March 20, 2012

Something I don't understand

I always try to make sure I keep track of the opposing side of any argument I'm making. In the hydrofracking conversation, that means following the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition and Energy in Depth - Northeast Marcellus Initiative.

Reading those really requires steeling myself, though. It's not that it's taking a shower in cold water - it's more like taking a shower in scalding water. These sites aren't just saying that gas drilling is safe. They routinely write from a right-wing Tea Party perspective, and (especially EID Marcellus) seem to take a special pleasure in scorching their opponents.

I just can't figure how EID Marcellus thinks a brilliant strategy includes random culture war blasts on Ithaca (and the Finger Lakes broadly), arguments that attempt to sound like Friedrich von Hayek, and conspiracy theory 101.

By contrast, the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition folks are a bit tamer, though their Tea Party roots certainly show through frequently.

Why do either of these groups think, though, that pushing gas development with Tea Party culture war arguments is a winning formula in New York State?

There are certainly people here who are all-in for such things. Steuben County (where I grew up) is pretty spectacularly conservative, and I remember articles about the Steuben and Chemung County militias in the days before the Oklahoma City bombing. Operation Rescue's glory days may have been in Wichita, Kansas, but its roots were in Binghamton, NY.

However, New York State, and even New York State Republicans, aren't especially Tea Party. The same Steuben County where I grew up was represented for a very long time by Stan Lundine (D) and Amory Houghton (as liberal an R as existed in recent memory). A lot of people in both major parties here vote the person, not the party, and grew up in an age when Republican meant Jacob Javits and Nelson Rockefeller.

I guess we'll see what happens as the propaganda battles develop, but for the moment I'll settle for being mystified by the gas industry's not just finding support from the far right, but for its strange strategy of adopting their arguments as their own.

Posted by simon at March 20, 2012 12:14 PM in ,
Note on photos


YB said:

The gas drilling debate mirrors the political discourse of our time which is to defend your position and attack/ridicule all opposing views. Evolving, growing, evaluating, rethinking etc. are considered a sign of weakness. Many people that fall into this are angry, distrusting, have a narrow view of the world and take everything to heart. The political icons they so admire are manipulating their anger.