James Inhofe And the GOP Anti-Science Bias

Author: March 1, 2012 9:38 am

(The following is a cross-post; originally published with permission from OneWhiteDuck.com)

Truthfully, I could cover any number of topics here on how the GOP pits antiquated rhetoric against scientific facts – including religion, evolution, agriculture, energy, history, culture, health care – each perhaps a go-to meme for the Republican party as it approaches the coming 2012 election and inevitably attempts to sidestep the factual topic of a recovering economy.

For examples, just tune into virtually any of the dozen-or-so Republican primary debates and attempt not to cringe at the absurdly base-less ideas spewing from right wing leadership.


But for now, let’s focus on the environment – or, more specifically, climate change.

The GOP has famously opposed the facts behind climate change on nearly every possible front, citing little more than outdated, corporate-bought, dogmatic opinion to back its case against reality.

“Rick Santorum also said that global warming is politics, not science. And he said he’ll defend that position to the edge of the earth, ‘If I have to fall off’…” – Jay Leno

It has defended the most criminal offenders of environmental disasters, touted the worst efforts of “dirty” fossil-fuel-based energy initiatives , and consistently ridiculed environmental measures/legislation at every turn.

Perhaps Congress’ most infamous anti-environment persona is that of Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahama), who has notably compared the global environmental movement to the Third Reich and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo.

He also compared Al Gore’s Academy Award winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, to Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf.

“You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that’s their strategy,” he said in 2006 interview with the Tulsa World newspaper.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)

Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)

Ironically, Inhofe is a ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; having served as its chairman from 2003 to 2007. Even more ironic is that Inhofe’s own state – Oklahoma – recently suffered its hottest summer on record, with July 2011 “becoming the hottest month for any state on record,” and heat-related damages to the state’s agricultural economy coming in at roughly $2 billion.

And yet, according to Inhofe, climate change is “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.”

Appearing on CNN’s The Situation Room shortly after (the now-debunked) “climategate scandal” in 2009, Inhofe referenced the taken-out-of-context Climatic Research Unit as proof-positive that climate change “has been pretty well debunked.”

However, the fact checking organization Politifact concluded Inhofe’s statement to be false.

“Independent of CRU’s data,” read the website, “agencies and academics all over the world are coming to essentially the same conclusion: Climate change is happening.”

Fortunately for the world (but to the Party of No’s dismay), public opinion is also leaning in truth’s favor, as new polling data suggests that the largest percentage of Americans in recent history now believe in the tenets of climate change despite noted misunderstanding on just what climate change is.

And while polls do not determine the validity of an argument, they do in fact, portray a usually-accurate depiction of public opinion.

This, of course, is a threat to the anti-science establishment that is currently steering the course of the nation’s “conservative” politics, as it can potentially influence legislation that results in “reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing renewable energy, involvement in global treaties and many other aspects.”

Faced with the public’s backlash against conservative fiscal policies, health care and education reform as well as many other and inane attacks on progressive politics, the Right is again willfully reducing itself to forging ahead as the country’s main misinformation engine by actively choosing to highlight “hot button” social issues – with environmentalism being one of them.

As environmental concerns encompass national memes like energy independence, “big brother” government, job creation and the economy, national security and societal longevity, anti-science Republicans like Inhofe view it as a prime target for  misleading the country and pushing a corporate-backed, anti-progress agenda.

Firing up the cause for regressive politics, Inhofe has just this week released his new book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” wherein he  furthers his plight of inexcusable denial and conspiracy-theorizing while blaming “government regulations” for the state of energy insecurity in which the nation currently finds itself.

“He’s firmly convinced that regulation is the scourge of the nation, an impediment to honest business. And that, essentially, is what led him to take on climate change—he imagined a vast regime of regulations cascading down upon the nation, putting his buddies out of work and preventing him from redoing a fire escape. This is really common, actually: Those most inclined to deny climate change are also most inclined to decry regulation and be suspicious of big government.” – Brian Merchant, Treehugger

The Greatest Hoax, by Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)

The Greatest Hoax, by Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)

To put it simply, Inhofe’s “hoax” theory – as shared by a vast majority of Republican leadership (yet I still find it debatable as to whether or not they actually believe the very theory they are pushing) - is positively absurd.

The ideas that climate change is a) real, b) man-made, and c) detrimental to the survival of our species are agreed upon almost unanimously by the leading scientific academies throughout the world.

For Americans to buy into this grand “conspiracy” of lies and global deception, they must fall prey to the fearsome ideas that noted scientists, world leaders and environmental activists across the world have somehow figured out how to coordinate on a global scale, as if part of some lame James Bond villain academy – with only the “devious” goal of making the planet cleaner and healthier for future generations.

As the rest of the world moves forward without us in its determination to combat climate change, we in the United States are once again being pranced through the ever-tightening rings of a denialist circus.

Though I would like to imagine that – eventually – the truth will win out, actionable results thus far suggest otherwise. By the time science is the victor in this country, the world may have already lost.

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