When you’ve lost Fumento …

Triggered by the Heartland Billboard debacle Michael Fumento has written an article explaining why he has broken with the “hysterical right”. (Hat tip: hardinr).

John Quiggin comments on the rarity of such moves, while Mark Hoofnagle draws a parallel with Stephen Sumpter leaving the UK Greens over their opposition to scientific experiments on GM crops.

Comments

  1. #1 John
    May 28, 2012

    There’s a serious divide opening up between those who believe that inceased Co2 may cause warming and those who believe any such suggestion is proof you’re an eco-loon-Communist-Nazi who has a deep seated hatred of mankind. Increasing numbers of conservatives are finding themselves on the wrong “side”, to use a beloved denier phrase.

    I, for one, welcome the increased militant extremism of deniers as they push away even the most moderate scientific realist. To the wider public, all the zealots screaming “fraud” and “scam” and “one world government” are looking increasingly crazier.

    With the AR5 on the way as well the continued rising of global temperature, we may have seen the peak of mainstream denialism.

  2. #2 bill
    May 28, 2012

    I also think the HI billboard fiasco is a pivotal moment in in the cleaving of the strident conspiracist nutters from the (ever-dwindling) number of ‘skeptic’ conservatives, and, indeed, the small ‘c’ conservative and liberal community as a whole.

    That fantasy of would-be-pedagogue Wojick about HI’s post-Gleick ‘Greenpeace-proof’ financial base meaning they’re set to be a new Greenpeace of the Right is just priceless!

    Talk about Epistemic Closure; a term coined by the Right to describe a process within their own movement so disturbingly manifest that no-one who still nurtures any residual trace of rationality – or, as has become ever more strikingly clear, decency, for that matter – can ignore it.

  3. #3 John Mashey
    May 28, 2012

    BigCityLib has been doing fine work emailing Heartland Experts and asking them politely of their wish to retain that status.

    Benny Peiser was quick and departed the next day, post-billboard. Sonja B-C vowed HI allegiance … and hten quietly dropped off a few days later.

    Bjorn Lomborg also disappeared recently.

  4. #4 DarylD
    William Lamb's Town Down Under
    May 28, 2012

    A most interesting read, the comment section, truly shows the complete depth of stoopidity, all the sad and delusional denialati clowns have descended into.

    Beware, Joseph Bast’s other evil twin child, the one with very big teeth :-
    ALEC: Source watch link: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alec

  5. #5 John Mashey
    May 28, 2012

    ALEC: Common Cause filed a complaint with IRS on ALEC 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, about time.
    That’s 4 I know of, ie SEPP (Fred Singer), Heartland, and CSCDGC (Idso family business, subcontractor to Heartland, and with its own fake front , SPPI).

    BTW, The Economist just featured a famous billboard in Toxic Shock.

    I note that Oz is well represented on the Heartland cosponsors list, having stuck right with them, and thus earned the right to be called Heartland ICCC7 Cosponsor whenever they get mentioned, along with the HeartlNd Experts who remain committed.

    Hopefully there will be more.

  6. #6 ianam
    May 28, 2012

    Fumento writes “a young woman who expressed her opinion that the government should provide free birth control ” … uh, no, she did no such thing. When even someone who is so consistently wrong and ill-informed as Fumento rejects the Republicans … well, actually, it’s irrelevant but it is enjoyable.

  7. #7 Vince Whirlwind
    May 28, 2012

    Wow!

    I think the IPA needs to read Fumento’s piece and decide whether a belated re-alignment might be in order so they can salvage some shreds of respect and credibility.

    It’s quite a good piece.

  8. #8 bill
    May 29, 2012

    Another ‘brilliant’ moment of ‘earned media exposure’ there for Joe Bast and the team! ;-)

    ALEC is one of the creepiest anti-democratic forces going – it fully deserves to meet the same fate as HI.

    The irony of many of the Antipodean co-sponsors is that in all probability they’re just shuffling HI’s own money back to it (if anything ever really changes hands in the first place!) So it’s all about the solidarity – yep; it’s a Heartwarming tale..

  9. #9 John Mashey
    May 29, 2012

    A famous billboard is featured at The Economist, in current print edition, p.61.
    Note tag: “For true believers only.”

  10. #10 bill
    May 29, 2012

    When as a Rightist thinktank you’ve got The Economist taking the piss…

    Loved this:

    He [Bast] admits that the billboard was in “poor taste” but says it was designed to get attention, and was good value at $200. The real price is proving rather higher.

    Now, that’s deadpan.

