Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens on Climate Change


Christopher Hitchens, noted iconoclast, skeptic, scourge of Mother Theresa and harsh critic of the left, passed away yesterday, of a pneumonia that was a complication of esophageal cancer. He was 62.

Christopher Hitchens was a highly intelligent guy, although his anti-religious writing, which is probably the thing he was most known for, for me had a harsh, intolerant lilt to it. On foreign policy, he was far to the right, with a predictably anti-Islamic slant. I was curious if he had anything to say on the subject of climate change.

He does not appear to have written on the subject, but he did address it in a video in 2007 (h/t Daily Kos), when he got it, somewhat to my surprise, pretty much exactly right:


The argument about global warming is not whether there is any warming but whether or not and to what extent human activity is responsible for it. My line on that is that we should act as if it is, for this reason, which I borrowed from Jonathan Schell's book on the nuclear question, The Fate of the Earth: We don't have another planet on which to run the experiment. Just as we don't have a right to run an experiment to run an experiment in nuclear exchange on this planet, we have no right to run an experiment in warming it either. So if it turned out to be that there was no severe global warming threat or that it wasn't man-made, then all we would have done would be make a mistake in analysis - which we could correct from. But if it turned out that there was and we didn't do anything about it, then it would be too late to do anything at all. And that would lead to disaster.

5 comments:

  1. We also don't have a right to wreck the planet for our children, future generations, or the people of poor nations.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ...it's ok to hand future generations various chain letters (entitlement programs already bankrupt) in the name of "compassion"--LOL--which will enslave them.

    That'll bring about a really wonderful planet....courtesy the Earth Worship Statist Cult....

    ReplyDelete
  3. "...it's ok to hand future generations various chain letters (entitlement programs already bankrupt) in the name of "compassion"--LOL--which will enslave them."

    The idea that a basic social safety net will "enslave" the population is alpha-crackpot-level delusion.

    In its best, most compelling form, it's basically a slippery slope argument that says governments that do anything cannot help but do everything, and by doing everything become totalitarian.

    Like all slippery slope arguments, it's logically a fallacy. Rationally it is also a damp squib, because there is no evidence for it -- zero -- despite a century and a half of modern welfare programs -- of any state going from free to unfree because the state taxed the population to provide basic necessities of life to the destitute.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is a logical fallacy to call these programs "social safety nets". They are instead get rich quick schemes for nepostistic bureaucrats. One need only look at the employee parking lot of any welfare office in any major city to see who the actual primary beneficiaries of all this spending truly are.

    Most states have gone from free to unfree - and have enshrined an elite managerial class in the bargain - by implementing and enhancing these "programs". In the process, profitable industries have been migrating away from these tax traps for decades now. The Rust Belt of the US is a prime example of this, as is Eastern Europe.

    I have endured decades of environmental scare tactics, each more devious than the last. They all have at their premise that industries involved in highly productive and profitable activities are ruining the planet, and thatthe only way to save the earth is to take these profits and give them to environmentalists. One would think by this time that most everyone would have seen through this foolishness by now. I certainly have.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pretty cool post. It's really nice and useful. Thanks for sharing.
    ac duct cleaning Little Haiti florida

    ReplyDelete