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

Monday, December 02, 2013

Good Intentions

One of the fascinating things about progressive programs, policies, and even ideas is that they often begin with the best of intentions but then devolve into a quasi-religeous system of counterfactual "beliefs" that often devolve still further into fantasy. This is probably okay on a personal level, but it becomes counterproductive and sometimes even dangerous when it is elevated to public policy.

Consider the quasi-religious belief initially popularized by that great scientist Al Gore, and warmly embraced by Barack Obama and his many progressive supporters, that climate change (used to be called "global warming" until warming stopped about 17 years ago) would result in the flooding of the coastal plain due to the diminution of sea ice as well as other catastrophies, all attributable to CO2.

Progressives believe this fervently and bridle when facts get in the way. For example, UK's Daily Mail follows up on a well reported claim by the BBC that arctic sea ice would vanish by 2013:
A chilly Arctic summer has left 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 29 per cent ...

Some eminent scientists now believe the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century – a process that would expose computer forecasts of imminent catastrophic warming as dangerously misleading.

The disclosure comes 11 months after The Mail on Sunday triggered intense political and scientific debate by revealing that global warming has ‘paused’ since the beginning of 1997 – an event that the computer models used by climate experts failed to predict.

In March, this newspaper further revealed that temperatures are about to drop below the level that the models forecast with ‘90 per cent certainty’.

The pause – which has now been accepted as real by every major climate research centre – is important, because the models’ predictions of ever-increasing global temperatures have made many of the world’s economies divert billions of pounds into ‘green’ measures to counter climate change.
Ahhh. There's the problem. It isn't the quasi-religious belief system that gets individuals into trouble, it's when that belief system becomes part of national policy proposed by uninformed or deeply ideological politicians. Barack Obama's attempts at cap-and-trade legislation are an example, but they have so far been thwarted by his own party.

As we watch the Obamacare debacle unfold, we see the same thing. It's reasonable to argue that what began with good intentions has now devolved into a quasi-religeous system of counterfactual "beliefs" that have now devolved still further into fantasy and very bad public policy. The Left insists that our pre-Obamacare system of healthcare was deeply flawed, that most health policies were "substandard," and that 50 million people were uninsured. Although there are slivers of truth in these claims, these problems did not require 2,300 pages of flawed legislation demanding a big government solution that is both intrusive, ineffective, and counter-productive.

Good intentions are laudable. Good intentions that lead to bad policy and catastrophic results are not.