“Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Winston Churchill
“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy.” The ideal republic is ruled by a wise philosopher king characterized by a love of true knowledge. Plato
Here, in this divergence of great minds, is a clue to understanding the chasm in America over climate change. Scientists, who see themselves as seekers of true knowledge, are united on the reality of climate change and the role humans play in it. For them, this is not a matter to be decided by a plebiscite in which the views of the common man and woman are as valid as those of the experts.
Yet it is a principle of democratic government that the collective wisdom of the people is more to be trusted than the narrow learning of experts, and so we have arrived at a place where elected representatives, prefacing their comments with “I am not a scientist,” proceed to lecture us on science – with the result that coal, the one power source that is on its way out around the world, has become the source of political power in America.
There are reasons for this that can be traced to the Koch Brothers, who have spent over $100 million funding alternative climate studies, and others.
Yet, with 70% of Americans believing climate change is real (even if it only happens to other people) and the number of skeptics having shrunk to 19%, the so-called gap between experts and the common people is the true hoax being perpetrated here, and the antidote lies not in science but in politics.