God I hate reading stuff like this:
Just for the record, when the nonpartisan National Academy of Sciences last reviewed the data this spring, it concluded: “A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.” Not only William Hague but such other prominent European conservatives as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have embraced that widespread scientific conviction and supported vigorous action.
Indeed, it is difficult to identify another major political party in any democracy as thoroughly dismissive of climate science as is the GOP here. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, says that although other parties may contain pockets of climate skepticism, there is “no party-wide view like this anywhere in the world that I am aware of.”
It will be difficult for the world to move meaningfully against climate disruption if the United States does not. And it will be almost impossible for the U.S. to act if one party not only rejects the most common solution proposed for the problem (cap-and-trade) but repudiates even the idea that there is a problem to be solved. The GOP’s stiffening rejection of climate science sets the stage for much heated argument but little action as the world inexorably warms — and the dangers that Hague identified creep closer.
Personally, I don’t think it’s because Americans are dumber than other western people, I think it’s because we allow corporations to control our political system. If there was some massive corporate lobby, bigger than big oil, that wanted Republicans to say global warming was a terrible threat that needed to be taken on now, this would all change in a heartbeat.
The most pathetic thing is reading Bobo and Chunky Bobo and the rest pretend that there is some thoughtful, principled Burkean for doing whatever the oil lobby wants you to do.
That, and also that one of the founding principles of populist rightism in this nation (and in others) is anti-intellectualism and disgust at most scientists and academics, who are viewed as conspiratorial manipulators pulling some great scam off on the ordinary people.
Also, such things are opposed by fundamentalist Talibangelicals since they suggest that mankind has the power to regulate life on a global scale, which supposedly usurps God’s role as the global arbiter; and because God gave man ‘dominion’ which means that outside of keeping up a few hunting reserves, nature is there to serve man and any damage done to the environment is just a natural consequence of man’s dominion.
These are the people who don’t give a shit how many mountaintops you blow off and how many valleys you fill up with shit, ’cause, you know, fuck mountains.
Ok, but isn’t that just another thoughtful, principled way of saying that Democrats are just as susceptible to the same tendencies?
Can anyone name a single fact-based position that Democrats almost universally oppose on the basis of corporate influence?
If not, that suggests that corporations aren’t really the problem here. They might take advantage of the problem, but they’re not the root of it. Try again: Why are Republicans more inclined to oppose policies with overwhelming scientific support than Democrats?
I was hoping the insurance industry and the defense industry (both in the pockets of the GOP for decades) would stop the insanity, but so far they have just let the heat build up. Eventually, their business models will necessitate actual planning and mitigation of climate change, but it sure looks like it will be too little, too late.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Much of what the Republican party is all about is that they are willing to dismiss reality for personal gain. They have no qualms about it, even if it causes unnecessary cost, pain, agony and death. All that matters is that their party wins and they are rewarded for it (or those paying large sums of cash to buy votes). Nothing else matters to them.
Nothing. It’s a hive mind of memememememe.
Davis X. Machina
According to emeritus president of the American Physical Society Hal Lewis, there is just such an enormous and well-financed lobby, but it’s not corporate — it’s research scientists!
Hiding in plain sight, with their Far Side cartoons and taped-together glasses and awkward social affect their only disguise.
Fiendishly clever…but effective.
DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.
I think they are susceptible to the same tendencies, just not as susceptible. Probably in any political system in a modern economy, one party will more controlled by corporate interests than the other. The difference is that here everything is shifted so far in favor of corporate control that you have one party that would be comparable to other country’s corporate parties (I think that on most issues, Democrats are similar to Tories or to Chirac-Sarkozy) and one party that is completely and utterly dominated by corporate interests.
Dumber is relative, and the fact that a large percentage of Americans believe the earth was created like the Bible says, is prima facea evidence Americans don’t care much for the likes of science and it’s dictates. I don’t think it’s dumb so much as depraved indifference.
