Sometimes, you don’t have to do anything but wait.
I’m one of life’s simpler creatures; a minimalist lean-burn type of person. My pleasures are inexpensive and simple; a bit of free kick-ass rock and roll courtesy of YouTube, an afterburner chilli once in a while, the eternal hope my team of hapless buggers will finally win something of note, some friends coming around on occasion to share a beer and a laugh, and something decent to read of an evening, accompanied by a shot glass of something wicked within easy reach.
It’s a lifestyle and an attitude of mind which is conducive to being the minority endangered species a climate skeptic blogger is. Given a realistic assessment of your capabilities, you develop modest expectations. You’ve not got much power, no budget and you sort of know whatever ripples you manage to create will die out before they even reach the inside edge of the teacup.
I suppose they’d have to be some sort of weird Möbius strip ripples to reach the outside edge but my topology is a bit rusty. A kick aroundable idea though. Sealing the cup and somehow inducing a decent hydrostatic shock might just do the trick. Not a particularly elegant solution.
Anyway, it obliges you to be economical and precise in your efforts.
Once in a while, you spot the opportunity to actually do something active. In any seemingly impervious suit of armour, there’s always a chink, which is not some veiled reference to Shanghai Lil, who was German anyway. There’s often this innocuous overlooked area which if you can poke a finger into and make a small disturbance in the force, starts ripples which sometimes develop their own building harmonic. If nothing else, a bit of imaginative devilment gets a few alarmists running around in circles. I know, it’s juvenile and slightly norty but it can be the best fun when things are a bit slow.
Frustrating though it can be at times, most initiatives you can make as a blogger are passive. Perhaps one day Big Oil or the Koch brothers will finally send me that big fat cheque and things might change. By the way, when you do get around to it just make it payable to cash, an acronym for my campaign organisation – Climate Alarmism is Sheer Hysteria.
A large part of sceptical blog output is analysis of published science papers, with the rest being commentary on news items or other more general articles. Some blogs, like this one, tend to take more of an essayist approach since they’re aimed at a more general audience. It’s a horses for courses approach, giving a reasonable selection of blogs covering most aspects of the global warming fandango.
If you’re thinking of having a go at blogging, the one piece of advice I’d give you is to have a firm idea of who your intended audience is and stick to it. This blog is obviously about being a climate skeptic but the target audience is always what I call the persuadable personality. In a previous article, I did a thumbnail profile of what that demographic was. It was in a sense a rough experiment to test that profile and the results of it came in underneath the piece as comments.
By and large, the comments gave a reasonable amount of validation to the profile but there seemed to me to be too heavy a representation of people with hard science qualifications. That’s to be expected of course given the years of exposure to the you can’t comment unless you’re some sort of scientist propaganda, but it’d be naïve of anyone to expect that personality type to only occur in people with a college degree. My feeling is I may have inhibited some feedback by mentioning a survey that indicated four out of five climate skeptics had a degree. Perhaps just an intuition, but I think that stat is too high.
It’s because they’re persuadable personalities, with the curiosity and persistence that comes with it, they’ll tend to do well in different areas, such as business or the professions. Certainly, more than a few people commenting here either run their own business or make a living in some self-employed capacity. Once you get outside the dreaming spires of climate academia and its almost papal doctrine of infallibility, admitting you were wrong about something is a regular occurrence.
Another interesting thing that emerged from the comments was how your position on the global warming issue was to be reconciled with your personal politics, but that’s a part of a bigger topic I’d like to have a crack at in another piece.
As I said, this blog is aimed at those persuadable people but to be more accurate, it’s intended to catch them on the rebound. To explain what that means, I have to cover the process that so many of them go through after they start looking into the facts of the matter for themselves. The general pattern is they’ll have been passive believers in the threat posed by global warming but will have noticed something odd, a small discrepancy, an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny little thingy that niggles them about the global warming narrative, so they’ll hit Google to get an answer.
When you google Global Warming or Climate Change, you’ll find very few if any skeptic blogs on the first two or three pages of results. Why WUWT, with over 180 million hits to its credit isn’t number one on page one, is a question you might address to the Google board and its senior adviser, Al Gore. You won’t get an answer by the way, I’ve tried it. Anyway, they’ll consequently end up trying to find the answer in one of the uniformly alarmist sites to be found on those first few pages.
