They are banking on us to no longer be men of reason... and if we are no longer driven by our own self-interest, but the common good, why would we challenge them or anyone else.
Nick, for once I agreed with most of what you said, except when you changed tack and made a blanket statement about the whole climate argument. I believe, and I'm certain many others here do, too, that I AM using my own intelligence and reasoning to come up with my own conclusions about what is happening with the climate. The answers (which I won't spell out here) just happen to follow a different logic from yours and Rog's. Shame on you for calling people unreasonable and unintelligent just because they don't come up with the same conclusions as you do. Who's to say that you are necessarily the reasonable and intelligent one? (I'm not saying you are not, or that you and Rog are wrong, mind you).
It is interesting reading a lot of the comments in this thread, because so much of the reasoning is based on, probably unconsciously, a Christian mindset. Christianity in its very essence sees the whole world as black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. It leaves almost no room for grayness. So many conversations by people from the west tend to focus on "righting wrongs" and "seeking a better world".
I live in a culture where there is absolutely no sense of "original sin" or "laws of god". No one here follows any dictum laid out in a book or spends their days fearing the retribution of an invisible father-figure. There is no sense that there is something wrong with humans, at all. It makes for very curious, illogical by our standards, sometimes infuriating outlooks on the world that people used to western culture just see no sense in.
For instance the entire sense of individuality is different. People here deeply believe and live by a whole worldview where the individual is NOT the most important unit in the world or in society. In Japan (and very much in other Asian cultures such as China and Korea and India) the society is what is important. Each individual submits themselves to the whole and lives by the creed that, as in Spock's message, "the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few". Most Japanese find it shocking and extremely immature and in bad taste to live for oneself and express oneself for oneself. It has created a society where, in spite of it being one of the top most prosperous nations in the world, the gap between very rich and very poor is far smaller than in the US. Japan is a nation of the middle class. Most presidents of companies tend to downplay their wealth and distribute it far more equably among their workers than western companies do. Almost no one, even the prime minister or the president of Toyota, lives in hugely ostentatious houses or continues to pay themselves handsomely while the company goes through a financial crisis. I have many criticisms of Japan and it has a lot of problems, but I also find it to be one of the most just, even-handed, safe, tolerant, socially aware, and open-minded societies I have ever lived in. In many ways far more so than the States. And all this was achieved on a very rational, unsentimental, completely void of religious fervor way of thinking that many in the west would find unacceptable. (I wonder how many people in the west would fare if suddenly, one day without warning, all traces of the Christian worldview were to disappear in everyday western culture. I think people would be quite overwhelmed by the vacuum of attitudes and logic that they have always taken for granted. In the same way the Japanese would be at a great loss if their precious "Japaneseness" were to suddenly be taken from them).
The Japanese had no doubts and no confusion when first introduced to the ideas of evolution. They took it in stride and accepted it as logical. They have a cuisine that is made up of a huge selection of foods from the rest of the world, in such variety and such willingness to experiment that even they don't know for the most part that most of their "traditional" dishes do not originally come from here. The quintessential individual is represented in manga and anime and literature and cinema as a group of five heroes, each member incomplete on their own, but with each of their characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, together they form a powerful unit that can take on the world. Almost always this group of five is represented by 1) a charismatic leader who is not the strongest in the group, but can bring the others together 2) a close friend and rival of the leader who questions the decisions of the leader and understands the leader's weaknesses 3) an emotionally-self aware, empathetic character (usually female) who can see and voice the mood and morale of the group and who is a healer 4) a huge, usually not very smart, physically extremely powerful backup character who protects the group's back and can withstand any onslaught without complaint. Usually this character is the one with the sense of humor that makes everyone laugh, and 5) the bespectacled brain of the group, usually diminutive, but smarter than everyone else, who can figure out the technical problems and is usually a little different from the rest. The brain has the ability to see problems in a different light because of their difference. All these stereotypical characters play a different role that unifies the whole group, and if one member is lost the group suffers. Japanese never make movies or games where there is one superhero who saves the day; they don't believe that superheroes or lone wolves are a benefit to society. You should see the mocking commercials for such American movies or television shows as Rambo or 24! They recognize that no one individual EVER creates or moves a society. It is always the concerted efforts of many that make a society function.
So, on a few points I agree with your earlier comments about businessmen. Yes, there is nothing inherently wrong with them and they do get a bad rap in many cases. Here in Japan movies, very popular television shows, manga, even computer games emulate businessmen, very often making them, as seen in the eyes of Japanese, likely heroes. No one puts businessmen down. They are seen as essential motivators in today's world. If you read Japanese blogs there are many instances of people talking as excitedly about meeting practices, management styles, efficiency quotients, etc., as we talk about gear here. It's very refreshing from a westerner's point of view.
People don't take sides very often here. If you asked the average person on the street what they thought about global warming most would probably shrug and say, "Yes. I hear the scientists talking about it." WIth no offer of further explanation. And they see no need to. They are smart enough and reasonable enough not to get embroiled in an argument that has no end nor any right or wrong answers, at least from our stance as picayune figures in a gargantuan painting.