Posted on | April 21, 2010 | 46 Comments
He has written a very dismissive attack on Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny. Levin will surely respond, as always, with overwhelming rhetorical force.
Manzi focuses his attack on Levin’s chapter about anthropogenic global warming (AGW), a topic on which Manzi considers himself something of a lay expert. While I have no personal quarrel with Manzi and have no interest in a detailed discussion of the scientific issues involved, let me explain the basis of my skepticism toward the climate-change alarmists, as I am sure many other conservatives share the same perspective.
In its basic outlines, the AGW panic combines the motifs of several previous liberal fear crusades, especially Paul Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb” scare of the late 1960s and the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970s and ’80s. There is a distinct element of Malthusianism at the root of it, as well as the kind of transparent prejudice against Western capitalist society that motivated those who marched for a (unilateral) “nuclear freeze” and those who chained themselves to the gates at the Diablo Canyon project.
Ever since global-warming theory became a political controversy — in the 1997 ratification fight over the Kyoto Protocol – I have dismissed AGW as merely the latest manifestation of the same anti-Western doom-and-gloom hokum that liberals have peddled so often in my lifetime. That this gut-hunch reaction is not scientific, I readily admit, but I am one of those “men of untaught feelings” of whom Edmund Burke spoke, and have never subscribed to the Temple Cult of Scientism.
Furthermore, I have a stubborn resistance to bandwagon arguments cloaked in the trappings of prestige: “How can anyone possibly disagree with so many sophisticated experts?”
When the facts are clear and the logic is sound, there is no need to invoke prestige, and therefore whenever I hear such an argument, I instinctively suspect a scam is being perpetrated. Judging from the revelations at East Anglia, that suspicion was well-founded as regards AGW.
If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and AGW theory was — from the perspective of environmentalists — far too good to be true. So I think we can safely predict two things:
- The entire pseudo-scientific edifice of AGW theory will eventually be proven utterly false; and
- Mark Levin will soon pile onto Jim Manzi with a frightening ferocity.
“Epistemic closure,” and all that.