Why Conservatives Resist Science on Global Warming
(And Why Liberals Resist Science on Almost Everything Else)
DISCLAIMER: Billy Riggs does not speak on (or even address) the topic below in any of his public presentations, but his interests are wide and varied, so he sometimes uses this blog to express views he finds interesting or noteworthy.
During a recent interview on NBC’s Late Night, host Seth Meyers asked then-presidential candidate Lindsey Graham if he was surprised that so many Republicans don’t believe in anthropogenic global warming. Graham replied, “Here’s the problem I’ve got with some people in my party: When you ask the scientists what’s going on, why don’t you believe them? If I went to 10 doctors and nine said, ‘Hey, you’re gonna die,’ and one says ‘You’re fine,’ why would I believe the one guy?” Graham may not understand why so many of his fellow-Republicans are global warming “deniers,” but I do. For myself, I think the evidence is very strong (though not yet conclusive) that the climate is warming abnormally and there is a reasonable case to be made that human behavior is a major contributing factor. But I completely understand, respect and sympathize with those who remain skeptical. The so-called “deniers” are justifiably skeptical, for the following reasons, which are defended in detail in the paragraphs below:
- Liberals have been horrendously wrong on most important issues for over 200 years, so it makes sense to take what they say with a grain of salt. This statement will come as a surprise to many, but only because they’ve managed to cover their tracks so well.
- Liberals are more likely to reject science in most fields than Conservatives.
- Liberals see their adversaries (Conservatives) as evil, and thus feel justified in stretching the truth or cheating to advance their agenda in the interests of fighting bigotry, providing health insurance to the poor or bettering society. Lest you doubt me, note MSNBC host Ed Schultz’ comment: “If I lived in Massachusetts, I’d try to vote ten times … Yeah that’s right, I’d cheat to keep these bastards out. I would. Because that’s exactly what they are.” In the relativist world of a liberal, lying is not necessarily wrong; it is the lesser of two evils. It is fighting fire with fire. So Obama knowingly lied about “keeping your doctor.” He did it to help poor people, right? Isn’t that better than telling the truth and failing to pass Obamacare? And Al Franken “won” his Senate seat by 242 votes with the help of over 1000 felons who voted illegally. His opponent was a racist sexist homophobe Republican, so goodness won, right? Because many liberals have no compunction whatsoever about lying to advance their political agenda (and the media almost never report it fairly), how can we possibly know if they’re telling the truth on climate change? When liberals altered their terminology a decade ago from “global warming” to “climate change,” it seemed reasonable to assume that their motive for doing so was to preserve their political issue in spite of the fact that the climate had possibly stopped warming.
- It seems a little too coincidental that all proposed solutions to climate change just happen to be exactly what liberals have been longing to do since long before the earth began to warm in the 80s.
Let me explain in detail why the doubters doubt.
- Liberals are almost always wrong. – Despite the contemporary narrative that Liberals are always pushing for what is right while being thwarted by misguided Conservatives, the exact opposite has been true for over 200 years. While the definitions of liberal and conservative have morphed and shifted over two centuries, in every generation it was the self-described Liberals and Progressives (almost every one of them Democrats) who sided with evil, a fact that has gone unreported for so long that those who repeat the myth today are too young to know that it is utter nonsense. The litany of liberal miscalculations would take a very long book to describe, but let me just list them:
- Slavery – Liberal Democrats supported slavery. Conservatives and Republicans – led by the Quakers and Mennonites – fought and ended it. Liberals of the day derided abolitionists as backward hicks who refused to accept the “science” of phrenology, which used cranial measurements to “prove” blacks were inferior.
- The Trail of Tears – It was hard-drinking, hard-swearing, slave-owning cofounder of the Democrat Party Andrew Jackson who mercilessly pursued and slaughtered the American Indians, then as President ordered them forcibly marched without adequate food, shelter and clothing to wastelands in the West.
- The KKK – The Klan was founded by 6 educated Democrats for the purpose of terrorizing Republicans in the hopes of restoring Democrat rule (and slavery) to the South. The Klan was later revived by Democrats in the 20th century – this time to target blacks – after (progressive Democrat) President Woodrow Wilson re-segregated the U.S. Civil Service (which conservative Republican Abraham Lincoln had desegregated in 1865). I have been able to identify only 2 prominent Republicans in history that were members of the KKK, both in the 1920s. Thousands of elected Democrats were members of or sympathizers with the Klan.
