Many years ago, when I was a young shaver, Connie Francis had a very catchy hit – Stupid Cupid. I heard it again recently and it made me think of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). It occurred to me that the cupidity of the climate science establishment, and its rent-seeking claque, coupled with the gullibility of the masses, has created a perfect ideological storm that no amount of common sense seems able to calm.
This is brought home to me most forcefully by a local denizen who infests the columns of our local Letters to the Editor page, regurgitating any and all alarmist claptrap he can glean from what must be an obsessive, 24/7 trawling of all the usual alarmists sources.
Still inspired by Connie Francis, my reverie ranged further afield until it conjured the mental image of a predominately normal Aussie bloke — someone like my local rag’s tireless correspondent, in fact — who one day notices a slight, dull ache in his left leg. He ignores it in the fond hope that it will go away. But it doesn’t. Eventually, our hapless hero, let’s call him Jerry, consults his GP who, after some tests, refers him to an oncologist, Dr Piltdown Mann.
Dr Mann tells Jerry that he has a particularly rare but virulent tumour which, in some patients, has been known to metastasize with astonishing speed. He informs Jerry that traditional forms of treatment are unlikely to be effective within the requisite timeframe and strongly recommends Jerry’s leg be amputated at the earliest opportunity. He refers Jerry to Dr Mannfred Flannery, an eminent surgeon and graduate of the same medical school that shaped Dr Mann’s diagnostic talents.
Jerry might not be the sharpest tool in the shed but neither is he a drooling fool, so he asks for the basis for Dr Mann’s prognosis. Dr Mann obliges by showing him a most impressive scientific paper, by Loondowsky et al, that clearly shows those in the high-risk category are both older white males and inclined to take such appraisals with a grain of salt. Firmly in that demographic, Jerry frets that the inclination to demand more evidence of his purportedly terminal condition might itself be a symptom of his disease.
Shattered and anxious, Jerry seeks out Pastor Bob Brownbread, the hospital chaplain. Rev Bob is a very charismatic and persuasive minister, and soon has Jerry accepting his fate, which he has been told is a 97% certainty. Indeed, Jerry comes to believe that losing his leg is part of God’s plan — his penance, if you will, for a life of comfort and luxury. He gets religion, attends services regularly and feels rather virtuous. And he is, of course, enjoying all the attention lavished upon him by his previously aloof wife.
Jerry calls upon the surgeon, Dr Mannfred Flannery, to arrange for the operation and all is put in motion. But then his GP calls, tells Terry he has sought a second opinion and expresses the view that his condition is nowhere near so serious as he has been led to believe. There is, apparently, some doubt about the Loondowsky research, plus news that serious questions are being raised about the medical school from which his specialist and surgeon graduated. It seems that graduates were allowed to grade each other’s test papers, rather than submitting them for independent evaluation.
“But the operation is scheduled for next week,” Terry protests. “I have complete faith in Dr Mann. Besides, I have to go through with it. It’s part of God’s plan for me.”
The GP shows Jerry the results of some new research which debunks the original proposition. Jerry hears thumbnail case histories of numerous old white males whose alleged tumours have been revealed as nothing more serious than tendinitis.
But no amount of argument can dissuade Jerry. The spirit is upon him, his mind is made up and his leg duly amputated.
I’m not saying Jerry and his ilk are representative of the vast bulk of uninformed voters, but he is influential in his own way. In the minds of those too lazy to do their own research, his Olympian certainty and the fervent advocacy with which he embraces the pain of a needlessly drastic “cure” stand in contrast with the quiet, rational but ultimately unpersuasive arguments of those who urge him not to lop a limb for no good reason. His convert’s zeal, in other words, is more apt to impress and persuade other Jerrys than any sceptic’s invocation of dull and boring documented fact and analysis.
In the minds of the world’s warmist Jerrys, CAGW is the most perfect scientific theory ever devised. It is totally immune from criticism, could not possibly have any flaws and, unlike other scientific theories, does not need to be expressed as a demonstrated physical law before it can be accorded the status of holy writ.
Jerry is sincere in his guided misconceptions, but dangerous to more than himself. Eventually, his ardour for pointless mutilation wears down the sceptic who throw up their hands and walk away, no longer being bothered to debate him. As with the tireless regurgitator of warmist myths and legends who blitzes my local paper, Jerry stands proud and alone surrounded by the parroted sludge of others’ talking points and sound bytes.
True, he stands now on only one leg, hobbled for the remainder of his days. But he is ecstatic in his righteousness — and greatly encouraged, too, that doctors Mann, Flannery and the Reverend Brown are advocating more legs be amputated without delay. The science of leg pain and treatment, he tells all who will listen, is settled.