What sickness in our culture drives the 24/7 weather obsession?

Judith H. writes:

I believe the media greatly exaggerate the phenomena of weather to compensate for the fact that they understate (if they state it at all) the serious effects of racially-motivated crime, immigration, and the liberal agenda in general which has destroyed the West more efficiently than any hurricane ever could.

After a hurricane we pick up the pieces and rebuild. Liberalism does not allow us to pick up the pieces. Liberalism does not even allow us to say that something is broken.

LA replies:

I was thinking something exactly like this a few minutes before your e-mail came—that the exaggerated concern with the weather is like anarcho-tyranny. Our society ignores and refuses to handle its real problems, including problems that threaten its very existence, but it needs to see itself as handling some problem, in order to maintain its legitimacy in its own eyes. So it makes a huge deal out of a storm.

Paul K. writes:

I too have been thinking about this recently. The SWPL whites—the PC whites—concern themselves with things like funding their local symphony orchestras, preserving historical buildings, conscientiously separating their recyclables, and making sure the coffee they consume is grown by non-exploited Third-Worlders, while they turn a blind eye to the dissolution of their entire race. Yet high culture, our history, the environment, and the plight of those in other nations are of importance only to white people. With the dwindling power and authority of our race, all these things the SWPL whites focus on will be forgotten.

Gintas writes:

I think people—not just the media—want a catastrophe. A nation so dizzily decadent craves, deep down, God’s discipline. A hurricane, an “act of God,” will do.

Philip M. writes:

I’ve also wondered about the liberal obsession not just with extreme weather, but with disaster scenarios generally.

I was wondering if there was some part of them that recognises that their society is collapsing either because of them, or at least in spite of the fact that they are in control, so they actively will the destruction of the society through natural causes as a way of being able to resolve the dilemma of relinquishing their power and responsibility without ever acknowledging that they were wrong, or being seen as the cause of the collapse.

Incidentally, this could be why they are so heavily invested in the global warming thing, and the reason that people like Al Gore are so shrill on the subject.

Or is this just too far out a theory?

LA replies:

I don’t think your theory is too far out at all. It applies the logic of non-existence which is the true end of liberalism.

Your theory is analogous to a scenario/prediction of mine from a few years ago. I said that the liberal elite are weary of leading a society which, as liberals, they cannot love and approve: “it’s too guilty, too powerful, and its guilt and its power are too much of a burden for them. How do you go on upholding something that you don’t believe in anyway?” So they will ultimately resolve the dilemma by letting Islam take over the West. They will be happier as the functionaries and servants of a future Caliphate of the West, than as the leaders of a society they despise.

Seeing their society destroyed through natural disasters would also free liberals of the dilemma of being responsible for a society which, according to their own liberal principles, is worthy of condemnation.

Beth M. writes:

About eight or ten years ago, I sat down to watch an old movie ono TV. The station played the movie, along with copious commercials, but kept interrupting the movie to have Mr. Weatherboy, standing in front of his infernal map, blather on about “severe weather” and “possible tornadoes.” There may have been an actual “Tornado Watch” (not to be confused with an actual Tornado Warning) at some point in the evening—I can’t remember. What I do remember is that the station kept interrupting the movie to present Mr. Weatherboy and his map, and that Mr. Weatherboy would make inane statements about how heavy the rain was, and the possibility of various kinds of disaster occurring, and then would immediately repeat, more or less verbatim, what he had just said, with a final reminder that he would be back with further updates as conditions developed, and there would be additional details on the 10 o’clock news, etc. The interruptions were so frequent and lengthy that it was impossible to follow the plot of the film.

The next day, I wrote a nastygram, by snail mail, expressing my extreme displeasure, and suggesting that in the future the station just CANCEL the movie whenever it was raining outside, and tell viewers that Mr. Weatherboy would instead engage in his inane weather chatter for two solid hours. A couple of weeks later, Mr. Weatherboy interrupted the movie being shown, and APOLOGIZED for interrupting the movie, very quickly said what he had to say once and only once, and did not come back.

If you are angry, write a letter! It might make a difference.

