Steve Zwick starts his column in Forbes with a great analogy comparing an addict’s mentality to the Democrat overspending that threatens to destroy the most prosperous and free society in the history of civilization:
Every former addict seems to remember the moment he decided to change: maybe he woke up in prison, or in the hospital; or maybe he injured someone, or lost his job. Whatever the cause, something forces him to accept that his actions have consequences, and that those consequences will lead to disaster for him and others if he doesn’t alter his behavior. Then, in the best of cases – and if it’s not too late – he fixes himself.
What? He’s not talking about overspending? Climate change “deniers”, you say? Here we go again….
Remember the great horse manure crisis of the late 19th century and the radical alteration of American society to fix it? Of course not. The problem of horses pooping large quantities in city streets was solved when the automobile came along. A car has its issues, but it’s the best humanity can do at the moment. Rising gas prices are creating the incentive for more efficient modes of transportation, and the best path is to let that necessity be the mother of invention. But for a radical environmental activist like Zwick, the solution is to stop technological innovation and start ‘offsetting.’ Commenting on his own article:
I can’t speak for everyone, but I ride a bike to work or take public transportation and offset my flights and electric — and am not suffering for it. The cost of offsetting is just not that high.
The claim of offsets presupposes some arbitrarily set point of acceptable emissions. Who will be the ‘deniers’ in the debate over what that emissions level is? Let’s drill down a little further. Aren’t we talking about an economy based on carbon credits rather than money, where the “1%” get to fly around in private jets because they can afford to offset their carbon outputs? Changing the currency doesn’t change behavior. Economic reality cannot be suspended for environmental utopianism. The consequences will inevitably emerge.
Next comes the ‘woe is us’ complaint:
Every time someone validates or fine-tunes the science, ten or twelve well-funded and active propagandists pop up to distorting it – usually by twisting the attempts at fine-tuning into “proof” that the models are fundamentally useless, and then launching childish attacks on the scientists themselves.
The insinuation that climate change zealots are outnumbered and outfunded by ‘deniers’ is an absurd proposition. There is no shortage of international governments and government entities self-servingly pushing the climate change agenda. A few ‘well-funded’ opponents are small beans compared to the wealth and power arrayed against them.
It’s not so much the concern over the climate, in and of itself a legitimate thing to have. It’s the sheer arrogance of asserting an absolute binding faith in a supposed truth based on varying degrees of probability and, like it or not, conflicting evidence. I’m convinced, so my version is true, and the world would be better off if everyone who disagreed with me was dead or suffered personal destruction. It’s this uncivil position that is troublesome, not the other debate team’s argument. Zwick’s anger at losing the debate quickly devolves into the following disturbing fantasy:
We know who the active denialists are – not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies. Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn until the innocent are rescued. Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands. Let’s force them to bear the cost of rising food prices.
This rejection of legitimate debate as the one last obstacle preventing the ideal human society is tiresome. Even if we were to stipulate that Mr. Zwick’s position on climate change is correct, that merely begins the next phase of the debate. To imply a logical flow from the acceptance of his climate change position into an economically stifling regime of tyrannical government edicts is not even a fallacy, but a non-sequitur.
As crop failures mount and costs from damages rise, the denial machine will first continue to blame everything on nature, then it will pretend to be reconsidering its position in light of “new” evidence, and finally it will pretend this was all just an honest mistake – oops, sorry.
Wrong. I’ll drive my solar-powered hover-car with premium air conditioning to my house with the hurricane-resistant windows and siding, grabbing some veggies from my personal mini-greenhouse once inside. Because luckily, 50 years earlier in 2012, the likes of Steve Zwick weren’t able to abruptly halt economic activity and stop innovation in its tracks.