Month: October 2014

The Climate Couch

The Best of the Web Today is one of my favourite commentaries. James Taranto can picked apart and pretty much destroy most Leftist arguments. Here he is taking in one of my pet peeves re: climate change and the attempt by global warmists to pathologize any attempt to refute it or a refusal to accept the so-called consensus:

“Do you have a tendency to worry excessively about the weather?” Corbis

The Climate Couch

Can psychologists make global warmists of us all?

BY JAMES TARANTO

Global warmists have a problem, which they hope to solve through therapy–for others.

“If there weren’t such a stark divide between American conservatives and almost everyone else on the question of the existence and importance of climate change–a divide that can approach 40 points on some polling questions–the political situation would be very different,” writes New York magazine’s Jesse Singal. Warmists need a way of “convincing a lot of conservatives that yes, climate change is a threat to civilization.” Achieving that objective “has more to do with psychology than politics.”

How many psychologists does it take to change a conservative’s light bulb? Only one–but the conservative has to want it to change.

Our reference to therapy was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. What Singal has in mind isn’t individual treatment but mass psychology–i.e., propaganda. His argument is that “the climate activist community” has “failed to understand” that “messages targeting conservatives” should be “radically different” from those aimed at liberals. He advises warmists to draw on frameworks from social and political psychology, such as ”moral foundations theory” and “system justification.” That ought make it possible for them to develop methods to promulgate correct beliefs–or, as he puts it, “to nudge conservatives toward recognizing the issue.”

We’d say all this is unlikely to amount to anything–not because we doubt that the underlying psychological theories have some merit, but rather because Singal and the psychologists he quotes are laughably biased in their understanding of the “problem.”

Read the whole thing here.

A Short Encounter With An Olivia Chow Supporter

So I had an Olivia Chow volunteer stop by my house yesterday to try to guilt me into voting for Chow for mayor. I indicated that I would not be supporting Chow in this election or any election. The volunteer asked me if I believe in equality. She said Olivia stands for equality. So I asked her what that meant and she proceeded to show me a crude income curve (i.e. lots of people make a certain income, less people make a bit more, and a tiny fraction make a whole lot more). I paraphrase the rest of the conversation:

Me: So what. It doesn’t bother me that some people make more money than I do. Does that bother you?

V: Yes.

Me; What does Chow plan to do about it if she becomes mayor.

Volunteer: She will raise taxes.

Me: What taxes? She has no control over income taxes.

Volunteer: General taxes.

Me: How will that address inequality?

Volunteer: Lower income people will get more money.

Me: How much more? And how will that ensure “equality” which would imply every one is equal. Does she want to make everyone’s income the same?

Volunteer: Not the same but….

Me: So she’s for inequality.

V: No. I meant, fairness. She’s for fairness.

Me. So she’s against inequality and for fairness.

V: Yes.

Me: So what is fair? What would fair look like to Olivia Chow?

V: More poor people getting more money from rich people.

Me: How much more and who decides what is fair? Olivia?

V: Well that’s up to…

Me: Where does Olivia fit on your income curve? Where do you fit?

V: Olivia is here [points to a spot on the curve] and I am here [reluctantly points to a spot farther to the left on the curve, implying she makes a lot less than Olivia Chow].

Me: That doesn’t seem “fair” or “equal”. So you’re okay with Olivia making more money than you?

V: You’re frustrating. And at first you seemed like a nice man. I’m leaving now. I have others houses to get to.

Me: Bye. Come back next week and I’ll make you some tea.

Two Prime Ministers Go To War

David Akin compares the actions of two Prime Ministers: one Liberal; one Conservative. The Conservative is often called a fascist and anti-democratic and is accused of circumventing Parliament.  But it was the Liberal who committed Canada to a combat role in Afghanistan without bringing the matter to Parliament for a vote beforehand.

A Canadian prime minister determines that the activities of terrorists operating in a Muslim nation far from Canada’s shores is such a threat to Canada’s security, that he dispatches Canadian Forces on a combat mission. There is no debate or discussion in Parliament let alone a vote. There seems not to have even been a full cabinet discussion before the prime minister makes his decision. Simply a request from an American president.

That was all it took for Jean Chrétien to to begin what would become Canada’s decade-long war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

You point this out to Liberals and they just shrug. I had a conversation once with an educated and fairly bright high-school principal, staunch Liberal, who actually called Stephen Harper a brownshirt and a fascist. We were in the grocery store at the time so I just shook my head and laughed. Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to debate her on the issue or to enlighten her on the socialist origins of fascism. Besides how do you take seriously someone who says something that stupid?

I would have loved to have this story at hand during the conversation. But I’m certain she would have just shrugged.