Monday, May 03, 2010

The Right's In-fight over Climate

I've been guilty of seeing much of the right as a single monolithic entity when it comes to climate change policy, so I'm happy to be put right by this excellent post that looks at how the right is busy in-fighting for it's own soul:
One is reminded strongly reminded not to dismiss “conservatives” as fools, ill-informed or incapable of rational debate. It is the extreme fringe that seeks to drown out the voices of moderation. Both sides of the political divide have something to offer to the debate: the pragmatic tradition of Edmund Burke in understanding society as an organic entity and valuing institutions does not need to conflict with an intelligent response to climate change. Indeed, this is what rational conservatism is about.

OK, I reaming to be persuaded, but this at least has some hope of keeping enlightenment values. The article continues:
Science is a four hundred year old tradition worth preserving. Currently it is under “attack” by ideologues. Our democratic institutions and traditions are worth conserving. Conservatism has traditionally been wary of stoking of the “passions of the mob” via ideology. The denial movement is ideologically based. It circumnavigates the scientific process and engages the worst aspects of peoples psychology: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

The denial movement tears down societies trust in science; it provokes individuals to send scientists death threats; it questions Enlightenment values such as the use of evidence and reason in debate.

Climate change represents a major disruptive force in both political and economic terms. That elements of the conservative movement would ignore these threats is a tragedy.

I agree that by allying itself to anti-rational, anti-scientific movements such as Creationism and Climate Denail, the right has re-modelled itself on selling a 'meme product' to it's core audiences. This is a short-term view that will bite it in the ass in the end. After all News Corporation, owners of Fox News, seem to take climate change seriously aiming to become carbon neutral by end of 2010; yet as a business, it is happy to 'sell' denial to consumers who want that sort of thing via outlets like Fox News.

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