October 02, 2015

The truth on #conservative #SJW ideas and #climatechange, vs. Erica Greider of Texas Monthly

Using the term "philosobabble" as a philosophy-related counterpart to "psychobabble," Texas Monthly's Erica Greider engaged injust that earlier this week.

I quote from the third graf of her "Skeptics and Scare Stories":
For the record, though I’m not a scientist, I don’t doubt the scientific consensus that climate change is real and anthropogenic. At the same time, I don’t often feel oppressed by other people’s metaphysical and epistemological premises, and I rarely see a need to litigate such questions before policy discussions.
Beyond philosobabble in general, this did turn on a light bulb for me.

I had never thought before that conservatives could be labeled with the "social justice warrior" moniker often used to tag vapid, pseudo-intellectual thought of sections of the New New Left.

But,  there it is and there you have it. If some New Lefter were talking about whether or not they "feel oppressed by other people’s metaphysical and epistemological premises," we'd be on that like white on SJW rice.

Let's go on:
I … can’t recall asking any elected officials if they believe in anthropogenic climate change. I’ve asked people why they don’t believe in climate change. … But I’m hard-pressed to think of a scenario where I would find it relevant to ask Greg Abbott whether he believes in anthropogenic climate change.
Really? You wouldn't ask why this motivates him, both as AG and now as governor, to continue to sue the federal government? You wouldn't ask how much this is behind his infamous "I wake up and sue Obama" mantra? You won't ask why he keeps doing this even though he loses more than he wins and is the state's chief waster of taxpayer money, despite his claims, AND yours, to be fiscal conservatives?

Wouldn't you also ask him why, per the NewYork Times, he's now in the minority, not among Americans, not among Republicans, though he is in both counts, but, why he's in a minority of self-described conservative Republicans? 

See, that's just being a bad, or lazy, reporter. Or being an opiner/pundit while pretending to be a reporter.

And, it's not limited to climate change.

From earlier in the article.
Occasionally, for example, I’ve had occasion to ask legislators if they believe that human life begins at conception. I’ve never asked any of them how old they think the planet is; I don’t see why that question would even come up during the course of reporting.
And, again, why not?

Given that the so-called "intelligent design" movement has allies in the Texas Legislature; given that the State Board of Education has a history of trying to import bad science as well as bad history into Texas textbooks, you don't think this question would ever come up in the course of reporting on something like teaching evolution in public schools?

Back to climate change, though. Creating straw men may be a tool for a pundit, albeit not a good tool. But, it’s not a tool for a reporter. One can be both; it’s part of the community newspaper world.

However, one must know which mindset to use and when. Therefore, talking about reporting, not opining on this issue, while creating straw men like this:
Slowing climate change, after all, isn’t the easiest task imaginable. It would require drastic reductions in total global emissions of greenhouse gases; that would require most of the world’s industrialized nations to commit to major changes in their current consumption and production—course corrections that most countries would find costly and painful. Denouncing American conservatives for driving their gas-guzzlers all over the common good of humankind? That’s comparatively easy.
Is unacceptable.

Greider talks about the moral side:
According to many environmentalists, journalists who fail to ask such questions are being wantonly negligent about their responsibilities to the public interest.
It’s actually not that. It’s a question of journalistic ethics. And, you’ve shown that you don’t have much, if any.

So, let’s get back to that New York Times story, as it would inform you, Erica, how to actually do reporting on this issue:
North Carolina businessman Jay Faison and the Republican pollsters said that in order to avoid that characterization, Republicans need to move beyond questioning and start offering solutions.
Problem is, most Republican respondents reject regulatory solutions. They’d probably, even more, reject carbon taxes and carbon tariffs.

Which means they’re like Republicans on health care. They want to kill Obamacare, which is flawed in some ways, badly flawed in others, but which is a step forward compared to what we had before in a number of ways.

They don’t offer any solutions for a replacement, though. They just want to kill it.

That said, the same 54-percent majority supports a carbon tax — if rebated.

But, that’s either ignorance or a red herring. Rebating carbon taxes would take an additional bureaucratic infrastructure. And, if rebated to companies spewing carbon, not consumers, would eliminate the carbon tax being applied anyway. It would be robbing Peter to pay Peter. Duh.

Speaking of regulations, Greider then erects another straw man:
But if a supermajority of Texas is open to the idea of Congress (Congress!) passing regulations (regulations!) about energy production (energy production!) in order to reduce global warming, I don’t understand how environmentalists can, in good conscience, insist on the premise that the critical barrier to international action is rampant denialism about whether global warming is even real.
First, that “if” is just that. She knows no such supermajority exists.  And I don’t know why “energy production” is repeated in the parentheses.

Maybe the disinvestment drive will continue to gather enough steam until it hoists carbon polluters by a capitalist petard. Or an investment drive in publicly traded renewables companies, since renewables have now passed all fossil fuels combined in installations.

Second, why a "supermajority"? Is it because, if Faison is right, a simple majority already exists, even in Tejas?

Third, she knows that denialism lite 1, and denialism lite 2, exist, as well as full on denialism.

Denialism lite 1 is that, yes, humans have “some part” in global warming, but, it’s not that much.

Denialism lite 2, related, is that AGW’s effects are nothing to worry about, that humans have always changed the climate, etc.

But, I want to get back one last time to the conservative SJW angle. Between exchanges on Twitter, and even more, an exchange of comments on her blog post, she comes off to me as being at least as narcissistic as any new left type SJW. Per my skeptical and atheist friends, yep, I'd rank her in the same territory as Rebecca Watson.


And, yes, I wanted that long of a header, and hashtags, and all, since she thankfully made my light bulb come on about conservative SJWs.

Hat tip to Off the Kuff for bringing this particular stupidity to my attention.

(Sidebar: Her long history of wrongness includes believing that Rick Perry had an actual Texas miracle, when what he really has was lots of illegal immigrants. And created Big Gummint jobs. And, has a dysfunctional government.)

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