It’s a lot easier to seek confirmation than information.
So not only does the online world provide less information, it provides more spin and distortion of that information from an online empire of advocates that enables us as never before to find the voices we agree with, and to ignore anybody else.
DENIAL & AVOIDANCE HAVE DRAWBACKS
When you are confronted with information that contradicts your attitudes, beliefs, impugns your identity, or groups that you identify with, you—we—all of us are motivated to reason through that information in a way that keeps our original attitudes intact.
So, we’ll counter argue, we’ll criticize the data source, not pay attention to information that contradicts our pre-existing attitudes.
Mix in the conservatives’ recognized fear of change and support for simplified decision-making with their inclination to support the “system” as currently structured [so as to avoid change and any considerations regarding new perspectives or factors], and then add human nature’s basic desire for consistency in thought and belief, quite the stew is served! Avoiding new and contradictory information is step one, supplanted with a quest for obtaining reassurances as needed.
Questioning what the reassurances are, their sources, how they came to be, or what they are based on and/or if they are even valid are not part of the program. So those so inclined defer knowledge and presumed expertise to others who share their psychological and ideological preferences, and what results is a profound urgency to preserve what they know, regardless of the implications. Sometimes that’s just fine.
RUNNING THE RISKS
But when the challenges we face have the potential for imposing so much change, denying themselves a place at the table carries a certain set of risks. Blithely dismissing those risks—made easier by avoiding information worth at least considering—is a curious strategy.
As liberalism has increasingly been aligned with the values of empiricism and reason, the incentives for conservatives to reject empiricism and reason multiply.
To be a ‘conservative’ increasingly means taking a contemptuous view of reality.
Today we in America are besieged by a reversal of intellectual growth that finds comfort not in scientific inquiry and method but rather in instinctive reliance upon either what we want to believe or what we think others want to hear.
So we have quite the cascade of avoidance techniques making consideration of climate change and peak oil risks that much harder. Not good.
But what future awaits us if we cannot be courageous and honest enough to plan for that future with the full range and understanding of all the facts now at our disposal?
Aside from delusion and denial, what would lead an otherwise intelligent person to simply assume that natural resources are limitless or that there won’t be drastic changes as the supplies start to slide down the other side of the slope? These changes, by the way, might be offering at least the hint of a suggestion that some planning would be a good idea … soon.
How can that same intelligence leave one thinking that the technological and industrial growth we both marvel at and use in stunning, creative ways, carries no impact on the surrounding environment? What kind of magical thinking leads one to believe that the cumulative effects of billions upon billions of automobile and commercial vehicle and airline trips over decades—each and every one adding a small or not-so-small measure of exhaust into the surrounding air, combined with the industrial and factory emissions spewing out in their own steady streams over those many decades from all four corners and in countlessly creative yet damaging ways—have done nothing at all to the atmosphere or environment?
When the social system is threatened by an external (or exogenous) source, such as a foreign military or terrorist attack, the need to justify the system generally manifests itself in terms of increased attention and commitment to defeating the source of the threat. By contrast, the threat posed by environmental destruction is the result of the status quo itself; the practices of our socioeconomic system have brought about the current crisis and thus constitute a threat that is internal (or endogenous) to the system. Facing up to this kind of threat involves (a) acknowledging the shortcomings of the current system and established practices, (b) accepting both systemic and individual responsibility for the current state of the environment, and (c) admitting that the status quo must change if we are to prevent ecological disaster. (Citations in original)
It’s not gonna be easy … but better we deal with difficulties now than problems and challenges we’ve made entirely unresolvable by ignoring facts and reality.
~ My Photo: Cape Ann, MA Sunrise © 10.28.15
We face a choice going forward. There’s a kind of false dichotomy, a false choice that we’re being presented between policies on the left or policies on the right. It’s not left or right, it’s forward or backward. It’s a choice between investing in the future, leaving a better future for the next generation just like parents and grandparents did for us, or ignoring these hard choices and sentencing the next generation to a lower standard of living, to fewer opportunities, and a future that we could do better by. Former USDOT Deputy Secretary John Porcari
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Peak Oil Matters offers observations and insights about the realities of declining fossil fuel production, and its impact on our future well-being