By Amitabh Pal on March 15, 2012

"I am the only one who has not bowed, and will never bow, to this liberal orthodoxy."

Even for a party that wears its anti-science label almost with pride, the GOP has recently been outdoing itself on global warming.

"The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is," presidential contender Rick Santorum said at the Gulf Coast Energy Summit in Biloxi, Mississippi, on March 12.

And to prove that this wasn’t just off-the-cuff rhetorical excess, Santorum penned an op-ed for the conservative website Red State. He portrayed a belief in science as part of a deficient, anti-Christian, anti-American mindset.

“Of all the GOP candidates, I am the only one who has not bowed, and will never bow, to this liberal orthodoxy,” Santorum wrote in a March 10 column. “I did not pander when global warming seemed cool to the press and to Hollywood. We know that climate changes over time, that the Earth warms and cools over time. … The apostles of this pseudo-religion believe that America and its people are the source of the Earth’s temperature. I do not.”

Seconding Santorum’s viewpoint is James Inhofe, Senator from Oklahoma and ranking Republican member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Inhofe is doing the rounds promoting his new book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.” (The title is taken from an infamous 2003 quote of his, where he called global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”) He was recently interviewed on a Voice of Christian Youth America radio show about his book, and here’s what he had to say.

“Well, actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the Earth remains, there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ ” the Senator said. “My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."

This is stupefying, to say the least. To have a Senator deny a basic scientific fact based on religious belief is nothing short of astounding.

And—there are no two ways about this—global warming is a fact.

“Skeptics are rare among scientists who actually study the climate,” states a recent piece on Huffington Post. “A paper published in 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences found that 97 percent to 98 percent of climate researchers ‘most actively publishing in the field’ agreed that climate change was occurring.”

That is not likely to be of much concern to folks like Santorum and Inhofe. Neither will be studies such as a 2009 report from a think tank headed by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan revealing that global warming is causing 300,000 deaths annually and affecting 300 million people. The Republicans are not known for caring what happens to people around the world.

How about this, though?

“About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research,” the New York Times reported this week. “By far the most vulnerable state is Florida … but Louisiana, California, New York and New Jersey are also particularly vulnerable, researchers found, and virtually the entire American coastline is at some degree of risk.”

You would think that Santorum and Inhofe would at least pause and take note of this, since it deeply affects that great undistinguished mass they claim to be speaking for—the American people. But Santorum and Inhofe are trapped in their own delusions, which, not coincidentally, mesh with the priorities of their Big Oil funders.

If you liked this article by Amitabh Pal, the managing editor of the Progressive magazine, please check out his article entitled "Fukushima Should Compel All Countries to Discard Nuclear Energy."

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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