Read Adam Smith’s take in the Wealth of Nations on the eighteenth century version of multinational corporations, its all in there, and not in a good way.
But is kind of like a guide book to the economics of corporate take overs of sovereign nations. It would be interesting to see how well Smith’s analysis of a corporate take over of government matches with recent history of the US.
Smith disapproved of the political influence of large joint stock companies.
Edit: Most of it’s in book V of Wealth of Nations. Download a copy free from Project Gutenberg. Joint Stock Company was the term.
@danimal: We must assume the rarified levels of the corptocracy are as polluted with ideological stooges as we find everyone else. DougJ’s earlier post discusses how they don’t have any moral scruples betting against their clients, there’s no reason to think they won’t sell out the shareholders if it means getting theirs. The only thing they seem to fear is the law. And they can retroactively fix that.
Someone should start an ETF based on corporate acceptance of environmental realities.
In a word, no.
Democrats may have their price, but (except for the worst blue dogs) the point at which willful ignorance embarrasses them is much much lower.
DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.
No, I think there are a variety of reasons why this happens. I don’t understand it fully, but I don’t think it can be chalked up to stupidity. None of it’s as crazy as starting WW I, which European governments did.
Re-thugs are a special stupid breed in the US of A – this may not be strange for a teabagger but it is still beyond belief: from The Huff Post: Rich Iott, the Republican nominee for Congress from Ohio’s 9th District, and a Tea Party favorite, who for years donned a German Waffen SS uniform and participated in Nazi re-enactments.
These German SS pigs weren’t just the German regular Army but these were the worst of the worst – total NAZI soldiers and these units also murdered in cold blood US POW’s! (Besides the vast number of Slav’s, Jews and too many to add civilians by the millions and this so-called amerikan plays SS soldier?!)
This is so beyond the pale that anyone who votes for this insane monster can only support terrorist that desire all our deaths.
I watched two conservatives on Bill Mahr last night talking about global warming. P. J. O’Rourke initially self-identified as a global warming skeptic, but then shifted seamlessly to an argument that while it existed, nothing could be done about it. I was struck by the way that the shift from skepticism to one of ready acknowledgement and dismissal of any possible action elided any recognition that his previous position was in error. S. E. Cupp was no better. The sleaziness of these two representatives of the right, along with the incredible poverty of their positions, made it all too easy to glimpse their real motivations – I want mine, period.
Good news. The faster this planet rids itself of the human infestation, the better.
DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.
Better that than another actual re-fight of the Civil War.
And that in the post-policy era of the GOP, there is nothing but Southern Strategy rhetoric left. “Arrrrgh, we’re so mad at the government, because it made us desegregate our schools!” So anything that involves a collective action problem or externalities– which, by Econ 101 or 45 seconds of rational thought require government intervention– must be dismissed in order to uphold the party line.
“Externalities.” Doncha love that economist-speak?
When earth gets so hot from greenhouse gas emissions there’s no way for mammals larger than rodents to survive, that will be an “externality.”
Gotta love it.
@gbear: I don’t agree with that. They may be susceptible to stupid arguments of policy, but those are different from scientific facts.
Sure, there are Democrats that will oppose the climate change legislation, but for wholly different reasons. The Senators from WV and IN and LA aren’t arguing that climate change isn’t real or man-made, they’re arguing that the policy to solve that problem is borne too heavily on the backs of their constituents, either in jobs or consumer/industrial costs. And that’s their right to do – in fact it’s their job to do as they are principally representatives of those constituents.
It may be short-sighted and bad policy, but it’s not willful ignorance. I think if you go to those Democrats and show them a policy that distributes the costs more equally (which may be politically impossible to achieve) then they’d get on board. But I don’t think the senator from WV should be punished for stopping and declaring ‘this policy will ruin my state’s economy to the benefit of California – that needs to be balanced out – I need something to replace those jobs’
It’s a very different standard. But I don’t see it even as being captured by corporations since if you poll the populace you typically get a similar result.
