Climate conspiracy, classical liberalism and Q-Anon

Writing in Reason magazine, Jacob Sullum laments that “Marjorie Taylor Greene Presents Republicans With a Sadly Familiar Choice Between Blind Loyalty to Trump and a Basic Respect for Reality”.

That’s true. But the choice between in-group loyalty and basic respect for reality was a core problem for the right when Trump was still a Democrat, and propertarians/libertarians/classical liberals were among the most prominent enemies of reality. For decades, they advanced a conspiracy theory in which all the governments in the world, backed up by every major scientific institution, were advancing a fraudulent theory of global warming.

Here’s a pretty typical example from Pat Michaels, then the lead climate authority at Cato, being interviewed on Fox

LEVIN: Let me stop you there. Who does these computer models?

MICHAELS: Governments. There are 32 families of computer models that are used by the United Nations, each government sponsored. And all of them are predicting far, far too much warming. … it’s not the science that’s determining how much it’s going to warm. A lot of people don’t know this, but it happens to be true, and you know, we could speculate as to why that paper was published right before the 2016 election? I wouldn’t want to impute causation, but gee, if … … When you buy off the academy, you can get what you paid for …So now, the academy roots for anything that is big government that it feels it can tie onto to maintain this relationship. The roots of political correctness, there are many, manifold and varied. But one of them certainly was the enslavement of the academy.

This seems to me to be more, rather than less, crazy than Trump’s “stop the steal” or even QAnon. At least in these theories, the conspirators are trying to achieving something big – establishing a socialist dictatorship or making the world safe for cannibal lizardoids. By contrast, Michaels wants an equally expansive conspiracy with tens of thousand of particpants (including lots of rightwing governments), whose object is – the establishment of an emissions trading scheme?

Before denouncing QAnon, libertarians ought to take some responsibility for their own leading role in the campaign against reality.

8 thoughts on “Climate conspiracy, classical liberalism and Q-Anon

  1. I think more accurately the conspiracy was the “greatly overstate likely warming” part, not the very public “conspiracy” to limit emissions. Is it even a conspiracy if you tell people what you’re doing and ask them to join you?

    Coz normally a key part of a conspiracy is that it’s secret (and damaging, but I argue that the global ETS nonsense meets that requirement, it’s very much “I see a bushfire, quick, let me drink a glass of water so I’m ready to pee on it”

  2. The goal of the global conspiracy is somewhere between justifying increased government limits on individual freedom (“moderates”) and facilitating the introduction of One World Government (not moderates). The right takes it as axiomatic that the leftist collective wants to control everything and everybody; the only internal disagreement on the right is whether the socialists want to keep increasing their power incrementally, or in one fell swoop.

  3. Remember when Malcolm Roberts was on Q&A with Brian Cox, and how everyone laughed at his NASA conspiracy theory? But if you don’t believe in ‘warmism’, you pretty much *have* to be a lunatic and believe in a massive conspiracy to account for all the so-called evidence. At least Roberts is intellectually consistent!

    And, in addition to the sinister, freedom-hating New World-ist motives that kenalovell mentioned behind the conspiracy, there’s the sweet, sweet $$$ to be made in chicken-littlish government consultancies and research grants. (Whereas the Galileos who denounce the religious groupthink have no such opportunities)

  4. A broad willingness to reject decades of consistent top level expert advice and accept the most outrageous accusations of grand conspiracy in it’s place is alive and well – clearly. PM’s and Presidents with all the Intelligence gathering and Investigative powers at their disposal have been unable to come up with any evidence that it is anything other than genuine conclusions of legitimate scientific investigation, but in order to get people to set aside trust in that science suggesting serious malice and nefarious intent seems required.

    One of the worst things the self interested leadership of the political Right did out of political expediency was give climate science denial oxygen and faux legitimacy, leaving a legacy of unreason that persists. We’ve needed the political Right to step up, not indulge in the gross dereliction that Doubt, Deny, Delay politics has entailed – and in part we are seeing signs of it at the State level.

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