Wednesday, August 31, 2011

All the rope he wants

Based on the entries here it is obvious that I often read something in the Herald that angers, frustrates, exasperates, etc and motivates a response. Today there was a letter to the editor that simply generated a sedate "whoa." It was so overwhelmingly out there that it could not even provoke an emotional response. It was beyond that. You could think it was satirical, but the history of writer Brent McCarthy rules that out.

McCarthy is trying to dispute characterization of the tea party, of which he apparently considers himself a part, as "radical". He does this by running through a list of declarations that run the gamut from having a whisp of reasonableness to specious to irrelevant because so divorced from reality to absolutely unsubstantied opinion to delusion. He seems to consider all these truisms that demonstrate how mainstream he (and the tea party) is. I justify my entry here because one of his brain droppings is the utterly ignornant nonsense that "[g]lobal warming is a politically motivated hoax." He concludes, "[t]he real radicals are those in Washington who disagree with the American people, and they are a shrinking minority."

I would not bet the house, but with the title "Who are America’s real radicals?" atop the letter I have a feeling that the publication of the letter was motivated to some extent to give McCarthy enough metaphorical rope to metaphorical hang himself. There is much less time spent in the simplistic but tame ("Our borders need to be secured") and more spent in the paranoid, victimized, blinkered, and ignorant delusions.

Compare the global-warming-is-a-hoax claim and the perplexing "our health care system is the best in the world because it’s private." There is plenty wrong with that statement on health care starting with that neither the former nor the latter are true. Most distressing though is that there is no indication McCarthy believes that statement needs a 'because X, Y, and Z.' Declaring the system private seemingly defines it as best. Similarly there is apparently no need to dispute climate science because McCarthy cannot accept something contrasting with his ideology.

That defines so many in denial and/or willful ignorance about climate change - virtually no knowledge beyond the spoonfed bites of misinformation that have been gobbled down because they bolster a worldview that refuses to accept that we are damaging our environment and that fossil fuels have a considerable downside. McCarthy represents not a majority like he thinks he does but a driven, loud, and relatively influential minority. The problem is not so much that McCarthy's radical views get directly adopted by the public overall but that they warp the range of public views that more and more ridiculousness is accepted, like a major party president becoming a pariah for accepting the near unanimous expert view on a field of science.

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