Montana Politics

Joe Balyeat Writes About Consensus; Earth Flattens.

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The very independent right wing Montana blogs are all aflutter today about Joe Balyeat’s latest foray into a subject he knows little about. This time it’s two subjects: global warming and compromise.

Balyeat, writing in the Montana Standard, wants us to believe that he believes deeply in compromise on the subject of energy independence and global warming. The problem, according to Balyeat, is not over-reliance on fossil fuels or our unwillingness to control our consumption of energy, but a lack of politeness on behalf of those who want to work on reduction of fossil fuel usage.

Despite his claim of searching for common ground, Balyeat  is hardly fair when describing defenders of the scientific consensus about global warming. In the course of his 600 words, he seems to be calling for more polite dialogue from people he describes as “condescending” advocates of “intrusive government,” drinkers of ‘global warming Koolaid” and “secular doomsayers” who rely  “demeaning insults” and “scare stories” to make their arguments.

It’s certainly hard to understand why Senator Balyeat is having such a hard time working with these people.

It’s a classic display of the kind of logic that dominates right wing thinking on science, whether it’s global warming or evolution. Because they cannot imagine that human fossil fuel use is accelerating warming to dangerous levels or that life on Earth evolved over billions of years, it can’t be true.

It’s not compromise if one side refuses to acknowledge scientific evidence. It’s absurd. If consensus will move the Montana and federal governments forward on global warming, I’m all for it, but to believe that consensus is coming from an unscientific, insulting position like this, Montanans concerned about the environment would really need to be as stupid as Joe Balyeat thinks we are.

Footnote: At the end of his piece, Balyeat claims to be a three time National Merit Scholar. Given that high school students can only be selected as National Merit Scholars once, I think Mr. Balyeat might just be making something else up as well.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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