Are Liberals Too Condescending?

By Chris Mooney | February 8, 2010 8:48 am

Over the weekend, everybody was emailing me this Washington Post Outlook article, which critiques my first book in the context of arguing that liberals are sneeringly dismissive of the conservative intellect, and guilty of “intellectual condescension”:

This liberal vision emphasizes the dissemination of ideologically driven views from sympathetic media such as the Fox News Channel. For example, Chris Mooney’s book “The Republican War on Science” argues that policy debates in the scientific arena are distorted by conservatives who disregard evidence and reflect the biases of industry-backed Republican politicians or of evangelicals aimlessly shielding the world from modernity. In this interpretation, conservative arguments are invariably false and deployed only cynically. Evidence of the costs of cap-and-trade carbon rationing is waved away as corporate propaganda; arguments against health-care reform are written off as hype orchestrated by insurance companies.

Let me go on the record as saying that I am no fan whatsoever of intellectual condescension. I think there is way too much of it on my side of the aisle. So I should be at least somewhat sympathetic with this author, one Gerard Alexander of the University of Virginia.

But here’s the problem. He gets my book’s arguments almost entirely wrong. First, I don’t argue that conservatives “disregard evidence.” The problem is that they make up their own evidence, using their own “scientists” to do so. They then use this pseudo-expertise to disregard expertise and consensus–a very different thing.

Second, I never argued conservatives were arguing “cynically.” It was obvious they believed what they said on matters of science. After all, they had their pseudoexperts to bank on.

Finally, I clearly distinguished between distorting the facts of science on the one hand, and making economic, moral, and policy arguments on the other. So a sentence like Alexander’s last one completely misses the boat: “Evidence of the costs of cap-and-trade carbon rationing is waved away as corporate propaganda; arguments against health-care reform are written off as hype orchestrated by insurance companies.” This stuff has nothing to do with the arguments of The Republican War on Science.

If there is ever a case for being intellectually condescending–and I’m not sure that there is–perhaps it’s to someone who critiques you while getting your arguments wrong.

Comments (78)

  1. Unfortunately, when things get political, the cheap shots and distortions come out to play.

    Just wait until next election cycle. We’ll get to see everyone’s statements get bent into things the originator of those statements never intended.

  2. There’s condescension on most sides, and oversensitivity to it on most sides. I’m not sure what the answer is, but everyone needs to settle down, or people will just retreat further and further into their own echo chambers.

  3. By the by, your argument (about being against condescension) would have been better served if you’d stopped at the first paragraph after the snip. Leaping into how the guy ‘just didn’t get’ your book, doesn’t really back up the first paragraph.

  4. Timmy

    Allow me to propose this. Don’t take a position on ANY side of the aisle. Don’t be Rep. or Dem., left or right, liberal or conservative. NOBODY is capable of totally objective thought or reason. Identifying yourself as one of the above entities is a self admission of bias. Seek the answer, don’t open your bag of solutions and look for one that fits.

  5. Tom:

    The problem is that “settling down” by any one side amounts to unilateral disarming.

    If we could somehow get everyone to settle down, it would definitely be a huge step forward, but that won’t happen. There’s too much investment in the battle itself.

    For one side to do it would be a huge tactical mistake, simply because the incessant war of words and the simplest of all tactics–repeat the same lie endlessly–works. People who aren’t strongly engaged on the climate issue are influenced by the war of words because they lack the information and judgment, often involving counterintuitive details. I see and hear it all the time in friends, relatives, and groups I’ve spoken before.

  6. JJ

    The title of the book is an obvious confirmation that this argument is politically based, which denotes any credibility of the logic used to support bashing of either side. Once politics becomes involved in anything, it loses its credibility and increases public skepticism. Throw either side a bone and they’ll chew on it. I agree with Timmy, the only way to be objective when it comes to science is to not take sides.

  7. Bob

    Opining that the right relies upon psuedoexperts, who make things up, amounts to “intellectual condescension” on the writers part.

  8. Jon

    Leaping into how the guy ‘just didn’t get’ your book, doesn’t really back up the first paragraph.

    You should be able to say 2 + 2 =4, or point out someone’s basic mistake in public without being called arrogant. Otherwise, what good is public discourse in a democracy?

  9. Jon

    NOBODY is capable of totally objective thought or reason.

    There are no areas where there are distinct right and wrong answers? Really?

    What’s the difference between this kind of relativism and the kind that leftist academics got slammed for by the right over the last few decades?

  10. Neurath

    “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.”
    John Stuart Mill, letter to the Conservative MP, Sir John Pakington (March 1866)

  11. Jon

    Opining that the right relies upon psuedoexperts, who make things up, amounts to “intellectual condescension” on the writers part.

    It’s a bit different from merely “opining” if the author’s done the investigative journalism, and found that these experts always took marginal positions, never published in professional journals, were frequently commenting outside their area of expertise, and getting their pay from special interests (industry, right wing think tanks, etc.)

  12. Sorbet

    The problem is that there are surely intellectually smart Republicans, but very few of them speak out. Just like the so-called “moderate” Republicans like Richard Lugar who were useless in practice during the Bush administration.

  13. JJ

    Jon, that’s because academics tend to use their own views as form of indoctrination, goes for both sides, and the vast majority of academics happen to be self defined Liberals.

    Also, are you saying those on the left aren’t in bed with special interests? It happens on both sides, you can’t argue such points and expect them to hold any credibility. Any politically based book is always biased in some way, there’s always going to be critics and many things will argued, and even proven, as untrue, yet neither side will submit to them. It’s related to preserving self worth and self esteem most of the time.

  14. vel

    Liberals are, if anything, too willing to assume others are intelligent and do want to be humanitarians. We think everyone can understand what we want and should want to come along too. However, if we can believe the bell curve, fully 50% of the population is below 100 IQ. And those can be told that “look, if you just vote for us, we’ll give you a magical chance to be free of any rules and, more importantly RICH”. By and large, conservatives do not want any change to the status quo. They want their power, their rules and they want to keep it, NO MATTER WHAT. They willfully ignore facts that disprove their precious myths, religous and otherwise. They intentionally lie. Yes, both sides do it but I challenge anyone to demonstrate that it is an equal abuse.

