It matters not whether you win or lose…

Once upon a time the crackpot libertarians held up the Dvorak keyboard as an illustration of how market forces will inevitably back the best product. Qwerty, so the circular argument goes, must be the best, or it would have been supplanted. QED.

“The Fable of the Keys” has a lot to answer for in this regard. When last I looked, it was still being quoted as ‘proof’ of the superiority of the Sholes keyboard layout (the one known as ‘Qwerty’). “The Fable of the Fable” does a thorough job of debunking the “Fable of the Keys” — but, despite its convincing argument, it has a fatal flaw. The flaw is, quite simply, this: it came second. The first message got in there and did the damage. Game over, before it’s even begun. Classic Sun Tzu.

Roll on a few decades, and here we have the (ongoing) ‘climate change debate’. It’s just as farcical as Dvorak vs Qwerty, although arguably there’s rather more at stake. The bad, flawed, ‘proofs’ that climate change isn’t happening, or that it’s not as bad as the ‘alarmists’ make out, just keep on being regurgitated, just like a particularly wicked vindaloo.

Once again, we have a bunch of right-wing crackpots making lots of noise, and completely ignoring the facts. But that doesn’t matter, since what counts is not whether your facts are right but whether enough people are listening to what you have to say. It also helps if what you say sounds good, whether it’s factually correct or not. “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

That there are right-wing supported anti-science organisations promoting a concept they have the gall to call ‘sound’ science strikes me as indicative of just how secure the promoters of the anti-science movement feel. They’re saying they themselves don’t believe in the concept they’re pushing; since all that matters is what the punter hears they’ve even gone so far as to make a pun on the name of the thing they’re promoting. Which would be funny, if it weren’t so sad.

It’s easier by far to get someone to listen to what you have to say if you’re saying what they want to hear. The difference here is that, although in many cases what both sides are doing is preaching to the choir, the sound bites get loose and interact with the day-to-day lives of those who have the ability to call for change. Except that most people don’t want change, so the ‘business as usual’ noise always has the upper hand.

Sun Tzu’s advice was to only fight the battles you can win. When it comes to ‘the climate change debate,’ we’ve already lost: no real action is being taken. There’s no prospect of real action being taken, because the political will does not exist to ensure action. ‘No action’ translates to ‘business as usual.’ And business as usual is exactly what the libertarian nutjobs want to maintain. Business as usual means, in a nutshell, we’re all screwed.

It matters not whether you win or lose.

Until you lose.

And, every single day, we are currently losing from our single, hard-pressed planet:

  • 1500 acres of (carbon-sink) forest ∞
  • 100-200 species, gone for good to extinction
  • 30,000+ humans to starvation §

∞ Free-market fanatics would have us do extensive environmental impact testing before implementing a reforestation plan; and yet, because we’ve been chopping trees down for millennia, cutting down a few hundred thousand more can’t hurt, right?

§ ‘Human rights?’ What a joke. You’re alright, Jack?

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About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, Environment, GCD: Global climate disruption, News and politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to It matters not whether you win or lose…

  1. Moth says:

    It’s like the endless witch-hunt of Mann or, what I ran into today; http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110802/full/476016a.html
    By pursuing the scientists – even if there’s no supporting evidence – and then loudly condemning them as somehow corrupt, you’ve already ruined their credibility. It’s pure insanity that science is being treated this way, but even worse that the resistance is nothing more a machine digging frantically into the ledge that supports it. It’s just incredible how divorced from reality the whole affair is – you wouldn’t be an idle passenger in a car under constant acceleration simply because the driver is an adrenalin junky…

    • pendantry says:

      Thanks for the bear researcher frozen out link. Sad reading. Highly relevant: there’s so many vested interests in the mix, so many organisations to investigate before one can make sense of where the truth is hiding, in a story such as that. (Including, I see, at least one name change, something I always find suspicious, while acknowledging that it may simply be due to IPRS: inept political reorganisation syndrome.)

      “It’s pure insanity that science is being treated this way, but even worse that the resistance is nothing more a machine digging frantically into the ledge that supports it.” Sad, but true. Where emotive subjects are concerned, image is all-important in our fashion-driven world. “But, I’m not a rapist/ racist/ communist!” — far too late, the damage is already done…

      As for the driver of the car we’re in; I don’t think she’s just an adrenalin junky. She’s out of her mind on two of the strongest drugs known to humanity: greed and power.

      • Moth says:

        Adrenalin/power – it’s all the same rush… But you’re right – the driver is certainly out of their mind!

        Demonising, rather that faulting the others argument is an old technique that’s pathetic at best but surprisingly successful. Look at mad-Monckton’s continual reference to the witch-hunt on Mann… “One particular scientist is under investigation, so I don’t think I need to comment on him.”

        The only problem is, no-one can fault the scientist or the conclusions of his work – even though it has been smeared beyond recognition..

  2. We are all losing…even the ones that think they are winning. Times are getting desperate. What is Sun Tzu’s advice for those that know they are losing…should we fight losing battles anyway? How do we find a way to win? You don’t have to answer these questions. Today I’m feeling depressed about this big mess in the world, seems so hopeless…time to regroup and try again.

    Another thought provoking entry.

    • pendantry says:

      I think Sun Tzu’s advice would be what you intend: to bend like the willow; regroup, await a better opportunity.

      Your question made me stop and realise that, much as I admire Sun Tzu’s teachings, he formulated his tenets in an era in which there was never any reason to even consider the possibility of an ‘endgame’. In his time, there would always be new chances, in the future. Now, of course, things are very different. Although history often repeats itself, we’ve never been ‘here’ before, and absolutely anything can happen.

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