The smirks of chauvinists, bigots, and con men — Elections2012
In a stunningly fair report entitled CLIMATE OF DOUBT, Frontline recently revealed how well-funded organizations seeded doubt in the in the minds of Americans over the science of anthropogenic (human-caused) Global Warming. So successful were their efforts that U.S. Senators literally run for elevators rather than answer questions from reporters whose only interest lay in learning the truth.
Yes, human-caused global warming contributed substantially to Hurricane Sandy trashing New York and coastal New Jersey. It turned our western forests into tinder box catastrophes just waiting for a spark. It devastated an entire season of midwestern crops. It shattered temperature records across the country in June, only to shatter them again in July and August—all in 2012. In fact, August of 2012 represented the 330th consecutive month that average global temperature exceeded 20th Century norms. And yet, many Americans cling to the delusion that anthropogenic global warming is a “liberal hoax.” Why? It’s simple:
Humans believe what we want to believe regardless of facts (1,2).
Sounds simple, right. Not so! Consider this: those leading the public by telling us what we want to believe are as addicted to self-delusion as the rest of us.
For five+ years, I corresponded daily with national biotech policy advisers regarding America’s stem cell debates. I twice served as a surrogate spokesperson for the GW Bush White House. And yet, my biotech activism had nothing to do with religion, morals, or politics. Because I’m paralyzed and once studied Neuroscience extensively, I thought my contacts in Washington were on my side, i.e, that they meant to support basic and clinical research that offered practical hope for treatments and cures. I deluded myself.
Every Bush appointee to head the NIH, FDA, and Health and Human Services was an industry-approved advocate of embryonic stem cells and human cloning. While telling the country he opposed killing embryos on moral grounds, his meaningful actions consistently promoted the financial welfare of Pharma and BIO, i.e, the long-range commitment of vast resources toward highly problematic and impractical research [embryonic stem cells and human cloning] to entrench our medical status quo and safeguard over a trillion dollars annually in global pharmaceutical revenues. Why? Because the top ten American pharmaceuticals made more profits in 2003 than the other 490 corporations in Fortune 500 combined.
How could I have ever deluded myself into believing GW Bush or the GOP would oppose this financial colossus? In other words, what do you really think is behind the Conservative/GOP P.R. blitz to deny and distort the realities of global warming, climate change, and Man’s disastrous addictions to oil, coal, and gas?
This is your future and your life. Do not look away or turn off your objective mind (1,2). And please, do not delude yourself into believing that those who misled you intentionally by playing on your worldview beliefs or financial fears will give you what you want if you give them what they want. YOU are the market—the customers whose lives and incomes they need to bloat the coffers of the special interests they so faithfully serve.
Our time is critically short. I won’t try to sway you regarding the science of climate change in a blog post. You need to sleep, and the elections are tomorrow. Please, do this. Invest an hour of your life by watching CLIMATE OF DOUBT (3), or spend FOUR MINUTES (4) to watch a replay of Mitt Romney smirking in derisive triumph over our climatic future at the GOP convention. In my opinion, you’ll see the faces of fallible people who claim to be moralists—who even claim God as their banner—and yet who literally glow with smugness over exploiting the economic fears of Americans to hijack their future and imperil their lives.
I’m fifty-six years old, and I’ve seen these smirks before…on the faces of racists or chauvinists who reveled over the subservience of blacks or women in decades past…on the faces of hucksters who had deluded others and felt damned good over their psychological tricks…on winners who knew they’d won and why they won and knew in their hearts they didn’t deserve to win.
Where will America turn, and why will she turn there? I sincerely hope the environmental truths we’d rather not face but can’t escape will play a deciding role in how we vote…because America will never escape its dead-end energy paradigm and economic trap—to say nothing of reaching a sustainable future environmentally—as long as we willingly delude ourselves.
1. Westen D, Blagov PS, Harenski K, Kilts C, Hamann S., Neural bases of motivated reasoning Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 11/06;18(11):1947-58.
2. Political bias affects brain activity MSNBC.com, Jan 24 2006
3. John Hockenberry, Catherine Upin, Climate of Doubt, Frontline, October 2012
4. Mitt Romney, Climate Change, Hurricane Sandy, and the GOP convention, The ClimateSilence.org, Nov 2012
James P. Kelly twice served as a surrogate stem cells spokesperson for the G.W. Bush White House. He ended six years of biotech activism in protest over Conservative plans to discredit the science of climate change. As a creative means of sharing the social, political, and psychological realities he glimpsed through his stem cells involvement, he wrote and recently published The Sibyl Reborn, a speculative adventure/urban fiction that reincarnates Cassandra, the cursed prophet from the Fall of Troy, to battle the psychological roots of global warming.