Rule of thumb – If someone commenting on your blog post starts with an attack on you (as opposed to your arguments), then you’ve hit a nerve and – whether they know it or not, whether they can even admit it to themselves or anyone else when it is pointed out – they are trying to distract you and themselves from actual thrust of your argument.
Why? Well, because you’ve hit that nerve. In this case, the commenter loves the idea of wise old men being “enough”. That was how the world was supposed to work. That’s what we are still taught: That with enough information and enough people of good will, all will be well, that the climate crisis can be dealt with. The failure of this model, in the real world, must be denied or explained away. Those who challenge it must be (wilfully?) mis-understood. The soothing myth must be protected.
This is important because it’s what she has been pinning her hopes on for thirty years, and she has grandchildren and is probably afraid they will start asking “what did you actually DO in the climate wars, Nan? What did you actually achieve?”
“#awkward” as the young people say. She doesn’t want to confront the myth’s palpable failure. She doesn’t want to concede that the world isn’t conforming to the idea(l) of old white men being enough, that our virtue might be inadequate and that we might have to change our game, raise our game, innovate if those grandkids are going to have anything more than an apocalyptic hellscape to look forward to.
It would require her to admit she’d wasted her time and all our opportunities to actually get somewhere these last three decades. It would require her to actually have to challenge cherished assumptions. It would require that she demand more of herself and those she idolises. And the gnawing fear – to be suppressed, via vitriol – is that she and others might not be up to that challenge – with enormous psychological, social and ecological consequences.
So, it is far “safer” to throw out some abuse to derail things. Far safer to give a litany of facts that the person she is abusing clearly knows. This will help to bulk out a reply that does not actually speak to the substance of the original post.
Because, you know, her psychological safety, and enjoyment in worshipping at the Church of FlanTurn is by FAR the most important thing. Far more important than actually getting anything done.
I am sure I am just as weak, just as pathetic.
Such is the species.
Some of us can see it, others won’t, or can’t.
So it goes.