This is pretty right on, and not in a good way:
But before moving on, one more point about liberal and conservative denial: Naomi Klein has suggested that conservative denial may have its roots, it will surprise many liberals, in some pretty clear thinking. [i] At some level, she has observed, conservatives climate deniers understand that addressing climate change will, in fact, change our way of life, a way of life which conservatives often view as sacred. This sort of change is so terrifying and unthinkable to them, she argues, that they cut the very possibility of climate change off at its knees: fighting climate change would force us to change our way of life; our way of life is sacred and cannot be questioned; ergo, climate change cannot be happening.
We have a situation, then, where one half of the population says it is not happening, and the other half says it is happening but fighting it doesn’t have to change our way of life. Like a dysfunctional and enabling married couple, the bickering and finger-pointing, and anger ensures that nothing has to change and that no one has to actually look deeply at themselves, even as the wheels are falling off the family-life they have co-created. And so do Democrats and Republicans stay together in this unhappy and unproductive place of emotional self-protection and planetary ruin.
If one of our strengths is the ability to be honest with ourselves, then we need to go the Fully Monty. It means not being afraid to go there, if ‘there’ is about substantial changes to our way of life in order to stave off planetary ruin. Sure, the extent to which you already live close to work, take alternative transportation, do not own one car per-driving-age person in your household will make you more open and amenable to solutions that are simply out of the question to other people. But that’s the point above. maybe we need to start with ‘out of the question’ and try to work forward.
Get around the anger and soft-pedaled pedantry about climate change by blasting straight through it. It won’t make the tough decisions go away, but maybe we could get face-to-face with them sooner rather than later.
Image: The Corso, Rome, author photo from June 2014