I've finally remembered to check out Commentary Magazine's new blog, "Contentions." Commentary has long had its own special brand of high-gravitas loopiness, so I expect great things from the blog.
Conservatives like to think of themselves as hard-headed, flinty-eyed realists who draw conclusions based on the way the world actually works, not on the way they would prefer it to work. They deride liberals as sentimentalists who never let facts interfere with their preferred policy prescriptions, whether in favor of the minimum wage or arms control. Yet there are some issues on which conservatives will not let any amount of evidence shake their own faith-based politics. Global warming is a prime example. [...]Indeed: we don't want the smoking gun to be the climate equivalant of a mushroom cloud.
[T]oo many on the Right still refuse to acknowledge the basic reality that the climate is changing in potentially dangerous ways due to human activity, and that we need to reduce carbon emissions to address this looming crisis. Skeptics can always dredge up a rogue scientist or two to buttress their case, just as liberals can always find an economist or two to make the case for raising the minimum wage. But why should a few fringe figures dictate governmental policy?
I would think supporters of the invasion of Iraq would be more sympathetic to arguments for preventative action based on the best available intelligence.
I thought that Max Boot’s analogy between the conventional wisdom on climate change and the pre-war intelligence on Iraq’s WMD’s was an apt one. But I’m not sure why he concluded from this that conservatives should abandon their skepticism about efforts to “fight” climate change by curtailing CO2 emissions. It seems to me that one should logically draw the opposite conclusion—namely, that we ought to be wary of the “consensus” of “experts” on matters where the uncertainty is large, the stakes are high, and political pressures are at work.Ah-ha! Thus, the neoconservatives' own bamboozlement of Americans - based on manipulated intelligence, shoddy or even faked "evidence," and the testimony of experts who all agreed that they couldn't actually find any WMDs in Iraq - is now used as justification, by those same neocons, for global warming denial.