The Corner

My Willful Ignorance

Ben Adler, with almost comic sanctimony (think of the children!), takes me to task for criticizing his silly post the other day about climate change. There’s a lot of hot air, pun intended, but I’ll make just two points. First, he says “no one is denying that controlling emissions will exact some cost on consumers in developed countries. The point that Goldberg ignores is that alternative energy programs will also generate economic growth…” yada yada. Well, this is just flatly untrue. Al Gore refused to say in his congressional testimony that his proposed system will come at even “some cost.” Gore said his proposals are “going to save you money, and it’s going to make the economy stronger.” And Adler is flatly dishonest when he tries to minimize the issue of cost. It won’t be “some cost” but enormous cost. Maybe it’s warranted. But spare me the soft-sell for p.r. purposes.

But, yeah, sure  throwing a lot of money at new technologies will create a lot of jobs and growth. But so will throwing a lot of money at ditch-digging. Someone needs to reread (or read) Frederic Bastiat’s parable of the broken window. Ben also needs to stop talking as if I don’t understand what he’s saying, it’s not that complicated. It’s just not that persuasive.

The second point is just an amusing juxtaposition. The post immediately before Adler’s is the Ezra Klein one I noted below. Klein begins his post by saying “You know, whenever you read someone saying, ‘There is little dispute among economists that [blah blah blah],’ it’s probably a safe assumption that ‘blah blah blah’ actually engenders huge amounts of dispute.” Well, Adler, whose ode(s) to the unimpeachable veracity of climate scientist “consensus” is too lengthy to reprint here, might borrow just a smidgen of the skepticism his colleague holds for economic consensus and apply it to the issue of global warming.

Update: Oh, one last thing I can’t resist. I really do love it when Prospect-style liberals talk about how upscale New York City residents are too stupid to understand something only Prospect writers and climate scientists can fully grasp (he argues that Crichton & Co. won their debate because they’re better at P.R. and the audience was full of run -of -the -mill suckers, not a conclave of climate-scientist priests). That is a refreshing form of leftwing populism and I look forward to hearing more of it.

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