The left/right divide on climate change: some thoughts

Idiot Tracker – authored by Robert in the US – is a blog with some great insights into the (still growing) political divide between “liberals” and “conservatives” in the United States.

In particular I’ve found his analysis of why the science of climate change is difficult for conservatives to “grasp” most informative. Posted in two parts is worth a read.

Robert’s analysis is not a simple “Conservatives are dumb coz they don’t get it” rant. It’s a thoughtful analysis of both conservative and liberal responses to climate change.

On the left’s reaction to climate change:

“…It’s easy to see how conservatives would tend to drift to the status-quo side of the argument: environmentalism represented (and continues to represent) a challenge to an absolutist argument for the morality of unrestricted capitalism. And it is hard to miss an undertone of hostility to unrestricted capitalism (and to the established order generally) in the writings and speeches of environmental activists — there is sometimes evident a certain glee at the prospect of a civilization-shaking cataclysm, and the warnings of disaster, the vivid pictures painted of the consequences of “peak oil,” for example — can come off as less salutary advice and more wish fulfilment.

Hard-core leftism is a frustrated ideology in the West, and it has had to watch capitalism, whose demise it has often predicted, go from strength to strength, as the moneyed interests that serve it have, far from suffering the fruits of their (very real) crimes against the poor, prospered greatly by their association with it.”

And on how conservatives have embraced a worldview that comforts them:

“…Denialism is comfortable to conservatives because they have gradually acclaimated themselves to the practice of making the facts bend to the ideology; of embracing whatever narrative gives aid and comfort to the tribe, regardless of how far-fetched it is. This dynamic has been assisted greatly by the internet. No longer does a conspiracy theorist have to air their views in mixed company when they are less than fully formed and hardened in place.”

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