For the longest time I racked my brain about the global-warming/man-made climate-change issue. I'm no scientist, to be sure, so I can't claim to understand all of the various facts and elements that go into it but the technical specifics of the phenomenon are not the real issue for me. I accept the overwhelming scientific community's consensus and that aspect of the issue, the right-wing argument – whether it is real and man-made or not – is not what I was raking my brain over.
My expertise, experience, training and education falls more along the lines of the psychological and sociological features of the problem, my personal interest most specifically: the end-game consequences. The main issue I could not wrap my head around for the longest time was this: rich industrialists – like, say, the Koch brothers, Charles and David – have children and grandchildren that they love, whose futures they are deeply concerned with and would do almost anything to protect and I can't imagine that they don't feel that way. I know, we progressives hate and demonize the Koch brothers, and for good reason, but assuming they aren't human beings and don't love their children and grandchildren is just stupid and childish. Of course they do.
So that begs an obvious question: as you love your progeny, Charles and David, and I don't doubt for a second that you do, how can you in good conscience destroy the environment your progeny will inherent? You do understand that your loved ones that survive you be be forced to live in the f–ked-up, polluted world that you f–ked-up and polluted, right? The world that you're f–king-up and polluting right now? You get that, right?
This is what I simply couldn't understand. How can people destroy the world with pollution and global warming (i.e.: climate-change) and create a Hellscape that their offspring, their legacy, their CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN and GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN will ultimately have to live in? It didn't make any sense to me. Let's face it, you'd have to be severely mentally ill to do something like that to your own offspring! It seemed an entirely irreconcilable conflict that no rational thinking person could possibly be on the “wrong side” of. A pure case of cognitive dissonance.
Of course, Charles and David could just be in denial, believing all their sycophants and “yes-men,” “Sure, well over 90% of scientists believe that global warming (i.e.: climate-change) is real and a man made problem directly caused by many of the things you/we/the company are doing – the other 10% are on our payroll and specifically paid to not believe in Man-Made Climate-Change – and it's all but universally accepted to be a man-made problem and but don't worry, Mr. Koch (whichever one, both, take your pick), the science is still out; man-made climate-change is not a 100% proven, scientific fact. You/We/The Company can keep going balls-to-the-wall, “full-speed-ahead, damn-the-torpedoes,” Business-as-Usual, guilt-free because there's no proof of harm done! (At least not with 100% certainty!)”
But that really doesn't make any sense, does it? Koch Industries are involved in commercial enterprises such as the manufacturing, refining, and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, energy, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, finance, commodities trading, and a vast number of other science-based ventures and investments (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koch_Industries).
Let's be honest: When it comes to science and technology The Koch Brothers/Industries pretty much lead the pack! Could they really run all that science based business and still deny and pretend to be entirely ignorant of science and scientific principles (i.e.: how science actually works)? Well, of course not. Charles and David clearly are not arguing with scientists when it comes to oil, chemicals, energy, polymers, minerals, fertilizers or chemical technology, so I seriously doubt they all of a sudden refuse to accept science when it comes to global warming and man-made climate change. That just doesn't make any sense. One could say honestly that science is their bread-and-butter.
So we're left with two logical questions: 1.) How can people, like the Koch brothers, who love and care about their progeny, destroy the world their progeny (and everybody else, by the way) will be forced to live in? And 2.) How can people – the same people, by the way – who actually know and understand the facts and the science involved still destroy the world their progeny (and, again, everyone else) will be forced to live in?
You can, dear readers, I hope, appreciate my intellectual dilemma here. I certainly appreciate that there were any number of easier ways to go. Hell, simply assume the Koch Brothers and their ilk are just incredibly evil pieces-of-sh-t who don't give a f–k about the world or their offspring! Now that's a tempting idea and a simple answer. But I simply can not accept that: I could not wrap my head around the idea that even the Koch brothers, Charles and David, having children and grandchildren that I'm sure they love, whose futures they worry about and would do almost anything to protect would still destroy the world those offspring would be forced to live in. And, I will not back away from that principle. Intellectually I can not.
I gave the issue a lot of thought. And then it came to me.
The Koch Brothers know that what they do in business will ultimately destroy the world as we know it; that the poles will melt and the new West Coast will be Nevada and Arizona and that most of the East Coast will be gone underwater forever. They know that Florida, most of the South and Cuba and the Bahamas will be submerged and that a lot of Central and South America will be gone as well. They know that almost all of Britain and most of Europe will disappear. They know that China and Russia will be considerably smaller. And most importantly, that world-wide, millions upon millions, in fact billions! of people will suffer and perish.
To their thinking it's not a question of caring one way or another about the coming human disaster. To them, in their world-view, that disaster is inevitable; if they don't do it, they believe, somebody else will. The question for the Koch Brothers is not how they can prevent the coming disaster but rather “How are me and mine going to survive the disaster,” because it's going to happen whether “we” get richer off of it or somebody else does.
If they're rich, and the Koch Brothers are all ready very, very, very rich, they'll own that Beach-Front Property in Arizona and Nevada and you won't. You and your children and loved ones will be drowned, dead, gone, and that's too bad, but that's the way it goes. “Me and my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have beautiful houses in Arizona and Nevada overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Sorry you drowned in California, but, well, that was California, and that was your own fault because you weren't rich like we are.”
On one level there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of this. If you believe in every man and woman for themselves, if you have a pure dog-eat-dog world-view, okay, that's where you're at. Nobody can tell you what to believe in. You're a couple of f–ked-up ass-holes, in my opinion, but whatever.
But here's my problem with this and why I believe the Koch Brothers are complete pieces-of-s—t in general: They don't say that they believe in every man and woman for themselves and that they have a pure dog-eat-dog world-view and that they believe the coming environmental disaster they are directly causing is inevitable whether they participate in it and make a fortune off of it or not. What they do is keep pretending that they aren't doing the damage they're doing while buying commercials on TV for political candidates that claim they are looking out for the “common working man” (and just in case you're wondering, that “common man” would be among the guys who drowns with their families in the coming floods created by various Koch Industries endeavors).
On a certain level, of course, this makes perfect sense; if they just outright told everybody straight-up what they believed and what they were doing – “Hey, every man for himself! Go f-ck yourself sideways!” – perhaps the country would actually do something to stop them and their ilk before it's too late for the rest of us.
The bottom-line is that Charles and David Koch aren't worried about their kids, grand-kids, or great-grand-kids because, no matter how bad things get their billions and billions of dollars have got them covered. They are all going to be just fine regardless of global warming and man-made climate-change. They may lose a great house in Palm Beach, but they have lots of houses.
The rest of us, of course, might want to start worrying a little bit about our own.