- The Confederacy – Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, was a Democrat Senator from Mississippi before the war. John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was a liberal Democrat actor, fundamentally little different from the Hollywood nitwits who pontificate each year from the stage at The Oscars™. It’s not hard to imagine George Clooney shouting sic semper tyrannis after a Republican electoral loss.
- Women’s Suffrage – The Quakers hosted the first Women’s Rights Conference in 1848. When the Republican Party was formed a decade later, these ultraconservatives joined up. Conservative Republicans in Congress proposed giving women the vote for 20 consecutive years while Progressive Democrats used every legislative trick at their disposal to fight it. Democrats were routed in the 1916 elections, allowing Conservative Republicans the votes necessary to pass the 19th Amendment. Woodrow Wilson was hounded by Republicans for years before finally realizing his opposition to suffrage was doomed to fail. He signed it only to prevent alienating that huge new voting bloc.
- Eugenics – Self-styled progressive Democrats worked furiously in the early part of the 20th century to eradicate the black race by forcibly sterilizing them and placing Planned Parenthood clinics in black neighborhoods to abort their next generation. Margaret Sanger (liberal Democrat feminist icon to this very day) who founded Planned Parenthood (in Brownsville, NY, not coincidentally) was a frequent guest speaker at KKK rallies and stated the purpose of her organization unambiguously: “Negroes are human weeds and are to be exterminated.”
- Interning the Japanese – FDR, Liberal Democrat. Need I say more?
- Tuskeegee Experiments – Again, progressive Democrats under the FDR administration experimented for decades with black men, never telling them that a few doses of penicillin would cure their syphilis. Most of them died from the disease.
- Segregation – Contrary to the widespread urban myth, Democrats George Wallace, William Fulbright, Orval Faubus, Marvin Griffin, Al Gore, Sr., Bull Connor, and the rest of the Dixiecrats were Liberals. They were the political kin of LBJ and Jimmy Carter, who were both segregationist liberal Democrats in the 1950s. (Carter even vowed that, if elected Governor of Georgia, his first act would be to invite George Wallace to come to the state to give a speech.) All of these men supported the New Deal, loved the United Nations, endorsed the uber-liberal Adlai Stevenson, promoted nationalized healthcare, despised Joe McCarthy, promoted labor unions, opposed aid to Israel and fought “right wing radicalism.” (Fulbright’s words). They would go on to oppose the Viet Nam war, support abortion-on-demand, seek to impeach Richard Nixon, and support liberal Jimmy Carter over ultraconservative Ronald Reagan. Oh, and they and their like-minded liberal Democrats also passed and enforced every Jim Crow law.
- Abortion – Liberal Democrats overwhelmingly support abortion, the last remaining vestige of the Eugenics movement. 80% of Planned Parenthood clinics today are in primarily-black neighborhoods. True to Margaret Sanger’s wishes, half of all black babies conceived are aborted, rendering blacks the only minority U.S. demographic that is actually declining in population relative to other non-white ethnicities.
- Cataclysms and Shortages – Largely liberal scientists and politicians in the United Nations inflicted dread on elementary school students (like me) in the 1960s by producing “educational” films assuring us that the world would run out of oil and be returned to the dark ages by the year 2000. And didn’t they warn us that the Earth was cooling at an alarming pace in the 1970s? And wasn’t it liberal scientists John Gribbin, Ph.D., and Stephen Plagemann who told us the Earth would be ripped apart in 1981 by the alignment of 5 planets? And wasn’t it the liberal United Nations who told us in 1972 that the world would run out of gold by 1981, mercury and silver by 1985, tin by 1987, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and copper, lead and natural gas by 1993? And who warned us that hundreds of millions would starve to death by the end of the 80s, and that by 1985 air pollution would prevent half of the sun’s light from reaching the earth, and that by 1980 “all important sea life” would be extinct, and that the Arctic ice cap would melt away completely by 2000? Or that airplanes would fall from the sky at the stroke of midnight January 1, 2000 due to the Y2K glitch? And didn’t Al Gore predict that the polar ice caps would disappear completely by 2014? Since they were wrong about all of those predictions, can anyone blame Conservatives for being hesitant to jump at this latest cry of wolf… even if there actually is a wolf this time?
