Get real, get organised and finish it.
You may get offended or not by some of the things I’m going to say in this piece but they’ll get said nevertheless, so damn the torpedoes and full blog ahead. It’s the acid test of a real friendship to at times tell them they’re acting like a prat, and by the way, your bum really does look gigunda in that dress.
Anthony Watts recently ran a poll at WUWT that posed the question – “Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance?”
I voted “yes” and I’d like to outline my reasons for doing so.
Any scattered and disparate opposition to an unjust law, policy or controversial issue which doesn’t get organised under some umbrella organisation is not only politically naïve but a consequently weak faction which doesn’t need to be taken seriously. More often than not, they’re comfortable in their armchairs living in their own deluded and secluded cloud cuckoo land.
There’s nicer ways of saying it but if you want to be a force to be reckoned with, you have to get all ganged up. You seriously want to take on that exploitive employer, get unionised brothers and sisters. You want political change, form a lobby group. You don’t want that wind farm monstrosity blighting your life, start a local campaigning group. You want equal civil rights irrespective of the colour of your ass, start marching en masse. You want women to have the vote, get those bustles out of the drawing rooms and onto the streets as a mob waving placards and make the powers that be listen to you.
There’s simply no other way to get an issue onto the political agenda, and if you happen to think global warming isn’t a political thing, you pop that blue pill brother and dream on.
Give people a standard they can rally to and if the cause has real popular support, they’ll flock to it and become a bigger voice which will be heard despite any attempts to suppress it. Those attempts will just serve to strengthen group identity and make it a much more powerful force.
The deep primordial history of us as a species is all about getting together and cooperation. You might be rubbish at knapping a flint spearhead, but as long as one of the group can do that specialist thing, everyone is happy. Crap at tracking game? No matter, that runty kid over there is somehow brilliant at it. You might just be a spear carrier, but you know you play your part for the good of everyone else. That compulsion to gang up and work together is by now deeply embedded in our DNA. It’s been selected for. Without it, civilisation would fall apart in a day.
The worst thing you can ever do is sit in grumpy isolation doing nothing more than bitching away to a few cronies, and that’s exactly what’s all too common across the skeptic blogosphere. I call it the whinge and dump mentality and in the whole history of the human race, it’s never achieved anything other than being known as a complete bore to be avoided at all costs. Here they come – run away, run away!
As I look at the poll results to date, out of 2,683 votes cast, the response was 63% Yes, 24% No and the rest going for unsure. Scanning through the five hundred comments below the piece, a substantial majority expressed a “No” for various reasons. That’s an interesting dichotomy but an unsurprising one given the web dynamics of such a controversial issue as global warming.
There are just simply too many polarised people on either side who’ve spent years doing nothing more than venting spleen at each other. It’s become a social activity, a recreational pastime, a macho ego trip, a catharsis for a lot of tangential frustrations. Log in quickly, hurl an insult or two and surf onto the next brawl. Underneath the most combative blogs, out of hundreds of comments, barely a single digit percentage of the comments even reference the original blog topic, whatever it was.
That’s always forgotten in the light of the more important thing of continuing the niggling daggers drawn alley fights between the combatants that have raged on for years and will in all likelihood do the same for many more to come. If there’s a positive to such bad habits, I suppose the individuals in a sense are banding together for mutual support but underneath a blog rather than an organisation, and that’s an isolated waste of energy in what’s too often a never visited backwater as far as Joe Public is concerned.
Obviously, that’s not a characterisation of all people of either persuasion who comment on skeptic blogs but I think we all know it’s uncomfortably close to home in too many cases. What’s more interesting is to consider why a clear majority voted for some organisation as opposed to those who commented and were averse to any such thing.
If ever there was a graphic demonstration that the readers of blogs are quite a distinct grouping from those who choose to comment on a piece, that poll was it. It’s for that very reason that I exercise a zero-tolerance to trolling and although as a result I might only get twenty comments on a piece rather than two hundred of people intent on killing each other via the safe proxy of a keyboard, they’re usually twenty meaty ones. They’re my reward for writing the article and the viewpoints expressed very often round out the piece.
I’m target oriented, I got into this thing to win it, not to spend the next five years doing the same things like some obsessive compulsive stuck in a hopeless repetitive loop. The guerrilla phase served its purpose, but it’s high time for us to come out of the jungle, get organised and finish the thing off as a volunteer militia fighting it together. There’s no other way of putting some big tank tracks on the front lawns of governments around the world.
Global warming alarmism is going into the dustbin of history. It’s still got a fair amount of kicking and screaming to do but unless we ourselves get proactive in that endgame and are organised enough to have initiatives and policies already hammered out, we’ll be leaving those things to the tender mercies of those ephemera known as politicians. Make no mistake, it’s only a matter of time until they catch the popular sentiment and ride that bull to power, but entirely for their own selfish reasons and in the way they think it should be done.
I don’t care what particular form an umbrella organisation takes. I know it couldn’t address all my concerns, be led by people I totally like, perhaps not make the moves I would, become a liability at times, be a single target of focused attacks by the alarmists. I really don’t care.
It gets worse though. It’d be primarily a political organisation because it’d have to be and yes, that does mean dragging our hitherto pristine skirts through some muddy puddles, with the added discomfort of no pretty spiffing graphs or neat equations that nobody in the real world could make head nor tail of. And yes, some big fishies in our little pond might very well end up beached by events. There’ll always be casualties but the mission comes first, then the men. It’d never ring everyone’s bell but so what? I’d put on my I’m a big boy now long trousers and get stuck in.
The only shape any such organisation could take, and which I’d have a real objection to, is if it’s a thinly disguised lashup of coneheads who just know repacking and bombarding that tired bloke waiting in the drizzling rain for a bus home after a long day’s work with the REAL science is somehow going to make him get off it at Damascus. For God’s sake, give the poor bastard some credit, he already knows it’s a load of bollocks and at this point just needs nothing more than some decent leadership.
Yes, the science would always be a part of the package but we’ve tried that one to death and we are where we’ve been with that approach for a number of years, so it patently can never be the popular spearhead. Unpalatable as the idea might be, it really is high time for people to evolve out of some comfort zones.
Get it roughly, reasonably or even badly right and I’ll be content to chip flint spearheads or whatever I can usefully do to contribute. Just as long as most of us are moving forward together in some realistic manner.
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