Climate change as dissociation

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

President Obama recently attended a U.N. climate change conference in Paris. The conference came just weeks after the terrorist attack in Paris that killed 130 and wounded hundreds more – an attack that ISIS took credit for.

The French president, Francois Hollande, tied the two events together saying “The fight against terrorism and the fight against climate change are two major global challenges we must face.”

President Obama has gone even further on the gravity of climate change. Back in April of this year he said “today, there’s no greater threat to our planet than climate change.” He has stated that sentiment previously, including at a September 2014 U.N. climate change summit.

Psychology has a term, “dissociation”, which refers to a coping mechanism in dealing with stress, trauma or conflict. In their book on dissociation, authors M. A. D. Biever and Maryann Karinch use an example from the final episode of the popular TV series M.A.S.H.

In that episode, Hawkeye Pierce is working with a psychiatrist to deal with post-trauma around an event where a busload of refugees, wounded soldiers and Army doctors were nearly discovered by an enemy patrol. Hawkeye initially remembers a Korean woman suffocating a chicken because it wouldn’t be quiet. In the course of therapy, Hawkeye remembers it was a baby, not a chicken – a reality too much for him to handle because he had told her to “shut the damn thing up.”

Dissociation is different from deliberate political misdirection and distraction – like trying to shift the focus to Syrian refugees or gun control in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks to draw attention away from an utterly failed foreign policy (premature withdrawal from Iraq, Syrian “red line,” etc.) and this administration’s inability to keep America safe. There may be elements of dissociation on the part of those who buy into the misdirection, but not so with those attempting to shift the focus – they have a much more conscious and deliberate intent.

The ever-evolving climate crisis may be more true dissociation than political misdirection. When looking at the genesis of climate crisis, the first Earth Day in 1970 and the start of the extensive global cooling and pending ice age alarmism of the 1970s just happened to coincide with the height of the Vietnam War protests.

For those Vietnam “peace protesters,” dissociation may have been a coping mechanism to deal with the guilt and shame of abandoning millions of people to death and subjugation at the hands of the North Vietnamese communists. Fighting global cooling provided a safer crisis to tackle – one where no one would be shooting at them. On some level, they may have been hoping it would quiet their nagging consciences.

The climate crisis has continued to evolve. From the global cooling and ice age alarmism of the 1970s it morphed into concerns about the hole in the ozone layer, global warming and it has currently settled on climate change. Climate change, then, is the new “chicken” to the “baby” of radical Islamic terrorism. It’s much safer and less daunting to tackle climate change than it is to face terrorism and what needs to be done to stop it.

Let me revise that – it seems safer than facing terrorism – in the end, of course, it isn’t.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Global Warming, President Obama, Terrorism | 19 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Eric Blair

    There should be a companion article: Climate Change Denial as Dissociation. 😉

  • Jack Lord God

    I think it’s really more a desire for marl authority. There will always be a segment of society that loves to preach to others. Not necessarily convert others to their morality, but rather to simply establish themselves as morally pious.

    The key in all of this is to find things that allow moral pomposity without any real effort.

    An example would be “white privilege”. How often do we see entitled white kids running around saying they understand white privilege and if you don’t, then you are out of touch at best, and possibly a racist at worst. Yet really all they have to do is manifest the meme “white privilege exists”. They don’t have to actually do anything.

    Same with global warming. Politicians love it for obvious reasons. The academic community loves it for the massive and easy to get funding.Civilian warmists love it because if you disagree, they get to assert they are more scientific than you as well as more moral because they care about the planet 100 years from now. Our country going bankrupt a little sooner than that, well, that they don’t care about so much because that would necessitate saying they were against government expansion.

    Really it all comes down two simple words:

    Free Tibet

    The bumper sticker that has become synonymous with air heads who likely couldn’t find Tibet on a map but are very aware of who has the top ranked sushi in any given week in their hipster neighborhood.

    Sure, I care, you care, we all care, but please, can we make this all about my caring being about someone else making sacrifice? I mean that’s what jetting off to Paris is all about right? First class travel, food spreads a Roman Emperor wold envy, and someone else getting stuck with the actual sacrifice and work. They did the hard part, caring, you do the easy part, sacrificing. Caring is moral, sacrificing is for the little people.

    • DavidAppell

      Yes, climate change is, at its base, a moral problem. Can the rich harm the poor by altering a resource — climate — they depend on in ways in which the rich are protected?

      I recommend you read the work of Stephen Gardiner, from U Wash, especially

      A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change

  • David from Mill City

    Assuming that the predictions of the proponents of Climate Change are correct. What I hope is the worst case scenario, has the climate of our planet changing to the point that large parts of the world becoming uninhabitable within the life time of our grandchildren. This represents a threat to mankind of such magnitude that terrorism, international and domestic combined, does even show on the scale. More over unlike international terrorism, it appears if we, in cooperation with the other peoples and nations of the world, work together immediately the negative impacts of Climate Change can be limited or mitigated.

