Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Warmer world growing colder

The following was originally written on Feb 7th, and sat on my opinion until I was sure it was only mildly nasty:

I've been fumbling around with some issues in my head that I just made concrete with a visit to, of all places, CNN.com. Glancing at the science headlines, I saw yet another article about global warming: "Glaciers shrinking in a warming world." haven't' read the article yet, hope to later this evening. But it sort of summarized a kind of phenomenon in my head.

I'm not worried about the world getting warmer. I'm worried about it getting colder. Not literally. No fear of that. Ideologically. My country seems to be taking a decided, completely unbiased in it's bias, fully spin controlled, culturally immoderate, turn to the right.

I was thinking about this today because earlier a coworker was razzing me about the liberal media.

I had mentioned that I'm not really watching CNN in the morning because it seems to get Poppy worked up. Ruby thinks that maybe Poppy is reacting to the newscasters and interviewees: she does mirror people's emotional states. She mirrors everything, really, but anxiety seems to translate particularly well to the fertile medium of her head. So I haven't been watching CNN, because grumpy, catty commentators and guys in combat gear have to be more upsetting than, say, my Tiki-Glass, or the Hulk Head bank in my office, both of which usually set off monster fits. Or maybe not. I could be taking a stab in the dark.

I don't miss CNN. I don't find it substantial, really. Too many small things (Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, OJ) are over-covered. Everything else seems to be under-covered (I sometimes think their most incisive coverage comes on the Ticker). It's a lot of gabbing and opinion, and I don't want opinion. I'm kind of bring-your-own-opinion.

So my boy, my co-worker, is telling me that I should avoid the "hate spewing liberal media" and Poppy won't get worked up.

Now, I've no idea if he was serious or not. The outspokenly conservative element in the library can be defensive, as far as I can tell because they're outnumbered. They're good natured, but they're all boy's boys, all sports and camping and armchair politics, so their teasing is rough.

But I've heard this criticism before from the right. I know it's an issue for them: Coulter and O'Neill are always whining about how liberals think they're mean. Which is always amusing to me, cause it's usually said at full volume, with an epithet.

But you know what? It's meaningless. Freedom of speech is a social good. They have a right to an opinion. And their opinions, though entirely right, are not all wrong. Personally, I'm kind of immune to the question of who's a bigger meanie at this point.

Here's my problem: Part of their opinion is that they don't want any other opinions around. They don't want to disapprove of gay marriage: They want to legislate the possibility away. There are no liberals, only traitors. Not only do they not want their children educated about sex, they don't want your children educated about sex. They dismiss violations of civil rights and international treaties away as a necessary evil in the wake of 9/11. They want all of our children taught creationism, 'cause they don't believe in evolution. If they don't believe it, it isn't science. And no boobies during the Super Bowl. Not even by accident.

Oh sure, this isn't stoning in the stadium kind of stuff. The right has been patting itself on the back for being kinder and gentler since Bush the first because they're not dragging anybody behind them in a truck. But I will note that the right is quick to cringe into the language of victimhood when brutal, bodychecking legislation like DOMAs or Constitutional amendments to entomb the rights of gays and lesbians are condemned as bigotry. It is, you see, religious intolerance. This is a very dishonest, oily way to turn opinion away from their actions.

Now, does my pal feel this way? Dunno. He doesn't clarify his opinion. Because I'm a glass half full kind of guy, I assume not. In some ways, I don't want to know. Gotta work with him.

And I'm not prone to getting hit by chunks of sky. I don't think the current hyper-republican atmosphere will last much past the next election, but in any case, like the earth-centric vision of the solar system, social conservatism can't last forever. It's not very real. And most of America's ethnic, cultural, and minority groups have enough social capital that they aren't expendable. Especially in a capitalist system, which literally depends on the widest possible buy-in.

But here's what worries me. Although we are a social primate, and generally mean well because we have to get along, there have been enough instances in history where the social fabric was torn so far that it gave way entirely. And really, social conservatives have been getting more than a little frantic and culty. So it's possible that the current ultra-conservative wave could get out of hand, and really hurt alot of people. Taking up the big stick of legislation is sometimes a step before taking up the big stick of persecution.

Which brings me back to my main point, of a colder world despite global warming. And really, the rather myopic way global warming is treated by republicans.

The best argument the republicans can muster about global warming is that it might not be caused by people.

Okay, it might not. Climatalogical change happens by itself, over long periods of time. We don't know that humans are causing it.

The point where it becomes a superstition is where they suggest doing nothing about it. Not altering human behavior at all, because they're too cheap to refit their businesses, and heck, it might not work anyway.

I mean, if you knew for a fact that someone was coming to burn down your business, would you give security the day off and lock the employees inside? After all, they might not catch the guy before he starts the fire. Why make the effort?

This moral absurdity is the same kind of humbug that is displayed by all sorts of conservative social engineering and hysteria.

If you really think that social institutions carry the same weight as natural law, let's test it: you step out the third story window, I'll marry the nice homosexual couple, we'll see who comes out the worse for it.

Neither Spongebob, nor Tinky Winky, are gay. They are cartoons who have never expressed a sexual preference for a same-sex member of whatever singular species they belong to.

If you think it's a different act when we torture our prisoners, you're a one man peekaboo game.
And you're not the only one with children paying taxes. When your son gets the hots for my daughter, I want him to know what a rubber is.

You get my point.

I'm not so concerned for myself. I grew up in an environment where I felt alternately hunted and dismissed. It was called "high school". But I was hoping for something a little different for my kid. I mean, what if she becomes a wretched little progressive like myself? Then how do I explain the world to her? The intellectual faddishness of her countrymen? The cultishness of a country who's definition of liberal is riding up to the center like an inexorable cultural wedgie? How do I explain why our country is so cold when there isn't any snow?

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