Conservative Ignorance about Climate Change Exposes the Problem with their Entire Ideology

climatechange-for-dummiesI’m sure most of those reading this know someone who doesn’t believe in climate change, global warming — whatever you want to call it.  I prefer calling it “climate change” because I feel it’s a more accurate depiction of what’s happening with our planet rather than just saying it’s “warming,” though that’s accurate as well.

And I’m pretty sure it’s safe to assume that if you know anyone who doesn’t believe in climate change, you’ve experienced what I call “cold weather ignorance.”  By that I mean there’s news of a cold front, snow storm or some other cold weather occurrence that’s newsworthy when suddenly the climate change denier comes up with something like, “Oh, so much for that climate change/global warming nonsense, huh?!”

This is also the same person who never says a single word when there’s worldwide news of record heat waves, droughts and other extreme weather patterns.  They’re also probably the same person who doesn’t understand that extreme weather — even extreme cold weather — is tied in with climate change (another reason why I use that term instead of “global warming”).

They’re also people who’ll ignore the science that saw this past November go on record as Earth’s hottest November — ever.  Also, Australia had it’s hottest recorded year ever in 2013.

But hey, climate change is fake because Fox News and the right-wing media says so!  I mean, after all, it’s cold outside!

To me this is reflective of their entire ideology.  Nearly everything conservatives build their ideology on seems to be something with the lone requirement of fitting on a bumper sticker.  It’s short, simple and “just sounds right.”

Just look at their tax policies.  “Tax cuts create jobs!”  Just ignore the fact that decades of indisputable economic data says otherwise — “tax cuts create jobs” sounds good.  After all, “How will raising taxes create jobs?”  Which is another question that has little to do with the big picture.  Jobs are created by demand, not tax cuts.  Conservatives just lack the ability to think of the bigger picture, instead focusing on the tiny talking point of, “Tax cuts create jobs and tax hikes kill them!”  Again, ignoring the fact that reality doesn’t support this theory.

Gun violence provides another example of their short-sighted way of thinking.  “How can a gun be violent?  It can’t fire itself!  What, are you going to blame spoons for obesity?!”  Completely ignoring the bigger picture that gun violence is a real problem and guns do play a large part in that.  It’s an issue that requires big picture thinking, which is way of thinking most conservatives simply seem unable to utilize.

All of this ties into the conservative resistance to change.  Many conservatives I meet have this mindset of, “This is how I’ve done things, how I was raised, so this is the way it should be done.  It’s worked out for me so it can and should work for everyone else.”

Many liberals (myself included) have claimed that liberals built this country.  Liberals usually believe in change, progress and evolution whereas conservatives don’t usually believe in change, progress or evolution.  Giving Constitutional rights during a time when that wasn’t the “norm” was bucking tradition in an embrace of a new and unsure future.  Ending slavery was an act of ending a disgusting tradition that this country had carried on with since its creation.  Women’s voting rights, Civil Rights, Social Security, Medicare — these are all things that changed the course of our nation forever.  They weren’t a continuation of the “status quo,” they were the complete opposite of that.

Time and time again I see conservatives use such a simplified way of thinking with damn near everything while completely ignoring the bigger picture.  Which is something you clearly see with the ignorant conservative response pointing to a cold front, blizzard or some other cold-related weather phenomenon as the “proof” that climate change/global warming is a hoax.

Many of them are basically simple-minded people with outdated ways of viewing things in a modern world of complex problems.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Andrew Scott

    I will say that I do not believe in evolution (at least not evolution as taught by Charles Darwin that says that mankind evolved from apes, that there is no god, and that the earth was formed by nothing). I do know evolution simply means a change for the better. So that means that what a man believes about God can change for the better when you read the entire bible, that Government can change for the better, and that our views can also change for the better with an open mind.

    • Kenneth Johnson

      Evolution does not mean a change for the better. Diseases evolve to become deadlier, Evolution is a change of state. You don’t have to accept everything that Darwin said. He was not a theologian or religion creator. Evolution applies only to biology, Cosmology applies to the creation of the universe and ideas like the Big Bang theory vs Steady State theory. infinitive expansion of the universe or the big crunch.

      • JustTheFactsMa’am

        However, from the perspective of the disease – evolution is better – in that it becomes more deadly.

    • Timaloha

      Darwin never claimed that man evolved from apes. He claimed (correctly) that new species evolve from older ones. The fossil record proves that Darwin was correct, and that both apes and man share a common ancestor in their distant past. Both apes and humans are primates. Primates diverged from other mammals about 85 million years ago, and branched off into hominids about 15 million years ago. About 4 to 6,000,000 years ago, the hominids split into two groups one of which would become the great apes an another which would become, eventually, two distinct human species…the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthals. Eventually the Neanderthals would die out, though there is evidence that modern humans are still genetically linked to them, and the ultimate result was us, the modern Homo sapiens. Scientists believe that the last common ancestor we had with the great apes was a hominid that thrived 6 million years ago called Sahelanthropus.

    • Matthew

      So the question here, Andrew, is why you “do not believe in evolution”? Is it because “it just doesn’t sound right”? In which case, much as I don’t necessarily agree with Allen’s way of phrasing it, he does have a point. You haven’t necessarily understood the bigger picture, understood what the research is, or why scientists think it’s reasonable (see below for Timaloha’s introduction), but you’ve gone for a soundbite view.

