There I was, quietly minding my own business, trying my best to do what the "coexist" bumper stickers say, when my tender psyche got crushed by the latest tirade by actor Alec Baldwin.
A few days ago he spoke at the United Nations on behalf of Mother Earth. He fretted about those callous people who do not feel, as he does, that human beings are catastrophically altering the climate of the planet.
Am I the only one who thinks that it is slightly grandiose, even unbalanced, to think one can speak on behalf of an entire planet?
In an interview afterwards he said, "And so much of what's going on now is something that we have to treat as if it's a mental illness." To be clear he immediately added, "I believe the climate change denial is a form of mental illness."
Baldwin is an expert. I don't mean about the physics governing climate, but about mental instability. While he is beloved of the cultural elite, and mouths all the words expected of a Hollywood limousine liberal, his private life is an unstable wreck.
When Baldwin gets angry — and he gets angry a lot — murder comes into his mind. In one interview he said, "I spoke to a lot of professionals, who helped me … If I committed suicide, [ex-wife Kim Basinger's side] would have considered that a victory."
It gives me no pleasure to mention these problems. However, Baldwin just said I am mentally ill, and I feel it is worthwhile to point out that he is like the pot who called the kettle black.
It saddens me to read through the train wreck of his life, the arrests, the foul-mouthed tirades, the unsavory incidents on airplanes. Examples of poor choices and appalling antisocial behavior are easily multiplied. But Baldwin is, after all, a fellow man. I appreciate his humanity. His life reminds one that all of us have the need for repentance and confession of sins.
Rather than rehearse every grim detail (leaving us feeling grubby and voyeuristic), much of which is unfit for print, let's just glimpse the psychology of Baldwin's unkind feelings about those with whom he disagrees about the environment.
Environmental activism is a hobby of the well-heeled Hollywood echo chamber, a group known for moral corruption, for shallow and egotistical gestures. Who better to describe the heart of self-affirmation and self-realization? Indeed, being Green is, like, the coolest ever.
Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow chide Joe Public: "Do you turn off the lights," they giggle, "when you leave your bedroom? … Do you turn your thermostat down to 65°F and wear a sweater? … Why don't you go buy a hybrid car?"
Like his Hollywood friends Baldwin is a devotee of his own celebrity. He demands respect without achievement. After all, the man's job is to pretend he is someone he is not. When the recognition is not forthcoming he launches into tirades of vulgar profanity.
In 2014 he was arrested for abusing police after they stopped him bicycling against traffic in New York City. Once in custody, police escorted Baldwin to a nearby precinct, where he reportedly asked the desk supervisor: "How old are these officers, that they don't know who I am?"
In short, Baldwin indulges himself with the modern tendency to self-obsession without self-examination. Global warming is just another instance of such thinking.
Now the irony is that in spite of his mental instability I agree with Baldwin that less pollution is a social good. I want less pollution.
I suspect it is my scientific training that makes me not so prone to fall for the concentrated climate panic. Baldwin seems to assume I must therefore want to destroy Mother Earth. Quite the contrary, I believe that it is my duty to make this planet as fruitful and healthy as possible in order to maximize human prosperity. In terms of the planet I just want to focus on the real and solvable environmental problems.
Real scientists should be, and are, generally immune towards the kind of brainwashing that swamps the global warming industry. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever said, "I am a skeptic. … Global warming has become a new religion." Baldwin presumably has a straitjacket ready for the professor.
Professor Judith Curry is the former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She offers an idea Baldwin would do well to think upon: "It is inappropriate to dismiss the arguments of the so-called contrarians, since their disagreement with the consensus reflects conflicts of values and a preference for the empirical (i.e. what has been observed) versus the hypothetical (i.e. what is projected from climate models)."
James Wanliss, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics at Presbyterian College, Clinton, SC. He is a Senior Fellow and Contributing Writer for The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and author of Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion, Not Death. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed physics articles, has held the NSF CAREER award, and does research in space science and nonlinear dynamical systems under grants from NASA and NSF.