  15. Jon

    A couple things, JJ. There are some things that are insane to call political. Remember in 1984 when Winston says that he should be able to declare “2 + 2 = 4″ and not have the party declare it sedition? It’s not a political statement, unless it’s politicized.

    Second, even if an author *is* biased, even there–there is relevant bias and irrelevant bias. Lots of people can have a some detectable point of view and still have lots of information relevant to all parties. I suppose to prove that the information isn’t relevant, you’d have to prove that they’re *terminally* biased, that the facts they present are demonstrably unreliable. (The trouble with that is, if you’re paranoid enough, you can come up with all sorts of fevered notions of how someone has their thumb on the scales, etc etc.)

  16. Chris, I have a frightening story to share that I think you may have a strong opinion about. I was given free tickets to go to the Blue Collar Comedy tour this past weekend (I would not have gone if the tickets weren’t free, believe me). Bill Engvall and Jeff Foxworthy were both funny, telling lots of jokes about getting older and were entertaining. The final comedian was Larry the Cable Guy. I have never thought he was funny, but I was shocked at the things he said that were considered comedy by the stadium that turned out to be full of Republicans (which I probably should have known). His first string of jokes were anti-global warming and anti-Al Gore jokes. He “joked” about Al Gore’s weight (apparently Larry the Cable Guy doesn’t have a mirror) and called him an a**h*** more than once. For 10 minutes he “joked” about how global warming doesn’t exist and the stadium roared with laughter. I found the entire thing offensive and terrifying. It’s bad enough the large number of people that do not think global warming is happening, but when global warming is actually considered a joke, it makes it that much more obvious that it will never get fixed. I will do what I can to limit my energy usage and live greenly, but all these quacks will do what they can to reverse all that I do. I’m not going to stop what I’m doing, but I am worried by what all those people who were laughing won’t be doing. And even children think Larry the Cable Guy is great because he was Mater in Cars (that wonderful Pixar movie). If Larry the Cable Guy was not playing humongous stadiums I would not be so worried, but he is.

  17. Jon

    For instance, JJ, if you have certain paranoid notions, you might think the “senior administrators at Pennsylvania State University” who conducted this inquiry are wrong because they’re really part of a Liberal Elite:

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Climategate+inquiry+shows+scientist+didn+falsify+data/2518522/story.html

    Who cares about the merit of the scientific work itself? The administrators are part of an Elite and they’re obviously in on the conspiracy. They’re just waiting for their invitations to Hollywood parties that Michael Mann goes to with Al Gore.

  18. When television began, it was hailed as the medium that would revolutionize the way we acquire knowledge. Then the internet was beginning to expand, it was hailed as the medium that would democratize knowledge.

    In both cases, what we have gotten are media that are put to use to manipulate rather than educate. We are left with television that focuses on Gov. Sanford’s Soulmate and an internet where the difference in behavior between the teabaggers and dailykos is often only in the choice of enemies. (over statement, I know). People tend to read or watch only that which reinforces their own world view.

  19. JJ

    “By and large, conservatives do not want any change to the status quo. They want their power, their rules and they want to keep it, NO MATTER WHAT. They willfully ignore facts that disprove their precious myths, religous and otherwise. They intentionally lie.”

    I believe you’d be hard pressed to prove that notion. It’s much more likely to conclude that Liberals actually want to control people with their big government regulation mentality. Conservatives are for small government and personal responsibility, they want you to make your own choices, not have the government give handouts. Before you argue that they only make the rich richer and feed corporate execs…I have to say that corporate execs started life like anyone else and worked their way up, they earned their keep and their jobs are not easy. We have no right to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t be making. If you were in their position, I’m sure you’re attitude would change.

    Jon, don’t get climate change into this, that topic is so politically skewed that it holds no credibility anymore. Most Americans are not buying the AGW claims, does that mean the masses are paranoid? There certainly is enough credible evidence refuting the claims, which is why it’s so controversial, along with Cap and Tax. We can all thank Al Gore for making a mess of that, even he’s been spewing fallacies, how does that not raise the red flag of bullcrap?

  20. But here’s the problem. He gets my book’s arguments almost entirely wrong.

    I don’t know why Chris concerns himself with concern trolling by right wing pundits. Gerard Alexander is a regular writer for the National Review and the Weekly Standard and he’s listed as a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. It’s literally his job to find fault with liberals, so he doesn’t care what your book actually says.

  21. Jon

    Most Americans are not buying the AGW claims, does that mean the masses are paranoid?

    The masses aren’t paranoid, but they sure have been misinformed by those who are. Michael Mann has been exonerated of manipulating data. Does the average person know that? No, but they sure have heard of “climategate.” Some very effective public relations and right wing media have seen to that. And the topic has been “politically skewed”, but that does not mean what you think it means.

  22. moptop

    Not here to argue, done with that. Here is an excerpt and a link to an interesting article on this subject, and it contains a link to a further discussion, from the point of view of a liberal trained as an anthropologist, who seriously tried to understand conservatives:

    For those of us who can’t tap into those yearnings, it seems the Palin faithful are blind – to the contradictions between her stated positions and the truth of the policies she espouses, to the contradictions between her ideology and their interests. But Jonathan Haidt, an associate professor of moral psychology at the University of Virginia, argues in an essay this month, “What Makes People Vote Republican?”, that it’s liberals, in fact, who are dangerously blind.

    Haidt has conducted research in which liberals and conservatives were asked to project themselves into the minds of their opponents and answer questions about their moral reasoning. Conservatives, he said, prove quite adept at thinking like liberals, but liberals are consistently incapable of understanding the conservative point of view. “Liberals feel contempt for the conservative moral view, and that is very, very angering. Republicans are good at exploiting that anger,”

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/11/no-laughing-matter/

    Note the last sentence. Republicans use liberal condescension to increase turnout of their base year after year. So my advice you you would be to stop with the denial that it even exists and start thinking about how to communicate effectively.

  23. SLC

    Re Sarah

    I always find it amusing how right wing whackjobs like Larry the cable guy make jokes about Al Gores’ weight when the leading anti-AGW spokesman, Marc Morano is even fatter.

  24. Greg G

    Regarding Michael Mann’s exoneration. So glad you liberals think that righties make things up. And since more revelations are coming to light everyday regarding man made global warming, or is that “Mann made”? I would hold off on the denier routine a little if I were you.
    “That faculty board did not look into the science of climate change itself, the university said in announcing its results. That, it said, is “a matter more appropriately left to the profession.”

