Former Vice-President Al Gore, star of the pseudo-documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Oscar for best documentary feature and garnered him a Nobel Peace Prize shared with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, continues beating his hockey sticks on the heads of an American public anxious about its future under multi-headed Hydra called Congress. He is determined to revive his Climategate-damaged credibility and salvage all the money he has invested in alternative energy companies — whose “alternatives” are lower standards of living at higher costs, alternative energy sources dependent on the vagaries of nature (i.e., natural climate change) and the whims of bureaucrats.
On February 28, The New York Times carried his dour, straight-faced op-ed, “We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change,” in which he warns that “climate change” is real, notwithstanding that the whole anthropogenic global-warming thesis has been exposed as a politically-motivated conspiracy to foist false science on the world with doctored temperature numbers, hidden or destroyed evidence contrary to the thesis. Phil Jones and his colleagues at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia also ostracized and rebuffed “skeptics” who questioned or challenged the a priori conclusions Jones and his data manipulators wished to be accepted as truth. Gore’s only concession to the scandal is to admit to merely “two mistakes,” but dismisses them as irrelevant.
It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law. But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes.
Mistakes? Fraud and lies are “mistakes”? The first mistake was the acceptance as iron-bound truth that glaciers were melting as reported by a mountain-climbing magazine — hardly a journal of scientific inquiry. The second “mistake” was climate researchers not wanting to prove their assertions and claims to climate “skeptics” who required such proof. Their willingness to dodge the British freedom of information law indicates an ulterior motive. It was the CRU’s version of taking the Fifth. Poor babies. They were “besieged” by the need to substantiate their claims. But revealing their doctored data would have not only blown their claims out of the water, but exposed them to the charge of being liars, and caused them to be discredited as “scientists.”
But the “stolen” emails reveal a multitude of “mistakes,” not least of which were the attempt to squelch dissent and the stonewalling of outside enquiries. The “mistakes” range from Phil Jones asking his accomplices in fraud to delete data being requested under the British Freedom of Information Act to another accomplice expressing his frustration with forcing the data and numbers to cooperate with the predetermined conclusion that global warming was “actual.”
Gore’s New York Times byline claims he is a “businessman.” That would be correct if businessmen by definition were scam artists and hucksters. But such a definition would comport with the character of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the CRU — which have been exposed as dens of thieves and con-artists. Gore is in the right company.
It would be interesting to examine several of Gore’s main op-ed points.
What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged.
Gore’s reliance on the notion of consensus about global warming is critical to understanding why he continues to believe a lie he has been promoting for a decade. Consensus is nothing more than a number of individuals agreeing that something is true or false. But truth stands apart from human consciousness. It is independent of it. The number of minds that observe it, or call it something else, is irrelevant to its existence. Numbers of minds are not going to change it. As Ayn Rand once succinctly put it, “Fifty million Frenchmen can be as wrong as one.” Yet the vaunted consensus remains “unchanged” despite the beating the thesis has taken from the truth.
Gore comes off sounding like a television evangelist claiming that God exists, is all-merciful, and will forgive you your sins if you only obey him. The evangelist’s audience is composed of stunted minds for whom the proofs that God is a metaphysical impossibility would roll off their frontal lobes like water off a duck. It is the same with Gore’s true believers. They must believe, because they refuse to think and accept the evidence of their senses. These are the people, laymen and “scientists” alike, for whom faith is as trustworthy as certainty. So many people believe in anthropogenic global warming (decades ago it was global cooling); who are they to question such an impressive consensus? It must be true.
Michael Crichton, A.B. Anthropology at Harvard, commented on the historical role of consensus:
Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus…
Gore opened his op-ed with:
It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.
Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.
Yes, the “attacks” do indicate not only that there is no “unimaginable calamity” in store for the planet and human civilization (unless Iran uses nuclear weapons somewhere), but that they are legitimate critiques of junk science. Those attacks are as legitimate and deserving as exposés of junk economics, junk medicine, junk education, and junk multiculturism. That junkyard is more responsible for imperiling human civilization than any amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
And, I do not think Gore would be “relieved” if there were no crisis for him to exploit. His is the archetypical statist mentality that must have a crisis to serve as a platform through which to acquire power. He needs a crisis to justify his existence. He cannot project a single action of his own that would not “influence” others and establish him as a kind of Moses who received the word from God and is ready to lead the unwashed to salvation.
