If Only Mustachiod Homophobic Terrorists Drove Gas-Guzzling SUVs into Buildings In San Francisco, The Left Would See the Threat
Psychology is such a stupid field. You have no idea. A while back I read something to the effect that there were around 250 distinct schools of psychological thought, and my guess is that perhaps 240 of them are utterly frivolous, shallow, and generally silly.
This is especially true of academic (as opposed to clinical) psychology. The adult playground of academia generates kooky ideas in every field for the simple reason that it is so insulated from reality and from the implications of its ideas. This is why, for example, the only place Marxism is taken seriously is in academia. If a small business owner were to toy with the idea of running his business along Marxist lines, he would receive immediate sharp and corrective blows from economic reality.
Today’s L.A. Times features an editorial by a Harvard psychology professor, Daniel Gilbert, entitled If only gay sex caused global warming: Why we're more scared of gay marriage and terrorism than a much deadlier threat.
In it, Gilbert begins with the logically self-refuting claim that “NO ONE [emphasis his] seems to care about the upcoming attack on the World Trade Center site. Why? Because it won't involve villains with box cutters. Instead, [cue Simpsons anchorman Kent Brockman--ed.] it will involve melting ice sheets that swell the oceans and turn that particular block of lower Manhattan into an aquarium." Fully accepting the most hysterical prognostications of agenda-driven weathermen at face value, Gilbert says “The odds of this happening in the next few decades are better than the odds that a disgruntled Saudi will sneak onto an airplane and detonate a shoe bomb. And yet our government will spend billions of dollars this year to prevent global terrorism and … well, essentially nothing to prevent global warming.”
This is the first time I've ever heard someone refer to terrorists as merely "disgruntled." Obviously they are far from gruntled. That goes without saying. But they are also hideously evil beasts of depravity bent on destroying civilization as we know it. For starters. And I'm sure they don't give a hoot about the weather. They're obviously used to warm climates.
In any event, let’s try a little thought experiment. Let’s announce to the world that we are immediately suspending all efforts to stop terrorists from hijacking airplanes. It’s too expensive. It’s just not worth the time and trouble, considering Professor Gilbert's reasoned assessment of the incredibly low odds of an attack. Let’s stop airport security, baggage checks, profiling of any kind. You aren’t a sophisticated psychology professor at an elite university, so you’re probably too stupid to ask, but what do you think would happen? For that matter, what do you think would happen if Israel made no effort to stop suicide bombers from crossing its border?
Gilbert, the brilliant psychology professor, wonders “Why are we less worried about the more likely disaster?” Don’t worry, he has the answer: “Because the human brain evolved to respond to threats that have four features--features that terrorism has and that global warming lacks.”
In other words, we really don’t have free will--except for Gilbert. Somehow, he managed to overcome natural selection and see beyond his genetic programming. Not so the rest of us trousered (as opposed to tenured) apes. We are just Darwinian machines, programmed to see enemies where they don’t really exist.
Professor Gilbert explains. You see, “global warming lacks a mustache. No, really. We are social mammals whose brains are highly specialized for thinking about others.” So the reason why we are concerned with terrorism is simply because it has a human face (although technically it is an inhuman face). On the other hand, global warming has no human face, so we don’t worry about it.
Except for all of the hysterics who do, including Gilbert. Indeed, they even try to give it a human face, a face that looks just like George Bush. And we are presumably "frightened" of gay marriage because it too has a human face and mustache, although in fairness, not all lesbians have mustaches. Hasn't he ever seen Tammy Bruce?
Gilbert claims that “The second reason why global warming doesn't put our brains on orange alert is that it doesn't violate our moral sensibilities. It doesn't cause our blood to boil... because it doesn't force us to entertain thoughts that we find indecent, impious or repulsive. When people feel insulted or disgusted, they generally do something about it, such as whacking each other over the head, or voting. Moral emotions are the brain's call to action.”
Again, this is demonstrably false. Global warming is a highly charged moral issue to the left. Can anyone listen to Al Gore and not tell in an instant that his blood is boiling and that he's hoppin' mad? Gilbert writes, “Yes, global warming is bad, but it doesn't make us feel nauseated or angry or disgraced, and thus we don't feel compelled to rail against it as we do against other momentous threats to our species, such as flag burning.”
