I don’t know whether it’s a human trait, a Christian legacy, or an ideological perversion, but I can’t recall living in a time when the world wasn’t supposed to end. I watched On the Beach as a kid, and sang Wooden Ships in college, and worried about radioactivity, mutating into the Incredible Shrinking Man, then freezing in a nuclear winter. And the instant the doomsday clock was turned off, with the Cold War ending peaceably, global warming started a whole new phase of disaster-mongering.
I have posted on it before. It isn’t science: it’s a zealous faith, which condemns us industrial sinners and demands that we repent before the end of days. In short, it’s the secularist version of the Rapture, in which a few are chosen, but a great many get left behind.
I am pleased to read that Michael Crichton, who can’t possibly be as smart as he seems but must be smart enough, agrees with my position. Environmentalism, he maintains, is a religion. Global warming is an effective myth for those who seek the reformation of the human race. Crichton suggests that, as with every religion, there’s a profit motive as well. I’m really not sure: more likely, it’s a Luddite terror of the heights humanity has climbed with the help of science and freedom.
But woe to him who takes a stand at Armageddon against the armies of the enlightened. Bjorn Lomborg, the skeptical environmentalist, is one of my intellectual heroes, and cleverer even than Crichton. He has suggested that the most effective way to undo any harmful changes brought about by global warming is to assist poorer countries to become wealthier – the wealthy countries, he estimates, will have little trouble dealing with such changes. Behold: comes Rajendra Pachauri, high priest of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, making the following, no doubt scientific, comparison with Lomborg:
“What is the difference between Lomborg’s view of humanity and Hitler’s? You cannot treat people like cattle. You must respect the diversity of cultures on earth. Lomborg thinks of people like numbers. He thinks it would be cheaper just to evacuate people from the Maldives, rather than trying to prevent world sea levels from rising so that island groups like the Maldives or Tuvalu just disappear into the sea. But where’s the respect for people in that? People have a right to live and die in the place where their forefathers have lived and died. If you were to accept Lomborg’s way of thinking, then maybe what Hitler did was the right thing.”
Nowhere, to my knowledge, does Lomborg suggest the evacuation of the Maldives or even Tuvalu, wherever that is. If the world overheats, let me put forward a new and more plausible explanation of the cause: it will be the hot air from the fevered minds of people who, in the name of science, rage against any presumption of debate about global warming.