Have you ever wondered why conservatives don’t talk more often about nationalisation of industry, wealth redistribution, affirmative action, the need for higher taxes and more government intervention, Islamophobia, the glories of multiculturalism, the “war on women”, and the urgent need to rein in economic growth in order to give the planet a more sustainable future?
Conservatives don’t talk about these things because they are idle leftist preoccupations which have no place in a political philosophy based on personal responsibility, liberty and empiricism.
Which is why I’m a little puzzled by the latest outburst by Meghan McCain – daughter of US senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain – on the Pivot cable TV talk show Take Part Live.
So another of the many dire consequences of climate change is that there will be no more “fucking fish”. Who knew? Clearly, with her high-level connections Ms McCain must have access to some privileged information since, so far as I’m aware, no serious scientist to date has tried to parlay “fucking fish” into their litany of predicted climate doom. (It’s not like fish – fucking or otherwise – are exactly going to be bothered by rising sea levels, is it?)
Still, Ms McCain is right about one thing. Climate change is, indeed, a “liberal” issue. In polls across the Western world, conservatives have always emerged as much more sceptical about man-made global warming than people on the left.
According to the left’s version of events this is because conservatives are ignorant, out of touch, anti-science and selfishly reluctant to change their greedy, sybaritic lifestyles.
(Hence the cheap shot from McCain’s co-presenter Jacob Soboroff, who said: “Put this shit on a beta tape or on a DVD and send it to all the Republicans without Internet!”)
But actually it’s much simpler than that. Conservatives are sceptical about “climate change” because they sense instinctively that this is a political issue rather than an environmental one – a suspicion given strong credence by the ongoing lack of convincing evidence that recent global warming is in any way catastrophic, unprecedented or significantly man-made.
For the left this doesn’t matter. Even if climate change turns out to be a massive hoax, it will have served its purpose as a “beneficial crisis” which will have helped all the right people and the right causes: green NGOs; billionaire donors to the Obama campaign; UN apparatchiks; EU commissioners; rent-seeking corporatists; guilt-tripping Third World client states; sustainability; social justice; fairness; and so on.
Indeed, as I argued in Watermelons, and as this PJ Media photo story from the recent People’s Climate March in Oakland, California confirms – a significant chunk of the environmental movement is green on the outside and red on the inside. All that climate stuff is just a pretext. What it’s really about is what the left has always been about: bigger government, more regulation and collective action, less personal freedom, higher taxes, the slow strangling of Western industrial civilisation.
It’s a pity that Ms McCain isn’t sufficiently well-informed to appreciate this a) it’s never a good look, coming across on TV like a wittering, pottymouthed airhead offering insights so shallow they make Miley Cyrus look like Wittgenstein and b) because it has done such a disservice to the cause of conservatism.
I don’t know how Meghan’s dad felt when Jane Fonda made her 1972 propaganda broadcasts from Hanoi but I’m guessing – if the news got through to his North Vietnamese prison cage – that he wasn’t best pleased.
Well, in her silly outburst on Republicans and climate change, Meghan McCain has gone and done the environmental equivalent of a Hanoi Jane. She has betrayed her own cause, given succour to an implacable enemy and transformed herself into the bad guys’ useful idiot.
So, mind you, has her dad. Last night I suffered the singular misfortune of attending a lecture on climate change at Bristol University, paid for by some green think tank or other, and given by Michael Mann, discredited inventor of the Hockey Stick.
The lecture itself was deathly dull, riddled with shameless falsehoods and horribly out of date (none of the charts seem to go beyond 2005, which I’m guessing was the last time Mann bothered tinkering with the content) but it was worth attending just to see how those alarmists roll.
I was interested to see how Mann would respond to the many criticisms which have been made of his science and his methodology. And the answer is that he didn’t. Rather than broach awkward subjects like the fact that there has been no global warming since 1998 or his dishonest claim to have been a Nobel laureate or the Climategate emails, he instead resorted to the usual Warmist tricks of the ad hominem and the appeal to authority.
So, his answer to the Climategate issue was to post up a picture of Sarah Palin. Sure enough, his parti-pris audience laughed derisively. Job done!
And when he wanted to rubbish the views of Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, the US politician who, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has done more than almost anyone to skewer the cause of environmental alarmism, guess who Mann called as his expert witness.
Yep: John McCain.
The fact that McCain is a Republican, it was clear, only enhanced his credibility in Mann’s eyes. See! See! Climate change isn’t just a left-right issue – as this brave, wise, and principled conservative war hero demonstrates…