The Public Eventually Catches Up

Dave Johnson

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” This quote shows how far the Republican Party has drifted… (Hint: the quote is attributed to the party’s founder. The quote warns the public while the modern party seems to be more interested in fooling the public.) Public understanding is catching up to the truth about climate change, just as it eventually catches up with most truths.

Even with all of the modern propaganda marketing and advertising that is used to sell conservative policies the public cannot be kept perpetually in the dark. People eventually figure things out because reality eventually intrudes.

Shock-doctrine tactics involve scaring the public and directing the stampede toward pre-packaged “solutions” that benefit the 1% at the expense of the rest of us. These tactics depend on acting before the public wises up and locking things in place so they are difficult to change back. The best defense democracy has against against these tactics is transparency — open and rapid access to accurate information. The faster the public is able to get accurate information, the faster they are able to rally and reject the 1%’er “solutions.”

Examples of current whipped-up problems include deficit hysteria (created by tax cuts for the rich and huge increases in military budget), the public employee pension “crisis,” the postal service budget crisis (that’s really because Repubicans in Congress are forcing the USPS to pre-fund pensions for 75 years), the nonexistent problem of voter fraud which is being “solved’ by denying millions of potential Democrats access to voting booths, and so many others.

Climate Change

Anyway here is some good news: the public is catching up to the truth about climate change. NY Times: In Poll, Many Link Weather Extremes to Climate Change

Scientists may hesitate to link some of the weather extremes of recent years to global warming — but the public, it seems, is already there.

… a large majority of Americans believe that this year’s unusually warm winter, last year’s blistering summer and some other weather disasters were probably made worse by global warming. And by a 2-to-1 margin, the public says the weather has been getting worse, rather than better, in recent years.

… The poll suggests that a solid majority of the public feels that global warming is real, a result consistent with other polls that have asked the question in various ways. When invited to agree or disagree with the statement, “global warming is affecting the weather in the United States,” 69 percent of respondents in the new poll said they agreed, while 30 percent disagreed.

Reality eventually intrudes. The fact of a changing climate being right in our faces has helped the public overcome the very-well-funded oil-company propaganda campaign.)

It’s 90% here in the SF Bay area in April… Of course, in our garden we still had tomatoes in December. Not that big a deal but we couldn’t grow peas or kale in January in California? Drought in England, Texas on fire, 100 tornadoes in a day in April?

The people eventually catch up.

Iraq War

Facts: Iraq had no connection to al Queda nor to the 9/11 attacks or attackers and had no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons (“WMD”).

That’s the facts, here is the path of public beliefs:

Jan. 2002: 44% believed “most” or “some” 9/11 attackers were from Iraq, 91 percent believed that Saddam Hussein was concealing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
Sept. 2003: Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link
2011: Iraq was providing support to al Qaeda (46%) and either had a WMD program or actual WMDs (47%)

So by 2011 public belief that Iraq was somehow involved in the 9/11 attack attack fell from 70% in 2003 to 46%, and that they had WMD fell from 91% to 47%. (Still alarming, considering the fact vs belief number should be zero for both.)

So public opinion about the Iraq war still falls under the ‘some of the people all of the time’ clause. But even so, a majority eventually caught up.

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