Following up on posts of the last few days asking why the global warming deniers are global warming deniers, Mike the Mad Biologist offers up another explanation, which is very intriguing:
I think Fred Clark at the Slacktivist hits on a key point in these two posts: "It isn't intended to deceive others. It's intended to invite others to participate with you in deception"He then excerpts Clark's discussion an earlier right wing rumor that ran rampant on the right about Procter and Gamble being a satanic cult (seriously) culminating with this observation:
Are you afraid you might be a coward? Join us in pretending to believe this lie and you can pretend to feel brave. Are you afraid that your life is meaningless? Join us in pretending to believe this lie and you can pretend your life has purpose. Are you afraid you're mired in mediocrity? Join us in pretending to believe this lie and you can pretend to feel exceptional. Are you worried that you won't be able to forget that you're just pretending and that all those good feelings will thus seem hollow and empty? Join us and we will pretend it's true for you if you will pretend it's true for us. We need each other.I think that's getting to the heart of this. And for those who observed the chauvinistic fantasies of the keyboard commandos after 9/11, you will recognize some of the same impulses.
Read the whole post. It describes something that goes beyond religious faith to a kind of cultlike worldview which insists that people buy into demonstrable falsehood in order to establish solidarity with the group. Very interesting.
Update: It has been pointed out to me that part of the fault in this lies with the environmental movement which is arrogant and ineffectual in getting out the word, as well as invested in failure. There is truth in all that. But while I agree that the messaging is obviously not resonant with global warming deniers or they would not be global warming deniers, I'm still not sure that anything would persuade them. I think we're dealing with something more fundamental than politics here, which is why I raised the question.
Update II: Apparently the Washington Post has joined the cult. Think Progress:
As The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder notes, “Once again, the Washington Post has given Sarah Palin the chance to harness herself to the political story of the hour” by publishing her op-ed today urging President Obama to boycott the Copenhagen climate change conference because of the exaggerated controversy over the “Climategate” hacked e-mails. On its homepage, the Post promotes Palin’s op-ed, which is largely a redux of one of her Facebook posts, by putting [the word] science in scare quotes.
Update III: Fox News performing its duty as the official scribe of the denier cult.