Observers of contemporary society will surely have noted that a liberal is far more likely to fear global warming than a conservative. Why is this?
After all, if the science is as conclusive as Al Gore, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and virtually every other spokesman of the Left says it is, conservatives are just as likely to be scorched and drowned and otherwise done in by global warming as liberals will. So why aren't non-leftists nearly as exercised as leftists are? Do conservatives handle heat better? Are libertarians better swimmers? Do religious people love their children less?
The usual liberal responses -- to label a conservative position racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic or the like -- obviously don't apply here. So, liberals would have to fall back on the one remaining all-purpose liberal explanation: "big business." They might therefore explain the conservative-liberal divide over global warming thus: Conservatives don't care about global warming because they prefer corporate profits to saving the planet.
But such an explanation could not explain the vast majority of conservatives who are not in any way tied into the corporate world (like this writer, who has no stocks and who, moreover, regards big business as amoral as leftists do).
No, the usual liberal dismissals of conservatives and their positions just don't explain this particularly illuminating difference between liberals and conservatives.
Here are six more likely explanations:
-- The Left is prone to hysteria. The belief that global warming will destroy the world is but one of many hysterical notions held on the Left. As noted in a previous column devoted to the Left and hysteria, many on the Left have been hysterical about the dangers of the PATRIOT Act and the NSA surveillance of phone numbers (incipient fascism); secondhand smoke (killing vast numbers of people); drilling in the remotest area of Alaska (major environmental despoliation); and opposition to same-sex marriage (imminent Christian theocracy).
-- The Left believes that if The New York Times and other liberal news sources report something, it is true. If the cover of Time magazine says, "Global Warming: Be Worried, Very Worried," liberals get worried, very worried, about global warming.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”