Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, has previously called NASA’s work on climate change “politically correct environmental monitoring”.
The fight against political correctness
Political correctness has been one of Trump’s main talking points. His firm opposition to it matches that of his new breed of supporters. But like this reactionary crowd, Trump has often taken the anti-PC crusade too far, and used it as an excuse to insult and disparage whole groups of marginalised people.
Even anti-PC commentators, such as Brendan O’Neill at The Spectator, recognise that some bigots and hate-mongers have used free expression as an excuse for vile racism and abuse.
There are legitimate concerns about how political correctness can undermine free speech. And it’s not just the right raising these questions. Those sitting squarely on the left, such as LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell, have expressed worries. Stephen Fry has also argued that political correctness stifles opportunities for open and honest debate.
But as O’Neill points out, the anti-PC stance can get ugly. It’s being misused, not just as an excuse for inflammatory speech, but as a way to oppose climate change research. Offending people is one thing. Threatening efforts to tackle global warming is something else. It involves very real and far-reaching harm.
Anti-PC gone off the rails
NASA’s research on global warming has revealed some alarming findings. But rather than raising awareness about real threats to life (including human existence) on this planet, Bob Walker believes it’s an example of political correctness.
If Trump and Walker believe it’s just PC to believe in, and carry out research on, climate change, they are mistaken. For example, Walker said doubt over the role of human activity in climate change “is a view shared by half the climatologists in the world”.
But this isn’t so. There is a scientific consensus among climate experts that humans are causing global warming. It is precisely because of NASA’s research that we are able to agree on this. And it’s why climate change denial groups fail to survive scrutiny. The evidence stacks up against them.
Walker wants you to believe that NASA’s research is about maintaining the PC culture of caring about the environment, or shutting down debate on climate change. Walker is using anti-PC rhetoric in order to paint climate change scepticism as a tenable position. It is a clever way to justify, not just less funding for NASA, but the removal of important environmental regulations, and further reliance on fossil fuels.
The politicisation of climate change has changed the nature of the debate. Perhaps in some instances, deniers are met with disdain, moral outrage, and offended expressions. And climate change denial has indeed become somewhat politically incorrect.
But this is an issue to do with how ideas are discussed. Using the anti-PC argument to stop funding scientific research will lead to less information. Not less bias or a more balanced debate. And if environmental policy is to protect us from the harmful effects of climate change, it should be informed by as much evidence as we can gather.
– Read more about Climate Change from The Canary.
Featured image via Wikimedia
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?