Picking whichever site and not finding anything of use after reading through it, they’ll pose an almost hesitant question on whatever’s bothering them in the form of a comment. They’ll usually get some fudgy answer or dismissive links to equally propagandist and science-lite sites, so they’ll rephrase the same query. What nearly always happens next is an escalation, which always reminds me of anti-bodies ganging up on an invader by the body’s immune system.
They get attacked and it gets personal very quickly.
I covered the process in a bit more detail but in a light way in a previous piece, but the end result is that they retreat slightly shell-shocked to the links beyond page three of Google and eventually discover the skeptic blogosphere. In search of an answer, they can be quite persistent, which is a nice way of saying they’ve got a stubborn streak.
I see the same people, who fleetingly appeared on alarmist sites, turn up at the leading skeptic sites and posing the same questions. It’s one-way traffic.
At that point my feeling is that they’re reeling. They’re not so much angry at their treatment and how suddenly it all became so gutter vicious, though no doubt some of them are, but indignant that what was after all a polite query has immediately caused them to be banished to some lunatic fringe with indecent haste. They’ve been stereotyped, dehumanised and since their ability to make further comments has often been summarily withdrawn, can therefore be ignored.
The consensus has once again been robustly defended using nothing more than thuggery and censorship by the true believers.
There is no debate going on, simply because the alarmists refuse to acknowledge that there can be rational dissent from their orthodoxy. Their attitude to skeptics is reminiscent of the old Soviet Union’s attitude to dissidents; any lone individual who opposes the overwhelming power of the state must by definition be insane. The discussion and answers the questioners are looking for can only be found in the skeptic blogosphere, especially because most contributors there, having been through the exact same mauling, are open to answering awkward questions.
Over the years, I’ve watched former alarmists crossing the aisle via a lukewarmer position, to the other side of the argument, and some of those have been leading figures excommunicated for heresy. I recall a particular one some years ago patiently explaining to me like a schoolmarm about how them referring to people like me as a “denier” wasn’t a pejorative term. Yeah …
With the treatment they’ve received from their former fanboys in the years since then, I suspect they might have loosened their stays quite a bit. They really didn’t see what was coming at them. Eventually they get driven towards us by the vitriolic attacks of their once fervent supporters. The current smear campaign on the academic reputation of Richard Tol, looks to be yet another case in point. Dissent, no matter how minor or punctiliously stated, is simply not tolerated within the fundamentalist Church of Climatology. There is no middle ground. You’re with us or against us. Period.
Getting back to the persuadables, it’s after they’ve progressed to the point of engaging with the skeptic community, a blog like this becomes relevant. They’ve had their detailed answers which they’re reasonably happy with but then on the rebound, they start to ask more general questions like – how the hell could this patent hysteria have progressed so far? What I try to do here is address those more open-ended questions with analysis, assessments and some wider context.
There is a need for having that broader type of discussion because there are a number of downsides to the persuadable personality. The big one is that when it comes to Realpolitik, too many of them are innocents who’ve suddenly found themselves in the grubby bordello of establishment alarmism, where everything is up for sale.
They tend to be reasonable people and their unconscious first instinct is to assume, when discussing what they believe is a factual topic, that the other person holding an opposing view is going to be reasonable. That rarely applies when it comes to global warming. It’s a milestone on their road to becoming a skeptic of it, when they begin to realise the science is irrelevant, facts don’t actually matter and it’s all about propaganda, political influence and money.
Once they finally accept that truth, science and any semblance of academic rigour have been pimped out to the service of various parties who don’t give a rat’s ass about a single one of those three things they’ve always held in some regard, they get good and angry. Their implicit trust in all of those things has been brutally exploited and the one thing they do know from now on is they’ll never trust the alarmists again.
What is worth noting about the whole journey they go on is that after they raise those initial questions, what follows is almost inevitable. The whole thing is on automatic pilot. They will end up as climate skeptics with no help from us except towards the end of it – all we have to do is honestly discuss the facts with them.
We don’t have to fight for converts – they find their way to us all by themselves.
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