September 20, 2013
I understand that the climate change deniers in the Liberal Party are flexing their muscles in the name of throwing away the distorting spectacles of ideology.
John Howard, the last Liberal prime minister, is going to deliver the keynote lecture at the annual meeting of the most prominent climate skeptic group in the UK, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. His core argument is that one religion is enough, that is the science around global warming as “a religion”, and those who support action on climate change are “believers” and zealots.
Maurice Newman, another climate change denier who is Abbott’s chief business advisor, goes further. He has declared climate science to be a myth and has accused the CSIRO and the weather bureau in having a vested interest in encouraging extreme weather events and propagating the myth of anthropological climate change:
The new Coalition government is faced with enormous structural issues that have been camouflaged by effective propaganda and supported by well-organised elements in the public service, the media, the universities, trade unions and the climate establishment. With a huge vested interest in the status quo, they will be vocal opponents of change. The CSIRO, for example, has 27 scientists dedicated to climate change. It and the Weather Bureau have become global warming advocates. They continue to propagate the myth of anthropological climate change and are likely to be background critics of the Coalition’s Direct Action policies.
What we have is cynical reason at work. Ideology's dominant mode of functioning is cynical The cynical subject is quite aware of the distance between the ideological mask and the social reality, but he none the less still insists upon the mask. Cynical reason is no longer naïve, the cynical subject knows the falsehood very well, is well aware of a particular interest hidden behind an ideological universality, but still one does not renounce it.
The denier's ideology no longer has pretension to be a lie experienced as truth. These representatives of denialism do not believe in what they are doing anymore, or do not regard their position to be the one and only truth, but they have to act and talk as if they were completely convinced of what they are doing. It is no longer meant, even by its authors, to be taken seriously — its status is just that of a means of manipulation, purely external and instrumental; its rule is secured not by its truth-value but by simple extra-ideological violence and promise of gain.
What is a useful way to respond to the deniers? Turn to the the popular, plebeian rejection of the official culture by means of irony and sarcasm: the classical kynical procedure is to confront the pathetic phrases of the ruling official ideology — its solemn, grave tonality — with everyday banality and to hold them up to ridicule, thus exposing behind the sublime noblesse of the ideological phrases the egotistical interests, the violence, the brutal claims to power.