  25. Mike

    I feel both sides will “retreat into their own chambers” as stated by Tim. I think the rift will keep getting wider.

    When I go home to see my family in rural Texas I see the kinds of people that big corporations and perhaps the GOP love (maybe democrats too)….overweight, firey patriotic, ignorant, religious folk that are loyal to Wal-Mart, name brands, fast food, FOX NEWS and the church. ((Easy to control and manipulate)).

    Tell them it’s patriotic to work to the bone with few benefits or vacation days and they will do it. Numb their minds with processed foods, TV entertainment and keep them fearful slaves to a credit score number and they will be at your mercy. If they all had degrees in ecology, and biology a different show would be happening…

    Where I am from, anything scientific, liberal = green, aethiest, liberal, bad, unpatriotic Al Gore lover, socialism and gay marriage. I get shot down if I try to explain anything scientific to anyone. I usually keep my mouth shut and stay as short a time as possible.

    I think making the population as ignorant as possible makes big execs and politicians very wealthy and powerful. It’s starting to resemble old Europe…little pockets of wealth and knowledge surrounded by supersticious, ignorant, fearful workers. I will gladly, anyday, take a snob title as opposed to living, being and thinking like so many of the religious, conservative right wingers.

  26. JJ

    It’s Larry the Cable Guy’s job to make jokes….he also makes fun of rednecks all the time.

  27. Jon

    I don’t think righties “make things up,” they just rely on scientists like S. Fred Singer, or non-scientists like Anthony Watts. They then distribute talking points based on these kinds of pseudo research bits, even though these bits haven’t been professionally peer reviewed.

    Their “revelations” that they churn out every day are not peer-reviewed scientific discoveries. They don’t make much of an attempt to screen out selective or amateur data nitpicks or character assassination in place of science. They’re a bit like the National Enquirer this way. Got a sexy story that will sound good and get news traction? Great! Of course, we’re not going to do much verification or analysis to see if it has any merit. Just slap it up on Wattsup, or better yet, Fox, and then everyone will have to talk about it whether it has any merit or not.

    As they say in the public relations business, Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

    And if you think there are objective, right answers, as someone said above, that must mean you’re a liberal.

  28. Katharine

    “Liberals are, if anything, too willing to assume others are intelligent and do want to be humanitarians. We think everyone can understand what we want and should want to come along too. However, if we can believe the bell curve, fully 50% of the population is below 100 IQ.”

    Precisely. A full half of the world’s population is fucking idiotic. I have been saying this for a long time.

    ” And those can be told that “look, if you just vote for us, we’ll give you a magical chance to be free of any rules and, more importantly RICH”. By and large, conservatives do not want any change to the status quo. They want their power, their rules and they want to keep it, NO MATTER WHAT.”

    Part of the problem is that they want there to be a hierarchy, they want to have people to rule, and they want to be rulers, when in fact society as a whole should be an environment where everyone can fulfill their potential. There are a great deal more people who have the capacity to do great things than they would allow.

    “They willfully ignore facts that disprove their precious myths, religous and otherwise. They intentionally lie. Yes, both sides do it but I challenge anyone to demonstrate that it is an equal abuse.”

    Mmm, I’m not sure how liberals do it. Could you give me an example?

  29. Katharine

    The first paragraph of Jonathan Haidt’s essay says this:

    “What makes people vote Republican? Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies? We psychologists have been examining the origins of ideology ever since Hitler sent us Germany’s best psychologists, and we long ago reported that strict parenting and a variety of personal insecurities work together to turn people against liberalism, diversity, and progress. But now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death. People vote Republican because Republicans offer “moral clarity”—a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world.”

    Conservatives are cognitively inflexible. They have a simplistic, childlike dichotomy of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. They are blind nationalists, they have twisted morals, they are black and white morally, they put feelings before logic, they are hierarchical, they are non-fact-based, they are tribalistic, in-group out-group non-understanding freaks.

    Conservatives are evil.

    THEY are the ones who do not get it. They are the ones who do not get REALITY.

  30. Katharine

    In fact, humans scare me, period, precisely because the vast majority of them are still throwbacks to the days when we were barely little more than glorified apes.

    Conservatives are an example of those throwbacks.

  31. Katharine

    You know what to tell a conservative the next time they say liberals don’t understand?

    ‘No. No. YOU don’t understand. This is the 21st century, a time where humanity is supposed to be supporting itself as one species, and you want to divide everyone along country lines – which are really arbitrary divisions – and divide everyone CULTURALLY – which is needlessly hurtful – when what humanity SHOULD be doing, and what works best, is working together for the benefit of themselves and for the benefit of the pale blue dot we live on. This is not the fucking Stone Age. We are not a fucking tribe. We are a species.”

  32. Katharine

    And realistically, cultures and countries mean next to nothing in the scheme of things. Cultures change and fall. Countries change fall. Anything of human making will always change. New things will replace the old. The only constant is progress and science and knowledge.

    When anyone says ‘Go USA!’, I inwardly think they’re a moron. I consider myself lucky to be born in the United States and reside in a part of it that isn’t totally stupid, but I am not remotely proud. Both because it is inherently meaningless to be proud of a country and because I have no reason to be proud in my own except for the scientific knowledge and the good things that have come from it (I suppose because the country is young, as Haidt says, there is a nationalistic fervor and an almost fascistic element in it; young countries and young regimes are always the nastiest, and America is only 234 years old, whereas there are countries that are thousands of years old; perhaps when we have grown up, if we do, we will have mellowed out and learned to live like normal people the way Europe tends to do a little more).

  33. JJ

    Conservatives are cognitively inflexible. They have a simplistic, childlike dichotomy of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. They are blind nationalists, they have twisted morals, they are black and white morally, they put feelings before logic, they are hierarchical, they are non-fact-based, they are tribalistic, in-group out-group non-understanding freaks.
    Conservatives are evil.
    THEY are the ones who do not get it. They are the ones who do not get REALITY.

    ….I guess that means about 60+% of all Americans are tribalistic evil freaks, as were the forefathers of our country (they shared many similarities of the current Republican platform, minus emphasis on religion). You just demonstrated the Liberal elitist mentality. You should study more US history and read the Constitution.

