Jonathan Chait has a column today in New York magazine detailing the weird fact that the Republicans are the only conservative party on earth that denies climate science. It is something I have discussed with friends and family for some time. (My sister-in-law is from the UK and the Tories there are not rabidly opposed to global warming theories).
Of all the major conservative parties in the democratic world, the Republican Party stands alone in its denial of the legitimacy of climate science. Indeed, the Republican Party stands alone in its conviction that no national or international response to climate change is needed. To the extent that the party is divided on the issue, the gap separates candidates who openly dismiss climate science as a hoax, and those who, shying away from the political risks of blatant ignorance, instead couch their stance in the alleged impossibility of international action.
It is something very peculiar, for sure. But environmental denial is not the only peculiarity of today’s Republican party.
Rabid opposition is not the only quality that sets the GOP apart from other major conservative parties. The fervent commitment to supply-side economics is also an almost uniquely American idea. The GOP is the only major democratic party in the world that opposes the principle of universal health insurance. The virulence of anti-government ideology in the United States has no parallel anywhere in the world.
What is to explain such policy positions? It is hard not to reach the same conclusion Chait does that the GOP has lost its collective mind.
I repeat this story whenever the topic comes up and I am asked to engage. The reason we live in New York is that the explorers who arrived here first settled here on their way to find the mythical Northwest Passage to China. Multiple explorations over centuries attempted to cross the northern reaches of the sea above Canada which was frozen solid in spring, summer, winter, or fall. Global warming is changing all of that with implications for economy, shipping, and trade. For anyone who disagrees with the premise, I ask simply to point to somewhere on planet Earth that shows evidence of getting colder over time.