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Monday, October 15, 2007

The Real Religion of the Right

Scientific American's blog, Sciam Observations, had the best headline on the subject that I could find.

"Nobel committee to climate change deniers: 'Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.'"

What follows is a clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and a bunch of "We told you so" -- Sciam points out that Al Gore was one of their 50 policy leaders of the year, that they'd written about the physical science behind climate change, and that global warming clearly had a human cause.

Case closed, right? Yeah, that's what everyone said after Gore's co-winner, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), came out with their consensus report on climate change. For climate change deniers, the case was far from closed. The problem is that climate change deniers are right wing kooks. Like creationists, no amount of evidence, no actual facts, will ever change their mind. That climate change can't possibly have a human cause is an article of firm, unshakable faith. They often accuse people who accept reality as having a religious attachment to human-caused climate change, but they're projecting. Being right wing kooks, climate change denial is just one facet of their deeply held religious belief that anything any liberal anywhere believes is wrong, wrong, wrong. Do a victory lap and wave your privates at their aunties, but it's not going to change a damned thing for them. Nothing will. Climate change deniers are biased to their very core and that bias is nurtured to the point of obsession. They are beyond irrational, call them anti-rational.

Last week wasn't a good one for conservatives. First, they had Rush Limbaugh trying to dig himself out of a hole over his "phony soldiers" comment. The attack campaigns just kept coming -- getting more and more shameless as the week wore on. They attacked a brain-injured 12-year old boy for daring to say that kids need health coverage, publishing his home address and phone number, so other nuts could harass his family. Meanwhile, Ann Coulter suggested that the world would be better without Jews -- not surprisingly, there hasn't been a lot of attacking from the right over that. Only liberals do and say bad things.

This week begins with Republicans attacking Lt. Ricardo Sanchez for telling the truth about Iraq -- that the Bush administration provides "incompetent strategic leadership" and that the war in Iraq is the result of neocons' "lust for power." Cue up the attack machine over that one. Presidential hopeful John McCain dived on it:

"The fact is I had face to face discussions with Gen. Sanchez when he was in Baghdad about how I believed that the strategy was failing, and he testified before the Senate armed services committee that the strategy was succeeding - the flawed Donald Rumsfeld strategy that I knew was doomed to failure," McCain said. "When I argued for the strategy that we're using now, he did not agree with that."

Two problems here -- first is that history shows that any general disagreeing with the Bush administration on Iraq ceases being a general very quickly -- I point you to Gen. Eric Shinseki, forced out after he pointed out that Donald Rumsfeld wasn't living in the real world when it came to predicting the future of Iraq. Sanchez had to wait until he was retired or the administration would've come down on him.

Second is that he probably didn't agree with the strategy we're using now because it isn't any better than what we were doing before. Sanchez calls Iraq a "catastrophic failure," meaning it's a done deal. We are not failing, we have failed.

So it shouldn't surprise anyone that the right is now busy attacking what may be the most prestigious body on the planet, the Nobel Committee. The prize for most ridiculous argument goes to FOX News, who have been busy saying that the person most deserving of the Peace Prize is Gen. David Petraeus -- seriously. Apparently, the "peace" part is confusing for them.

Think Progress reports that the right wing blogosphere has pretty much lost it, complete with quotes from rightie bloggers. "Keeping to the trend of politicized awards, the Nobel Peace Prize has been given jointly to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," wrote Jay Richards for National Review -- prompting the question of how a Peace Prize could possibly be anything other than political. William Teach, of Pirate's Cove, makes the most ridiculous post, writing, "The Nobel Prize committee has basically surrendered to hysterics, mass exaggerators, and liars, most of who are not even climatologists or even any type of scientist." The IPCC is made up of people "who are not even climatologists or even any type of scientist?" This is either a damned lie or a damned ignorant statement. Either way, it's completely wrong. Then again, right wing attack campaigns aren't known for a slavish reliance on fact.

Charles Krauthammer, who's battle with reality is legendary, jumped in on FOX News Sunday. "The Nobel Peace Prize is about politics," Krauthammer said. "It's the Kentucky Derby of the world left, and it gives it to people whose politics are either anti-American or anti-Bush, and that's why he won it." Krauthammer is maintaining his near perfect record of being wrong about everything. Seriously, name something he got right. The only reason I say "near perfect" is because I don't believe anyone can be wrong 100% of the time (the odds are so against it), not because I can think of any time that he's been right. Charles Krauthammer is proof that accurate analysis isn't a job requirement for a successful pundit.

The problem with Krauthammer's analysis here is that Henry Kissinger scored the medallion. Is it Kristol's position that Kissinger is anti-American and anti-Bush? Hell, when Kissinger won it, he was probably only vaguely aware that George H.W. had kids. I doubt he had an opinion of George jr. The Peace Prize, unlike other Nobels, isn't an award for accomplishment. It's an encouragement for ongoing efforts. Monsters have won the medallion -- and Kissinger is one of them -- because monsters are in a unique position to promote peace. When a monster gives up some of their monstrosity, peace in the world increases.

On that same FOX show, founding neocon William Kristol -- who may be the only person who's track record is worse than Krauthammer's -- weighed in as well. "Friday, I felt a warm glow thinking that this man got the Nobel Peace Prize for bloviating about global warming," Kristol said. "I mean, it's a prize given by bloviators to a bloviator for nothing." This is such BS that it's amazing he could say it without blushing in shame. Seriously, how stupid does he think we are? He also brings up Myanmar, saying that "brave people in Burma" are "being killed by dictators," but "the Nobel committee of course has no interest in any of them." More BS and Kristol knows it. Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi won the prize in 1991. The Nobel Committee was concerned about Myanmar long before conservatives started worrying about it -- which was last month, when Bush brought it up in an address to the UN.

When you challenge the right's religious beliefs -- and, if you're a liberal, that means thinking that you're correct about something -- you can expect a campaign of lies, ignorance, and smear. It's as predictable as the sun rising in the morning. It doesn't make any difference who you are. You can be the most respected body in the world, you can be a bona fide war hero, you can be a little kid who was in a car wreck and it's going to happen. There is absolutely no question. Conservatives cannot possibly ever be wrong. And the only things you have to believe to be a modern conservative is that liberals are never, ever right, that everything a liberal says is a lie, and that liberals must be attacked every time they open their over-educated mouths.

You are under no obligation to be right yourself, which means that lying to smear these liberals is A-OK. If someone says something you don't like, attack them without hesitation or shame. It's your duty as a loyal Bushie.


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