Sunday 22 June 2014

More on Clive Hamilton on optimism

Reading the pieces mentioned in my last post reminded me that I've had Clive Hamilton's Earthmasters on my bookshelf for a few weeks now. Finally getting around to read it this weekend I've found it to be an outstanding introduction to the issue of geoengineering. I'm about half way through and just getting into the discussion of how these technologies intersect with geopolitics. Anyway, I particularly enjoyed this section on the follies of optimism as an end in itself:
Some people derive a peculiar sort of pleasure in describing themselves as an 'optimist.' It's a kind of one-upmanship used to shut down those arguing that the evidence shows the future is not rosy. 'Whatever you might say, I am an optimist,' they declare, implying that their interlocutor is somehow not bold enough to take on the challenge. It's not so much passive aggression as sunny aggression firmly rooted in the moral superiority of cheerfulness [...] (104-105)