Monday, March 26, 2007

Politically incorrect guide (PIG)

Back in mid-Feburary I saw Christopher C. Horner interviewed on Daily Show with Jon Stewart about his new book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism. I was hopeful that he would take a middle road and function as a bridge between the two camps. I was quickly disillusioned. He spent his time parroting the usual attack the messenger distortions such as global warming is a left wing communist tree hugger conspiracy. He repeats the charge that the climate scientists can't be trusted because they are just trying to get more funding. What he didn't make clear in the interview is that Mr. Horner is NOT a scientist. He is a practicing attorney in Washington, D.C. and a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He's an expert on global warming legislation and regulation. So he has a conflict of interest himself. In fine lawyerly fashion, Mr. Horner skirts the truth as he points to the growth of the Greenland Ice sheet as a refutation against global warming. He neglects to mention that the scientist who wrote the study came to opposite conclusion -- temperature increase led to increased precipitation, leading to ice sheet growth. He also has no problem citing Michael Chrichton as scientific support. Unfortunately Chrichton got his information on global warming science for his novel State of Fear from persons also responsible for the tobacco industry's effort to obscure the relationship between cancer and smoking.

Even more damning is his publisher. The Politically Incorrect Guide (PIG) series covers a wide range of subjects - Science, Islam, Darwinism and intelligent design, and American history. All of these texts suffer from similar distortions and misinformation. Such as the American War Between the States was not principally about slavery. Or that global warming is caused by the sun. And intelligent design is more scientific than Darwinism. The Pandas Thumb has reviewed the whole collection.

Spring has come.

I've been lax lately. Spring has come to Colorado and its been hard to sit down the blog.

Zaius nation gave a nice link to two of my blogs. If you haven't checked him out, he's got a great site ranging from politics to pop culture.

The main subject of this site, is the human capability for denial. It amazes me how vehemently perfectly intelligent and educated people deny Global warming. Its not like they have a problem with evolution or smoking links to cancer. Still they cling desperately to any thread that supports the way they want the world to be. Its as if the pro-smoking crowd said there is no cancer. And the tactics are the same, go after the messenger, not the message. At this point we should be having a discussion about what we're willing to do, not whether or not its happening.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What is a neo-con?

If you google neo-con you get a lot of hits that give you the name of prominent neo-con s and what they've been up to, but no actual definition.

Formally a Conservative is one who holds to traditional attitudes and values, and is cautious about change or innovation in relation to politics or religion. Typically conservatives either seek to preserve the status quo, or seek a return to the values of an earlier time. Conservatives are generally perceived to believe in the rule of law, the importance of personal rights, and small government.

Neo-conservatives are not conservatives. A neo-con pretends to be a conservative. A neo-con loves to wrap themself in the flag and the trappings of religion. They profess their regard for nationalism and religion, but in practice contradict what those institutions represent. While a conservative respects tradition and the rule of law, neo-cons look at the constitution and treaties as simply ink on a page.

They are tyrants and bullies, that far too frequently profess the use of violence toward anyone who opposes them. They are authoritarians, that believe in an imperial prerogative. While they won't admit it, they support bloated government run for the benefit of special interests (oil, defense, big industry).

Neo-cons function on the premise that the truth is what they want it to be, regardless of evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or actual facts. The Zaius Nation reminds us of the perfect word to describe the neo-cons sense of reality - sophism. The essential claim of sophistry is that the actual logical validity of an argument is irrelevant (if not non-existent); it is only the ruling of the audience which ultimately determines whether a conclusion is considered "true" or not. By appealing to the prejudices and emotions of the judges, one can garner favorable treatment for one's side of the argument and cause a factually false position to be ruled true. Stephen Colbert referred to this delusional thinking as truthiness. It is the key trademark of neo-cons.

Fascists and neo-cons have a lot in common. So do neo-cons and the violent radical left. What these three groups have in common is that their goals and methods pose a severe threat to an open and free democracy.