The famous quote “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts,” comes from Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Unfortunately, it does not take into account human psychology, which can skew facts like a funhouse mirror, or worse, blank them out entirely.
A classic example of this is can be seen with climate change. The big hammer hasn’t hit us yet; it has always been described as something that will be fully fledged only in future decades. But regular people can see the early effects already, and denial of climate change becomes shakier every year.
We recently had two (2) reports out from the Trump administration in which they acknowledged the reality of climate change for the first time.
But that was the Trump administration, not The Trump himself, who continues to claim it is all a “hoax.”
In the September report, the administration says that catastrophic climate change is now “inevitable,” but we shouldn’t try to do anything to mitigate it, because it is “too late” – !
Meanwhile Allstate Insurance ran a TV ad about the phrase “500 year storm.” They said we have had 26 in the past decade. A certain internet message board is loaded with deniers denouncing Allstate for the ad, claiming “500 year storm” is misleading, as it is a term that only refers to a statistical probability. A 500 Year storm is one that has a .2% chance of occurring each year. Okay. So, 26 in a decade is pretty bad! I myself was going to write about how frequently I recalled hearing that phrase on the news in recent years, well before this Allstate ad. We are getting bigger and badder and more frequent storms! There is no denying it!
Except that Trump and company still try to deny it. Having their own facts consists of things like claiming a snowstorm disproves climate change. “Snowed like crazy last night! What happened to all that Global Warming???” I am paraphrasing here. The actual Trump tweet would have had more random capitalization.
It is so sad that after all these years you still hear people saying that a cold snap disproves climate change. It’s more the other way around. Climate change is what disrupts the jet stream, which is what holds frigid arctic air in the far north. When the jet stream is busted up by climate change, we are susceptible to being hit by a “polar express,” even as the arctic gets a blast of warm air from the south. That’s why the arctic ice cap is disintegrating. To borrow a favorite phrase from Republicans, “I am not a scientist” . . . but I can comprehend that much!
I can also see that the California wildfires were made much worse by years of severe drought, not from a lack of raking in those forests! (Hundreds of thousands of acres.) Forest management is a responsibility of the federal government, anyway, not the state.
While we’re at it, yes, the Earth’s climate has changed naturally over various time spans of the past. Time spans like tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of years. Our present situation dates to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century. We should look at the effects of climate change on the Gulf Stream sometime.
Trump supporters would not acknowledge climate change if their tires were melting on the pavement.
I touched on their mentality in my last post, Integrity or Trump. Pick One.
They have their own facts, or lack thereof, and nothing is evidence-based. It all rides on the say-so of Fearless Leader. If a news story favors Trump it is true. If not, it is “fake news,” or it never enters the radar screen at all. This is not to say there aren’t plenty on the left with the same psychology, and the farther to the extreme the worse it gets. But this kind of thing is endemic on the right in the United States, and it is hard to imagine a healthy political climate taking shape.