The principal argument is that we should not allow habits of thought that invite or facilitate deception and manipulation. WriterAndrew Bard Schmookler says:“It matters whether people follow their authorities blindly or they develop the critical capabilities to think for themselves. Perhaps it’s fine to give the Bible unquestioning credence, but unquestioning trust in the declarations of political authorities can be dangerous.”
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James (Jim) Hoggan is one of Canada’s most respected public-relations professionals and the president and owner of the Vancouver PR firm Hoggan & Associates.
A law school graduate with a longstanding passion for social justice, Jim also serves as chair of the David Suzuki Foundation—the nation’s most influential environmental organization—and as a Trustee of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education.
James Hoggan is the co-founder of Stonehouse Standing Circle, an innovative public-engagement and communications think-tank, and the former chair of The Climate Project Canada —Al Gore’s global education and advocacy organization. He also led the Province of British Columbia’s Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Community Relations and First Nations Partnerships.
James Hoggan is the co-founder of the influential website DeSmogBlog and the author of two books, Do the Right Thing: PR Tips for Skeptical Public, and Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. He speaks, writes, and presents widely on public attitudes toward sustainability, climate change, and the environment.
You can follow Jim on Twitter here: @James Hoggan on Twitter.
You can click here to read James Hoggan’s recent article on “How Propaganda (Actually) Works”
… or for those rare women who are up for high-speed handbreak turns in gas station parking lots.
The Tango may not turn out to be the Model A of the new millennium, but it serves as a good example of what Detroit might be doing if it was serious about producing energy-efficient and smog-blocking alternatives. Unlike most of the experimental electric cars to date, this also looks like it would be serious fun: 0-60 mph in 4 seconds; 150 mph top end; and a race-ready roll cage to keep you safer than the easily crushed occupants of your average truck-frame SUV.
Google “permafrost” under News and you get a disturbing selection of stories arising out of a National Center for Atmospheric Research study on the melting of Artic permafrost. One of the most accessible is this piece out of the Anchorage Daily News, which says: “Warming temperatures could melt the top 11 feet of permafrost in Alaska by the end of the century – damaging roads and buildings with sinkholes, transforming forest and tundra into swamps, and releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the air.”
That quote comes from a Robert F. Kennedy speech on the G.W. Bush administration’s record of environmental devastation. Kennedy argues, convincingly, that Bush’s red state support can be explained by the quality of red state journalism – from the absolute dominion of a corporate-controlled media. Kennedy says:
The Kennedy’s didn’t get powerful without first getting rich, so you’d expect Robert F. to be a capitalist:
This quote also from the R.F. Kennedy Speech on George W Bush and the US Coal Industry:
“I'll give you an example. As I said, a gigantic diminution in quality of life has taken place in this country as a direct result of this President's environmental policy that Americans mainly don't know about. I'm just going to focus on one industry, which is coal-burning power plants.”
“(The) ‘elephant in the room’ is the public’s increasing mistrust in society’s public and private sector institutions. Without trust there is disengagement and cynicism. People opting out with an ‘all is lost’ attitude. Contrary to current myths, the public ‘gets’ sustainability, but is fearful. [They] don’t trust those in power to do the right thing; don’t believe they can make a difference.”
I don't think this lack of trust is accidental. While not a conspiracy theorist by nature, it's clear that mistrust is a valuable commodity to certain players in the business world. Mistrust begets policy paralysis, which destroy's government's ability to implement regulations, which leaves the corporate community free to do whatever its invisible hand fancies.