Monday, March 26, 2007

Global Warming and "Know Nothing" Conservatives

"The issue of environmental quality is one which transcends traditional political boundaries. It is a cause which can attract, and very sincerely, liberals, conservatives, radicals, reactionaries, freaks, and middle-class straights."
-Russell Kirk.

Russell Kirk is considered one the luminaries of American conservatism. You have to wonder what he would think how some who call themselves conservatives are enforcing an ideology that says global warming doesn't exist. The LA Times notes today in an editorial about how a small minority of conservatives are keeping Republicans on the anti-global warming side even though there are many in the GOP that would like to have some say in the issue. These rigid views comes even as the business lobby is coming around to the idea that something has to be done about climate change. The Times notes:

...Republicans who do believe in global warming get shunted aside. Nicole Gaudiano of Gannett News Service recently reported that Rep. Wayne Gilchrest asked to be on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio refused to allow it unless Gilchrest would say that humans have not contributed to global warming. The Maryland Republican refused and was denied a seat.

Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), both research scientists, also were denied seats on the committee. Normally, relevant expertise would be considered an advantage. In this case, it was a disqualification; if the GOP allowed Republican researchers who accept the scientific consensus to sit on a global warming panel, it would kill the party's strategy of making global warming seem to be the pet obsession of Democrats and Hollywood lefties.

The phenomenon here is that a tiny number of influential conservative figures set the party line; dissenters are marginalized, and the rank and file go along with it. No doubt something like this happens on the Democratic side pretty often too. It's just rare to find the phenomenon occurring in such a blatant way.

Now, I don't like Al Gore much either, but that doesn't mean I think that the topic of Climate Change is somehow a lefty conspiracy. What's amazing and sad is that this has become a political issue. It boils down to "if the Democrats are for it, then we have to be against it." Everything in the GOP these days is about politics and how to stick to the Dems and not about governing. With some in the business community like Dupont, leading the way on climate change, the GOP leadership might be heading towards being irrelelvant, becoming a small band of know-nothings, like those who believe the moom landing was staged.

For a more realistic Republican viewpoint, you might want to read this speech by David Jenkins of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

Thanks to Michael van der Galien for the tip.

1 comment:

PoliTek said...

That's why I consider global warming to be a wingnut test for righties. If someone denies the existence of GW at this point, they are generally blinded partisans.

As for the left, I'm not sure what en equivalent test might be...maybe thinking that Castro was somehow good for Cuba (I've known enough lefties who argue this...and they seem to be similarly blinded)