What has resorting to “green technologies” to do with national security? National security is the concern of our military and intelligence agencies. Whose environmental and regulatory policies made the U.S. dependent on a global oil market, specifically, a hostage of OPEC, all of whose members are hostile to this country? The federal government’s and those of a succession of administrations. Whose pragmatic foreign policies have made the Mideast the most unstable region of the world? Again, look to Washington. Aside from the hundreds of billions of dollars sent overseas for OPEC oil, we are sending hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid to prop up hostile regimes. But, according to Gore’s notion of foreign policy, no regime is so hostile that its “friendship” can’t be bought with foreign aid.
What “dwindling reserves” of oil? Studies indicate that the U.S. has more untapped oil off its shores than Saudi Arabia had before the feudalists there “nationalized” American and Western oil fields decades ago — with our own government‘s sanction. And nowhere in his op-ed does Gore advocate the cleanest “alternative” energy yet invented: nuclear power.
Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States.
Just like computer models that cannot reliably project the weather twenty-four hours from now? These are the bane of meteorologists, in academia and on TV. Or computer models fed biased data to produce the “right” numbers? These are much like rigged slot machines. January was not seen as “unusually cold in much of the United States.” It was unusually cold. It’s winter, Al. Some winters are more severe than others. This has been the case for millions of years.
Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.
Note how Gore distinguishes between “climate deniers” and “scientists.” Anyone who disagrees with his assertions and the claims of the warmist tribe cannot be a scientist. He does not mention the hottest decade in recent memory, which was the 1930’s. Nor mention the Medieval Warm Period, something erased from his hockey stick graph and “hidden” in the CRU data. Which “scientists” in a consensus mood have confirmed that the last ten years were the hottest decade? Gore’s link takes one to NASA, implicated in the CRU scandal, and a report that relies on the “findings” of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).
Throughout his op-ed, Gore blames “political paralysis” on governments not acting collectively to “combat” global warming, especially in Washington, a paralysis “now so painfully evident…has thus far prevented action by the Senate — not only on climate and energy, but also on health care reform, financial regulatory reform and a host of other pressing issues.” He introduces a term I had not encountered elsewhere, the “atmospheric commons,” an idea whose root is the socialist/feudal status of land slowly abandoned by the enclosure of private property in Britain before the Industrial Revolution. He continually refers to CO2 as a “pollutant,” forgetting that people every day exhale more “pollutants” than all smokestacks and power plants that ever existed.
In a perfidious instance of concept subversion, Gore advocates what he and others call a “market-based solution” to combat global warming, cap-and-trade. But government-coerced “solutions” are anything but “market-based,” and are no more that than is Social Security, unemployment legislation, or just plain extortion. It is a deliberate misnomer.
What he and his ilk in Washington are advocating is a form of what Ayn Rand, in her novel Atlas Shrugged, described when the purchase and use of Hank Rearden’s new metal were forbidden except by government permission, and the sale and purchase of Taggart railroad bonds were similarly forbidden, both controls spawning black markets, politically connected transactions, and, for the railroad bonds, “a new profession practiced by bright young boys just out of college, who called themselves ‘defreeezers’ and offered their services ‘to help you draft your application in the proper modern terms.’ The boys had friends in Washington.”* As will, in a reality that is emulating the novel, cap-and-trade defreeezers.
Gore not only derogates “climate skeptics” and refuses to call them “scientists,” but peevishly lashes out at other critics and doubters of catastrophic climate change.
Simultaneously, changes in America’s political system — including the replacement of newspapers and magazines by television as the dominant medium of communication — conferred powerful advantages on wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets and weakened advocates of legal and regulatory reforms. Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.
Aside from holding the bizarre notion that newspapers, magazines, and television comprise a part of “America’s political system,” Gore perpetuates the idea that they serve only the “wealthy advocates of unrestrained markets” and help to “weaken advocates of legal and regulatory reforms.” This is Marxism straight-up. The mainstream news media, however, are dominated by editors and news anchors friendly to Gore’s policies and to legal and regulatory reforms. The country’s major newspapers and broadcasting networks indeed act as a “potent drug in the veins of the body politic” — but to Gore’s advantage, whether he knows it or not.
Gore snidely refers to Fox News and popular radio talk show hosts without naming them as “showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment.” No, Al. Americans who watch Fox News or listen to Limbaugh, Hannity and others are not “entertained”; they turn to them because they are tired of listening to the same old liberal pap in the MSM. Being told in no uncertain terms that they are being prepared for involuntary servitude hardly qualifies as amusement. Socialism means fetters and shackles and ration cards and sacrifice and no longer owning your own life.
Perhaps the scariest sentence in Gore’s essay is this one:
From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.
