Last weekend, I conducted a poll asking this question that has been on my mind for a couple of years:
Is it time for an “official” climate skeptics organization, one that produces a policy statement, issues press releases, and provides educational guidance?
The results are in, seen below, and there is an interesting dichotomy that can be observed in the excercise.
I’ve closed the poll with a count of 2701 votes. While there was a clearly decisive result, there were over 440 comments on the thread, many of which argued for “no”. A common reason discussed was that “organizing skeptics is like herding cats” or that “it will provide a target”. While that may be true, I really wasn’t all that interested in herding or target practice, I was thinking about representation. By its nature, all representation of varied viewpoints of a group of people is imperfect, but it does have its advantages if that representation satisfies a common need. The common need I see is getting a slowdown on the freight train of bureaucracy that is growing from CAGW claims and more coverage in media.
Pointman writes about the poll results and that dichotomy in Get real, get organised and finish it.
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 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.
He’s right, it has become a social spleen venting activity, and that my friends doesn’t get much traction.
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 want to be a force to be reckoned with, you have to get all ganged up.
Could just as easily be used to describe crazy Bill McKibben. Most of us think he’s nuts, and he most likely is. The difference is he got out of his “armchairs living in their own deluded and secluded cloud cuckoo land” and formed 350.org. Now look at what we have, an organization that has successfully lobbied for blocking the Keystone pipeline by affecting the office of presidency. Do you think weepy Bill could do that himself without having organized first?
Think about it, and sound off in comments.