Next time you take a dyed-in-the-wool liberal out to breakfast – something I don’t necessarily recommend – take special notice of the sweetener packet she uses for her coffee.
If she's the really crunchy variety, chances are she'll pick either sugar (especially the brown, “unrefined” kind if it's available) or something “organic” like stevia. When it’s your turn to thumb through the sweetener caddy, pick a packet of the pink, blue or yellow artificial stuff.
Then say something like, “You should try this sometime, it has zero calories, doesn't affect your blood-glucose levels or promote tooth decay.”
If she doesn't do a spit-take all over her flaxseed pancakes, she may launch into a very detailed, pseudo-scientific explanation about how your man-made sweetener causes one or more of the following: bladder cancer, brain tumors, seizures, hypertension, bloating, diarrhea, headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety, memory loss, arthritis, abdominal pain, nausea, depression, heart palpitations, kidney impairment and skin irritation.
Then you say something along the lines of, “Really? I use this all the time. The Food and Drug Administration approved it a long time ago. And a bunch of scientific studies have shown it’s perfectly safe.”
Then she'll probably launch into a rant about your ignorance as to "what's really going on” in the “food-industrial complex.” There will be talk of lobbyists, unethical scientists, corrupt politicians and gullible government regulators. She may even quote something she read at Daily Kos or Mother Jones.
This is the point where you look into her eyes, earnestly, as if to share a special moment, and say, “You know, I don’t agree with your opinion on this sweetener, but I do understand your skepticism. In fact, I have similar doubts about what the government is trying to tell me about climate change.”
Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! That’s not the same thing, she’ll exclaim. Climate change is different, she'll say. All the scientists agree on it. It's like…settled.
This is the point where you thank her for deftly illustrating liberal hypocrisy and claims about conservatives being “anti-science.” Just don’t be too smug about it when you dig into your steak and eggs – nobody likes a wisenheimer.
If you haven’t noticed, it’s perfectly acceptable – encouraged, even – for liberals to doubt the science behind things they don’t like. It's not just the aforementioned sweeteners, but also vaccines (which give kids autism), genetically modified foods (which harm everyone) or whatever the evil scientists at Monsanto happen to be working on at this moment.
It’s typical liberal double-standardism. When they question the veracity of science, they are being discerning, inquisitive and broad-minded skeptics. When you do it, you're a knuckle-dragging troglodyte. And if you’re the least bit pessimistic about the liberal supercause of climate change (or whatever they're calling it this week), then you are the worst kind – a denier!
Yes, the pejorative reserved for people who believe the Earth is flat. The label society slaps on the chowderheads who believe the Holocaust never occurred despite film footage, photographs, historical artifacts, eye-witness accounts and first-person testimony from a sizable (but rapidly dwindling) group of people with numbers tattooed on their forearms.
That’s the kind of kook liberals say you are for refusing to wholeheartedly accept their computer model-based theory that predicts severe, imminent and irreparable ecological harm will befall the entire planet in a century unless industrialized humans make radical changes to their carbon-dioxide emissions now. Right now. Like, yesterday now.
Funny how all the scientific tools currently at our disposal can't accurately predict climate conditions into the next week, yet we are demanding the most industrialized and prosperous nation on Earth – the globe's No. 1 exporter of freedom – to make radical changes to its standard of living because a group of government-funded liberals with "Dr." in front of their names say they know what the world's climate will be like in the year 2100?
And I'm the kook in this scenario?
Oh, but I'm much more than that. And so are you other deniers. Refusal to embrace this sales pitch means you are a national embarrassment because you help make Americans "look like a joke," according to former President Bill Clinton (who actually has some authority on this topic).
I'd argue the real joke is the United Nations' 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which said the Himalayan glaciers would be melted by 2035. Then, after it freaked everyone out, the group backtracked and said the statement was a "poor application of well-established IPCC procedures." Dr. Murari Lal, who worked on the report, was initially quoted as saying the claim was made to put political pressure on world leaders, but then the IPCC recanted that statement as well.
