Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heartland: Ignorance is Bliss

The next great fight in our public schools will likely be over whether climate change is related to human activity.  The New York Times reports that documents leaked from the supposedly non-profit libertarian think-tank Heartland “suggest that Heartland has spent several million dollars in the past five years in its efforts to undermine climate science, much of that coming from a person referred to repeatedly in the documents as “the Anonymous Donor.” A guessing game erupted Wednesday about who that might be.”

The scandal is not that Heartland holds anti-scientific, libertarian views.  The scandal is that in order to be a “non-profit,” an organization may not accept money in order to influence politics: 
        The documents raise questions about whether the group has undertaken partisan political activities, a potential violation of federal tax law governing nonprofit groups. For instance, the documents outline “Operation Angry Badger,” a plan to spend $612,000 to influence the outcome of recall elections and related fights this year in Wisconsin over the role of public-sector unions.       
        Tax lawyers said Wednesday that tax-exempt groups were allowed to undertake some types of lobbying and political education, but that because they are subsidized by taxpayers, they are prohibited from direct involvement in political campaigns.
In The Nation November 28, 2011, Naomi Klein reviewed Heartland’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change.  The threat that climate change (aka “global warming”) presents to big business is the belief (fear) “that climate change is a Trojan horse designed to abolish capitalism and replace it with some kind of eco-socialism. As conference speaker Larry Bell succinctly puts it in his new book ‘Climate of Corruption,’ climate change ‘has little to do with the state of the environment and much to do with shackling capitalism and transforming the American way of life in the interests of global wealth redistribution.’”

These people are not denying the science; they are terrified of the change in paradigm that will happen if human life on the Planet is going to survive in any recognizable form.  Team that likelihood with Christian fundamentalism, and we have the perfect storm.  Christian fundamentalists are more interested in Biblical inerrantcy and literalism than post-modern, 21st century cosmology.  After all, the sooner “the Rapture” comes, the better.

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