April 22, 2008

"The mother-of-all-environmental scares"

From Happy Earth Day, by Steven F. Hayward...

More than 30 years ago political scientist Anthony Downs discerned what he called the “issue-attention cycle,” a five-stage process by which the public and especially the news media grow alarmed over an issue, agitate for action, generate piles of scary headlines, and then begin to draw back as we come to recognize that the problem has been exaggerated or misconceived, and the price tag for action comes in. While Downs thought that the issue-attention cycle for the environment would last longer than most issues, it appears the mother-of-all-environmental scares -- global warming -- is following his model and is going to begin to fade like other environmental alarms of the past such as the population bomb and the “we’re running out of everything” scares.

The current media and political blitz on Capitol Hill for government controls on energy production are the product of the panic felt by environmentalists who realize that opinion polls show the public is climbing off global warming bandwagon...

I think a lot of the panic is coming from the unconscious, because even if the globalistas ignore the facts that contradict global warming theory, they had to be expecting a lot more bad news than there has been. Global mean temps have not increased since 1998! That's gotta be making certain people nervous.

And Argo. Argo was going to clinch the case for global warming. People were expecting that. Now you hear almost nothing about it.

What's bothersome to me is that the demise of each scare-issue doesn't cause ordinary people to start thinking for themselves. Minds just gradually adjust to the new CW, without people noticing that there's something really wrong. The "population bomb" fades away, and people stop worrying, but they retain a vague idea that there are too many people, and some of them really ought to be eliminated to "save the planet." That the predictions of mass-starvation never came true.... that's not dwelt upon.

Posted by John Weidner at April 22, 2008 10:36 AM
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