I heard from Jonathan Chait that, The New Conservative Argument to Ignore Climate Change Is Even Dumber Than the Old One. It seems that National Review came up with a “clever” question they wanted the Democrats asked at Tuesday’s debate, “Do you support President Obama’s EPA restrictions on emissions even though science reporters at The New York Times admitted in a recent story that restrictions will do nothing to combat climate change by themselves?” Chait noted what should come as no surprise to readers here: that’s not actually what the Times article said.
But what I thought was interesting was the idea that we should do nothing about climate change if that thing all by itself doesn’t fix the problem. It’s kind of like they took Zeno’s Paradox as a proof: if you add up a bunch of small thing the end result is nothing! I know, I know: because National Review started in large part to push back against the stupidity of the conservative base, you think it still ought to do that. But those days are gone and the most you can expect of conservative elites is a resigned acceptance of the way things are. After all: how else are they going to get their regressive tax cuts?
So I present you with a few of my own examples of things that are not worth doing because they alone will not fix a problem. Chait offered this own: calling 911 when you have a heart attack and buying groceries to feed your children. In addition, I offer the following, which I’m sure National Review (actually, Stephen L Miller) obviously thinks (because consistency is the cornerstone of conservative thinking):
- Why work out in the gym when that one work out isn’t going to make you stronger?
- There’s no point of driving on the right side of the street, because that alone is not going to keep you safe.
- Why practice a musical instrument when that one session isn’t going to make you a good musician?
- There’s no point of starting a diet, because that first day of eating less isn’t going to make you thin.
- Why put on the brakes when it is clear you are going to hit the car in front of you? In fact, why not hit the accelerator?
There are obvious political cases too: we shouldn’t enact any healthcare reform because nothing will fix all of the problems. Basically National Review would make that case since they want the government to do nothing other than those things it does now that funnel wealth from the bottom of the economy to the top. Of course, with global warming, it’s clear that addressing the problem would be a good thing even if it didn’t fix the problem. The National Review position reminds me very much this cartoon:
As Chait noted, “The new talking point rests on grade-school-level sophistry.” You would think that conservative thinking would have nowhere to go but up. Instead, they always find a way to go down.