Posts Tagged ‘left vs right’

Left vs Right

August 27, 2008

It’s a shame that it appears to be mostly ‘right-wing’ publications where so-called ‘skeptical’ scientists seem to be granted any sort of forum.  This is particularly the case in North America, but also in Britain.  There might be the odd article in the Guardian but for the most part the best skeptical coverage appears mostly in more conservative sites.

I don’t see this as a left-wing vs right wing issue though. And interestingly, the origins of AGW in Britain were actually very Conservative, starting with Margaret Thatcher’s campaign to break the Coalminers’ Union and get Scargill.  A magazine over there The Ecologist is owned by rich Conservative politicians. The roots of the Green Party are rather darker than the cheery, tree-hugging facade would suggest.

It’s also a myth, if not an outright fabrication, that right-wing groups and corporations are funding a bunch of ‘deniers’ to create public confusion on global warming, which proponents claim is ‘settled science’.  There’s only been a pittance, mostly from Exxon, spread amongst 80 organisations, that might possibly have lead to a handful of studies from those organisations (also funded by other parties and individuals) that question this so-called consensus.  The spending by “green” lobby groups is greater by thousands to one. Most corporations are actually jumping right on the green bandwagon lest they miss out on potentially lucrative subsidies, carbon-trading scams, and the opportunity to piggy-back other projects onto green ones (such as T. Boone Pickens windfarm proposal that would conveniently complement his pipeline plans).

I think Conservatives are actually wrong when they claim that the main point of the ‘Green movement’ is to bring forth global socialism and income redistribution.  That might be what motivates some activists, but certainly not all of them. Indeed, much like the companies hunting subsidies, many of these socialists are just using Environmentalism since it is perceived to be popular. Conservatives will point out the tax credits for the poor if carbon taxes are implemented as an example of this plot. However, I think that governments wanting to implement those taxes have no choice. If there was no way to alleviate the burden that these taxes would put onto society’s weakest the tax likely wouldn’t go through at all.  Or put another way, the first argument put forth against any carbon tax is that it would hurt the poor, so it’s just an easy way to try to settle that argument.

So what motivates the most ardent proponents?  Some are probably just plain power-hungry, one in particular can’t seem to get over not winning an election against an idiot like Dubya.  It is true that many of them to seem to fall on the left-side of the ideological spectrum, but it seems that rather than it being a Left-Right issue at all it’s really an Authoritarian/Libertarian split – between those who favour further state control and those who oppose it. Many more alarmists – particularly the most hysterical ones and their followers – are barely different than members of a fundamentalist, apocalyptic cult. The comparisons to a secular religion are perfectly apt – a religion for those ‘too cool for church’.

Some excellent articles on this point are: John Brignell and Michael Crichton.