Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Partisan Divide

Sabrina Tavernise in an op-ed at the New York Times makes a good point, that the current partisan divide can be explained as tribal:
Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University, calls it the clash between globalists and nationalists. The globalists, who tend to be urban and college educated, want a world like the one described in John Lennon’s song “Imagine” — no religion, walls or borders dividing people. The nationalists see that as a vision of hell. They want to defend their culture and emphasize the bonds of nationhood — flag, Constitution, patriotism. They also want to limit immigration, an instinct that globalists are often quick to condemn as racist.
This seems right to me, but as a person who regards global warming as the greatest looming threat to human civilization, I wonder why this divides us on global warming, but it does.

For example, Doug Palen, a Midwest farmer who lives in a State populated by members of the nationalist tribe, and
a fourth-generation grain farmer on Kansas’ wind-swept plains, is in the business of understanding the climate. Since 2012, he has choked through the harshest drought to hit the Great Plains in a century, punctuated by freakish snowstorms and suffocating gales of dust. His planting season starts earlier in the spring and pushes deeper into winter.
To adapt, he has embraced an environmentally conscious way of farming that guards against soil erosion and conserves precious water. He can talk for hours about carbon sequestration — the trapping of global-warming-causing gases in plant life and in the soil — or the science of the beneficial microbes that enrich his land.
In short, he is a climate change realist. Just don’t expect him to utter the words “climate change.”
The Midwest farmers are experiencing the effects of global warming but have to talk elliptically about it, without using words like "climate change", "the environment", "global warming".  
“People are all talking about it, without talking about it,” said Miriam Horn, the author of a recent book on conservative Americans and the environment, “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman.” “It’s become such a charged topic that there’s a navigation people do.”
There has been some pushback on the denial:
Mr. Gullickson of Successful Farming, who usually writes about topics like pigweed, gypsum and runoff, has started to push the envelope on debates over climate change.
“Are springs getting wetter? Are droughts increasing in severity? Are rainstorms increasing in intensity?” The clear answer, he said: “Yes.” 
and the reaction
[H]e had been warned, “Never use the words ‘climate change.’”
“I was told: ‘Readers hate that phrase. Just talk about the weather,’” he wrote.
It look like this'll be how it will be, the denialists will observe the consequences of global warming but will only deal with each consequence by itself as it occurs.  There will be no comprehensive response, which will tragically allow the global warming to continue.  The sea rises, just build a wall. But impose a carbon tax, absolutely not.

So I guess that's the answer to my question, the nationalist tribe being individualists cannot allow themselves to consider a global solution to the problem.  Another version of the "tragedy of the commons".  Any solution to a problem that requires people cooperating, banding together in the effort, is tainted by "socialism" which is forbidden by conservatives.

I sincerely hope that the globalist tribe is able to dominate the nationalist tribe on this issue or otherwise the dire consequences cannot be avoided.