- The list above does not include the fact that many ultraliberal Democrats adored Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Castro, and Che Guevara. I have been able to find NO prominent American Conservatives or Republicans who did.
- Nor does it include the fact that liberals turned out to be wrong about Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and Joe McCarthy (we now know that every person he accused of being a Communist spy was, in fact, a Soviet spy, and even his most “outrageous” estimate of the number of spies in the FDR and Truman administrations was about 25% low).
- Nor does it include the fact that “The Projects” in every inner city were built by liberal Democrats. Almost all of the slum lords denounced by liberal Democrats are themselves liberal Democrats.
- I could go on many more pages, but these should be sufficient to prove my point: Liberals have been historically, inarguably, cataclysmically wrong far more often that they have been right.
And please don’t fall for the canard that the parties switched places, that Southern “Conservatives” merely wore the label of “Democrat” and quickly became Republicans after losing the battle for civil rights. This is patently, provably false. Of the Democrat Senators who filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (18 of the 19 were Democrats), only one (Strom Thurmond) ever became a Republican. All of the others remained loyal liberal Democrats for the remainder of their lives. In the House of Representatives, only one (Thurmond’s protégé in South Carolina, Albert Watson, who presumably would have done whatever his mentor did) became a Republican. Even more telling, not a single Republican who voted for the Civil Rights Act (over 80% in both houses of Congress) became a Democrat in protest. The uber-Conservative Quakers who began the abolitionist and women’s rights movement were Republicans in 1860 and remain so today, proving that Conservatives and Liberals have not swapped labels. Furthermore, if the parties had switched places, Democrats would now be pro-life and Republicans would be pro-choice for it has historically been Republicans who stood up for those downtrodden by Democrats. So it makes perfect sense that anyone who knows history would be skeptical about any view widely promoted by Liberals, including global warming.
- Liberals have a history of playing fast and loose with science. – Liberals envision themselves as brave protagonists in a never-ending morality play, casting themselves as the valiant Galileo standing against the Neanderthal priests who insisted – contrary to all evidence – that the Earth was the center of the universe. Setting aside the issue of climate change for a moment, on the solitary issue of evolution Liberals have a point. Scientists do overwhelmingly support evolution. But on most other issues it is the Democrats who resist science.
- Energy – The obvious solution to the energy needs of this country (and to climate change) is nuclear power and fracking, which emit no greenhouse gases or smoke. Conservatives have championed these causes for many years, but are always thwarted by liberals.
- Education – In Harlem, the Wadleigh Secondary (Middle) School works with mostly poor and minority students. ZERO students in the school meet state standards for proficiency in math or English. Two floors above it in the same building is the Success Academy, a public charter school with the very same clientele (the only difference is that the students’ names were randomly selected via lottery for admission), but the proficiency ratings are 96% in math and 75% in English. Can you guess which one Liberals are trying to kill? (HINT: It’s the one that works.) Meanwhile, in Washington DC (90% Democrat), only 8% of students perform math at grade level. However, a Republican-sponsored voucher plan gives poor black and Latino kids a fighting chance. Since 2003, the voucher program has been in place and now 90% of participants graduate and 88% go to college. Naturally, liberal Democrats try relentlessly every year to kill the program, and plan to filibuster the program in the Senate again soon. This tragic scenario plays itself out in scores of communities every year, with poor and minority children being robbed of their opportunity for a good education. It is liberal Democrats who, with rare exceptions like New Jersey’s Cory Booker, fight viciously against charter schools and other educational reforms, while conservative Republicans promote models that work.
- Economics – One need look no further than Detroit to see how liberal economic policies – unimpeded by even a single conservative in power there for half a century – play out. Identified as the “most liberal city in America” in 2005, Detroit is a Petri dish in which to study the effects of liberal economic policies. Powerful unions, generous pensions, high taxes on the rich and rising property taxes have done to the Motor City exactly what Conservatives have always warned: driven out taxpayers, ruined the economy and stranded helpless people in unsolvable poverty. True to form, the worst places to live in America are almost all run exclusively by liberal Democrats. Furthermore, the places with the largest income gap between rich and poor (Marin County, California, Boulder, Colorado, and Washington DC, to name three) are all run by huge liberal majorities. The gap shrank mightily during the Reagan years, and has expanded during the Obama years. The failure of liberal economic policy is currently also on display in Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Venezuela and Portugal. I propose that anyone who disagrees with this indisputable evidence be universally mocked as an “Economics Denier.” Liberal economic policy is an utter failure. The “science” of it is at least as “settled” as that surrounding man-made global warming.
