Liberalism: The age of impassioned ignorance

grassy dollar sign

Man-made climate change has become the root of all evil, from Islamic terrorism to drowning polar bears. And through it all Obama envisions himself as the man who is leading the charge to save the planet.

My dad used to repeat this quote: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

That’s been an impossible task for me given my 30 years as a columnist. My solution is simple: When I don’t know the answer, I just say I don’t know the answer. If many people were more honest about a great many things, they, too, would say they don’t know the answer.

Take the past two weeks, in which I have written about my doubts over man-made climate change. The personal attacks in the comment section from a minority of readers were bristling.

I was accused of being a shill for the petroleum industry, a member of the Flat Earth Society or just an overall ignoramus who is fat and has a bad haircut. Why did some readers believe I earned such derision? It was because I wrote that man-made climate change is a theory and has some ways to go before it is proven.

I admitted I don’t know the cause of carbon-based climate change or even if the small amount of carbon dioxide that is in the atmosphere is what is causing long-term climate change because we don’t know whether there has been climate change over the long term — a period of centuries, not decades.

I think I got into hot water with the liberals for saying no one person and no group of scientists can say for certain anything other than that man-made climate change is a theory that President Barack Obama and other progressive leaders are making a huge wager on with our money.

After all, man-made climate change has become the root of all evil, from Islamic terrorism to drowning polar bears. And through it all Obama envisions himself as the man who is leading the charge to save the planet.

Remember when the Soviet Union and the United States were one split second from destroying life on Earth? That was a problem, and it wasn’t a theoretical one. That Ronald Reagan spent the Soviet Empire into bankruptcy and averted a nuclear Armageddon was a major accomplishment. I don’t say this because I am a Republican (I am a libertarian). I say it because it is obvious.

What is not obvious, at least to me, is that the just signed U.N. Paris climate agreement has yet to be demonstrated as a landmark moment. Of course, that doesn’t stop Obama from declaring victory in the war on carbon any more than the facts dispute what former Vice President Al Gore said was his role in creating the Internet.

From a liberal to libertarian

I was having a beer with a friend a few years ago and he looked around the upscale bar we were in. “There is nothing sadder than a young Republican,” he said.

“Except an old Democrat,” I added.

My first political experience, which has stayed with me for half a century, came from Liberal Party leader and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1968, he decriminalized homosexuality. Trudeau said, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

What I learned during my university years was that the Liberal government wasn’t interested in peeping into my bedroom, what it wanted was to get into my wallet.

After I graduated and moved to the United States, there was a basic dividing line between Republicans and Democrats on what role the government should play in people’s lives. That line could be bent and often was for important legislation. But it has fundamentally split in American politics and even in the way people think over the past 15 years. Both sides have become hardened in their beliefs.

I lived in the United States, and I am an American citizen. How I feel is best summed up by the character Col. Frank Fitts in the 1999 Academy Award-winning movie “American Beauty”: “This country is going straight to hell!”

No one party, let alone one individual, is responsible for the dysfunction of our government, which is spreading throughout our society. But Obama’s brand of liberalism, along with his hubris, deserves some share of the blame. And he has had much help from the environmentalists, who are determined to save the planet even if it means destroying the nation.

While filming “The Revenant” in Calgary, Canada (where I live), renowned actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio experienced a “terrifying” moment with climate change. Variety reported on DiCaprio’s comments at the !&A for the film:

“We were in Calgary and the locals were saying, ‘This has never happened in our province, ever,’” he said to the largely guild and Academy audience. “We would come and there would be eight feet of snow, and then all of a sudden a warm gust of wind would come.”

“And of course, I’m not talking about climate change in relation to movies and how difficult it’s going to be to make movies,” he said, “but it was scary. I’ve never experienced something so firsthand that was so dramatic. You see the fragility of nature and how easily things can be completely transformed with just a few degrees difference. It’s terrifying, and it’s what people are talking about all over the world. And it’s simply just going to get worse.”

The locals that DiCaprio was speaking to were certainly pulling his leg. What he experienced is called a Chinook, and it predates the Indians’ arrival to the Great Plains. It’s a much-welcome weather pattern that comes and goes over the course of a winter, and one that most first-grade children know about.

DiCaprio could be excused if he were just a movie star. But he is far more than that. He is the head of a multimillion-dollar environmental lobby group, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, and a producer of documentaries on climate change.

So I’ll address any Greens who are still reading. While I am no scientist, I make only one claim: man-made global warming is at this time a theory.

And oh, yes, DiCaprio is an idiot. Yet DiCaprio is an important opinion maker to tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of people through his star power and an estimated fortune close to a quarter of a billion dollars.

The entertainment industry shouldn’t be painted with a single brush, so I leave you with this from a stand-up skit of the late, great comedian George Carlin:

We’re so self-important, so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. Save the trees; save the bees; save the whales; save those snails. And the greatest arrogance of all: Save the planet. What? Are these f*cking people kidding me? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another. We’re going to save the f*cking planet? I’m getting tired of that sh*t. Tired of that sh*t. Tired. I’m tired of f*cking Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists. These white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths, people trying to make the Earth safe for their Volvos.