The laugh track continued two years later when, in late 2009, the world was introduced to "Climategate" after someone hacked into the files of Britain's University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit and posted more than 1,000 e-mails showing how a small, profit-driven group of activist-scientists could suppress evidence and manipulate data to promote the global warming agenda.
Amazing how quickly the media can make something go away when it really tries.
Today, harboring global warming doubts is harmful to career-health for scientists and thoughtcrime for everyone else. Just applying the same level of skepticism to climate theory that a liberal might apply to, say, a genetically modified tomato, makes you dangerous. Your views represent "a fairly serious threat to everybody's future," as President Obama told this year's graduating class at the University of California, Irvine.
If the polar ice caps are supposed to be melting, why are there 620,000 more square miles of sea ice now than when the first satellite measurements were taken 35 years ago? Secretary of State John Kerry would say you can just shut your trap about that, mister, because "we don't have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society."
OK, what about global warming? Why haven't global temperatures risen in nearly two decades? Silence, heretic! You must be one of those who, according to Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, "have to be ridiculed," who "have to be run out of town rhetorically."
Run out of town? When did liberals turn into mobsters and pitchfork-wielding rubes? And these folks have the nerve to call conservatives anti-science?
These "progressives" would have buried a dagger in Copernicus had they been around in the 15th century.
"OK, OK," I hear you say. "So liberals and conservatives are both skeptical of science when it suits their agendas. Liberals just happen to be hypocritical about it. So what? Big deal."
Well, here's the big deal: Science is being used as the rationale to control you. And it's not conservatives that are waving that flag – it's the modern, totalitarian left. The hip crowd that fought "the man" has become "the man," and its brain-washed crowd of ideologues keep marching in lockstep.
Once you get past all the nasty name-calling and "denier" labels, a conservative's skepticism of science is no different from a liberal's. The distinction lies in the agendas. It's not so much the debate, but the consequences that are important.
Look at it this way: Let's say I think it's perfectly acceptible for agri-scientists to genetically engineer a papaya that resists ringspot virus, but you do not. We can argue all day over the implications without reaching a consensus on science, nature, God or anything else. But the end result is that my position, and the science I use to support it, has no meaningful impact on your life whatsoever.
So you don't like genetically engineered papaya? Don't buy one. I'm not going to use the force of government to compel you to have anything to do with a papaya. You still have freedom of choice. You don't want your children vaccinated? You are free to live in a jurisdiction where you don't have to. You have the same freedom of choice when it comes to artificial sweeteners, bovine somatotropin and a host of other things, too.
But that's not how it works with liberals. Freedom of choice is virtually absent because state control over the individual is their ultimate agenda. It's entirely possible the ringspot virus-resistant papaya (which really does exist) would not be allowed to exist in their utopian world. It could be banned, along with guns, bST-derived dairy products, V-8 engines, conservative viewpoints and capitalism.
If they don't like it, you don't get to like it. It's that simple.
In the climate change racket, scientists are the ad men, "protecting the environment" is the marketing campaign and control is the product. A state that can establish radical new rules on energy production and consumption under the guise of global environmental protection can control which natural resources are tapped, and which are not. It can impose tariffs and sanctions on industries it does not like, while rewarding those it does with tax breaks and other goodies.
A state with that kind of control is one that can say how power is generated, who gets it, and how much they are allowed to consume. It is a state that can dictate which energy-consuming goods are allowed to reach the marketplace, and which are prohibited. With enough regulation, this kind of state can control where people live, how they live and the means by which they travel – or whether they are allowed to travel at all.
In other words, what's at stake in the climate change debate is nothing less than your entire way of life. Sort of makes quibbling over the content of sweetener packets a little silly, huh?
So you still want to call me a denier? Go ahead, if it makes you feel good. Just stop pretending that science is exclusively on your side when you do.
Otherwise, you'll have to share breakfast with somebody else.