I Want to be an Alarmist When I Grow Up

alarmbell.jpgLast night I was listening to a radio report on my way home from work which detailed with tiring accuracy (thanks PBS+NPR) the current reality and possible future eventualities of polar ice melting.

It was a briliant piece of scientific speculation, if I’ve ever heard one. When the words “likely” and “probable” are used more that “does” and “is”, then you know you’ve got a live one.

But it got me thinking; there is no better position to be in than that of an alarmist.

Your whole job is to go around raising doomsday concerns which are unprovable and immeasurable. Then when what you prophecy doesn’t happen, you congratulate yourself and all your buddies for averting disaster. If the doomsday does occur, you were obviously right all along and just couldn’t get everyone’s attention fast enough, or it was just too late…

What a convenient position that is!

It works on both sides of the politcal spectrum, too. It’s not just for you right wingers to make fun of the global warming nuts. It’s also for you terrorism crazies, too.

How many times have we been told that America is “less safe” without a comprehensive do-what-you-want-when-you-want-it domestic surveillance program that circumvents all oversight and governmental checks and balances? How many times have we been told that America is safer solely because we haven’t been attacked again?

Absent of fact, everything is conjecture.

Sad to say, this is more tragically played out in the religious arena with the nutty religious leaders who continually predict the ‘end of the earth’, and then have random explanations why it didn’t occur on 7/7/07. (or whenever) Religious alarmist (even in my own religion) scare me the most.

Even my faith’s fixation with gathering your “year’s supply” has turned from a ‘we’ve got to have enough to feed the world at the second coming’ to a more moderate expectation of self-suffiency, preparedness, and guarding against possible personal or community disaster.

Taking this one step further, let’s talk about that ‘great and dreadful day.’

As a Christian, I believe in that reality, but I find it slightly awkward that every generation of Christianity has assumed it would be in their lifetime, or shortly thereafter. Even the early apostles thought such a return would happen quickly. The early LDS people were whipped up in a continual frenzy that they would be caught unaware, and wanted specific details of the Second Coming (and strangely, early church leaders often obliged them).

I’m not saying it couldn’t happen at any time, I’m just saying that it makes absolutely no sense sitting around thinking about it. Essentially, our ‘second coming’ could be tomorrow – I could be hit by a bus and my probationary time would be over with – so there.

Which leads me to my final point (which hopefully will tie this all together). Alarmists are really just trying to do one thing: get people to do what they want. Alarmism is simply a way to wave your hands in the air loudly and wildly, trying to get some critical mass of people to do what you say. (which totally goes with/against my theory that we all do what we want)

Well, I’m not biting. Well, at least not on every hook, anyway.

7 thoughts on “I Want to be an Alarmist When I Grow Up”

  1. Thank you so much for the entire last 1/4 of this. Echoes my sentiments perfectly. How many R.S. meetings did I go to where the were preaching the Y2K thing and we have to have a huge stock of water and cloth diapers for our babies because if comptuers turn to the year 2000 we won’t be able to have disposable diapers and water will cease to exist. I can’t stand it. Hubby and I were just talking last night about this very thing. I will save more of it for a blog when I am reinvited for a guest one, but being very careful of being very moderate is actually a very good thing. You ease too much to one side and you encounter danger. Just an observation. Take insane neighbor for instance…..

  2. Funny, I was thinking about that last night when reading D&C 130. I think I am an alarmist on
    the side…it’s my 3rd job. Doesn’t pay much, but I do need to inform you of a few things:
    First, a SARS epidemic is coming. Second, Apple IS trying to take over the world. Third, if
    you try to sneeze with your eyes open, they WILL pop out of your head!

  3. I HATE Al Gore for this reason. Why are we giving Oscars to a man that supposedly said he invented the internet, and who wore more make-up on his campaign trail than Diana Ross on a performance night? He and all celebrities that jump on the environmental bandwagon (or any other bandwagon for that matter) in order to tell me what I should think, tick me off. Who asked for their stinkin’ opinion on something they know nothing about anyway? Narcissists.

  4. I think Alison and I were separated at birth because that is the samething I was going to say word for word.

  5. Alison stole my comment too.

    Also, Sam you need to get your facts straight because the world wasn’t supposed to end on 7/7/07. It was supposed to be the hardest rockin day ever because it was my b-day.

    Also…..I don’t really care what the sad logic behind most people’s alarmist ideas is. I just know it makes sense to stockpile toilet paper. You can never have enough.

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