Monday, October 29, 2007

I Hate Conventional Wisdom

So I'm sitting in a coffee shop trying to get some work done, and this guy comes up to the counter and orders a coffee. In a loud voice, so everyone can hear, he says to the barista, "I don't know why everyone cares about global warming! It's a good thing! Look, it's a beautiful day! You're getting more business because normally everyone would be in the skyways!"

I glance over, hoping this guy is being ironic. No such luck. He's a 50-something serious crank eager to impress.

After the barista says something thoughtful-sounding that I can't quite make out, the guy retorts, "I don't know about that. I'm just saying, I don't think we need to be making such a big deal about it. But that's just probably due to my natural contrarian instincts."

Wonderful. Well played. If there's one thing that's uniquely American, it's the idea of being ignorant and proud of it. You're a "contrarian." Good for you. That makes you the intellectual equivalent of my four-year-old son. Go form the "anti-intellect" party... which, you might be surprised to learn, would have a lot in common with Communism.

* * *

An addendum to this item. One of the most insidiously anti-intellectual argument made among global warming deniers is this:

"Hey, I can't predict the weather tomorrow. How can I know what's going to happen 10, 20, 50 years from now?"

As a friend of mine pointed out (a friend who, by the way, is a Catholic, pro-life, pro-business Target Corp. director with a University of Chicago MBA), this argument has it exactly backwards. It's actually easier to predict things like weather, Target revenues and the Dow Jones Industrial average 10 or 20 years from now than it is to predict what they will be tomorrow.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

AND Fascism.

cookielady said...

The NPR reporter of today's story of "The Lion King" opening in Paris made reference to a recent comment by the French finance minister: the French think too much (they should work more).

sigh....if France is Americanized, to where can I defect?