Nothing says confidence in the verdict of history and an unwavering faith in ultimate vindication like gauche emotional manipulation. Similar to so many tropes on the left, the issue of climate change has evolved from a public policy challenge into just another shibboleth – a special knock, knowledge of which allows you access to the liberal speakeasy.
Let’s perform a thought experiment. Take a look at the faces below. What emotion do you see displayed?
I would say, respectively, bored, skeptical, hungry, and engaged. You probably came up with a number of different responses.
Now look at them again with the knowledge that all of the above are climate scientists who are supposedly struggling to maintain their composure during a panicked discussion about the post-apocalyptic Hellscape that awaits us in a future defined by climate shifts.
That’s how The Huffington Post primed its readers before featuring images of these and other scientific professionals purportedly wracked with anxiety over the pressing problem of global climate change.
“We’ve read the daunting headlines. We’ve seen the bleak predictions. We know in our minds that climate change is putting our Earth’s future in danger,” the Huffington Post’s write up on a series of photographs called “Scared Scientists” by artist Nick Bowers. “And yet there’s something uniquely frightening about this artist’s attempt to transform global warming data into visceral, human responses.”
Frightening? They might as well be dramatic headshots. You could probably book a recurring role on an HBO drama with one of these – at least, get you past the casting director’s door.
This was just one of Tuesday’s attempts by climate activists to tug at your heartstrings in lieu of a logical argument.
“Scientists are used to talking about climate change in facts and figures, a discussion framed around parts-per-million concentrations of carbon dioxide, millimeters of sea-level rise, and degrees of global temperatures,” a piece in Tuesaday’s National Journal opened. “[Australian National University student] Joe Duggan wants them to talk about their feelings.”
Duggan said the project is meant to engage the broader public, who despite seeing facts about climate change can feel “apathetic” or simply overwhelmed by the volume of data. He thought that letting experts use an emotional pitch might help the layperson connect with their work.
“The scientists that have penned letters for this project are scared, angry, anxious, and at times hopeful and optimistic,” he said in an email. “These are real feelings that everyone has experienced in their lives. But the scientists aren’t feeling this way about an anniversary or a pressing deadline. They’re feeling this way about the fate of our planet.”
Duggan said the experts he’s reached out to have expressed “relief” at being able to express their emotions and he’s even starting hearing from more researchers who want to participate. He’s also been getting responses from the general public on his website and through Twitter.
Only the most emotionally stunted cannot anticipate the fact that a campaign centered on talking down to one’s audience is unlikely to result in a deluge of newfound public support. But these and other forms of casual condescension are what the climate alarmism movement has become.
So often, those who are skeptical of the claims that catastrophic climate shifts will result in dramatic changes to the environment in a timeframe too short to allow for acclimation are told they are “deniers” – e.g. something akin to those who cling, in the face of all contrary evidence, to the notion that the Holocaust never occurred. And yet, those who evangelize about the terrible future that awaits us if we do not address climate change with policy prescriptions, most of which center on personal deprivation and the defining of prosperity down, appeal to the heart over the head in order to make their case.
The logical contentions have failed, they seem to reason. Rather than examine that critically, they chose to shift tactics from argumentation to shaming and emoting. This is not a tactic which respects its audience as thinking individuals. The public knows an advertising campaign when they see one.