Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Godwin's Law

Due to our non-aggression pact, I’m unable to criticize Elizabeth May for, yet again, comparing climate change to the Nazis. Instead, I’ll give her some friendly advice in a new blog segment entitled “How Not To Say Stupid Things In Politics”. Given her past comments, I suspect this might turn into quite the lengthy post series.


1. Never ever compare things to World War II, the Nazis, Chamberlain, or anything even remotely connected to Hitler. Like Jon Stewart says, you know who was as bad as Hitler? Hitler.
2. When you say something that gets you into hot water, don’t try and bring it back up six months later. That’s why you don’t see Scott Reid going around saying "you know, I was technically right on the beer and popcorn thing". And that’s why you don’t see (or hear) Tory backbenchers.

3. If something has been compared to "the political equivalent of a kamikaze mission" (again with the WW2 references...) and you were skewered for saying it the first time...you might not want to call your original remarks an "understatement". Again, I hate to use Scott Reid as the role model, but he hasn't said anything like "you know, beer and popcorn was an understatement; single moms could spend the cash on crack and NDP memberships".


Hat Tip: The greatest political organizer in the world

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24 Comments:

  • She's right. Global warming is a distinct threat to the future of life on this planet. Nazism was a distinct threat to the future of life on this planet. Doing nothing about global warming is immoral. Not fighting the Nazis would also have been immoral. The threats are different but they both are, or were, real.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:35 PM  

  • "Global warming is a distinct threat to the future of life on this planet. Nazism was a distinct threat to the future of life on this planet."

    Obesity is a threat to life in North America therefore Burger King employees are all Nazis.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:27 AM  

  • Anon: 11:27. Your response is illogical. Global warming could make this planet unlivable 50 to 100 years from now. If anything, it is a greater danger to humanity than Nazism. It is pathetic that blogs like this spend time whether May's statements were a strategic mistake and a bad 'talking point' rather than dealing with the underlying message that our planet is in peril and that government's and citizens continue to be apathetic about the problem. Hopefully one day the environment will move beyond being a talking point for you politicos which you will use to try gain .5% in the polls to gain a few extra seats. Until then don't criticize May because it is you that are the problem and not her.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:49 AM  

  • Further, May actually said that not dealing with global warming is the moral equivalent of Chamberlain's appeasement at Munich. Tell me how that is an unfair or intellectually dishonest statement. Most people today regard allowing Hitler to invade Czechoslovakia to have been intolerable. Seeing as we know how bad global warming is going to be, not doing anything is equally immoral. Just because we are all part of the problem doesn't somehow excuse us from being wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:05 AM  

  • The Munich pact for all it is bally-hooed about today, gave Britain the time to prepare for war in Europe. The Battle of Britain without a fully armed Royal Air Force would have been a sad sight.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, but maybe all the Allies letting Germany violate the Treaty of Variesaille by building tanks, artillery, battleships and submarines before the Munic pact was the mistake.

    Without the violation there wouldn't have been much force to back up Germany's expansionism.

    When you use the word uninhabitable, do you mean like "OMG we turned Earth into Venus I am dieing" or "Oh no, a bunch of overvalued swamp land in Florida is now salt marshes insteand of reclaimed beaches"

    Calgary Grit, you should turn off ANON comments, and word verification.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:54 AM  

  • Cue the enviro-nazis.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:15 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Christian Conservative, at 9:32 AM  

  • Hey anon, reducing our 2% of global GHG is like trying to bail water with a bucket out of the foot of Niagra Falls... it's not going to do SQUAT until you figure out how to shut down the Falls.

    Mr. Harper's plan is at least trying to address the real issue... the Niagra Falls of GHG output, India, China, and the USA.

    By Blogger Christian Conservative, at 9:33 AM  

  • I don't think you can really overstate the damage Harper is doing not just in regard to climate change but in so may areas but politicians are in the communication game. So any tactic that does not allow you to communicate your message effectively is ill advised. I know we're in a "communications war" when I see the Government of Canada's website being turned into a billboard for Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada and Harper puts out a calendar with 12 months of Stephen Harper for all his loyal followers maarking the dates of his triumphs. Call me crazy but it does make me think of Hitler and Big Brother and all that mind control stuff. The Nazis didn't invent the effective brand of communication slash mind control they used but I do think certain right wing modern politicians are using a lot of the same techniques to great effect. What progressives have to do is get more creative to be more effective.

    By Blogger videovox, at 9:48 AM  

  • Perhaps since Elizabeth May brought this up, perhaps the Kyoto exemptions of China, India, Russia, and emerging markets emission targets is also the equivalent of Chamberlain's appeasement pact. Aren't we allowing emerging markets to be aggressive in their greenhouse gas emissions via this accord?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:17 AM  

  • I completely understand how people may want to draw attention to these environmental issues as dramatically as possible.

    Let me say: you're right. The issue is quite possibly just as big as you believe it to be.

    What I fail to understand is how making people feel like idiots (and Nazis!) is supposed to get them on-side. I think all it does is make people who are already on-side feel a little bit more smug and self-righteous.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:19 AM  

  • Re Munich and all that -- it all depended on the Soviets. With them onside, stopping the Germans in 1938 would have been a mere matter of marching. (The Czechs had a strong modern army and solid fortifications, and the German industrial base was weak w/o the Czech armament works.) Chamberlain seems to have thought that an entente with Moscow was so immoral that London and Paris had to face Berlin without them. As late as spring 1939, the British government did not even deign to give Moscow a reply to an offer of an alliance against Berlin.

