The Misogyny of Climate Deniers (?)

The article below draws heavily on work by Chalmers university figures so I was interested to find out a bit about the quality of the thinking of people who think that climate skeptics are nuts.   The article is from TNR so is solidly Leftist.

It starts out with a huge diatribe against critics of Greta Thunberg, the autistic Swedish teenager who has become a sort of oracle to many on the Left.  Conservatives do not at all understand the devotion to Thunberg.  She appears to know nothing about climate science or much else so why has she made such an impression?

The answer is simple.  It is an example of the desperate Leftist search for alternatives to conventional Western wisdom. As part of that search, primitive religions are often glorified by the Left as some sort of alternative revelation to Christianity -- culminating in the risible reverence for the fictional Chief Seattle. Thunberg is just another example of claiming to find  wisdom that is outside conventional sources.

Anyway, the author below, Martin Gelin, is outraged at the mockery his Leftist goddess has attracted from the more rational end of the population and concludes that it can only be explained as the result of "misogyny".  That it might result from her being off her noggin, he does not consider.

I do not reproduce that part of his article below.  I start with his coverage of research from the Chalmers fraternity.

It is pathetic research.  Initially below Gelin refers to a paper by Anshelm and Hultman.  But that paper is based on a content analysis of speech in a focus group.  So what is wrong with that?  Just about everything. I have in my own research career worked with content analysis so know where the skeletons are buried.  The basic truth of content analysis is that it is highly subjective.

You can take all sorts of precautions to impose some degree of objectivity on your analyses but you are always up against the fact that different auditors will hear different things in the speech concerned.  And where the auditors have preconceived notions and theories about what is there, you will almost always confirm those notions and theories.  And since the Chalmers people clearly did have adverse opinions of skeptics, it was foreordained that they would find that skeptics are a bad lot.

Had they been even a pale mockery of scientists, content analysis is exactly the research method the Chalmers crew would have avoided -- on the grounds that their known biases would render their work worthless.  There are research methods -- such as Likert scales -- that are inherently less likely to be biased by  preconceptions and it is those methods which they should have used if they wanted any degree of scientific respectibilty

The second paper our TNR guy refers to is not paper at all.  It is a book chapter and not even an abstract of it is available  online. There is however a review of it here and from the review it would appear to be a work of theory only.

The final paper that our TNR guy refers to is one headed: "Men Resist Green Behavior as Unmanly"

Probably because it is.  It is emotional rather than logical.

Feminists routinely claim that the environment is a feminist issue.  There's a whole Wikipedia article on it.  So for the authors to have shown anything new, they would have to have established that there was no prior polarization between the sexes on environmental issues.  They did not do that, probably because they could not.

But describing something as feminine is a long way from condemning it.  It is a long way from misogyny.  A lot of men really like women.  I am one.

So on all grounds the accusation that climate skeptics are misogynists falls flat for lack of evidence.

In 2014, Jonas Anshelm and Martin Hultman of Chalmers published a paper analyzing the language of a focus group of climate skeptics. The common themes in the group, they said, were striking: “for climate skeptics … it was not the environment that was threatened, it was a certain kind of modern industrial society built and dominated by their form of masculinity.”

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, Hultman told me—an identity they perceive to be under threat from all sides. Besieged, as they see it, both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another.

“There is a package of values and behaviors connected to a form of masculinity that I call ‘industrial breadwinner masculinity.’ They see the world as separated between humans and nature. They believe humans are obliged to use nature and its resources to make products out of them. And they have a risk perception that nature will tolerate all types of waste. It’s a risk perception that doesn’t think of nature as vulnerable and as something that is possible to be destroyed. For them, economic growth is more important than the environment” Hultman told Deutsche Welle last year.

The corollary to this is that climate science, for skeptics, becomes feminized—or viewed as “oppositional to assumed entitlements of masculine primacy,” Hultman and fellow researcher Paul PulĂ© wrote in another paper.

These findings align with similar ones in the United States, where there is a massive gender gap in views on climate change, and many men perceive climate activism as inherently feminine, according to research published in 2017. “In one experiment, participants of both sexes described an individual who brought a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store as more feminine than someone who used a plastic bag—regardless of whether the shopper was a male or female,” marketing professors Aaron R. Brough and James E.B. Wilkie explained at Scientific American. “In another experiment, participants perceived themselves to be more feminine after recalling a time when they did something good versus bad for the environment,” they write.

In the past year, young women such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. and Thunberg in Europe have become the global faces of climate activism, often with tremendous political impact. In the United States, Ocasio-Cortez has helped transform what was once considered a bit of fringe rhetoric—the Green New Deal—into a topic of regular conversation. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in a recent poll, one out of three Germans said that Thunberg has changed their views on climate change.


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