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Psychologists Want to Purge Your Brain of Un-Green Thoughts

Think what you're supposed to think ... or else.

by
Elizabeth Scalia

Bio

September 9, 2008 - 12:00 am

Time has come today
Young hearts can go their way
Can’t put it off another day
I don’t care what others say
They say we don’t listen anyway
Time has come today
— “Time Has Come Today,” The Chambers Brothers

Somewhere between 1968 and 2008 the social messaging wires have gotten tangled.

Forty years after enlightened baby boomers and academics decried conformity and told the world to ignore “the establishment,” to not kowtow to “the man,” to “rap about problems to find solutions,” and to “not guilt-trip or judge other people’s life choices,” those same sorts — the now firmly ensconced “establishment” pretending otherwise — are wondering why they can’t get people to fall in line and do as they’re told to do and think as they’re told to think with respect to the environment and the “crisis” of “climate change,” the “crisis” which used to be called “global warming” until the news got out that the earth has been cooling for the last ten years and the arctic ice is refusing to melt.

Now, these establishment Boomers want you to kowtow to “the man.” They’ll brook no open discussions and they prefer you would learn to judge others — and to scold them — for their own good and for the planet’s.

To encourage you in those noble endeavors, the new establishment is bringing in the psychologists:

Armed with new research into what makes some people environmentally conscious and others less so, the 148,000-member American Psychological Association is stepping up efforts to foster a broader sense of eco-sensitivity that the group believes will translate into more public action to protect the planet.

“We know how to change behavior and attitudes. That is what we do,” says Yale University psychologist Alan Kazdin, association president. “We know what messages will work and what will not.”

These experts have made the staggering observation that negative feedback breeds a bit of spite; if you tell people they are pigs who are killing the earth, people will raise an eyebrow and defiantly throw their candy wrappers on the ground, but if they are “invested in the environment” and lauded for that, they will keep the candy wrappers in their pockets.

Ergo, expect to hear more quotes like this one, rendered to get you more “invested” in the environment:

People know outside is going to feel much better for them but underpredict how happy they’re going to feel after being outside in nature even 15 minutes.

As to debating the issue or listening to opposing viewpoints, we won’t see that:

News stories that provided a balanced view of climate change reduced people’s beliefs that humans are at fault and also reduced the number of people who thought climate change would be bad, according to research by Stanford social psychologist Jon Krosnick.

It would seem that Al Gore was correct then, to eschew any debate on the topic of global warming, and correct again when he ordered the press to stop presenting balance and dissent in their global warming coverage — sorry, primary sources on that story can no longer be found in the archives of the obedient press. When you are trying to peddle the “crisis” mentality necessary to get Americans to hand over power, there is no room to “rap about” the questions or to introduce reason or balance into the non-discussion.

Finally, the generation that would not be judged wants to lay a heavy guilt trip on environmental sinners:

[Social psychologist Jessica Nolan] … found that students are not particularly inclined to disapprove of the non-sustainable behavior of others.

“People showed strong approval for other students who recycled. You would hope to see people disapprove of people who don’t recycle, but they didn’t disapprove,” she says.

But, she says, the response was stronger if the activity was perceived as more harmful: More students said they would scold someone if they saw that person improperly disposing of motor oil.

That’s just what Americans need — more scolding. We don’t get enough from the press, the political parties, and the establishment moralists; now we need to scold each other. Presumably, the next step after finger-wagging at our neighbors for their environmental failings will be informing on them — especially if we’re suspected of not being “green enough” ourselves.

All of this manipulation and social engineering is necessary, you understand, because we’re facing a “crisis.” The environmental “crisis” is the mother lode of guilt-tripping; if it is successful — if people can be made to accept the unprovable theory that humankind, not nature, is responsible for “climate change” — then the tentacles of the nanny state will be able to reach into every aspect of every life, from how one may heat or cool one’s home to how many children one may bear. It will be a necessary intrusion, meant to save the planet. For the children you should not have.

Americans — who are all for reasonable conservation measures, but not at the cost of our personal freedoms — are making it tough on our establishment betters. We’re forcing them to play the headshrinker card on us. If only we would just conform, listen to “the man,” stop questioning, and just judge others, the world would be a better and groovier place.

Now the time has come (Time)
There’s no place to run (Time)
I might get burned up by the sun (Time)
But I had my fun (Time)
I’ve been loved and put aside (Time)
I’ve been crushed by the tumbling tide (Time)
And my soul has been psychedelicized (Time)

The social messages of 1968 reverberate strangely, 40 years later.

Elizabeth Scalia is a contributing writer to First Things Magazine and the blogger known as The Anchoress.
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