Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren at Forbes articulate the conservative business viewpoint of climate change politics.

They point out the details of why Obama's apparent regulation of coal is actually do nothing.

...the regulation will impose negligible costs and, as the EPA itself confesses, negligible benefits.

One might think that conservatives would be positively euphoricabout these regs … and environmentalists, likewise, spitting mad.  Once the Supreme Court gave the EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the aegis of the Clean Air Act, draconian rules to shut-down the coal sector could have been imposed unilaterally by the Obama administration.  They could have gone after existing coal-fired generation, but didn’t.  They could have gone after coal-fired power plants that upgraded into “new source” status, but didn’t.  They could have imposed steep requirements on old and/or new gas-fired generators, but didn’t.  They essentially … did nothing...

Alas, the Right’s hysteria is given political credence by the Left’s inexplicable enthusiasm for this regulatory nothing-burger.

They claim that we will never "pound out meaningful legislation" on climate change.

... no politician ever got elected by promising to impose – or defending the imposition of –  significant, observable costs on the present for the well-being of the future … in anypolicy arena. 

...the inescapable political fact is that voters – and in particular, swing voters – have the time horizons of newborn babes.


President Obama's Alleged "War On Coal" - Climate Change Edition

They're saying that the conservative business community assumes that human beings are collectively incapable of delaying gratification, at least politically. They believe we'll never make sacrifices today for future benefits, even when our survival is at stake. Of course they grant that we can respond to military attacks. But they don't see voters responding to climate change threats unfolding now, possibly because it's slower, it seemslike an act of nature, and the enemy is us. That's more like the nursery getting hotter than like big brother pinching us.

I think this pessimistic view of our capacity arises from their immersion in Dominator Culture, where hierarchy depends upon people responding to pain and threat. Partnership Culture embraces higher order social-emotional motives, such as cooperating for the common good. Riane Eisler always maintained that Dominator Culture stunts human potential. We are seeing it now, as humanity faces it's greatest threat and conservatives immersed in Dominator Culture can't imagine coping.

 

Part of Dominator Culture is "The Dominator Trance", mental blinkers that no alternative to Dominator Culture exists, nothing else is thinkable. Human capacity to cooperate in the face of extinction by climate change will continue to be unimaginable to them, until we forcefully demonstrate it is not. Even facing large scale cooperation, they will continue to interpret what they see in some other terms which fit Dominator Culture, until we make them see it in Partnership terms. Our capacity for cooperation must not only be demonstrated to exist, it must be seen to be cooperation rather than some base self-serving action.

To me Riane Eisler's Cultural Transformation Theory clarifies the crux of hope for survival/transformation or self-destructive hopelessness. Whether the coming rough transition consists of coping with great challenge together or it devolves into nihilistic rampages of final madness in our descent to oblivion. We straddle that tipping point now, and its razor edge is just beginning to cut into our feet.

 

Tags: Climate Change, Dominator Culture, Partnership Culture, Riane Eisler, delayed gratification, regulating the coal industry, voter maturity

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Replies to This Discussion

Conservatives' willful-ignorance Climate Change denial suddenly makes sense, given this view of voters from Forbes. If you believe human beings incapable of politically organizing to support a transition to sustainability, Climate Change is a horror beyond nightmare, the end of all. *shudder* Admitting that Climate Change is real is to embrace death.

This suggests that the way to overcome hard core Climate Denial is to show (not just tell) that we can all rise to the challenge. We have to get them to embrace hope by admitting that caring matters politically. Even conservatives plan and sacrifice for their children, for example. We need a political story that glorifies that part of themselves, and ties it to politics.

Yes, we need compelling stories of hope and of empathy!

(These pictures are also links.)

I like the quote which accompanies your last image. “To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.“

~ Raymond Williams

That's what we need to do, make hope possible, make a hopeful future tangible. I think if someone portrayed a fictional story of a future in which civilization had adjusted to limiting population to resources, show what daily life would be like, conservatives might be better able to imagine successful political coping to the challenge of Climate Destabilization. Better yet, portray a whole range of constructive cultural adaptations.

Yes, I think we need to show them the facts like you state Ruth.

They seem to be ignoring all the facts.

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