Monday, September 23, 2013
Climate Monday: Like it Was Their Job
Above, you can see video of Rep. Bill Johnson scolding Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska in a pretty galling "Angry Dad" voice for speaking evil of the precious Keystone pipeline, which the new wingnut article of faith has it, will create a bazillion jobs, will never leak, and will turn liquified bitumin into gold. Or something like that. I think Charlie Pierce over at Esquire has the right of it--he's one of the nasty people. He's nasty like he thinks being nasty to her is his job, and given where his campaign donation are coming from, maybe he very well thinks it is--like a Scrooge who never got the message that mankind was his business.
This episode in congressional nasty-crappiness comes one day after an episode of damnfoolishness: the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on President Obama's Climate Action plan. Not unpredictably, stupid things were said, because unfortunately, stupid things about the environment and basic science are believed by people who would most likely benefit (but won't) from learning better. I can't help but think that H.L. Mencken's quote about a man not understanding something that his salary relies on him not understanding applies, here, where here, the salary includes their continued support from the fossil fuel industries and the Republican party as a whole.
But what puzzles me is--the grift alone just doesn't seem adequate to describe the mulishness displayed. I've seen explanations regarding denialism that range from simple tribal identification to the misunderstanding of Kuhn's paradigm shifting notion as representing a kind of kneejerk contrarianism because, you know, at the start of any paradigm-shift there were a majority of people who said the contrarian was a nut (or sometimes a nut is just a nut--no?) And sometimes the denialism can be ascribed to having no more familiarity of a subject than one mught glean from a magazine article, several years out of date, that was read in a hurry and half-remembered (I am thinking of everything George Will has written on climate change, probably).
What does it say about denialist congress critters that I don't doubt that many points of view inform that lack of information, not in the least of which are ambition, greed and ego? I wouldn't call them shallow fools at all. Their awfulness may well be deep and multifaceted.