Conservatives are Climate Change deniers. They are willfully ignorant to the fact that man is causing global warming, and some even deny that it’s happening at all. Evolution and the Big Bang Theory are shunned by Conservatives, and many continue to be anti-vaxxers despite no evidence suggesting vaccines cause developmental problems and plenty of evidence suggesting that a vaccinated community is a healthy community. Why are they so hostile towards science?
They are not.
The key to understanding Conservative skepticism towards many scientific discoveries and practices is to compare them to Liberals in terms of their world views and values. Liberalism and Environmentalism seem to go hand-in-hand in contemporary times. While few Conservatives have ever been accused of being tree-huggers, it’s rare to find a Facebook photo of a Liberal posing with the corpse of a 12-point buck or driving a Chevrolet Kodiak. Liberals believe that it is man’s duty to respect and protect the environment, and that environmental needs come before the economic needs of man. If you think about it, the environment is one of the only things Liberals are extremely Conservative about. They don’t want progress; they want conservation when it comes to the natural world; they want the environment to exist as it currently does forever.
Conservative values are quite different. To be Anthropocentric is to believe that man is the center of the universe while the environment is nothing more than a murderous enemy full of volcanoes, mosquitoes, and cancer whose resources we must procure to survive and make our lives as pleasant as possible. Man is the universe’s only entity that creates music, fine wines and cheeses, advanced technology, high-speed transportation, and love stories. Man is the only creature aware that it is thinking, and the only being that can envision heaven and the future. To Conservatives, informed by the Bible or not, this makes man special, particularly when juxtaposed with the environment. By understanding this point of view, it is easy to see why Conservatives are skeptical about certain scientific theories and ambitions of the scientific community.
Climate Change is considered a global concern. It is not a localized occurrence like a polluted local watering hole which does not affect people outside the immediate area. Climate Change is not something we can easily address as individuals. It would require a massive, cooperative effort between governments across the globe to even be able to dream of having the slightest impact on the average temperature of the Earth.
And herein lies the point of disagreement. As Anthropocentrists, Conservatives correspondingly hold Freedom and Liberty as invaluable. A planetary effort to reverse Climate Change would obviously require a reduction in Freedom and Liberty and a great increase in centralized planning by men in power over the men at their mercy. This is the nightmare that keeps Conservatives attached to their rifles. Relinquishing their Free Will and right to Pursue their own Happiness would negate the importance and value of Life. Should the acceptance of free men in society draw to a close, Conservatives and others who crave Liberty would likely be forced to either violently reclaim the restoration of their rights, die trying, or sulk in the corner like cowards until they drop dead.
Conservatives value autonomy, the right to attempt to make their dreams come true, and the right to procreate without impediments far more than they value attempting to cool the planet. It’s not necessarily that Conservatives deny Climate Change on the whole; it’s that they do not care in a relative sense.
Additionally, Conservatives may not view Climate Change as pessimistically as Liberals do, and often show their compassion for the poor by rejecting a global effort to curb it. When man is presented with challenges, he tends to rise to the occasion. Man invented the refrigerator to keep his food fresh in the summer, the combustion engine to help him travel more quickly and easily, and tampons to prevent him from having to buy his wife a new wardrobe every month. Rather than view Climate Change in such a dystopic and cynical fashion, many Conservatives see it as an opportunity to innovate and enterprise in new and unique ways. If sea levels rise, what (other than governmental regulations) prevents man from creating a mechanism to cull their potential for damage or even harness their power for good use? If the habitat becomes too volatile for a food source in demand, what is stopping man from finding another way to satisfy consumers? The free market incentivizes those of us with a sufficient work ethic to solve these problems in a voluntary and productive way without alienating us from our self-evident rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. To address truly disadvantageous effects of Climate Change, Conservatives would like to see the private sector hit the drawing board. And while I have decided to keep this post free of citations, you can do a little research and learn that they are making progress.