- Ethanol – The fuel additive extracted from corn is cheaper than gasoline and emits less pollution when burned. However, it also results in lower gas mileage which more than makes up for the price difference. Moreover, the energy expended in converting the corn to fuel, transporting it to refineries, and mixing it with gasoline produces more pollution than is saved by using it. Worse still, millions around the world who could be fed by that corn go hungry.
- Abortion – Brain waves, the legal threshold for end-of-life scenarios, are now detectable in human fetuses at 11 days after conception. Will this scientific fact sway liberals to accept the obvious implications? Don’t hold your breath.
- Genetically Modified Foods – “Frankenfoods,” as liberal protesters like to call them, are equal in every regard to traditional crops according to science and have fed billions of people who would otherwise have starved, but facts rarely matter to the far left. Even uttering the word “Monsanto” causes some liberals to erupt in irrational paroxysms of rage.
- Gun Control – 42 studies over the past three decades have studied the effects of gun control on society. One of the studies concluded that gun control slightly reduces the number of gun deaths. Two more studies were inconclusive. The other 39 all determined that gun control increases the rate of gun deaths. Proving the point, both Washington DC and Chicago (among America’s two worst cities for gun homicides) have had among the most stringent gun control laws in the country for many years. Why don’t liberals believe the 39 scientific studies instead of the 1? Moreover, violent crime decreased in the nation’s capital by 47.9% in 2007, the year that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of DC’s gun ban. Apparently criminals prefer that their victims be unarmed.
- Human Nature – Liberals have built their entire political agenda on the tabula rasa (blank slate) theory that human behavior is the almost completely the result of environment, ignoring the obvious genetic component. Anyone who has more than one child or is familiar with studies done on identical twins separated at birth knows this thesis is preposterous. Nevertheless, even to state the obvious fact that some characteristics are genetically acquired would disqualify you for elected office as a Democrat. Hardly a day goes by that some liberal doesn’t appear on a talk show making an outlandish claim to this effect: “Boys fight with each other because they are socialized to do so,” or “Girls play with dolls because they are subtly steered into a maternal gender role by pink-colored nurseries,” or “Children develop a taste for sweets because parents use them to bribe kids to eat their vegetables,” or that “Teenagers compete with one another on fashion because they were programmed to do so by spelling bees and playground games as children.” A decade ago, Harvard University President Lawrence Summers delivered a speech suggesting the possibility that men and women might excel in different fields (men in engineering and mathematics, women in liberal arts) due to innate differences. He even added the disclaimer, “I’d like to be proven wrong on this one.” Rather than treating the statement for what it was – a hypothesis to be scientifically tested and confirmed or rejected – it was seen as blasphemy, a thought that is inherently immoral to think, inciting a media firestorm that cost him his job. In the unscientific world of a liberal, even one’s gender is not genetically derived, but can be switched at will Bruce-Jenner-style. (Of course, they completely reverse themselves on the issue of homosexuality, so that anyone who suggests even the faintest possibility that environment might be involved is met with equally hysterical denunciation.) The nurture over nature argument furnishes the philosophical justification for almost all liberal policies, despite the fact that the tabula rasa concept is scientifically false and in complete contradiction to observable fact and common sense. BOTH nurture and nature matter profoundly. But Liberals consider this self-evidently moderate position “extreme.”
- Fracking – Fracking is an ingenious and safe way to extract natural gas – another clean-burning fuel available in abundance. There is no evidence that it contaminates ground water (though the possible linkage to earthquakes remains unsettled). But liberals hate natural gas because… why? I suspect it is because it has “gas” in its name, and the word “fracking” (short for fracturing) sounds violent and Mother Gaia would definitely not approve. Very scientific!
