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Monday, October 15, 2007

Firewall Fairy Derangement Syndrome

The Shrill One:

On the day after Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize, The Wall Street Journal’s editors couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Mr. Gore’s name. Instead, they devoted their editorial to a long list of people they thought deserved the prize more.

And at National Review Online, Iain Murray suggested that the prize should have been shared with “that well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden, who implicitly endorsed Gore’s stance.” You see, bin Laden once said something about climate change — therefore, anyone who talks about climate change is a friend of the terrorists.

What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.

And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme.

The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

But Gore hatred is more than personal. When National Review decided to name its anti-environmental blog Planet Gore, it was trying to discredit the message as well as the messenger. For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening.
...
So if science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed. For example, Investor’s Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of — who else? — George Soros.

Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.

Well, yes, Gore is a lightning rod for the wingers, but it goes deeper than Krugman thinks.

The New Conservative philosophy is a zero-sum game.  Any gain by somebody else is at the expense of another person--there is no cooperation or compromise or compassion in their worldview.  If the Frosts get healthcare on the government dime, to these people it's taking food out of their kids' mouths, or more likely taking away another iPod or HD TV or some other luxury they reallyreallyreally want and Dog damn it are totally entitled to.  If Gore says we might want to consider not burning so much oil that means he's a fascist commie who wants to destroy personal liberties.

And since they personalize EVERYTHING, whether it be Saddam as Iraq or Bush as America, when you attempt to do any good works that threaten to "steal" from them, they must by extension attack the person(s) involved.  So Graeme Frost deserves to be destroyed because hey, he stupidly chose to join the political process.  Gore is evil because he wants people to "give up their clothes driers" (oh yeah, hyperbole is also part of their schtick, and you know it's impossible to be kind to the environment without becoming Gandhi and giving up all your stuff).

The medium isn't the message; the messenger is.  So they don't want to kill their televisions, they want to kill the people telling them what they don't want to hear because that is tantamount to stealing their souls ala a primitive tribe's attitude toward cameras.  And that makes sense since they rarely engage their cognitive powers and instead rely on their primal urges to drive all their behavior.

They also want to live in the past, not unlike a washed up highschool quarterback keeps replaying The Big Game in his dreams and in his waking life.  Their big triumph was 2000 and now that current reality isn't so sweet, they want to return to the days when everything was Pleasantville perfect.  It's a simplistic approach to the world because they cannot adapt to new facts.  So because some scientists in the 70s based on the understanding of the time said we might be in danger of global cooling, Gore can't be right today despite more data in just the last few years.  Grog not understand.  Grog hit.

It's so insane that even Gore's actions that have nothing to do with them have to be about them.  They mock his carbon offsets and rather than leaving it at that, which is childish and ignorant enough, they actively do things to counter his efforts!

Bottom-line is The Right's very much like the old joke about Puritans (and Democrats): they lie awake in bed at night worrying that someone, somewhere, might be doing a good thing.  That, in their minds, means they necessarily are bad and since they are not, whatever that person is doing must be bad. 

I think that's part and parcel with their amazing ability and veritable need to hold many contradictory thoughts in their reptilian-dominant brains: capitalism is the greatest system ever/Gore is bad for making any money from global warming; the Nobel Prize is worthless/how horrible Gore won; Democrats should get over the 2000 election; hahah, Bush kicked Gore's ass in 2000.

Cognitive fucking dissonance, bitches!

ntodd

October 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Gore Derangement Syndrome
By PAUL KRUGMAN

On the day after Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize, The Wall Street Journal’s editors couldn’t even bring themselves to mention Mr. Gore’s name. Instead, they devoted their editorial to a long list of people they thought deserved the prize more.

And at National Review Online, Iain Murray suggested that the prize should have been shared with “that well-known peace campaigner Osama bin Laden, who implicitly endorsed Gore’s stance.” You see, bin Laden once said something about climate change — therefore, anyone who talks about climate change is a friend of the terrorists.

What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.

And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme.

The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

But Gore hatred is more than personal. When National Review decided to name its anti-environmental blog Planet Gore, it was trying to discredit the message as well as the messenger. For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening.

Consider the policy implications of taking climate change seriously.

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals,” said F.D.R. “We know now that it is bad economics.” These words apply perfectly to climate change. It’s in the interest of most people (and especially their descendants) that somebody do something to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, but each individual would like that somebody to be somebody else. Leave it up to the free market, and in a few generations Florida will be underwater.

The solution to such conflicts between self-interest and the common good is to provide individuals with an incentive to do the right thing. In this case, people have to be given a reason to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, either by requiring that they pay a tax on emissions or by requiring that they buy emission permits, which has pretty much the same effects as an emissions tax. We know that such policies work: the U.S. “cap and trade” system of emission permits on sulfur dioxide has been highly successful at reducing acid rain.

Climate change is, however, harder to deal with than acid rain, because the causes are global. The sulfuric acid in America’s lakes mainly comes from coal burned in U.S. power plants, but the carbon dioxide in America’s air comes from coal and oil burned around the planet — and a ton of coal burned in China has the same effect on the future climate as a ton of coal burned here. So dealing with climate change not only requires new taxes or their equivalent; it also requires international negotiations in which the United States will have to give as well as get.

Everything I’ve just said should be uncontroversial — but imagine the reception a Republican candidate for president would receive if he acknowledged these truths at the next debate. Today, being a good Republican means believing that taxes should always be cut, never raised. It also means believing that we should bomb and bully foreigners, not negotiate with them.

So if science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed. For example, Investor’s Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of — who else? — George Soros.

Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy.

October 15, 2007 in Firewall Fairy | Permalink

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Comments

After reading Krugman's column and a few Run!Gore,Run! "webicles" (web-articles--what do you think? will it catch on? did I even invent it?), I realized that the reason he won't run is 'cause he knows the only tool left in their arsenal is their arsenal: they'll kill him before letting him be president. And so he knows that he can do a lot more to affect change in global warming as an alive non-president than a dead president (I know, I know, pass the tinfoil...)

Posted by: whiskey girl | Oct 16, 2007 3:36:56 AM

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