  34. moptop

    Katharine,

    Did you read the whole essay by Haidt and reject it, or did you stop after the section you quoted? It is an honest question.

  35. moptop

    “it is inherently meaningless to be proud of a country”

    That is exactly what Haidt was talking about. It seems meaningless to you, but it does not to a lot of people. Those people are human beings too. It is probably an evolutionary emotion about group survival. In other words, it is part of the nature of humanity. Reject it and you reject the deep emotions of a large group of people, probably the majority. When these people see their deeply held emotions rejected, they get angry and vote for other people. Think about it…

    It is difficult to evaluate the cognitive abilities of a person who reasons from a different set of values. All you really can do, if you don’t take the time to understand them, is assume they are plain stupid because somebody who reasons:

    “Pride in my country is part of what defends my nation from other nations that also have pride in their countries, and would do us harm to achieve their own ends.”

    When you deeply believe that this is a ridiculous premise, even if it has been proven out by evolution.

    So I will ask you an honest question again: “Do you believe that it is possible for all nations to simultaneously drop their nationalism, even when most nations are controlled by a dominant culture that controls the media, and finds the way things are to be very much to their liking? If not, why is national pride meaningless?”

    I can see how one might wish that it did not exist, but the reality is that after 1.6 million years, last I heard anyway, of human evolution, that is simply not the case.

    Conservatives have the same problem with free trade. The theory is great, but if everybody doesn’t play by the same rules, it is like playing poker when only you show your hand. In other words, it is a long term losing proposition for any country that naively takes it seriously.

  36. bilbo

    The simple fact that there are people on the left AND the right on this same thread, all acting generally condescending to one another, outright proves that neither side is not consescending.

    With regard to Chris’s book: if people on the Right got upset that Chris pointed out some dirty stuff that had happened due to people on your side (stuff that he backed up with evidence for the most part), don’t kill the messenger. If it pisses you off that much, push for the people on the Right to play clean.

  37. Timmy

    Jon #9

    Let’s look at my statement and your question. My statement is about an individual (all individuals). Your response is about right and wrong answers. Unrelated …..

    Really!

    NOBODY is capable of totally objective thought or reason.

    There are no areas where there are distinct right and wrong answers? Really?

  38. moptop

    Here is a story from France in today’s CBC regarding the “meaningless concept” of national pride:

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/02/08/france-civic-pride.html

  39. Timmy

    #28-#32

    Did you forget your meds?

  40. Jon

    My statement is about an individual (all individuals). Your response is about right and wrong answers. Unrelated.

    What about when an individual talks about right and wrong answers? (For instance, discusses them by publishing a book called *The Republican War on Science*?)

  41. Timmy

    Jon, lets just leave it with the agreement that we cannot communicate using the written word. Did not say you or I are wrong. I’m just saying that your responses aren’t matching up with my statements.

  42. Timmy

    My position would best be described by a quote in the autobiography of Gene Kranz. He was the Flight Director during Apollo 13 and when most were stabbing at solutions he said “work the problem, gentlemen”

    Let facts and data reveal the solution, I do not care what badge you wear. Take off the badge and “work the problem, gentlemen”

    don’t anyone get sexist about this, it’s a quote.

  43. Jon

    What if “the problem” has something to do with the Republican party and conservative movement as institutions?

    Personally, I think Sam Tanenhaus has made a pretty good case for how, historically, the conservative movement and its institutions have gotten to where they are today:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCWO-LSszZI#t=8m46s

    Is the problem just movement conservatism? No. But if you look at why the conservative movement ideologically can’t accept something like climate change, Tanenhaus is pretty compelling. If you read the arguments made by conservative commenters in these threads, they are exactly how Tanenhaus’s backstory predicts. If you believe the scientists, you must be an elitist for big government. Just because you’re a common sense empiricist when it comes to science means you’re out to grow the government? It’s absurd.

  44. JJ

    All of these commentators, on either side, just spew whatever fits this point of view. Republicans are not waging a war on science and Liberals are not waging a war on Christmas. You’re trying to argue based on the exact same principles of finger pointing on both sides. Climate science is hardly a concrete science, which is why so many people don’t accept it. The fact that meteorologists can’t even predict the weather accurately beyond 48 hours, and even get it wrong then, doesn’t inspire confidence that one can predict the climate for next 50+ years. Also, the samples used for research only stretch about 150 years or so, but Earth is billions of years old. That’s hardly a representative sample. It’s arrogant to assume that the science has been settled, there’s much left unknown and those on the left are trying to use it as an excuse to cap and tax businesses (obvious reason for skepticism). This is just common sense, you don’t need science to question the motives when the debate becomes political.
    Also, Republicans may not buy the AGW argument, but they do agree that climate is changing and are willing to do everything but use it as an excuse to raise taxes on business. I don’t understand why people think they’re against science, that’s pure political spin. How is the Liberal plan to tax carbon emissions going to do any good for keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere? It doesn’t, it just costs businesses and consumers more money. Both parties are for energy independence and more efficient technologies (regardless of the AGW debate), the real debate is how to go about it. Republicans simply want to do it without raising taxes on small business because it will further cripple our economy. That’s pretty much common sense. We currently have the 2nd highest corporate taxes in the world (behind Japan), if you knew this you may question the decision to raise corporate taxes as well.

  45. Jon

    I don’t understand why people think they’re against science, that’s pure political spin.

    Look at all the scientific organizations that accept AGW:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#Statements_by_organisations

    Look at all the published pieces that fit with the consensus, with zero opposing:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

    And you don’t understand why people say the denialists are against science?

    Cap and trade was originally a GOP idea. It doesn’t kill business, except for businesses who choose to make their living emitting GHGs. It stimulates other businesses. It’s a lot like retooling factories for new market conditions. That happens all the time (although admittedly, this will eventually be on a large scale). Conservatives just don’t like the idea that it’s *humans* pushing the lever to make this happen. Supposedly the market can handle anything–resource scarcity, physical limitations. But if it’s a human created limit, then the market supposedly completely can’t handle it, which is weird (unless you factor in ideology and the fact that there will be some new winners and some presently very powerful losers).

  46. JJ

    There’s a reason it’s called scientific “opinion” on climate change, that’s because it’s not concrete like 2+2=4. It’s the equivalent to an educated guess. The data sample size is hardly representative of the Earth’s entire age and climate trends.

