Past event | Dinner at the Square | Winter 2014
Fears: where not everybody shares your pain

What if man-made climate change is real and the social welfare state is doomed? (We might just need a beer…)

At some point in time, a country has got to think past next Tuesday. But if we’ve simply got to do it, we think it ought to be done with friends. (Event photos.)


The evidence is in that we have two big (end-of-the-world-ish) problems. The vast majority of scientific thinking supports the notion that the climate is changing and that humans are responsible. Scenarios of the future range from very serious to dire. Yet we continue to dawdle and quibble over the statistically less likely possibility that all this scientific brain power is simply wrong (or corrupt, depending on who you talk to). Meander over to the right side of the aisle and they’ve been sounding alarm bells that the social welfare promises made to Americans simply can’t be kept, without destroying the future for our children and grandchildren. It’s hard to do any kind of math that doesn’t support their contention. Sure, on the margin we might be able to raise taxes – but the gap isn’t a tiny one, it is gaping. Implying the people who make this argument are “mean” (even if some of them are) doesn’t change a single number.

The charts below tell the same story. You might say that both are American “asteroids,” with the problem getting bigger over time and the longer we ignore it. But in this age of entrenched partisanship, we’re simply unable to see what “those people” see. And until we cross the partisan divide and realize that team effort – as we would behave if these were real asteroids we must deflect to protect life on earth – can solve both problems, we’re stuck in a do-loop of failure to communicate.



Neil Skene
Ed Moore | President
Independent Colleges
and Universities of Florida
Bryan Armstrong | Attorney
Nabors, Giblin & Nickerson
Neil Skene | Journalist
Frmr Editor, Congressional Quarterly
Susan Glickman | Florida Director
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Dr. Randy Holcombe | Professor of Economics
Florida State University

The Asteroids Club is an approach to communicating about the civic problems that polarize - and paralyze - us. The concept grew out of the field of moral psychology, which tells us that people are more likely to find common ground when they unite to fight common threats.

Join the Asteroids Club:
Common Threats Make Common Ground