Roger L. Simon

Crichton Envy

I don’t have it that bad, but anyone who does what I do for a living must have a twinge of jealousy for the doctor who can do everything from treating a patient to creating a television series to directing a movie to writing a mega-bestseller (every year or two). By now most everybody knows that his latest of the latter… State of Fear… takes on that hoariest of liberal shibboleths – environmentalism.

I haven’t read the book yet (though I undoubtedly will since it is in the category for which I am a judge in the LAT Book Awards), but I did watch Dr. Crichton being interviewed by Aaron Brown on CNN the other night. To say that the anchorman was over-matched would be the understatement of the decade. The doctor certainly does his homework on global warming and other matters. Brown just seemed like the lightweight he is. Conventional liberalism is clearly on the defensive these days, particularly when represented by people like Brown.

On the issue of global warming, I remain, like Crichton (although not even a tenth as knowledgable), an agnostic. More serious science and less propaganda, please. Still there is one argument in favor of extreme environmentalism that appeals to me. I call it the “What if the extreme environmentalists are right?” argument. Yes, I know it’s unlikely, but what if… To have taken the maximum precautions will then have seemed a small price to pay. Of course, many environmental precautions backfire and create more problems. And so it goes.

This all leads to the question of the Kyoto Protocol, which I think must be revisited not just for the scientific reasons that Crichton demonstrates, but because of international corruption. In the light of the UN Oil-for-Food Scandal, it is clear that nations sign documents (Russia, France) with no intention of honoring them. Until there is some way of dealing with this corruption, such agreements are meaningless.

BTW, if you click on the top link, you will find an interesting Amazon interview with Crichton. The book he says had the “most significant impact” on his life was Alice Miller’s Prisoners of Childhood. I might agree with that. [Does that mean your next book will be a bestseller?-ed. It’s a start.]