Quick Quiz: what do you call an exceptionally nervous busybody who perpetually overestimates risk and on whose lips are forever the phrase, “Something must be done!”
Answer: That person is an activist—activism is a manner of life which nowadays can even be proclaimed a profession.
What, then, do we call somebody who rationally attempts to quantify risk and who soberly (on most days of the week) weighs his options and sometimes proposes that the best course of action is no action at all?
That person is an inactivist.
Isn’t that a great name? I love it! But I didn’t think of it. Frank Bi, who runs a site called The Journal of Inactivism, did.
Old Frank’s intent is that the label be taken ironically. To him, an inactivist is to be despised. Let me tell you something about irony, Frank. There’s an art to it that few possess; its use requires a rare talent. I sometimes flatter myself that I can successfully wield this heavy sword, but I fail nearly every time, as regular readers of this blog can attest.
And so have you failed, Frank, but do not despair. We can rescue your neologism and put it to good use. It can lead a second life of good service.
Thus, I counsel that we adopt the moniker “climate inactivist” at once. Just look what it has going for it.
“Climate skeptic”, a term many favor, is apt to be misleading. I, for example, am not skeptical that there is a climate. Inactivist, however, neatly captures and succinctly describes the attitude of many of us.
We, who do not deny that mankind influences climate, even sometimes harmfully, but who reckon that our uncertainty in the mechanisms of the hideously complex global climate system and the imprecision its forecasts, coupled with the glut of extravagant and ridiculous claims of evils that await us, are not strong enough evidence to yet warrant government-imposed mandatory taxes and regulation. We, who do not deny that that day might come, and who do not discourage voluntary and personal actions. We propose to take no action until our certainty is much stronger.
We propose to be inactive—we are inactivists.
This proposal will be voted upon at the next secret meeting.
Incidentally, to take us on a tangent to an unexpected dimension, Scott Kurtz presents the evil Statistician Magician! (I don’t have a cape.)