      What constantly and consistently surprises me is the way Americans talk about “Government”. The government is a manifestation of the society, in order to have the rights of a society, you need someone to enforce that those rights are not infringed by others and arbitrate disputes. That might be the head-man of the village, the staff of a mayor of a town or (shock! horror!) “Government” (with its capital ‘G’). To conflate, as you did in your post “Government” and evolution (that you don’t believe in), marks you out as the kind of right-winger who doesn’t understand the term cognitive dissonance, but practises it nonetheless.

    • DoctorButler

      Darwin never made any comments about the formation of the Earth. And the Earth wasn’t formed by “nothing” it was formed by superheated rocks fusing together in space.

    • Shelby Seitzinger

      “I will say that I do not believe in evolution (at least not evolution as taught by Charles Darwin that says that mankind evolved from apes, that there is no god, and that the earth was formed by nothing). I do know evolution simply means a change for the better.” everything about this is wrong. You don’t know what you believe in.

  • sherry06053

    Unfortunately, the rich people who back all of the tax cuts, know how to talk to and play their simple minded followers. They don’t care about the future or the planet or even guns – only money and their personal wealth.

  • Veritas vos Liberabit

    The Hertog Program at Columbia University has done numerous studies on climate changes that vehemently contradicts what Conservative/Republicanism ideologists label it as a myth. So who are we to believe, politicians or Scientists and Scholars experts on this issue? The laws of physics tells us that for every action there is a reaction. Whenever a blizzard or an unusual cold front in areas known for this phenomena occur, Conservative/Republicans use it to contradict the experts. Whenever the contrary occurs, they are silence about it. Record setting warm trends in areas not known for this phenomena are ignored or brushed aside. So, why are Conservative/Republicans so skeptic? Can we trace this behavior to “greed” or simply ignorance of the facts? The best professor in life I always say is hands on experience. Let us take a closer look at what’s happening on this dear planet. Forest fires setting records. Skin cancers on the rise. The rapid melting of the icebergs. Record heat temperatures. Water level rising, etc. etc.

  • Chadlius

    Allen Clifton has many good insights and I enjoy his writing. I agree that many of the deniers and most of the fearful really seem to lack ability to see nuances in the big picture. But what is the root cause or motivation behind this? Is it simple ignorance? Is it religious indoctrination that trains them to accept illogical and fantastic statements without evidence, literally with blind faith? Yes, but what I see as the true foundational false assumption that empowers this is the unshakable conviction that there are not enough resources for everyone’s needs. Not enough land, water, food or money, you name it. Even though this contradicts the Gospels it has become an article of faith that welfare queens and those who “refuse to work” are the direct cause of all deficits. The imperative to provide for themselves and those they deem as righteous before the sources are exhausted easily justifies all means to that end. Exaggerating supporting “evidence” and passing on untested rumors doesn’t count as lying because it serves the higher purpose of denying access to “our” limited resources to the devouring hordes of the lazy undeserving parasitical poor. You still hear the mantra of the John Birchers from the 60s complaining how we give huge amounts of our scarce tax money to foreign aid. When confronted with the fact that F.A. is less than 1% of the Fed. Budget they goggle in astonishment, then to the further fact that the amount we do “give” is almost entirely in the form of vouchers, that can only be exchanged for our corporate products like wheat or weapons and is thus corporate welfare, they have no reply. The fact that welfare averages only 12% more of the budget is equally destabilizing to their world view. All this seems to prove the adage that “fear is the mind killer”.

  • thinkinman

    Here’s an idea. Lets go back and listen to all, ALL, of Al Gore’s Global Warming predictions from the Past 20 years. None are even close to the reality we see today. Not one. In fact, the earth hasn’t “warmed” in 15 years. Not even a fraction of a degree! Look it up. Has the earth warmed up some? Yes. about .7 of a degree. But not at all in the past 15 years. Which is the real “why” the nomenclature changed from “warming” to climate “change”. Talk about spin. The truth is that billions of dollars have been spent on something that we cannot control. We’ve only been recording weather history with any accuracy for, at best, several hundred years. How can you say with any certainty, that we have had any impact on the climate of this planet? Talk about looking at the bigger picture. What a joke. Record highs and lows still exist from a hundred years ago all across the globe. Which means that extreme weather has been around the whole time. And the world is an ever changing place, growing older just like all of us. Some change is expected. In fact, a look at history will prove that climate change is a cycle this planet has experienced before. There’s a theory, its cyclical. Whether, it people as the dominant life on this planet or not. You did get one thing right. Just look at the big picture. Conservatives use simple things like comparing guns to spoons simply to try to get through to you simple minded buffoons. A look at the big picture of gun culture will show also that violence and home invasion goes on the rise, every time, when guns are taken from the common people. Just saying.

    • Mark Hoines

      It is not true that the earth has not warmed in the last 15 years, as is widely claimed by conservatives. As the American scientist, MacArthur Fellow, and water-resources specialist Peter Gleick has remarked in Forbes, “First, [the earth] actually has warmed over the past 15 years, and second, the past 15 years are themselves among the warmest in the past 130 years.” His graphs for global warming during the 20th century show that the changes have been progressive and dramatic. He also remarks, “The next time you hear someone say it isn’t warming, or it hasn’t warmed for “xx” years, or “it’s actually cooling,” remember: someone is trying to deceive you with cherry-picked numbers.”