Earlier this morning, a friend sent me a link to an article that’s simultaneously the funniest, dumbest, and most thought-provoking thing I’ve read this week. Then again, it’s only Wednesday.
Apparently, a Finnish group called Melting Ice is trying to raise money for Project Trumpmore, which would “prove” — their word, not mine — the existence of “climate change.” The project would accomplish its goal by carving a Mount Rushmore-sized sculpture of President Trump’s bust into an iceberg, and then watching it melt.
I wanted to dig a little deeper, so I visited the project website and read the press release from its organizers. At one point in the release, they mentioned “global warming,” an expression that’s been mostly absent from the narrative for many years now. It caught my attention and got me thinking about how one’s perception of something can be influenced by the words chosen to define it, and how subtly changes to these words can happen over time.
When I was a graduate student, way back in the mid-1990s, environmental economics was a specialty being considered by some of my fellow students, largely because of the amount of grant money getting thrown around at the time. Back then, the hot topic was “anthropogenic global warming,” which was enough of a mouthful that it was usually abbreviated AGW. When we used this expression, there was absolutely no question about what we were discussing:
- That the climate may be getting warmer, rather than cooler
- That the warmer climate may be happening globally, rather than locally
- That the globally warmer climate may be caused by human activity
With the terms clearly defined, rational people were able to have intelligent debates about each of these three points separately, or about all three simultaneously, or perhaps in some combination.
At some point, though, the language of the debate began to change, and with the change, the clarity of what we were discussing completely disintegrated.
The first change was to remove the word “anthropogenic” and speak only of “global warming.” To some, the word may have appeared to have become superfluous, the human causes of global warming having become, to them, a settled matter. To others, it may have appeared to be a surrender by those controlling the debate, that the anthropogenic nature of global warming was no longer defensible. Either way, the precision enjoyed by earlier, healthier debate was lost.
The next change was far more dramatic — and insulting to one’s intelligence — as both the words “global” and “warming” disappeared, replaced by the completely meaningless expression “climate change.” Take another look at my three bullet points above, and consider what “climate change” might mean to someone with a reasonable command of the English language:
- That the climate may be getting warmer or cooler
- That the warmer or cooler climate may be happening globally or locally
- That the globally or locally warmer or cooler climate may or may not be caused by human activity
When a debate centers around three meaningless points such as these, why would an intelligent person even engage? But, see, I think that’s the intention of those controlling the narrative. To them, if you accept the climate change narrative, you’ve accepted anthropogenic global warming without actually having to go through the trouble of saying it. However, if you’re skeptical of any of the three points of anthropogenic global warming, you’re accused of denying a concept entirely without meaning. The two expressions may mean the same thing when it’s convenient, or they may not, also when it’s convenient.
The next step, already underway although not quite universal yet, is to remove the word “change.” If you support further research on any of the three points of anthropogenic global warming, someone will accuse you of being a “climate denier.” But wait! It gets even more ridiculous. Since many consider climate change to be “settled” science, you may even be called a “science denier” in return for expressing your desire for more science. Don’t laugh! It’s already happening.
In my opinion, if you’re not going to call anthropogenic global warming by its name, it’s because either you’re not sure what it is, you’re not entirely convinced by it, or you’re trying to be deceptive.
Anyway, back to Project Trumpmore.
I don’t know whether it’s the intention of the project’s organizers to mock President Trump in some way by melting his face off in effigy, but I doubt it’d play out as such. Donald Trump’s supporters have been saying since before Election Day 2016 that he’s living rent-free in the heads of his opponents. This project would only confirm it. Or, as my friend wrote when he sent me the link:
Nothing says “I’ve completely unhinged my opposition” like having them carve your face into a glacier.
Furthermore, I doubt there’s anything scientific to be gleaned from a melting iceberg. No one imagines dinosaurs roamed freely between North America and Europe by hopscotching over a sea of icebergs between Greenland and Iceland and Scotland. Icebergs melt, and they’ve been melting since long before we humans came along.
For all I know, Project Trumpmore could just be some hilarious, overblown troll. However, if it were real and successful, it would likely prove only one thing conclusively: Trump Derangement Syndrome is real and undeniable.