A Mind That Suits
What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011 :::
"For me, it was never
about severe weather."
The New Evasion
On Global Whatever.
A Mind That Suits stands as one with his conservative brethren in being both amused and astounded by a standard intellectual tick on the Left. He is talking, of course, about The Line.
They always seem to have The Line for every situation. Not "a" line, The Line.
They, of course, talk about "the standard conservative line," but that is projection. Conservatives have beliefs, of course, and they will of course repeat them when appropriate, but they do not have The Line the way leftists do.
It is Leftists who have The Line.
The Line is a statement about a particular event or situation. Philosophers call particular events or situations contingent facts, because they can change. Leftists don't think so.
What does A Mind That Suits mean? Oh, take, "Fox News is not a news organization," from people who quote the Huffington Post or the Daily Kos.
Or, "Rush Limbaugh is the real chairman of the Republican Party." That one came and went, but A Mind That Suits had lefty friends who told him with ferocious contempt that he had no idea what conservatives really believed.
These lefty friends usually had no other conservative friends, which of course made them experts.
Current example: "Conservatives say they want a free market in insurance, and that is what Obamacare gave them, but they are still not happy." (In case you missed that one, they are talking about the "insurance exchange," which of course is the opposite of a free market in insurance.)
Mind That Suits had a lefty Catholic friend say with great asperity, in re: the Catholic Church's role under the Third Reich, that the majority of SS members were Catholic. A Mind That Suits was a little floored by this one, he admits, but only because it was akin to being amazed that they spoke German. The Nazi party's base was in Bavaria, after all, and Bavaria is historically Catholic.
This was supposed to astound A Mind That Suits because clearly he didn't know this damning fact, and now would be enlightened, and submit. This particular Lefty's astonishment was visible when A Mind That Suits pointed out Fact One about German religious life: Since Frederick the Great, the Prussian state has sought to de-Christianize Germany. Birth records still indicate a person's birth church membership, but by 1942, only the tiniest minority of Germans practiced any form of Christianity. In fact, the vast majority had a new, pagan religion, which was all about getting a tan...no wait, finding a place in the sun and killing anyone who had a tan. A nasty religion, in other words.
That A Mind That Suits, an unapologetic Roman Catholic, knew all this and did not roll over and play dead caused said Lefty to catch his breath, furrow his brow, and then change subjects.
You see, the point of The Line is that it is supposed to be a conversation ender. It is supposed to show that anyone who disagrees does not know what they are talking about, and their opinion is worthless. The person who says The Line is shown to be a genius.
Of course, anyone who likes actual science is used to this from the Global Warming "debate." Quotes are appropriate because the real debate only took place among real scientists who had no financial interest in government funds. There has been a long and productive debate among those experts, including people who study solar flares and magnetic fields. Their work continues, and it is fascinating.
True Believers in the Church of Global Warming did not find it fascinating, of course, because it was a threat to their religion and to their funding.
"The science is settled!" they would declare unscientifically, and demand more power and money.
More than any other cause, this one has seen many forms of The Line. Because, you see, The Line applied to quite easily observed phenomena, which each version of The Line was supposed to describe perfectly, so The Line has had to be changed.
That is because easily observed phenomena cannot read, and do not follow The Line.
As well as he can remember, this is the career of The Line on Global Warming:
1) "Temperatures are going to rise inexorably, melting the ice caps and giving everyone skin cancer."
Then the wildly erratic weather started (or, more precisely, became more common and unignorable.) This had not been predicted by The Line, so The Line became...
2) "Temperatures will rise in general, causing great disruption in the weather and severe storms are a boringly predictable part of that."
Oh, yes, A Mind That Suits almost forgot: whoever uses The Line has to say it with a sigh, as if newly observed phenomena are not news, and are in fact quite boring, because the speaker had expected it all along.
That is what makes The Line such a crashing bore: science is fun and fascinating, and you are supposed to be surprised by its discoveries and to enjoy being surprised by them. But that does imply you can't be master of the physical universe.
How annoying of science to keep coming up with the unforeseen,and let's not get too excited.
Then global temperatures flat-lined, so The Line became...
3) "Temperatures will rise in general, although there will be very short periods where temperatures might stay the same and even decline, and it will still great disruption in the weather and severe storms are a boringly predictable part of that."
This is when The True Believer started having to add, "For me...," as in, "For me, it was never about constantly rising temperatures." That innoculates The Line against the pesky "denier" who has access to Nexis. You see, the user of The Line is declaring his marvelous independence by quoting the new The Line as if he had never said the old The Line, and...well, you get the point...
Then temperatures flat-lined for a really long period, and the winters started getting really cold.
So now The Line has become....
4) "Rising temperatures will cause severe cold."
That has become a bit much for the public, which has grown increasingly tired of the evasions and, frankly, doesn't care. The most important aspect of the Global Warming business is tthat the public has finally started asking things such as, "Is it really going to make much difference if the seas rise one foot?" (About the highest reasonable prediction.)
That the answer is "no" doesn't really contradict The Line. However, as a reponse to The Line, "so?" is deadly. It brings the conversation to an end, but not the way it is supposed to.
