“Climate denial is a deeply cynical enterprise; the people misrepresenting evidence and sifting through emails for ‘gotcha’ quotes have to know that they’re not being honest. Yet their rage against ‘elitists’ who continue to point out inconvenient truths is very real — because it’s a fact of life that many people feel special hatred for those they’ve mistreated.”
– Paul Krugman, “The G.O.P.’s Climate of Paranoia.” New York Times, August 20, 2018.
In his recent “The G.O.P.’s Climate of Paranoia,” Paul Krugman invokes sound bites and invective on the subject of climate science and climate policy. The New York Times columnist is all-in regarding climate alarmism and forced (government) energy transformation. He knows he is right and just fusses at the rest of us.
Krugman’s statements are in red; my response is indented in black.
“Fifteen years have passed since Senator James Inhofe suggested that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” This was and is an even crazier claim than the assertion of Trump and company that all of the tweeter in chief’s woes are the product of a vast deep-state conspiracy; it’s not far short of Pizzagate or QAnon territory. To take it seriously you have to believe in a vast international conspiracy involving thousands of scientists, not one of whom dares speak out.”
Malthusian alarms have turned out to be quite bad, the very opposite of reality. The global warming crusade is about more than just the enhanced greenhouse effect. It is about the assume, don’t debate, “settled” science (“consensus”); fossil-fuel obsolescence; and global climate-policy coordination. Taken together, the word “hoax” certainly comes into play. The emperor is certainly wearing no cloths.
“Yet this paranoid fantasy has in effect become the official position of the G.O.P. Climate change deniers have pretty much given up on arguing about the evidence, although the old line “it’s a cold day, so global warming is a myth” still pops up now and then. Instead, it’s all about the supposed conspiracy.”
The Republican Party is actually right-on on this issue. Citizen voters are not buying into climate as a major issue to either be worried about or concerned about solving in a meaningful way. Do not expect Democrats to campaign on the issue. Remember what John Podesta said prior to the 2016 election: “… we have done extensive polling on carbon tax. It all sucks.”
“What’s the evidence for this conspiracy? A lot of the argument rests on things like out-of-context quotes from stolen emails (sound familiar?), such as those sent among researchers at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. Like the texts between two F.B.I. officials that supposedly prove the existence of a plot against Trump, ‘Climategate’ actually showed nothing more than that the people involved were human. But to a determined conspiracy theorist, everything is evidence of nefarious activity.”
I have dealt with the false consensus here. The climate “conspiracy” is no more or less different from the Peak Oil conspiracy, another example of Malthusian consensus.
And Climategate as scientists just being human? So Michael Mann’s “Nature trick” to get his desired result is good science? Keeping opposing views from publication “even if we have to redefine what the peer-reviewed literature is!”? And Mann’s slight on esteemed climate scientist Judith Curry: “I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, but it’s not helping the cause, or her professional credibility.”
Most famously, Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia, spent several years trying to prove fraud on the part of Michael Mann, one of our leading climate researchers. Cuccinelli’s witch hunt (yes, this was the real thing) was thinly disguised as involving concern over misuse of state funds, but it was obviously an attempt to use political power to censor and suppress inconvenient science.
Given Climategate, I think all taxpayers should take a peek at climate scientists’ professional emails.
And where were the Republicans standing up against conspiracy theories and for scientific integrity? Inaudible and invisible.
Just the reverse, where are the Democrats on climate-model assumptions, replication, and falsifiability?
In short, if you followed the evolution of the G.O.P.’s position on climate change (not that Republicans believe in evolution, either), you shouldn’t be surprised at the party’s intellectual and moral collapse under Trump. For Republicans, ignorance has been strength for a long time.
Such a sweeping ad hominem is an intellectual version of racism–and no doubt discredits its author with the open-minded.
There’s also, I believe, an additional relevant lesson from the climate story: the special rage of those who knowingly act in bad faith.
Rage? Bad faith? Krugman’s intellectual temper tantrum is self-evident–and self-defeating.
Climate denial is a deeply cynical enterprise; the people misrepresenting evidence and sifting through emails for “gotcha” quotes have to know that they’re not being honest. Yet their rage against “elitists” who continue to point out inconvenient truths is very real — because it’s a fact of life that many people feel special hatred for those they’ve mistreated.
The bottom line? Beware of intellectual and political elites who claim to have the information and answers to introduce coercion among consenting adults. Beware of Paul Krugman.