Monday, 20 February 2017

Tears Dropping Upon the Bowl of Morning Porridge

It's All Over, Rover

Doomsday has arrived for the Doomsday Clock.  We at Contra Celsum are enjoying hearty chuckles over the dissipation of angst that will now attend the Doom Ticker.

Columnist Bob Brockie described the history of Doomageddon's clock, and how it has morphed into meaninglessness.
The Doomsday Clock is not what it used to be. In its early days, the clock simply measured the threat of nuclear war but this year is quite different. The atomic scientists have widened the range of world threats to include climate change, genetically engineered alien flu strains, transgenic plants that could be malignly used to produce toxic proteins, potential paramilitary robots with a license to kill, hackers crashing the grid, giant asteroids, fake news but, above all, that horseman of the apocalypse, Donald Trump, whose strident nationalism, inflammatory rhetoric and his dismissal of scientific expertise threatens us all.  Scary stuff. No wonder that they've moved the clock 2.5 minutes closer to midnight.  [Stuff]
The multitudinous Apocalypse du Jour crowd have taken over the Doomsday Clock.  It seems that folk cannot live without the chill winds of fear cooling down their morning porridge into a tepid slurry of multi-variate, competing dooms.  The problem with this is twofold.

Firstly, the various Apocalypses du Jour cancel each other out.  What are we to be really fearful about: climate change (aka global warming) or alien flu strains?  Secondly, how on earth will the Doomster Clock ever move off hovering seconds away from the Great Apocalypse?  In other words, the Clock has become useless and meaningless, since we can confidently predict it will hover forever at just on the Midnight Doom.

The good news in this is that the unfocused and comprehensive dooms facing mankind will morph into emotional exhaustion among the Left, which will in turn morph into cynicism, then defeatism, then--finally--silence.  And silence, as we know, is golden.

Brockie is spot on when he writes:
But critics claim the clock has lost touch with reality as its contributors grossly simplify, misread and exaggerate bad news. One contributor to the Bulletin predicted that the Fukushima disaster would cause 1.4 million deaths within 10 years. In fact it has killed no-one in the almost six years since the accident. Another one of the Bulletin's academic contributors labelled ebola as a slow motion atomic bomb. In fact the infection has been virtually wiped out.

These atomic scientists misconstrue the nature of technology. They could argue that metallurgy, cars and planes should never have been invented as traffic accidents and wars have inflicted devastating and irrecoverable harm on humanity. But the wider effect of these inventions has been to make life vastly safer and healthier. The same could be said of today's technological discoveries.

The Doomsday Clock metaphor may have fitted the prospects of a sudden nuclear war but does not fit slow motion problems of climate change, sustainability, or the prospects of long-term technological developments.  Skeptics say today's clock adjusters take the "precautionary principle" to ridiculous limits, spotlighting remote, distant menaces and unlikely worst-case scenarios. Its new purpose is to promote a sense of urgency and panic us into facing every risk at any price.

Skeptics also say the Bulletin's exaggerated claims can be perverse and counterproductive. The atomic scientists' vague, muddled, broad apocalyptic scare-mongering makes it difficult for us to prioritise our problems or shape any coherent response to them.  Cynics claim the Doomsday Clock's hair-raising message is little more than a Greenie angst meter.
Imagine how delicious it will be to confront the local Greenie politician who is all in a lather about river pollution, with, "Yes.  That's all very well.  But what are you doing about paramilitary robots with a license to kill.  That's far more serious than a bit of river pollution."

A "Greenie angst meter".  Well said.  And the outcome?  Emotional exhaustion for the Left.  Hilarity served with lashings of delicious mockery amongst those with a modicum of residual common sense.

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