Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Have they no decency?

A while back I noted how atrocious it was for Glenn Beck to posit a deranged conspiracy theory that Rachel Carson - one of the founders of the environmental movement - campaigned against DDT because she secretly wanted to reduce the global human population.

This is malicious pure rotten hate that Beck is spreading. He is saying that everyone that doesn't share his deranged, delusional world view are totalitarian monsters. (You can see that Beck is full of it regarding DDT by taking a look through the archive of posts at Deltoid on DDT.) Really, how dare he defame Carson like this? Saying that a dead woman who can no longer defend herself wanted to kill people to reduce the human population and came up with a secret plot to get DDT banned to accomplish that goal. That's just so utterly despicable.

That's the sort of evil slander that is on a level with the Protocols of Zion. And just as New World Order conspiracy helps the anti-semite manufacture a world that justifies his bigotry, Beck's DDT conspiracy helps him manufacture a world that justifies his anti-environmentalist bigotry.
The thing is that it's not just Beck who engages in this sort of despicable defamation: there are entire organizations that have taken to calling Rachel Carson a mass murderer.

As Oreskes and Conway (2010, Chapter 7) document in detail, since 2007 the right-wing and libertarian organizations are calling Rachel Carson a mass-murderer. What? Did they even read about her life? This shy, humble scientist a mass murderer? Their “reasoning”: because her work led to the banning of DDT, thousands of Africans died of malaria, which might not have happened if DDT were available to them. I won’t rehash the entire ill-informed and crazy, convoluted thinking of these people, since Oreskes and Conway (2010) have done it already. The reality of the whole argument is that even if DDT had not been banned, its use would have stopped anyway because insects had evolved resistance to it. DDT was already being phased out at the time of the ban, and other pesticides that worked better and didn’t damage too many harmless animals were being used instead—because DDT didn’t work! If, as these people propose, DDT had been sprayed across the waterways of Africa, it would not have saved any lives whatsoever because of the evolution of resistance. In fact, many other pesticides that have since been used over the years are now useless because insect pests (especially mosquitoes) evolve resistance so quickly. Yet these people manage to distort history as badly as any Holocaust-denier[s]—except instead of trying to exonerate the Nazis of genocide, they turn Rachel Carson into a mass murderer.

Such strange revisionist thinking wouldn’t even be worth mentioning if it were not so common in the public discourse these days.
What enrages me is that in our mendocracy persons who engage in this sort of behavior get to be media stars and can so easily inject their ideological propaganda into the mainstream.

No comments: