I was reading Reason magazine’s online Hit & Run forum, minding everyone else’s business, when I ran across a story about New York Times columnist and resident anencephalic, Thomas Friedman, and his admiration for the oligarchs of Red China (yep, it still gets the adjective from me). Several forum commenters agreed with Friedman that a little totalitarianism can come in handy when fighting global warming, the “greatest threat” to the planet.
But it’s not, of course. The greatest threat comes from people who believe governments and rent-seeking scientists who devise clever computer models to “prove” that This, That, and/or The Other Thing is The Greatest Threat. Doesn’t anyone read H. L. Mencken anymore? You know, the constant stream of “gremlins” by which the government scares people into accepting its protection, for just a smidgen (more) of liberty. Come on! Let’s make a deal!
Government, quite clearly, is a protection racket.
At any rate—that’s right, whether slow or fast—those same kind of computer models and that same kind of thinking led that tenured moron Paul Ehrlich to predict, in his 1970s screed The Population Bomb, death by starvation for 50 to 100 million people—and he meant Americans, in the 1980s! To this day he’s still a hero of the hero-besotted left. Unbelievable. Even after Julian Simon serially kicked his flabby ass with that sequence of commodity bets. (Don’t remember that? Never heard about it? That’s why there’s Google.)
Perhaps we should call it the Malthus Syndrome, that tendency to freeze science, facts, and trends and project them into the future. This entirely leaves out human imagination and inventiveness, as well as some highly effective skullduggery and manipulation.
I’ve noticed that even in the Skeptical Inquirer—as well as Skeptic, edited by the libertarian Michael Shermer—such ideologues are rarely skeptical of their own biases, pet peeves, and lovingly tended dogmas. I love the mags, as they thoroughly debunk the Sylvia Brownes of the world along with recovered memories, Bigfoot, UFOs, and moral panics. That said, the majority of the writers and readers (judging from the great letters sections) are run-of-the-mill, doctrinaire, control-tripping collectivists who really, honestly, sincerely know how to run your life better than you do. So, gosh darn it, will you kindly get out of the way and let Friedman & Co. get on with the job of Saving The Planet!
I can’t remember where I heard it (if you know, tell me so; I think it may have been sci-fi) but it went something like this: “Whenever I hear that a nation has ‘progressed past the need for material things’ and achieved a state of ‘peace and plenty’—I always wonder where the death camps are.”