"He's a snake in the grass, I tell ya guys; he may look dumb but that's just a disguise; he's a mastermind in the ways of espionage." Charlie Daniels, "Uneasy Rider" Fun with Partisanship and Self-Deception: the climate follies and Rob Bradley - TT's Lost in Tokyo

Fun with Partisanship and Self-Deception: the climate follies and Rob Bradley

Political scientist and climate commenter Roger Pielke, Jr. and scientist and Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm had a heated little spat last month, with both trading accusations of lies and bad faith.  When I left comments with each suggesting that the other might have a legitimate complaint, each reflexively questioned my motive while dodging my comment, and both claimed the moral high ground while exercising editorial discretion to refuse to post some of my remarks.

This is not particularly surprising, given our cognitive predilections to see ourselves as right (and good), and those who disagree with us as wrong (and evil), as I have noted on any number of occasions.

But as this predilection hinders the ability of people to look in the mirror and see themselves even when they are complaining about how badly they are mistreated by others, it is not simply a continuing source of amusement, but also a serious vulnerability that rent-seekers frequently deliberately exploit to harness and distract us from their agendas.

A small case in point is Rob Bradley, bloggermeister at MasterResource and founder of the Institute for Energy Research, who wrote in to Roger Pielke to commiserate and complain about how he, too, was a victim of Joe Romm`s personal attacks, and how much more civil and "open-minded" the discourse was from "the free market side". 

Given my own experience - including Rob`s banning me from his blog for questioning his support for fossil fuel rent-seekers - I felt that Rob`s complaint was too rich to go unaddressed,  I copy here (with slight changes to improve clarity) my response:

Rob Bradley says, "I certainly do not know anyone on my side of the debate who acts like he does, and I do not think that institutions on the free market side would tolerate what the Center for American Progress does with him."

Come on, Rob, beauty may be in the mind of the beholder, but the right has always played a highly policized and personalized game on climate policy; just look at Marc Morano, Stephen Milloy, Chris Horner (and the whole "Planet Gore" ad hominem corner at NRO), and Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters.

"But these are desperate times for climate alarmism and policy activism on all fronts--physical science, political economy, and public policy."

Sure they are, and not merely for the left. In any case, the right bears a great deal of responsibility, for refusing to provide any leadership over the past decade - except leadership on unending wars on terror, gays, enviros and our pocketbooks (which is one of the reasons we now have Dems in charge) - while engaging during that period in an orgy of self-righteous pork-barrel for their own special interests (some of whom even now are being fed at the public trough).

Good job! Maybe the right needs to hire Bob Luntz back again to give us more strategy memos of the same kind?

Like you, I`m hoping that "more and more open-minded people will come to see [TT: rent-seeking of all kinds - including by Old King Coal] as part of the climate-change problem, not the solution."  But since surely you agree with me about open-mindedness and rent-seeking, maybe you`d care to share with the rest of the open-minded people here your reasons for BANNING me from commenting at MasterResource?

And inquiring minds would like to know if they are the same reasons you gave to your co-bloggers (Chip Knappenberger, Tom Tanton, Marlo Lewis, Bob Murphy) for pulling the plug in the middle of the public conversations that they were engaging me in on MR.

A further small irony, perhaps even now not realized by Bradley, is that Bradley, in a parallel post on his own blog designed to play up Roger's complaints (with Joe's of course going completely unnoticed), included a quote from Pielke's blog where Roger notes that Romm could not provide a satisfactory response when questioned by a reader on one of the points of contention:

when a reader of both of our blogs called him on it he could not provide the goods (because there aren’t any).

The irony?  Rob, by including this quote from Roger, has linked to yours truly. I'm a leper as far as commenting on his blog, but I'm okay for him to link to, as long as he doesn't know it's me! (h/t to Bob Murphy)

Rob closes out his own post with a noble wish:  "May the climate debate become more civil and the best arguments win!". 

Yes, and may Rob take his own advice, perhaps even on his own blog.

[Note: Bear with me, please.  I have a few similar thoughts to share on this topic, and thought this was a good place to start.]

Published Wed, Aug 26 2009 3:06 AM by TokyoTom