Last week Ted Cruz showed us why we need another season of Cosmos.
On Late Night with Seth Meyers, he was presented with a chance to explain why the world is on fire but it isn’t getting hotter — and he took it. It was as if the world’s greatest internet commenter had crawled into the news and started spraying the sewage of denial everywhere.
Cruz has all the moves down. His toxic pap sounded perfectly sensible — even if it was clear Meyers wasn’t buying it — and required hundreds of words to debunk it by pointing out that it’s almost nonsensical cherry-picked data, cited from a researcher who disagrees with Cruz’s interpretation.
The first declared major GOP candidate knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s trying to make science just “another campaign position,” which complete blurs the reality that the overwhelming scientific consensus is that Cruz’s is flat earth wrong.
As the most aggressive Republican candidate who has decided to act as the vessel to feed the swill that churns in the conservative online cesspools into reality, Cruz has began adopting the #tcot tact of calling anyone who accepts climate science as “anti-science.”
When you don’t have the science on your side, you go for the CAPS LOCK. And the right has decided that if they’re going to get called denialists for rejecting science, they’re going to call the people who accept it CLIMATE ALARMISTS.
How dare you take seriously the consistent and substantiated predictions from scientists, the military, and the insurance industry that climate change is a serious threat, ALARMISTS? If we stop funding misogynistic feudalism in the Middle East and make our oil billionaires a little less rich, it’s going to be your damn fault.
And Cruz’s rhetoric may be more flaming but it’s no different than the mainstream of his party. Senator Lindsey Graham — another likely 2016 GOP nomination candidate — literally blamed Al Gore for Republican inaction on climate change this week. And we’re still months away from the campaign going into full gestation.
This is obviously no way to have a debate about the most serious issue humanity faces today.
If there’s anything over the past few years that has effectively raised the profile of science and made the case for a more rational approach to science, it has been the reboot of Cosmos hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson that aired last year, earning 12 Emmy nominations.
Conservatives hate Cosmos, of course, because it presented the best science available about climate change and evolution. And they especially hate it because it doesn’t make science a partisan issue. Instead, it harkens back to the era when the original Cosmos hosted Carl Sagan aired. The era just after Richard Nixon had just signed the Clear Air Act into law and just before Ronald Reagan — whose first Secretary of the Interior said trees cause more pollution than cars — signed the Montreal Protocol, which saved the ozone layer and prevented far worse climate destruction.
That was before Republicans were entirely captured by carbon polluters and decided that the dang dirtiest thing you can be called is a “scientist.”
“Well, the first season of Cosmos didn’t fix things,” Kara Vallow, who produced animation for show, told me. “There is a divide with a paradoxical tendency to widen even as the basic facts about, say, global warming, have become more firmly established. The more evidence that ‘Humans done it’, with our cars and our smokestacks, like a smoking pistol in a murder mystery, the more Republicans dig in with their narrative: that all the world’s scientists have sinister ulterior motives. For what end they do not tell us. The Lies of Science as a successful campaign theme, oil-business plan and collection plate strategy….well the oligarchs can hardly believe their good fortune!”
If you follow Republicans, you see things are only getting worse. Peep this:
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) March 21, 2015
If your case against climate change is “follow the money,” and you think it’s climate scientists — especially vaguely Semitic looking climate scientists — who are raking it in, do not do your own taxes. Which reminds me of this:
Plot idea: 97% of the world’s scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies.
— Scott Westerfeld (@ScottWesterfeld) March 21, 2014
Democrats yelling at Republicans — who are as wrong about climate change as they are about trickle-down economics, same-sex marriage, universal health care and Duck Dynasty — isn’t going to change anything. The uncompromising approach of Cosmos with its generous estimation of viewers’ intellect might — if we give it a real try.
“The idealistic, liberal, Enlightenment notion that knowledge will save us, or unite us, is failing badly,” Vallow said. “Help us, Cosmos, you’re our only hope.”