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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

"How Not to Convince Republicans to Address Climate Change"

Prof. Adler a conservative/libertarian who supports the need to address climate changes criticizes a response by some old time Republicans (who he wonders should even be called that any more).  His support is appealing, makes him seem approachable, but his mind-set still is problematic. It is like his concern for blocking judicial nominees and refusing (even when one of his fellow bloggers used the word as I pointed out more than once) to use the word "filibuster" for some of the actions.

I responded myself,* including addressing an update. One thing I noted, e.g., are that the people in the op-ed are Republicans, replying to someone else that they had various leadership roles in the past.  Also, putting aside Adler's concern about the river matter (see below), the op-ed didn't only reference that.  The link above can be used to read my responses.  An update led me to respond again, which will be re-published here, since I think it might be the most important part of the discussion on my end:

"The Right" (I stereotype here a bit akin to suggesting the op-ed writers aren't really "Republicans") doesn't really appear to "believe climate change is a problem" that is worthy of much concern, that is, one that would require them to focus on as compared to other things, or even understand it is one of those things government power should be used to address, akin to abortion or use of executive power against national security threats. So, that's an uphill battle.

For instance, a carbon tax is suggested. But, the current Right in the House of Representatives are of one mind -- taxes are bad. This is one reason why any hope for a bill seems to require some sort of pork -- in reality, Republicans in the House still care about that sort of thing. So, realistically, though Prof. Adler would on principle find this distasteful, it very well might realistically be part of a bill, if I thought there was a real shot at any sort of legislation in that department. And, like the PPACA, the first step might be imperfect. But, like health care, climate is a long haul. You need an opening & it will be a decades long journey. Any legislation unless we change how the Congress works will particularly be imperfect.

Some have put forth a bit of hope, since there are some of a conservative mind-set who see climate change as a religious issue -- it is part of God's duty to us to take care over those things we have dominion over or some such thing. That would to me be one approach: find allies among the Right's base. It would be helpful, yes, to use the Right's usual buzz words. For instance, a nod to "statists" or some put-down of "Science" (you know, Al Gore types). As to "demands tangible results to actual problems," the op-ed actually addressed that, even if one of the examples might be a trope. That is, something more symbol on some level than fact. But, tropes are used and a successful argument for the "Right" is likely to include one or more too. So, whatever works there w/i reason. I'm being a bit cynical, but yes, while pushing for solutions, flag possible bad ways to do things. Say there needs to be something done, and don't you want the "right people" to do it? Do nothing, and you know who will do it!

But, ultimately, you have to convince the Right that there is an actual problem worthy of some sort of real government regulation. Some here simply don't think so. Once you think there is a real problem, let's say crime or education, there is room to compromise and work on solutions. So, maybe vouchers will be part of the government's answer. The thing to do, I guess, is find some sort of entry level. Again, some use religion. Another path would be to suggest it is a way to attract certain types of future voters. This has influenced some to think immigration reform is necessary. Some, as some on the left already are doing, suggest there are free market advantages to addressing climate change. etc.

[end] I have read up on climate change some but don't claim expertise on the matter or the best approaches to address it, either scientifically or as policy. So, it is useful to read about the whole thing and try to understand as much as one can. Those in the comments, perhaps a tad overly cynical, suggesting "the Right" (apparently "Republicans" might not be members of it) are not really listening have a point. The concern that you have to speak about it to them in the right way is correct. But, it is not as much as talking about "statists" or something. It is ultimately about convincing Republicans that there is a reason, pragmatic or otherwise, to do something in the first place.  And, the result will be imperfect.

Prof. Adler, however, continually taking selective potshots at PPACA, including how it was passed without a planned conference effort to iron out difficulties, makes me doubt his awareness of the big picture. The posts never really address the reason why Congress acted as it did there. The Republicans, with the unfortunate addition of Scott Brown, blocked any ability to pass a new amended bill! And, he here takes a potshot at one of the op-ed writers for opposing Scott Brown in lieu of Elizabeth Warren.  Why are old-time Republicans supporting such people?

Adler is ideologically opposed to PPACA, but here is more sympathetic to the ultimate cause. Fine. But, the big picture is on some level the same.  The procedural and ideological roadblocks of the Republicans (and others, to be fair and complete), not merely arguing the case the wrong way, must be addressed.


* A shorter response in the comments addressed someone who (assuring us that s/he accepts the mainstream position that climate change is happening) thinks there is so much "political capital" invested in defending it that if evidence arises the other way (mind you s/he doesn't think there is), the scientists will not accept it.

The concern is ironic, since without partial blinders, it doesn't make much sense. The scientists already put their work on display, skeptics and others who or whatever reason support them (see also, tobacco companies) will be there and there surely won't ALL not honestly and ethically examine new evidence on global warning.

It also was pointed out the attacks are seen as attacks on science itself. This is true on some level -- it arises in any number of contexts and has some degree of merit in many of them -- but overall, you have to rely on the things noted to be safeguards. Only something of a conspiracy theory approach really works here unless there (not present here) is some reason to fear significant information is blocked or hidden by some small group.

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