Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dennis Prager on How Global Warming has Burnt the Liberal Mind to a Crisp

A great article by Dennis Prager, a conservative radio talk-show host who I consider to be one of the most intelligent and honest guys on the air. Do yourself a favor, find out where he is on your dial and learn something.

June 20, 2006
Why Liberals Fear Global Warming More Than Conservatives Do
By Dennis Prager

Observers of contemporary society will surely have noted that a liberal is far more likely to fear global warming than a conservative. Why is this?

After all, if the science is as conclusive as Al Gore, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and virtually every other spokesman of the Left says it is, conservatives are just as likely to be scorched and drowned and otherwise done in by global warming as liberals will. So why aren't non-leftists nearly as exercised as leftists are? Do conservatives handle heat better? Are libertarians better swimmers? Do religious people love their children less?

The usual liberal responses -- to label a conservative position racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic or the like -- obviously don't apply here. So, liberals would have to fall back on the one remaining all-purpose liberal explanation: "big business." They might therefore explain the conservative-liberal divide over global warming thus: Conservatives don't care about global warming because they prefer corporate profits to saving the planet.

But such an explanation could not explain the vast majority of conservatives who are not in any way tied into the corporate world (like this writer, who has no stocks and who, moreover, regards big business as amoral as leftists do).

No, the usual liberal dismissals of conservatives and their positions just don't explain this particularly illuminating difference between liberals and conservatives.

Here are six more likely explanations:

-- The Left is prone to hysteria. The belief that global warming will destroy the world is but one of many hysterical notions held on the Left. As noted in a previous column devoted to the Left and hysteria, many on the Left have been hysterical about the dangers of the PATRIOT Act and the NSA surveillance of phone numbers (incipient fascism); secondhand smoke (killing vast numbers of people); drilling in the remotest area of Alaska (major environmental despoliation); and opposition to same-sex marriage (imminent Christian theocracy).

-- The Left believes that if The New York Times and other liberal news sources report something, it is true. If the cover of Time magazine says, "Global Warming: Be Worried, Very Worried," liberals get worried, very worried, about global warming.

It is noteworthy that liberals, one of whose mottos is "question authority," so rarely question the authority of the mainstream media. Now, of course, conservatives, too, often believe mainstream media. But conservatives have other sources of news that enable them to achieve the liberal ideal of questioning authority. Whereas few liberals ever read non-liberal sources of information or listen to conservative talk radio, the great majority of conservatives are regularly exposed to liberal news, liberal editorials and liberal films, and they have also received many years of liberal education.

-- The Left believes in experts. Of course, every rational person, liberal or conservative, trusts the expertise of experts -- such as when experts in biology explain the workings of mitochondria, or when experts in astronomy describe the moons of Jupiter. But for liberals, "expert" has come to mean far more than greater knowledge in a given area. It now means two additional things: One is that non-experts should defer to experts not only on matters of knowledge, but on matters of policy, as well. The second is that experts possess greater wisdom about life, not merely greater knowledge in their area of expertise.

That is why liberals are far more likely to be impressed when a Nobel Prize winner in, let us say, physics signs an ad against war or against capital punishment. The liberal is bowled over by the title "Nobel laureate." The conservative is more likely to wonder why a Nobel laureate in physics has anything more meaningful to say about war than, let us say, a taxi driver.

-- People who don't confront the greatest evils will confront far lesser ones. Most humans know the world is morally disordered -- and socially conscious humans therefore try to fight what they deem to be most responsible for that disorder. The Right tends to fight human evil such as communism and Islamic totalitarianism. The Left avoids confronting such evils and concentrates its attention instead on socioeconomic inequality, environmental problems and capitalism. Global warming meets all three of these criteria of evil. By burning fossil fuels, rich countries pollute more, the environment is being despoiled and big business increases its profits.

-- The Left is far more likely to revere, even worship, nature. A threat to the environment is regarded by many on the Left as a threat to what is most sacred to them, and therefore deemed to be the greatest threat humanity faces. The cover of Vanity Fair's recent "Special Green Issue" declared: "A Graver Threat Than Terrorism: Global Warming." Conservatives, more concerned with human evil, hold the very opposite view: Islamic terror is a far graver threat than global warming.

-- Leftists tend to fear dying more. That is one reason they are more exercised about our waging war against evil than about the evils committed by those we fight. The number of Iraqis and others Saddam Hussein murdered troubles the Left considerably less than even the remote possibility than they may one day die of global warming (or secondhand smoke).

One day, our grandchildren may ask us what we did when Islamic fascism threatened the free world. Some of us will say we were preoccupied with fighting that threat wherever possible; others will be able to say they fought carbon dioxide emissions. One of us will look bad

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Big Red Lance said...

I agree completely with your analysis of Dennis Prager. He's the man.

VE said...

This guy thinks secondhand smoke is a-ok?
And that global warming ISN'T an issue?
At ALL? Not even one bit?

Thanks, dude, for dismissing a rational and concerned mindset, spinning it around, and calling it hysteria. Awesome.

There are so many ridiculous statements in Prager's article, I don't know where to start. Probably best that I don't.

But still - "Liberals don't question the authority of the media?" There is no FACT in this statement whatsoever. It is a reckless, egregious, downright insulting statement and were I to adopt the same mindset, I would actually say the opposite is true - at least in my experience. Most log cabin republicans (I'm not talking about people who are "into" politics, I'm talking the civilians) get their quick fix of FOX News, nod their heads, and call it a night. They don't "question" anything. In fact - mose PEOPLE don't question anything. So let's stop the partisan nonsense.
And no, Dennis, we are not rubes. Quite the opposite, my friend. Most people that I'm sure Prager would label as "liberal" that I know actually read quite a bit of theology, sociology writing (even some that wasn't written by Americans!!), science, and world literature.

I would like to play Prger's game and generalize by positing this -

The reason many on the right don't fear global-warming is because many on the right are Christian and deep down they can't WAIT for the apocalypse.

"Liberals fear dying more?" What kind of statement is THAT?! Did he take a poll? Did he do a scientific study?

Sorry, pal, I just can't take this guy seriously at all.

VE said...

he he.
it has come to my attention that "log cabin republicans" is used to describe these gay republicans I keep hearing so much about.
I meant... you know... erm... Joe Republican.

VE said...

One more thing and then I'm done.

This comment kills me -

"One day, our grandchildren may ask us what we did when Islamic fascism threatened the free world. Some of us will say we were preoccupied with fighting that threat wherever possible; others will be able to say they fought carbon dioxide emissions. One of us will look bad."

a) I love the idea that a person can either stand against religious fascism or fight global warming. Can't do both. One or the other, what's it gonna be? Nonsense.

b) I love the idea that this guy picks on liberals for being "prone to hysteria" and then repeatedly makes freak-out statements about "islamic fascism" and the war on terror. God, the irony is great.

c) I love the idea that grandkids will ask - "Hey grandpa, what did you do to fight Islamic fascism?" No, Dennis. Our grandkids will ask us to buy them toys. That's assuming we (we being the world, not just America) haven't all nuked each other and that this planet will still be perfectly habitable in 75 years.

Hysteria! (like Def Leppard said)

Anonymous said...

Dennis would prefer to believe the fraudulent UCLA study of "secondhand smoke hysteria" rather than do the proper research PROVING that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in non-smokers. Prager's propaganda is just as psychotic and dangerous as Hitler's.