Why Do Conservatives Push Climategate?

On any given day, if one is browsing through the current discussion on global warming, the topic of “Climategate” will often come up. Climategate alleges that climate scientists exaggerated the data to support global warming as part of their hidden agenda to push the theory.

Climategate will almost invariably be mentioned by a conservative commentator, seeking to attack the scientific consensus behind global warming. Conservative backing of Climategate is just another part of a long-standing pattern; for years, some conservatives have sought to deny the existence of global warming.

The point of this post is not to discuss the validity of Climategate. Scientists are not the all-seeing Gods society often labels them; they are humans too and prone to human errors. That does not mean that their conclusions are incorrect (notice how the controversial data always seems to be “exaggerated” but still actually backs global warming).

The puzzle, rather, is why some conservatives do this. There doesn’t seem to be a point to it, simply put. Conservative philosophy is not inherently anti-global warming; being a Republican does not necessarily mean one must believe global warming doesn’t exist.

This is different from other, more understandable stands a conservative might take. If a scientific study came out whose conclusions supported the pro-choice movement (e.g. fetuses don’t actually feel pain until they’re born, or something like that), it would make sense for conservatives to question the study. Being pro-life constitutes a fundamental part of conservative ideology; it goes with “traditional values” and “family.” Similarly, if a hypothetical study found that tax cuts are ineffective, one would also expect conservatives to attack it. This is because cutting taxes constitutes part of the conservative philosophy, which emphasizes smaller government and individualism.

In contrast, denying global warming does not have anything to do with what conservatives stand for. Unlike abortion or taxes, global warming is not an issue to be fought over but a coming challenge to be faced.

Moreover, there exists a conservative solution to the challenge. This is called cap-and-trade, which uses the power of the market to solve a fundamental problem. Conservatives are supposed to like this stuff; free markets constitute the bread-and-butter of their philosophy. Conservative President George H.W. Bush implemented a cap-and-trade program which essentially solved the problem of acid rain. In contrast, a liberal solution to global warming (one which many liberal institutions theoretically favor) would be a carbon tax, which uses government to solve the problem.

The problem, of course, is that that radical socialist Barack HUSSEIN Obama also supports cap-and-trade. As with so many issues facing the nation today, the stances of conservatives seem purely based upon being against what liberals favor (even if they favor conservative ideas such as cap-and-trade).

Now, to be fair, liberals also have a job to do. Too often their arguments have been made with the wrong tone: the type of arrogant, “I-am-better-than-you” style which does nothing more than harden stances on both sides. The scientific community is not exempt from this critique (if anything, it is even more guilty of claiming intellectual superiority over the rest of us mortals). When liberals label those who disbelieve global warming “idiots,” that does not convince conservatives that global warming is real.

Indeed, both sides must mature their stances with respect to the problem of global warming. Liberals ought to address conservative grievances with respect, not arrogant high-handedness. Conservatives ought to realize that questioning the existence of global warming has nothing to do with being a conservative and stop pushing nonsensical theories like “Climategate”.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

 

Josh Marshall is Right, and Was Right in 2004

In the aftermath of the Massachusetts debacle, a lot of people are wondering what the hell happened.

The talking heads inside the Beltway are sure that it's because Obama is too Librul, of course, but I think that Josh Marshall talked about the core problem in August of 2004.

He was talking about the Bush-Kerry campaign, and he characterized it as follows:

Let's call it the Republicans' Bitch-Slap theory of electoral politics. It goes something like this.

………

Consider for a moment what the big game is here. This is a battle between two candidates to demonstrate toughness on national security. Toughness is a unitary quality, really -- a personal, characterological quality rather than one rooted in policy or divisible in any real way. So both sides are trying to prove to undecided voters either that they're tougher than the other guy or at least tough enough for the job.

………

One way -- perhaps the best way -- to demonstrate someone's lack of toughness or strength is to attack them and show they are either unwilling or unable to defend themselves -- thus the rough slang I used above. And that I think is a big part of what is happening here. Someone who can't or won't defend themselves certainly isn't someone you can depend upon to defend you.

………

Hitting someone and not having them hit back hurts the morale of that person's supporters, buoys the confidence of your own backers (particularly if many tend toward an authoritarian mindset) and tends to make the person who's receiving the hits into an object of contempt (even if also possibly also one of sympathy) in the eyes of the uncommitted.

………

Only now, it isn't the Republicans bitch slapping anyone. It's the Democrats who bitch slap themselves.

Or as Zaid Jilani's southern ConservaDem friend says:

And can I say this? F*ck the Democrats. They couldn’t get shit done with 60 seats, why the hell would I care if they have 59? F%$# them seriously we deserve to lose Congress this year. And don’t bitch and whine about it either how much has changed since we took over in 2006? Ain’t s%$# as far as I can tell. We capitulated to Bush, then capitulated to Republicans and now are just capitulating to ourselves.

