October 9, 2010
The Walking WoundedBy Jim Mahoney
There is a stunning video on YouTube making the email rounds. It's promoting something called 10:10, an event encouraging us to cut our carbon emissions by 10%. Clearly aimed at young people, the video features several skits. In each, an authority figure encourages some group of people -- a classroom of teens in one skit, a group of soccer players in another, and a corporate meeting in a third -- to reduce their carbon emissions by 10%. In each, the subjects are assured there's no pressure. However, in each group, there is one or more recalcitrant. After assuring these that their reluctance to fall into lockstep is okay, the authority figure presses a red button, and each one is blasted into a disgusting mass of red goo.
This tells us at least three things about 10:10's promoters: (1) they have absolutely no concept of humor, (2) they are merciless liars, and (3) they seem to think murdering adults and children is funny as long as it's for a good cause. Their pitiful, monstrous attempt at humor might be different if the world never saw this sort of thing.
However, their revolting little skits tell us just what to expect from their zealotry if it's allowed to mature.
A few days before I saw the video, I had a chance to participate in an interesting survey. It asked a series of questions about things that should be objective matters of fact, such as "is New York north of Los Angeles?" "Is Obama a better public speaker than Bush?" The survey moved into fuzzier matters like "Is global warming caused by humans?" Or, "Do gourmet meals at a fancy Italian restaurant taste better than microwave versions?" Then it ventured into things like "Is robbing a bank to pay for a vacation okay?" or "Is lying for a friend accused of murder okay?" or "Is assisting in the death of a friend who is suffering terrible pain from an incurable disease okay?"
For each question, the survey asked the extent to which you agreed or disagreed. It then asked if, in the event that you disagreed with someone on a question, it was possible that both of you could be correct -- or would one of you have to be mistaken?
It's astonishing to realize there is enough confusion in our population that serious academics would even pose such questions. In the debrief, the surveyors, from the Philosophy Department at the University of Buffalo, say there is evidence that people do not treat all moral claims as having the same degree of objectivity or fact. Incredibly, the same is true of empirical claims! They go on to say that studies indicate that although people start out as objectivists, many become "non-objectivists" in their high school and college years.
Apparently this is an academic's way of saying that after enough years of indoctrination, a significant number of people think that New York and Los Angeles can be both north and south of each other at the same time.
Presumably, these are the kind of people who find that 10:10 video funny.
In the early sixties, Stanley Milgram conducted an experiment to find out if people would be willing to obey an authority figure even if they were told to do something that would conflict with their consciences. The experiment involved subjects being ordered to inflict pain on another person. Milgram found that the overwhelming majority would follow instructions and apply high voltages of electricity to another human being even as they heard the victim howl in agony. Paraphrasing the conclusion, inside each of us lurks an inner Nazi just waiting for orders from our Führer. Note that the experiment was conducted well before the cultural revolution of the sixties turned all morality on its ear.
Evidently, we now have several generations who have reached adulthood after being thoroughly molested by a deranged school system. They are so hopelessly bewildered that, as another survey question suggests, they can think that one person believing there is an odd number of stars in the universe, and another thinking there is an even number, could both be right!
In his novel 1984, Orwell described "doublethink" as the ability to hold two mutually contradictory beliefs at once without any discomfort. Judging by the survey questions, doublethink is an increasingly popular mode of thought.
Could we have been so distracted by the appalling ignorance produced by our schools that we missed their real agenda? Forget the fact that Johnny graduated from college and still isn't sure where New York and LA are. The real triumph is he thinks they can be both north and south of each other at the same time!
How can we possibly expect a person so hopelessly addled to reject murder or grand theft or any other moral abomination if it's wrapped in a sufficiently appealing package?
Absent context, timing, truth, or any other element of humor, the repugnant little 10:10 video is a disgraceful blight. Still, it's useful. It gives us an alarmingly clear insight into what's lurking in the hearts of those who are desperately laboring to propagate the carbon hoax. Apparently they know there's an army of moral cripples just waiting for their instructions.
Photo credit: www.tothepointnews.com
Jim Mahoney contributes to American Thinker and blogs at www.jmahoney.net/Blog.