John Kerry vs Dissent

David Harsanyi on the Secretary of State demanding we “should not allow” open debate on climate change:

You’d think that hearing a cabinet member calling for the end of discourse would be something a reporter with access to Kerry might want to follow up on. What exactly does he mean by “should not allow”? Perhaps we can imagine this going down in alternative historical form — Donald Rumsfeld said “we” should not allow “any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right in Iraq outweigh the benefits” — and move forward from there.

This is the formula: scientific consensus cannot be challenged. The solutions and policies we offer are as irrefutable as science and, consequently, also unchallengeable. So only “deniers” weigh the economic trade-offs of environmental policy, or the wisdom of dumping billions of dollars and untold resources into cronyism and questionable technologies, or challenge the highly dubious contention that left-wing environmental policies, even if successful, would alter the trajectory of the supposed climate catastrophe. We’re not allowed to debate whether focusing on human adaptability is a better bet than the miniscule chance that we can stop the explosive growth of prosperity in the developing world.

Or, even more important, a debate over whether we should want to. What is the morality of working to deny billions of people the energy and technology that could lift them out of poverty? Kerry called on all nations to respond to “the greatest challenge of our generation.” In Indonesia, somewhere around 32 million people live in crushing poverty that can only be alleviated by expanding marketplaces, which, in turn, guarantee that millions of people will be using more carbon-emitting energy. Since fossil fuels have done more to alleviate poverty and suffering than any charity or safety-net program known to mankind, it’s probably worth discussing.

Again we come back to the essentially feudal nature of modern progressivism. Carbon caps are the ultimate “closing the door behind you.” They lock poor nations into poverty, protecting the relative standing of the rich nations. Yes, the rich nations also become poorer, but their position is locked into place.