@mclaren: How are the plans to shoot up the Discovery Channel coming along? Should we be calling the FBI yet, or do you still have more work to do?
I’d argue that part of the problem is that “we” have chosen to pretend we’re proud of our dimwits and borderline crazies. The percentage of soccer hooligans, National Front defenders, skinheads, LePen supporters, minority-bashers and others incapable of functioning in a modern civil society probably approximates 28% in western Europe as well, but to a much greater extent the people in charge of writing the public narrative aren’t required to push those Twenty-Eight-Percenters to the front of the platform and pretend they’re national icons of “down-home values” and “Real (insert nation) Pride” the way we do.
Which is, of course, part of the real American ‘anti-colonialism’… it’s not jumped-up non-white elitists forcing their tolerance and progressivism on the rest of the viriginal American innocents, it’s oversensitive Holden Caulfields dismissing all those grown-up ex-empires as phonies who’ve compromised their aging societies so badly that their only goal is to corrupt our own perpetually-adolescent PURITY.
The GOP Golden Triangle works as efficiently as it does because the Robber Barons are gifted at working the PURITY obsessions of their Talibangelical and fReichtard comrades to hide their own dirty dealings, and the Global-Warming-Is-A-Myth anti-science is a perfect microcosm of that scam.
A quote from Waiting for Superman
Unfortunately I think the US of A is relatively dumber than other countries and the trend is we are getting dumber. And yes I’m equating a lack of education to dumb.
And with NCLB it is going to get worse. I firmly believe a passive, easily manipulated population is directly linked to a stupid/uneducated population. Those in power want us dumb.
As to your real point that the GOP basically say and do what their corporate overloads want, I’m totally on board with that.
Absolutely. Every single AGW denialist I have come across insists that not only is AGW totally fake, it’s a scam meant to force people into submitting to the government, ergo, SOSHULIZM!
@Bubblegum Tate: I really don’t know what the fuck to say when these idiots offer as an alternative to AGW that the Sun has been heating up, and this has been overlooked.
Forget the complicated explanations for a second.
Just think of what went into those statements.
You have to believe that these tens of thousands of scientists studying climate and related topics never thought to factor in the Sun and its energy and heat input to the Earth.
You know, they obviously just never looked up in the sky and realized THE SUN IS HOT and this instead was brought up exclusively by right wing idiot radio talk show hosts.
Beyond that, there is a presumption that we don’t have things like ground-based measuring stations and satellites in fucking space monitoring and measuring the Sun and solar output.
I mean, what do you say to people stupid enough to think they can challenge AGW by assuming that none of the scientists ever damn even thunk about the Sun bein’ hot?
To quote a great stupid American, stupid is as stupid does. Corporations may have captured our government, but we’re pretty stupid to let it happen, especially since we’ve been told repeatedly that it would happen.
I agree more with K488 on this score. Just to take Rush as an example, I’ve heard him at different times say that global warming is impossible, that it’s happening but it couldn’t be caused by man, and that it is caused by sunspots. It’s not like I listen to the dipshit very often, but I’ve heard him take at least three different tacks. I’m sure he’s used the old chestnut that CO2 is good for plants and we could grow more food.
But the one commonality is that the government shouldn’t do anything about it, and SOSHALISM!
I just don’t want the FBI bugging your car.
The Pale Scot
Americans aren’t dumb, they’re stupid, dumb implies a lack of thought or opinion.
@DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.:
Better that than another actual re-fight of the Civil War.
As many people have said above, I know a good number of people personally who are proudly ignorant and stupid. They like not knowing shit, they like thinking of facts as all a conspiracy of the librul and pointy head elites. They just don’t use the words ‘stupid’ and ‘ignorant’, but it’s what they mean.