    I expect that this statement will attract a number of statements denigrating the existence of Global Climate Change, asserting that it is not caused by man or that there is nothing we can do about it. Those individuals may be willing to bet the well being of future generations on their views, I am not. The matrix of the situation is simple, either climate change is real or it is not and we can try to prevent it or not. If we do nothing and it is real, we as a race are doomed, if we do something and it is not real we are just out a lot of money. To me the choice is a simple one we try to prevent/lessen the impacts of Climate Change.

    As to the threat of terrorism, putting aside the reality that it is just a tactic that can be adopted a group with any political philosophy and as such will all ways be with us, and looking at its use in support of various Middle Eastern groups there is very little the United States and the European nations can do about it. Yes, we can put troops on the ground to conquer and occupy the territory currently held by the Islamic State and as long as we are there and willing to accept a never ending stream of flag draped coffins returning home, we can limit the actions of the supporters of the current Islamic State there. It is not as clear if such an invasion would have any impact on the number of international terrorist acts perpetrated in support the Islamic State, except increase their likelihood. And within a couple of years of our ending our occupation the Islamic State or something like it will reemerge there. To effect real change requires a political
    solution that none of the parties in the region will accept and which
    cannot be imposed by those outside of the region.

    So as a practical matter, there is little we can do to end terrorism, and there are things that can be done to limit the negative impacts of Global Climate Change. Which means any dissociation being practiced is by those who are touting terrorism to distract the public from Global Climate Change and its likely impacts.

    • thevillageidiot

      Perhaps you should consider applying your vast wisdom to solving the looming issue of the government enslavement of your children and grand children for the support of the old people on welfare (Social security and medicare) which are over 7 trillion in debt. at least this problem can be solved at home. The majority of the attendees at the Climate conference want the western economies to send money to solve their (emerging economies) problems. How does the climate problem get solved when out national debt is greater that the GDP? where does the funding come from? or put in another way you are up to your eyeballs in debt and no more credit available and your house gets flooded and you didn’t have flood insurance. How are you going to pay fro the repairs? BTW I don’t have a solution either other than clean up your own house first before taking on the world.

      • Jack Lord God

        Oh believe me, I have no problem pointing out the absolute criminality of SS. Have done so many times here. Frankly I think those problems are way way more of a threat, at least to the people of this country, than warming. You are quite right we should be addressing those problems first.

        • DavidAppell

          You’re wrong. SS can be fixed with tweaks here and there. The consequences of 2 C of warming are now inescapable.

          Think about someone other than yourself for a change.

      • David from Mill City

        This is a case where the world problem needs to be addressed first, because if you do not your house will not be worth fixing. As to fixing Social Security, the short term solution is removing the contribution cap, and reaching full national employment (less then 2% unemployment). Then establish a cost of living rate based on the real expenses of retired individuals. The first step for increasing the employment rate is to end all of those disastrous trade deals and bring manufacturing home. Long term we will need to address the coming job shortage. As to health care, the Affordable Care Act is only a starting point, the entire system needs to be converted to a single payer system with controls placed on the costs of drugs and treatment.

      • DavidAppell

        It is fair and moral that western countries send money to developing countries. We’ve gotten rich by using fossil fuels, polluting the atmosphere and ocean and changing the climate they depend on. (With much more change to come.)

        That is a transfer of wealth from the world’s poor to the world’s rich. Immoral.

    • Jack Lord God

      Somehow the postulate that there is little we can do to limit terrorism, and there is a lot we can do to limit climate change seems a bit problematic as being established fact.

      Second, the proposition that regardless of climate change being real or not, we still need to fight it because we are just out a lot of money if we are wrong seems a bit glib. There are threats everyday one disregards because the liability of being out a lot of money is weighed more heavily than the possibility of the risk. Examples of this would be insurance. Plenty of people every day do not buy travel insurance, or maximum liability car or health insurance because they regard “being out a lot of money” as being more important than trying to mitigate a risk they regard as improbable.

      • David from Mill City

        A lasting solution to terrorism, requires a diplomatic solution that includes among other things; Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians
        agreeing to a major redrawing of their national borders; creating Kurdistan, out of parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey; a Sunni Arab state out of northern Iraq and Eastern Syria; transferring the ethnic Turkish areas of Syria to Turkey; creating a Palestinian state out of parts of the West Bank and Jordan and including the Muslim population of Gaza; and transferring Gaza minus its population to Israel in return for many of the West Bank settlements. Form a multi-national commission to oversee oil production in what is now Syria and Iraq, the revenues of which would be distributed on a per capita basis to the new Sunni Arab state, Kurdistan, Syria and Iraq. I just do not see this happening any time soon, if at all.

