Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Reblogged:Suffering the Insufferable

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

... for fun and profit.

In addition to making me smile with his skewering of an insufferable-sounding letter-writer, the Bad Advisor at You Literally Asked for It got me thinking, as is usually the case:
If there is one guaranteed way forward through the climate crisis, it is to silo ourselves into individual categories of "good people" who use paper straws (like you! you are so good!) and "amoral reprobates" (such as your mother-in-law, who sucks!) who do not. The very future of humanity depends on demonizing and shaming other people until they behave as we want them to, privileging individual actions over collective resistance to and accountability for the worst global offenders, and rejecting community-building opportunities in favor of being the only best good person ever. [bold added]
Regulars here will know that I strongly disagree with the conventional wisdom on both the severity of global warming and the propriety of most of the proposed solutions. Having said that, even if I did agree that the world was going to fry within the decade, I would have found the attitude of the letter-writer off-putting and counterproductive.

I will add that there are plenty of equally alienating people from the "red" half of America, too, and the more they focus on "owning the libs" the more like "the libs" they look to me.

There are lessons here for anyone who cares enough about a cause to try to advance it -- which is part of why I like the Bad Advisor. Lots of humor stops at ridicule, with a wink and a message something like, Well, at least we aren't that bad! But something about the answers provokes introspection, a sort of Good grief! I hope I'm not doing something like this!

We all have lost perspective from time to time, and the humor here is a good reminder to check on the possibility that one isn't as grounded as one hopes.

So, yes, there are lessons here. A couple are: 1. Honey is more attractive than vinegar. 2. Other people are complete human beings, and almost never the cardboard caricatures America's warring tribes would have us believe about anyone who doesn't march in lockstep with them.

But the premise of the site invites further inquiry. These are alternate answers to those given by mainstream advice columnists. They're almost always bound by etiquette to be more diplomatic: What did they say?

Climate catastrophism is widespread and many people see fighting for their conception of a solution as a moral battle. And they're winning it despite people like the letter-writer.

How? As I guessed, the more conventional answer was also useful to look at.

In that vein, some good advice comes indirectly from the original reply, from "Care and Feeding" of Slate:
Image by Miquel Parera, via Unsplash, license.
Part of raising environmentally conscious kids is helping them develop a healthy attitude toward conservation that doesn't vilify others and also doesn't make them feel like the entire burden of environmentalism is on them. One thing to look into is the theory of ecophobia, coined by David Sobel, who says, "Let us allow children to love the Earth before we ask them to save it." [link omitted, bold added]
The end is misguided, but the method is damned good. You can't expect someone who sees something as an abstraction (e.g., "the environment" or capitalism) to care about it enough to want to fight to save it.

Regarding the latter, just think about how modern technology and even a semi-free economy have made this one of the best times (if not the best) to be alive in human history. And yet most people take these things for granted, to the extent they are really even aware of them at all. (And this is why the work of the likes of Jason Crawford and other advocates of progress studies is so important.)

There is much to think about here, and I'd say that's a handsome return on this week's quick scan of the advice pages. Two big lessons directly important to persuasion came out of this: Remember that you are speaking to other human beings, and make sure your cause is real, from the concretes on up. (And that's just as important for yourself as it is for your children.)

My thanks go to the Bad Advisor.

-- CAV

Link to Original

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...