Why Gore's rabble rousing works, and doesn't

In the past I've talked about why scare tactics (read, fear appeal) may or may not work, when used by marketers. Let me now restate the 'Protection Motivation Model' to explain why Al Gore and his cohorts get away with fibbing. The interpretation of the model will also help explain why Al Gore's god to liberals and charlatan to conservatives.

One approach to the curvilinear explanation of fear is the Protection Motivation Model. According to this theory, four cognitive appraisal processes mediate the individual's response to the threat: appraising (1) the information available regarding the severity of the perceived threat, (2) the perceived probability that the threat will occur, (3) the perceived ability of a coping behaviour to remove the threat, (4) the individual's perceived ability to carry out the coping behaviour.

Now consider the canard of Climate change. Rabble rousing that Gore and his cohorts whip up surely hits home for some (read, liberals). The 'severity of threat' perceived by liberals rocket. Let me illustrate both the rabble rousing and the severity perception.

Rabble Rousing, Exhibit 1, Architect - Al Gore:

When John Dickerson asked Al why the Copenhagen Climate Summit matters, this was the response;

'We face the gravest threat that civilization has ever confronted. It’s global in nature and requires a global solution. Increased CO2 emissions anywhere, whether from China or the United States or from one of the countries that is burning its forests like Brazil or Indonesia from wherever the emissions come, they have the same effect: They trap much more heat from the sun, melt the ice, raise the sea level, cause stronger storms, floods, drought, bigger fires, generate millions of climate refugees, destabilize political systems, threaten the growing of food crops and cause a number of other catastrophic consequences which, taken together, threaten the basis for the future of human civilization on the Earth.'

Rabble Rousing, Exhibit 2, Architect - Diane Francis (who thinks its isn't climate change, its population, in Financial Post);

'For those who balk at the notion that governments should control family sizes, just wait until the growing human population turns twice as much pastureland into desert as is now the case, or when the Amazon is gone, the elephants disappear for good and wars erupt over water, scarce resources and spatial needs.'

Severity Perception, Exhibit 1, Architect - Thomas Friedman (NY Times)

'When I see a problem that has even a 1 percent probability of occurring and is “irreversible” and potentially “catastrophic,” I buy insurance. That is what taking climate change seriously is all about...

But if we don’t prepare, and climate change turns out to be real, life on this planet could become a living hell. And that’s why I’m for doing the Cheney-thing on climate — preparing for 1 percent.'

Now that the liberals have played out the first two parts of the model, that is, provided shrilly information about the 'threat' and shown that there's a perceived probability the threat would play out, what remains is the 'response'.

'Follower' liberals believe there's coping behavior that can remove this threat. Which reads something like this; Pay more taxes to government (call it carbon tax), enforce usage of products and services that's labelled 'green' (never mind that its the Al Gore types pocketing the moolah), elevate the likes of Streisand and Sarandon to dictating business and social policies...; the list seems frighteningly endless.

Liberals again believe the perceived ability in carrying out this 'coping behaviour' is strengthened if we fall, blinkers on, rank and file, behind the likes of Gore. Oh, and yes, their saviour Barack Obama.

Now that we know why liberals are freaked out at Climate change, why is that conservatives don't seem to be concerned? The answer's simple. They know Al Gore and his cohorts are fibbing. That Climate Science is Junk Science. That the charge man can control weather is hogwash.

Let me now illustrate what's 'sensible' response to the canard of 'climate change'. Response of people on whom Gore's marketing campaign's (read, fear appeal) had no effect.

The Unaffected, Exhibit 1, Architect - Roger Kimball (Pajamas Media)

'Nice work if you can get it, Al! And as for the scientific consensus, what is it? Al Gore pretends that he speaks for such a consensus. In fact, though, the consensus is more and more that evidence for anthropogenic global warming is not just overstated: it is essentially non-existent.

Ideologues like Al Gore have hopped onto the Climate Change bandwagon — formerly known as the global warming bandwagon — partly for reasons of self-aggrandizement (”The world is just about to end: only I can save it!”), partly in order to foster an atmosphere of emergency which can be used to rationalize political activism. It’s a mug’s game, but unfortunately, we are the mugs being suckered.'

The Unaffected, Exhibit 2, Architect - Gary Sutton (Forbes)

'Al Gore thought he might ride his global warming crusade back toward the White House. If you saw his movie, which opened showing cattle on his farm, you start to understand how shallow this is. The United Nations says that cattle, farting and belching methane, create more global warming than all the SUVs in the world. Even more laughably, Al and his camera crew flew first class for that film, consuming 50% more jet fuel per seat-mile than coach fliers, while his Tennessee mansion sucks as much carbon as 20 average homes...

To be fair, those reports are short-term swings. But the longer term changes are no more compelling, unless you include the ice ages, and then, perhaps, the panic attempts of the 1970s were right. Is it possible that if we put more CO2 in the air, we'd forestall the next ice age?

I can ask "outrageous" questions like that because I'm not dependent upon government money for my livelihood. From the witch doctors of old to the elected officials today, scaring the bejesus out of the populace maintains their status.'

The real fear coming out of Climate change shouldn't be about what will happen to the planet. Instead it should be about what will happen to us if we let the likes of Gore dictate policies. For if we let him get away with it, what we fritter away wouldn't the future of our planet, but ours. Our freedom and our liberty to choose what is rightfully ours.

The uniquely individual 'pursuit of happiness'.


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