It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled

Did you know that there was an actual playbook compiled by the tobacco industry decades ago which employed a smattering of scientists (Willie Soon’s forefathers?), researchers and other sell-outs to be used as a reference guide to help them deceive the American public into thinking that cigarettes were harmless? There was, indeed, and the (scanned) pages from that evil tome can be accessed here. It is literally called, “Bad Science: A Resource Book.” Believe it or not, some of those same people are involved in the climate change denial business, and the methods used by tobacco companies are, in fact, in play and have been used for the past few decades.

Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway was a meticulously researched and painstakingly accurate 2010 non-fiction book which describes the strategies, the successes, and the ultimate downfall of the tobacco industry. The Master Tobacco Settlement was a result of the States Attorneys General prosecution of the industry, en masse. I have looked at that case vis a vis the fossil fuel industry and, for many reasons, I really can’t see how it might work to fight climate change. In the case of the tobacco industry, they were severely penalized and had to adhere to many new regulations as a result of their criminal intent at deceiving the public. Many of their strategies and marketing methods just go hoisted upon those living outside the United States. And you’d be surprised at how creative they actually were. For example, the whole notion of “stress” and that it’s a bad and harmful thing for humans to experience was an outgrowth of tobacco strategy. How many of us perceive stress as bad? Probably most of us, right? That is one of the tobacco industry’s “successes.”

Merchants of Doubt (the book), to be honest, is not an “easy read,” nor is it an “easy listen” on audiobooks. I have done both, and, at times, it is tortuously detailed. And depressing. But on a POSITIVE note, it has now been made into a documentary film which IS entertaining and obviously contains much less excruciating detail.

The American public needs to understand how they are being “played,” much like what the tobacco industry accomplished decades ago. Hopefully we can get ourselves on the right track and start working towards fixing our environmental decay, although, I often find myself haunted by Mark Twain’s words:

Doc - Nov 4, 2014, 8-33 AM