One sad side-effect of the Global Warming nonsense has been the promotion of people who think it is a sign of their cleverness to abuse the trust of others. They think stepping on others is uplifting. In the long run this is never true, both for the individual and for the society they belong to, but humanity owns a bad habit of learning the Truth the hard way: Mankind has a long tradition of thinking it is wise to lie. The process of learning that this dishonesty is the mother of much misery is the climax of many an ancient tale and tragedy.
For example, consider the snake in the Garden of Eden. The tale doesn’t go into what the snake’s motives were, but the result of misleading Adam and Eve was that, when the snake stood before Judgment, after he presented his case he discovered he didn’t have a leg to stand on.
So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”
Eden was a state of naked Truth, but outside of Eden Truth becomes problematic because humans are afflicted by the subjectivity of their desires. For example, once one leaves the oasis one discovers a thing called “thirst”, and when thirst becomes extreme in a blazing desert one can quite honestly state “Water is the most important thing there is.” Then, after their thirst is quenched, they can with equal honesty state, “Many things are far more important than water.”
The same phenomenon is embarrassing when it involves human sexual thirsts. One reads a beautiful poem one once wrote about their spouse basically stating, “I only have eyes for you,” and then one looks across the room at an aging form who, perhaps, weighs 300 pounds, and then compares that form to a beautiful temptation that is smiling adoringly from another part of their life, and one no longer has eyes that don’t wander. One becomes an honest hypocrite, for one was truthful when they stated, “I want only you”, and one is equally truthful when one later states, “I hanker for another.”
In order to attempt to make some sort of sense out of sways of fickle desires people developed various moral codes, wherein one was expected to be “true” to their word. Rather than being swayed this way or that, one chose to take a stand. Some foundations are better than others, as every engineer learns.
“But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.”
Of course the typical con artist is certain that he is well founded; he is the wise person, and the trusting people he is fooling are “chumps.” This idea, that people who trust are chumps, actually represents the slow corruption of the wisdom of Solomon, which initially stated, “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.”
This idea, which basically states a spendthrift winds up broke, devolved over the course of time, and 1587 entered the English language in Dr. John Bridges’ work, “Defense of the Government of the Church of England,” as, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Eventually this further mutated into “A sucker is born every minute.”
There is interesting dispute about who said this first.
But there is some part of the human psyche that knows “what goes around comes around,” and that a day of reckoning will arrive for every confidence trickster. Yet often we can’t help but smile at the doomed trickster, when he is only exposing the foolishness of others. (Or we smile unless we are the fool being tricked.)
An example of such trickery-we-smile-at is seen in the two swindlers who fool all but a child in Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperors New Clothes”, an amazingly short story which has entertained people all over the world, and is well worth reading and rereading, as it is brief yet profound.
Another (American) example of trickery-we-smile-at involves Mark Twain describing Tom Sawyer getting his disagreeable job of whitewashing a fence done, by others, who actually pay him to do the job for him. In like manner the American master of short stories O. Henry devoted a small book called “The Gentle Grafter” to the doings of confidence tricksters, and as one reads one often tends to have as much, if not more, sympathy for the criminal as for his victims. (And before my English friends tell me Americans have always tended to be rebels with no respect for the law, I remind them they don’t mind a notorious outlaw of their own, remembered as “Robin Hood.”)
I think we are only fond of confidence tricksters because they are exposing some sort of vainglorious snobbery that afflicts their victims, (unless we ourselves happen to be the vainglorious chump.) We may all be egotistical in some way, but some egotists step over a threshold into to landscape of inhumanity towards others, and we do not at all mind seeing such people taken to the cleaners and humbled. We know life could be better than such pompous victims make it, and that they are in some way guilty of an indefinite crime. Even though they may have done nothing that can be prosecuted, and even may be kind to those closest to them, those less near and dear perceive an aura of unkindness, of exploitation which leaves the poor poorer, and widows and orphan worse off (despite public shows of vainglorious philanthropy).
In other words, both the confidence trickster and his victim neatly fit into the category of “deserving punishment”, if what we value is both honesty and kindness. In many ways one cannot be the victim of a con unless wants to get something “valuable” for a price so low that slang describes it as “a steal.” Meanwhile a person disinclined towards such greed and “stealing” is more difficult to con. A true saint is impossible to con, (though he or she likely did not become a saint without downfalls in their past.)
In our innocent youth, the distinction between what was right and what was wrong seemed clearer, and the bad guy was recognizable because, after he stated what he plotted, he tended to go, “Nyah ha ha!”
As I watched old Westerns or Cartoons as a boy there was always an expectation that, in the end, the “bad guys” would “get what they deserved.” “Dishonest John” would mutter, “Curses! Foiled again!” In the end honesty and kindness would triumph.
I can’t claim I have seen this process prove true, as I have watched the world over the past fifty years. To the contrary, Dishonest Johns who call themselves wise have, in one way or another, stated that dishonesty is not merely legal, but the way to get ahead. Even the most moralistic tale on TV is punctuated by ads that are often outrageously deceitful, and politicians have become notorious for making meaningless promises, and being a sort of antithesis to a person who is “true to their word.” Therefore capitalist democracies cannot claim to stand for honesty, nor look down their noses at communism, despite communism’s clearly stated dogma that dishonesty is proper and wise and part of effective propaganda. Islamic theocracies also apparently state it is acceptable to lie to an infidel, which begs the question, how can the infidel learn the Truth if they are lied to? Yet Christian authorities have disgraced their religion as well. When it comes to “bad guys getting what they deserve”, it seems the dishonest have escaped punishment and done very well, so far. But I also feel the public has a growing sense of a Sword of Damocles hanging over their collective heads.
