Climate ‘trutherism’: the conspiracy theory that’s no joke
The United States is experiencing a golden era of conspiracy theories. From the “9/11 truthers” to the “Trig birthers” to the “Obama birthers” and, most recently, the “Bin Laden deathers”, alternate theories of reality are alive and thriving on the American fringes…One group of these conspiracy theorists, however, has escaped the label – and has even succeeded in bringing its theory into the mainstream. These are the people who deny that human activity is contributing to climate change, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – call them the “climate truthers”, for lack of a better term.
“Climate truthers”. Just as deluded as their 9/11 counterparts, but far more dangerous.
Doubting human-caused climate change requires the same paranoid logic as, say, doubting that the 9/11 attacks caught Bush officials by surprise, or that President Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery. But rather than believing that we’re being lied to by the Bush White House or Obama’s mother and the state of Hawaii, you’re required to believe that we’re being lied to by nearly every scientist and scientific institution in the world.
Which is why the GOP loves to demonize and slander scientists.
So why, then, aren’t climate truthers relegated to the fringes, alongside their brethren? First, climate truthers have the support of a wealthy, powerful industry dedicated to mainstreaming their theory. Second, the Republican party’s anti-regulation policy agenda is threatened by the realities of climate change, so it’s better to deny there’s something wrong than cede that argument to their adversaries. And third – and this is why it self-perpetuates – the media like to stay in good odour with powerful politicians, so often can’t quite bring themselves to pronounce one side unequivocally wrong.
The wealth and political power of the climate truthers is obvious, but I don’t think too many understand how much it’s beaten or bribed the media into submission.
But as with all other conspiracy theories, it is the media’s job to call them out as wrong and resist the urge to “split the difference”. If not, we’d be living in a society where 9/11 truthers and Obama birthers were legitimate sceptics, rather than outlandish people unable to come to grips with reality. Yes, it takes more courage to call out climate truthers, because some of them are very influential. But that’s why it’s more important – because climate change is relevant to our lives and futures in a way that the baseless speculation about Trig Palin’s birthmother is not.
Couldn’t have said it better. The modern GOP could not be more dishonest and dangerous, and I hope enough American voters wake up to this reality before it’s too late.