    I also didn’t say anything about why “denialists” are against science, I said I don’t understand why so many people think Republicans are against science. They favor all of the “green” technologies, they simply reject taxing big businesses. Cap and trade was also only supported of a handful of GOPers (http://washingtonindependent.com/32707/gopers-flip-on-cap-and-trade), not representative of the entire party. However, it’s contradictory to say all conservatives are deniers when they came up with cap and trade in the first place. That point alone confirms that Republicans are not waging a war on science.

    The reason there’s no support for it now is because government spending is already out of control and the current financial situation puts us at risk of financial collapse if we continue to spend and impose higher taxes on small business. Some may argue Republicans think in black and white, this is a clear example that it’s not the case. In fact, those on the left continue to spend and are raising taxes, even in this recession. They believe the best way to grow the economy is to continue to spend us into debt in a recession where our national debt is already 80% of GDP, does that make any sense? That’s a black and white decision if you ask me. If you had credit card debt, would you try to pay it off with another credit card or bank loan? Changing times require different solutions. The economy is much more important than curbing CO2, the world is not going to implode anytime soon and the air and water quality are already much better than they were 30 years ago. Humans adapt to change, they survived millions of years through much harsher conditions than our current lifestyles, there’s no sense of urgency.

  47. JJ

    Regardless of if they believe in AGW or not, Republicans are still working to make technologies cleaner and more efficient because it’s just better for the environment, allows us to become more energy independent, and limits our use of Foreign oil. Where is the war on science? Actions speak louder than words and it’s clear that Republicans are not ignoring science. I bet brainwashed Liberals still believe we went to Iraq for oil (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1948787,00.html).

  48. Jon

    However, it’s contradictory to say all conservatives are deniers when they came up with cap and trade in the first place. That point alone confirms that Republicans are not waging a war on science.

    Um, except for the fact that they came up with cap and trade in the mid 80’s–more than 20 years ago. I do think there is a difference between Reagan’s GOP and George W. Bush’s (although Chris reports on some Reagan-era warring on science as well, particularly with SDI).

    Where is the war on science?

    If you’re asking that, you haven’t read Chris’s books. Or even his blog.

    I bet brainwashed Liberals still believe we went to Iraq for oil

    Hey, leave Alan Greenspan alone!

  49. Jon

    Also, “greater than 90% certainty” is more than “an educated guess”:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6324029.stm

  50. JJ

    You provided an article from 2007 of Greenspan’s “opinion”. I gave you an article from October 2009 that proves we didn’t go there for oil, yet you still believe we went there for oil, are you serious? I also provided that other article that clearly shows about 8 Republicans were in favor of cap and trade just 2 years ago, before the economy collapsed, but you brought up things from 20 years ago that further confirms Republicans once favored cap and trade. I’m confused, not sure what you’re getting at. My previous article confirms that Republicans considered cap and trade just 2 years ago, which implies they’re not all against the current science.

    As for numbers, anything less than 100% is not concrete and open to dispute, probabilities are educated guesses by definition in predicting events. When it comes to something as large and complex in terms of predicting climate for the next 50+ years, there’s much to question when weather guys can’t even predict a storm path or precip accurately beyond 48 hours. Forecasting is not an exact science, just educated guesses. Climatology functions on models that were only based on a fraction of the age of the Earth and we’re supposed to say without a doubt that they’re correct. The majority of scientists once believed the Earth was flat and the Sun revolved around the Earth, look how that worked out. It’s also true that the Earth was hotter in it’s history than it is today. I even read 2 articles disputing the impact of the closing of the ozone hole, one said it would increase warming, while the other said it would slow warming, both said by climatologists. All that is enough to keep me skeptical that we’re the cause. I think it’s arrogant to think we have such control over Earth’s climate.

  51. Marion Delgado

    You cannot conflate a query like that with “is person X in situation Y too condescending or appearing too condescending?”

    I have a permanent allergy to that trope. Normally, elites push it so people won’t pay attention to how condescending all the right-wing opinion press is – look at Limbaugh, Tierney, Derbyshire, Will, the late Buckley, etc. Condescending across the board. Furthermore, frankly, the paid propaganda trope is going to be that liberals are condescending regardless of what they do or say. And the right-wing corporate media are simply going to pass that on, uncritically.

  52. Jon

    As for numbers, anything less than 100% is not concrete and open to dispute, probabilities are educated guesses by definition in predicting events.

    This misses the point that there is no 100% in science. Even the law of gravity is subject to dispute. That doesn’t mean there are hot scientific debates over Newton:

    Some climate-change deniers insist that the observed changes might be natural, perhaps caused by variations in solar irradiance or other forces we don’t yet understand. Perhaps there are other explanations for the receding glaciers. But “perhaps” is not evidence.

    The greatest scientist of all time, Isaac Newton, warned against this tendency more than three centuries ago. Writing in “Principia Mathematica” in 1687, he noted that once scientists had successfully drawn conclusions by “general induction from phenomena,” then those conclusions had to be held as “accurately or very nearly true notwithstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined…. ”

    Climate-change deniers can imagine all the hypotheses they like, but it will not change the facts nor “the general induction from the phenomena.”

    All the evidence (not to mention basic reasoning concerning the properties of CO2) points to CO2 being an agent of warming. There are some uncertainties that you can dispute, but the uncertainties that are left shouldn’t make us comfortable, unless we’re fools.

  53. Jon

    Let me clarify my last sentence, because it understates things. This is from the last paragraph of that Oreskes piece:

    None of this is to say that there are no uncertainties left — there are always uncertainties in any live science. Agreeing about the reality and causes of current global warming is not the same as agreeing about what will happen in the future. There is continuing debate in the scientific community over the likely rate of future change: not “whether” but “how much” and “how soon.”

  54. JJ

    The “how much” and “how soon” are what’s in question. There’s no reason to believe that the Earth’s climate is going to dramatically change and cause mass destruction. There may be a 90% certainty that the climate is changing, it’s obvious, but there’s no way we can accurately predict the extent. Same for forecasting weather, meteorologists can predict a regional storm, but often have trouble predicting the precip or severity accurately. Politicians on the left are trying to push climate change as an eminent Armageddon to sell their cap and tax plan immediately, it’s a fear tactic. I think we all know that’s highly unlikely, even climatologists would agree. Studies have also projected that even if we were to carry out all plans to combat CO2, it would likely have minimal affect on the long term climate. The most generous figures point to less than 1/4 of a degree F in 50 years. Unfortunately, I can’t locate the source of that study.

