It happens practically every gigantic natural disaster. Experts, public officials, first responders. doesn't make any difference. No matter who gives the warning to get the hell out of harm's way, there will always be a band of morons who will decide to ride out the storm. Some of them have good reason. They own homes and don't want to see them decimated by human beings AFTER the storm. But others are thrill seekers who think it'll be a hoot to face up to 150 mph winds and all the destruction they can bring. You know, morons!
It's always been interesting to me. We human beings have spent millions of years evolving into a reasonably intelligent race. We've developed new fields of knowledge and absolutely jaw-dropping technology, technology that can save millions of lives or wipe them out in the twinkling of an eye. In spite of all this progress, we still have people who think they can defy the fury of Mother Nature merely by shaking their fists at her.
There is a sub-strata of our society that loves to thumb their collective noses at the so-called experts. Now I'll grant you, a LOT of our experts, no matter what the field, can be a gigantic pain in the butt. But that doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. They're called experts because they have a certain amount of expertise. By and large, they KNOW what they're talking about. But far too many people today disregard what "experts" have to say. They think experts are pie-in-the-sky dreamers, elitists who love to hear the sound of their own voices. They think their beliefs and convictions are much more relevant than anything an expert has to say. They want the experts to shut up, mainly because they don't want anyone to confuse their pitiable thoughts with something as nasty as facts. They believe they have complete control of their own destiny, hang the consequences!
Now I don't have a problem with this point of view, up to a point. If you want to jump off a cliff or handle a mess of poisonous snakes, all well and good, just as long as the consequences only affect YOU. But, of course, it doesn't always work out that way. Sure, sometimes the yahoos who put themselves in harm's way escape injury or death. But how many first responders are forced to put their lives in danger trying to make sure nothing happens to the thrill seekers who stay behind? How many police officers and fire fighters have to put their lives at risk just to make sure there will be no tragic consequences from a willful act of stupidity?
Which brings us to the subject of science deniers. In light of the recent spate of hurricane activity, we've seen the rise of the professional skeptic. You know the ones. They're usually broadcasters and they claim to see horrible government conspiracies under every rock. "There's nothing to be afraid of!", they will purr into their microphones sweetly. "It's really just an over-grown thunderstorm!", they will reassure their listeners. Of course, when push comes to shove, they're the first ones to seek out shelter, usually at least a thousand miles away.
Now, I'll be the first one to admit that I'm not environmentalist. Yes, I may admire a tree from afar and smile at its natural beauty, but you won't find me hugging a rhododendron or even a sugar maple. I've had my moments of skepticism about some of the most dire predictions that come out of the environmental movement, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're wrong. Their prescriptions for what ails Planet Earth are definitely expensive and incredibly inconvenient. But sending a check off to an auto insurance company is both an expense and a pain, but I DO it nevertheless. Sure, I may never have ANOTHER accident for the rest of my life, but it's nice to know that you'll have a certain amount of protection should disaster strike. To me, THAT'S real conservatism.
The fact is that the science deniers who question climate change or the destructive potential of a natural disaster are like those motorcyclists who drive around without a helmet. True, a cyclist may drive around for fifty years without a scratch. But then tragedy strikes. They wrap their bike around a tree and crush their skull. And it will be their families, friends, neighbors and acquaintances, and yes, to a certain extent, you and I who will pay for that cyclist's folly. Thing is, with science denial we're putting our entire planet at risk, and all too often the motivation for such silliness is simple, rampant greed. I don't know about you, but taking foolish risks with an entire planet doesn't strike me as conservative!!!
Filed under: Politics