There is not enough time in the day, or even in a complete lifetime, to try and convince a Climate Change Sceptic that Civilized (a.k.a. Anthropogenic) Global Warming is the fault of the industrial system and that it is going to do for the global ecology pretty much before the century is out. In fact it may well have already done for the global ecology, such is the energy encapsulated in the atmospheric-oceanic system, but there I go trying to explain things rationally, which simply will not do when faced with someone who is totally convinced that CGW is a plot by governments to get us to pay more taxes, enjoy the consumer culture less freely and become servants of the Global Elite. Ok, maybe that last one has some semblance of reality, but combine it with making us less virulent consumers and you start to see cracks in the argument. Here's what I said in a previous essay, which pretty much blows the Conspiracy out of the water:
A lot of denial -- now that even the most corporate-minded politicians and dirtiest companies at least say humans are causing the climate to change -- is now related to the amount of financial benefit it is claimed politicians, scientists, "green" companies and (get this) those campaigning simply to protect nature, will gain from a populace that believes humans are causing the climate to change. I make no bones about my condemnation of the huge amount of money that is being made off the back of people's concerns to protect the planet; from the small company selling low(er) energy gadgets, to the professional consultancy advising businesses how to be more environmental friendly (or at least appear to be), right up to the aforementioned corporations that need us to keep spending as usual to keep the economy growing.
It is worth pointing out the inescapable irony of such an accusation; given the incontrovertible history of lobbying and subsequent financial and power gain that the CCDs have been a party to. I admit that turning such an accusation on its head may seem to be playing into the hands of the deniers, but the accusation itself seems to assume that it is possible to play the same trick on both sides of the fence. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Bonkers Conspiracy #2: Chemtrails
This is a classic because it has so many strands, mutates so quickly and causes so much subtle damage to our way of thinking. The last sentence is almost precisely what Conspiracy Theorists think Chemtrails do; the fact is they do nothing of the sort, but the Conspiracy certainly does.
Chemtrails are not contrails -- that much is true. A Chemtrail is supposedly a sign, or signature, of an act having been committed, whereas a contrail is"well again you see how easy it is to get confused. Let's start from basics: a contrail is an expression of the condensed gases emitted by an aircraft under stable, high humidity atmospheric conditions. Mainly water vapour, but also including a range of other, more toxic gases, a contrail indicates that an aircraft has passed by, polluting as it goes, and leaving behind something rather like a hyper-extended equals sign. Sometimes, especially near to airports, multiple contrails are left, with patterns being created as the contrails cross and combine. Look above the cooling towers of a power plant and you'll see something similar; they are seed clouds, in effect.
A Chemtrail is a mind control device; or maybe it's a way of weakening or killing off the population; or maybe it's a way of altering the climate or weather for competitive advantage; or maybe it's all of these together. As with climate change scepticism, there is a grain of truth, but also a bale of bullshit. How, for instance, can something injected into the air at 30,000 feet have any tangible impact, however broadly, on the ground-level population, the soil or the water? Perhaps the constituency of the atmosphere could be changed at minute levels (far less than, for instance, Sarin requires to be toxic) but there is no precision -- we are talking homeopathy for the masses here! More to the point, why would a government intent on controlling, weakening or killing off the population want to broadcast this fact across the skies, just in case you didn't notice why your heart started fluttering and you were off your food?
Now enough of this nonsense. Choose your own bonkers Conspiracy Theory and have fun taking it apart -- it's far easier than you could imagine once you start asking for facts. Once you've done that then take the smile off your face, because here it starts to get more serious. Conspiracy Theories may be fatuous nonsense, but they are also very dangerous.
A Danger to Us All
Some very clever people indeed have become addicted to Conspiracy Theories and, indeed, some people who talk about Conspiracy Theories also speak a lot of sense -- watch any video by David Ike, for instance, and you will see quite a lot of sense, followed by a lot of lizards. These people could be excellent Underminers, as could the people they are influencing, so we have to do what we can to show up Conspiracy Theories as nonsense. What we see is just another Veil of Ignorance in operation, keeping us disconnected from the real world, tied into the trivial games civilization likes to keep us playing. But if you are ready for a proper, intense battle of minds then this could be one battle that results in a lot of freed minds, ready themselves to battle against an even bigger target.
This is an expanded version of a short essay from Underminers: A Guide to Subverting The Machine by Keith Farnish. Available free to read online, or to buy.