As far as the compassionate facet goes, one must consider the possibility of having to deprive the impoverished of economically-friendly resources that do not meet environmental requirements imposed by government. If the use of fossil fuels or other environmentally-unfriendly resources is regulated, it may mean that a person in need of speedy conveyance will be forced to choose a less efficient mode of transportation to get from point A to point B. And God only knows the potential consequences of that sort of a situation.
Environmental regulations will also put many business out of commission, making finding a job more difficult, and unemployment and poverty more likely in addition to obvious market suffering for all.
Lastly, though many on the left would rather see Climate Change skeptics beheaded than what I am about to mention, there are unanswered questions and scientific evidence that at least counter parts of commonly accepted Climate Change beliefs:
- The 97% consensus is a bogus statistic
- There has been no significant warming over the past two decades
- The planet is literally getting greener thanks to increased CO2 emissions
- Parts of the world that were once infertile are now being farmed
- The Antarctic is gaining sea ice
- The climate has always changed and will continue to change beyond our control
- It’s theorized that temperature rise precedes CO2 increases while the opposite is widely believed to be true
- Many past predictions of climatologists have not come to fruition
- Many scientists believe that man’s impact on Climate Change is grossly exaggerated
- Wind and Solar power are expensive and inefficient
- It is hard to imagine a time in which we are not completely dependent on fossil fuels
Fact-check me if you wish.
The anti-vaxxer movement is not a strictly right-wing phenomenon, but I assume it’s far less prevalent on the left. This is so for the same reasons Conservatives are not as bothered by Climate Change as Liberals: Freedom and Liberty. While it may be irrefutably true that a properly vaccinated community is infinitely healthier than one that is not vaccinated, being forced by the government to inject diseases into your children is not something that will ever sit well with a Conservative.
The “Social Contract” of Liberal dogma is not recognized by Conservatives, or certainly not as broadly. Conservatives believe that one man’s freedom, at least in the eyes of the law, ends where another man’s freedom begins. Making a risky business decision is permissible because the only risk incurred is yours, but you do not have the freedom to take another man’s property because he has a right to keep it for himself. Liberals expand the scope of social responsibility so vastly that they claim the profits you earn are not yours, but society’s because other individuals may have given you advice or refrained from murdering you.
It makes perfect sense, then, that Liberals are more aggressive when it comes to something like required vaccinations because they believe less that you are born free and more that you are indebted to the community around you at birth. To earn your right to exist in society, you must conform to the will of the tribe in the eyes of a Liberal.
Conservatives are all about breaking free from the system and the confines of social order outside the family, so it makes sense that vaccines, particularly mandatory ones, make Conservatives wary.
On a side note, it is ignorant of all of us to use the blanket term “vaccines” as if it were one fluid administered in one way. Some vaccines are evidently safe. Others and the times at which they are administered are questionable.
The Flip Side
Conservatives are not alone in being “anti-science” at times; Liberals have their moments too. Conservatives are clearly more concerned with economic prosperity than environmental conservation while Liberals are closer to the opposite. This is why Liberals are on alert when GMOs and fracking are around.
The largest study of GMOs ever conducted concluded that there are no increased health risks associated with consuming GMOs, and studies on fracking have yet to find solid evidence of significant environmental damage caused by the practice. These findings do not appear to be resonating much in the Liberal bubble as Liberals speak of both with negative connotations.
GMOs and fracking are admittedly chilling. Altering the genetic sequence of a vegetable seems like something out of a horror movie, and doing controlled explosions deep within the Earth to harvest natural gas is a bit unsettling. But since we’re focusing on science here, the emotions should be overcome, and the data should be accepted.
Conservatives like GMOs and fracking because they make better and cheaper products, create jobs, and accordingly generate wealth. These facts make GMOs and fracking beneficial for everyone, especially the poorest people in American and in the world.
Liberals are less concerned with people improving their standard of living through market and industrial practices than they are with keeping scary stuff out of their thoughts. This is why Liberals want to legislate more oversight and regulations upon these kinds of industries, and Conservatives want the opposite.
Regardless of which scientific facts are the most factual, nobody blindly accepts every word scientists say. Both sides have their reasons to be skeptical at times, and Conservatives are in no way science-hating knuckle draggers.