Friday, April 6, 2007

Climate Chutzpah

I had really thought of giving this week's chutzpah award to the Iranian government for giving gift bags to the British hostages before releasing them, but I decided that the handling of the United Nations climate report deserved more attention. After all, how often do we see China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States joined together in opposition to the most comprehensive scientific analysis of global warming yet prepared? I realize this may be righteous indignation on my part, but there just seemed to be something particularly egregious about China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia objecting to a conclusion in the executive summary that the poor will suffer the most from global warming. On the other side of the coin, the BBC has been providing some excellent footage on television to support this particular plight of the poor. (United States objections were less of a surprise, since they were entirely consistent with White House policy.) This sort of attitude towards the poor demonstrates the extent to which the United States has global sympathy, if not support, for the sort of callousness it demonstrated in the wake of Katrina (or, more recently, the arrest of Eric Montanez by the Orlando police for serving, in the words of his arrest warrant "30 unidentified persons food from a large pot utilizing a ladle"). The bottom line seems to be that those who are now feasting most from the economic pie also care the least about those who are lucky to pick up the few crumbs that fall from the table. Calling this cruelty may, in the abstractions of philosophy and social theory, may reflect a cultural bias; but, if ridicule is still one of our best weapons, the least we can do is affix the chutzpah label! These four countries can then argue amongst themselves about how to divide up the label, since they appear to have nothing better to do with their time and policy-making.

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