The “rule of law”? Whose law? Used how and to what end? Gore can only mean redemption at the point of a gun. Pass a law — cap-and-trade, compulsory health care, the regulation and taxation of carbon emissions, national service — and employ government force as the instrument to compel obedience and compliance, and human redemption through “governance” is achieved.
Gore’s agenda and “counter-attack” against reason and reality fit perfectly into what columnist Mark Steyn has identified as a concerted but insidiously sly campaign by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and their allies in and out of Congress to establish the “legal” foundation of unbridled socialism in this country through primarily the health care legislation, even if it means sacrificing a Democratic majority to incensed voters next November.
Obamacare represents the government annexation of “one-sixth of the U.S. economy” – i.e., the equivalent of the entire British or French economy, or the entire Indian economy twice over. Nobody has ever attempted this level of centralized planning for an advanced society of 300 million people. Even the control-freaks of the European Union have never tried to impose a unitary “comprehensive” health care system from Galway to Greece. The Soviet Union did, of course, and we know how that worked out.
Obamacare would be just the beginning, or even arguably, just the continuation, of the absorption of every other facet and aspect of American life, and result in diminishing standards of living, virtual impoverishment, and the claustrophobic sense of living in a prison. The government’s obsession with “health” over the decades has conditioned many Americans to become self-conscious hypochondriacs sensitive to obesity, smoking, diet, nutrition, product safety, and anything else the government funds research to investigate what its otherwise idle “scientists” deem to be problems and crises. The relatively inauspicious hippie-inspired “ecology” movement has certainly come a long way — unopposed — and has been spurred by a political agenda from the start. “Earth Day,” April 22, first “celebrated” in 1970, also happens to be Lenin’s birthday. Coincidence, or intention? Ask the late Democratic Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day, who wrote:
The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.
Doubtless, Al Gore would agree.
Some columnists ascribe the ravings of Gore about climate change and the concerted campaign by Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their numerous allies in and out of Congress to transform America into a prison of indentured servants to an ignorance of economics coupled with a blindness to history. But I do not believe the paucity of comprehension can be traced to mere illiteracy or to politicians being “slow learners” or conceptually dyslexic. The phenomenon has deeper, darker roots than that. John Chapman of the American Enterprise Institute, for example, offers an incisive comparison between the methods and ends of modern statists and Lenin’s, and remarks:
Marx and Lenin were brilliant intellectuals, and Mr. Obama may be as well. But all share a fundamental lack of understanding about how an economy based on the division of labor works, and how trade, sound money, and private property rights all serve to promote peaceful, harmonious social cooperation as evinced by this division of labor. As such, all fail to see how government policy errors can cause economic disasters, such as the 1930s or today’s mess — these leaders, like most members of the political class, fail to apprehend how wealth is created, and how this process is stultified via government interventions.
However, I think that Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al. do understand how all that works, and are out to destroy America. Like Al Gore, they claim (in so many obfuscating, rhetorically-sweetened words) to want to “remake” America. But the truth is that they wish to destroy the country for the sake of destroying it. I am confident that they know the consequences of their policies, and that they wish to plunge the country into economic chaos and civil anarchy. The death of America is their sole, unspoken vision, not fashioning a materialistic socialist paradise on earth. Otherwise, why would they keep insisting that “remaking” America would require sacrifices and hardship? Their vision of America is an America on its knees, or, as Ellsworth Toohey put it to Peter Keating in The Fountainhead, “locked, stopped, strapped — and alive.“ They want Americans to take orders, to accept their wishes as their commands.
This, of course, requires a moral judgment of the responsible parties. They can be morally judged by their actions, and their actions speak volumes about their core motivation and ends. They are driven by unadulterated malice for freedom, private property, freedom of speech, and anything else the hallmark of liberty. That malice is what Obama et al. have in common. One can write the most eloquent defense of laissez-faire, free markets, market efficiency, fiscal responsibility, and so on — but the creatures who inhabit government now do not really care how sound and unanswerable such proofs are. Destruction is their sole aim, and destruction they mean to bring about — with no goal beyond that, except, perhaps, the sadistic pleasure of seeing vanquished Americans inhabit the desolate ruins of their country.
To combat that malice, the battle must be fought on moral terms. Moral judgment is what our would-be czars fear the most. And to fight that battle effectively, the whole altruist/collectivist axis must be refuted in the minds of Americans and discarded.
Wishing won’t make Al Gore go away, or see reason. To him and his ilk, truth is not just inconvenient — it is unwelcome.
*Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. 1957. New York: Dutton, 35th Anniversary Edition, 1992, p. 352.