In a recent interview with Hugh Hewitt, Charles Krauthammer had this to say about climate control:
It’s a religion, Hugh. It’s not facts, it’s not science. It’s a religion. And they’ll do human sacrifice if they have to. The numbers are made up. They know, for example, I mean all of the cap-and-trade stuff, which would really destroy our economy, they know would be swallowed up in a week or two of India and Chinese emissions. China is starting a coal fired plant every week on average, and that is just throwing all that CO2 into the atmosphere, of which our reductions would be negligible. It would simply end up as a great transfer of wealth out of the West into the third world on a scale never seen. But it’s a religion. So they are impervious to empirical evidence.
Indeed, the theme for the Obama administration seems to be just that –”Impervious to empirical evidence!”.
Throughout the campaign and continuing into his presidency Obama has decried George W. Bush as an “ideologue,” a man blinded by preexisting conceptions and inured to evidence which contradicted his worldview. But it is the Obama team which in just seven months has perfected the art of denying or evading facts. It doesn’t matter if the subject is small or large. It can be a domestic or foreign policy issue. The modus operandi is the same: don’t give them the facts; they’ve made up their minds.
We just witnessed Gates-gate — the triumph of an ideologically driven narrative (America is as racist a country as it’s ever been) over facts. The president even told us he didn’t know the facts — and then proceeded to embroil us (and him) in a tale of racial profiling contrived out of thin air.
That’s the story of health care reform as well. For months we were told that Obama’s health care reform would save money. Facts? None. Experience (on everything from Medicare to farm subsidies to the Post Office) and common sense tell us that if the government sets up a program and then chases the private sector out of business, it will cost more (e.g. for medical care, food or mail service) than it did before — and much more over time than was promised. It took the CBO to finally rain on the “bend the cost curve” fantasy of the Obama team.
On domestic policy nothing has topped the stimulus plan for faith-based government — the boundless belief in the power of government to create jobs and of government spending to create wealth. Neither the New Deal experience or the research of their own economic advisor dissuaded them from spending a trillion dollars (interest included) to “save or create” 3.5 (or was it 4?) million jobs.
But “impervious to empirical evidence” is especially, and dangerously, in ascension in foreign policy. Unlike Bush (the allegedly-impervious-to-facts president who undertook a daunting mid-war review and revised our Iraq strategy based on the evidence before him), this president is in no need of evidence — either historical or contemporary — to shape his foreign policy.