Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hi Mom

Hi Mom (and thanks for letting me post this reply),

Yes, I am familiar with the term "watermelon" as applied to environmentalists (green on the outside, red communist on the inside), and have even used it myself.  Sarcastically.  I'm also familiar with James Delingpole, conservative blogger at the Telegraph.  I'm not directly familiar with Delingpole's book, "Watermelons:  the Green Movement's True Colors",* but I think I know what I need to know at this point.

Their watermelon "analysis" just proves the intellectual bankruptcy on the anti-environment right.  They can't think of anything relevant to say, so they fight dead battles of the past.  Communism, really?  And in the Western world?  If the right hasn't realized as the rest of the political spectrum has that the foreseeable future is a market economy with varying levels of government intervention,  then they're showing they haven't had an original thought since the 1980s.  No wonder they haven't liked a Republican president in a quarter-century.

As for Delingpole himself, I thought I'd written about him but can only find a comment I wrote about his self-introduction on his blog, "James Delingpole is a writer, journalist and broadcaster who is right about everything."  It reminded me of something:
Al Franken coined the term “kidding on the square” for statements that a speaker knows he actually believes more than is publicly acceptable, so the speaker makes the statement in a jocular fashion.

I’ve never been able to read Dellingpole’s blog because I can’t get past the introductory statement that he’s “right about everything.” Just by reflex, my fingers hit the browser’s back button. 
That statement and other stuff by Dellingpole I’ve seen quoted are classic kidding on the square, and give a good idea of the uselessness of the writer.
My coblogger Eli has been able to push his way through Delingpole's work, though, and has a few thoughts about this video:

Eli also provides links to other analyses of Mr. Right About Everything.

I wish I could point you to a honest and scientific conservative who disagrees with action on climate change, but they're thin on the ground.  Even my betting opponent thinks we should take reasonable actions to reduce CO2 emissions.

The best I can do is this Point of Inquiry podcast by science writer Chris Mooney with the politically conservative climatologist Kerry Emanuel.  He doesn't deny the need for action, but just disagrees on the best form of action.  Unfortunately, the conservatives who understand climate seem to be active scientifically but not so much politically.  The famous climatologist Jim Hansen is supposed to be a Republican, maybe that explains his preference for a revenue-neutral carbon tax over more complicated solutions that may have (or at least, used to have) better political prospects.

One last thought - the "watermelon" insult is vacuous and wrong, but it's only 99% wrong.  People will fit potential solutions into their own political framework.  I think some on the left may resist carbon sequestration, large scale solar power plants, and even last-ditch ocean iron fertilization, not only because of the not-unreasonable arguments against those solutions but also because they do not help the left's political "side".  I just wouldn't forget the converse is equally true about the corporate right, and I think that side has a heck of a lot more power.

*Interesting that a Brit would spell "colors" that way.  I guess he knows which country he's targeting.