  11. #11 Bernard J.
    May 29, 2012

    What would be even better would be to see these ‘liberated’ far right-wingers take a real plunge and release their grips on their anti-scientific ideologies altogether, and learn to swim in the waters of reason and rationality.

    If a few high-profile recalcitrants were to reassess their aversion to acknowledging human-caused global warming, as a consequence of the obvious extremity of Heartland’s anti-science campaign, then a conspicuous example could be set and humanity might actually move forward sufficiently that something useful might be achieved at the eleventh hour.

    Perhaps the next step is to approach several such people and ask them if they might reconsider their overall refusal to accept science.

    And if such a movement were to have started with Heartland’s Billboard, well, the irony would be delicious – although there will always be Gleick’s pressuring to take into account…

  12. #12 Adam R.
    Alabama, USA
    May 29, 2012

    Fumento, alas, fears to abandon completely the climate deniers’ world. He recoils from the imbecilities of outright warming denial, yet clings to the more nuanced shibboleths manufactured for him by the faux-doubt creators.

    He has fled from the Silly Party, and finds his refuge in the Slightly Silly Party. Well, whoop-de-do, Mr. Fumento, but you are still a silly person.

  13. #13 Russell
    May 30, 2012

    That Fument has taken payola to write bogus science books pales in comparison to his averring to African statesmen with literally deadly seriousness that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.

    As to his serial scientific silliness on less lethal matters, this best defense may be that it was the steroids talking

  14. #14 Dunc
    May 30, 2012

    Nitpick: there are no “UK Greens”. There is the Scottish Green Party and the Green Party of England and Wales. They are entirely separate entities.

  15. #15 StevoR
    May 30, 2012

    @ ^ Dunc : Nothing in Northern Ireland?

  16. #16 chek
    May 30, 2012

    @ ^ Dunc : Nothing in Northern Ireland?

    On the contrary, we have one MLA (Member of the Local Assembly) and three local authority councillors.

    Admittedly not many, but certainly more than nothing.

  17. #17 Dunc
    May 30, 2012

    Sorry, my mistake, I forgot about the Green Party in Northern Ireland. I guess that’s mainland bias for you..

  18. #18 Betula
    May 31, 2012

    When You’ve Lost Davis…..

    http://tinyurl.com/6uszck4

  19. #19 Daniel J. Andrews
    May 31, 2012

    Fumento still has trouble getting his facts, and hence storyline, right. He messed up the swine flu argument and the birth control story. I suspect if I spent two minutes Googling I’d find some of his other narrative is based on poor recollection and/or misinterpreted data and statements.

    Still, more self-proclaimed conservatives do need to get the courage to speak out against the extremism and hate-mongering of the new right.

    It was just over 10 years ago that I identified more with the U.S. Conservatives. I’m Canadian, but I found they reflected more of my political thoughts than the Democrats. Now I don’t see any similarity between those past Conservatives and the new ones.

    Incidentally, our Conservative govt is doing what you fear may happen if your Conservatives get in. Canada–Open for Exploitation. We’ll remove all obstacles for you by shutting down any pollution monitoring on land and ocean, all monitoring stations (climate and others), most environmental-related research facilities, gutting every bit of protective legislation (species at risk, environmental assessments), and firing as many scientists as we can and muzzling the rest.

    If you want to build a railway through protected habitat for species at risk then no need for any assessments–our minister has discretionary powers to bypass all that pesky stuff and you can get your railway built right away.

    Right about now, things are looking rather bleak. Our federal govt is enacting the same disastrous ideas that a provincial premier tried in the 90s (Harris in Ontario–the Common Sense Revolution it was called). And people died from E. coli outbreaks and hospital staff shortages. But hey, if we scale up the policies from provincial to national level, it’ll work this time. Trust us.

  20. #20 ianam
    June 1, 2012

    When You’ve Lost Davis….

    That’s about the most feeble tu quoque argument possible. Aside from its complete irrelevance to the topic here, Davis is a right of center nobody and no loss to Obama or Dems.

  21. #21 ianam
    June 1, 2012

    I found they reflected more of my political thoughts than the Democrats

    I find that such assessments are usually based on what is said and believed about Democrats, most of which has little to do with what is true.

  22. #22 Watching the deniers
    http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/
    June 1, 2012

    We need both conservatives and liberal/progressive voices in the debate over in how to adapt to climate change: what is the role of government, how can the market and economies adapt and what policies need to be implemented can only happen if there is a diversity of voices.

    The great tragedy is that since the 1970s, the conservative movement has been engaged in “war against reality”: we are at the point of that the unholy alliance between conservative politicians and evangelicals that began under Regan.