What? Has this man never heard of dailykos? When have they not been angry and nauseated by some abstract fear that somehow never materializes, like the imminent takeover of the country by homophobic gaia-hating theofascists?
Gilbert writes that “The third reason why global warming doesn't trigger our concern is that we see it as a threat to our futures--not our afternoons. Like all animals, people are quick to respond to clear and present danger, which is why it takes us just a few milliseconds to duck when a wayward baseball comes speeding toward our eyes.” But this simply contradicts his earlier statement that we are obssessed with things that pose no real or immediate threat at all, like terrorism. Which is it?
Finally, the fourth reason we don’t care about global warming is that “we barely notice changes that happen gradually, we accept gradual changes that we would reject if they happened abruptly.” I don’t know about that one. I’m not sure if I would notice the one degree increase in global temperature if it had happened in one minute instead of the one hundred years over which it has occurred. Then again, maybe Gilbert is more sensitive than I am.
Oh my: “The human brain is a remarkable device that was designed to rise to special occasions.”
What kind of nonsense is this? It’s the kind of nonsense that is taught in elite universities. The brain is a fancy gadget or “device.” It was “designed,” but not really, because there was no designer. Rather, it’s just a random reflection of the environment it evolved in. And it “rises to special occasions.”
Which begs the question. For me and for approximately half of the country, September 11 was a “special occasion.” But somehow, we are unable to convince the other half of the country--including Professor Gilbert--of its specialness. We see the evil as clear as day, while the other half--including Gilbert--doesn’t see the evil at all, regardless of whether or not it has a human face. Instead, they focus their attention on obscure and abstract future threats from the weather.
I am not an academic psychologist. I am a clinical psychologist. We have a well-worn word that applies to both Gilbert and his kind: denial. It is at the basis of the “culture of conniption,” that is, the hysterical left that is always having a conniption about some vague threat that never materializes, because it is much more comforting than having to face the real thing.
Lileks said it best:
“ABC news has asked viewers to send in evidence of global warming. How is it affecting your life? ABC news wants to hear from you. This is like Life magazine asking readers in 1952 to describe the communists under their beds. Bald? Slavic? Ruddy? Drunken? Well, I can help. Naked hairless blistered ocelots prowl my yard; mutated day-bats flutter around the eaves, and the other day a polar bear got up on two legs and pushed around a fume-belching two-stroke-engine lawn mower as some sort of ironic protest....
“I am not susceptible to disaster scenarios. I do not believe we have ten years to prevent the inevitable collapse of civilization. As long as I can remember I have been fed end-times scenarios--death by ice, death by fire, death by famine, death by smothering from heaps of clambering humans scrabbling for purchase on an overpopulated world, death by full-scale nuclear exchange, death by unstoppable global AIDS, death by a two-degree rise in temperatures, death by radon, death by alar, death by inadvertent Audi acceleration, death by juju. Doesn’t mean we won’t die of juju. But somehow we survive. The only thing I take away is a vague wistful wonder what it would be like to live in an era when things were generally so bad that the futurists spent their time assuring us it would be better. Say what you will about the past, but at least they had a future. All I’ve ever had, according to the experts, is a grim narrow window of heedless ignorance bliss followed by a dystopian irradiated world characterized by scarcity, mutation, and quite possibly intelligent chimps. You have no future. Oh, and don’t smoke!”
“I’m a stupid optimist. Either the vehicle that takes me to the boneyard will get six miles per gallon of processed dinosaur, or it will run for ninety days on a milliliter of Sea-Monkey urine. Either way, all in all, we’ll make it.”
Here's an idea for Professor Gilbert. Write an article about why the disgruntled Islamo-fascists are more worried about infidels than the weather. They're almost as crazy as us!
Part 2: Write an article about what motivates an, ahem, sane and sober man such as Al Gore to produce a propaganda film about the weather that contains so many easily verifiable distortions and exaggerations that almost seem calculated to alarm?. Why does the left habitually sacrifice truth to activism? Is this distortion consciously or unconsciously motivated?