Paul Krugman: The Republican Party may end up destroying human civilization

Donald Trump is just "an ordinary Republican," and that's bad for the U.S. going forward

Published September 12, 2017 10:35AM (EDT)

Paul Krugman                              (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)
Paul Krugman (Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

Despite what the New York Times might have you believe, Trump is not an independent in spirit but a Republican through and through. The proof is in his comfort with white supremacists, his thirst for cutting taxes for the rich, and as Paul Krugman writes in his Monday column, his denial of climate change.

"Denying science while attacking scientists as politically motivated and venal is standard operating procedure on the American right," he explains. "When Donald Trump declared climate change a 'hoax,' he was just being an ordinary Republican."

While Hurricane Irma battered much of the Caribbean, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt claimed that tying the hurricane to climate change would be "insensitive" to the people of Florida. What would really have been sensitive to Floridians was cutting CO2 emissions years ago, or at the least not rolling back Obama-era regulations that attempted to stem their damage. By hiring Pruitt, Trump made it clear that corporations, not the safety of the planet, and certainly not the people who put him in power, are his true base.

But ultimately Pruitt, Trump and even Rush Limbaugh, who called Irma a "liberal hoax," are only a fraction of the problem. Krugman continues: "Almost every senior figure in the Trump administration dealing with the environment or energy is both an establishment Republican and a denier of climate change and of scientific evidence in general."

Trump's election has made these scientists' jobs that much harder. Liberals like to comfort themselves with the idea that Trump isn't getting anything done, but his administration has had a lot of success "systematically purging climate science and climate scientists wherever it can."

Never-Trumpers and liberals alike also enjoy conjuring a fantasy of a goldern age of principled conservatives, who would stand up for science, and more broadly for fairness and reason. Krugman is tired of hearing about it.

"That golden age never existed," he writes. In fact, "Surveys show a steady decline in conservatives’ trust in science since the 1970s, which is clearly politically motivated — it’s not as if science has stopped working."

This denial has already helped level the island of Barbuda, and is well on its way to doing the same in Florida. It may, Krugman warns, "end up destroying civilization."

Read the entire column.

By Ilana Novick

MORE FROM Ilana Novick

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Alternet Climate Change Climate Deniers Donald Trump Hurricane Irma Paul Krugman Republican Party