Alex A. writes from England:

The obsession with the weather—which takes the form of continuous media speculation about extreme conditions that will alarm the public—is what psychologists call a “displacement activity.” It takes the place of dealing with substantive issues which are really of the first consequence. Distracting the public mind with phony scares and alerts about impending disasters, is one of the classic manoeuvres in the dissemination of propaganda. It’s artful but not subtle.

The whole liberal enterprise could be described as a gigantic cultural and political bluff. And most of the people are being fooled most of the time.

Ken Hechtman writes:

Philip M. is over-thinking it. People who believe government can and should do good wherever possible are going to take disaster relief seriously. It’s just a specific case of the general principle. OK, maybe Ray Nagin’s the exception but in general, it’s true. Besides, disaster relief is the one form of government intervention that nobody hates. It’s the one time you can say “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” and people will be happy to hear it.

On the subject of Ray Nagin, I read that he was on TV last week giving advice about Hurricane Irene. I wonder what he said. “You know that thing I did in 2005? Don’t do that.”

LA replies

Ken Hechtman is not being responsive to Philip’s point. Philip’s subject wasn’t disaster relief (of course, people hit by disaster will want relief), but the way that the exaggerated predictions of disaster and the total focus on possible disaster seem to suggest that people, at least on some level, want a disaster to come. Does that mean that people literally want their city, home, roads etc. to be destroyed? No. But there does seem to be a kind of pleasure in anticipating such things. This goes beyond the normal excitement that people feel at any large event. The nonstop total focus of society on this and other storms is not normal behavior. Philip was trying to explain what might explain it.

August 29

Buck O. writes:

I can’t remember how many times that I’ve said, “What a great job, being a weatherman. They’re paid well even though they’re wrong much of the time, and people continue to turn to them for their expertise.” Great hitters in baseball fail us 70 percent of the time and we make them into royalty. Weather is physical chaos. If forecasters high-ball a big storm, they get hammered for being wrong; if they low-ball it, they get hammered for not warning us, which sets them up to high-ball us.

People are sheep. We’re herded around by weather forecasters and government officials because we demand that they do so. We’re the problem, not them. We’d be demanding that someone come on TV and tell us what’s going to happen, if we weren’t already tuned in. Then, we bitch at them because they don’t actually have a crystal ball.

They nailed the path of this storm days ahead, putting the eye within a hundred miles of its actual landfall. That should amaze us. How much better can they be? How is it ever going to be possible to gauge the strength of a storm when it hits our own home? Every single storm vacillates up and down in strength in a chaotic manner—repeatedly—before it gets to us. That’s too much to ask. In fact, it has to be impossible.

Seems to me that getting the path is huge, and that everything else is up to us stupid humans. We’ve build our civilization up and down the full length of our shore line (where the ocean meets the land mass—duh.), exactly where hurricanes and tsunamis go to raise hell. What in the world do we expect to happen?

After all, we’re only human.

If we’re going to demand and measure weathermen against perfection, we’re too far gone for the more abstract matters of politics and culture. Really, how did our forefathers manage their days without a TV weatherman?

Either our homes and businesses belong where we’ve put them, or they don’t. Either we want to be warned of the POSSIBILITY of a catastrophic storm, or we don’t. We can’t complain about inaccuracies after demanding that they make a prediction. And, we can’t complain that the predictions cause over-reactions. Are we a bunch of sheep or grown men?

How many of us would have prepared in even routine ways without the warnings? We live in a nanny state. Isn’t hysteria what we crave?

I experienced a very rainy and somewhat windy 30 hours of so. There were the typical power outages and the ongoing outrages. Would the extra crews, who expedited the repairs, have been on stand-by without the forecasts? We were warned of the possibility of more severe weather and the rest was up to us. Stay or go, batten or not. So, I battened up a little. I took in and secured what might blow away and made sure that my gutters and downspouts were secure. Should I be angry or annoyed because I went to the extra trouble of doing something that is routine? That’s silly. I usually end up running out in a heavy rain to check that my downspouts are secure. People—residences and businesses—on our shores, put themselves at risk. Should they be warned of the possibility of cat 4 or 5, or not? What is the point of warning if not of a catastrophe? If people must be warned of wind and rain, then we’re idiots and deserve a good soaking.

