Moon*walk. Verb. 1.To retreat to the numerical half of a two-placed empirical / political proposition. 2. To pretend that the truth / falsity (verifiability / unverifiability) of the empirical claim implicitly proves / disproves the political claim. After Michael Jackson’s stylized backwards dance move of the mid-1980s.
It’s a fascinating quirk of liberal psychology, this insistence that “the facts have a liberal bias.” And that right there should tell you how untenable this position is, since the words “liberal” and “bias” are both subjective and facts are objective, i.e. true no matter how one happens to feel about them. But hey, it’s the rare battle cry that appeals to logic, and “the facts have a liberal bias” isn’t the worst slogan to have ever rallied troops. But it does lead to some interesting, and eminently mockable, verbal tics.
Like moonwalking. Liberals have this tendency to present their policy prescriptions as if they were the only possible outcomes of hard science and cold logic. This allows them to tar their political opponents as anti-science, on par with gap-toothed creationists and the guys who locked up Galileo. If they get called on their political bullshit, they simply retreat to their factual — or, at least, empirical-sounding — claim. As here, from the Thread that Wouldn’t Die:
Severian: Lest anyone be tempted to miss the point yet again — and if my ridiculously over-the-top satire weren’t enough to convey this — “science,” properly understood, cannot be used to make moral / ethical / political prescriptions, because it deals with phenomena too large and complex to be boiled down to simple, point-to-point programs.
Science doesn’t make moral prescriptions. However, as humans are warming the globe, and this warming will cause disruption of agriculture, inundation and salinization of arable lands, increased desertification, mass extinction, human migration with its attendant political destablization, and as this is avoidable, most people would combine these scientific findings with their personal morality to try and find solutions, especially as those solutions are readily available, and have many other salubrious effects. But that’s just ourselves. We happen to be rather fond of the little apes you call humans. Call it a peccadillo.
Note the little maudochromatic flourish at the end for effect. Charming, no? It’s a nice illustration of how all the left’s bullying tactics bleed into each other. But it’s an even better illustration of moonwalking, since the mooted political outcome (world climate cops, basically) relies so heavily on the purported scientific claim (Global Weather). Wading through the verbiage, you find endless assertions that this or that will happen — it’s science! — coupled with endless insinutations that only someone colossally, willfully ignorant of basic science could fail to support the politics. When the politics are questioned, you’re invited, and then commanded, to look at the “scientific” evidence.
As if worldwide human behavior can be logically predicted, let alone mandated, from a set of (quite possibly false) air temperature readings.
Moonwalking is a two-step dance, though, and they’ve got another trick up their sleeves. Here’s my second-favorite liberal, Ed Darrell, doing what he does second-best:
Yeah, Steve Goddard laughed, too. He made it a point to try to ridicule James Hansen for saying the water would ever flood the West Side Highway, even with a passing rogue wave.
Then Sandy flooded the West Side Highway with a surge, and left it under water for a while. Sandy beat Hansen’s prediction by a good decade, too, making Goddard’s denials all the more silly, and mean-spirited.
The context here, again, is Global Weather, but it could be anything. See, Steve Goddard missed a prediction. Which means he’s wrong wrong WRONG!. About everything. This is why liberals make such lousy statisticians. Note too the word “denials.” This makes it sound — as it was intended to make it sound — that Goddard claimed the West Side highway Highway could never flood. No matter what. Obviously the man is a charlatan! We can throw out anything and everything he says henceforth, because the West Side Highway got provably, empirically wet.
One could even make the case that there’s a third step in the moonwalk — the specious appeal to cherrypicked history — but I hesitate to do so, for the sake of the children. What, after all, are we to make of this?
Of all the great civilizations that have existed, almost all were wiped out because of environmental error, or waste, or failure to prepare for the consequences of human change in the environment. Thus the canals that supplied water to the great city in the desert, Babylon, silted in, and the civilization collapsed. The volcanic explosion that caused the tsunami that wiped out Minos literally blasted the civilization into the back pages of history. The salted orchards and fields of Carthage could not hold back the desert (Tunis still pays the price). Silt from the Yellow River has, with too much regularity, caused massive floods that kill hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands. Lead leaching from the wine vessels of the Romans made them stupid, and the Goths didn’t suffer from that problem. Etc., etc.
Etc. indeed. Not only are these wrong — one might consult Cyrus of Persia, for example, on the matter of those “silted in” Babylonian canals — but they’re so obviously cherrypicked they serve as their own counterargument. Unless “conquistadors” are the environmental event that undid the Aztecs, for instance; “Alexander the Great” the Global Warming of his day; and so forth. And did you notice that he somehow seems to claim the Thera explosion was man-caused? He’s trying to moonwalk back to history, but his Michael Jackson impersonation is even less convincing than that fat white mental patient from The Simpsons.
Isn’t it about time we retired this fad, too?
[UPDATE: Right on cue. I swear, you cannot make this shit up.
But you’re right: It’s difficult to tell with climate denialists where their odd reality ends and parody begins. Just like creationists and fundamentalists.