I think the public is not only aware when they are being lied to, but is aware that such dishonesty has its consequences. However the rich and powerful of the world are unable to extract themselves from the various sorts of deceit that brought them to power, and are trapped in a dishonesty that makes the public increasingly nervous.
To the powerful a jittery public seems one more thing they can exploit, by putting themselves forward as prophets and saviors, but often they are too obviously more interested in power and wealth, and therefore their self-promotion is merely further con-artistry, and only makes the situation worse.
In many ways I think the entire Global Warming absurdity is but a manifestation of a vast guilty conscience, afflicting the entire world. There is a general sense that humanity on a whole has been misbehaving, and must reap what it has sown, in some way, shape or form. Even when people themselves don’t identify with being the “bad guys”, they know their leaders are short on sainthood, (or, if they idolize certain leaders, then some other power the leader can’t control, such as “Big Oil”, is short on sainthood), and therefore the nation as a whole will “get what it deserves”, and the comeuppance won’t be pretty.
It is for this reason there are so many movies in the theaters based on an apocalypse or on post-apocalyptic themes. Many people have the general sense they are aboard a runaway train, or riding a raft above a thundering waterfall. The very people who caused fret in the first place then further exploit this sense of anxiety and hopelessness, but increasingly they can see people aren’t buying the snake oil. The con artists have created a monster, and like snake oil salesmen they need to leave town in a hurry, or face public rage, but in the case of Global Warming there is no place to run, for the scam has been worldwide.
The cure for this downward spiral is quite old and simple. It called, “the Truth.” Truth has a wonderful, refreshing quality, because you don’t need to make it up. It simply exists, involving neither policy nor strategy, neither trickery nor treasure nor trammeling. It is free for the taking, but dreadful to behold or even consider by confidence tricksters, for they not only need to confess, but fear they will have to give up ill-gotten goods. Therefore they are in the position of someone riding a bubble, which all know must someday burst.
Riding a bubble produces anxiety in both leaders and the people led by them. Some try to reassure, and some yearn to be placated, and some become restless and just wish the damn bubble would just burst, even if they must become the ones who do it, through drastic and violent actions. Few turn to the obvious answer, which is the Truth. Many succumb to the blame-game, jabbing pointing fingers at others, and few understand Truth belongs to no one, yet is available to all.
Hardest of all to grasp is that Truth requires an admission of ignorance. As ambiguous as it sounds, to know It we have to admit we don’t know It. This does not occur merely within an old fashioned Catholic confessional booth, but publicly and generally. “If we say we have no sin than the Truth is not in us.”
A confession of ignorance is actually an attribute of good scientist. It indicates an inquisitive mind. A person wearing a white coat, claiming authoritively to have all the answers, is all too often a pretender, and even an enemy of science. The Global Warming Alarmist’s arguments that a “consensus” prevents all further discussion is a sure sign of con-artistry, and of having something they don’t want exposed. A true lover of Truth welcomes questions, and what they doubt is pronouncements.
There can be little doubt we are facing a time of Climate Change, not only because the climate always changes, but because some major indicators of change are changing. The AMO, PDO, and Sunspot cycle are all undergoing profound changes, and an inquisitive mind wonders what changes they may prompt, and postulates various causes and effects, curious to see if such postulates will prove true, partially true, or be completely disproven.
It is no sin to forecast such changes, but it is sheer arrogance to claim absolute certainty, and especially to claim that CO2 is the cause of every change. Either that or such claims are a sign of great insecurity, and that the claimant is clinging to a straw in the hopes it will support them.
One thing to use, when making a forecast, is the past. One looks for similar situations, and wonders if history will repeat itself. One aspect of ignorance is to avoid looking at the past. One attribute of certain Alarmists is that they insist that what is occurring has never happened before, and is “unprecedented”, and they become quite angry with you if you point out “the only new thing under the sun is the history you haven’t read.”
For example, in 1798 the sun went “quiet” in a manner similar to today’s sun, and there were enormous volcano eruptions in 1810 and 1815. Therefore one might wonder if history might repeat itself, and, if so, why. This is simple inquisitiveness, but to some Alarmists to even consider the sun and not CO2 might influence climate is not curiosity but “denial”, and a few even think the inquisitive should be hauled before a tribunal and punished. When it comes to inquisitiveness they prefer the horrors of The Inquisition, and place the inquisitive in the position of Galileo.
In conclusion, these days any weather or geological event tends to involve a chorus of claimants clouding the issue. On one hand there are con artists who insist that, whatever the event may be, it had to be caused by CO2. On the other hand there is a public afflicted by a general sense of guilt and dread, fearing mankind will “get what it deserves.”
I heard this dual chorus when I looked into the volcanoes that have recently been rumbling in Bali and elsewhere, and I noticed it again when I observed recent hurricanes. The hype and sensationalism clouds the issue.
There are now two ex-hurricanes crossing the Atlantic towards England:
As these hurricanes arrive in Britain, as remnants, they will influence the development of a typical autumnal gale to the north. I personally am curious to see whether they will weaken or strengthen the gale. As big blobs of tropical moisture they might be expected to fuel the gale, but, because they have already spent so much of their energy, they might actually hold less “fuel” than tropical air that was pure and “unused” would hold. Which will it be? I think this sort of curiosity on my part is scientific, although, by confessing my ignorance, my curiosity certainly doesn’t put me forward as an authority.
However I confess I am also curious about the hoopla the two storms might generate, especially if the autumnal gale turns out to grow large. Join me as I study my fellow man. Though the storm has yet to develop, I have already come across the usual madmen in white coats, raging CO2 is to blame, and the usual doom-and-gloomers moaning and sighing it is a sign of End Times. Stay tuned, for in some ways such people are more fascinating than the weather (though you might not want to invite them to dinner.)