We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, May 27, 2012

‘The Great Big Book of Horrible Things’: WWII and Climate Change

Click here to access article by Bill Blakemore from ABC News (USA). 

I was stunned when I came across this article today! This source, which is a major mainstream media corporation, is acknowledging man-made global warming!!! Because I follow news and commentary on the internet quite extensively--although not mainstream media--I can't understand why I have just encountered it now, or why others have not made reference to it. I also haven't seen evidence of this revelation reflected in TV coverage. Maybe it is a kind of trial balloon. The piece was posted on May 20, but then I realized that it was a second in series with the first one posted on May 6.

After so many years of denial by omission of any coverage of the abundance of scientific reports warning about this, and their practice of running mostly news reports from a few, mostly well-connected scientists with industry and government scientists who, if they didn't deny global warming, cast so many doubts about these findings. For every scientific report that suggested man-made global warming, they ran at least 20 news and commentary items that denied or questioned it.

(For the benefit of people reading this commentary who have not followed my blog, let me back up a bit to clarify my view of the function of mainstream media. It is an integral part of the One Percent ruling class that serves to manage the perceptions of the 99 Percent so that the latter will continue in their role of subservience to the former, not ask disturbing questions about wages, wars, economic disasters, climatic changes, etc., and especially so that they don't take any effective actions to counter the rule of the former. It has been a major thesis of this blog that global warming cannot be dealt with effectively under the reign of capitalism.)

It has been clear to many knowledgeable people that the practices of capitalism are in direct conflict with a sustainable ecosystem. Thus, up until now these managers of public opinion have had to cover up or deny these perceptions. Apparently the evidence of man-made global warming has now become so obvious that they can no longer persist in this effort. After my initial shock while reading the first paragraphs, I was full of anticipation as to how the author was going to deal with this new ominous reality. Now they admit it, but how are they going to manage how people cope with this shocking knowledge so that this awareness does not interfere with the One Percent's ongoing project of appropriating the wealth they extract from the exploitation of human and natural resources???

Well, the first article of May 6 entitled "‘Hug the Monster’ for Realistic Hope in Global Warming (or How to Transform Your Fearful Inner Climate)" was all about preparing the public for this shocking new view. They gave some tips from pop psychology that suggests there is hope before they launch into the subject of their huge admission.
“Hug the monster” is a metaphor taught by U.S. Air Force trainers to those headed into harm’s way.
The monster is your fear in a sudden crisis — as when you find yourself trapped in a downed plane or a burning house.
If you freeze or panic — if you go into merely reactive “brainlock” — you’re lost.
But if your mind has been prepared in advance to recognize the psychological grip of fear, focus on it, and then transform its intense energy into action — sometimes even by changing it into anger — and by also engaging the thinking part of your brain to work the problem, your chances of survival go way up.
How about the concluding paragraphs! To me, they reek of paternalism and hypocrisy.
For us journalists, the core responsibilities of our profession include knowing how to report unpleasant but important facts — and to do so in ways that nonetheless engage groups small and large, even in a sense “entertain” them, as in entertaining the mind, and to try to win their tacit appreciation for doing so.
Obviously, when the news is horrendous, such as, say, a looming world war or the rapid climb in global temperature and ocean acidification, our job includes the very essence of what it means to hug the monster.
But as this reporter and a growing number of others now working the story can report, once we do so, man-made global warming transforms into “a great story” (in our profession’s term of art) — and even one in which it is possible to glimpse a number of reasons for “realistic hope.”
Okay, now to the second article, "‘The Great Big Book of Horrible Things’". The author starts by establishing a frame of historical disasters to introduce the topic of "The Rapidly Approaching Climate Catastrophe" which is a subheading in the article. He particularly focuses on WWII, and his take on this is particularly revealing of a One Percent ruling class bias.

The author uses a quote from John Kennedy's 1940 book While England Slept to highlight (using bold emphasis) his own and the ruling class bias (journalists working for mainstream media must have a basic ruling class view) to explain why WWII happened. No, it didn't happen because of inter-capitalist class rivalries.
“To say that all the blame must rest on the shoulders of Neville Chamberlain or of Stanly Baldwin, is to overlook the obvious.  As the leaders, they are, of course, gravely and seriously responsible.  But, given the conditions of democratic government, a free press, public elections, and a cabinet responsible to Parliament and thus to the people, given rule by the majority, it is unreasonable to blame the entire situation on one man or group…”
A Free Press, Public Elections, A Cabinet Responsible to the People, Rule by Majority…
In case anyone missed this point, the ABC author follows this quote by repeating the thesis. At first I thought he was suggesting that democratic government, free press, elections, and majority rule caused WWII. But no, he was only arguing that these alleged institutions could not prevent the war. He is justifying the recent decades of denial of global warming by his masters in the One Percent by comparing it with the denial that occurred in the 1930s. In other words, this recent denial of global warming just couldn't be helped or averted--it's just in the nature of humanity, humanity is at fault! 

Wow! Such blatant self-serving hypocrisy and blame shifting is truly remarkable! I can't wait to read his future articles in this series.

(Note: After writing the above, I examined his past articles, I could see that he started preparing for this series with an article on April 1st entitled "Global Warming Denialism ‘Just Foolishness,’ Scientist Peter Raven Says".)