously. Go take a look. Basically, what Rupert is doing is looking at a three-month section of a trend that spans years, seeing a brief upwards blip before the inevitable downwards plunge, and actually going on the offensive to say, “Look at that recovery we’ve had!”
Look. If you want to deny the reasons of global warming, well, I’m not in agreement, but I understand. But he’s not denying the reasons for global warming; he’s denying the warming itself. What Murdoch is doing is looking the facts straight in the eye, facts he must have been presented with, and choosing to lie about them. He’s literally denying a trend that any fool could look at and say, “Yes, the world is heating up and the Arctic Circle is shrinking” – which, you know, that bastion of liberal thought The Pentagon is planning for, as they’re scrambling to find plans to defend the newer and smaller territory –
– and he is not only shrugging off those facts, but presenting them as not-facts to his audience. Because the best theory we have going is, in fact, that man-made pollution is causing this trend, which could cause havoc on the coasts that roughly 40% of Americans live on, and he doesn’t want to deal with that. So how do you win the argument?
By denying the problem exists.
A global catastrophe, where someone is actively denying its existence because he stands to lose money by acknowledging it. Someone who’s willing to ruin millions of lives to save himself a buck. And worse, he’s doubling down and broadcasting that disinformation to millions of people, denying a clear truth because he knows he’s unlikely to win the next debate about “So why is this happening?”
That’s pretty much the definition of evil.
Look. I know it sucks when your basic foundation thoughts get contradicted. For a long time, I thought heroin was an intensely addictive drug, and that if you took it, you’d be hooked. Studies on rats showed this! They’d keep pressing the “gimme drugs” button until they starved! And so I’ve studiously avoided heroin or cocaine or anything like that, because I have a supremely addictive personality. (I mean shit, you shoulda seen how many hours I put into Saints Row this past month.)
But as has recently become apparent, those studies were badly administered. Turns out if you take a highly social kind of rat and stick it in solitary confinement, it basically goes nuts – at which point it’ll cheerfully take all the drugs you can offer it. Put those rats in a rat-friendly place with a lot of other rats and let them play and run about, and it’s a struggle to get them to take drugs. And when they start, they can also tail off easily. (Which is actually what happened to a lot of American soldiers who experimented with heroin in Vietnam and dropped it when they got home, but I dropped that bit of truth from my experience as an outlying fact.)
And so, now that it’s been expressed to me that drugs may not be the core issue, poor people trapped in shitty neighborhoods may be the issue, I’ve gotta rethink my thinky-bits on drugs. Does this mean I’m going to rush out and snort a pile of cocaine? Hell no. A large-scale study doesn’t supercede small-scale blips, like the “record rise” in arctic ice, and it may turn out I’m one of those people who’s wired to be addicted. Nor does it mean I am obligated to do a 180 and embrace this new concept wholeheartedly; I can sift for more data.
But it does mean when I discuss drugs, I have to think in terms that there may be other compelling arguments that demolish long-held beliefs of mine. The idea that “heroin may not be as bad as I thought” is one that pushes my squick button hard, as we all know that heroin ruined poor, poor Speedy, but I have to look that in the eye.
If I don’t incorporate these new studies into my thought patterns, I risk becoming evil. Worse, if I throw away that new data because I don’t like the messages of what it points to, I risk becoming really evil.
And if I’m the head of a major news organization disseminating lies because I don’t want to lose a debate, then? That’s pretty fucking evil.