Noam Chomsky gives us a useful reminder of how far conservative ideology has drifted to the right regarding environmental matters:
"The Republican-dominated House of Representatives is now dismantling measures of control over environmental destruction that were instituted by Richard Nixon," he said. "That shows you how far to the right they have gone. Today Nixon would be a flaming radical and Dwight D. Eisenhower would be off the spectrum. Even Ronald Reagan would be on the left somewhere. These are interesting, important things happening in the richest and most powerful country in the world that we should be very much concerned about."
That's from a snippet of a recent interview with New Scientist, where Chomsky explained his take on the rampant climate change denial that has gripped Congress of late:
The success of the 'liberal hoax' meme has been alarmingly successful, as regular readers well know. No longer a fringe conspiracy theory, it is being peddled by prominent presidential candidates and the subject of books by sitting Republican senators. And the tendency of the entire party to embrace, accept, or leave this position unchallenged demonstrates the extent to which the GOP has abandoned a respect for sound science.
The Republican party now has its catechism of things you have to repeat in lockstep, kind of like the old Communist party. One of them is denying climate change ...
It happens that there's a huge propaganda offensive carried out by the major business lobbies, the energy associations, and so on. It's no secret, they're trying to convince people that the science is unreliable, that it's a liberal hoax. Those who want to be funded by business and energy associations and so on might be led into repeating this catechism. Or maybe they actually believe it.
Since that meme stems from a strategy to protect profitable polluting industries, the GOP's eagerness to roll back more conventional environmental protections is therefore unsurprising. But the audaciousness of its rhetoric should nonetheless be surprising. Leading presidential candidates calling for the abolishing of the EPA, a unified party-wide push to give freer reign to polluting industries, and a reckless thirst to drill are all qualities the modern day GOP unabashedly puts forward. Chomsky is right—the modern Republican party is more radically anti-environment than it has been for decades.