Climate change gaslighting 101: Dixie Chicks vs Anthony Watts

  • Published on March 18th, 2020
The idea that the fossil fuel industry and its denial-defenders in politics and media are gaslighting America is hardly new. The term for how someone in an abusive relationship will use lies and deception to make their victim think they’re crazy (based on a 1938 movie where a man makes his wife question her sanity by dimming the gaslights every night, among other things) was injected into the political discourse in 2016 by a viral TeenVogue essay explaining how Trump gaslights Americans.

By Climate Denier Roundup

Others have made the connection to how climate denial operates:

The Dixie Chicks just made their return with a new song called “Gaslighter.” Even the “greenhouse gaslighting” pun we would make has already been done to death.

And yet, it seems that ever-topical Anthony Watts is just now catching on to the idea. His post over the weekend claims that a 2017 piece in Psychology Today on the 11 warning signs of gaslighting “is wholly applicable to the climate debate.”

Which, of course, it is. Just in the opposite way that Watts and his readers choose to believe.

That’s exactly the point of organized denial’s campaign of blatant lies (flag #1), like that climate models don’t work, undertaken over at least three decades (#4 is that gaslighting happens slowly over time), rife with projection (#8), like Willie Soon getting over $1 million from fossil fuels for his research and then accusing consensus academics of “prostituting science,” and only believable if you accept only that that everyone and everything that contradicts them, from scientific organizations to thermometers, are lying to you (#11).

Once you’ve been fully gaslit, reality is whatever your gaslighter wants it to be. And everything that contradicts it is just evidence of the conspiracy against you.

As the WUWT post proves, once you’ve been indoctrinated well enough, you’ll convince yourself that the lights aren’t any dimmer, even as you stumble about in the dark. Maybe if Watts hadn’t spent all these years dimming the lights at WUWT, his readers would’ve been able to see his reflection in this post.

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