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"Kentucky farmer" spotted in Montana

This site's 14 billion regular subscribers know the Kentucky Farmer as one of the types of people whose habits of mind feature cognitive dualism--the tendency to adopt one set of action-enabling beliefs in one setting and another, opposing set of action-enabling beliefs in another. For Kentucky Farmer, this style of reasoning helps him to maintain his membership in a cultural group for whom climate-change skepticism is identity-defining while also using scientific information on climate change to be a good farmer.

Well, he was cited recently, not in Kentucky but in Montana.  The reporter for a story on the detrimental impact of climate change on barley farming is the one who spotted him:

In the field, looking at his withering crop, Somerfeld was unequivocal about the cause of his damaged crop – “climate change.” But back at the bar, with his friends, his language changed. He dropped those taboo words in favor of “erratic weather” and “drier, hotter summers” – a not-uncommon conversational tactic in farm country these days.

Great #scicomm by Ari LeVaux, the reporter.

But of course this form of information processing remains tinged with mystery.

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Reader Comments (11)

Dan - there's no mystery to it. Even farmers know that Kentucky, Montana, and surrounding lands were covered by giant slabs of ice not too long ago, geologically speaking, and that therefore the climate has changed and will keep changing.

On another thread I posted a link to Steven Pinker on the alt-right >
> which explains the problem exactly.

But instead of the commonsense construct everyone can grasp, PC speech has added "anthropogenic" and "measured by CO2" to the plain "climate change" and decreed that "you must all freeze in the dark and eat worms unless you contribute all your current income to subsidies for windmills and solar panels".

"Take a hike, sister" is probably what the Montana farmer thought of the journalist but was probably too polite to say.

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

@Ecoute-- perhaps. But the farmer uses varying langaugae & related attitudes across settings. If you were right, there'd be no need for that ... no?

January 11, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Droughts killing the beer necessities? Another reason for Repubs to pray for rain:

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Dan - as I said, the man is trying to be polite! Even farmers do that :)

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

But help is at hand for any farmers who may be in difficulties. See if you can guess who said this earlier this week:

In every decision we make, we are honoring America’s PROUD FARMING LEGACY. Years of crushing taxes, crippling regs, & corrupt politics left our communities hurting, our economy stagnant, & millions of hardworking Americans COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN. But they are not forgotten ANYMORE!

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Matthews

Counterfactual arguments are easy to make, but to be valid require a high bar of evidence.

As for Pinker's counterfactual, arguing that the extremism of the alt-right is because innocents are victimized by leftwing political correctness....

He flies right by how he has determined what can and "can't" be said on college campuses (mischaracterizing what Somers "couldn't" say in the process), to confidently present, evidence-free theories on a backfire effect. Too bad that he stoops to cheap rhetorical tricks.

I wonder how he might explain the mechanics of political correctness of the "War on Christmas" trope, where we "can't" say happy holidays? Or better yet...

Would the threats of violence be explained by naive innocents who have been protected against hearing about the facts of white supremacy?

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Paul -

Here's more help. Maybe if the farmers watch this they can gain some perspective on how fear-mongering from authoritarians can prove counterproductive.

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


Liked that last Pinker vid, although, being a boomer myself, I didn't appreciate his obvious overstep there. Some of us oldie progs like progress! Except for robots, and cat videos - unless, of course, both can be shown to reduce global poverty and increase human flourishing among disadvantaged groups.

BTW - in honor of today's game, I think we should refer to such an overstep transgression as a Brexitstep.

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

For supporting evidence Pinker is correct that the PC hysterics are destroying their own cause, read news:

1. A judge in California trying to uphold DACA is, per legal scholars of all political persuasions, likely to get overturned not only by the Supreme Court, if this gets that far, but by his own brothers and sisters on the 9th Circuit. From The Economist:

"...Josh Blackman, a conservative law professor at the South Texas College of Law, says the ruling is “ludicrous” and constitutes “an amateur act of punditry”. Mr Blackman cannot recall “any decision where a court has ordered a president to exercise discretionary authority he has deemed unconstitutional”.

Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School agrees. While “admirable” as an effort to protect dreamers, Mr Feldman writes, the federal judge’s ruling “can’t be correct”. “If President Barack Obama had the legal authority to use his discretion to create DACA in the first place”, Mr Feldman reasons, “Mr Trump must have the legal authority to reverse DACA on the ground that he considers it to have exceeded Mr Obama’s powers.” It is “cute” for Judge Alsup to cite a tweet from Mr Trump frowning on “throw[ing] out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military” to show that the president “publicly favours the very programme the agency has ended”—but this is neither here nor there, Mr Feldman writes..........."

2. And speaking of tweets, there is another ongoing Twitter debacle involving underground videos from Project Veritas >
> which - in addition to past scandals involving Google and Facebook - has prompted an alt-right candidate for office, Paul Nehlen, to introduce an anti-censorship proposal which may eventually make its way into law whether Nehlen gets elected to the House seat (Paul Ryan's) he's running for or not:

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

P.S. to spot the "progressive" in above legal excerpts, note his references to "PRESIDENT Barack Obama" and to "MR Trump".

NB capitalization added.

You can't make the stuff up!

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Jonathan *

I didn't appreciate his obvious overstep there.

Unfortunately, IMO, to see that kind of sloppiness from someone like him - although it was odd that he never actually got to discussing that headline point in the clip. What is it with him and Haidt that has them going over the top so much? Is that a new phenomenon? I disagreed with Pinker on much for many years, but always respected his argumentation. Has he gotten sloppier, or have I become more "motivated" and thus more defensive about his arguments?

I'm guessing you saw this?

Almost softens my hatred if the Celtics (not sure if I mentioned - due to living in the Boston area for many years they were once my 2nd team - despite that adopting a rival as your 2nd team is a clear "violation" of philly fan etiquette. But the "beat LA" chant goes in the hall of fame for class acts by fans, and I had to admire the way the Celtics played the game - once I moved to the area).

This was almost too much to handle:

January 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

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