    This 'purity' meant that when the war came, the Soviets were aligned with the other side for the first part. Oops. Left them with the whip hand after the war.

    ***

    What all of this has to do with environmental policy, however, I don't know. If human contributions to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are the primary drivers of global warming, we're in a lot of trouble. If not, we're panicking like we have on a number of other issues over the past few decades, and current discourse is going to look silly in a couple of decades.

    As for global agreements on this, it seems reasonable to cut developing countries' economies a break. On the other hand, it seems silly to provide them with no limits whatsoever if the developed countries are given hard limits.

    Canada is a bit player in this debate.

    By Blogger Ben, at 12:47 PM  

  • For what it's worth, I think there's an argument to be made that Chamberlain's appeasement wasn't an awful policy decision. Britain was dramatically building up its military at this time and they benefited from the extra year as much as the Germans did. The real problem was letting them build up to the point where they could invade Czechkoslovakia.

    And the fact is, Elizabeth May is a politician now - not an environmentalist. That means she can't say politically stupid things no matter how true they may be.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:08 PM  

  • Oh, and I think she can make her point without using this comparison. There's enough science out there and monetary estimates...if this is like nothing we've faced before why should it be compared to something we've face before?

    The bottom line is, you don't compare things to Nazis. For example, I compared NDP memberships to cocaine in my post - quite cleverly I might add. Had I compared them to a membership in the Nazi party, that would have been a no-no.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:10 PM  

  • Yes but Kyoto has set up this excuse for developing nations that greenhouse emissions are only a developed nation problem.

    Brazil, even though it is financially well off, is indicating that it needs $$$ for it to actually do anything about clearcutting rainforests and managing greenhouse emissions.

    "President of Brazil Lula da Silva said yesterday that richer countries must pay Brazil and other developing economies if they are to save their own tropical forests.

    Today various government officials simply rejected a suggestion by the UN that poorer nations reduce carbon emissions even with a 40-year deadline saying the problem is with the richer countries."

    Kyoto capitulated to the 'it not our problem' sentiment of the developing nations. Now we need to deal with the problem Kyoto has created.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:40 PM  

  • May is an idiot, and any leader that tied himself to her is an idiot. I said that to a friend of mine who has a blog in August when we were camping, and he totally disagreed. I bet he knows he is wrong now. That same friend never gives me a tip of the hat for the emails I send him, which suspiciously end up on his blog, and the content is very similar to the emails that he receives from me. I am going to start calling him Milli Vanilli unless he starts giving me some credit

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM  

  • Imagine what the world would have been like if Martin Luther had said:

    "Hmm.... I'll wait till a few more people nail stuff to church doors first"

    (hint: there'd be a lot more guys in pointy hats running around)

    By Blogger Ivan, at 3:49 PM  

  • So if global warming is like nazism, wouldn't that make the sun "der furher," since, ultimately, the sun is the biggest contributor to global warming. And if that were the case, wouldn't that make spring break Fort Lauderdale like a new age Hitler Youth rally?

    By Anonymous Darren, at 4:42 PM  

  • Part of May's article is blasting Harper for, basically, keeping his word on Kyoto.

    And that's really the bottom line. Harper's anti-Kyoto campaigning was more effective than the pro-Kyoto campaigning of his opponents.

    Maybe part of the reason is because he's not comparing people to Nazis.

    I'm just saying.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 5:47 PM  

  • So. . . Your 'non-agression' pact would be like what?

    Molotov - Ribbentrop? :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:04 AM  

  • "the sun is the biggest contributor to global warming"

    Ah a fan of "The Great Global Warming Swindle" I see. This deniers talking point has been completely debunked, but still they trot it out.

    Published on Wednesday, July 11,2007 by the Guardian/UK

    New Analysis Counters Claims that Solar Activity is Linked to Global Warming

    "The planet’s climate has long fluctuated, say the climate sceptics, and current warming is just part of that natural cycle - the result of variation in the sun’s output and not carbon dioxide emissions.

    But a new analysis of data on the sun’s output in the last 25 years of the 20th century has firmly put the notion to rest. The data shows that even though the sun’s activity has been decreasing since 1985, global temperatures have continued to rise at an accelerating rate"

    By Blogger Ian, at 3:07 AM  

  • So saying that the sun is the biggest contributor to global warming makes me some sort of skeptic. How absurd. The sun IS the biggest contibutor to global warming.
    I agree that there is a trend but I'm just not sure it's anthropomorphic.
    Oh, and since the sun is quite old, drawing a conclusion from 25 years of study would be like determining a trend for you from what you did for the past half-second.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:56 PM  

  • May is wrong. The environment is a primary issue for me as a voter, and I would like to vote Green, but she is clueless and cannot combat environmental harm as a politician. She lacks the needed skills and talent. She should take her trike back to activism and leave the GPC to a real leader.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 3:21 PM  

  • Remind me again...

    How does the earth get heated?

    Through Terrestrial Radiation. Which occurs when the sun heats the earth. Heat rises. Held in atmosphere.

    That's atmospheric science in a nutshell. Wonder what would happen if we took the sun out of the equation:

    Through terrestrial radiation. Which occurs when nothing heats the earth. Heat not generated, don't rise. Not held in atmosphere cause there is no heat. Welcome to icebox 14.

    By Blogger Ivan, at 4:55 PM  

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