There was comment on the Guardian site recently which shows at least some of the problems with the Left.
It ran something like:
Three really good reasons to deny the science of climate change:
This formulation tells us nothing. It offers no strategy for persuasion or action. Perhaps, it makes the writer feel better, and heavens we all need to feel better, but it succeeds in making the likelihood of communication and problem solving even less, by name-calling and making barriers and reactions. It puts people who disagree with the speaker(and even some others who might be friendly to those speakers) into dismissible social categories and prevents people from hearing each other.
It creates problems, it does not diminish them.
Let’s look at some other reasons people might have for not being active, which are slightly less closed.
Fear. People don’t want to think about climate change, because there are no obvious things they can do. It threatens their children and grandchildren, and that is not easy to face. If correct it could be terrifying. Yet we have lived with the threat of nuclear war, population increases and so on, and so far everything is all ok. I spent my youth terrified and nothing happened. Maybe this will be ok, as well?
Lack of fear. Everything is in the hands of God. The world is too big to hurt. How is this tiny amount of a perfectly normal gas I breathe out every day going to massively disrupt the whole Earth? It doesn’t make sense. Humans are insignificant in the scheme of things. I cannot change what will be.
Sense of probable loss. Loss is painful, and over the last 40 years we have lost out over and over. The promises we were given have not eventuated. You guys trying to stop climate change could take even more away from me and my family. This is another loss. Let’s hope it is as unreal as the promises we were given.
Uncertainty as to whether remedies will work. Do we have any guarantees these remedies will work? No? In reality we don’t. It may even now be too late, and plenty of people assure us the costs are way to great to take action without certainty. What are you asking that we should give up again? Why is it always us that are giving up our prospects?
Uncertainty about change. Futures are not predictable any more. Who could have guessed this would be happening? Who would guess contemporary technology? Polls are always wrong. Guesses at the future are just guesses, and you are probably using your guesses to gain power over me, and persuade me to act against my interests, like everyone else. Why should I trust you?
Experts are often wrong. This is obvious. All of you promised that “free markets” would deliver liberty and prosperity but they haven’t. Even vaguely. They said war in the Middle East would be easy and successful, but its been a total mess, hurt lots of people, and made things worse. Even doctors change their minds every five minutes about what is good or bad for us. They promise cures that never come. These experts are just con-artists without common sense. Everyone makes mistakes you know.
Life is overwhelming. I have to make too many decisions. I have pressures from work all the time. My wages and conditions are being cut. I never get any holidays. My boss is a total dickhead. My company is corrupt. I’m not feeling well. My spouse is unhappy. I’m one or two pay days away from family disaster. My kids are acting weird, and I don’t know what to do to help. I’ve too much on my mind. Go away… I don’t need this climate bullshit.
Immediate pressures. [Pointed out by Alice Suttie] I have to provide for people around me today. I have to deal with real problems now, not decades, or even just years, in the future. My mother is really sick, I have debt collectors at the door, the electricity may be going to be cut off. I’m busy. I don’t have time to worry about irrelevancies. If you can’t help me now, or propose policies that help me now, then trouble someone else will you?
You people are just rude. You obviously don’t understand me. You are obviously not going to listen to me. Why should I listen to you? You are up yourselves, you f+@in alarmist morons
There is almost certainly more that could be said here. The advantage of some of these formulations is that the speakers are seen as relatively rational (as people are). We are not dealing with stupidity or insanity which cannot be altered. The statements are largely based on real remarks I have read from people. They are specific, not catastrophizing, not foreclosing of all solutions, like ‘madness’ is. They suggest that some of the problems might be generated by the activist approach, so the approach may need to change. They also suggest that there are specific questions and dialogues which need to be opened and pursued, and that people might be persuadable.
Now these dialogues may not be easy. They may involved being abused. But the possibility of dialogue and failure also suggests the possibility of learning something new together.
And that might get somewhere. At least further than thinking the opposition is ignorant, stupid or mad.