Can there be Climate Change disbelievers? No, not really. Maybe some of the truly ignorant, like those who buy into anti-vaccination or think Earth is flat, might be. But most of those who claim to be skeptics or outright deniers of the increasingly obvious climate change, and/or that it is human caused, are simply lying. They know, and they don’t care. They think it sounds better to be a science denier than a heartless bastard.
It’s not so much WHAT they don’t care about, but WHO. That would be their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, if they have any. If they don’t, it’s just everyone else’s they don’t care about.
Though the warming of the Earth is having harmful effects already, actual threats to the habitability of most parts are probably decades away. Most adults over 50 have a fair chance of being dead before they’d have to worry about food shortages, especially if they have enough wealth to pay higher prices. If their oceanside estate goes underwater, the wealthy can move to higher ground. Maybe they can learn to tolerate the greater number of refugees from places that are getting too dry, too hot, or too flooded to live. So, they figure they’ll be all right, even if they are the last generation to be able to think that.
Even for conservative Republicans, who are already hard-line social Darwinists, thinking poverty is a sign of unfitness to survive, not caring about their own children’s future is pretty extreme. But to them, those descendants are just another group outside their reality. Like the poor, the dark of skin, and the immigrants. Future generations are separated by time.
I don’t care is a recurrent theme among right-wing conservatives. It is not usually the reason given in public statements, for example, opposing universal health care, when told that many people cannot afford health insurance, and that medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcies. They may instead launch into diatribes about socialism. The actual reason in nearly any instance where people need assistance from their government, and are not getting it is, for most conservative Republicans, I don't care.
Empathy is a human quality that is essential for an interdependant social species desiring sustainable survival. It is, in fact, the key to human survival until permanent infrastructure and technology allowed some individuals to believe themselves independent of the masses. The behavior of other social species implies an instinctive concern for the welfare of others. It is the basis of morality.
The ideology based on the rejection of empathy toward any class of human not considered to be in one’s own group, a group self-considered to be superior in some way, whether by economic status, race, or culture, or a combination of these, is expressed in today’s politics as conservatism, libertarianism, ethnonationalism, etc., depending on the particular focus. The appeal is that there are fewer people to care about-- only a small subsection of humanity, a group that is much less likely to need caring about, at least as long as they can maintain their advantage of superior wealth and privilege.
They believe they are entitled to exploit the lower classes without the need for fairness. Workers and consumers are a natural resource, like soil and raw materials with which to produce wealth. Their degree of concern depends only on the difficulty of replacement.
One does not have to be wealthy or powerful to join the I don’t care ideology. It requires only a class of others to look down upon, to consider less deserving than one’s own group. Every division that can be imagined creates another group who can think themselves superior to those less fortunate. They may themselves be exploited and expendable by those above them.
There are many things that we should NOT care about, like other people’s skin color, religion, sexual preference, culture, or national origin.
Not caring about other human beings, their survival, well-being, freedom, and equality, is wrong and harmful to all of us in the long term.
--Cosmicrat, October 2019