Weather is by definition chaos.

LA replies:

In this discussion I have not criticized weather forecasts or said that incorrect forecasts were the problem. I’ve said that the problem is the hysteria with which these forecasts are communicated to us, and the immersion of the whole society in this hysteria, though the 24/7 coverage.

If, as you say, the strength of a storm when it hits cannot be forecast with any certainty, then shouldn’t the media have been more circumspect and modest in its claims about what was going to happen, instead of screaming that “65 million people are facing catastrophe”?

Buck O. replies:

Absolutely. That’s what I was saying in my, I guess, convoluted way. We get the media and the government that “we” demand.

Andrew T. writes:

And Governor “Get The Hell Off The Beach” Christie.

Tony Soprano style leadership.

Just what the country needs, less dignity, less elegance, more crass.

Philip M. writes:

I am confused by Ken’s reaction to my thoughts, which I quite agree might be overthought—I even expressed some doubt myself. But what part of what I said is Ken disagreeing with? To break it down, there were two elements to my comment. First, the premise that liberals seem to actively desire such disasters, and, second, my conclusion that this is because they are trapped between their own repressed fears over the direction of society, and their unwillingness to admit to these fears and change course.

It seems unlikely that Ken was refuting my premise, because this is the premise of the whole thread, and has been remarked on by several other commenters. Seeing as he was disagreeing with me, it seems more likely that he would be disagreeing on the aspects that were unique to my comment, namely, the conclusion. Furthermore, the fact that liberals take disaster relief seriously does not actually refute the idea that they also over-react, so I do not think that this is what he meant.

But if Ken agrees with the premise and was offering a different conclusion, what possibilities does that leave with regard to his meaning? Is Ken saying that liberals over-react, but do so because they believe in government intervention? If so, this raises more questions. Why would their belief in the power of government as a force for good mean that they wish disasters to happen?

Ken says, “People who believe government can and should do good … are going to take disaster relief seriously.” Well, yes, this is obvious. But couldn’t you just as easily say that people who believe individuals and voluntary co-operation can and should do good are also going to take disaster relief seriously? In fact, a conservative who believes in personal rather than government responsibility has surely MORE reason to be hysterical, because in the event of the disaster he knows that he will expect himself, rather than the government, to put his life on the line. Wouldn’t a person who believes it is up to the government actually have more reason to relax about the situation, rather than less? So why don’t conservative groups react in the same way, if indeed Ken agrees that they don’t?

After reading Ken’s comment several times, the impression I am left with is actually one far more damning of liberals than that which occurred to me. Namely, that Ken agrees that liberals wish to see disaster, and that they wish it because they actually like government intervention as an end in itself, and enjoy seeing people needing their help. Ken says:

“Besides, disaster relief is the one form of government intervention that nobody hates. It’s the one time you can say ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help you’ and people will be happy to hear it.”

Perhaps I am over-thinking again, but I could almost read into this that liberals are annoyed that people are often suspicious of the government and the “help” they offer, and that a natural disaster offers them a welcome chance to see a population brought to its knees to the extent that even those who are normally proud and disdainful of government relief are humbled, and bend their knee in gratitude at the possibility of help from the state—that what the liberal wishes is a truly pliant, grateful and broken populace for the government to shower its mercy and grace upon. In effect, a disaster makes good propaganda for the principle of government intervention.

I do not wish to twist Ken’s thoughts, I may be completely wrong in my interpretation. I’d be interested to hear any further thoughts from him, if he gets a chance to read this. The funny thing is, even if I have completely mis-read his true meaning, I actually think the misreading is a valid and compelling possibility in itself.

Now, here’s a question for you. Suppose there was a natural disaster, and the inhabitants of certain areas spurned the offer of government help. Suppose these citizens said that they did not trust the government, and suspected that their help always came with strings attached, and insisted that they had recruited all the volunteers they needed to deal with the problems in their town themselves. What would be the reaction of liberals and the media?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 28, 2011 07:48 PM | Send

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