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The Audacity of Nope: The GOP channels Groucho Marx, “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”

By Joe Romm  

"The Audacity of Nope: The GOP channels Groucho Marx, “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”"


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The lead story in the WashPost today is “GOP Focuses Effort To Kill Health-Care Bills.”  But really, the story could be about climate and clean energy (see “Hill conservatives reject all 3 climate strategies and embrace Rush Limbaugh“) — or anything else.

The article notes, “William Kristol, editor of the conservative magazine the Weekly Standard, implored Republicans to ‘go for the kill.’ ”

The GOP reminds me of Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers — though more Groucho than Marx brother, I’m afraid:

I don’t know what they have to say,
It makes no difference anyway,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I’m against it.

Your proposition may be good,
But let’s have one thing understood,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it.

I’m opposed to it,
On general principle, I’m opposed to it….

It is a certainly a consistent philosophy, if ultimately self-destructive.

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3 Responses to The Audacity of Nope: The GOP channels Groucho Marx, “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”

  1. Marxists ! I knew it!

  2. Jeff Huggins says:

    Great clip. Bravo. Thanks Joe.

    This is very related to the observation that the typical arguments against addressing climate change have no legs to stand on.

    It’s very hard to credibly argue that religious values or “human rights” arguments would support an argument against addressing climate change, when the Pope (see his latest Encyclical), the Dalai Lama, and etc. claim that we SHOULD protect and preserve the environment AND the living conditions of future generations.

    It’s very hard to credibly argue against the science of the matter when all of the large bona fide scientific organizations say climate change is real and a big problem. For example, check out the Position Statement on Global Climate Change of the American Chemical Society, which claims to be the largest society of scientists in the world. It can be found in the “policy” section on the ACS’s website.

    It’s very hard to credibly argue, from a market/economics standpoint, that a completely free and unregulated marketplace will effectively address the problem, on its own, without carbon (or carbon dioxide) having a price attached, because such an argument is flatly contradictory to basic economics. One can’t expect a free and entirely unregulated marketplace to consider factors, or lead to outcomes that are responsible, unless (at a minimum) all the key factors are suitably reflected in costs and prices. The (current) fact that putting CO2 into the atmosphere is “free”, monetarily speaking, means that free and unregulated markets won’t take that matter seriously, or address climate change, without the appropriate influence of human conscience and related intervention.

    And, it’s very hard to argue (and indeed embarrassing, I would think, to argue) that sticking with oil and coal, and not addressing climate change, would be “more American” than facing and addressing the problem. I hope I don’t have to explain the reasons. But, among many other factors, one might consider: Most of the world’s oil is outside the U.S. Most of ExxonMobil’s operations (to pick one example) are outside the U.S. Most of the money used to buy oil itself goes outside the U.S. Other industries in the U.S. employ far more people than the oil industry, and the renewable energy industries would employ far more people. And, sticking with oil and coal is about the LEAST high-tech approach one could imagine, other than perhaps burning firewood on open fires. And of course, a great deal of the money we spend buying gasoline goes to people (some terrorists, some leaders, etc.) who don’t like us much at the present time.

    So, the “don’t address the problem” crowd really has no solid legs on which to stand. This should be pointed out, loud and clear. And, what’s odd is that many people arguing for not addressing the problem claim to come from standpoints that are informed by deep religious values, human values, and an informed understanding of free markets. But how can that be, given the points I’ve listed above (as well as others)?

    We need to get to the BOTTOM of these “arguments”, soon. This “contrarian” stuff is not healthy, not reasonable, and downright harmful. It’s time to expose hypocrisy and downright faulty arguments. It’s time to point out more clearly those “emperors” who don’t have clothes.

    Be Well,

    Jeff Huggins
    U.C. Berkeley, chemical engineering, class of 1981
    Chevron Corporation, 1981-84
    Harvard Business School, class of 1986, Baker Scholar
    McKinsey and Company, 1986-90
    Concerned parent and citizen
    Had enough with BS

  3. “It is certainly a consistent philosophy”

    I cannot help but think of Emerson here:
    A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,
    adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.