Attending panel discussions at the Heartland Climate Change Conference in New York has me looking over my shoulder checking for the next Red Army invasion.
While the context of the conference is climate change it seems that for many panel members and attendees this is less about science than it is about warding off the socialist plot that is supposedly closing in on America.
I attended an afternoon session featuring evangelical think tanker Cal Beisner and the Monsanto/ExxonMobil sweetheart of the “civil rights” movement Roy Innis.
Before the panel presentation even began, the two guys sitting down from me were going on about the “Liberal media conspiracy” while a blogger bragged to the women next to me that he was quoted on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show today.
Beisner spent the majority of his talk stroking his own ego with the big close being a screed about the “eco imperialists” who are bent on condeming the poor of the world.
The real show was Innis, who began with a strange argument that if you’ve never been to the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR), why should you care if they drill in it for oil. His argument was that those against drilling in ANWR were innocent citizens who had been subjected to “heavy propaganda and conspiracy about the environment and the earth.”
And the source of this “heavy propoganda?” Innis paints a picture that America is running the risk of being overtaken by some kind of new world order of communists. As Innis explains, there is a “conspiracy against decency” of “radical environmentalists” of which oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is somehow involved. And this grand conspiracy is putting all of us under threat from “Soviet like thinking.” He ends with a warning to us all: “Let us not be tricked like Lenin did the Bolsheviks.”
The crowd giggled with glee and while I was too young to ever attend a Reagan rally, I bet this is probably what they were like. But this is not 1981, it’s 2009 and what in the heck does Communism have to do with climate change? Nothing of course, but Innis knows that this “socialist conspiracy theory” plays to a crowd that is looking for any reason they can to continue to ignore the realities of climate change.