Maybe climate-change deniers aren’t stupid

Are climate change deniers stupid?  Here’s a theory that says no.

In a thread about something else, someone on the Internet said,

As with climate chaos, the deniers are not too stupid to be able to understand the issue. They’re more than smart enough to understand it — indeed, they know that if they acknowledge the issue, they will be forced to accept treatments and remedies that are politically unpalatable to them. Much easier to maintain the denial then.

This complements the follow-the-money  theory.  Stipulating his explanation, where does it suggest we insert our prybars to get the situation unstuck?

  • Minimize how the treatments and remedies (T&R) are perceived?
  • Minimize the cost of the T&R?
  • Make the T&R actually more palatable?
  • Maximize perception of how unpalatable the alternative outcome (climate disaster) is?
  • Maximize the political cost of denial so that it’s even more unpalatable than T&R?

All of the above, and then some, are being worked on, to some degree.  I just wonder if some are underutilized, some ineffective, some counterproductive—again, to some degree.

On the other hand

That characterization considers “deniers” as a homogeneous group.  Let’s consider the movers and shakers of climate denial—like the Koch brothers—separately from the deplorable basket of dupes whose political allegiance hence personal identity is somehow caught up on the wrong side.  The Kochs are basically unreachable, although conceivably they could be neutralized.  How can we reach the rest, so that their votes elect a Congress that would draw down the damage?  The motivation for their form of denial is completely different than is that of the Kochs.

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