NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, just announced 2014 the warmest year in recorded history, and 14 of the last 15 years as the warmest in recorded history.
Yet Paul Krugman in his latest NYTimes Oped still seems mystified by conservatives’ opposition to Good Government—such as denying the results of NOAA, the government organization mandated to track global warming (or maybe he isn’t, really):
“And why this hatred of government in the public interest? he writes. Krugman cites political scientist Corey Robin’s explanation that conservatives in particular are “…reactionaries. That is, they’re defenders of traditional hierarchy--the kind of hierarchy that is threatened by any expansion of government, especially when that expansion makes lives of ordinary citizens better and more secure.”
That, of course is the definition of a conservative—preserving the status quo. I would posit there is another, deeper reason for the denial of scientific results—whether it’s climate-related, or the record income inequality that almost all economists agree is real.
It’s called the bully mentality that has been discussed in prior columns. Bullies are those who want to dominate others without regard to reason or even common sense. And they appear periodically when prevailing cultures or societies lack strong leadership—positive leadership, that is.
For instance, school bullying is at an all-time high, and has been the reason for many of the school shootings by those who have felt bullied. The NRA is a classic institutional bully—demonizing opponents with falsehoods, such as its campaign of “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” in wanting to remove all gun controls, even though assault rifles with expanded magazines have been used in all the mass shootings to slaughter dozens, even hundreds before they were stopped.
Political bullying is another example. Republican bullying, particularly the Tea Party types that called compromise a dirty word, began when a very inexperienced Barack Obama became President who had no apparent experience in dealing with bullies.
And that is the point. Bullies have a wholesale disregard for scientific truth, or any other, and only stop bullying when they are opposed. America’s bullies can only be stopped with equal and opposing force, and where are the leaders capable of that?
Senator Elizabeth Warren is popular because she has been willing and able to stand up to the financial bullies. She sees Wall Street and the financial industry as classic bullies that need to be opposed at every turn to reverse the record income inequality. Hence her opposition to the just-passed $1.1 trillion federal budget authorization that extended the deadline for Wall Street institutions to divest themselves of the riskiest derivatives.
"Pretty much the whole Republican Party—and, if we're going to be honest, too many Democrats—talked about the evils of 'big government' and called for deregulation," Warren said at the recent AFL-CIO National Summit on Raising Wages. "It sounded good, but it was really about tying the hands of regulators and turning loose big banks and giant international corporations to do whatever they wanted to do."
“These families are working harder than ever, but they can’t get ahead. Opportunity is slipping away. Many feel like the game is rigged against them—and they are right,” Warren said. “The game is rigged against them…. The world has changed beneath the feet of America’s working families.”
Maybe President Obama finally understands that it’s not in the nature of bullies to compromise as he proposes policies on immigration and reducing carbon emissions (such as rising CO2 levels that even the Pentagon has foretold could result in future wars) that require executive action only, which will benefit all Americans. It doesn’t look like the new Republican Congress wants to compromise, which means they don’t want government to work at all if it will benefit Main Street, rather than Wall Street.
Harlan Green © 2015
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