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Posted by wmmbb in Natural Environment.

First there was the Vietnam War, and then there was the Counter Culture.  Whatever happened to the flower people?

According to those that analysis polling responses, Conservative While Males tend to be climate deniers. They are not climate deniers out of ignorance or self evident stupidity but because they have a stake in the game. They see that the facts of climate science, let alone the implied and necessary actions and programs are destroying our life style.

David Roberts  (via John Quiggin) observes:

The fact is that climate change triggers system justification among privileged classes because it really does carry a threat to the system! It implies an argument for global governance when CWM are nationalistic, an argument for egalitarianism when they are hierarchical, an argument for conservation when they love capitalism, an argument for investment and regulation when they hate government. It also implies that hippies have been right and the conservative movement wrong, for decades.

The tough guys with the winning ways (and the inside running) are  facing losing their constructed social selves contingent on social advantage:

The fact is, as I’ve written before, climate denialism is part of something much larger. The most significant driving force behind climate change denial among CWM is not any ineffable psychological mystery but simply the increasing intensity and radicalization of the American conservative movement. The same dynamic afflicting climate change is afflicting the debate over fiscal policy, the economy, jobs, and health care. The right is rejecting empirical reality and adopting a stance of unshakeable ideological opposition to anything the non-right does, even policies they have supported in the past (see: individual mandate in health care, cap-and-trade in environmental policy). The core of the CWM tribal perspective is loyalty to the tribe and hostility to outsiders.

There is a serious asymmetry between the left and right in America that lots and lots and lots of people, for whatever reason, don’t want to acknowledge. The left remains a broad, fractious coalition composed of all sorts of competing interests. The right, by contrast, has become increasingly clarified. Since Reagan, but accelerating since Gingrich, the right has become more and more homogenous, composed of CWM who share a visceral sense of being besieged, of “losing their country,” of seeing their privileged normative place in U.S. culture slip away. They view liberals not as fellow Americans with differing policy views but as a threat to the moral fiber and even the existence of the country. Manicheanism has always been part of the conservative temperament, but that propensity has been hugely accelerated by the construction of a self-contained media machine that runs on fear. They need everything divided into two buckets: good and evil.

Apparently, and this just an inference, we do not have to find sympathy for conservative white women. I suppose we might feel for those who wish to live in denial, but that does not mean action has to be taken to, if possible, arrest the catastrophe that will otherwise befall all of us on planet Earth.


Texan Governor Perry appears to be in tune with the CWM – his response is bereft of evidence or understanding of the evidence. He is not taking note of the hot weather Texas has lately experienced.



1. klem - August 19, 2011

“Conservative While Males tend to be climate deniers.”

Exactly correct. I’m amazed how much time and focus is being devoted to this rambling convoluted paper which was released a few weeks ago. It seems that the LWMs are having a hard time figuring out why their CWM counterparts are not joining their faith. So now that some guy has distilled it down to “blame it all on CWMs”. Ok great now what?

“They are not climate deniers out of ignorance or self evident stupidity but because they have a stake in the game.”

You’re not suggesting that LWMs don’t have a stake in the game? I hope not, because if the Dems belive that they are going to lose big in the fall of 2012. All I can say is come next election, though I believe and hope Obama wins, Congress will be full of CWM and CWF deniers.

Understand this; anthropogenic climate change is dead.


wmmbb - August 19, 2011

Yet the climate keeps on happening influenced, it seems, by a change in the composition of the atmosphere. Who would have thought it?

Much like a rock rolling down a hill, anthropocentric climate change was never alive, although it has some characteristics of life for example movement and change.

You are right we all have a stake in the climate. We should seek the truth with the humility that we can be wrong and that our world views can have flaws. I do not think we should allow ourselves to conditioned or shaped by public relations/ propaganda techniques or ideological tribalism.

CWM was a polling response category. I would have thought that the green economy represents an opportunity for entrepreneurial capitalism and small scale business. I suppose any change in status quo will be seen as threatening and therefore understandable. The greater problem is not to respond appropriately for the common good – or whatever the relevant precept is.

Thanks for the comment.

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