F%$# it dude, I mean Republicans get whatever the fuck they want with 50 seats and we can’t do fuck all we deserve to lose

("%$#" mine, "*" original)

Fundamentally, when we look at what is going on in DC, it looks like no one in the Senate or the White House is even trying to make substantive change. (Pelosi, at least, creates the appearance that she is trying to do something)

What's more, among the DC Dems, there has been near constant bitch slapping of the Party Base, whether it's the capitulation on the public option, the labor union insurance surtax, or the constant drum beat of how "the left" hates the Democratic Party because they want to primary DINOs (Democrat In Name Only) who have safe seats. The central campaign platform of the Republican Party is that government can't do anything.

The Democratic Party seems to try very hard to prove them right.

Cross posted from 40 Years in the Desert.

The Best Argument of Draconian Immigration Restrictions

Alan Greenspan saying that illegal immigration aids the US economy, because he's wrong about everything:

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that illegal immigration makes a "significant" contribution to U.S. economic growth by providing a flexible workforce.

Greenspan, appearing before a Senate subcommittee today, said illegal immigrants provide a "safety valve" as demand for workers rises and falls.

On a more serious note, look at what he is saying when you tease out the meaning, he is saying that illegal immigration is good because it drives down wages.....That's what "flexible workforce" and "safety valve," mean.

Alan Greenspan has always been a big fan of cheap labor.

There is no doubt that illegal immigration adds to GDP.  The question is whether it contributes to per capita GDP, or the slightly more nebulous and hard to measure concept of the well being of our society.

½ of Europe's population died during the heyday of the Black Death, and it is indisputable that the GDP of Europe was lower in the years following the Bubonic Plague outbreak than before.

What is also indisputable is that the standard of living of those remaining rose at the time, as can be seen through records of increased wages, and the frantic passage of (largely ineffective) laws intended to reign in wages and reduce worker mobility.

The end question is not what our immigration policy should be, but rather what should our society look like, and how to we create an immigration policy most consistent with our professed values that creates this society.

To my mind, this is best addressed by extremely aggressive laws targeting employers who deliberately or negligently hire illegals, and not by harsh measures taken against desperate economic refugees.

Cross posted from 40 Years in the Desert.

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Good Cop, Bad Cop

In a rational world, today's Republican Party would be little more than a kooky fringe group, like the Larouchites. Unfortunately, we live here. And in America 2009, on the nation's premier business channel, the utterly discredited economic theories promulgated by George W. Bush and Company are still considered sacrosanct. I guess it's comfort food for CNBC's shell-shocked viewers, who cling to the fantasy of becoming swashbuckling Wall Street Jedi.

Last evening on the network, Arthur Laffer, legendary father of a ridiculous economic curve, teamed up with Larry Kudlow to denounce the administration's plan for saving the nation's banking system. Hallelujah! This was the first unadulterated piece of good economic news I've heard in weeks. If Kudlow and Laffer think the Geithner plan is a train wreck, then I'm getting bullish on America again. Those guys are always wrong.

Then, this morning, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Judd "We Hardly Knew Ye" Gregg went on Squawk Box to complain about the deficit. No--really--they did. These "Republican moderates"--who never met a two trillion dollar war they wouldn't put off-budget--had the audacity to pose as penny-pinching guardians of the public till. Forget the fact that their supply-side snake oil has turned fatally rancid. Hutchison and Gregg deserve to be tarred and feathered around the clock solely on the grounds of criminal hypocrisy.

I'm no big fan of President Obama's rhetorical choices, but on substance, his speech the other night was excellent. His obsession with bipartisanship drives me up a wall, but it appears to be part of a long-term strategy. I'll just have to get used to it. But what about the rest of the Democrats? You know, the ones who aren't President? Well, when they're not actually legislating, they need to be out there trying to terminate--with extreme prejudice--the Republican Party's current raison d'etre. Condescension and ridicule--as well as the truth--should be their weapons of choice. Let Obama take the high road.

The stakes are too great, and there's too much to do, to risk letting the GOP get their hands on the government again. The proponents of such a dangerous and bankrupt philosophy need to be exposed ASAP.

Cross posted on http://www.sternlywordedletters.blogspot .com/

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Chris Hedges' sublime brilliance takes no prisoners!

Bigtime kudos to blogger ToqueDeville for bringing Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges' latest piece to the blogging community's attention over at DKos, early this morning: "Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Shockingly Leaves the Farm." ToqueDeville nails my sentiments about this brilliant piece in his intro:


To read him now is like reading Howard Beale, except smart. He appears to have had enough of the bullshit. And he's taking no prisoners. In fact, his excoriation of the ruling class he, as an Oxford chap, knows so well has certainly made him an enemy of such.

Behold friends, something rare and powerful is going on here. One of the most respected and revered journalist in the Western world has left the farm. And he appears to be lighting it on fire on his way out.


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