Dumb & Dumber

My friend Linda is a wealth of aphorisms and wisdom gleaned from the women in her family–her mother and her aunts.  I keep a list of phrases passed down through the family tree. “It’s better to rust out than to rot out.” “She who hides can find.” And “We might as well be drunk as the way we are.”

But one of the funniest is: “People are dumber than anybody.”

This came to mind as I read about two developments in the last week.

First was the opinion piece published by the Wall Street Journal on January 27th titled No Need to Panic About Global Warming, submitted and signed by 16 scientists who say “that nothing should be done about CO2 for several decades.”

There has been enormous push-back from the larger scientific community over the egregiously misleading claims made in the WSJ piece.  The Union of Concerned Scientists posted one of the best rebuttals.  And the letters to the editor are too good to miss.

On the WSJ website, there is also a video interview with William Happer of Princeton, the lead author of the editorial.  In it, the WSJ editorial page assistant editor, in an astonishingly goofy manner, evokes “global warming hysteria”, stumbles over the name of the United Nations IPCC–(clearly not to be taken seriously)–and can’t resist bringing “climategate” into the conversation.

Herding citizens toward cities

Second, is the reporting in Saturday’s New York Times titled Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot.  The piece begins:  “Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy.  They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.”

In Some/Home, I have always been careful to maintain the distinction between a thoughtful piece and a rant.  But these two items are pushing me toward the edge.

Specifically, I fear that irreparable damage has been done by the WSJ piece.  In Washington, “climate change is already a four-letter word.”  Is there any way in which President Obama or any other candidate for public office can cut through the morass of disinformation?  The answer is pretty clear:  in this climate, the issue would be a un-winnable drag on his or her campaign.

What do you know about Agenda 21?  

In the NYT article, I learned for the first time about the 1992 United Nations resolution called Agenda 21: “a sweeping but non-binding resolution designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas.”

It has become a flash point for the paranoia-driven protests against sustainability.  Tea Party activists cite the belief that man-made global warming is a hoax, and that the U.N. is imposing a one-world order.

But this is just the fringe that refuses to be told what kind of light bulb they can buy, right?  Apparently not:  “In January, the Republican Party adopted its own resolution against what it called “the destructive and insidious nature” of Agenda 21.

Linda’s mother was right.  People are dumber than anybody.


About John Wackman

A writer since I learned to hold a pencil (no, not like that...hold it like this!). Long-time writer/producer for television, now organizer of Repairs Cafes in the Hudson Valley (13 & counting!) -- Program Manager of Solarize Hudson Valley, non-profit, state supported, community sponsored renewable energy program. We're all re-inventing ourselves. It's a sci-fi world, isn't it?
This entry was posted in Climate change + Culture, Deep Ecology, John Wackman blog and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dumb & Dumber

  1. marai wise says:

    Don’t get me started! Sometimes a rant is absolutely called for, John. Right wing activists are the scariest part of life(political and otherwise)….whether it be about global warming, a woman’s right to choose, stem cell research, creationism, gun control or a myriad of other topics. Although I can only assume their viewpoints are based on a deep level completely on fear or greed, or both, I can’t for the life of me understand or even have a conversation w/ these folks. It is harder than trying to teach a rabid dog to roll over, to have rational, civil discourse w/ this tea bagger mindset. My spiritual path tells me to reach out w/ an open heart, have compassion, and love the difficult ones, especially. Yet I find it extremely hard to accept ignorance. Environmental issues ARE the ones most important to me in general and living here in WV, a stately apparent valued by what can be developed, extracted, or removed from it)as in Mountain tops. People ARE dumber than anybody, but, narrow minded egoic choices are often made when it comes to hot button issues. Having Freedom does not mean freedom to destroy our home, one ecosystem, species or culture @ a time, around the world… to what end?
    PS>>>Watch the movie…The Last Mountain, if you have a chance. I hear dynamite and see the result from my farm. There is a fight, but No one has been able to stop it in Washington.

  2. Scott says:

    I also came across that piece on the UN “conspiracy plot,” and I was appalled and dumbfounded. People have an astonishing ability to politicize an issue before they even understand it. And once that happens, their minds then tend to be closed to other possibilities. I wish I could suggest a solution, but I’m frankly at a loss as to how to combat disinformation in that situation. Simply relating the facts to such people is unlikely to sway them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s