Do conservatives want to get the facts right, or do they think it is more important to irritate liberals? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard conservatives say that they enjoy “making liberals heads explode.” The fastest, easiest, most efficient way for a conservative speaker to irritate liberals is to say stupid things. This drives liberals nuts. Liberals can't stand it.
This mentality led Donald Trump to give the Green New Deal an interesting twist. In his recent speech to Turning Point USA, a group of conservative young adults, Trump spent several minutes attacking wind power. His criticisms were seriously idiotic. The crowd loved them. The more ridiculous Trump’s comments became, the more the crowd cheered. Why? What was his point? Because I guarantee you that he had a point, even though his point evaded reality. The Green New Deal and alternative energy irritate conservatives, and President Donald Trump was happy to troll the liberals about them.
Trump began his attack against the Green New Deal by insulting a senator from Hawaii, presumably Mazie Hirono, claiming that the Green New Deal would prevent her from traveling on airplanes. This is, of course, not true, since the Green New Deal only calls for using alternative energy sources for transportation “as much as is technologically feasible,” not for getting rid of airplanes.
But let’s move on to Trump and wind power. In a rambling, incoherent paragraph, Trump said:
“We’ll have an economy based on wind. I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know. It’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything — right?”
Trump was wrong that wind turbines are mostly manufactured overseas; the United States Geological Survey reports that “Wind turbine towers are 70-90% domestically sourced, blade and hub components are 50-70% domestic, and nacelle assemblies are over 85% domestically sourced. However, many internal parts such as pitch and yaw systems, bearings, bolts, and controllers are typically imported.” Furthermore, it’s hard to say what Trump was talking about when he said that the manufacturing process was “spewing” pollution into the air.
Trump complained that he had seen ugly windmill farms. (I live in South Texas, which is a center for both wind energy and oil, and there are several large wind farms not far from my home. Most of them are in isolated areas of mesquite tree fields. I did once see some ugly windmills in the Pennsylvania mountains.)
An audience member yelled out: “Because they’re idiots!”
Trump laughed and responded, “This is a conservative group, Dan. (Applause.) No, but it’s true. Am I right? (Applause.)”
So, why does Trump say such ridiculous things? Is his whole point to irritate liberals? For Trump then said:
“AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
“THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Now, if you want to drive them crazy go, ‘16 more years.’ (Applause.) ‘Sixteen more years.’”
It was not Trump’s point that he could really serve for 16 years. No, it was his point that he could “drive them crazy.” That, not sound national policy, seems like the true goal.
Think of it this way. The basic response that liberals, professors, and mainstream media pundits make to Trump and his supporters is to point out that they have their facts wrong, that they are uninformed, and that they are vulnerable to conspiracy theories. Conservatives could respond by getting get in touch with reality. But if they don’t want to do that, trolling liberals gives them a much easier tactic. Learning about scientific facts takes a few minutes of research. In contrast, it’s so easy to make nonsense up out of thin air. So, Trump uttered a bunch of rambling falsehoods about wind power and the Green New Deal, and his audience, overjoyed, played along. It worked, of course. Mainstream media outlets, even the conservative The Hill, highlighted Trump's absurd comments. Mission accomplished!
No one likes to be criticized. If you don’t want to admit that you’re wrong, and conservatives (like the rest of fallen humanity) often don’t, trolling liberals could be the next best thing. Since conservatives (I apologize for saying so) are wrong most of the time, I’m sure they get tired of being criticized. So . . .
Truth is not the point. Fact-checking is not the point. What is the point? Conservatives don’t like change. That’s why they are conservatives. Which gives them the quicker, easier response: to do some research and admit that they are wrong? Or to troll liberals? I think Trump’s speech gave us the answer.
P. S.: A number of Trump's comments about the Green New Deal echoed equally ridiculous statements from Senator Mike Lee's Green New Deal speech, in which Lee said that Hawaiians would have to ride seahorses to cross the ocean. On the one hand, I'm sure that, deep inside, no one is stupid enough to believe such nonsense. On the other hand, people seem to be proud to say it.