Dennis Prager wrote a column for Real Clear Politics way back in June of 2006, explaining why liberals are more afraid of global warming than conservatives are. I would have included this in my post about changing climate change, but that post was reaching critical mass.
Observers of contemporary society will surely have noted that a liberal is far more likely to fear global warming than a conservative. Why is this?
After all, if the science is as conclusive as Al Gore, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and virtually every other spokesman of the Left says it is, conservatives are just as likely to be scorched and drowned and otherwise done in by global warming as liberals will. So why aren't non-leftists nearly as exercised as leftists are? Do conservatives handle heat better? Are libertarians better swimmers? Do religious people love their children less?
He's right, of course. Disaster doesn't save itself for the deserving and spare the undeserving. It hits everyone in its path. What Prager discovered is six likely explanations for the Left's alarm:
-- The Left is prone to hysteria. The belief that global warming will destroy the world is but one of many hysterical notions held on the Left.
-- The Left believes that if The New York Times and other liberal news sources report something, it is true. If the cover of Time magazine says, "Global Warming: Be Worried, Very Worried," liberals get worried, very worried, about global warming.
-- The Left believes in experts. But for liberals, "expert" has come to mean far more than greater knowledge in a given area. It now means two additional things: One is that non-experts should defer to experts not only on matters of knowledge, but on matters of policy, as well. The second is that experts possess greater wisdom about life, not merely greater knowledge in their area of expertise.
-- People who don't confront the greatest evils will confront far lesser ones. The Right tends to fight human evil such as communism and Islamic totalitarianism. The Left avoids confronting such evils and concentrates its attention instead on socioeconomic inequality, environmental problems and capitalism. Global warming meets all three of these criteria of evil.
-- The Left is far more likely to revere, even worship, nature. A threat to the environment is regarded by many on the Left as a threat to what is most sacred to them, and therefore deemed to be the greatest threat humanity faces.
-- Leftists tend to fear dying more. That is one reason they are more exercised about our waging war against evil than about the evils committed by those we fight. The number of Iraqis and others Saddam Hussein murdered troubles the Left considerably less than even the remote possibility than they may one day die of global warming (or secondhand smoke).
It's a great column, with more examples and analysis than I excerpted here. This is his conclusion:
One day, our grandchildren may ask us what we did when Islamic fascism threatened the free world. Some of us will say we were preoccupied with fighting that threat wherever possible; others will be able to say they fought carbon dioxide emissions. One of us will look bad.