BreakPoint Blog

Again with the dying kids

More egregious ads from the radical environmentalists are here and here. Are they trying to shoot themselves in the foot?


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Nice try, Lee. I said that the only creatures that did not act like parasites were plants not that plants never do, a fact that I have to take account of every time I pull weeds.
Terrell, the problem with reading a lot is that I often forget who made a brilliant point with which I heartily agree. Bravo.

Jason, it's so extremely rare that you make an actual *error* that I would make a big deal of it if it could be done without embarrassing you.

Ben, as we used to say in freshman chemistry class, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate." We were told back in the 1970s that we had to immediately achieve Zero Population Growth or we'd all be goners by 1990 or so. That was a few billion people ago. We have cleaned up the planet remarkably in the last 50 years. What is interesting is that "for the children" was used in the 1970s and 1980s, was **not** used in the 1990s and 2000s and now is in use again. I wonder if the childless environmentalists have been replaced by family-oriented ones - except that, to Gina's point, these ads depict acts that most caring parents find to be unthinkable. So the ads repulse the very target audience.

As I think of it, environmental ads have always trended toward the in-your-face horrifying. Why is that?

And, come to think of it, there were some really awful horror movies (schlocky Hammer Films stuff, and the like) that based their horror not around sexual themes but environmental ones. I.e., people died not for loose morals but for being polluters. If I have absolutely nothing better to do this Halloween, I may watch a few out of curiosity for their sermon - y'know, preaching illustrated by bloodshed.

Or maybe I'll just find a Greenpeace commercials marathon...
Strictly speaking, Ben, the only creatures that don't act like parasites(or predators, or scavengers, or whatever tactical variation of the same fundamental process)are plants. The only way to stop acting like parasites is to stop eating.

With that charming thought done, I think I will go and act like a parasite.

I've seen many pro-life advertisements which are about fear, disgust, or hope, rather than making the point that abortion is murder. Likewise, as you pointed out, there are global warming ads that also just make emotional points. However, it's not hard to also find environmental ads that simply point out the damage we're doing to ourselves.

It's not practical to make in-depth arguments about abortion or global warming in the space of a billboard, nor would this make a very effective ad. So why would you judge a movement by the content of an ad? It's obviously says nothing about how much substance their real arguments have.

Re: your other point, why would we let the Earth have its way with eliminating us? Nobody is particularly eager to die, environmentalists included. We're smart, rational beings, so if we think we're acting like parasites, we can choose to change our behavior. I believe this is what most environmentalists are advocating.
In response
proplife adverts make the point that killing preborn children is murder. These enviro adverts just say to me do it for the children. There has to be a better reason or more reason. And Lee does bring up a valid point, which I raised on another string or whatever we call them, that if humans are vermin and parasites, why not let the earth have it's way with eliminating us? It was on the one about scientists trying to keep the GCD from happening. Which way is it?
Oh, everyone makes emotional arguments. That's my point.

Re: the environment, why can't you have it both ways? Humans really are "the problem" for the environment, but that can have more than one meaning. It could be human actions are the real problem or it could be the sheer number of us. It's obvious that we can change our actions "for the children", but I think it's also still logically sound to say that having fewer kids could also be "for the children", if doing so makes the Earth better for the children that are left.
In point of fact, appealing to emotion has always been, in practice, considered a legitimate political technique and some politicians have been praised for it.

It always depends, like all such things, on what emotions you are appealing too, and what cause you are supporting with them and so forth.
(Hmmm, Gina seems to be tolerating a drift from the original topic. Hey! Let's find out just how tolerant... Nah, better not.)

Ben, a couple of miscellaneous points: first, I was stunned to discover that not only was Aaron Burr a notorious womanizer who wrote instructions to his daughter (prior to his duel with Alexander Hamilton) to give his regards to a former mistress, but he was also the grandson of Jonathan Edwards. Truly, faith is not hereditary. Second, I recall some emotional argument about alleys and coathangers...? So perhaps the pro-life arguments were not the first to rely on non-rational appeals.

Be that as it may, the truly odd thing here is that on the one hand environmentalists see humans as the problem, but in these cases they make an appeal toward *preserving* human life. Why wouldn't they see fewer children as a *good* thing? Are they trying to have it both ways?
I half-agree, Jason, but "for the children" is only one of the emotional arguments that pro-life people use. There's disgust, for gory pictures (*any* surgery will gross me and many other people out), fear of sterility or disease, (which are too uncommon to be rational arguments), hope/awe ("Life - imagine the potential"), etc.

Generally few of the pro-life ads that you see on TV are based on the theme "Abortion is wrong." In a 30-second spot, you can at best hope to touch on a moral or logical themes, but that's easily enough time to pluck a few heartstrings.

/shrug. Even if we disagree about how this particular issue is advertised, I doubt you'd say that just because someone uses an emotional argument, they don't have anything more substantive to back it up. I mean, surely you've read "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"? It's the definitive hellfire-and-brimstone sermon, and relies not just on a logical set of theological points but also threatening and fear-inspiring imagery. The fact that Edwards used this imagery to intimidate and frighten his audience does not, I'd hope, imply that there is nothing to Christianity.
The argument against abortion is that it is murder. As unborn children are unarmed, the only way it can not be murder is for them to be subhuman. If they are human it is murder.

The "for the children" argument is invalid, Ben, not because it is emotional but because any advocate of any policy can reasonably make it and therefore more must be told about a policy.
Terrell, I doubt there's any realistic hope that ACT-Responsible (the environmental organization that designed the ad) can educate people on the science of climate change in the space of a billboard.

Emotional appeals are common in most political debates. Would you say that pro-life arguments are also weak because most of them are emotionally-based? I've heard quite a few of emotional appeals against abortion, and after all, "Weak arguments tend to run that way."
Just looks to me
like it's more of the same emotional "it's for the children appeal." Weak arguments tend to run that way. No one wants to harm the children or let them starve or let them die so we must do it for the children.

I think that's the problem. Out modern culture is so shallow and unable to examine propositions and weigth evidence, or discern a worldview at work, that they will do whatever it is as long as it is for the children.

Seems there's not enough good science or technical reason to worry about global warming, woops, global climate disruption, but we must do it for the children.
Here's what writer Matt Purple had to say about this sociopath/slasher commercial.
Gina's missing the point Chris? I suppose that's another interpretation. In that case it was an incompetent ad.

There was one notorious case where a munitions factory in world war two had a poster with an evil looking face and the caption He's Watching You. It started causing a stink because someone assumed that it meant that the government was watching them. As it happened it was simply a variation of "loose lips, sink ships."
Lee Harris once said that he had a friend who wanted to ostentatiously burn a flag at a Vietnam rally. He told his friend that this would do no good and would likely do harm, as it would just make people angry. His friend agreed but said "it was good for his soul". In other words he cared less about the success of his cause then about the idea of having a cause.
Sorry Gina
But the ad in the slideshow was completely different than the 10:10 video.

In the slideshow the message was "Warning: your children will be hurt if you continue this way". That's about 180 deg opposite to the 10:10 vido that said "We will hurt your children if they continue this way."

I may not agree with either, but the tone of the ads are very different.
Seems to me this is the same thing as the euthanasia ads from Down Under.
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