Bin Laden has attacked the US and industrialized nations for their greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and calls for the wheels of the American economy to be brought to a halt to stop global warming.
This month is getting even better as it draws to a close!
As soon as I saw this, I figured the conservatives were going to have a field day, and it turns out they’ve stooped low enough to go beyond the usual absurdity of loose guilt by character association, to guilt by issue association. Apparently, if you believe that rising greenhouse gas emissions are causing dangerous global warming and must be reduced, then you’re in the same camp as a madman terrorist who shoots off rants in the form of tape recordings about all sorts of things. This is supposed to de-legitimize the argument that we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A couple of points.
1. Everyone could play the guilt by issue association game all day long. There are rational people who oppose abortion because of their values, and I can respectfully disagree with them. There are also incidents where maniacs bomb abortion clinics, and kill abortion doctors. There are people who peacefully march in the streets and lobby their congressman. There are those who interrupt every Obama public speech screaming and shouting and getting dragged out of the room. It would be unreasonable and unfair for me to lump every opponent of abortion into the camp of the few who bomb clinics and kill doctors. It would be unfair for Americans to lump every Islāmic person into the same ideological camp as Osama Bin Laden just because they are both Muslim. Likewise, it’s very unfair for anyone to lump advocates for a clean energy economy and for preventing catastrophic climate change in the same camp with a terrorist who went on a one-time rant on emissions. Any rational person should be able to see that.
2. The notion that Bin Laden actually wants the US to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is laughable. Obviously, his prescription for doing it, halting the American economy, would not solve the issue. The way to address emissions is to transition away from our dependence on the fossil fuels of oil and coal, and increase our production of clean, renewable forms of energy, which would create millions of green jobs, save money on energy, and actually grow the American economy. If I wanted to play the same association game conservatives like Rush Limbaugh are with Bid Laden’s statements, his perspective on reducing emissions is in line with conservatives, that lowering emissions will crash the economy. It seems foolish to me that conservatives would point to Bin Laden’s remarks as a way to legitimize their argument, since it can so easily be turned on them. Building off this point, one of the great concerns about our dependence on foreign oil is that we’re sending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas, some of which falls into the hands of terrorists that want to kill us. If you oppose reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and you oppose producing clean energy to replace fossil fuels like oil, you are playing right into the terrorists hands, because they want us to stay dependent on the status quo. So long as we are addicted to oil, they have a big upper hand which they can exploit.
Bin Laden certainly wants the US to stay addicted to oil, and the real reason he is likely making those comments is to cause enough turmoil to derail ongoing efforts by activists and Congress to get us off of oil. Conservatives have just played right into Bin Laden’s hand.