Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Crabtree’s Bludgeon

Wingnut Watch: Sharia Law, The Man from C.L.I.M.A.T.E., and Actually Existing Media Bias

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Newt Gingrich has heroically called for a federal ban on the real menace: sharia law. The line on Twitter is that we should probably ban unicorn hunting next—but I want to call special attention to this comment from TPM at well:

But now they finally seem to be on the brink of having stupified their followers and coopted the MSM to the point where they can just make up their next mythic Enemy out of whole cloth, without any need for it to have even the most tenuous anchor in reality. So when this whole Islamophobia thing plays out, I really expect them to just invent some nonexistent entity, like S.P.E.C.T.R.E. or HYDRA or a deeply buried conspiracy of secret Satanists who have infiltrated every segment of society or something of the sort.

Indeed, an entirely nonexistent enemy would have manifold advantages for them. Any industrial accident that results in an explosion could be blamed on them and if accident investigators say, no, the problem was slipshod safety practices, that just proves the accident investigator is part of the plot. Any academic, politician or commentator who makes them look stupid is obviously a member who need to be investigated, and an investigation will always turn up something to prove the charges. And if it doesn’t, it just goes to show how fiendishly clever and how thoroughly penetrated we are as a society.

It’s not that this would work; it’s that it’s already worked. Or haven’t you heard about the sinister machinations of C.L.I.M.A.T.E. scientists? Here’s Steve Benen on the sad state of public discourse today:

In previous generations, the American Right still had to contend with some accurate information. That’s no longer the case — a Republican activist can listen to talk radio during the day, listen to Fox News after work, read right-wing blogs with breakfast, and hang out with Tea Partiers over the weekend. It’s possible, if not easy, for a conservative to come in contact with literally no accurate, objective journalism.

Meanwhile, Christine O’Donnell is following the Sarah Palin, Sharon Angle, and Rand Paul trajectory by canceling her lamestream media appearances altogether. Tragically, the Democrats have no candidate in the DE-SEN race, so Face the Nation has been forced to book Republican strategist Ed Rollins and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson instead.

A Climate Change Confession

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Despite Bill’s timely warning I confess I was completely unprepared for the ferocity with which my climate-change-denying family members would clamp down on the CRU hack and refuse to let go. I am, perhaps, naive, but I had thought the simple distinction between scientific claims and moral evaluations would be enough to return the discussion to rational, fact-based grounds.

I was, alas, deeply mistaken.

Read Bill’s site for an effective debunking tutorial, and then turn to some more recent posts: the RealClimate follow-up and the Daily Kos interview with Michael Mann. The Daily Kos interview is particularly instructive as it walks through the five or so emails (out of the thousand stolen dating back to 1996) that are being selectively quoted (and, I can now confirm, significantly misquoted)—and explains the situational context in which each was written. (The Nate Silver post linked by Bill does a particularly good job with the favored “hide the decline” email.)

Devote yourself to these refutations. The paranoid mindset that fuels climate change denialism guarantees that the CRU hack will be with us at family gatherings for a long, long time; while your Occam’s Razor may suggest we reject any hypothesis that requires a secret world-spanning conspiracy of climate scientists, politicians, and journalists, for their Crabtree’s Bludgeon such a conspiracy is the only possible explanation.