    Two issues signify an individuals allegiance to the conservative/Tea-Party tribe:

    > rejection of science (evolution, climate change)
    > blind faith in free markets and limited government.
    >Add to those a healthy dose of fundamentalist faith and American exceptional-ism.

    I refer to it as the American Neo-Fundamentalism.

    Since the 1980s and the emergence of the “moral majority” the movement has evolved, and spread its ideology. But also absorbed free market/libertarian ideals . Both these ideologies have cause to reject science as they challenge fundamental beliefs.

    The expression of Neo-Fundamentalist ideas can be seen in the likes of Anne Coulter, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck., Rick Santorum. Sen. Inhofoe etc.

    What unites them all is: religiosity; free market fundamentalism; distrust of government; rejection of science; American exceptional-ism.

    America is rapidly losing its role as the “essential nation” – all this denial is designed to protect their faith in America as a super power (as China and the Rest surpass them).

    To quote Stern, Climate change implies the market has failed. To Neo-Fundamentalists the market *never* fails.

    This extremism mimics the same journey all decaying empires undergo: the signs are decay are everywhere, so elites look to internal and external enemies to defeat and arrest the decline. They also forcefully restate values they think made the empire great.

    The pagan Romans did it to the Christians as the empire declined but also become Christianized; the found “folk demons” and attempted to exorcise them.

    Since 9/11 American has self-combusted: the twin towers fell; it fought two pointless and expensive wars; its faith in post markets has collapsed with the GFC; the income gap is widening; hurricane Katrina shattered a city; its auto-industry is bankrupt and kept alive by governments and foreign powers; its financial service industry is kept going by the Chinese buying up US debt.

    To all this the conservatives say “It’s not happening! We just need to me even more American than the Americans before us!”

    Reality is a harsh teacher: it is ignoring the wishes of conservatives, and their enraged the world will not conform to their wishes.

  23. #23 ianam
    June 1, 2012

    We need both conservatives and liberal/progressive voices in the debate over in how to adapt to climate change: what is the role of government, how can the market and economies adapt and what policies need to be implemented can only happen if there is a diversity of voices

    This is like saying that we need both scientists and science deniers to do science. The fact is that there is a diversity of voices among liberals and progressives. What the so-called “conservatives” have to offer is ignorance, intellectual dishonesty, and short-sighted selfishness.

  24. #24 Betula
    June 1, 2012

    “Davis is a right of center nobody and no loss to Obama or Dems.”

    Racist!

  25. #25 Wow
    June 1, 2012

    “Racist!”

    Noodles!

  26. #26 ianam
    June 1, 2012

    Racist!

    Projection. Only a racist thinks that Davis’s race matters because it’s the same as Obama’s. This racist basis is, of course, why the right wingers are making a big deal of this. Racist through and through, and Betula has proven his own.

  27. #27 ianam
    June 1, 2012

    And, of course, being the dishonest garbage that he is, Betula again changed the subject, evading my point that Davis predictably (as the article makes clear) abandoning the Dems is nothing like Fumento abandoning the (more) hysterical right … not that it would matter if it were like that, tu quoque being a fallacy of irrelevance.

  28. #28 bill
    the unfashionable western spiral arm of the galaxy
    June 2, 2012
    “Racist!”

    Noodles!

    Seconded.

  29. #29 jrkrideau
    June 2, 2012

    “What the so-called “conservatives” have to offer is ignorance, intellectual dishonesty, and short-sighted selfishness.”

    Don’t be so easy on them. :)

  30. #30 Dean Morrison
    June 7, 2012

    I’d just like to put Stephen Sumpter’s supposed earth-shattering defection from the “UK Greens” in context. Firstly Sumpter had only been a member of the Greens for three months, having just defected from the Liberal Democrats. Presumably some people take a consumerist attitude to politics and switch between what they see as brands without serious people thinking this worthy of comment. Secondly there is no such party as the “UK Greens” – The Scottish Party Green party is independent and what is presumably meant is the Green Party of England and Wales. I consider myself a proud advocate of science and evidence-based policy, but I’m also grown up enough to realise that there are individuals within my party who disagree on the evidence and justification for field trials of GMO’s. I think the nature of party politics in a democracy is that there will always be disagreements between members, but as long as they are united on the most important issues, then there it is makes sense to work together rather than to go off in a huff. In recent years the Green Party of England and Wales has made major and positive changes to policy after listening to members who are scientists. Stephen Sumpter wasn’t one of them, since he had hardly arrived before he left. I’m sad that he’s decided to abandon politics altogether rather than work with people who are trying to put saving the planet on top of the political agenda, and that his only claim to fame seems to be slagging off people who are trying to do something, but hey-ho we’ll just have to do without him.

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