First, of course, is the error in using conservative and Republican interchangeably. Then we find his broad swath take on Republicans stems from the fact that an informal survey of Republican candidates this last election showed they did not favor raising taxes and penalizing businesses during a recession to fight global warming. But Republicans were not the only ones. The only big win for Democrats this past election was in West Virginia, where the candidate for Senate had a campaign ad showing him taking a rifle and shooting a bullet through the Cap and Trade legislation favored by fellow Democrats.
Everyone either ran from global warming legislation or campaigned against it. It doesn't mean they don't believe it. But conservatives may not need to run from it now that the election is over.
"When faced with uncertainty and the possibility of costly outcomes, smart businessmen buy insurance, reduce their downside exposure and protect their assets," writes Hendricks. Simplistic, and he doesn't understand that insurance policies are to protect lost income and you don't spend 25% of your income on them. Yet he is basically correct that it's better to deal with the world you know than the future you don't.
Indeed, as I have said many times, relying on some magical future science to cure today's problems is not a great idea. That research will have to be done by the same academics conservatives say have been too tainted by the progressive mentality of universities.
The bet instead is that the whole global warming thing does not exist at all - Republicans remember when one party said a problem did not exist, namely weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the response to them was 'this is too important to risk'. Well, you were right (in its importance being too much to risk, not so much on the actual WMDs) and so it goes with the climate. One thing we know is that temperatures have risen since pollution curbs have been in place but we can't go back to high pollution. And even a junior high school physics students knows adding more people, more animals, and more machines for growing food to a closed space will increase heat. To deny that is anti-science and devoid of common sense.
Yet Hendricks does not seem to understand (he is a proud, self-admitted progressive) that the issue cannot be framed solely in terms of Republicans being anti-science or for small government any more than progressives are blindly pro-science and for big government - he rightfully argues that if warming continues to happen, the government response will be huge so, if anything, conservatives should want it fixed by the private sector now. Yet this is why progressives seem to flunk Economics 101.
Well, of course, plenty of progressives (Paul Krugman notwithstanding) do understand economics - but progressives and conservatives attach different values to economic issues. As I wrote then about progressives, "if the position did not reconcile with their aesthetic or moral belief, they simply decided not to accept it as valid...Basically, if compassion is a priority, economic rationality will not be one."
Not the same thing as not understanding economics but it's a question of 'are the correlations and causations valid'? In that article, progressives refused to accept obvious, simple things, despite all evidence, like that rent control decreased availability and licensing fees drove up costs of services - because the end goal was more important to them than the facts. Other things were rationalized as the source of the problems rather than the costs. So it goes with Republicans as a political group and global warming and conservatives less so but still in that hemisphere.
So the first thing people have to understand is that it may not be that the other side is too stupid to understand basic economics or too stupid to understand pollution is bad, but how to reconcile it with their more pressing issues.
For Republicans, it may not hurt to note that if Peru sinks under a melting glacier, that's a whole lot of illegal immigrants wanting to come north and there are also plenty of science issues where Democrats are anti-science kooky (GMOs, heck, all of agriculture, nuclear power, etc.) but they feel like the issue is too important to risk - well, Democrats have to see Republicans feel that way about jobs and poor people and rolling dice with the economy.
- If National Review Wants Scientists To Take Conservatives Seriously, Jettison The Discovery Institute
- The Left Is More Anti-Science Than The Right Unless The Right Is More Anti-Science Than The Left
- Does Religion Really Make A Difference In Politics?
- Maybe Assistant Comment Editors Shouldn't Write About Science
- Framing Concepts For Political Gain: They Do That On Computers Now?