February 12, 2007

Who’s Intimidating Whom? Ellen Goodman’s Disgraceful Globaloney Analogy (UPDATES: Goodman Bio, Steyn Weighs In, So Does Vaclav Klaus)

Ellen Goodman goes over the top (HT Pundit Review):

I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.

It’s amazing how supposedly mainstream people like Goodman so casually write garbage like this with no personal accountability — at least immediately. But if you want to see how an acquired newspaper that dominates its market can create most of an $800-plus million writedown for its parent company and ongoing layoff episodes for its employees, look no further than the Boston Globe and its decision to keep mean-spirited liberal lightweights like Goodman on board.

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UPDATE: Just to demonstrate how out of touch Goodman’s image is with the reality of her current writings, here are snippets from her postwritersgroup.com bio:

She once said, “I think readers need to be less alienated from editorial pages” and made them so by expanding the debate on op-ed pages.

….. She is widely acclaimed as a voice of sanity….

Yeah, tell me how calling anyone who isn’t a globalarmist, including thousands of scientists who aren’t buying the climate-change orthodoxy, the forward-looking equivalent of a Holocaust denier “expands the debate” and demonstrates “sanity.”

Goodman’s best work, and her 1980 Pulitzer, are a quarter-century behind her. She is one of a very long list of writers who appeared to be reasonable people through much of their careers, but who slowly but surely began going over the edge when Ronald Reagan triumphed in the 1980 election. Their conditions and temperament worsened as the Soviet Union fell, the Clinton presidency became an obvious underachiever, and George Bush won two presidential elections.

Another, although he obviously didn’t get to see all of the stages involved, was the late Pulitzer winner James Reston, the New York Times writer mentioned at this post. Reston was appalled at the spitting and other actions of antiwar demonstrators in 1967 and appeared to be neutral, perhaps even mildly supportive, of the Vietnam War at that point. But by the summer of Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign, Reston had taken to whining twice a week about how dumb the voters were, how dangerous the world was getting, and how obvious (to him) it was that Reagan was approaching senility.

UPDATE 2: Mark Steyn admits that he’s a “climate holocaust denier,” with this wrap:

So, faced with a degree rise in temperature, we could destroy the planet’s economy, technology, communications and prosperity. And ruin the lives of millions of people. (and perpetuate global poverty — Ed.)

Or we could do what man does best: adapt.

You do the math.

UPDATE 3, 8:30 AM: The Commons Blog makes the HUGE point that one of the side-effects of screeds like Goodman’s and others’ is that they trivialize the enormity of the real Holocaust when they invoke its name with reckless abandon.

UPDATE 4, 4:15 PM: A special update for commenter Jill — part of an interview posted at Drudge (HT Weapons of Mass Discussion; copy saved to host for future reference) with Vaclav Klaus of Czechoslovakia, a country that has experience recognizing and dealing with tyranny in its many disguises. Money quotes among many gems:

Klaus: ….. Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. …..
….. it’s obvious that environmentalism is a new incarnation of modern leftism.

+++++++++

Q: Isn’t there enough empirical evidence and facts we can see with our eyes that imply that Man is demolishing the planet and himself?

A: It’s such a nonsense that I have probably not heard a bigger nonsense yet.

Q: Don’t you believe that we’re ruining our planet?

A: I will pretend that I haven’t heard you. Perhaps only Mr. Al Gore may be saying something along these lines: a sane person can’t. I don’t see any ruining of the planet, I have never seen it, and I don’t think that a reasonable and serious person could say such a thing.

Vaclav Klaus for UN Secretary-General (Can you imagine…?). And let’s move the UN to Prague while we’re at it.

UPDATE 5: Dennis Prager nails it

….. the Ellen Goodman quote is only the beginning of what is already becoming one of the largest campaigns of vilification of decent people in history — the global condemnation of a) anyone who questions global warming; or b) anyone who agrees that there is global warming but who argues that human behavior is not its primary cause; or c) anyone who agrees that there is global warming, and even agrees that human behavior is its primary cause, but does not believe that the consequences will be nearly as catastrophic as Al Gore does.

If you don’t believe all three propositions, you will be lumped with Holocaust deniers, and it would not be surprising that soon, in Europe, global warming deniers will be treated as Holocaust deniers and prosecuted.

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9 Comments

  1. Tom, there is writing for blogs and then there’s writing for blogs. Having communicated with you personally as well as reading your blog, I would really like to know – do you personally believe that climate change is not an issue with which every single one of us must accept? Do you also believe that using the word “Holocaust” as in “climate Holocaust denier” is okay?

    Finally – do you really feel as vehemently as your writing in this post suggest re: Ellen Goodman’s writing?

    How much of this is posing? Seriously.

    Comment by Jill — February 12, 2007 @ 10:32 am

  2. Jill,

    - I “personally believe that climate change is not an issue with which every single one of us must accept.” I do NOT believe it is caused by human activity. The claim that it is, and the resulting belief that we must submit to insufferable regulation because of it, is in fact approaching the status of “Mother of All Scams.”

    - I do NOT believe that Ellen had the right to call climate change skeptics “holocaust deniers.” Therefore, given that she did, and ONLY because she did, Steyn’s use of the term “climate Holocaust denier” is an appropriate response to her.

    - Ellen Goodman has aggravated me on and off for decades. In retrospect, her devolution when people who disagreed with her began to hold sway should have been predictable.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 12, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

  3. At least you’re not equivocating. Thanks for responding.

    Comment by Jill — February 12, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

  4. #3, if you haven’t caught it, see Update 4.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 12, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

  5. Tom, don’t make me come up with all the things President Bush has said which people won’t ever believe. PS President Klaus has a background in economics. I hardly see why you would put such stock in his opinion about the environment.

    People all along the political spectrum like to talk about following the money. I would say that in the case of people who remain in the first phase of Kubler Ross’s five stages of loss (as in loss over control of the environment let alone human behavior), that axiom applies as much as ever.

    Comment by Jill — February 12, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  6. Jill, people with backgrounds in research and investigation can see when they are being snookered, as does Klaus. And I think in a contest of intellectual heft, Klaus v. Al Gore, who I guess we are supposed to believe without question anyway, is a rout.

    What is very tiresome is that there is a litany of thousands of climatologists and scientists who are not buying into the globaloney, yet we have constantly been insulted for months by people like Gore and others who tell us the debate is over. Horse manure. Despite my stridency, if someone came forward with solid evidence, I would be listening.

    What is frustrating is that aggressive capitalism is showing signs of being able to lift most of the world out of grinding poverty in 50-75 years, while adopting the globalarmist agenda will lock in those who are in dire poverty permanently. Where is the compassion in that?

    Comment by TBlumer — February 12, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

  7. Tom, you wrote: “if someone came forward with solid evidence, I would be listening.” I am not being facecious here – what would you consider “solid evidence”?

    Then you wrote: “What is frustrating is that aggressive capitalism is showing signs of being able to lift most of the world out of grinding poverty in 50-75 years, while adopting the globalarmist agenda will lock in those who are in dire poverty permanently. Where is the compassion in that?”

    Tom – what are you talking about “aggressive capitalism” lifting “most of the world out of grinding poverty”? I do believe that you know what you’re talking about, or believe you believe what you’re talking about. But you and I know that it’s not my forte and again, without making you give me primer on your idea here, you know I’m a studious questioner – what do you have in mind specifically when you say this kind of thing?

    Last – why do you feel that concern for climate change – regardless of why it’s happening – will “lock in those who are in dire poverty permanently”?

    Again – I know you are not just throwing these images around – I’m certain you know exactly what you’re referring to. But I don’t have a clue as to what you mean here.

    A little light, if I ask nicely?

    Comment by Jill — February 12, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

  8. Jill, I have strong beliefs, but I also relish discussions with people interested in having them.

    So:

    - “Solid evidence” would require proof that warming is occurring (it seems a bit likely that it is), and that peer-reviewed and peer-replicated research show a definitive link of human-produced gases, by-products, etc. to that warming. Right now the logic, in essence, is that “it’s happening, so it must be our fault.”

    - I don’t think the science will ever get past the previous hurdle (I would suggest a daily e-mail from Benny Peiser in England that I receive, but it gets a little overbearing at times, not in content, but in sheer volume; I can’t even get past the headlines). Even then, the next hurdle would have to be to prove that warming, if proven to be human-induced, is a bad thing, or that it is even dangerous. You could make a case that increasing arable land and other benefits might outweigh the negatives. Recall that Greenland got its name for a reason — it was a perfectly hospitable place when settled by Erik the Red and the Icelanders (good name for a band, eh?). Over the next several hundred years it became insufferably cold and uninhabitable (see Wiki). Greenland’s condition today is evidence that the earth hasn’t yet re-warmed to the point it was at during the Medieval Warm Period. So it would seem we have a warming cushion to work with.

    - As to the potential for aggressive capitalism lifting the world out of poverty, I have this post from the past:

    http://www.bizzyblog.com/?p=3985

    This is a Positivity post that mostly regurgitates what the World Bank is predicting over the next 25 years. Here’s one money quote:

    A new middle class will be created in the developing nations. Today 400 million people in the poorer nations are consider to be in the “global middle class” with a purchasing power parity of between $4000 and $17,000 per capita. By 2030 there will be 1.2 billion.

    That would mean that the percentage of the world living in poverty will have deceased by about 12% in 25 years. Replicate that a couple of times, and accelerate it by helping countries move to market-based approaches, and the idea that world poverty (which appears to be roughly 30%-40% of the world, depending on source, definitions, etc.) could be mostly conquered in 50-75 years is not off the wall at all.

    This post also refers to an article noting that 170-plus million Chinese escaped poverty between 1990 and 2002, and which in essence credits Wal-Mart and other outsourcers for most of that improvement:

    http://www.bizzyblog.com/?p=2879

    - That leaves what happens if “climate change” proponents get a stranglehold on the world economy, which is clearly what they want. Even if you don’t believe, as I do, that the progess described above would be stopped dead in its tracks, you’d have to acknowledge that it would be slowed down considerably. Mandated reductions in energy use would cause cuts in output, slow new construction to a crawl. At a minimum they would reduce economic growth considerably, but I think what would actually happen is a worldwide recession with the potential of bringing a lot of instability to places once thought to be under control.

    - The more strident proponents of “climate change” controls have even openly stated that they don’t mind global poverty continuing, and even construct tortured “noble savage” arguments to somehow paint their situations as superior to ours. Here’s an example of one such person, a leading light in the environmentalist community, quoted from Mark Steyn:

    http://www.bizzyblog.com/?p=4505

    “In Madagascar, the indicators of quality of life are not housing. They’re not nutrition, specifically. They’re not health in a lot of cases. It’s not education. A lot of children in Fort Dauphin do not go to school because the parents don’t consider that to be important. . . . People have no jobs, but if I could put you with a family and you could count how many times in a day that that family smiles. Then I put you with a family well off, in New York or London, and you count how many times people smile. . . . You tell me who is rich and who is poor.”

    So (back to me opining), it’s OK if they’re malnourished, unhealthy, ignorant, and unemployed. They smile a lot, which means they’re better off than we are — never mind (as noted later by Steyn) that they only have a life expectancy of 52.5 years.

    I’m not okay with that. It appears that much of the worldwide environmental movement is. In fact, many of them have deluded themselves into thinking that perpetuating global poverty is the price we have to pay for “saving the planet” — which I think is demonstrably not in dire need of saving.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 13, 2007 @ 5:26 am

  9. Hmm. I am going to print that one out and read it, okay? Always happy for relish, so thank you too.

    Comment by Jill — February 13, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

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