Want to represent Kentucky Farmer in Congress? Well then you better learn to keep track of which "climate changes" he "believes in" and which he "doesn't"!
A lot of people seem to think that members of Congress who “deny” climate change are stupid.
Obviously, I can’t vouch for the intelligence of every single one of them. But in fact, I think I can readily put my hands on some evidence that attests to the considerable mental dexterity of at least some.
In particular, the ones who represent Kentucky Farmer are pretty impressive.
Kentucky Farmer, I’m sure you’ll recall, is one of the many citizens who both do and don’t believe in climate change. Or more specifically, don't or do depending on whether they are doing something that is enabled by disbelieving or believing in it.
The main thing disbelieving enables them to do is enjoy a particular cultural identity.
Expressing disbelief with genuine conviction and sincerity, and also with a caustic undertone of contempt for people with values different from his--for whom “belief” is also primarily expressive, much like an article of clothing or bumper sticker that evinces contempt for him—is a way for the Kentucky Farmer to be a member of a community defined by commitments to certain social norms. Being "skeptical" is like carrying a gun: a way to evince male virtues like self-reliance and and honor, and to occupy male roles like provider and protector . . . .Or in his wife's case like being against legalized abortion, which demonstrates commitment to norms that confer status on women for mastering female roles like wife and mother.
But believing in climate change—honestly & truly—is a way for him to do something too: namely, be a successful farmer.
He knows, e.g., that it makes sense to engage in no-till farming to protect the robustness of the soil in his fields, the fertility of which will be subjected, he realizes, to relentless assault from drought and heat and that he should be shifting his crops from, say, wheat to corn and soybeans to adjust for changes in growing seasons.
He has purchased or is planning to purchase greater crop-failure insurance coverage and various other services to help protect himself from the escalating variance associated with climate change.
And he’s hoping, too, that scientists, whose work he has always relied on to help him to master his craft of extraction from nature, will come through for him again with technological innovations that enable him to keep doing what humans but no other animals always have done: defy Malthusian constraints on the progressive expansion of their number.
Whether he lives in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, or wherever, keeping track of which “climate changes” Kentucky Farmer believes in and the ones he “doesn’t” can be a real challenge for his elected representatives!
Just ask poor Wisc. State Senator Tom Tiffany. He managed to get himself in a heap of trouble recently by instigating a provision to get rid of two dozen scientists in the state’s Department of Natural Resources who have been studying the impact of global warming on the vulnerability of the state’s vegetation to pest infiltration, as well as the state’s trout stock, another critical element of its economy, mainly for tourists who like to Wisconsin to fish.
Those scientists, Tiffany complained, shouldn’t be wasting their time studying climate change, a matter he had previously dismissed as a completely “theoretical” matter.
I’m sure this seemed like a great idea to Tiffany. After all, the majority of his rural Republican district “don’t believe in” human caused-climate change! No doubt he expected a hearty round of applause.
Wrong! To his surprise, I’m sure, Tiffany has found himself on the hot seat since his role in the firing of the DNR scientists was discovered, and he’s been trying to get his ass off of it ever since.
Hey, he explained, “I’m only one out of 33 in the State Senate,” so don’t blame me.
Okay, okay, he conceded, “Climate change, climate variability, is happening, I mean, all you have to do is look at the climatic record. It clearly is.”
But that “doesn’t mean that we should have these significant shifts in public policy without having proof that we are causing this,” he added.
Wrong answer, dude!
Wisconsin is in deep shit because of climate change and its Kentucky Farmers, including the ones who are part of the state’s forestry and tourism industry, know it. Fire the scientists that can help them weather it—so to speak—and you’ll lose your friggin’ job!
Now consider how the pros—the ones good enough at politics to earn seats in Congress representing the Kentucky Farmer—handle things.
Global warming? Bull shit!, says Ok. Sen. Inhofe, hoisting a snowball aloft on the floor of the Senate in Feb. 2015. “God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”
I’m sure his Kentucky Farmer constituents in Oklahoma were chortling with glee!
But they aren’t when they think about the impact of global warming on their cattle industry.
Thank God, too, I guess, that the US Department of Agriculture has awarded scientists at the University of Oklahoma at Stillwater some $10 million in recent years to study how to help keep the cattle industry going as temperatures in the state start to soar.
“The ultimate goal is to develop beef cattle and production systems that are more readily adaptable to the negative effects of drought,” explained the principal investigator for the most recent $1 million grant, a faculty member in OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
Is Inhofe or any other member of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation proposing budget cuts to stop Oklahoma university scientists from engaging in this foolishness?
On the contrary, Rep. Frank Lucas, an OSU Stillwater graduate who represents the district in which that university is located, sponsored the 2014 Agriculture Bill that funds the research initiative that has made the OSU-Stillwater grants!
Attaboy, Frank!, his constituents, exclaim appreciatively. That will help us to deal with the horrible consequences of climate change!
But that’s the “climate change” they believe in—in order to be farmers.
There’s also the “climate change” they don’t believe in—in order to be individuals with a particular cultural identity.
Frank Lucas doesn’t believe in that “climate change”—or at least, as a major-league, professional politician knows better than to support legislation that evinces belief in it.
Those goddam idiots at NASA, he says. What they hell are they doing wasting tax payer dollars investigating something that my constituents don't believe in?!
Way to go, Frank!, his constituents say! Show that stupid Al Gore!
BTW, the chair of the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology, Lamar Smith, R. Tex., keeps perfect track of the which "climate changes" his constituents do & don't believe in too.
Cut the funding authority that USDA uses to support scientific investigation of the effects of climate change on agricultural production in Texas? Are you out of your mind?!
See? Members of Congress like Smith, Lucas, and Inhofe are no dummies!
What do you think they’d recommend to a junior varsity pol like Tiffany to help him keep his constituents’ “climate changes”—the ones they don’t “believe in” and the ones they do—straight?
I’m not an expert, of course, but I’d try index cards.