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

Thursday, September 08, 2011

True Believers

Today’s New York Times makes still another tedious plea for humans to save the planet. Taking a de rigor swipe at the GOP presidential contenders, the editors write:
The Republican presidential contenders regard global warming as a hoax or, at best, underplay its importance. The most vocal denier is Rick Perry, the Texas governor and longtime friend of the oil industry, who insists that climate change is an unproven theory created by “a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”

Never mind that nearly all the world’s scientists regard global warming as a serious threat to the planet, with human activities like the burning of fossil fuels a major cause. Never mind that multiple investigations have found no evidence of scientific manipulation. Never mind that America needs a national policy. Mr. Perry has a big soapbox, and what he says, however fallacious, reaches a bigger audience than any scientist can command.

Either the editors of the Times are woefully ignorant of: (1) the many scientific studies that bring current climate models into question; (2) the competing and equally compelling theories that question whether CO2 is a driving factor for warming; (3) the irrefutable fact that warming has slowed to negligible amounts over the past 20 years, and (4) the major scientific scandal that brings much of the true believers “scientific” data into question, or they are themselves true believers who will not question the catechism of the climate change religion.

There’s very little question that the latter explanation better explains their hysterical claims and ad hominem accusations of denial.

Walter Russell Mead presents a reasoned counterpoint:
While there are plenty of individual greens who are cautious in their policy advice and responsible in their use of evidence, the movement as a whole is driven by emotion. Most greens are not Vulcans, dispassionately calculating the best course of action by the dictates of reason. They are angry, frightened, committed true believers on a mission from Gaia, and many have a deep view that capitalism itself is a kind of cancer — uncontrolled growth that will sooner or later kill us all. (Sherri Tepper’s science fiction in which life-affirming, grounded, caring ecologically minded people frequently of the female persuasion overcome various male/science/capitalist/cancerous growth affirming death cults on planets around the galaxy portrays this core mindset pretty well.)

This is religion, not science, romanticism not reason. Add to that significant economic interests in subsidized industries (alternative power generation, ethanol, firms hoping to benefit from carbon trading) and one sees that the green movement as a whole is driven by anything but disinterested regard for the fruit of scientific research.

The simple fact is that despite the anger of Al Gore or the politically motivated rantings of the Times editorial board, the science is far, far from settled. It would be irresponsible to establish major public policy decisions when we have only hypotheses, not irrefutable scientific fact. Even the President, who is a true believer, rejected the latest EPA climate change mandates as job killers. He did this because of politics, but at the end of the day, he did the right thing for the wrong reason.

The Left, despite its moral preening, has no monopoly on its desire for a clean and safe environment. The difference is that green true believers are perfectly willing to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Doing the wrong thing won’t solve the problem, and worse, it will create unintended side affects that may very well hurt us all.