I always want to present a hypothetical to those “dominion” types:
Let’s say you give your kid a sports car for his 16th birthday. Within a few weeks of you giving it to him, he wraps it around a tree and totals it. Not only that, you ask him what happened and he says he did it on purpose because he knew you would buy him a new one anyway because you love him so much.
What is your response going to be? Are you going to chuckle and buy him a new one? Or are you going to be kinda pissed? If you would be pissed, why do you think God would have a different reaction upon discovering that we took this beautiful gift that he gave us and deliberately trashed it?
right, plus greenhouse gases wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for that star that we go around. If you believe in that.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Or David Broder declaring, and I think deeply and sincerely believing, that bipartisanship, and only bipartisanship, will reverse climate change
And maybe also because we allow a small handful of those same corporations to control virtually all of our mass media?
Dumb as dog-shit and proud of it!
@D-boy: I’m stupid, my diddy was stupid, my grand-diddy was stupid, and, by God, if I got anything to do w’it, my boy’s gonna be stupid too. If you pointy-head libruls don’t like it, you can damn kiss my ass…
Cuz God moves in mysterious ways, and he’s a big sucker, he’ll keep forgivin ya and whatever as long as you tell him that you love his son and stuff.
Some people worry that humanity will run out of petroleum.
Others worry that humanity will run out of MONEY.
Some people think we live in The Environment.
Others think we live in The Economy.
Some people think we can save The Environment by spending money in The Economy, e.g. by paying people to develop and build the machines and systems we need to live comfortably without converting fossil carbon into atmospheric CO2.
Others think that money spent to save The Environment comes out of The Economy’s finite reserves of cash — reserves we must preserve for The Children.
Some people are sane; others are nuts. Why a greater fraction of Americans than of humans in general is freaking nuts is a fine and important question. But THAT many Americans are freaking nuts is self-evident.
James E. Powell
Way back when they heard Jimmy Carter’s speech, known as the malaise speech, the American people made a decision. They have never looked back.
ah, to be American!! to revel in outright stupidity and ignorance, and be proud to follow those who tell us it is Real American to be dumb and ignorant.
now who could ask for a better definition of American.
we all know facts are just a liberal conspiracy.
if you are dumb and don’t trust facts, well… that makes you a Real American. i think of Gomer Pyle’s Golleee!!!! Gee whenever i think about the American way.
gosh how could anyone think we were dumb or stupid or ignorant or ….
Still abducting girls and raping ’em? Or are you just going to stick with setting your children on fire?
The Left Behind charm is strong in the Elysian fields.
I’m just curious whether the Citizens United decision now allows all other countried that are seriously concerned about global warming to buy the elections of politicians sympathetic to the cause.
Seems like if the SCOTUS decision allows china to fund the republicans, it should allow sane countries to fund the democrats in the hopes that reality based politicans are elected.
50 million dead gets some learning done.
The Pale Scot
I kinda like that idea, maybe they could push 6 weeks of vacation while they’re at in hopes we’ll tourist over to the Continent.
You jump first.
The Australian Liberal Party (that, under John Howard, turned itself into a right wing radical party akin to the GOP) is giving a fair impression of matching the GOP. Tony Abbott, its leader, calls AGW “absolute crap” and he ousted his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, by torpedoing a bipartisan parliamentary plan for an emissions trading scheme.
sample Australian radio:
SARAH FERGUSON: Influential liberal sceptics challenge the message and the messenger of manmade climate change.
NICK MINCHIN, SENATOR, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: For 10 years the left internationally have been very successful in exploiting peoples’ innate fears about global warming and climate change to achieve their political ends.
SARAH FERGUSON: While climate change scientists call for urgent action, here in the national capital where the decisions are made, action has been stalled by politics. The Government has forced a vote on its emissions trading scheme by the end of November in response the Opposition has torn itself apart.
(Excerpt of footage from Parliament)
CORY BERNARDI, LIBERAL SENATOR, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: This scheme is just another stake through the heart of regional Australia.
