Andrew Stuttaford remembers the good old days when liberals defended the president’s critics from accusations of deficient patriotism, or even treason. Normally, I wouldn’t call out Paul Krugman twice in one day, but this exception is worth it. Krugman writes,
As I watched the deniers [who voted against the Waxman-Markey climate change bill] make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.
Surely the good Prof. Krugman doesn’t mean that literally. His words must be a clever amalgam of sarcasm and irony. Then again, this is how his column ends:
Is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn’t it politics as usual?
Yes, it is — and that’s why it’s unforgivable.
Do you remember the days when Bush administration officials claimed that terrorism posed an “existential threat” to America, a threat in whose face normal rules no longer applied? That was hyperbole — but the existential threat from climate change is all too real.
Yet the deniers are choosing, willfully, to ignore that threat, placing future generations of Americans in grave danger, simply because it’s in their political interest to pretend that there’s nothing to worry about. If that’s not betrayal, I don’t know what is.
In theory, bloggers are the ones who don’t understand civil debate, whereas professional journalists are above name-calling. Yet this is nothing new for Krugman. Earlier this month, Krugman was telling us that mainstream Republicans are no different than black-helicopter conspiracy theorists.
I don’t think the GOP will suffer any because of Krugman’s distemper, but it would help those of us with a serious interest in climate change if prominent writers focused a little more on substance. There are certainly some facts in Krugman’s column, but he seems far more interested in exposing alleged extremists than he is in talking about policy.