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commented 2015-12-21 08:59:12 -0500 · Flag
John A. commented

Oh what a proud species we are. To think that we are so significant that we can change the entire worlds climate by our actions. I wonder how many people on here are aware of the fact that the entire worlds population could stand shoulder to shoulder inside of a single county in a single state? Still going to tell me we’re over populated?
commented 2015-12-21 08:58:43 -0500 · Flag
John A. commented
commented 2015-12-21 08:58:12 -0500 · Flag
Donna O. commented

I’ve been a conservationist for too many years to recall. I understand the difference between theory and fact. (If you want to raise hackles, point out that evolution is theory. Immediately your intellect is demoted to zero and nothing else you say is considered credible). Four things disturb me about the runaway climate change movement.
1. It fails to recognize that a significant portion of the scientific community disagrees about cause and effect, promoting instead that “consensus” is universal and equal to proof. 2. Behind the scenes is an obscene amount of taxpayer money and loan guarantees destined for opportunists’ pockets, now deepening frorm national to global. Can anyone spell “Solyndra”?
3. Back in 2007 or so, people like Al Gore began to salivate over the wealth carbon credit offset trading and speculation could produce for them. They’re still out there, around the world, waiting with schemes approaching or equalling scam and fraud.
4. Many of the leaders of the movement are hypocrites, unwilling to make personal changes while demanding change from the rest of us. The concerned leaders in Paris appear incapable of personal accountability, assuming that what is right for us is not right for them. Somewhere in this mess lies truth. But what is it? And should we risk the stability of our Western economies pretending we’ve found it?
commented 2015-12-21 08:56:18 -0500 · Flag
Marc J. commented

It is useful to remind ourselves of the 40-year old history of that UN-led conspiracy. It started in the 1970’s by the announcement of the coming “New Ice Age” scam (remedy = our unilateral disarmament; the big guru of Global warming hoax is Dr. Hansen who started his young career by that New Ice Age scam); when that panic petered out in the 1990’s (after Reagan destroyed the Soviet Union) it continued by the announcement of the man-made catastrophic “Global Warming” hoax (remedy = UN-sponsored world socialist government to “spread the wealth around” and “reduce” the world population from the existing 6.5 billion down to the “sustainable” level of 1.5 billion); after 20 consecutive years of considerable global cooling that panic was replaced by the “Climate Change” flimflam (so whatever happens with our climate – do “something”!) and now by the “Cap & Trade” power grab with the purpose of nationalizing our energy companies. Whatever that coterie of government-paid drones controlled by the far-left UN Panel “specialists” is cooking up by means of faked data, reverse graphs (another guru of that conspiracy Dr. Mann “confused” cause and effect in his “hockey stick” graphs), and erroneous calculations – the final aim is to empower a new UN-sponsored world socialist government authorized to “spread the wealth around” and so save the planet from a sure annihilation caused by “the rapacious and irresponsible criminal capitalists”. Note: for that Paris meeting on Climate Change dangers those government-paid drones “recalculated” their results and “recalibrated” their instruments to “demonstrate” that the Earth temperature did increase!
Those green and renewable energies – solar, wind, biofuels – are all energy balance-negative (they require more conventional energy to produce than they can generate), unreliable, extremely expensive, and environmentally destructive. Also, there is now a wealth of contrary literature debunking that gigantic conspiracy, written by investigative reporters and politicians Christopher Horner, Robert Carter, Senator Inhofe, Rupert Darwall, AW Montford, and David Archibald among other investigative journalists and politicians describing the lies, fakes, phony data, opposite conclusions, redacting by UN political hacks, reverse graphs, destruction of negative data, etc., that have exposed this far-left propaganda in painful detail. Also, the Oregon Petition (see Internet) signed by 31,487 independent US scientists (including 9,029 with PhD degrees), disputes the false “science” of the UN panel and its “scientists”. Several Eco-Nazis submitted false names and credentials in an attempt to compromise that effort started by the Nobel Prize in Physics Edward Teller (now deceased); it took us a lot of private money to clean up the list. To prevent further attempts at sabotage the Petition was closed out in late 1990’s. Another such document named The Manhattan Declaration lists some 720 scientists, including 120 pure climatologists, and states the same. We note that the name of that gigantic scam was changed to “Climate Change” – after 20 consecutive years of global cooling. Former Vice-President Al “Jazeera” Gore, another low IQ bloviating gasbag, has ridden that “global warming” horse to a personal wealth estimated to reach a billion dollars, while being entertained by elegant and expensive hookers in luxury hotel suites.
commented 2015-12-21 08:51:55 -0500 · Flag
David S. commented

The liberals believe that carbon dioxide (.038 % of the earth’s atmospere) is going to kill all the polar bears. Malthus’ theory has long been debunked, but no one can tell that to the misanthropic liberals. They’d rather save polar bears than humans.