There Is No End to Denial

Who Coulda Known - March of Doom

This cartoon is courtesy of Daily Kos. It speaks for itself, but that has never stopped me before. I present it because it gets at one of my biggest, yet most petty, complaints about conservatives. After global warming is clear and devastating, the most reasonable denialists will claim that no one could have known. At best, we will get a Rick Perry, “Oops!” And the same people who have been totally wrong will continue to be listened to as though they are oracles. But at worse, the denialists will never admit they were wrong.

This morning, Dean Baker brought my attention to a good example of this, The Unrepentant Inflation Hawks and Obamacare Foes. It is mostly about a Bloomberg News story, Fed Critics Say ’10 Letter Warning Inflation Still Right. It is about the infamous open letter signed by 26 conservative economists and economic types telling Ben Bernanke that quantitative easing was going to lead to high interest rates and economic collapse. It is four years later and interest rates are substantially lower.

The point is that not one of the people who signed that letter are willing to admit that they were wrong. Of the ten who were willing to talk to Bloomberg, none would admit error. So you see, the cartoon above is a best case scenario. The old man in Miami-Dade would be saying, “What global warming?! There’s no evidence that this is related to global warming! Anyway: University of East Anglia!”

The reason I say that my complaint is petty is that I know that I will be deprived even of the pleasure of saying, “Told you so!” But that’s the problem with politics in the United States. The right-wing is totally post-fact. I know the response to this, “What about liberals who aren’t vaccinating their children?!” Well, those are not liberals. That is a particular social group, many of whom are liberal. But liberals in general don’t behave in such a silly way.

But the Republican establishment absolutely doesn’t care about facts. And why should they? They have created the perfect media system that is impermeable to facts. Jonathan Chait explained the situation perfectly today, Is Republican Climate-Science Denialism a Mental Block? He noted, “They follow cues from Party elites, whose positions they trust and emulate (or distrust and oppose).” Of course, that’s true of the people of all political leanings. The problem is that elites are completely vested in the interests of the super rich that are almost completely at odds with the interests of the nation generally and the Republican voters specifically.

The inflation hysterics can always claim that the promised inflation is just one year away. Similarly, with global warming there really is no point at which deniers will absolutely be proven wrong. Climate is variable. And even conservatives have given up on claiming that global warming is not happening. Most of them are now hanging onto the idea that global warming is not caused by human activities. And that’s a game that can never be disproved. It might just so happen be that global temperatures started to increase during the industrial revolution when we started pumping large amounts of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere.

So there is no end to this. Unless global warming brings on global catastrophe (and it may), the super rich will still be able to live in the best places on earth. There will be fewer of them, but so much the better for the rich. For once, their billions might actually buy something worth having — like fresh fruits and dry land. And they can sip tropical drinks and scoff at those fools who used to warn about global warning.

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