Link to an article by Christine MacDonald:
This article was published on the magazine In These Times’ web site. The publication is populist, meaning that it constantly strives to demonize its political opponents and construct an enemy. Aside from that, what the article explains about climate change deniers is that they are engaged in what Jacques Lacan called “university discourse” in order to defend a particular social structure. Bruce Fink explained this concept of “university discourse” in his book The Lacanian Subject (1995):
“the university is an arm of capitalist production (or of the ‘military-industrial complex,’ as it was called . . . ), suggesting that the truth hidden behind the university discourse is, after all, the master signifier. Knowledge here interrogates surplus value (the product of capitalist economies, which takes the form of a loss or subtraction of value from the worker) and rationalizes or justifies it.” (p. 132).
“Working in the service of the master signifier, more or less any kind of argument will do, as long as it takes on the guise of reason and rationality.” (p. 133).
“What counts today is not the spectacular effects but the solid facades, respectability. What was earlier called swindle today is called expert advice. *** Today, without an academic education one cannot even become a swindler anymore.” (p. 488).
Populists generally avoid getting into these issues, because to do so would tend to reveal the large degree of agreement between them and the political far right. But this article is still a good example of how the right doesn’t care about making “good” arguments as long as they serve their desired (if unstated) social arrangement.