Terms of Engagement

By Keith Kloor
Nov 13, 2009 9:34 AMNov 19, 2019 8:50 PM


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In their third (and final?) critique of a certain climate blogger, Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus explain to their own critics why they don't take on the other side:

The work of holding Republican obstructionists, anti-government extremists, and right-wing conspiracy mongers to task is work for principled conservatives, not liberals. The work of greens and liberals is to challenge the Democratic demagogues, the left-wing bullies, and the Climate McCarthyites who narrow and polarize the debate in ways that make effective policy action all but impossible. If we can hold our own hyper-partisans to account then fair-minded conservatives might do the same.

This is an interesting philosophical position to take, one that I suspect Roger Pielke Jr. agrees with. Personally, I find these terms of engagement too restrictive. In the real world, where perception counts as much (if not more) than reality, I believe that Shellenberger and Nordhaus do themselves no good by hewing so faithfully to the position they laid out above.

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