Some people choose to go with certain movements or political parties. Let's say you choose to become a member of a political party that denies climate change. That has no problem having xenophobic racists running rampant. That's a big problem for me and I question the morals of those folks. If you back those things then you are contributing to their existence. You have become one of them. You are no longer capable of being my friend.
Before you jump to conclusions and just in case you don't know: I'm not American so I don't really care about US politics, only about ideas.
Let me tell you a couple of stories:
In the 16th century London went through what was to be the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague. The Great Plague killed an estimate of 100,000 people. almost a quarter of London's population. At the time very little was known about diseases and what caused them, so when the plague started several theories were put forth, from miasma (a smell in the air) to the disease being spread by cats.
This last theory took hold in the very early stages of the plague, when it was still pretty much confined to certain areas. And so they exterminated all the cats they could find in London.
We now know that mice were the true carriers of the disease and that the cats were actually the only thing keeping the mice in check. Once the cats were exterminated, the mice population exploded and the black death spread like wildfire, sparing neither rich nor poor from an horrible atrocious death.
Here lies the danger of meddling with complex things (and the climate is truly complex) without fully understanding them first: even though we mean well, the consequences can be devastating. It is far less dangerous to know nothing about something than knowing a little bit and believe we know it all.
Another perfect example of this, which curiously also involves cats but this one taking place in modern days, is the story of Macquarie Island and the consequences of cat eradication. In 1985, Australian scientists kicked off an ambitious plan: to kill off non-native cats that had been prowling the island’s slopes since the early 19th century. The program began out of apparent necessity — the cats were preying on native burrowing birds.
Twenty-four years later, a team of scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division and the University of Tasmania reports that the cat removal unexpectedly wreaked havoc on the island ecosystem. How this happened can be understood by reading the fascinating 'The Unintended Consequences of Changing Nature's Balance' article.
See, what happened in the Macquarie island and what is happening today with the climate change theories is eerily similar. Climate change activists are demanding sudden and radical change (and assuming a lot of things) without first understanding the causes of what is happening plus the full consequences and impact of what they demand.
But here lies the REAL problem: the people who actually understand we do NOT know enough yet to take decisive action - and thus risk causing something far worse than what we are trying to avoid - are being demonized, painted as crazy irresponsible people who think nothing of destroying the planet.
This not only is absolutely untrue as it completely OBLITERATES all possibility of a sane dialogue and discussion of the facts - look at your own attitude as an example of this 'You are no longer capable of being my friend". By demonizing the other one convinces himself that he has the moral high ground (or is it the other way around? eheh), and thus no longer engages in dialogue (and risk having his ideas challenged) because the other is not even worthy of it. This is VERY DANGEROUS, as it fragments society and causes a radicalization of both sides.
What happened to 'we can agree to disagree?' and still remain friends? What happened to the rational and unemotional debate of facts? What if it's actually YOU who is in the wrong without knowing it, but will never come to that conclusion because you refuse to engage in a debate with others who do not share the same opinion (and thus perhaps see the same issues from a different perspective, one you haven't thought about yet)?
Here is the truth: nobody in their right mind wants to destroy the planet, no matter what political party they belong to or what president they voted for. Nobody in their right mind enjoys smog and pollution. We ALL have that in common. We should focus on what we have in common but instead we are focusing on what keeps us apart.
Yes, we can and should strive for cleaner and more efficient energy and a cleaner planet, but we must do so gradually in an intelligent way, and not force an abrupt change we are not technologically ready for yet and of which very few - if any - completely understand the short, medium and long term consequences of.
Likewise when people start labeling others as xenophobes, mysoginists and racists without first understanding their true motives or what they are REALLY saying, but alas, this is not the place for that kind of discussion. Somehow, somewhere, we lost our common sense.