Of the many failures of the political press over the last 30 years, the one that exasperates me most is the blockheaded inability of journalists and pundits to get their heads around what it means that the Republican Party has been driven radically to the Right by Right Wing Christians.
New York Times has an article by Elisabeth Rosenthal this morning in which Rosenthal appears to find it baffling that practically alone among First World nations the United States has pretty much rejected the idea that global climate change is a real problem.
Even countries with relatively conservative governments---Great Britain, Australia---have passed legislation and implemented regulations to tackle it.
Rosenthal tries to explain why we’re different by resorting to cliches about our national character:
Americans — who produce twice the emissions per capita that Europeans do — are in many ways wired to be holdouts. We prefer bigger cars and bigger homes. We value personal freedom, are suspicious of scientists, and tend to distrust the kind of sweeping government intervention required to confront rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Ok. We prefer bigger cars and bigger homes? True. Doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like cheaper, cleaner, more environmentally friendly ways of powering them.
We value personal freedom? And Australians don’t? Maybe we make more of a fetish of the idea, but I don’t see the relevance of this unless it’s just that we like our big cars because they can take us wherever we want to go whenever we want to hit the open road.
We’re suspicious of scientists? NO! We aren’t.
A certain group of us is.
Right Wing Christians are “suspicious” of scientists because they suspect quite rightly that science proves that their biblically based belief in an earth that’s only a few thousand years old created specially for human beings by a personally involved and benevolent god the father is childish, superstitious, and, when you get right down to it, delusional.
This is why the phrase “man-made” figures so prominently in talk of climate change-denying Republican politicians. It’s code. If global warming isn’t “made-made” then who made it? Nature? It’s just a sort of natural accident? But why does that matter? We can still do something about it, can’t we?
No, we can’t. Because the answer isn’t nature. It’s God. Nothing happens in nature that God hasn’t willed. Global climate change is God’s will and who are we to oppose his will?
The difference between us and the Europeans, the Australians, and even the Chinese, isn’t that we like our big cars and McMansions. It’s that we have something none of those other nations have, a large bloc of Right Wing, fundamentalist Christians warping the national discourse and making it nearly impossible to have rational debates on just about every issue.
Our Fundamentalists mostly live in states that have already accepted that it’s God’s will that children go hungry and without adequate medical care, that working people get by on near subsistence wages, and that non-white people and non-heterosexual people of all colors are to be treated as being the enemy. They believe whatever their preachers tell them to believe and vote for whatever candidates the preachers tell them to vote for, and their preachers are mainly a collection of charlatans, mountebanks, con artists, hypocrites, bigots, ignoramuses, thieves, and corporate tools.
The fundamentalists have gotten control of many state and local governments and now have a choke hold on the federal government and what they want is to live in a “Christian” country governed according to God’s will which they reserve the right to interpret for the rest us.