Republicans Reject Climate Change Because Of Religious Free Market Beliefs

The conflict between mitigating climate change through government regulation and adhering to the American conservative worldview is the fertilizer for some of the most creative arguments against science in recent memory.

The conservative opposition to the concept of manmade climate change is perplexing to many of us on the liberal/progressive side of the ideological aisle. Their arguments are often contradictory and--more often than not--come across as ad hoc debate points or quasi-religious tenets as opposed to well thought out positions.

Conservatives often reject commonly-held scientific beliefs in one sentence and, in the very next sentence, argue at least an ersatz-scientific position with every fiber of their being. Interestingly, the clue to their staunch opposition can actually be found within the context of their arguments. Their arguments are conflicting, hollow, and ad hoc, thereby demonstrating that they are unrelated to the actual reason for conservative opposition.

To illustrate: If a potential suitor asks someone out for a date five days in a row, and gets a different excuse for the rejection each day, the odds are that none of the excuses are the actual reason for the rejection. In this scenario, the daily excuses are simply cover stories because, for whatever reason, this person does not want to admit the reason for the rejection. The same is true of conservative argumentation against climate science.

In the conservative world view, the phenomenon of climate change simply cannot be real. Climate change and the conservative worldview are mutually exclusive concepts. They simply can't exist in the same universe. In order for a person's worldview to hold firm, there are certain things that must be true.

In order for the priest to do Gods' work, there must be a God. In order for an ideology to hold firm, particularly the rigid and brittle ideology of American conservatism, certain pillars of reality can never be questioned and other views must never be accepted. American conservatism is built on the rock of certainty. In this context, all incoming information must be reviewed and evaluated based on whether it supports the foundational conservative beliefs.

If information supports foundational conservative tenets, then it is accepted as not only supportive but manifestly factual. If it contradicts with the conservative worldview in any manner, it is not only false but also evil and most probably "lies from the pits of hell"  (note the religious metaphor). Reality is evaluated through the lens of the conservative worldview, as opposed to the opposite.

The deadly conflict between the American conservative worldview and the acceptance of climate change can be found in the solution, not in the concept nor in the data. If you listen to conservatives complain about the issue long enough they always reveal the true issue. At some point they will complain that the government is simply manufacturing the false narrative of climate change so that it can impose more regulations on already overburdened businesses.

Conservatives not only believe, but also base their ideology on the concept of an all-powerful free market. According to conservative dogma, the godlike market is part of a natural order that controls both economical and social issues. Slavery, civil rights, and women's rights would have all been appropriately dealt with had we only let the market work its magic.

"Free Market" acolytes insist that because immoral practices are bad for business, the metaphorical market will surely cause all immoral practices in our society to cease. Conversely, if the market does not stop a practice, then that practice must not be immoral. If climate change is real, the ONLY way to address it is for the government to impose environmental regulations on private industry. To the American conservative, accepting any government-based solution would be heretical. It would be the equivalent of a priest denouncing God.

The American conservative can NEVER accept a paradigm in which a desperate life-threatening problem needs to be solved by government intervention in the affairs of private industry. That is the foundation of the conservative opposition to climate change. It has nothing to do with climate or science, but everything to do with the basic article of faith at the foundation of conservatism itself.

The conflict between mitigating climate change through government regulation and adhering to the American conservative worldview is the fertilizer for some of the most creative arguments against science in recent memory. Maybe we should enjoy the creativity in the same way that we enjoy art. The kind of art that changes our habitat in a fashion that may just wipe out humanity.