Ohio State researchers Erik Nesbit, R. Kelly Garrett and Kathryn Cooper published a study in early 2015 demonstrating that liberals and conservatives are equally ready to jettison science whenever it conflicts with their political views. (Chalk this study up as one more example of science that Libs will reject!) Liberals accept evolution and anthropogenic global warming not because they are any more scientific that the other issues listed above, but because the ramifications of belief align with their political goals. Evolution allows liberals guilt-free sexual behavior while justifying the marginalization of Christians. It also supports their unspoken hypothesis that society is inherently “progressive,” with each generation marching farther forward into a brave new Utopian socialist world. This explains their almost knee-jerk and mindless embracing of every crazy fad that comes along. Climate change, likewise, becomes the justification to forcibly enact liberal policies willy-nilly.
- It’s just too convenient. – Proposed solutions to climate change are a liberal’s dream sheet. No wonder former U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D – Colorado) said in 1993: “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” Democrats’ proposed fixes are 1) Shutting down coal and oil production and usage, 2) Strict regulation of business by government, 3) Transfer of wealth from rich nations to poor ones ostensibly to help them combat climate change, 4) Opposition to deforestation and development, 5) Bigger bureaucracies in Washington to monitor and prosecute offenders, 6) Government loans and subsidies to green energy companies, 7) Eating less meat, 8) You (not liberal leaders) traveling less, driving tiny cars when you must drive, and riding bicycles the rest of the time. (Al Gore will continue, of course, to emit more than 30 times the carbon-dioxide as an average American.), 9) Raising your taxes to pay for all of this.
Shhhh! Do you hear that noise? That’s Ted Kennedy’s ghost giddily squealing with glee!
Isn’t all of this precisely what liberals have wanted to do since the sixties? To quote the greatest of all modern theologians, Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, “How conveeeeenient!” No wonder Conservatives are skeptical!
Imagine a woman sitting alone in a bar when a man walks over to chat her up. Here’s their hypothetical conversation:
Him: You look like you’ve had a long day.
Her: I’m under a lot of stress at work right now.
Him: Do you know what’s good for that? Did you know that sex has been shown to be a great stress reliever? It even lowers blood pressure.
Her (rolling her eyes): I didn’t get much sleep last night so I think I’d better go home tonight alone to get some rest.
Him: Do you know what’s good for that? Scientists have proven that regular sex actually improves your sleep patterns. I can help you get some sleep. Really, I don’t mind.
Her: Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’d rather be alone right now.
Him: I understand. Psychology Today says that a lack of sex makes people crabby and antisocial. I can help you with that.
Her: Look, you wouldn’t want to kiss me right now. I’ve had a bit of a cold.
Him: You’re in luck! Did you know that sex actually boosts the immune system? In fact, people who have sex regularly take fewer sick days from work. What do you say?
Her: Look, I’m going to the gym right after I leave here.
Him: No need to! Did you know that sexual activity burns off five calories per minute? It raises your heart rate and reduces your risk of heart attack.
Her: Excuse me. I have to go to the bathroom.
Him: Of course you do! I can help with that. Did you know sex improves a woman’s bladder control?
Her (leaving): This conversation is giving me a headache.
Him (shouting after the woman): Do you know what’s good for that?
Her: Let me guess.
Him: I’m just trying to help you!!!
Of course, the man isn’t interested in helping. He’s interested in his own agenda, so he proposes the same “solution” regardless of the stated problem. Similarly, a liberal’s response to almost every issue is the same. Quite predictably, leftists’ solutions to climate change are identical to their answers to poverty, crime, pollution, housing, inflation, healthcare, etc.: higher taxes, bigger bureaucracy, more government regulation, and wealth redistribution. Conservatives can’t help but be suspicious that liberals may not be as interested in averting global warming as they are in using the issue as a cudgel to advance their political agenda. If the proposed solution to climate change were burning more fossil fuels, lowering taxes, and cutting the size of government, Conservatives would be much less skeptical of the science behind it. But then again, if that were the case liberals would probably be the ones dismissing global warming as just a Republican scam – regardless of what scientists might say.
All that being said, I think it’s time for Conservatives to give in on this issue. Liberals are almost always wrong (an empirical fact), but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong this time. Someone who is wrong 80% of the time is still right 20% of the time. Apparently, global warming is one of the rare cases in which they happen to be right. As the data continues to come in, my objections and doubts are slowly being eroded and answered (though not completely). So I move that we do what liberals ought to do (but never will) on fracking, gun control, abortion, crime, poverty, nuclear power, education, ethanol and economics: listen to the scientists.