Ted Cruz has recently been asked, by voters no less, why he denies global warming. His response has been to double down — nay, triple and quadruple down — on denial. His standard answer is a litany of idiotic denier memes, moronic talking points that are so easily refuted they can’t possibly appeal to anyone with half a brain and a smidgen of actual knowledge. If you’re in denial yourself, Ted Cruz sounds great; confident, fast-talking, all the right buzzwords, insults for your most reviled targets. But if you know the least bit of the truth about global warming, it’s far too obvious how full of baloney he is.
It raises a fascinating question: why is Ted Cruz (like so many others) in such extreme denial, and more to the point, why does he not only admit it, but flaunt it? Why not do like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, play the “I’m not a scientist” card and fall back on that other zombie lie — the “ruin the economy” lie, the one that isn’t just false, it’s the opposite of true?
Here’s a hypothesis.
Cruz and his ilk might actually be smarter than Rubio and his ilk. He’s figured out that the “ruin the economy” lie will never work once people figure out that man-made climate change is real. When the public is convinced, all the empty talk about it being “too expensive” to stop screwing mother nature will only bring ridicule.
People know, in their gut, that you shouldn’t screw with mother nature. They know that doing so costs big. Sea level rise is already costing big in coastal cities like Miami, even on a clear day, and when there is a storm the surge and flooding is worse than it would have been. Drought is already costing big, not because it’s caused by global warming but because it’s made so much worse. Heat waves are already killing people by the thousands, even by the tens of thousands, and even if you dismiss the cost of human life with a wave of your hand, you can’t ignore the cost to the economy.
So they have to maintain some semblance of doubt. Doubt is their product.
As long as they can keep up a veneer of doubt about the reality of man-made climate, even those who believe it’s real will have lingering doubts about its severity. If you believe but you’re not certain, maybe you can make yourself believe it won’t be that bad.
But when doubt about its reality is gone, the danger will hit people like a ton of bricks. They’ll know that unless we act now, and act dramatically, to change our ways, if we let global warming continue unchecked, then “ruin the economy” will be the result of not acting.
Even die-hard religious fundamentalists won’t buy the “too expensive to do anything” lie. They’ll start talking — some already have — about how what we’re doing now is an affront to God himself. They’ll be angry, they’ll ask how we can justify not only failing to take care of God’s garden, but actively wrecking it.
The whole “maybe it’s real but it’s too expensive to do anything” strategy is a loser. Whether you’re a passionate environmentalist or a passion-play evangelical, you know how wrong it is to screw mother nature.
So Ted Cruz and his ilk will toe the “not happening” line. Without doubt about reality, there won’t be any doubt about consequences.
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