Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Radical Agenda

Joel Kotkin, scourge of urban renewal and poet of the cornucopian drosscape, has some friendly words of warning for Barack Hussein Obama:

In his remarkable rise to power, President Barack Obama has overcome some of the country's most formidable politicians--from the Bushes and the Clintons to John McCain. But he may have more trouble coping with a colleague he professes to admire: former Vice President Al Gore.
If you want an explanation, you'll have to wait a while. First, Kotkin needs to cobble together a bunch of background info that'd seem -- to the untrained eye! -- to render his theory incoherent.
[Obama's] choices on the environmental front are almost entirely Gore-ite in nature. Obama's green team, for example, includes longtime Gore acolyte Carol Browner as climate and energy czar, physicist Steven Chu as energy secretary and, perhaps most alarmingly, John Holdren as science adviser.
"Alarmingly"? Yes, absolutely. Because although Dr. Holdren is a distinguished scientist and the current director of Woods Hole Research Center, he's also a neo-Malthusian fanatic who hates puppies and sno-cones and Freedom.
They represent a more authoritarian and apocalyptic strain of true believers who see in environmental issues--mainly, global warming--a license to push a radical agenda irrespective of its effects on our economy, our society or even our dependence on foreign energy.
Of course, Kotkin and his ilk support the radical agenda of growth for growth's sake, and they do it "irrespective of its effects on our economy, our society or even our dependence on foreign energy." The main difference between them and scientists like Chu and Browner and Holdren, as far as I can tell, is that Kotkin et al reject all limits on growth as ideologically intolerable, whereas Chu et al are more likely to see certain limits as inevitable, given the fact that we live on a tiny ball that floats in an airless void.

Since Holdren, Browner and Chu are Fanatical Green Extremist Fanatics, it's only natural that they'd have the full support of Teh Media, who have always agitated in favor of green goals like hobbling the pulp and paper industry, and interfering with the bottom line of multinationals like General Electric and Vivendi SA.
They can count on the media to cover climate and other green issues with all the impartiality of the Soviet-era Pravda. Stories that buttress the notion of man-made global warming--like reports of long-term warming in Antarctica--receive lavish attention in The New York Times and on Yahoo!.

Meanwhile, other reports, such as new NASA studies indicating cooling sea temperatures since 2003, or the implications of two unusually cool winters, are relegated to the mostly conservative blogosphere.
At the risk of sounding like a fanatic myself, I'm going to suggest that this is because "the mostly conservative blogosphere" is the ideal place to find people who are stupid, dishonest, ignorant, or evil enough to claim that long-term warming in Antarctica is of less significance than "two unusually cool winters" for which climate scientists have a perfectly simple explanation.

Kotkin goes on to point out that pre-Copernican cosmology was wrong, and plate tectonics wasn't. (Who knows anything, when you come right down to it?) He adds that scientists are not immune to groupthink (unlike the mostly conservative blogosophere, which has always maintained a healthy skepticism towards the All-One-God-Faith of market forces).

But why is Obama facing trouble from Gore? Well, first off, because Holdren, Browner, and Chu will probably band together to prevent infrastructure improvements.
With the likes of Browner, Chu and Holdren in charge--no matter what Congress's intentions are--an emboldened regulatory apparatus could use their power to slow, and even stop, many infrastructure improvements.
Needless to say, this strategy will be backed to the hilt by the MSM, who have always hated infrastructure and would prefer to transmit news and advertisements via carrier pigeon, as Mother Nature intended.

Once they've scuttled any hope of repairing infrastructure, these green mutineers will attempt to base a new economy on education and healthcare and art and computers and stuff. (You'd think this scheme would require infrastructure improvements, but it must not or Kotkin would've mentioned it.) This will strike a blow against the values of Real Americans...the kind who prefer to work in fast-food restaurants and coal mines, and view ailments like Phossy Jaw as a badge of honor.

Last, they will pursue a "renewables-only" energy policy, which may lead to "a permanently shrunken economy," assuming the recent era of glibertarian misrule hasn't done so already.

Fortunately, these miseries can be avoided if Obama can get Holdren, Browner and Chu "to toe a more sensible line." However, that will lead to the aforementioned problems with Algore, who has waited years to see America destroyed, and will be furious if Obama cuts the strings of his prize marionettes.

There's no telling how many innocent lives a Gore/Obama showdown would claim, but as Kotkin notes, "we do need to take history into account." The clash between the German and Russian branches of socialism during WWII seems to me to be a logical, and sobering, precedent.

Although it may not be obvious, I'm actually pleased by this column. Kotkin has always labored mightily to downplay his harebrained wingnuttery, but it looks like the genie is out of the bottle for good. The more rats pile onto the sinking ship of denialism, the more satisfying it'll be to watch it disappear beneath the waves.

(Illustration: All the Water and Air on Earth.)


Anonymous said...

you write beautifully. This includes coherently and rationally.


Anonymous said...

Phila, in my admittedly hasty and superficial reading of you and your source, I find no mention of the fact that Algore is fat.

A telling omission.

- Lars