Climate Change and Republicans-Why the denial?

Climate change map

Why do Republicans deny climate change?

It seems strange that presidential candidates, many of whom have created and run successful businesses and maneuvered through politics, would claim that climate change doesn’t exist, or deny the degree that scientists say it is happening. These aren’t idiots, even if the media might try to portray them that way. So what’s behind this, where conservatives go against the majority of scientists and their evidence?

Well, it’s complicated. But it mostly has to do with the politicization of the issue.

This blog mostly deals with fantasy. So why bring this up? I know it’s a stretch, but it has to do with the fantasies we create to fool ourselves. And no, liberals are not immune to this. They just do it on different issues, and in a different way on this issue.

Climate Change — Not the Government’s Job

The first reason that many conservatives reject the data is because it doesn’t fit in their worldview. They fear what would happen if they admitted climate change was real. Not so much for the doomsday predictions that many scientists declare, saying the poles will melt, the oceans will rise, and the earth will slowly transform into a place nearly unlivable for humans. No, they fear that if they admit that climate change is real, then the responsibility to fix it will fall to the government. And conservatives distrust government involvement, not wholly without reason. Government programs are generally less efficient and effective than that of private organizations like businesses or churches. And if government does happen to save the day, unlikely as that is when it is so polarized on nearly every issue, then people will feel a debt and vote for the party that brought about the change, which would probably be the Democratic party, just because they’re the ones advocating for change.

The only way the government could do anything would be to pass stricter regulations on emissions, waste, etc. Government by itself won’t innovate a new technology to save us, because it is run by politicians, not scientists. With harsher regulations, many businesses would feel stress to comply, and some will go under. Conservatives who believe in climate change generally believe that a free market solution will go further and be less disruptive than government intervention. But liberals, despite pressuring businesses to ‘Go Green,’ want more done.

Still, some of the political statements can be be ridiculous. Look at comments from the 2016 Republican hopefuls.

Many conservatives are also religious, which affects their worldview as well. Some interpret their scriptures as saying that God has all power, and us humans can’t destroy his creation. But, then again, Christian scripture, specifically Revelation, talks about the last days, how plagues will fill the earth, the moon will turn to blood, the sun will withdraw its light, and other things that could correlate with climate change.

Solutions, Anyone?

Looking at the issue objectively, it might seem hopeless to find a solution. Have we gone past the point of no return? Will we cause an apocalypse, where many die and mankind has to go back into survival mode? The many movies and shows that deal with post apocalyptic futures, from Mad Max to The Walking Dead, reflects this unconscious belief, or fear if you will, that everything’s going to collapse on itself. And many people, especially the problem solvers like business owners, don’t want to contemplate the idea that nothing can be done. It’s not an immediate problem, so it can be pushed down the line. It’s the same with bloated, unsustainable entitlement programs: keep them up so people won’t get angry, but in the end they will implode.

Personally, I’m pessimistic about this. Everything the government and ‘green’ companies are doing might slow down the acceleration, but it’s like putting a bandaid on a broken bone. We are consuming more and more electronics, with no stopping in sight, even though they rely on rare earth minerals, which, by their very definition, are rare. The climate has changed because of human intervention, if not as a whole, then in pockets (if you’ve been to Mexico City, it would be obvious). We can hope for a technological development, like useful electric cars, with greatly reduce emissions, but there are two problems with that example: the cost of electric cars is prohibitive to most right now, and the fact that many forms of generating electricity still pollute the air.

Hopefully, some new innovation or combination of many will fix the dying earth. But if the solution doesn’t come? If we’re forced to choose between a healthy earth or our iPhones, what will we choose? What are we willing to sacrifice? Or do you cling to the fantasy that we won’t pay sacrifices? That climate change isn’t real? That the government will step in and save us all?

What people call ideology in this case happens to be a fantasy. So which is yours? And can you blame the other side for clinging hopefully to theirs?

