Mass de­cep­tion

Finweek English Edition - - LETTERS -

AN­DREW KENNY’S col­umn was a long over­due cri­tique about the global warm­ing alarmists (13 Jan­uary 2011). Hope­fully, you don’t buckle un­der the weight of be­ing called a de­nial­ist, be­cause it’s be­come the fate of ev­ery­one who dared to chal­lenge the pre­dic­tions of “ex­perts”. I’ve al­ways been scep­ti­cal about global warm­ing, for var­i­ous rea­sons – none less the fact we can’t even ac­cu­rately pre­dict one week’s weather pat­tern for a small is­land let alone the whole globe.

Un­for­tu­nately, gov­ern­ments and cor­po­rates aren’t go­ing to re­view their po­si­tion on this sub­ject in the face of ob­vi­ous and per­va­sive ev­i­dence of the fal­sity of this doc­trine. The rea­son for that is sim­ple: to run a de­cep­tion pro­gramme of this mag­ni­tude you have to find be­liev­ers and make them in­vest in the doc­trine and cre­ate jobs in the pub­lic, pri­vate and NGO sec­tors that give you an army of “doc­trine pro­tec­tors and prop­a­ga­tors”. That’s been the achieve­ment of a num­ber of pur­vey­ors of a num­ber of doc­trines that have cap­tured pub­lic imag­i­na­tion and fear.

Un­for­tu­nately, we haven’t learned through the Y2K pre­dic­tions that didn’t come through and the pre­dic­tors just went home and Di­men­sion Data shares col­lapsed with the dot­com melt­down. No­body was held ac­count­able for deceiving the pub­lic, the cor­po­rates and gov­ern­ments. In­stead, the Y2K scare was re­placed by a re­newed fo­cus on HIV/Aids, global warm­ing and of late the com­ing short­age of wa­ter in a planet that’s 80% wa­ter. Many have made a for­tune through the Y2K scare, many have spent bil­lions un­nec­es­sar­ily but one can’t deny the ad­vance­ment brought by the de­cep­tion in mak­ing us spend on IT and im­prov­ing ac­cess to the In­ter­net and faster com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

I don’t sug­gest there’s no el­e­ment of truth in what’s be­ing preached: we need to pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment, fight Aids, save wa­ter, etc. But ap­proach­ing any of those sub­jects with more emo­tion than logic makes us sus­cep­ti­ble to mass de­cep­tion, which is driven by those who have quickly turned the fear, real or imag­ined, into a mega com­mer­cial op­por­tu­nity.

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