Real Change You Can Believe In

I just finally got around to reading Michael Chrichton’s “State Of Fear,” and it was… interesting. As a novel, it’s pretty much a failure. But as a political/scientific work, it’s very compelling.

The last time I read a work of fiction that was so thoroughly researched, footnoted, and documented, it was Larry Beinart’s “American Hero.” That book — which postulated (in the guise of fiction) that the first President Bush had conspired with Saddam Hussein to arrange the first Gulf War — was a bit of a better read, but not quite as compelling as political theory.

In Chrichton’s book (I really can’t call it a “novel”), he brings his scientifically-trained mind to the environmental movement — and finds nearly every single argument of theirs lacking credibility. He does this mainly through repeated straw-man arguments, where he puts the statements and positions of most of those most concerned with global warming climate change in the mouths of well-meaning idiots, then has his proxies utterly demolish them. The repetition gets a bit tedious after about the seventeenth iteration, but even that is significant — each time he finds a new aspect, a new argument, a new position, a new bit of “evidence” that he shreds in a different way.

The essential point he made when he wrote it is the same one I’d made independently a while ago: the core principle of the climate change movement is utterly, completely, irredeemably, fatally flawed.

Yes, the earth’s climate is changing. But guess what? It’s always been changing, and always will be changing. THERE IS NO “BALANCE OF NATURE.” There is no magic equilibrium point that we are moving away from as we tilt ourselves towards extinction.

The history of the earth’s climate is one of instability, of change, of progression and regression. We have eras of warmer and colder climes. Of flood and drought.

What is the “natural” state of the earth? Here’s a way to model it. Take the state of California and toss it into a blender. (Hmm. I think I like that idea.) Put it on puree for five minutes, then take out a piece. You might get desert. Or you might get mountains. Or seashore. Or farmland. Or forests. Or verdant valleys. Or a piece of a glacier. Maybe a bit of a lake.

To declare that the earth’s climate is changing largely in response to man’s actions is the height of arrogance, and to demand that we devote so much of our energies and resources into “addressing” this concerns is the sheerest of follies. We would make King Canute standing at the shores of the ocean, commanding the tide to turn back seem humble.

The odd part is that the environmentalists, at their core, have it right. We SHOULD work to minimize our “footprint” (and not just carbon) we place on the world. We SHOULD improve our energy efficiency, across the board. We SHOULD cut down on the pollutants we inflict on the world.

But not because it will cause some global catastrophe. But because it simply is inefficient, it is wasteful, it is foolish, and it is wrong.

These things should be incremental, though. Done through manageable methods, with reasonable, achievable goals.

That’s not what we have today. Today’s “environmentalists” are, in essence, religious zealots who, in their divine fervor, decry the “heretics.” They are not that far removed from the raving Islamists who talk about “beheading those who insult Islam” — just with a bit more civil veneer.

I’m a bit late to the party, but I’d recommend anyone who’s actually interested in the environment — and not just looking to hop on the bandwagon of “concern” — to take a look at Chrichton’s book. (I still can’t call it a “novel.”) Skim over the plot, and look at the point where Chrichton actually looks at the environmentalists’ arguments, research, documents, and whatnot with a critical eye — and see how lacking it truly is. And especially look at the examples he cites where the environmentalists got their way, and put their theories into practice.

It ain’t pretty. But it’s true.

No brainer
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