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’.)







Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Malcolm Miller says:

    Manipulators will always be with us, trying to make us do what they want us to do. Best to simply laugh at them!

  • John Morland says:

    To accentuate the guilt, Green-Leftists adopt a mascot, usually a cuddly or helpless and vulnerable animal, to outreach to their target audience and promote their cause. For example, save polar bears from drowning due to melting Artic sea ice (meanwhile you can buy tins of polar bear meat at Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan), the WWF with the Panda, Ping the penguin with Protect the Climate. Even crocodiles are drawn cute and cuddly such as the Florida ‘Gators.

    Locally, the ACT region seems to have little shortage of rare legless lizards, wingless bats and other unheard of species whose habitat regularly appears at proposed development sites (except at windmill sites, of course).

  • Don Aitkin says:

    Don’t forget the nutless gnat, Australia’s most vulnerable species…

  • margaret says:

    oh for heaven’s sake – enjoy your certainty – read Solar by Ian McEwan – funny and thought-provoking. Why don’t you guys read literature or at least fiction.

  • whyisitso says:

    Oh Margaret, we have our fill of fiction when we read the likes of Karoly and Flannery. Funny of course but not necessarily thought-provoking.

  • PeterE says:

    Thanks. Brilliant and convincing.

  • margaret says:

    It’s more than likely that our grandchildren’s grandchildren won’t exist – for one reason or another, war being one of them, choice not to become a parent another. As for climate change who knows? – both sides of the climate change debate are too extreme, too strident and too reliant on the industry it has generated. Since my own grandmother was born before man invented flight and now we hop on a plane at whim – as marvellous as it all is – who really cares about something we can’t control. Man’s aspiration for progress leads us to strange and sometimes disturbing developments.

  • margaret says:

    Professor Brian Cox:

    The loud criticism of climate science is motivated in the main not by
    technical objections, but by the difficult political choices with which
    it confronts us. This is important, because there must be a place where
    science stops and politics begins, and this border is an extremely
    complex and uncomfortable one. Science can’t tell us what to do about
    our changing climate. It can only inform us that it is changing (this is
    a statement based on data) and tell us the most probable reasons for
    this given the current state of our understanding.

    • Peter Kemmis says:


      Too many judge what may be true or false or indeterminate, on the basis of a declared or assumed motivation. The motivation may be pure, but the argument and conclusion wrong. Alternatively, the motivation may be impure while the argument and conclusion are right. And there are of course another two combinations. I distinguish between motive and argument/conclusion. I’m not especially interested in pursuing motive – it’s irrelevant, and I’d be only guessing, and probably unfair.

      Yes, the climate is changing, as always. There are major official climate observations agreed by both sides of the climate debate, and they’re not hard to find. The observations have nothing to do with motive, except to measure and report accurately. They are worth noting, and the arguments around these worth examining. It’s up to you.

      • margaret says:

        The trouble is Peter, my eyes glaze over and my admittedly left brain preference refuses to engage when such things are put to me to examine – so I’ll leave it to the experts.

        • margaret says:

          oops, make that right brain preference – I also have a right/left dyslexia when faced with the instruction ‘turn left here’.

        • Peter Kemmis says:

          Hi Margaret

          I’ve noted your comments recently on this site, which I have been following over the last month only. I’m replying again, because I think you’re genuine, and open-minded. My neighbour, a good friend, gave me the same response – ” I leave it to the experts” – why? Because he hears such divergent views, and I think feels not competent to form his own conclusions. But who are the experts?

          It was less than two years ago that I decided to pursue the issue, triggered as much by one of my friends repeating to me authoritatively the cataclysmic flood warnings that had been prevalent around 2007, I think. Well, these predictions have not been occurring, so I decided to look at the actual data – in the form of of graphs mostly. This information made me really sit up and ask “what’s going on here?” So I did, and was rather startled by the answers.

          As you probably know, last Xmas Eve an official statement was made by the UK Met Office that recognised a pause in global temperature rise for some 15 years now. The IPCC predictions are primarily based on mathematical models about the effects of carbon dioxide on temperatures. Well, something’s wrong somewhere, and who are the experts? I don’t think the writers of the IPCC sumaries for policy makers are the experts – they’re the ones who don’t just stray across that divide from science into policy – they’re right into policy! Further, from my limited reading, their summaries do not reflect the uncertainties that the real scientists whose work they cite, have stated in their detailed papers. So what’s going on here?

