Cass Sunstein: Climate inaction a psychological problem — people not sufficiently afraid:
The Obama appointment of Cass Sunstein, a Harvard Law professor, to the position of head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is a rather formidable nail in the coffin of the First Amendment. In this position Sunstein has powers that are unprecedented and very far reaching; not merely mind-boggling but with explicit ability to use the courts to stifle free speech if it opposes Obama policies. In particular, Sunstein thinks that the bloggers have been “rampaging out of control” and that “new laws need to be written” to contain them. Sunstein’s new book, “On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done,” should give everyone serious pause for concern. Considering Sunstein’s position, the powers with which Sunstein is endowed are very, very, troubling.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “the post wields outsize power. It oversees regulations throughout the government, from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Obama aides have said the job is crucial as the administration overhauls financial-services regulations, attempts to pass universal health care and tries to forge a new approach to controlling emissions of greenhouse gases.””
Sunstein is another Obama “Czar” but is really the chief regulator of what can or cannot appear on the internet. It is very scary that the person who is in charge of public cyberspace believes that – “Whether you’re a blogger or the York Times or a Web hosting service – you should be held responsible even for what your comments say.”
Currently you’re immune under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Just who is this radical, anti-American law professor with a long time association with Obama?
Below is a collection of quotes attributed to Cass Sunstein.
3.Somewhat more broadly, I will suggest that animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law." -- Cass Sunstein, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama Administration. Yes, we have someone in charge of regulations in D.C. who thinks pigs should be able to sue farmers and cats should be able to sue their owners. Do you think it's a coincidence that the cost of business keeps skyrocketing under Obama because of all the new regulations?
Cass Sunstein writes at Bloomberg:
The first obstacle is that people tend to evaluate risks by way of “the availability heuristic,” which leads them to assess the probability of harm by asking whether a readily available example comes to mind. An act of terrorism, for example, is likely to be both available and salient, and hence makes people fear that another such event will occur (whether it is likely to or not). So, too, a recent crime or accident can activate attention and significantly inflate people’s assessment of risk.Read more…
By contrast, climate change is difficult to associate with any particular tragedy or disaster. To be sure, many scientists think that climate change makes extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Sandy, substantially more likely. But it is hard to prove that climate change “caused” any particular event, and as a result, the association tends to be at best speculative in many people’s minds.
Second, people tend to be especially focused on risks or hazards that have an identifiable perpetrator, and for that reason produce outrage. Warmer temperatures are a product not of any particular human being or group, but the interaction between nature and countless decisions by countless people. There are no obvious devils or demons — no individuals who intend to create the harms associated with climate change. For terrorism, a “we-they” narrative fits the facts; in the context of climate change, those who are the solution might well also be, or seem to be, the problem. In these circumstances, public outrage is much harder to fuel.
Third, human beings are far more attentive to immediate threats than to long-term ones. Behavioral scientists have emphasized that in their private lives, people sometimes display a form of myopia. They may neglect the future, seeing it as a kind of foreign country, one they may not ever visit. For this reason, they might fail to save for retirement, or they might engage in risk-taking behavior (such as smoking or unhealthy eating) that will harm their future selves.
In a political context, citizens might demand protection against a risk that threatens them today, tomorrow or next month. But if they perceive climate change as mostly a threat to future generations — if significant sea-level rises seem to be decades away — they are unlikely to have a sense of urgency.