This is the first ever guest post here, by Doug Hurst, who along with some others, has been part of an email discussion that grew out of one of my posts. I encouraged him to develop his ideas, and he has done so. Those who want to comment, please follow the rules about civility that are part of this website. The views expressed are those of the author.
The peddling of guilt is a key part of Green-Left modus operandi. No matter who they are — politicians, union officials, academics, environmentalists, or just ordinary folk — those concerned act by making people feel guilty about something. Sometimes their efforts are directed inwards to their own heart and soul, but more often the direction is outwards, to society at large.
Why does it work? The simple answer is: because if you want people to do your bidding, guilt is a strong card to play. We know from history that when it comes to getting people to follow a cause, guilt, especially when amplified by fear, is a tried and proven technique. The Jews invented it, the Christians turned it into an art form and various secular organisations, from Communists to Environmentalists, have been using it ever since.
The basics are simple:
Step 1 Create FEAR You are going to Hell! The planet is threatened! Social disorder, suffering and inequity are rife! And it’s your fault!
Step 2 Incite GUILT Your fear is justified, because people like you are to blame, with your selfish, careless, thoughtless, ignorant ways. You must reform!
Step 3 Offer REDEMPTION But all is not lost. You can be saved! Put yourself in my hands, do as I say, give me money and you, the planet, society, or whatever, will be free of this burden!
It is a tried and proven process, still working very well for the churches, environmentalists, refugee advocates, bleeding hearts of all kinds, people doing genuine good works — and also various con-men preying on good-hearted people who are trying to do the right thing but unaware they are being subjected to emotional blackmail. A kind heart and a gullible disposition greatly assists the process. The world is full of such folk, and the guilt-peddlers have plenty to work with.
You may want to say that this is a simplification of a complex matter. The world is seldom black and white, and critics will no doubt point that fact out. But the basic process is at work right now in much of our society – and it works just as well today as it did in Old Testament times.
Indeed, it can and does produce committed true believers in large numbers. One example is Climate Change. The five bodies that measure global temperature and the UK Met Office all tell us our world has not warmed for at least 15 years, despite rising CO2 levels. Furthermore, warming in the preceding 100 years was only some 0.7C, which is well within natural variation limits. Their advice tells us that nothing dangerous is happening, and that there is little or no risk in doing nothing about rising CO2 levels, at least until more persuasive evidence is obtained.
Don’t suggest that to the Green-Left, who ignore the facts and continue unabated with their ‘dangerous climate change’ mantra. So too much of Australia’s press corps and the ABC, whose aggressive grilling of the Coalition on CO2 abatement policies suggests ignorance, denial or ideological commitment – or all the above. And when it comes to true believers, we all know someone whose religious beliefs have produced unwarranted moral certainty and views on the workings of the universe that are utterly at odds with modern knowledge.
This would seem to suggest that the victims of the guilt-peddlers are people who can’t tell fact from fiction, and are incapable of rational thought. Oddly, in many cases nothing could be further from the truth. Those who succumb can, and do, still act rationally in other areas. Many become scientists, doctors, engineers and, even occasionally, geologists (whose study of the Earth and its origins usually anchors them firmly in facts).
But a life in two worlds is only possible for those with double standards for knowledge. On one hand they demand the highest standards of scientific fact and reason from people like the engineers who design their cars and the doctors who treat their ills – and will sue them unrelentingly if they deviate by even a trifle – while on the other hand they happily abandon such demands when they fervently want to believe in something where reality is less obvious and the fantasy is just too appealing to deny.
If you think you are dealing with such a thinker, there is a simple test. Be they true believers in climate change, in religion or in little green men, you can always judge the depth of their faith — and the paucity of supporting facts — by the extent that their hackles rise when you suggest they apply their scientific work standards to all their actions and beliefs.
In many ways we are living in irrational times. While many silly superstitions and beliefs of my youth are dying or dead, they have been replaced by equally silly beliefs spread by the Green-Left guilt-peddlers.
Happily, I am confident that whatever they say, our grandchildren’s grandchildren are most unlikely to fry and die, and my refusal to feel guilt about Australians living well on planet Earth will not harm the unborn one iota.
(Doug Hurst is an ex-RAAF writer who lives in Canberra, ‘glad we won the Cold War, despite the relentless efforts of various left factions here and elsewhere to stymie everything we did’.)