Time Travel

Back to the future

WhatdidItellyou-HQ

Time travel

Recently I saw the movie Man of Steel. There’s plenty of destruction, people die, New York or some clone of it takes a beating, and everyone wishes things went back to how they were. But they don’t. People have to live with the damage, unless of course they were part of the damage and they died. This contrasts the movie Superman 1 (which I never saw all the way, but I heard enough about it from my parents and others (including Wikipedia) to know how it ends). In that movie, people, including Lois Lane, die. Superman, so upset, flies around the planet against its spin, so fast that he reverses the movement of the earth and turns back time, undoing everything that was done. Now this is one of the most ridiculous methods of time travel I’ve ever heard of. Obviously the movement of time is not dependent on Earth’s rotation, that’s just a measure of time, not time itself. So it’s good to know that the new Superman doesn’t have time travel powers as well.
As far fetched as Superman’s time travel was, all the other forms of time travel we’ve seen in fiction is pretty much just as farfetched, because we don’t really have any idea how to travel through time, except by going forward. With relativity, if you go really close to the speed of light, perception of time changes, and you experience it slower than normal, so a journey of a hundred years only seems like 10, or whatnot. Theoretically. Especially since we’ve never built anything that could take people anywhere near that, and don’t know if we would survive in those conditions. Some people think that if you went faster than light, you would go back in time. But since that’s impossible, time travel seems only in the realm of science fiction or fantasy. After all, if it were possible, wouldn’t people from the future come visit us? Or are we too boring?
But how many of us wish we could? Instead of living with mistakes, taking responsibility for our actions, we could go in the past, tell our younger selves to express love to the girl of our dreams that we were too afraid to talk to, or conversely, go back and stop ourselves from expressing that love and being made a fool of. Go back in time and invest in Apple (and sell stock at the high point). Go back and meet our great great grandparents when they were little kids. Go back and sell Gameboys to barbarians and once they’re addicted, keep them under your control by selling batteries. Go back and witness the signing of the declaration of independence, before they drive you out of there. Change history if you want. Assassinate Hitler. Wouldn’t all of that be fun?
Most time travel tales have unintended consequences for that, though. Kill your grandpa and you cease to exist. Step on a butterfly and the world is completely different. Speaking of butterflies, there’s the movie The Butterfly Effect, which has a man going back in time to try to save his girlfriend from abuse and other fates, but each time, something gets messed up, and his present life, or hers, is not what he wanted. Eventually he just convinces her to move away from him. Kind of sad. These tales are cautionary, asking us to really think that if we changed one thing, if our lives would really be better. Maybe in some cases, like saving the life of a loved one, possibly. But it might not in others.
One thing to think about, if time travel were real, is how it works. Most versions are full of paradoxes. In Final Fantasy 8, Squall goes into the future, then at the end, goes into the past, overshooting his mark a bit. He comes in contact with his orphanage matron and gives her the ideas she needed to create SeeD, which he is a part of. But he already was part of it, even though he helped create it. So how did it start? If he hadn’t gone back, he wouldn’t have been part of an organization that didn’t exist, but he only went back in time because of the events that happened because he was part of the organization. Confusing. Or would it be possible to kill your grandpa, because then you wouldn’t exist to kill him? For people who think about these things, they figure the only way to avoid the paradoxes is through having different dimensions or realities. Going back in time would create a new one for you, while you would disappear from the old one. Being independent from the new one, you could go kill your grandpa, because you came from a different dimension where your grandpa lived long enough to have your parents, who had you. In the multiverse theory of science, there are infinite numbers of universes, which means an infinite number of possibilities, some where you just made a slightly different decision, or someone in the past, or anything slightly different, as well as more extreme differences, where mass and galaxies don’t even exist because the laws of physics are slightly different. Who knows if it would be possible to go dimension hopping? You could go to a universe where the only difference is that you did something slightly different in your past.
Most people are plagued by things they did in the past, and wish they could change them. Anyone who says they have no regrets is either perfect or lying. Other people want to go back to a time when they thought things were better, like in their youth, although if they were to go back and be plagued with hormones again, they would probably think differently. So while time travel is an interesting fantasy and let’s you play ‘What if?’, I generally don’t like time travel stories because it makes things less permanent, makes decisions inconsequential, and can get really confusing. Having stories where characters actually have to deal with their problems, no matter how messy they might be, instead of running away from them, is more satisfying.