Friday, March 14, 2008

Another angle on the politics of denial

Continuing on the theme that there is something preventing reasonable, intellegent, educated people from accepting that humans are contributing to the climate change of the world. (Latest, from my boss, the climate goes through natural cycles and human activities have nothing to do with it). In a series discussing how the mass media enables deniers to keep going by giving them a disproportionately loud voice. In the second installment, Grist contributor Joseph Romm takes a look at some of the things that Andy Revkin has been writing recently. Revkin writes a green column for the NY Times and has recently started blogging, giving Romm some material to make his point.

In this variant, similar to the one I mentioned last week, it still comes down to personal politics, though in my last suggestion, it came down to getting opinions in sound bites. This one requires active engagement in the disingenuous process of denial. (or, combines really well with not thinking for oneself).
The conflict is actually a political one between those who believe in
government-led solutions and those who don't. This is a central point.
As Revkin himself notes about the Heartland denier/disinformer
conference, "The one thing all the attendees seem to share is a deep
dislike for mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gases." As I explain
at length in my book,a central reason that conservatives and libertarians reject the scientific understanding of human-caused climate change is that they simply cannot stand the solution. So they attack both the solution and the science.

It simply is not accurate to say the real edges of this debate are "catastrophe" or "hoax." Revkin and every reasonable person knows that this is no "hoax," no conspiracy of the thousands of top scientists in the world to deceive the public -- that is laughable, pure disinformation from the conservatives who hate regulations. It is comparable in credibility to the claim that we never landed on the moon.

(Incidentally, I do know someone who doesn't think the moon landings really happened).

At any rate, my analysis of that statement is essentially, if you believe in a small government, free and lightly regulated markets, you will be driven to rationalize that AGW isn't real as a means to avoid taking any action that implies regulation and government involvement. No wonder McCain is unpopular with certain portions of his party, since the Republicans are supposed to be the small government advocates.