          You’re clearly a person who thinks in the human behaviour dimension as well, so have a look at the human behaviour as well – quite illuminating, I’ve found. And forget that business about left and right brain – it’s nowhere near as distinct as is often made out. I’m a bit of both. Just use your good common sense. And the other key thing, is make sure you look at a long timescale, not just the last 50 years, or even 150.

          Much power to your elbow!

          • margaret says:

            Peter, I appreciate that you are attempting to (re-)educate Rita (the grown older and crosser version) – but to be honest I am bored by the science of climate change and its attendant conferences and their acronyms and statistics.
            Actually this will be my last comment on Don Aitkin’s blog as I don’t want to end up like one of those serial pests called trolls.
            I can grasp principles but hate being swamped by minutiae – so the thing is climate change has always been with us but is greatly accelerated by what planet earth has had to endure thanks to humankind’s progress – since the industrial revolution I expect. Tony Abbott to the rescue haha.

  • Peter Donnan says:

    Hullo Doug,

    Your guest posting draws attention, in the context of climate change, to guilt-peddlers ‘who can’t tell fact from fiction and are incapable of rational thought’

    Jonathan Holmes (SMH, Sep 4, 2013) ‘From great moral challenge to indifference’ writes ‘that scoffing has dominated the non-scientific conversation. Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, Chris Smith, Jason Morrison, Piers Akerman, Nick Cater, Janet Albrechtsen, Paul Sheehan, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny, Tim Blair, Miranda Devine, Howard Sattler, Gary Hardgrave, on and on, in print and on radio. For most of them, climate change is a political issue. Anyone who doesn’t scoff at the science is a left-wing dupe’

    In the context of voting on Saturday, many Australians are perplexed about climate change. In my view it has little to do with guilt: the real question is whether climate change is a reality, and whether its impacts will over time become catastrophic. There is little doubt in my mind that if climate change is real, that the Coalition policy is fanciful and implausible in the way in addresses the issues.

    Jonathan Holmes wrote further: ‘what hasn’t changed is the scientific consensus. As our interest has waned, the scientists’ warnings have become more urgent, not less; the degree of certainty that global warming is happening, and is human-induced, has increased, not diminished. Maybe the scientists are wrong. Maybe, in 20 years, people like me will be shamefacedly admitting we were duped by a conspiracy of greenies; or the scientists themselves will confess they followed the money and not the evidence. But I doubt it. Far more likely, in 20 years’ time, it will be all too obvious that the science was right all along. Global temperatures and sea levels will be remorselessly rising, and it will by then be vastly more difficult and expensive to slow the process, let alone to reverse it’.

    Of all the issues in this election, this has the most potential significance for Australians and indeed the world in the years ahead. Guilt will be a luxury if climate change is real and increasing. What strikes me is the excessive importance placed on money – just another ‘great big new tax’. Natural systems, eco-systems, greenhouse gases operate independently of guilt and money.

    • Don Aitkin says:

      It’s true that the claim of a scientific consensus hasn’t changed, but almost every day there is a new paper that makes you wonder about the supposed consensus (which has been torpedoed anyway — Google it up and you’ll see why).
      Jonathan Holmes statement is simply wrong in part and misleading in the other part. Global temperatures and sea-levels are not remorselessly rising now, and there is no indication that they will do so in future.

      There is a lot to read out there, and a lot of it is counter to the AGW claims.

    • dlb says:

      On the contrary there is considerable doubt in my mind that natural systems are well understood by the IPCC scientists, computer models, environmental advocates and ABC journalists.

      re the Coalition climate policy, it sounds a bit like “Every Australian child will have a tree by 2020”.

  • Don Aitkin says:

    One poster who couldn’t get his comment accepted (I don’t know why) wanted to say something like this:

    ‘the Guilt Trip system was essentially similar to the Politics of Deviance approach widely used across politics, business, unions, advertising, etc and by bullies at all levels. The originator sets out to define some individual, group, activity or characteristic as “deviant” with the aim of encouraging potential followers to “hide” behind the “shield” of the originator lest they become infected by similar “deviance.” The object of the exercise is of course to achieve a measure of supremacy, power, influence, etc for the originator. While that’s a long-winded explanation of the original missing text, the context was that the “carbon” advocacy lobby is a classic example of the genre.’

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