BARNABY JOYCE, NATIONALS SENATOR, QUEENSLAND: And you can go to Copenhagen, you can go to Disneyland, you can go wherever you like but the position of the National Party on this will be quite clear, to understand the word no.
REPORTER: Senator McGauran do you still plan to cross the floor on the ETS legislation?
JULIAN MCGAURAN, LIBERAL SENATOR, VIC.: No I won’t be supporting an ETS under any circumstances.
REPORTER: Mr Tuckey…
WILSON TUCKEY, LIBERAL MP, WA: Leave me will you, I’m going to the toilet.
(End of Excerpt)
SARAH FERGUSON: Rebellious Coalition sceptics continue to oppose any compromise with the Government.
CORY BERNARDI: The earth is not actually warming, we have still rainfall falling. We have crops still growing. We can go outside and we won’t cook.
BARNABY JOYCE: There’s always sort of the puritanical zeal that says, you will conform lock step, goose step.
SARAH FERGUSON (to Nick Minchin): What proportion of the Liberal Party are climate change sceptics do you think from your discussions?
NICK MINCHIN: If the question is, do people believe or not believe that human beings are causing, are the main cause of the planet warming, then I’d say a majority don’t accept that position.
The reason why far too many people don’t want to admit to the existence of Global Warming is because they’re scared they’re going to have to change their lifestyles.
The fact that the heating up of the entire Earth will indeed change the lifestyles of their descendants is to totally ignored, of course.
It’s simply a bigger version of “I’ve got mine, eff you.”
Human beings have never had a history of being prudent. They screw up stuff considerably, then turn around and blame all the people who were warning them in the first place. And with the increased Talibangilism in the US, probably the first suggestion out of their mouths will be to pray to Gawd.
I don’t believe in Gawd. I do believe in Mother Nature, a.k.a. the Laws of Nature. Stupidity about Mother Nature ends up with you dead–a lesson that it seems most of humanity will learn the hard way.
Oh well, it was a nice run while it lasted.
Sekhmet, the Goddess of Consequences (my personal deity). Go out in the Sahara without water, and you WILL die, no matter how blameless a life you may have lived or how innocent your mistake in wandering out there in the first place. The Egyptians figured this out several thousand years ago, but meh — what do dead foreigners know, compared to great minds like Rush Limbaugh & John Boehner?
@Anne Laurie: The really beautiful part is that, no matter how badly we fuck up the Earth, life is infinitely more creative. It can survive in just about anything, and even in ways we are still discovering to this day. So there will always be some form of life. There may not be a human race, but life itself will figure it out and move on.
European conservative is an oxymoron. The most liberal American is still way to the right of the most right-wing European.
Europeans wouldn’t know what conservatism is, even if Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck bit them on the ass.
How did the US change from a country of relatively sane people who believed in reality to a bunch of kooks that think it’s perfectly fine to blow off the laws of nature?
Looking at the end game from here, It’s rather ironic. The neo-con Israel-First! crowd has crawled into bed with the batshit insane fundy Republicans, encouraging them all the way. Pushing far-right Republicans back into power may produce an attack upon Iran, but I also have no doubt the result will also do a number on the US economy and what little we have left of our science and technology base. And all this time China is steadily increasing in geopolitical power….
Somehow I don’t think China is going to care as much about Israel as the US does…..
You over estimate any groups sanity. This was the same country, which legally allowed segregation around the same time it started enacting environmental laws.
There’s always a crazy streak in any nation, which allows short sighted or bigoted views to prevail.
Yah, but I’m somewhat surprised that the business class republicans have let the crazies hold the wheel for so long. You would think that “lack of investment + lack of science and technology research + no upkeep of infrastructure = decrease of US competitiveness” would be obvious to these people.
(I suppose they expect they’ll all be air-lifted to safety by the multi-national corporations and not have to worry about the consequences.)
Well, back to learning Chinese….