    Even climatologists admit they cannot predict the extent of climate change with any level of certainty:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/w17p14185181p600/

    http://web.mit.edu/globalchange/www/MITJPSPGC_Rpt73.pdf

  55. Katharine

    “….I guess that means about 60+% of all Americans are tribalistic evil freaks, as were the forefathers of our country (they shared many similarities of the current Republican platform, minus emphasis on religion). You just demonstrated the Liberal elitist mentality. You should study more US history and read the Constitution.”

    60+% of all Americans can, in fact, be wrong. Remember civil rights struggles, women’s rights, etc?

    And you seem to not have much of an understanding of the founding fathers’ actual positions. Try reading some history yourself.

  56. Katharine

    “That is exactly what Haidt was talking about. It seems meaningless to you, but it does not to a lot of people. Those people are human beings too. It is probably an evolutionary emotion about group survival. In other words, it is part of the nature of humanity. Reject it and you reject the deep emotions of a large group of people, probably the majority. When these people see their deeply held emotions rejected, they get angry and vote for other people. Think about it…”

    Part of what I’m talking about is the ability to evaluate one’s deeply held emotions and figure out that acting on them is not compassionate, smart, or wise if among your deeply held emotions are certain emotions which, if acted on, would cause a lot of harm. It’s a hallmark of maturity.

    “It is difficult to evaluate the cognitive abilities of a person who reasons from a different set of values. All you really can do, if you don’t take the time to understand them, is assume they are plain stupid because somebody who reasons:

    “Pride in my country is part of what defends my nation from other nations that also have pride in their countries, and would do us harm to achieve their own ends.”

    When you deeply believe that this is a ridiculous premise, even if it has been proven out by evolution.”

    Rape is a reproductive strategy borne out by evolution for years, but would you say it’s okay? No. I’m talking about the feasibility of the strategy in the long run.

    “So I will ask you an honest question again: “Do you believe that it is possible for all nations to simultaneously drop their nationalism, even when most nations are controlled by a dominant culture that controls the media, and finds the way things are to be very much to their liking? If not, why is national pride meaningless?””

    It is. Change who controls it. Change the culture. National pride is meaningless because nations are generally arbitrary divisions; it is more useful for people to work together, not divide themselves.

  57. Katharine

    “You just demonstrated the Liberal elitist mentality.”

    ‘Elitism’ isn’t a bad word when it means having more brains than the people who fling the term at you.

  58. JJ

    There’s a reason why America is a center right country and it’s not because of Fox News or Conservatives pulling tricks on everybody, that assumes 60+% of Americans are that stupid. That’s equivalent to a conspiracy theory and looking down upon everyone that doesn’t agree with you is indeed elitist, from which the Liberal elitist mentality came about. America has historically been a center right country because our founders didn’t intend on America becoming like Europe. There’s a reason why America is the most prosperous country in the world, capitalism and free markets. Why do the masses want to come to America? Freedom. Socialism is a failure as a socioeconomic system. If you favor socialism, move to Europe, it won’t work here.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/123854/conservatives-maintain-edge-top-ideological-group.aspx

  59. JJ

    ‘Elitism’ isn’t a bad word when it means having more brains than the people who fling the term at you.

    …which confirms the stereotype. I’m a strong believer in the multiple intelligence theory. Just because someone doesn’t know fine wine and cheese doesn’t make them any dumber than you. That article posted about why people vote Republican basically alludes to Conservatives being smarter than Liberals as well. If Liberals can’t understand Conservatives, they must not be that smart. As for hypocrisy, Conservatives donate more (and earn less), on average to charities than Liberals, yet Liberals want the government to forcefully take your money and spread the wealth around. It’s about power and control over society. If Liberals really cared about helping people, don’t you think they’d be donating much more money than Conservatives? Apparently, they have no problem spending the hard earned money of us bottom feeders.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

  60. Robert E

    @JJ
    Those uncertainties are built into the models. Unfortunately, a lot of the observed changes are happening a lot faster than the models predicted, not slower.

  61. Ted Frier

    I went even further in my criticism of professor Alexander’s Post column, which I see as part of a larger pattern by conservative writers (Charles Krauthammer hit the same theme Friday) now to disguise the extremism on the right by translating liberal criticism of that growing extremism as cultural condescension of “conservatism” generally — which is often deliberately left undefined by these writers.

    Here was the email I sent to professor. I got no reply:

    Professor Alexander,

    Very clever, but I just wanted to let you know that it’s the style of argument you present in your scaled down AEI talk that is why I am no longer a Republican nor can in good faith call myself a conservative. I am a professional communicator. So, it was the growing lack of integrity in conservative communications – it’s fondness for the tactical manipulation of public opinion through propaganda at the expense of the much harder effort of honest education and persuasion – that I first noticed in the growing radicalization of the right, and came to loath. I noticed in your on-line chat how you kept changing your definitions. Whenever pushed against the wall by an example of some conservative behaving badly, you just moved the goal posts and said that person didn’t count as a real conservative or that they represented nothing but themselves. Sort of like what happened among conservatives when Trent Lott said the world would be a lot better off had Strom Thurmond been president. But you know as well as I do that today’s conservative movement is built on conformity to doctrine and group solidarity not fidelity to open-ended inquiry. So the idea that conservatives would be more welcoming than liberals of dissenting points of view is just nuts.

    Like many on the right today, you seem to suggest that the ridicule and horrified outrage directed at conservatives by liberals is entirely unprovoked. You reinforced that impression by your failure to mention a single specific conservative “idea” that liberals find objectionable. It was an omission that I took for embarrassment on your part (and perhaps condescension?) at the wackiness of right wing ideas. And Senator Moynihan’s ideas on race from a half century ago don’t count. If anything, that example showed how far Democrats have come in taking conservative ideas seriously, and assimilating them into policy, when offered in good faith.

