Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Friday, April 18, 2008

On Being "Right."

Feudalism. Apartheid. Slavery. Eminent Domain. Crusade. Jihad. Concubines. Eye-for-an-eye. Flat Earth.

I'm fascinated that throughout history, ideas and actions that everyone agreed were "right," as in, ethical, moral, and valuable, have passed as humans grow in maturity and understanding. My recent post of a form letter for those with the courage and insight to realize that yet another idea has passed created a bunch of conversation off in a direction I wasn't fully prepared for. There is nothing abusive in that letter. It diminishes no one. It's full of positive, supportive language.

So why did it create a little tempest?

I think it's because I dared to challenge that belief in what is "right." I held up a mirror that apparently shines a light close to where people hold their religious fervor. I challenged people to look outside the controlled information outlet, and instead I got beliefs assigned back to me, extraneous data points, and strawman arguments (one of Rush Limbaugh's favorite techniques).

Harken to this: I work in the manipulation industry. Marketing is all about persuading people that they are inferior in some way, and then selling them a product to (temporarily) cure their inferiority. I am an expert in this. A large part of my affluenza recovery has been to re-learn how to use this power for good, not ill.

Because I am immune to this manipulation, I can see clearly the difference between critical analysis and persuasive discourse. Among the scientists of IPCC, NASA, NOAA, and other nations in the world, there is an overwhelming agreement that human beings are altering the climate in a way that negatively impacts our future. That's a fact: nearly all climate scientists agree we are heating up the planet.

Can you find other scientists who say it's bunk? Of course! Science isn't (or shouldn't be) dogmatic. One of the most prominent of these skeptics is a geologist (not an atmospheric scientist) with a career as an oil finder! So, is he biased? Maybe. Moreover, his own industry can't agree on whether oil is biogenic or primordial.

Bringing up 7000 ppm CO2, at a time of the planet's history that didn't include animal life, is manipulative. Can we at least constrain the conversation to the quest for keeping the planet habitable for people? Can we also not assume that I'm an Al Gore apostle? So maybe he was lucky enough to see the CO2 curve 50 years ago and clever enough to understand what it meant. But I absolutely detest his "let's shop our way out of this mess" policies, as well as his alarmist, manipulative messaging. Remember, I can see through this stuff. Assigning a point of view to me and then arguing against that is manipulative.

As for sticking to my noble efforts, where do you suppose I get the drive to keep doing these hard things? It's from the knowledge that the way we are living is unsustainable, and we are headed for a massive collapse. I sincerely believe that the questions I am asking, the tools I am uncovering, are key to ensuring the collapse is soft rather than hard. To do otherwise would be to be an accomplice to the injustices that are occurring around the world, and will occur with greater frequency as water shifts and oil becomes scarce. How can I sit in God's presence, think myself a Christian, if I'm not using every talent and skill God gave me to help build a future that is equitable for everyone? That has true, equal opportunity, regardless of race, class, gender, parentage, or nationality?

And finally, here is the big secret of global climate change: it's the greatest job opportunity in the history of human civilization. Whether it's real or not, whether rising sea levels will flood the Oval Office or not, is nearly immaterial! People spend money on what excites them, on what has a "charge," whether it has a benefit or not. The best example of this is the movie industry; what do they produce? Can you eat it? Shelter yourself with it? What we consume from them is diversion, "entertainment," yet we give them billions of dollars annually. How much more worthwhile is spending money on true security? On people's well being?

Don't try to tell me that human induced global climate change is bunk. It's the most exciting work project our species has ever faced. There's a ton of money to be made saving our behinds. God wants us to work together on this. So let's get to it.

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