THREE SELF-EVIDENT TRUTHS AND A FOURTH, NOT SO MUCH

Any truth, it is said, passes through three stages:

  1. First it is ridiculed.
  2. Then violently opposed.
  3. Finally, it is taken as self-evident.

Think of Galileo’s contention that the earth moves around the sun. First dismissed as foolishness, then so violently opposed by the Catholic Church that he was tried for heresy and imprisoned until his death, and finally, 300 years later, exonerated.

Last week three “truths” that have followed the same tortured paths finally reached the self-evident stage.

  1. The Confederate Flag

After the murder of nine black citizens in South Carolina, was finally recognized as a symbol of racism after pictures of the killer wrapped in the Confederate flag surfaced. Imagine buildings in downtown Denver flying the Nazi flag or driving to work on Osama Bin Laden Blvd. or KLU Klux Klan Ave.  It is “self-evident” that these symbols of violence and hate would be unacceptable and yet for 150 years the removal of the Confederate Flag has been “violently opposed.”

  1. The confirmation of the Affordable Care Act by the Supreme Court as Constitutional –

For the second time the Supreme court has thrown out the contention that the Affordable Care act is unconstitutional. It is fair to say that the Act has been “ridiculed” as Big Government when in fact it is based on private insurance, violently opposed by the very party that designed it (AFA is based on the plan developed in Massachusetts under Republican Governor Mitt Romney), and self-evidently successful in bringing down health care costs dramatically and extending health insurance to millions of otherwise uninsured.

  1. Granting Equal Protection under the Law to Gay Marriage –

The journey of this truth from ridicule to self-evident has been almost instantaneous compared to other social issues although tortuously long for those affected by the injustice.

The recognition of these obvious facts might give one hope that the self-evident nature of the most urgent Truth in the history of humanity, that man is destroying the biosphere, might finally progress beyond the ridicule and opposition stage.

 

  1. Unfortunately, on Monday the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA cannot force power companies to spend money protecting public health by requiring improvements to their plants that lower carbon emissions.

 

Since the American taxpayer subsidizes the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $4.8 billion per year, one could argue that improvement to power plants would not actually cost the energy industry anything. But because corporate money has more than a little influence over the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court that “dog won’t hunt.”

Will Climate Change ever reach the level of self-evident truth? It will, but since corporations have been so effective in their “violent opposition,” it is already too late to take meaningful action. Climate Scientists have stipulated that a carbon particulate level of 350 parts per million is the highest level the atmosphere can tolerate to avoid a 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in planet temperature.  Going beyond that level risks climate chaos and complete collapse of biological systems on which all life depends. We are now at 402 parts per million and there is no going back. Imagine running a temperature of 102.2 degrees indefinitely (a 3.6 degree increase).

Don’t make the mistake of believing the opposition’s mantra that “the earth has been this warm before.” It is the RATE OF WARMING that is unprecedented and destroys ecosystems before they can adapt to the new conditions.

Climate chaos is upon us. May 2015 saw the most rain in Colorado in recorded history (210 years). Next year we could return to drought and forest fires. Ironically, CORPORATIONS ARE PROFITTING FROM THE CRISIS CAUSED BY CLIMATE DISASTERS. Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina filled the coffers of the construction industry and defense contractors are preparing for the profit opportunities to come from conflicts over access to water and land.

Could change come, to quote President Obama, like a thunderbolt?  Of course. Think of our overnight militarization to confront Hitler. Investment in alternative technologies would offer investors real profit opportunities if accompanied by a national energy policy.

Would this change be enough to avoid climate collapse? That, alas, is not self-evident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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