Sometimes it takes someone from outside our society to capture what our own reporters, columnists, and citizens are not saying so clearly.
Thus, a short piece in the New Yorker by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie*, Nigerian author of the wonderful novel Americanah, one of the NYTimes 10 best books of 2013 and also one highly touted by MillersTime readers.
I’ve hesitated to post something such as this, but I think it is time to do so.
Now Is the Time to Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The New Yorker, Dec. 2.
(*Thirty-nine year old female novelist who divides her time between Nigeria and the US.)
Respectful Comments welcomed.
Actually Richard, with respect…..I think we need to find an article written, not by someone outside our society……but outside the beltway, because what she is writing is simply the conventional wisdom of the left.
The New Yorker here is guilty of the same miscalculation our campuses are making: diversity of identity, but not of thought. If this election shows anything, it shows that the democrats’ belief in identity politics is a losing strategy.
I really could go paragraph by paragraph pointing out the fallacies, but it would take forever. I’ll give one small example.
“Now is the time to talk about what we are actually talking about. “Climate contrarian” obfuscates. “Climate-change denier” does not. And because climate change is scientific fact, not opinion, this matters.” I reject her premise. No one denies the climate changes. There is no “deniers” or “contrarians”. No one has a different opinion. There is a LOT of debate about whether we are affecting the climate and by how much, and what should be done about it. Yet no one had come out with a falsifiable premise yet. There isn’t one. So when leftists say “science”….I raise an eyebrow.
Dave k said:
I heart Adichie – I’m listening to Americanah now, actually, on audiobook and it’s just intoxicating. I love accents, and the narrator beautifully animates each voice.
That said, I find her thoughts on race in america to be insightful, even if I don’t agree with them.
Sadly, your previous commenter is incorrect when they say “There is no “deniers” or “contrarians”. No one has a different opinion. There is a LOT of debate about whether we are affecting the climate and by how much, and what should be done about it. Yet no one had come out with a falsifiable premise yet.”
Actually, there are lots of falsifiable premises (I see they know their Karl Popper): does CO2 trap heat? That’s a pretty easy lab experiment. What are our best measurements/trend analyses saying about temperature? The statistics is complicated, but mathematically sound. Does burning fossil fuels release CO2? These are all falsifiable claims; if they were not true, AGW would be seriously wounded. However, to the best of our observation, they are. So I won’t hear “I just want a falsifiable claim!”; there are lots of them, they just don’t break the way you want them to.
I would *love* to have the argument about what should be done about it. Love to. Can’t, because as soon as you say “climate change”, some moron says “yeah well it snowed here, so it must be false” (and I would love for that to be an exaggeration, but try it sometime – ask a “skeptic” if a big snowstorm in NY disproves global warming. Dollars to donuts the answer is along the lines of “of course it does! Stupid libruls”. By the same account, I’m skeptical that a hurricane is “caused by” global warming. It’s ok to be skeptical, but the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.
Further, skepticism is healthy, ostrich-headedness is not. Here’s a simple question to ask: What if you’re wrong? If climate change believers are wrong, there is a chance that we *might* negatively impact global GDP, and thus global well being. That matters! That’s not nothing! We should do everything we can to avoid that!
But if the climate change deniers are wrong, because, as they keep reminding us, the evidence isn’t perfect, well, the costs are much higher. Extinction is literally on the table, and even if there’s only a 1% chance of it, that is far worse than losing a few trillion in global gdp.
And honestly, as soon as someone throws out the term “leftists”, they’re pretty must excusing themselves from the grown ups table. Note that nowhere in that article does Adichie suggest anything “leftist”. In fact, if you listen to most people pleading for action on climate change, they’re pleading for some generic, unspecified “action”. Reading between the lines that they’re advocating for socialist utopia is nonsense; my personal favorite approach is the Pigovian carbon tax: tax carbon, use it to pay social security, and cut the payroll tax. Literally let the market correct the problem of unaccounted for externalities. But apparently, because I think that literally anything is better than literally nothing, I must be a “leftist”. Please. Slurs (by which I mean empty, meaningless terms) aren’t insightful, they’re lazy.
I know that the commenter has other issues with the article, and hey, like I said, I did too. But she gets so much more right, and to say “There is no “deniers” or “contrarians”. No one has a different opinion.” is just poppycock. Our president elect *literally* said climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the chinese. That matters. And is, as they say, falsifiable.
And I didn’t mean leftist as a slur…..odd that you took it as one, but all of her thoughts aligned with the CW of the left, wouldn’t you agree?
OK….I’ll help you out: an increase of “X” parts per billion of CO2 released into the atmosphere increases/decreases the temperature by how much?
Richard Margolies said:
Adichie says we need to define terms, be moral, avoid obfuscation. Because that is how we perceive what is true. And that is how we get back on the path to our American ideal of equality. Some will listen to her wisdom. Some will not. I welcome her advice.
Who could argue that?
I simply say “who’s definition?”, and “who is the one doing the obfuscating?”
Confirmation bias for the CW of the left….that is by no means a definition, and full of obfuscation