They’ve always known

Ignorance is such a common excuse.

We didn’t know carbon dioxide could affect our climate. We didn’t know pipelines would leak. We didn’t know slaves were people. We didn’t know women could have the same aspirations as men. We didn’t know colonialism was exploitive. We didn’t know those people would be unhappy if we stole their children.

We knew all along. We just didn’t want to do anything about it.

Don’t believe those “if we had only known” people. There were other people who were telling them the truth, and they just chose to ignore them, usually because the lies were more profitable.


  1. kome says

    Willful ignorance is a hell of a drug.
    Although in the cases of a lot of corporations, it’s not even willful ignorance. They know, and given how much data they have access to they probably know better than most, but they simply act as if they don’t know to give them future deniability. This is the tobacco industry’s “doubt is our product” all over again. Actually, not all over again, but still. It’s still “doubt is our product.” It’s always been “doubt is our product.” That is the fundamental product of capitalism. Doubt in expertise, doubt in science, doubt in truth.

  2. says

    The world is so full of lies that people can’t see the truth any more. Didn’t realize the extinction of the human race would start with cognitive dissonance.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    One of the greatest lies that so-called “Western” civilization bought into (along with theism and capitalism) is that human beings are rational beings who will act out of enlightened self-interest. Humans aren’t so much “rational” as they are capable of “rationalizing” their actions, and their “self-interest” isn’t so much “enlightened” as it is informed by bigotry and greed. Thus we destroy our world while making intelligent-sounding excuses for it.

  4. garnetstar says

    Yeah, they knew. In 1896, the chemist Arrhenius, from his studies of the heat-absorbing properties of carbon dioxide, was the first person to predict that emissions from the burning of fossil fuels were large enough to cause global warming. The law he formulated was that a geometric increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would cause a linear increase in earth’s temperature.

    He didn’t keep quiet about it, either. So yeah, they knew, since 1896.

  5. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Friendly reminder that the worldwide Green movement is the group most responsible for us being in this current mess. This is because they are the biggest and most effective opposition to nuclear power, without which a solution is impossible. The large majority of climate scientists say that there is no solution without nuclear power, and some go further with me and say that Greens are the most at fault, including Dr. James Hansen and Dr. Kerry Emanuel.

    For example, in California circa 1960-1970, there was enough nuclear in the planning or building phases that if the newly born Green movement didn’t stop it, California today would have practically zero greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. But David Brower, Jerry Brown, Amory Lovins, and the rest of the gang, were widely successful in their opposition to nuclear power – David Brower because he was an anti-humanist neo-Malthusian, and Jerry Brown because his family had huge financial stakes in fossil fuels.