        As to dealing with climate change that is reasonably straight forward, the first step is instituting a very steep Carbon Tax, it is too late for a system of transferable credits to be effective. The revenues of the Carbon Tax would go into a Public Fund. Twice a year (on the second Wednesday of May and November) 95% of the funds balance would be
        paid out on a per capita basis to all legal residents of the United States. Guardians of minor children would receive 50% of the adult share for each child the remainder to be held by the government, upon
        graduation of high school each child would receive 50% of the funds held for him, another 12.5% would be paid upon the satisfactory completion of each year of college or trade school with the remainder to be paid out upon reaching the age of 25.

        Tax subsidies would be given for development of wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, tidal and
        nuclear electric generation systems. All new housing in the continental US would be required to include solar based electric generation and increased insulation.

        In the Transportation sector; a program of grants and tax subsidies established to encourage the development of a nationwide electric car charging and battery replacement systems. A 25% tax on non-electric vehicles (revenues to the public
        fund). Instituting a national public transportation system, where the Federal government would be responsible for connecting all the state capitals and the 20 largest cities with high speed rail, each State would be responsible with connecting all the county seats and the 5 largest cities to the state capital and each county governments would be responsible with connecting all towns and cities with a population of 500 or greater to the county seat with at least 4 times a day bus or transit service.

        All of that is doable now. Granted it would disrupt some established industries while enhancing others, but in the long run it would be cheaper then mitigating the effects of Climate Change. Consider the coast of relocating or protecting New York City from a 6 foot sea level rise. While I realize that there are still individuals who believe those few scientists who deny the existence of Climate Change or do not believe that man can effect it, the preponderance of scientific opinion supports the existence of Global Climate Change and the devastating impact it is likely to have if nothing will be done. So to me the logical choice is clear.

      • DavidAppell

        What a bad analogy.

        You can escape accident costs if you don’t have an accident.

        But you cannot escape climate change or its consequences.

  • thevillageidiot
    • DavidAppell

      Too long to watch. What’s your point?

  • Bob Clark

    In Star Trek, the movie, it is possible to control climate; but not so much at this time on planet earth. Throughout history there tends to be a reach to change the conventional way of doing things such as heating, powering and driving. Such idealism has had its good points in the past, such as the laying of the transcontinental rail road, for instance.

    Climate seems like a tool/reasoning for those wanting to innovate away from conventional energy sources. The problem with this idealism is it needs significant balancing against other priorities. And this is where most Democrat party policy is unbalanced towards costly solution.

    Left to its own devices free markets are demonstrating a decrease in carbon intensity naturally, such that the carbon intensity of each unit of income in the U.S since the 1980s has declined by over 20%. If there is a role for government, it may be in the area of research providing support to market innovation. But mandates and subsidizing otherwise bankrupt renewable ventures causes a loss of scarce public dollars, which would otherwise go to higher priorities such as education, safety, tax credits for those working at lower ends of the pay scales.

    • DavidAppell

      Bob Clark: Carbon intensity has been decreasing since forever, because we all want to pay less per unit of energy.

      A decrease in carbon intensity isn’t enough — we need a decrease in absolute carbon emissions to stop climate change.

      We need to stop subsidizing fossil fuels, which we do to the tune of about $200 B/yr. Imagine what else we could do with that money.

  • Earth laughs in flowers

    We’ve come along way, maybe.
    In that sense, what in the pluperfect blazes surges global warming mad ‘calls’ from OC readers, et al, intoning Mother Earth is bound to look like Mars or Venus in a milky waiver… provide we don’t cut down on the home grown crap out of CO2, etcetera?
    Considering ‘billions and billions’ [Carl Sagan paraphrase] of intergalactic tiers to the fore, Mother Earth appears seems to be just fine despite small claim egomaniac bean-counter insurgents claiming the sky is falling albeit while ignoring core issues and sundry age spot demonstrations from higher authority.
    “Time is like the ocean, Always there ~ Always different.” – Ogden Nash

  • DavidAppell

    Dan wrote: “….and the start of the extensive global cooling and pending ice age alarmism of the 1970s….”

    Wrong again, Dan.

    There was no consensus on global cooling in the ’70s. Unlike today, it was a time before satellites were routinely provide loads of observational data, and scientists were not very sure what was going on. A literature survey of that time found there was no cooling consensus:

    “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus,” W. Peterson et al, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 89, 1325–1337, 2008

    In fact, by 1965 plenty of scientists had already been warning about global warming from the buildup of greenhouse gases, and by the late ’60s climate models were calculating the warming expected from CO2. List of some papers and reports here:

  • DavidAppell

    Dan wrote:
    “From the global cooling and ice age alarmism of the 1970s it morphed into concerns about the hole in the ozone layer, global warming and it has currently settled on climate change.”

    More wrong, Dan.

    It is distressing how little you understand about climate change, and how you so readily dismiss it. Just one of your tribe, huh?

    The ozone issue had nothing to do with climate. Nothing.

    Even Ronald Reagan understand that — he signed the Montreal Protocol.

    If you think today’s climate change is irrelevant, I’d like to know if you think that carbon dioxide doesn’t absorb heat radiation, or if you think the Earth doesn’t emit any?

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