Good piece by Jonathan Chait at the LA Times yesterday: "Why the Right Goes Nuclear over Global Warming." It's a quick look at the dynamics behind the perverse fact that, as evidence for global warming goes stronger, Republican politicians are actually getting more skeptical. As Chait points out, it's a process largely driven by a small number of hard-core denialist ideologues (the very same ones we cover regularly at this blog):
Your typical conservative has little interest in the issue. Of course, neither does the average nonconservative. But we nonconservatives tend to defer to mainstream scientific wisdom. Conservatives defer to a tiny handful of renegade scientists who reject the overwhelming professional consensus.Emphsis mine. Once again, culture war trumps all.
National Review magazine, with its popular website, is a perfect example. It has a blog dedicated to casting doubt on global warming, or solutions to global warming, or anybody who advocates a solution. Its title is "Planet Gore." The psychology at work here is pretty clear: Your average conservative may not know anything about climate science, but conservatives do know they hate Al Gore. So, hold up Gore as a hate figure and conservatives will let that dictate their thinking on the issue.
In reality, nuclear plants may be a small part of the answer, but you couldn't build enough to make a major dent. But the psychology is perfect. Conservatives know that lefties hate nuclear power. So, yeah, Rush Limbaugh listeners, let's fight global warming and stick it to those hippies!It's not exactly reverse psychology. Call it perverse psychology.