If the World Were Perfect, it Wouldn’t Be

    For decades now, several inflammatory issues have been damaging friendships, fueling intra-office arguments, chilling what were once loving relationships, and spoiling family dinners.
    One of the more contentious of these issues is Anthropogenic Global Warming.
    I don’t claim to have any definitive answers in this matter partly because I’m an atheist and partly because, at present, there are no definitive answers. But let’s get one thing absolutely straight: AGW is not a political issue, not a moral issue, not a paranormal issue, not a "who can dig up the names of more professors" issue. AGW is a scientific issue.
    It is almost impossible to have an intelligent conversation about AGW, primarily because so many assholes belonging to the Church of Liberalism, have transformed the subject into a politico-religious litmus test of whether one will be permitted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven or else be relegated to join Satan in the bottomless perdition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not surprisingly, those not belonging to said Church have responded with politico-religious counterattacks of equal stupidity.
    Not boycotts, propaganda films, "Save the Planet" bicycle rallies, placard-bearing gray-haired ladies demonstrating in front of Peterborough Town Hall, or full page ads in the New York Times signed by academicians no one has ever heard of, contribute a rat’s ass worth of value to the resolution of the problem. What all these and kindred stupidities do accomplish is to ensure the triumph of ignorance and prejudice.
    At this point, a personal disclaimer:

It would not surprise me in the least if mankind’s activities on earth, in particular the burning of coal and oil, are altering the climate. After all, our peculiar life form has been randomly fucking up our planet since the first hominids decided to stroll upright on the plains of Africa ─ and began murdering, destroying, and abusing every other life form they could lay their opposable-thumbed hands on.

    There are three core questions concerning AGW that need to be answered:

        1.. Is the climate warming...
            dramatically?
            moderately?
            slightly?
            not at all?
        2. If the climate is warming, will the result be...
            catastrophic?
            worrisome?
            beneficial?
            inconsequential?
        3. If the climate is warming, is it due to human activity...
            entirely?
            partially?
            not at all?

    None of these questions has been answered.
        Al Gore is not equipped to answer them.
        The Nobel Prize committee is not equipped to answer them.
        President Obama is not equipped to answer them.
        Norm Mack is not equipped to answer them.
        Nobody reading this post is equipped to answer them.
    In other words the problem will not be solved through campaign rhetoric, CBS Investigative Reports, editorials in the Times, the publication of Green manifestos, diatribes by bloggers, PBS specials pastiched together by left-wing zealots, "sting" operations carried out by right-wing partisans, data manipulation by ideologically-corrupt scientists, or open letters signed by carefully-culled lists of presumed "authorities,"
    If we are ever to get anywhere toward solving the AGW question, it will be by the slow, difficult, painstaking, verifiable, and dispassionate process of scientific analysis ─ something that has been shamefully lacking to date by the various quasi-governmental bureaucracies that pretend to be engaged in objective research.
    If the climatology establishments in Britain and elsewhere would simply shut their mouths and stick to their work instead of cooking the books and demonizing opponents, progress might be made toward laying the whole business to rest. Instead we are treated to an ad hominem Us Vs Them carnival with Pto-AGWers dismissing any data that contradict their pre-conceived conclusions and anti-AGWers waging rear-guard guerilla actions via whatever Global Warming Doubters they can scare up from the university faculties.
    In short, motivation has trumped intellect in the field of climatology...much as Communist doctrine led Stalin to destroy genetic research in the Soviet Union...much as the Inquisition imprisoned Galileo for holding that the earth revolved around the sun...much as today’s Christian absolutists reject the Theory of Evolution...much as. Sweden refused to give the Nobel Prize to Einstein for his world-altering theories on the nature of space and time.
    But suppose that existence of AGW is decisively demonstrated someday ─ what are we supposed to do about it?
    Green propaganda bullshit in American and European media has and will have zero effect not only on the environment, but on the behavior of nations such as China where the ruling oligarchy doesn’t give a shit about Global Warming, but does give a shit about re-incarnating the Middle Kingdom as the world’s dominant power.
    Folks, put aside the fairy tales.
    The world we live in is and always will be a world trapped in what ecologist Garrett Hardin called "The Tragedy of the Commons." By this he meant that the nations of the planet, just as you and I and everybody else who makes up those nations, will always pursue a policy of "what’s best for me."
    As a result, individual men and women, individual farmers, individual businesses, individual nations will strive to make maximum use of the planet’s limited resources for themselves ─ a few acres of grazing ground (the Commons), a lake, an ocean, the very air we breathe. It matters not that such policies, engaged en masse, will lead to the destruction of the very resources that benefit all.

• The Tragedy of the Commons is why Japanese and Norwegian fishermen slaughter every whale their factory shops can locate.
• The Tragedy of the Commons is why the primeval forests of Asia and Africa have been turned into barren wastelands.
• The Tragedy of the Commons is why the San Francisco Chinese community is up in arms about restrictions on butchering sharks so their fins can be used in soup.
• The Tragedy of the Commons is why the Amazon rain forest is being destroyed.
• The Tragedy of the Commons is why rivers of mud pouring down mountainsides where once grew lush vegetation have killed thousands in Haiti.
• The Tragedy of the Commons is why American developers rape the land to create ever more shopping malls.

    Is it hopeless then? Is humanity doomed? Were the words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem, a prediction of humanity’s future when he wrote, "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity."
    Perhaps; perhaps not.
    For one thing, when the shit does hit the fan, and it will ─ either when we all start roasting or we all start freezing or we all run out of fossil fuels ─ the peoples of the earth will have no choice but to change their ways, probably through wars and biological decimation or, possibly (if one believes in miracles), by group cooperation.
    For another, as Yogi Berra, the sage of Montclair, New Jersey, once said, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."
    And, lastly, again thanks to Yogi, one of the most profound conundrums ever voiced: "If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be.":

Norm Mack, Peterborough, dog@myfairpoint.net

 

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  • 4/14/2011 9:00 AM Loren wrote:
    Great post NMack.
    But how is it going to help the global warming issue?
    Reply to this
    1. 4/14/2011 5:53 PM dome of glass wrote:
      As I wrote, the first thing to determine is whether AGW is real and a major threat.
      After that, the problem can be addressed through international cooperation (highly unlikely) or by doing nothing and letting nature take its remorseless course.
      The root of the problem, and of many other problems, is, of course, overpopulation.
      Does anyone really think that a worldwide effort to control, let alone reduce the number of humans on the planet, will ever happen?
      Reply to this
      1. 4/18/2011 9:23 AM Nun wrote:
        Interesting that the Chinese actually are trying to control population growth.
        Reply to this
        1. 4/19/2011 4:07 PM dome of glass wrote:
          Hey Nun:
          As I recall, a Chinese official at the last global warming international wingding said the solution to the problem lay in population control.
          He was totally ignored.
          Of course, it's more than a bit hypocritical for representatives of a nation with 1/5th of the world's population to tell everyone else that the time has come for them to practice birth control.
          If you think about it, it's the Tragedy of the Commons (deja vu) all over again.

          Reply to this
  • 4/14/2011 1:10 PM Nun wrote:
    Outstanding piece, talk about hitting the nail on the head. I wonder how Yogi would put that? The domeofglass blog is worth all the paper it's printed on?
    Reply to this

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