Tag: climate denial
Cross-posted at Daily Kos
Two events this week, thousands of miles apart, demonstrated vastly different visions for America and the world. While the Heartland Institute's climate change denial conference disintegrated into an embarrassing, stinking mess, SpaceX partnered with the Obama administration to strike new ground for the human race -- the first commercial space flight in history.
Don't let anyone tell you there's no difference between Republicans and Democrats -- the gulf between Heartland and SpaceX perfectly illustrates the two visions between which we must choose. One side seeks to guide us smoothly into the 21st century. The other seeks to pull us back into the Middle Ages.
America itself was launched by major figures of the Enlightenment, leaders like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson who not only believed in science but practiced it. It is no coincidence that the US has won nearly half of all science and economics Nobel Prizes, or that our nation has a long history of innovations and inventions from the cotton gin to the Internet. It is part of America's DNA -- to be American is to believe in science and the power of human ingenuity to help us tackle our greatest challenges. Of course we have many other aspects to our history and character, both good and bad -- but our scientific achievements are America at her best.
The mark of the most backwards and destructive governments in history has been their suppression of science, reason and intellectuals in favor of paranoid conspiracy theories.
So listen to likely GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Perry: "There are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects."
You may have become so used to hearing such comments from right wing political rabble rousers and phone-hacking media outlets that they don't shock you anymore. If so, think about this: a man who could conceivably become president is proposing to lead a witch hunt against scientists for the crime of seeking the truth. In memory of the victims of past mass hysterias, let's call it The Climate Libel.
When times are bad, sometimes the people choose a leader like FDR, with the positive vision to pull them out of the rut into a better world. And sometimes, in desperation, they choose a leader like the guys FDR had to defeat.
Scapegoating is a tried and true political tactic almost as old as civilization itself. After a natural disaster, the ancient Greeks would drive a beggar, crook or disabled person into exile in order to purify the city. Scapegoating since has ranged from the Salem Witch Trials to Southern lynch mobs to the McCarthy era to the bloodbaths of Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, and Rwanda.
Many of these cases have a few characteristics in common. It's important to note these in order to anticipate the pattern and be ready to defend our scientists if they are indeed the next class to be thrown to the wolves so as to rile up the masses and distract everyone from what's really going on.
To learn more about how the climate crisis is fueling oddball winter weather, go to NWF.org/ExtremeWeather.