The Ignorance of Denial

Ignorance is no excuse. In my early life this was a maxim that was drilled into my brain by parents and teachers alike. It was a call to examination of facts, exploration of differences among cultures, religions, and basically human beings, and it was intended to encourage one to question accepted dogma that had grown without the benefit of scientific scrutiny or plausible challenge.

It was the basis of an educational system in schools and home alike that allowed for progressive advancement and improvement of the human condition. It is a critical link to discovery of the ties that bind humanity and hopefully lead us to a world of greater tolerance and acceptance, minimization of violence and conflict, and promotion of intelligent and rational growth.

Yet today we in America are besieged by a reversal of intellectual growth that finds comfort not in scientific inquiry and method but rather in instinctive reliance upon either what we want to believe or what we think others want to hear. No greater illustration of this phenomena is evident than in the current circular construct in thought that is reflected in vehement denial of climate change.

As I struggle to maintain some semblance of sanity while elected leaders ratchet up their denials in the wake of overwhelming scientific consensus that is staring us directly in the face I have found myself tilting between anger, exasperation, incredulity, and fear. Watching the antics of the idiot du jour, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, I have to essentially recalibrate and tamp down my emotions so as to rationally diagnose the problem. Knee-jerk instinct would dictate that he is truly a person of limited intellect pandering to a tea party base that is seen as enhancing his outsized personal and political ambitions which are one and the same: namely, ascension to the presidency.

As is customary when confronted with such lunacy I have held my emotions in check before offering comment and what is most disturbing upon reflection is that he is not devoid of intellectual thought but rather is nothing more than a calculating and disingenuous opportunist wishing to take advantage of the stark realities of an actual crisis that we as a society and a nation have for too long ignored. I do not restrict my criticisms here to any one political party: Promoting subsidization of fossil fuels while decrying climate change is similarly sinister and is being practiced by the Obama administration and none other than Governor Jerry Brown in California. The least that one can say is at least they are willing to admit that the verdict is out on what is causing the climactic crisis, it is their twisted logic on how to respond that is at issue.

But the most discouraging aspect to the tea party, and hence Republican Party, irrationality governing the most serious issue facing not just future generations but the current generation as well is that there is not even a pretense to scientific uncertainty or debate. If you listen carefully to the explanations that emanate from Marco Rubio and others of his ilk, you will find no resort to even phony science or an attempt at compelling data, rather you will hear that he simply does not believe that humans are responsible. That's it! I just don't believe it. Well, sir, who died and left you the mantle of omniscience?

Unless you feel that your instincts are infallible, which would of course make you the equivalent of God's emissary here on Earth (that at least would be the Christian view), and certainly would be news to the pope, who cares whether you believe it or not? Your beliefs are not on trial here but rather your duty to serve the citizens of the United States; yes, you are a U.S. senator who represents a state, read the Constitution in case that concept has somehow escaped your education or just your ability for retention of historical facts.

Ignoring the perils that climate change holds for mankind is what in Catholic faith can be called a sin of omission and a sin of commission. Either way, it is a sin. You, Mr. Rubio, know better. Whether through ignorance or calculation you are guilty and betray any faith placed in you by citizens that expect you to act in their best interest.

In my recent book, The Evolution of a Revolution, I outline six precepts for helping us out of the dysfunctional funk our current governmental and political system finds itself in and one of them is to hold our elected leaders to a higher level of competence than merely leadership and that is one of statesmanship, which entails vision and wisdom and the ability to have the courage to tell people what they do not want to hear. Your belief system belies the trust that citizens place upon you to make difficult decisions based upon exhaustive evidence-gathering and the notion that you are a public servant whose primary function is to serve the public.

Mr. Rubio, you fail on all accounts. Ignorance is no excuse and there simply is no excuse for the callous disregard you exhibit on this critically important issue.