Year 4, Month 10, Day 17: They Can Have Any Color They Want As Long As It’s Black

The San Antonio Express-News, on Republican denialism and foolishness:

So why is there such a disconnect between what scientists think and the public debate?

Recent cognitive research helps us understand this. Researchers find that beliefs on climate change science strongly correlate with other policy preferences.

For example, if you are skeptical of the science of climate change, then you almost certainly oppose the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and support gun rights.

Those who support action to reduce greenhouse gases very likely hold the opposite views.

If arguments about the science of climate change were actually about the science, then this result would make no sense. Whether climate change is true or not is a scientific matter, and it should be uncorrelated with philosophical views on the role of government in health care or the constitutional right to own a firearm.

But they are correlated. And this tells us that the arguments about the science of climate change are not actually about science.

So what is the argument about? The answer is policy.

If climate change is true and we decide to reduce emissions, then it will almost certainly require intervention by the government into the energy market. For some, that idea is so repugnant that the only conclusion is that the problem must not exist.

It is also about being part of the tribe. Climate change has achieved such an elevated status in the policy debate that it has become a litmus test. To be a Republican, for example, you must reject the science.

Any Republican who does not risks being voted out of office — as happened, for example, to Rep. Bob Inglis. ( frontline/environment/climate- of-doubt/bob-inglis-climate- change-and-the-republican- party/).

As proud Texans, we are sympathetic to those who worry about out-of-control eco-totalitarianism. And we both love cheap and abundant energy and the lifestyle it allows us to lead. But, like most people, Republican and Democrat alike, we also want to protect the environment. Thus, we both support balanced action to address the clear and present danger of climate change.

Writing a letter like this is like shooting fish in a barrel. October 8:

The extraordinary thing about self-styled “fiscal conservatives” is their near-pathological readiness to bet against their own country. Just look at the people who whine that changing emissions regulations to cut down on greenhouse gases is going to handicap American manufacturers. They’re the same ones who screamed in the 1960s that making seat belts mandatory was going to cripple the automobile industry. Last I looked, there were plenty of cars on the road, and while auto companies have had their problems, nobody believes seat belts are the reason why.

For all their loud professions of American exceptionalism, conservatives’ opposition to sensible climate change policy is rooted in a “can’t do” ideology. We can’t change our energy economy (even if it saves us money) — because it’s too hard. We can’t take a position of global leadership (on the most important challenge facing the world today) — because it’s too hard.

That’s not fiscal conservatism. That’s laziness. That’s not economic responsibility. It’s whining.

Imagine these people running the Apollo program. We’d never have gotten into orbit, much less reached the Moon.

Warren Senders