Economist extraordinaire Dean Baker has a great post on The Guardian this morning about conservative ideologues and their stubborn (but gradually failing) defense of “climate denialism.”
As Baker notes, the right likes to pretend that it’s all about rugged individualism and curbing “entitlements” but a closer look at the facts often reveals a different reality. The Cliven Bundy case was a classic example as is the recent hullabaloo over President Obama’s new carbon reduction standards:
“The argument against taking steps to reduce carbon emissions is an argument that we have the right to impose the costs and risks on others without taking responsibility. It is essentially like arguing that I have the right to throw sewage on my neighbor’s lawn because I would find it inconvenient to build a proper sewage disposal system….
So, as with Bundy, conservatives can argue that this is simply a case of the government trying to tell people what to do and, as with Bundy, they’d be wrong. For Enzi, Bast and other conservatives, ‘freedom’ – at least in the context of the debate over global warming – is apparently the right to actively harm others with the government’s permission and even its participation. They seemingly believe that you have a god-given right to, in effect, throw your sewage on your neighbor’s lawn even though, if applied universally, this would mean that any given neighbor has the right to dump their sewage on your lawn, too.
But freedom has a somewhat different meaning for those who feel the obligation to be responsible for the damage they cause and to be consistent in our proclamations about the world. Any real conception of “freedom” has to apply universally – and not a sing one of the anti-EPA conservatives believes that their lawn should be open season for other people’s sewage.
That’s how you tell the difference between a principled political argument and someone who just wants to be a jerk.”
Read the entire column by clicking here.