In chapter 1 we described how a common psychological effect of rising insecurity is for people to become more conservative, less generous, and more zero-sum: think pre-Hitler Germany or pre-genocide Rwanda. Many decades of social science literature strongly correlates rising insecurity, fear, and pessimism with authoritarian politics. In difficult situations, the insecure and the pessimistic seek out authoritarian leadership. What's more, social psychological research conducted in laboratory settings has found that manufacturing insecurity and fear, particularly of one's own death, can have the same impact as real social circumstances of fear, such as during a terrorist attack or rising economic insecurity.
Collapse [by Jared Diamond] was intended to help Americans change their social values and create a more ecological society in order to avoid the fate of groups like the Grenland Norse. But in terrifying himself and his readers about the growing risk of social collapse, Diamond's eco-apocalypse narrative risks having the opposite effect. What extensive research finds is that the more scared people become about social instability and death, the less likely they are to change the way they think.Fear of death,wrote a group of social scientists in 2003,engenders a defense of one's cultural worldview.
— Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility
Nordhaus and Shellenberger argue that people will be more motivated to take action on environmental issues if they're presented as positive opportunities, not dire warnings.
- 1: Letter to My Senators: Concerns Regarding American Attack on Syria
- 2: CWA Notes 2017
- 3: Politics of Victimization, Resentment, and Cynicism
- 4: Modes of Bookkeeping
- 5: As More LJ Old-Timers Migrate to Dreamwidth…
- 6: Why I Oppose Trump's Proposed Visa Restrictions
- 7: Rest, Recovery, and Reading: Regurgitation-Free
- 8: Weighing In
- 9: Letter to My Senators: MLK Day and Support for Immigrants and the Disenfranchised
- 10: Hello Dreamwidth
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