Why People Can’t Be Trusted
The institute has built a reputation over the years for providing a forum for climate change deniers. It hosts lavish conferences of climate science doubters at expensive hotels in New York and Washington DC. The institute also spent $100,000 on commissioning an alternative curriculum for schoolchildren that casts doubt on global warming. Mr Koch is clearly everything one fears and suspects about human beings.
This is nothing new at all. Watching Adam Curtis’s three-part series ‘The Trap’, made in 1995, is a sobering and weirdly prescient experience. In it, Curtis points out that the way the West treats Islamic countries will lead to a massive terrorist attack in the near future. But the main thrust of his argument is that we’ve been taught to believe that men like Mr Koch will always exist, and it is best to distrust them.
The mathematician John Nash (whose story was given a rosier tint in ‘A Beautiful Mind’) created a paradoxical test in ‘The Prisoner’s Dilemma’ which proved it was better to trust no-one than to trust everyone or even anyone. Except that when his theories were tested on secretaries at the Rand Corporation, they did the exact opposite because the natural human instinct (back then) was to automatically trust.
Ultimately it was necessary to create a climate of fear. These documentaries, all of which can be found online, or better yet purchased as sets in the US, are filled with eureka-moments that can pretty much account for where we are today. Naturally, Curtis has created a legion of Curtis-deniers. The important thing is that he provides substantial room for argument. I especially like the last line on this extract.