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Oh No, National Review Discovered Dems' Fiendish Plan To Keep Planet Habitable!
2023's stupidest culture war battle, now in summer reruns.
As most people know by now, the only way to prevent continuing global warming is to stop burning fossil fuels (and to cease emissions of other greenhouse gases) as soon as possible. That's really all there is to it: Burning coal, oil, and "natural" methane gas puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the more CO2 is in the atmosphere, the worse the climate consequences will be.
But even though most people have known about global warming since lots of scientists started saying, "Hey, this canary in the coal mine doesn't look so good" in the 1980s, governments and industries put off doing anything about it for decades. Finally, well after the 2015 Paris agreement, governments around the world are starting to take some serious action to decarbonize. The task has been made more difficult by the billions of tons of CO2 added to the atmosphere since most people knew about the problem, to say nothing of having to wade through all these dead canaries.
As the consensus about the need to transition away from fossil fuels has increased, the pro-oil arguments have shifted a little bit. Outright denial of the science is still around, but many on the Right have shifted to other tactics, like claiming that efforts to move away from oil and gas are part of a plot — communist or maybe just "elitist," same thing — to control every aspect of your lives. To be sure, that strain of the argument has been around forever; it's simply getting more emphasis since attacking the science doesn't get as much traction as it used to. And that's how we got this really stupid cover article by Noah Rothman in the National Review, which explains that The Left hates modern conveniences mostly because they're convenient, so you must all now use toilets that cannot handle your massive MAGA shits.
Yes, America, the Woke Left isn't simply out to sap and impurify your precious bodily fluids, it also wants to control how you eliminate your precious bodily solids. (Fine, fine, terlets are virtually the only thing not included in Rothman's rant; but they're certainly implied .)
Mind you, we've been over this before: Nobody is coming to uninstall your gas stove at gunpoint. Rothman briefly acknowledges that much, but immediately pivots to arguing that state and local zoning bans on gas hookups in new buildings is totally the same thing, because what happened to freedom? On the Right, the very idea of "saving energy" is now considered "woke," because somehowDenis Leary's rant about driving around in a 1967 Eldorado convertible "with whale skin hubcaps and all leather cow interior and big brown baby seal eyes for head lights" is now an ethos, dude.
The most notable thing about Rothman's screed is that he barely mentions climate at all, except to immediately dismiss it as secondary to the nefarious motives of leftists who simply won't rest until they control every aspect of your life, because that's just what they do. Rothman's thesis paragraph could have come straight out of any anti-environmentalism rant from the 1970s:
Armed with unchecked self-confidence and possessed of an abiding faith in the idea that you must be coerced into altruism, the activists seem to be coming for almost everything you own. In the process, they are waging a crusade against convenience, an assault on comparative advantage, and a war on things that work.
This isn't true at all. You can keep your tacky copyright-violating paintings of Andrew Breitbart as a Teutonic knight (I'm feeling nostalgic today), we really don't care. But if you buy one on Ebay, maybe it'll be delivered in a van that runs on batteries, oh no, the horror.
Rothman decries the "relentless lobbying of local governments to forbid natural-gas hookups in new buildings" and tries to undermine the science showing that, if not properly vented, gas stoves can cause health problems, but his real anger is reserved for those snooty elitists who want to take away your preference as an appliance-buyer. Besides, no one can cook with electric stoves or induction cooktops, it's just impossible! [Rebecca hopping in here to offer you some anecdata; the Wonkette heiress Donna Rose had been ill and frail and fragile ever since we moved to our manse in Detroit — until I read about childhood asthma and gas stoves early this year. Within two weeks I'd ripped that fucker out of our kitchen and replaced it with electric. And within about a week, the purple rings around our seven-year-old daughter's eyes were gone AND STAYED GONE. Yes, it's not peer-reviewed, but what I saw with my own eyes is good enough for me.]
Along the way, Rothman — while denying the charge that he's engaging in pointless culture warring — tries to smack as many culture war hot buttons as he can with his flailing hands. He gripes about people who "reside in an urban enclave where they are an Uber Eats order away." Rothman also suggests that banning new gas hookups is both racist — "What if your cultural affinities involve the use of round-bottom cooking pots such as woks, or if tradition requires an open flame?" and hypocritical, because Palo Alto apparently "provided José Andrés’s restaurant with an exemption. Where else will Silicon Valley get its paella valenciana?"
Nope, no culture war here, it's just that people who want to reduce emissions are all rich snobs who hate ordinary folks and eat stuff that isn't even real food. But not a word in the whole rant about the minor detail that methane is itself a powerful greenhouse gas when it leaks, or that it produces CO2 when it's burned.
Just to make sure no bad argument goes unturned, Roth claims the libs are coming to your garden shed to take away your beloved gas-powered two-stroke weed whacker and force you to accept a battery-powered alternative, those tyrants. Since he can't really argue that small two-stroke gas engines are clean and wonderful ( oh lordy, they're nasty ), he complains about similes that have been used to compare them to other emissions sources, because comparing a gasoline leaf blower's pollution to "driving from L.A. to Denver in a 2017 Toyota Camry” is ... well, maybe it's elitist, or the infelicitous comparison means the emissions are magically negligible. Does Rothman actually challenge the emissions data? He doesn't have to, because that would lose the argument against elitists who look down on you and your yard work.
Tellingly, Rothman cherry-picks his arguments, since only the downside of green alternatives matter. Prices of LED bulbs have come down, and the things last far longer than incandescent bulbs, but for Rothman, they're a burden imposed on the poor (who really should have work requirements if they want Medicaid). Electric cars may not yet be ideal for long road trips (the charging infrastructure is coming along), but you won't hear a word from detractors about the fact that they require only a fraction of the maintenance of an internal combustion vehicle. Or maybe even that convenience is a fiendish plot to put auto mechanics out of work, because Libs hate men who work with their hands.
Also too, since we're talking climate, here is yet another plug for our Wonkette Book Club, which is reading Kim Stanley Robinson's 2020 climate novel The Ministry for the Future . You can find more on the book club here; we should point out that Robinson doesn't really sneer at decent God-fearing Americans, but it's a good book anyway.
[ National Review ]
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