“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” – Samuel Johnson
Yes, and climate alarmism is the new patriotism. As I write this, the most powerful man on Earth, Barack Obama, dogged by a series of history-tarnishing scandals, is choosing this moment to get serious about climate change.
And, sad to say, it is working. He is successfully skating off the thin political ice on which he finds himself.
Obama, who knows next to nothing about climate himself (something that is true of 97 percent of politicians), will, like any good Aztec priest, invoke calamitous weather as he demands the sacrifices of his fellow-citizens. Presiding over a country like the United States is a bonanza for anyone who desires to manipulate the masses using the bogeyman of weather. Why?
- Ours is a big country, with a lot of geographic variability. The likelihood, in any given 5-year timespan, of there being a drought somewhere in the nation is basically 100 percent. The likelihood, likewise, of there being flooding, tornadoes, hurricane landfalls, massive forest fires, blizzards, and heat waves is, you guessed it: nearly 100 percent. So, as a politician, if I am going to rely on “extreme” weather as my rhetorical ammo as I battle people who oppose me, I can rest assured that my ammo will be replenished indefinitely. It’s a fantasy.
- Most people living in our age have absolutely no idea what normal is when it comes to any of these events. They get their weather and environment information from flat screens that capture dramatic scenes of nature’s wrath beautifully, but historic context less so. A lot less so. Show them flood waters tearing apart a beautiful downtown somewhere in America’s heartland, tell them that it’s related to climate change, and they’ll simply file it in the “we’re going to Hell in a hand basket” folder and vote for the next person who tells them they’re going to “do something” about “climate change.”
- If the public knows next to nothing about the underlying normalcy of extreme weather events in the United States, it knows even less about the larger context of climate shifts. I’ve asked dozens of highly educated people, randomly, how the current global mean temperature compares to that from other periods in the not-too-distant past. The most intelligent response I’ve gotten so far: A blank stare. If I had the ability to talk Obama himself into plotting Earth’s temperature history, including the present moment, on a graph, I’d do it in a heartbeat. You think he’s a little unsteady speaking without a teleprompter? Watch him plot temperature from his own mental understanding of it. And yet he is in the process of attempting to change his nation’s economic system – and that of the wider world – because the temperature is unacceptable to him. Logical? Not exactly.
But retooling our economy, even if based on false evidence appearing real, has no victims, some will protest. Unfortunately, that is not quite true. There have already been victims of this effort to disconnect humanity from conventional power production, and by victims I don’t mean people who had their feelings hurt. I mean people who are dead, buried in the ground, who, unable to afford sufficient heat, died of exposure in their own homes. And those are the terms of this debate. One side, citing “extreme” weather, accidentally freezing people to death via more expensive energy, and the other, my side, pointing to climate history and asking for some temperance in the rush away from modernity. As you read this book, and as you think about other commentators on climate, ask yourself this question: Which side more resembles the Aztecs?