    I can imagine conservative readers with chips on their shoulders being outraged at the liberal snobs who populate the long train of condescending abuses you recount in your column, from Richard Hofstadter’s “paranoid style” to the racist Southern Strategy in Tick Pearlstein’s “Nixonland.” What I can’t imagine is your conservative readers having a clue about why liberals might hold them in such contempt because, let’s be honest here, liberals aren’t turning up their noses at William F. Buckley. It’s Tom Tancredo, Tom DeLay and Sarah Palin that cosmopolitan, liberal elitists can’t stand.

    But so as to avoid being condescending to dissenting conservative points of view in the future, please advise us: Exactly how should a homosexual respond to the conservative “idea” that their sexual preference is a crime against nature and a sin against God? How should a liberal respond, without being dismissive, when Republicans who doubled the national debt in eight years and quadrupled the number of legislative pork barrel earmarks when they controlled Congress lecture liberals about being high-spending “socialists?” How should Democrats respond – again with all due respect — when conservatives who sat in silence while George W. Bush sent 130 terrorists to jail by way of the American civilian court system attack President Obama as a soft-on-terrorism traitor for doing exactly the same thing? How should Democrats respond when the Republican National Committee seriously considers a resolution demanding that ALL Republicans conform to a 12-point right wing litmus test at the precise moment when House Republicans are complaining to President Obama that he doesn’t take dissenting ideas seriously?

    It’s not snobbery that causes liberals to dismiss these ideas with contempt. It’s the plain logic that all of them are shamelessly partisan, hypocritical and extreme.
    Finally, why confine your criticism just to liberals? A significant number of conservative intellectuals and former Republican operatives like me also hold what passes for “conservatism” in contempt, as it abandons moderation and reasonableness in favor of nationalist, populist right wing extremism? And wasn’t that the real point of your column — to disguise the GOP’s mounting extremism behind a thick gloss of cultural resentment politics?

  62. moptop

    It is. Change who controls it. Change the culture.

    So, you are going to change the culture in the Islamic world, because, as you have implied, their culture has no value. Same with China and India? How, exactly? Nations are run, by definition, by their elites.

    National pride is meaningless because nations are generally arbitrary divisions; it is more useful for people to work together, not divide themselves

    Yeah, and turtles might be better off if they had wheels too. Are you saying that it is a greater loss to the world if a species of smelt disappears than if we never saw another identifiably Italian person, or French, of Japanese. Because these cultural differences are utterly without value?

    it is more useful for people to work together

    Who decides what they work together for? Oh yeah, that’s right. You. And the conservatives are the ones who crave power because they want to be left alone. I get it now.

  63. moptop

    AEI talk that is why I am no longer a Republican nor can in good faith call myself a conservative. I am a professional communicator. So, it was the growing lack of integrity in conservative communications – it’s fondness for the tactical manipulation of public opinion through propaganda at the expense of the much harder effort of honest education and persuasion – that I first noticed in the growing radicalization of the right, and came to loath(sic).

    This is real convincing, I must admit. Hats off to you Mr former conservative. You have fooled me.

  64. There’s a reason why America is a center right country…

    This is a meaningless phrase that conservatives love.

    Center-right of what and on what issues? Certainly no population of people can be center-right of themselves. So are we center-right of where we were 25, 50 or 100 years ago? This country has move decidedly left over time, from a place where women had no rights under the law, homosexuals could be convicted of crimes and Irish need not apply, to one where the son of a Kenyan immigrant can be elected president, 3 of the last 4 Secretaries of State have been women and gays have some or all of the rights of marriage in 14 states.

    Exactly where has this country moved to the right on anything?

  65. moptop

    By the way Katherine,
    Rape is a reproductive strategy that is constrained by society working together because it is in a cohesive society’s interest to minimize it. One way to minimize rape throughout history is to defend your nation from incoming armies of, for example, Vikings.

    But I digress, what is your proposal for these evolutionary throwbacks? I mean politically. Do I have the same political and human rights as you do, for example?

  66. JJ

    “How should a liberal respond, without being dismissive, when Republicans who doubled the national debt in eight years and quadrupled the number of legislative pork barrel earmarks when they controlled Congress lecture liberals about being high-spending “socialists?”….?”

    I once considered myself Republican until I witnessed the practices under Bush. The spending practices under Bush were not supported by true Conservatives, but moderate or Progressive Republicans. Progressives exist in both parties, just as Conservatives do. Liberals are the Progressive sect of the left (Pelosi) and Moderate Republicans are the Progressives of the right (McCain, Bush). In the last election, there was very little difference between Obama and McCain’s platform. If McCain were elected, he would probably do much of the same as Obama, with the exception of big government spending. Most people criticize Obama for the same practices as Bush because Bush had an approval rating around 35% in his later years for doing the same thing. Obama has over spent Bush in only his first year ten fold. The debt went from 1.5 trillion to about 12 trillion currently. The Liberals were critical of Bush, yet praise Obama? That doesn’t make sense, it’s purely partisan politics.

    Liberals were critical of Bush, yet Obama is doing the same thing, as you mentioned. It applies to both sides of the argument. It’s just as stupid to praise Bush and hate Obama (concerning fiscal responsibility, war on terror, social programs). It’s the Progressive ideology that drives bigger government. Conservative Blue Dog Democrats and Conservative Republicans would never run the White House like Obama or Bush. This is now why you see such dissent in both parties. The Republicans are now finding themselves running against more Conservative opponents in primaries thanks to Bush, just as Liberals are finding themselves losing ground to more conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans. People are becoming more Conservative in light of the practices under Bush and Obama.

    Furthermore, labeling people as Conservative or Liberal is polarizing and misleading. For example, Conservative Democrats hold very similar views to moderate Republicans. Conservative doesn’t define a party, it defines an ideology. Conservatism is about smaller government, personal responsibility, lower taxes, and individual freedoms. Liberalism is the exact opposite: big government spending, high regulation, higher taxes, and government welfare. Therefore, calling Bush a Conservative is very much off the mark, as is generalizing that the entire Republican party is Conservative, same for Liberals and Democrats. Relative to Liberals, anything beyond their ideology is Conservative, just as anything beyond the Conservative right is Liberal. That’s obviously why those extremes hardly ever agree, it’s a never ending feud of stern principles that override a common sense approach to governing.

