22 May 2011

Politically Correct Delusions and Madnesses of Crowds

The fates of modern democratic societies are dependent far more upon the behaviour of crowds -- or the mob -- than most citizens would like to believe. Popular culture is determined by mob tastes and preferences, and the often unpredictable behaviour of mobs on election day is bemoaned by leaders of all political parties -- at one time or another. Mob behaviours are guided by mob beliefs, which are as often as not, delusional. Here is a good example of a modern popular delusion from Princeton Physics Professor William Happer:
I want to discuss a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. The “climate crusade” is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types—even children’s crusades—all based on contested science and dubious claims.

...We need to be vigilant to keep our land, air, and waters free of real pollution, particulates, heavy metals, and pathogens, but carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is not one of these pollutants. Carbon is the stuff of life. Our bodies are made of carbon. A normal human exhales around 1 kg of CO2 (the simplest chemically stable molecule of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere) per day. Before the industrial period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 270 ppm. At the present time, the concentration is about 390 ppm, 0.039 percent of all atmospheric molecules and less than 1 percent of that in our breath. About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate atmospheric CO2 as a “pollutant.” According to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, to pollute is “to make or render unclean, to defile, to desecrate, to profane.” By breathing are we rendering the air unclean, defiling or desecrating it?

...As far as green plants are concerned, CO2 is not a pollutant, but part of their daily bread—like water, sunlight, nitrogen, and other essential elements. Most green plants evolved at CO2 levels of several thousand ppm, many times higher than now. Plants grow better and have better flowers and fruit at higher levels. Commercial greenhouse operators recognize this when they artificially increase the concentrations inside their greenhouses to over 1000 ppm.

...We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2—except that we would have nothing to eat and a few other minor inconveniences, because most plants stop growing if the levels drop much below 150 ppm. If we want to continue to be fed and clothed by the products of green plants, we can have too little CO2.

The minimum acceptable value for plants is not that much below the 270 ppm preindustrial value. It is possible that this is not enough, that we are better off with our current level, and would be better off with more still. There is evidence that California orange groves are about 30 percent more productive today than they were 150 years ago because of the increase of atmospheric CO2.

...A rare case of good correlation between CO2 levels and temperature is provided by ice-core records of the cycles of glacial and interglacial periods of the last million years of so. But these records show that changes in temperature preceded changes in CO2 levels, so that the levels were an effect of temperature changes. This was probably due to outgassing of CO2 from the warming oceans and the reverse effect when they cooled.

...The earth’s climate has always been changing. Our present global warming is not at all unusual by the standards of geological history, and it is probably benefiting the biosphere. Indeed, there is very little correlation between the estimates of CO2 and of the earth’s temperature over the past 550 million years (the “Phanerozoic” period). The message is clear that several factors must influence the earth’s temperature, and that while CO2 is one of these factors, it is seldom the dominant one. _WUWT
Full article by Professor Happer at First Things

Another popular delusion of politically correct crowds is a strong belief in the desirability of replacing modern coal, gas, and nuclear power plants with wind and solar power.

Mass delusions do not require reason or logic to gain converts. They only need to project the view that "everyone knows that ..." "every schoolboy knows ..." or "everybody believes that ..." This false sense of security in perceived numbers of believers has taken in a huge number of pseudo-intellectuals within the academy, in journalism, in politics, and in popular media and entertainment. All the better to project the delusion of universal belief.

In hindsight, such delusional madnesses are quite clearly absurd and without rational foundation. But when one is living through the delusion, the primeval instincts of the species hold sway.

Basic Reading on crowd behaviour:

Gustave le Bon: The Crowd
Charles Mackay: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Both titles above are also available for download at the Gutenberg Project

More on Gustave le Bon from Against Politics

23 May 2011 More: The increasingly rowdy and violent mobs known as government unions should be seen a particularly ominous portent for the future, to anyone who cares about freedom and independent action.

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Blogger neil craig said...

I think that in both these cases and many others the driving force has not been some inherent illogicality of the population but that government and government influenced media have united to promote scare stories whivch most of them know to be false.

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."Henry Louis Mencken

It should be noted that many of the "green" organisations and groups have openly refused to ever appear on air in a discussion involving somebody who disagrees with them (Gore and Greenpeace most notoriously).

It is obviously impossible to get your view popularly accepted if you refuse to put it so this shows they knew the media was 100% prepped to push their lies and censor opposition before they started.

Monday, 23 May, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

Many of the old forms of information control are being threatened or devastated by new forms of information delivery.

Once governmental units grow beyond a certain size, they become essentially unmanageable without a deceptive projection of strength and control which is far beyond the reality. Large and extortionate governments have large weak points.

When these entities collapse, general suffering and wanton violence can be widespread. Particularly if the average population IQ is low. Contrast the collapse of Mubarak's Egypt with the collapse of Communist Poland, for example.

When governments of multicultural societies collapse, the violence can be particularly severe.

Monday, 23 May, 2011  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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