David Harsanyi has an essay over at The Federalist titled Environmentalists Will Lose, And That’s Great News For Mankind. Taking a critique of a recent piece by Jonathan Chait as his starting point, Harsanyi debunks the idea that climate change is our biggest bugaboo since the Second World War. He points out that the significant improvements in living conditions around the world had been almost completely driven by market forces bringing the benefits of technology to an increasingly greater share of the world’s people and that command economies have stunted economic progress, holding billions in poverty.
Now, unlike coal, oil, gas, and market economics, an environmentalist has never lifted anyone out of poverty. But if you’re convinced that every wildfire and tornado is the fault of Koch Brothers, Ayn Rand and a recalcitrant GOP Congress, this moral structure probably makes some sense to you. If you believe the moral magnitude of climate change falls somewhere short of the killing of 70 million people (we don’t know the exact number World War II took), but is a more a pressing problem than mass hunger or disease or war, I can understand why you think doing nearly anything to stop it is okay. Like emulating one-party authoritarianism, for instance.
Not many people are going to volunteer for a life of poverty. The numbers are not on the environmentalists’ side.
Read the whole thing.
Michael Barone has an interesting piece called Is America Entering a New Victorian Era? over at Real Clear Politics.
Today, several widely unanticipated trends — certainly unanticipated by me — suggest that America is in some significant respects entering a new Victorian Era. Some may regard that as regrettable, others as welcome, still others as a mixture of good news and bad news. But it’s certainly news, especially to the aging baby boomers who expected the Age of Aquarius to continue indefinitely.
Read the whole thing. His piece got me thinking about the connection between the Victorian Era and what became American Progressivism around the turn of the twentieth century. A significant aspect of the goals of many early Progressives was control over the lives of others. Prohibition comes to mind.
A hundred years ago, the big bugaboo was booze. Now, it may be campus sex. Of course, drinking to excess and promiscuous sex are dangerous activities. Religion, common sense, and our moral betters all warn against them. Where our moral betters fail us and themselves is by failing to realize that they are morally powerless to control anyone’s behavior but their own. Failing that, they try to use coercive power. For Progressives, that’s the power of the state.
Prohibition. The War on Drugs. Yes Means Yes. Perhaps a cycle is repeating.
Josh Bloom reports over at Science 2.0 that the environmental freaks have decided to take on Big Crayon.
Our dear friends, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), perhaps the most scientifically flawed organization out there (and this is no small accomplishment) have decided to take on the (all of a sudden) life and death issue of children drawing with crayons.
Apparently, minuscule traces of asbestos were found in 4 out of 28 boxes of crayons tested.
I’m left wondering if the people who put out this kind of claptrap were the sort who had trouble keeping the colors inside the lines when they were kids.
UPDATE—Get your set before they’re banned! Click here to order from Amazon.
Camille Gear Rich argues over at CNN that Rachel Dolezal has the right to be black.
This may be the most effective counterargument to the point of view that a person has the right to be what he isn’t—
The Boston Globe reports that there are still piles of snow left over from last winter’s global warming.
UPDATE—Meanwhile, the Atlantic Ocean is cooling. (H/T, Instapundit)