    Ironically, Liberalism was once defined as today’s Libertarianism during the time of our founding fathers. It has now come to mean the exact opposite. Just as Conservative Democrats were for slavery during the Civil War period, yet today the Conservative Republicans have come to be stereotyped as bigots.

  67. JJ

    “This is a meaningless phrase that conservatives love.
    Center-right of what and on what issues? Certainly no population of people can be center-right of themselves.”

    …Center right denotes generally held ideological principles, it’s implied in the phrase. If you’re familiar with political ideology, the majority of Americans tend to fall center right of the current political spectrum. Namely, Conservative Democrat to Moderate Republican. As I posted earlier, Gallup’s survey illustrates the phrase.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/123854/conservatives-maintain-edge-top-ideological-group.aspx

  68. Center right denotes generally held ideological principles, it’s implied in the phrase.

    Such as what? Your Gallup link notes what people prefer to call themselves (conservative, moderate or liberal) not what they believe, and those terms have changed meaning considerably over time. Do they believe women should be allowed to work outside the home, do they believe schools should be segregated by race, do they believe Medicare and Social Security should be abolished, contraception made illegal, abortion outlawed. Those were all moderate positions at one time. They aren’t now. The majority of people who call themselves conservative today wouldn’t even agree with many of them.

    So America is a “center-right” nation in the same sense that every school district is “above average”. The terms make the people using them feel better. But they are inherently nonsensical.

  69. JJ

    They are logical when it applies to the current ideological platforms. If the same survey were taken 100 years ago, it would probably show differently relative to the definition of the terms during that time. I mentioned that in a previous post as well. In today’s terms, conservative generally means small government, lower taxes, less government spending. Whereas Liberal today is defined by big government, higher taxes, more spending. Under those definitions, America is a center right country.

    The spread is similar to a bell curve with Liberals and Conservative Republicans on either extreme. The majority of Americans fall within the average in their personal ideologies. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to agree with a party’s census on every issue. However, I do agree it can be rather vague in terms of individual issues because there’s so much open to interpretation.
    The example with schools is actually rather concrete because it can be based on standardized test scores, there’s a set numerical standard there. Based on sampled scores, one can conclude that the majority of schools are above average, with underachieving and well above average achieving schools on either side of the spectrum. If 60% of schools achieved above average test scores based on the majority of students it makes sense to say the majority of schools are above average, but that doesn’t mean every student in those schools scored above average.

  70. In today’s terms, conservative generally means small government, lower taxes, less government spending.

    Right. 2000-2006, conservatives dominated all branches of government.

    Government size – went up dramatically
    Taxes – went down
    Government spending – went up dramatically

    Under the glory years of Ronald Reagan.

    Government size – went up
    Taxes – went down, then up again particularly Social Security taxes.
    Government spending – went up

    So empirically, in today’s terms, conservative generally means small big government, lower taxes (on businesses), and less higher government spending.

    Based on sampled scores, one can conclude that the majority of schools are above average

    No you can’t. You can say that the majority of schools passed the test. But you can’t say that the majority are above average.

  71. JJ

    You’re confusing Conservative with Progressive. Bush was not a Conservative Republican in his practices. If you read my previous posts, I explained the difference between Progressive and Conservative. Progressives exist in both parties. Liberals are the progressives of the left and moderate Republicans like McCain are progressives of the right. I don’t disagree with your facts about Bush, those illustrate Progressive policies. Same goes for some practices of Reagan.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivism

    http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=488

    As for tests, why do you believe you cannot say the majority of schools are above average? That criteria is currently used as a measure for No Child Left Behind. If schools are under performing on the average in standardized testing, they face warnings and eventually closure if performance fails to improve. The school, as a whole, must meet Federal standards or face consequences.

  72. JJ

    Conservative is also not synonymous with Republican. Conservatives exist as Blue Dog Democrats and Conservative Republicans. The biggest difference between Conservative Democrats and Republicans is on social issues. Democrats tend to be less socially conservative than Republicans.

  73. JJ

    If you have 100 schools and you average every students’ score on a standardized test, that yields what I’ll call a national average. If each school then averages the grades of their respective students, they’ll have a local average. Therefore, we’ll have 100 local averages representing each school as a subset of the national average. If the average of each individual school (local) is greater than the national average, then that school performed above average of the overall sample. Of those 100 schools, if 51 of them were to have a local average greater than the national average, then the majority of schools in the sample performed above average. That’s mathematically correct.

  74. You’re confusing Conservative with Progressive.

    We started this discussion when you argued that America is a center-right nation, now you’re debating the difference between conservative and progressive?

    I agree that conservative and Republican aren’t synonymous. Likewise conservative and “right” aren’t synonymous. The words mean different things to different people and despite your argument aren’t tied to ideology. If I tell you that someone describes himself as a conservative, you can only guess his opinions are on a whole host of issues.

    Likewise your definitions or conservative, liberal and progressive are comical. Liberal today is defined by big government, higher taxes, and more spending only as a caricature by people who don’t like liberals. I doubt that anyone who describes himself as a liberal would agree with the definition.

    Conservatism, likewise, may be about smaller government, personal responsibility, lower taxes, and individual freedoms, to you. But it certainly isn’t true in practice for many who call themselves conservatives. This is self-evident since the vast majority of Republican politicians describe themselves as conservatives and also voted for expanded government and more spending. Their base voters (who also describe themselves as conservative) applauded them for it.

    And Bush is a progressive? By that standard the word has no meaning at all.

  75. JJ

    Funny how that works. Then those than call themselves conservatives, but don’t fit the definition must either be hypocrites or simply confused. I consider Bush’s big government spending and bailouts as Liberal or Progressive, that’s about it.

  76. Then those than call themselves conservatives, but don’t fit the definition must either be hypocrites or simply confused.

    No. They simply aren’t using the same definition that you are using.

  77. John Kwok

    @ Katharine –

    Your comments merely demonstrate just how inflexible and intolerant many liberals tend to be in considering political views contrary to their own. I just happen to be a conservative with strong Libertarian biases and a registered Republican too. Does that mean that I am automatically both an AGW and evolution denialist? I certainly hope not, especially when I have been among those most critical of both AGW denialism and evolution denialism here at The Intersection (Incidentally I also like Chris Mooney’s “The Republican War on Science” a lot; as for “Unscientific America”, well, I’ll leave that for another discussion.).

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »