We’ve been somewhat taken aback by the tone and volume of comments to our critique of Al Gore’s movie/campaign ad, “An Inconvenient Truth.” We’ve been called naïve, foolish, ungrateful, and, rather reprovingly a “young man,” All of which are certainly true, or have been at some time, or probably will be again (except the “young man” part.)
–We don’t claim to have all the answers. On the contrary, we’re just asking questions. And it seems to us that anytime there is such unanimous and even angry agreement that “something must be done” about a problem, well, it usually means something stupid is about to happen.
–It is not Al Gore’s fault and we don’t accuse him of anything unusual. We’re sure he’d be a fine man to sit down and have a beer with over a nice dinner. One on one, most men are sensible, if not always likeable. It’s when a man turns his attention to the problems of the world and how to fix them that he starts recommending things he’d never do in his private life. He also starts telling you what you should do with your private life. Something happens to the human brain when it begins to think about things with which it has no direct experience. It is decidedly non-rational.
–That’s not to say there aren’t big problems in the world. There certainly are. But experience shows that when a vocal group of advocates start bullying everyone in sight into believing the same thing, that thing is probably catastrophically wrong. It’s true in markets and it’s especially politics. And as many other readers have noted, big problems usually lead to big, intrusive, government solutions.
–That’s not to say there may not be a problem. It is pretty warm at the Old Hat Factory today. Good thing we have AC. But our main point is that we have no idea whether the science behind global warming is accurate or not. And we’re not sure the scientists who say they know really know. How could they? The climate is always changing. Even the recorded samples of changes in the earth’s temperature are just a small fraction of the earth’s actual life span. Don’t good scientists acknowledge what they don’t know, as well as what they think they might know?
–We’re not indifferent on the matter. Coming from the mountains of Colorado, we love a pretty sunset and clean air as much as the next climate-change Neanderthal. We also think the free market does a poor job of putting a price on good stewardship of the earth’s resources. That is really what the debate over carbon emissions is about. The cost of carbon emissions has so far been “socialized” to the point where no one is explicitly paying it, but everyone is paying for it, in the form of lower air-quality and, possibly, catastrophic climate change.
–We are already seeing changes though, through more efficient energy use and new technologies. It’s possible, of course, that men have somehow already broken the earth’s operating system beyond repair. We simply don’t know. We have enough trouble changing a light bulb.
–There are a lot of things we don’t know, in fact. The older we get, the more we realize that we know very little about important things like sex, religion, and distilleries. But one thing we think we know—or at least are willing to bet on– is that honest politicians are so rare in nature as to be non-existent. Why did Gore bother to put all that footage in there about Florida in 2000 if he was mostly concerned about the Earth? Like all politicians, Al Gore is concerned mostly about three things: himself, money, and power, not necessarily in that order.
–We will give him some credit though. It’s a good power-point presentation, theatrically presented. And it’s making people think. It’s also making some people yell and scream and write angry e-mails. But we suppose that anything that makes people think should be applauded. Clap clap.