Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some musings on global warming and other things.

As happens from time to time, I recently went through some arguments over the validity of climate change science. The anti's just got a new weapon in their arsenal - a series of stolen emails between scientists that seemed to show that the eggheads were yakking it up over the fakery they were getting away with. Oh, the gloating of the climate change deniers was thick enough to cut.

The scientists themselves, besides being livid over private emails being spread about publicly, tried to explain that some of the phrases that appeared to be admitting to fraud was just the language of scientists being misunderstood.

We on the left did our usual thing - tried to reason with the unreasonable and show them that science doesn't stand still to bring the deniers into the light.

Won't happen - this isn't about science, it's about ideology namely the 'MUST PROTECT MASTER" variety and that doesn't allow for nuance. If you allow the possibility of man-created global climate change then you can't defend your 'betters' profits because then it becomes a matter of personal survival instead of an ideology that says the more money you have means that you are more good than those with less. Fortunately, this ideology is in decline - out of power, discredited and rejected by a majority of Americans.

'Greed is good', if not dead, is very sick and very much alone. That's all they've got left too - this isn't disagreement this who is basically right and wrong, bad or good. They have become their own club, their own fringe and they can't make arguments for their positions. In order for them to be good, they have to make us and everyone else bad. Doesn't matter what gender you are, the color of your skin, whether you speak with an accent, what you call yourself or even if you're in the same party they are - if you don't know the secret handshake, you're evil.

OK, so what. I'm old enough to remember when people who espoused ideas like that were considered nuts and crackpots to be laughed at for their seeing communists every place they looked.

Short version: Who cares what they believe about climate change or science. All they can do is rant and foam at the mouth - the American voters took away their ability to do anything about it. Make no mistake about this - they are angry over one thing and that's it.

Forget Global Warming, Sarah Palin, forget Gore, Michael Moore, ACORN, Soros, the ACLU, forget even Obama - one way or the other they are all means to dress up that sore loser-ism and anger over the loss of power they think they have entitlement to so to make it more acceptable to themselves if no one else.

Let me be clear here - I don't paint all conservatives with this brush or want them all to go away either. Genuine conservatives are as necessary as genuine liberals to America as no plane flies with one wing. Genuine conservatives slow down the admitted over-exuberance of liberals for change just as liberals speed up conservatives when they take their natural tendency to slow things down too far and make it too slow.

What we're dealing with now are not genuine conservatives. These are people in the South still angry they lost. These are whites who feel threatened and confused because the status they got simply because of the color of their skin is vanishing. The few people of color they get tend to be people rejected by their own communities, desperate to be accepted in something and seeking revenge on those like themselves who didn't take them in. These are rural people angry at city people because urban is considered hip and rural isn't. Things are changing and they don't want them to. Basically, they want the world to stay put or return to how they think things should be and the world is rotating and evolving despite them.

Will we get past this and back to a more stable and deliberative way of doing things? I really don't know. I see the Republicans in the same position we McGovernites were in the early '70s. We had taken over the party, certain in our righteousness and goodness, and did our best to push the moderates out of the Democratic Party. We did all that and got our asses handed to us when voting time came around. One difference between then and now though - that run probably would have lasted longer if we'd had the financial backing not to mention a slew of talk shows and our own cable channel to cheer us on like the right does today.

Historians say this isn't really all that new - the extremists of one side or the other coming into prominence that is. They say something like it happens pretty much at the start of every decade and it really gets going at the turn of the century. Those are big, scary events for a lot of people and we are just now about to finish the first decade since the triple whammy - change of the decade, change of the century, and change of the millennium. Throw into that mix something that's never really happened in this country since the Civil War - a major attack on an American city with the even worse insecurity that followed the fact that the attack didn't come from another recognizable country, but a shadowy group of international terrorists - and it's extremist Disneyland.

The thing that sustains me and gives me hope is that the extremists aren't anywhere as large a segment of the country that they think they are. Sure, they get more press but there's also more press and pseudo-press to give them that attention. On top of that, we have the greatest platform for corner soapbox speechifying that's ever existed in the history of man. Of all of the inventions that science fiction writers foresaw for the future, this one they missed completely. It's Hyde Park cubed. It's also noisy, crowded and anyone and everyone gets their say.

What is this boon to the airing of the opinions of man and woman kind? If you're reading this right now, you're on it. The internet. The web. It's a great resource if used properly, and can send a lie around the world faster than and well before the truth can even get it's shoes made, let alone on and tied. It's also highly segmented and customizable - set it up right for yourself and you never have to see a contrary word to your opinions, ever. That's also a very difficult way to be able to win converts to your point of view regardless of what that is. Most of us aren't only preaching to the choir, we're preaching to hundreds if not thousands of them.

So, what's to become of us with all this? Well, let's bring things down to earth here. The person writing this and the people reading it are also a minority. We're politics junkies. Geeks. Wonks. Freaks. Tell people you did what I did last Saturday night - listening and watching CSPAN on a Saturday night, excited over a procedural vote in the Senate and commenting on it as it went along on Twitter or a blog - and watch them smile and back away from you, slowly. Politics is our sports, primaries are our playoffs and general elections are our Super Bowls. We battle over arcane policy differences and people the general public are oblivious to. And oh my, the things we call each other would have us at dawn holding dueling pistols and ready to shoot the other down back when the country was getting started.

What's the bottom line here? We've gone through tougher times and more real division in our history than we are doing now.

We'll be just fine.

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