Ed Driscoll

Bill Nye, The Antediluvian Guy

There are some films that audiences enjoy watching over and over again, but this is one rerun we’ve all seen so many times, we can recite the dialog with the actors, Rocky Horror Picture Show-style.

Or in this case, maybe Reefer Madness. “Bill Nye Compares Combating Climate Change to Winning World War II,” Joseph Rossell writes at NewsBusters today:

Overcoming climate change is a challenge for those “coming of age,” much like World War II was for the Greatest Generation, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” asserted.

Nye claimed that climate change was “certainly the most serious problem facing humankind right now” while on HuffPost Live May 7 with host Josh Zepps.

“So what I want to do is create the next Great Generation,” Nye said. He said the members of the Greatest Generation “pitched in” to win World War II. “And so I want the people coming of age now, the president’s kids and stuff, to work together to address climate change. I think they can, I’m sure they can do it.”

Zepps asked if climate change was a “sufficiently galvanizing purpose” and motivator as World War II and the Cold War. Nye admitted that “getting people on board with this” had proved challenging.

“Now when people have to really kind of leave Miami, then it will be serious and people will take it seriously,” Nye contended. “But then there will be so much carbon in the atmosphere, it’s a really hard thing.”

Since the public hasn’t stepped up, Nye demanded the government step in.

“We’re gonna need some regulation to get people on board, and just like they had in World War II,” Nye said, citing examples of “rationing tires,” “collecting bones to get the calcium” and “victory gardens.”

Hey, Ira Einhorn is waaaay ahead of you in collecting bones for his victory garden, Bill.

But seriously — or about as seriously as this antediluvian crankery warrants, Nye is a made-for-television pseudo-scientist, so it’s no wonder he’s trafficking here in reruns even older than when his trademark bow-tie was in fashion. Nye is employing the “Progressives'” hoary old “Moral Equivalent of War” argument, which dates back its first use by William James at the dawn of the 20th century, and was employed by Jimmy Carter in his pathetic 1977 energy policy speech. In his 1989 New York Times op-ed, in which Al Gore signaled his pivot from posing as a relatively conservative Democrat in the 1980s to his current stance as a far left corporatist technocrat, Gore employed a World War II metaphor as well, describing global warming as “An Ecological Kristallnacht.” In 2008, Time-Warner-CNN-HBO made the same argument yet again by running a cover of Time magazine in which the American flag raised by the Marines on Iwo Jima’s Mt. Suribachi in 1945 was replaced via Photoshop with a tree, as NewsBusters reported back then:

The Time cover story by Bryan Walsh calls green “the new red, white and blue.” But Donald Mates, an Iwo Jima veteran, said this goes a little too far. He told the Business & Media Institute on April 17 that using the famous Iwo Jima flag-planting photograph for the global warming cause was a “disgrace.”

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” Mates said. “Whoever did it is going to hell. That’s a mortal sin. God forbid he runs into a Marine that was an Iwo Jima survivor.”

Mates said making the comparison of World War II to global warming was erroneous and disrespectful.

“The second world war we knew was there,” Mates said. “There’s a big discussion. Some say there is global warming, some say there isn’t. And to stick a tree in place of a flag on the Iwo Jima picture is just sacrilegious.”

Exactly. It’s worth noting that Nye is comfortable making a similar argument a quarter century after Gore and seven years after Time magazine, without fear that his sympathetic interviewer will ask the obvious question: Fine, if you consider global warming to be the equivalent of World War II — what will mark its conclusion? Everyone fighting knew that World War II would end when the Nazis and Imperial Japan were defeated. Tell me the end conditions for your particular brand of open-ended warfare? (And why are we needlessly beating up an enemy that waved the white flag almost two decades ago?)

Update: If global warming is Nye and Gore and Time’s moral equivalent of a world war, then things are looking rather quiet on the arctic front, perhaps the ultimate example of the infamous Gore Effect — although casualties are mounting.

Speaking of which, if the HuffPo agrees with Nye’s recycled thesis that global warming is the equivalent of WWII, perhaps it needs to rethink it’s own walk-on part in the imaginary war and consider the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the team.