When our government was insisting that we go to war with Iraq, I told anyone who would listen that it didn't make any sense, that Saddam Hussein did not pose a threat to the U.S., and that our leaders were simply up to no good. My conservative friends angrily disagreed, almost in unison, declaring that the evidence supplied by the Bush White House concerning WMDs was comprehensive and concrete, and that the terror "crisis" was far too dire to entertain any dissent from some blind ignoramus like me.
Now the liberals have their own "crisis."
Global warming — or to use the latest fashionable phrase, "climate change" — has quickly become an article of faith for the Left. Heralding the importance of last week's Copenhagen Climate Summit, the left-leaning British daily The Guardian published the following: "Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency."
This is not the first time the media has aided the scientific community in an effort to warn the world about atmospheric Armageddon. As Gary Sutton of Forbes.com notes, in 1975 the U.S. government openly pushed the "coming ice age," while Random House published The Weather Conspiracy: The Coming of the New Ice Age." Sutton adds that "Newsweek fell in line and did a cover issue warning us of global cooling in April 28, 1975. And The New York Times, Aug. 14, 1976, reported 'many signs that Earth may be headed for another ice age."
Fifty-six newspapers in 45 countries can't be wrong, can they? No more than Newsweek and The New York Times were wrong in the 1970s, not to mention the National Science Board who also sounded the "ice age" alarm in 1974.
When the now-famous "Climategate" story erupted recently, in which it was discovered through hacked e-mail accounts that prominent scientists might have fudged data to support global warming claims or sought to suppress climate change skeptics within their own ranks, the mainstream media was not quick to pick up the story.
As one e-mail from Climategate scientist Kevin Trenberth, concerning the failure of computer models, read, "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can't." Replied fellow scientist Michael Mann, "As we all know, this isn't about truth at all; it's about plausible deniability." Climategate seems to suggest that some global warming scientists were more interested in constructing a narrative to support their claims than properly informing the public based on sound data.
The same week Climategate broke, Voice of America News reported that "the Bush administration was looking for a link between the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington and Saddam Hussein, hours after the attacks took place," according to former British ambassador to the United States Christopher Meyer. "We found ourselves scrabbling for the smoking gun, which was another way of saying, 'It's not that Saddam has to prove himself innocent, we now bloody well have to prove he's guilty,'" Meyer said.
Would the "experts" in the lead up to the war in Iraq intentionally mislead the public or fabricate evidence to advance an agenda? Would the scientific establishment or mainstream media suppress pertinent information about climate change that contradicts their agenda?
The alleged authority of "expert" opinion does not hold much sway with me. I do not pretend to know more than government officials, journalists, scientists, economists, and various other sophists and calculators, but I do know that for all their collective wisdom, they are just as often wrong as they are right. Does anyone really believe that stimulus and TARP spending has helped the economy, as the "experts" contend? Does anyone really believe the Iraq war had a damn thing to do with terrorism, as government officials still claim?
It is this experience-driven skepticism that prevents me from becoming too worried about so-called global warming. The same liberals who shriek at my doubt and believe that science is beyond politics when it comes to their sacred issue of climate change conveniently forget that scientific consensus once told us that racial minorities were intellectually incapable of competing with their white counterparts or that homosexuality was a mental disorder. Oh, but that was just politics masquerading as science, the Left might say. Global warming is different.
And it may be different. Only time will tell. But one need not be an expert of any sort to recognize that for both Left and Right, faith dictates the facts and today's truths often become tomorrow's fiction. And it is mighty curious that for every new crisis, a massive and expansive government corrective is always the proposed solution.
Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the "Morning Buzz with Richard Todd" on 1250 AM WTMA.