May 11 Flashback: Drill, baby, drill

May 11 Flashback: Drill, baby, drill May 11, 2022

From May 11, 2010, “Perversely stupid“:

Why would an oil spill make you more supportive of drilling?

The truth is that it wouldn’t. It can’t. And it doesn’t, not really.

The 44 percent who responded that the oil spill did not change their opinion might well be made up of rational, principled people who had weighed the risks involved, calculated the costs and benefits, and determined that such spills, while lamentable and something to be avoided as much as possible, are on-balance an acceptable price to pay for access to the energy that fuels our way of life.

But the 28 percent who say the spill makes them more supportive would have us believe that they regard such spills as something laudatory, something to be celebrated. That’s insane. And I don’t believe them. I don’t believe that they believe what they say they believe.

It’s tempting to try to believe them. That 28-percent figure is close to the crazification factor — that 27-percent baseline number that shows up with remarkable consistency. But I don’t think the Gulf-spill-celebrating 28 percent is any more truly crazy than the Allen-Keyes-voting 27 percent was. I think this crazification and brazen stupidity is, again, something they are choosing. It is an act of will.

Those responses tallied by Public Policy Polling are not genuine, but calculated. They are the response of people who view all such polls — and elections, legislative votes and policy choices — as part of a zero-sum game between Our Side and Their Side. The “more supportive of drilling” response is an effort to deny points to Their Side by claiming victory for Our Side — even if that means claiming the devastation of Gulf Coast livelihoods as “victory.”

The point here is that we have a significant segment of the population that is no longer able to answer the question “What do you think/believe/feel/judge?” by saying what it is they really actually think or believe or feel or judge. Their response to any question is to calculate what that question means in terms of the zero-sum game and then to offer the answer they think will be strategically best for scoring points in that game.

This is a fundamentally disingenuous way of talking, voting and living and it’s not possible to approach all those things disingenuously without that dishonesty and duplicity coming to shape, stunt and distort one’s own thinking.

Constantly arguing in bad faith leads to thinking in bad faith and to living in bad faith, until bad faith is all you’ve got left. Calculation becomes habit, that habit supplants thought and one winds up in the perverse circumstance of earnestly arguing for the goodness of oil spills.

Read the original post here.

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