Prominent climate denier balks at label

Updated
 
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.)
Associated Press

Instances of conservative political correctness always fascinate me.

At a House Science Committee hearing on climate change, climate change non-believer Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., questioned Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the science behind climate change, and took exception to a recent campaign by Organizing for Action against “climate deniers” in Congress. […]

“The only other use of that term is a ‘Holocaust denier,’” Rohrabacher said, according to Politico. “Do you use that term ‘denier’ for those people who disagree with you on climate science, and do you think that term is appropriate in engaging in a civil discourse over a scientific issue?”

First, after having watched Rohrabacher for many years, I’m reasonably certain “a civil discourse” is not his principal goal.

Second, it’s interesting to hear those who deny climate science take offense to “climate denier” as a label, suggesting its use is necessary inappropriate.

About a year ago, Paul Krugman picked up on a trend that’s quietly become more common: “right-wing political correctness.” There are a series of words and phrases that Republicans have heard, but would now prefer everyone else not use. For example, we’re not supposed to reference “sea level rise,” because it might give people the impression that climate change is dangerous.

We’re not supposed to refer to the “top 2%” of earners, because they’re to be called “job creators.” The “fat cat” label also apparently makes the very wealthy feel put upon, so we’re not supposed to say that, either. Discussions of income inequality are also discouraged – they’re better left to “quiet rooms,” where presumably rich people won’t be offended.

Perhaps the most dramatic example of conservative political correctness came a few years ago.

The Department of Homeland Security released reports about ideological extremists, alerting officials to potentially violent groups and organizations. Republicans and conservative activists were apoplectic – even though the report was commissioned by the Bush administration, mainstream conservatives decided concerns about violent radicals attacking Americans may have been referencing them. Analysis of domestic threats was ultimately curtailed, so as to prevent conservatives’ feelings from being hurt.

And now, “climate denier” is apparently supposed to be off-limits, too.

I think I like the old version of political correctness better. The right-wing version is kind of weird.

Dana Rohrabacher and Political Correctness

Prominent climate denier balks at label

Updated