We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

"Denialism" is Different on the Left

By Keith Kloor
Jan 18, 2011 10:46 PMNov 19, 2019 9:09 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

That's Chris Mooney's assertion, that it hasn't become associated with liberals in a monolithic way as it has with American conservatives, especially in the political sense:

just because denialism occurs sometimes on the left does not mean that in the U.S. today"“and particularly in mainstream U.S. politics"“it's predominantly a left wing phenomenon.

Mooney goes on to argue that the anti-science attitudes often embraced by the left, (such as anti-vaxx and anti-GMO) haven't been codified into the Democratic party the way rejection of climate science and global warming as a legitimate concern has become party line for Republicans. True enough. But does that make the anti-vaccination movement any less of a threat to public health and society? Because while their irrationality may not have infected the Democratic party, anti-vaxxers sure look like a potent, influential force to me. Yet if you read between the lines of Mooney's post, it sounds to me as if he's playing down the significance of left-wing science "denialism." I've argued that there is an equivalence between anti-science irrationality on the left and right, but that the former gets a free pass in liberal outlets. On that note, let me ask this. Which does more harm: the Washington Post for the occasional George Will screed against climate science, or the Huffington Post for the platform it frequently gives to anti-vaxxers, such as Jennie McCarthy?

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.