Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Calling Out the Tellers of the Hell-monger's Tale

Enthralled by Mammon, the tellers of the Hell-monger's Tale seek to turn the planet from an earthly paradise into a living hell.  In fact, burning up the world's stock of fossil fuels would make most of the earth inhospitable for humans.

Spurred on by their insatiable greed, they spread their cancerous ideology each time they interpret the unfolding of events within their narrative frame that greed is good:

"Behold the word of the chosen ones: the economy must continue to grow unceasingly for in the absence of economic growth pestilence and plague will sweep the nation.

Damn those who would slow the wheels of economic growth!

Catastrophic climate change you say? Nothing more than heretical cant from the non- believers."

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As you can see, I like the biblical rhetoric of fire and brimstone.  There's something primal about  it.  It speaks directly to our mammalian brain by skipping any engagement of our higher cognitive functions.  It gets you by the balls, so to speak, and gives them a yank.

More than ever, it's time for those who oppose the scorched earth policies of unlimited economic growth to take off the gloves and get dirty.

You could flog the facts and have them read the pertinent information to be found at

However, each time you engage your opponents in a rational manner, citing scientific reports calling for limits to green house gas emissions in order to keep global warming less than two degrees Celsius by the end of the century, you lose.

First, most people can't sustain this argument long enough to come to the conclusion that they need to change their consumption patterns.  Second, and much more important, faced with the cognitive dissonance of being presented with facts that don't correspond to their narrative frames, most people, most of the time, will reject the facts and hang on to the frames.  Humans are biologically hard-wired to do so.

So, stop being so nice.  Forgo the facts and attack the frame by tapping into the treasure lore of figurative language to be found in Judeo-Christian texts.

Instead of saying something like, "present economic policies increase the probability that the increased green house gas emissions associated with greater economic activity will put into motion a cascade of effects that will lead to uncontrollable global warming and catastrophic climate change", say something to the effect, "hey, what you want to do is let the rich greedy bastards have their way, letting them turn the earth into a living hell in the process since they believe that they can buy their way into heaven anytime.  No fucking way."

This kind of talk quickens the rhetorical pace.  It is intended to be emotional.  It is intended to engage fast thinking and it certainly gets people's attention.

So, over the holidays do something out of the movie, Fight Club.  Pick a fight with someone who starts talking about the economy by calling them a Hell-monger and see what happens.

Ho, ho, ho.

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