The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


In an article published today, Ben Stein, a conservative writer, actor, economist, and lawyer, writes about the human condition:
… we try to rise above our puniness compared with our problems and pretend that we have solutions and explanations that will take away much of the mystery of life and history and make everything clear. We create models that we think make us appear to be gods.

He goes on to describe how some of these models have resulted in “religions” (e.g., Marxism) that result in massive cruelty. Those who promoted these “religions” tried “to come up with a theory to explain everything and then to use that theory to control [their] fellow man....”

On numerous occasions, I have suggested that the AGW movement is a “religion.” Climate change advocates generally fit the model of earlier proponents of pseudo-religions. In Copenhagen this week, advocates claim impending catastrophe (with only the most tenuous proof) and suggest massive transfers of wealth from rich countries to poor ones. In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the full blessings of the Obama administration, has declared CO2 to be a “dangerous” gas. No matter that the science that the EPA uses as its justification is weak and possibly fraudulent. No matter that heavy CO2 regulation may create economic problems that could have long-lasting effects on our country. No matter that there has been no detailed analysis of the long-term unintended consequences of such regulation.

Stein addresses these issues when he writes:
Karl Marx was a demon sent from hell, but he said a mouthful when he said that "all history is the history of class struggle." Maybe what we are seeing now is class struggle between the academics and bureaucrats and the businesspeople and oil people and utility people. Maybe that's what this recent tomfool notion of declaring CO2, a life-giving gas, a dangerous pollutant is. If the government can have a right to control CO2 emissions, it can control every aspect of life everywhere. This is a recipe for blowing up the Constitution. In the name of a goal which may be unrelated to carbon dioxide emissions, which may not even be a real target, which may be a wholly specious goal, we are considering giving government control over our lives beyond what would have been considered conceivable just a few months ago.

I think Stein’s comments are a bit over the top, but there is a seed of truth in what he says.

In the United States, we try very hard to separate church and state. In the main, we’ve achieved a reasonable balance. But it seems that the climate change church is immune from our constitution, and the canons of the AGW church have been adopted by the Obama administration. These true believers have anointed the EPA as their religious army. Unless we’re very careful, the EPA’s crusade could become a threat in and of itself.

As Stein states:
Surely this breathtaking assault on freedom merits absolutely total certainty by everyone with a microscope that we will all die very soon from carbon dioxide emissions if we do NOT take away freedom. To allow the government this kind of control over our lives, climate change should be an imminent, life and death issue understood as such by everyone.

The true believers do think that “we will all die very soon from carbon dioxide emissions.” The problem is that a more reasoned and far less hysterical view exists. Let’s hope that those of us who hold that view—the heretics—are not burned at the stake.

Update (12/15/09)

Something you probably won’t see in the MSM in the United States. From today’s Times of London discussing Al Gore’s speech in Copenhagen
Mr Gore, speaking at the Copenhagen climate change summit, stated the latest research showed that the Arctic could be completely ice-free in five years.

In his speech, Mr Gore told the conference: “These figures are fresh. Some of the models suggest to Dr [Wieslav] Maslowski that there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.”

However, the climatologist whose work Mr Gore was relying upon dropped the former Vice-President in the water with an icy blast.

“It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at,” Dr Maslowski said. “I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”

Mr Gore’s office later admitted that the 75 per cent figure was one used by Dr Maslowksi as a “ballpark figure” several years ago in a conversation with Mr Gore.

The embarrassing error cast another shadow over the conference after the controversy over the hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, which appeared to suggest that scientists had manipulated data to strengthen their argument that human activities were causing global warming.