Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Denial

If you can keep your head
when all about you
are losing theirs,
You probably just don't
understand the gravity
of the situation

Iran's President Ahmadinejad held a little party for Holocaust deniers recently. the usual Nazis and eccentrics showed up, along with a few Orthodox Jews who don't deny the Holocaust but don't approve of Israel.

Which left me wondering about deniers in general. I don't for a minute believe that Ahmadinejad really doesn't believe the Holocaust happened. He is motivated by a different logic. He figures that Jews in general, and Israel in particular, have gotten way too much mileage out of the fact that Hitler singled them out as his special victims. He also wants to build credibility with the Israel hating Palestinian and Arab masses. Somewhat similar logic may apply to the David Dukes of the world.

Nonetheless, there are many real Holocaust deniers with no obvious political programs who really seem to believe their particular nut-baggery. I can't really fathom them, except to guess that some mental or emotional defect has separated them from reality.

The same kind of logic applies to other deniers, I think. The top rung of evolution deniers quite likely deny evolution as a matter of political strategy. The millions on the bottom don't understand or care about the evidence, but they cling to their lifeboat of religion.

Those who deny human induced global warming may be a more complex bunch. Once again, you have a collection of interests who find it politically and economically convenient to deny the evidence. There is a tiny pool of those who might be considered experts who align with the deniers - probably less than a score, worldwide. There is also a large pool of those with no special expertise - economists, petroleum geologists, statisticians, a stray physicist or two who are firmly in the denier camp. It's hard not to think that these people are delusional, but what is the source of their delusion? Religion or something like it? A stubborn contrariness? Or are they hoping for some financial or political gain from their allegiance? At the bottom again, are those whose lives are ruled by predjudice rather than fact or logic.

The big Kahuna of Deniers today is our President. As long as Don Rumsfeld was out there, looking and talking like someone's demented uncle recently escaped from the attic, Bush had a bit of cover. With Rumsfeld gone, Bush is increasingly alone with his delusion. It's pretty hard to escape the conclusion that his delusion, unlike Ahmadinejad's, is not motivated by strategy or political tactic, but expresses his fundamental disconnection from reality.