It used to be that a person holding fanatical views, especially one resorting to or advocating extreme action, was an outlier in society and earned public scorn due to the damage they could cause other people. America, like every nation, has always had extremists groups, but it is certain that besides the Civil War, there was never a large segment of the population, a giant industry, and one of the major political parties so entrenched in extremism. One can really appreciate the level of extremism that is plaguing America when they consider that what drives its fanaticism is a sometimes violent opposition to the one thing that elevated them from remaining hunter gatherers; science.
That any American is opposed to science is, in and of itself, stunning; particularly when they are likely only alive today due to myriad technological advances driven by science. The anti-science crowd loves science that gave them automobiles, medicine, electricity, sanitation, and ability to communicate easily with any location on Earth, and they depend on medical science to eliminate threats to their lives. It is curious, then, that when the preponderance of scientists from around the world warn them of an existential threat to their health, well-being, and their nation’s survival, the extremists claim it is “an attack on their way of life.” That was one of the responses to the reported three-hundred-thousand plus Americans marching in New York to bring attention to the clear and present danger of anthropogenic climate change on Sunday.
Since the election of an African American man as President, there have been some truly bizarre, and often incomprehensible, statements from the extremists in the conservative movement; it is what makes them extremists. But claiming that other Americans’ acknowledgement and call to action to address climate change is an attack on their way of life is simply unfathomable. Interestingly, it is not the first time ignorant (Republican) advocates for the fossil fuel industry, the primary drivers of global climate change, have complained that the government’s attempt protect their environment and well-being is an attack on their existence. Last year an extremist group in Colorado sought secession from the state, and the nation, due to what they regarded was an all-out attack on their precious oil industry; even as their state suffered severe wildfires and flooding resulting from conditions due to climate change.
In what is becoming a regular monthly occurrence, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that August, like the previous 24 months, was the hottest on record globally since records began being kept in 1880. The record-setting temperatures were for land and the sea that scientists claim is the “new normal” and will continue unabated; the reports should alarm every America to demand immediate action to reduce carbon emissions that are driving climate change.
Thus far, experts predict that all global temperature records will be broken again and again. But despite the threat to Americans, the nation’s security, and the economy, any actions to reduce the cause of the damage is portrayed as a liberal attack the oil industry and now Republicans’ supporters’ way of life and it begs the question; what way of life? Do they mean severe weather events, wildfires, extreme droughts, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, food shortages, increasing frequency and intensity of earthquakes, skyrocketing food costs, and health hazards? Because that is their way of life before any actions to reduce climate changing carbon emissions are even enacted. It is worth noting every aspect of the fossil fuel industry contributes to global climate change and that includes tar sands, fracking, drilling, refining, mining and processing the absurdity known as “clean coal.”
It is certain that extremists fighting to preserve the devastating climate they claim is their preferred way of life are Republicans, evangelical Christians, libertarians, and teabaggers and a little-reported survey last month revealed why. The survey asked what issues Republican voters were most concerned about going into the midterm elections and to no-one’s surprise, Republicans could not care less about education, obstructionist Republicans, or the effects of severe weather due to global climate change. The survey results explained why Republicans enjoy unwavering support from uneducated Americans to oppose the President’s recent attempt to reduce carbon emissions they claim is an attack on the fossil fuel industry, and not an attempt to prevent more damage to America.
It is worth noting that within one of the President’s announcement that as a world leader in carbon emissions, he directed the EPA to seek a major reduction in emissions from power plants, the world’s other leading driver of carbon emissions, China, announced that they would follow America’s lead. True to their word, China announced last week they would reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2020 because they have experienced the same devastating effects of severe weather events as Americans. Their leaders are also intelligent enough to comprehend their nation’s economy and people’s well-being depends on immediate action. It is highly likely that China will succeed where America will certainly fail because unlike America, China’s government is not owned and operated by the Koch-fossil fuel industry.
Perhaps labelling climate deniers, Republicans, teabaggers, and their ignorant supporters as extremists for regarding a climate march an attack on their way of life is errant. It is more likely they are just mean, hateful people who love seeing their fellow citizens suffer from droughts, earthquakes, wildfires, severe storms, flooding, and fouled air and water that define their preferred “way of life.” What is telling though, is that although they experience the effects of climate change themselves, their lack of intellect allows them to believe the oil industry and lying Republicans claim there is no climate change and that scientists are lying.
Recently a Republican congressman, Larry Bucshon (IN) argued that his climate denial is founded solely on public comments, and that scientific literature and empirical data is invalid because “climate scientists can’t be trusted because they’re in it for the money.” Bucshon’s remark was during a House Science and Technology Committee hearing on President Obama’s Climate Plan during an exchange with White House Science Advisor John Holdren.
As incredibly stunning as it was to learn the climate march in New York was, according to climate deniers, “an attack on their way of life,” it was encouraging to see hundreds-of-thousands of Americans demanding action. It is certain that across America there are tens-of-millions of Americans experiencing the effects of climate change and it makes Republicans, teabaggers, and evangelical malcontents all the more evil for perpetuating the lie that climate change is a hoax. Because they know as the people suffer droughts, wildfires, rising food costs, floods, and severe storms, they are so ridiculously ignorant they believe that addressing the cause of climate change is an attack on their way of life too. It is just one reason Republicans oppose education so adamantly; making an ignoramus into an extremist is simple.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.