Ed Driscoll

Meanwhile, Even Further To The Left Of The Times

Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin spots more than a little nervousness about ClimateGate at the far left’s house organ, the Nation:

How does [the Nation’s Christopher Hayes] explain this refusal of so many Americans to accept the dogma that is repeated endlessly in the media and throughout the culture almost without challenge? Of course, he ignores recent scandals such as the East Anglia affair, as well as the fact that, contrary to predictions, the planet hasn’t gotten any warmer in the past decade, something even the New York Times has acknowledged.

Instead, Hayes mostly blames it on the economic crisis and partisan hatred for Barack Obama. But that’s not all. He also blames the global-warming activists themselves for not being sufficiently scary. That’s right. Despite all the apocalyptic threats that have been put forward on behalf of this thesis based on theoretical models, Hayes believes that we haven’t had enough environmental hysteria. He believes the warming alarmists must stop talking about “green jobs” and the economic opportunities they claim will spring from the disastrous cap-and-trade policies they advocate. Instead, he wants them to just scream “the planet is melting.” I guess that’s supposed to reinforce the Left’s self-image as the advocates of reason and science.

But elsewhere on the Nation website, you can get a slightly different take on the same issue. In a video interview with Nation editorial-board member Tony Kushner, the famous playwright has his own riff on the question. Kushner modestly brushes off the praise of the magazine staffer plying the questions by saying that the mention of “the impact of human lives on the environment” in his 1991 play Angels in America in which “character Hannah Pitt fretted about the hole in the ozone layer” didn’t make him a prophet. He was just writing about what was “in the news” then as now, he claims. Though he puts down all skepticism about the theory to “greed” on the part of evil industrialists, he goes on to say that he thinks that the lack of progress toward passing economy-crippling measures aimed to stop global warming is due to the fact that people are aware of the impending catastrophe but are too numbed by its enormity to act. Kushner even thinks that, contrary to the evidence leaking out from East Anglia, the global-warming crowd has understated the danger so as not to create mass panic.

For those who want a small taste of Kushner’s idea of environmental reform, consider the passage where he fondly remembers the halt in commercial-airline flights after the 9/11 attacks, which he claims created a “staggering decrease in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere!”

So what’s the answer here? Are we too scared by the specter of being cooked like a hot dog at Nathan’s in less than a decade, as Kushner thinks, or, as Hayes theorizes, have we not been frightened enough? Either way, it’s clear that the real fear on the Left is that more of the public isn’t buying their scare stories anymore.

As I noted in last week’s “Hide The Decline” edition of my Silicon Graffiti video blog, in what turned out to be, in retrospect, the run-up to ClimateGate, the left seemed to be dramatically escalating the craziness of their global warming-themed PSAs and advertisements. By the fall of this year, it reached the point where the WWF was comparing global warming to a whole fleet of terrorist-controlled planes attacking the World Trade Center. Which was followed by this ad from Plane Stupid, the British anti-aviation group, which, in what was clearly another 9/11-inspired ad, featured photorealistic digital animation of polar bears falling from the sky, hitting skyscrapers, leaving blood trails on the sides of those buildings, and ultimately flattening parked cars:

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Short of replacing the bears with humans falling from the sky for the complete 9/11 experience, once you’ve reached this level of hysteria, where else do you go to ramp up the hysteria?

Update: Steve Hayward looks at “Scientists Behaving Badly:”

Climate change is a genuine phenomenon, and there is a nontrivial risk of major consequences in the future. Yet the hysteria of the global warming campaigners and their monomaniacal advocacy of absurdly expensive curbs on fossil fuel use have led to a political dead end that will become more apparent with the imminent collapse of the Kyoto-Copenhagen process. I have long expected that 20 or so years from now we will look back on the turn-of-the-millennium climate hysteria in the same way we look back now on the population bomb hysteria of the late 1960s and early 1970s–as a phenomenon whose magnitude and effects were vastly overestimated, and whose proposed solutions were wrongheaded and often genuinely evil (such as the forced sterilizations of thousands of Indian men in the 1970s, much of it funded by the Ford Foundation). Today the climate campaigners want to forcibly sterilize the world’s energy supply, and until recently they looked to be within an ace of doing so. But even before Climategate, the campaign was beginning to resemble a Broadway musical that had run too long, with sagging box office and declining enthusiasm from a dwindling audience. Someone needs to break the bad news to the players that it’s closing time for the climate horror show.

I’m sure they’ll take the news in good cheer.