Confronted with Climate Change, Rightbloggers Advocate Resistance (To Doing Anything About It)
But that isn't entirely true. In one area at least conservatives are against fear: That is, when it comes to climate change, of which we were recently reminded by a big government report, they want you to know that there's nothing to be afraid of -- Jesus will fix the melting ice shelves and dying honey bees; don't worry, be happy. And when pressed, they fall back on what's probably their best argument: Yeah, we screwed the planet -- so you might as well forget all about it, and focus on the free market.
You're probably aware that the scientists who specialize in climate issues are overwhelmingly convinced that human activity is rapidly changing the Earth's climate for the worse -- and that the National Climate Assessment recently issued by the U.S. Commerce Department suggests some of these effects are already well underway and visible in droughts and floods.
Prominent conservatives say that's a bunch of bullshit -- including venerable ones you'd think would be too embarrassed to say things like, "if it's very cold in the winter... [liberals] blame it on global warming" (Charles Krauthammer) and "If you want a tenure-track position in academia, don't question the reigning orthodoxy on climate change" (George F. Will).
Why? Basically, because their electoral champions the Republicans get a shit-ton of money from oil and gas interests, which interests are, for reasons you can guess, not eager to see the U.S. cut back on carbon emissions. (This explanation is provided in part for the benefit of Andrew Sullivan, who despite his decades-long tenure as the American Right's gay poster boy actually said last week of his comrades' denialism, "I don't get it, however much I try.")
You don't get it? That's too bad -- we were hoping you'd tell us. (VIa.)
From a rightblogger perspective, scientists weren't the only villains here: The press aka the Lame Stream Media are also involved in this "warmist" conspiracy, and rightbloggers promoted that POV too -- for instance, Presstitution laughed off an All Things Considered program on a recent NASA press conference on the parlous condition of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet thus: "Rather than provide any soundbites from critics of the NASA report, [reporter Nell] Greenfieldboyce doubled-down on NPR's climate change agenda... NPR is no stranger to providing uncritical coverage of its climate change agenda." They could have gotten Rush Limbaugh to do counterpoint, but instead they just went with scientists, because they knew what they would say. The fix is in!
But increasingly the villains in rightbloggers' climate change stories are the pointy-heads with Ph.Ds themselves, who presume to tell normal Americans what science is.
At the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto rose in defense of Marco Rubio, who had been spoken roughly to by snooty liberals "for refusing to submit to scientific authority," in much the same way many of us were unfairly punished with extra homework for refusing to bow to the diktat of high-school Algebra.
Well, Rubio may not have much book-learning, huffed Taranto, but he didn't see any science degrees on the liberal snoots' resumes -- "ignorant journalists taunt politicians for their ignorance," he said, "but have no argument beyond an appeal to authority."
And while Taranto had Rush Limbaugh on his side, to what authority did the liberals appeal? Some so-called scientists. Taranto admitted "appeals to authority aren't necessarily fallacious," and can even be "a sound argument if the authority is both relevant and trusted," but you can't trust climate scientists, at least not the Lame Stream ones, and Taranto had the proof: a Swedish climatologist named Lennart Bengtsson claimed he'd been forced to resign from an advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation because the Foundation wouldn't tolerate his climate skepticism -- whoops, actually the Foundation itself is proudly climate-skeptical; Bengtsson was resigning because people outside the Foundation were mean to him. (We wonder if this means Rubio will now resign from the Republican Party.)
Bengtsson, quoted Taranto from National Review, suffered "abuse" from "the climate-science community." What sort of abuse? He was "abused on science blogs," quoted Taranto from the London Daily Mail, "with one describing the people who condemned him as 'respectable' and that his actions amounted to 'silliness.' Another described him as a 'crybaby.'" Gasp! Calling a man who was brave enough to quit a sympathetic front group and then bitch about it all over the world a "crybaby!" And on blogs, where the tone of discourse is normally so polite! After this example, Taranto hoped readers could now "distinguish an authoritarian from a real authority," such as Rush Limbaugh.
Smaller fry shared Taranto's outrage that someone was mean to a skeptic, in even more overheated terms. "The climate 'community' has now cleansed Lennart Bengtsson," harrumphed Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, who also described people's disagreement with his champion as a "fatwa" and predicted hopefully that it would "engender and reinforce contempt for the 'community' in the broader society." When a climate scientist tweeted, "Groups perceived to be acting in bad faith should not be surprised that they are toxic within the science community," National Review's Rupert Darwall declared the "tweet demonstrates how far climate science has crossed the boundary deep into pseudo-science," such as Marxism, "Freudian psychoanalysis and Alfred Adler's psychology."
"Scientists Condemned For Political Bias On Climate Change," seethed Capitalists Rebellion. "Scared of Being Blacklisted? If you doubt global warming you should be."
"Warmists Go On Witch Hunt," announced William Teach at Right Wing News. "...No dissent is allowed." Teach also noted that Bengtsson compared his treatment to McCarthyism, but demurred: "Not sure if McCarthyism is correct, because McCarthy was actually right about communists infiltrating the government." Insert relevant film clip here:
"This is more akin to the way scientists like Galileo and Copernicus were persecuted," added Teach. "...the climate change movement certainly acts more like a repressive religion, the way the Catholic church was during a time." We imagine he'll get some letters about that.
When they were not directly attacking scientists as natural liars, rightbloggers portrayed the idea of trying to alleviate climate change as self-evidently ridiculous, like gay marriage or raising the minimum wage.
At Real Clear Politics, Selena Zito pimped a Georgia Republican named Delvis Dutton who's challenging Democratic Congressman John Barrow from the extreme right as a Man of the People. Dutton poses "dressed in a blue short-sleeved shirt, one arm leaning on his truck," said Zito, which among Republicans denotes the common touch, and says things like "I am running against Congress." Haw haw! "This guy says what everyone else is thinking," swooned Zito.
What has this got to do with climate change? Well, though Dutton hasn't won yet -- and there's a very good chance he never will -- "one thing Dutton already has won," claimed Zito, "is the sentiment of a country dumbfounded that President Barack Obama last week defined climate change as the most pressing issue facing the country."
Following through on this mood swing, Zito told us that Obama should be focusing on the economy instead of the imminent death of the planet, and the fact that he hasn't will "smack the sensibilities of regular folks," because these regular folks "don't care for... the issue being used politically to slice and dice the country..." Thus Obama and his evil scientists' climate change obsession will cost the Democrats the midterms, and patriots will celebrate their comeuppance, possibly on a party boat floating above River Street in Savannah.