Ask "Is there anything we can do about it that we can realistically pay for?," to which the answer is "not really," and Global Warming starts thinking it is having a really bad day.
Something else happened along the line, however, and that was that real scientists found their voice. The most famous case is Bjorn Lomborg, a firm believer in "anthropogenic climate change" who is nontheless skeptical about The Line. The way he was treated raised doubts in a lot of people's minds.
Then he and other "deniers" started getting organized. The complaints of scientists, particularly in fields like astronomy and geology, began to be heard: they were having trouble having their research published, or their results were being ignored.
Then came Climategate, and all hell broke loose. When it came out that the chief manufacturers of The Line--the scientists and the bureaucrats of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change--were actively suppressing inconvenient truths (no apologies) and manufacturing convenient ones, the debate came to a crashing halt.
Aside from people hoping to keep their funding, have you heard much about Global Warming recently?
No. But you have heard about the severe cold and the wild storms. And there is a whole army of scientists who are saying, "We've been talking about this, but no one has been listening."
The most recent news is that the magnetic pole is shifting, and shifting quite rapidly. This explains one of those facts that True Believers in the Church of Global Warming have consistenly avoided: catastropic climate change happened fairly regularly in the past, and sometimes quite rapidly.
Think of Greenland, which used to be, oh, green.
Now, Greenland doesn't do much to offend anyone. It's kind of far away and cold. A Mind That Suits flew over it on a clear day, and it remains one of the most beautiful and fearsome sights he has ever been prvileged to see.
Greenland used to be useful in support of The Line. It was on its way to being green again. This was a serious problem, somehow. It hadn't gotten back there by the time global temperatures flatlined and started going backwards, so anyone who bought beachfront property there on spec will probably be disappointed. Iceland will not lose its tourist base any time soon.
But here's the deal: climate change has often been catastrophic. Conservative critics of Global Warming have often missed this one. Yes, climate change is cyclical and natural, but it can also be horrifically destructive. Volcanoes are natural and eruptions may well be cyclical.
Back to The Line:
Remember the ozone hole? That was, for a long time, The Fact that proved The Line for any enlightened person but now it seems to have gone away. The hole hasn't, but talking about it sure seems to have. When was the last time you seriously heard it used? Not heard it used seriously, but just seriously emphasized. It is real enough, although the consequences remain unclear.
Well, scientists have started to observe what may be--may be--fissures in the atmosphere that may be --may be--caused by polar shift. Let's see, large volumes of gas separating and then crashing back together again...
Severe weather, anyone?
So now, severe weather (and maybe--maybe--the ozone hole) may be--may be-- an argument against the reality of Global Warming, so The Line has become...
5) "For me, Global Warming has never been about severe weather."
And another thing: the line used to be "according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change." Once the IPCC's database was hacked and Climategate came out bawling, the scientists who were--up until late 2009--The Authorities behind The Line have become "some guys in East Anglia." It is safe to assume that most people were not aware, prior to this, where or what East Anglia was. A Mind That Suits happens to have been there, and even knows how to pronounce "Norwich," though not with confidence. (Rough local dialect.)
This is roughly the equivalent of sneering that Albert Einstein lived in "rural New Jersey," and utterly beside the point, moreoever. Only the IPCC's database and one of the four main scientists were at the University of East Anglia. Two of the four scientists were in the US, at Penn State and UVa.
But they became an albatross around the neck of followers of The Line, and so overboard they went.
There is no honor among True Believers in the Church of Global Warming.
Final Thought: Anent Natural Global Climate Change
Thoughtful conservatives, amongst whom A Mind That Suits makes bold to include himself, but which more surely includes James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal and George F. Will of the Washington Post, have never felt that "natural and cyclical" means "nice." Nor do they think that mankind can't have a disastrous effect on the world. In fact, they are kind of inclined to assume that.
Question: does anyone with a brain think that what China is doing to its environment is not somehow going to affect us all?
Real conservatives think it is natural for things to go horribly wrong, and worse when humans try to "the comprehensive fix." Improvements, yes, please, but of reasonable scope.
With that as background, A Mind That Suits has just noticed an odd juxtaposition of events. It's not original, but he has never seen it stated this way.
The de-greening of Greenland happened quite suddenly. The Norse who lived there were trading with the folks back home until very shortly before the end. Smart people started leaving when yearly ice becamse unpredictable and the ice stuck around for most of the year. Less smart ones stayed behind. Judging by stature and bone composition, they led brief miserable lives until they passed away. They--or rather, their remains--got to star in a fascinating Discovery Channel documentary, but that's a hell of a way to break into show business.
Move ahead in time and back to Europe: Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates: A Story of Life in Holland was written by an American in 1865. 1865 also applies to the"life in Holland" part. Somewhere between then and now, and a lot closer to then, Holland's rivers stopped freezing, so there have not been skating races on those rivers in a long time.
In both instances, climate change came quickly. In Greenland, it caused immense problems.
So believing that human activity is but one factor in a huge process does not mean believing that process might not prove catastrophic.
In true conservative thinking, that merely means that there is nothing much we can do about it, except pray to be smart enough to know when to move.
::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 3:05 PM