Magazine | December 21, 2015, Issue

Of Carbon and Capricorn

Survey says: Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe in pseudo-science that they think affects their lives directly but really has no bearing whatsoever.

But enough about climate change. Turns out the Left also believes in astrology. Last year, the Washington Post noted that the two political groups most likely to believe that astrology is “scientific” are conservative and moderate Democrats, making their party as a whole the third most likely group:

Liberal Democrats are insignificantly less likely than average to believe in astrology (43.5 percent), [but] the difference is not enough to offset the beliefs of moderate and conservative Democrats. Thus, Democrats overall are in the third position, with nearly half (49.1 percent) believing in astrology.

Moderates irrespective of party affiliation and independents fill up the rest of the list. In the comments on the article, someone wondered whether the people polled thought they were being asked about astronomy. The pollers also asked whether respondents regularly read daily astrological predictions. Let us remind ourselves what those are like.

Astrological Prediction: Venus is in the third house, so take care to put away the spoons carefully. You may encounter a biped. Good day for romance, but don’t be swayed by a clever pair of socks. Use the mint-flavored floss. 

Astronomical Prediction: The moon will continue to circle the Earth. The other planets will go about their regular orbits. Galaxies on average will continue to grow farther apart.

The latter is a series of demonstrable facts. The former is a lot of drivel predicated on the idea that the motions of a distant celestial body have an influence on whether you can find your car keys quicker today than on Sunday, back when Mercury was exerting its baleful pull. No one goes to the comics section to see what the astronomical prediction is, unless Stephen Hawking has announced that he will be releasing his new theory through the dialogue in Garfield.

Before you send an e-mail objecting that people of a progressive inclination are rigorous skeptics who go wherever the evidence points regardless of personal beliefs, tarry a moment and consider the carbon impact of that e-mail. It takes fossil fuels to run those servers, you know. Send 65 e-mails, and it’s like driving a sixth of a mile, the Agence France-Presse recently said. No astrologist is proposing that your standard of living be reduced in order to change the orbit of the planets and make their machinations more melodious. But the president — and other people of affluence, influence, and oratorical effluence — wouldn’t just like to worry about e-mail’s carbon gusts, but want to grind this Murder Machine we call “the economy, capitalism, whatever” to a shuddering halt, lest the planet broil everyone to death like lice on a hotplate.

Hence the meeting in Paris. The president flew in Air Force One, which every 2,000 miles or so dumps the amount of carbon produced by 17 cars in one year of driving. (These are bad cars that are going from suburban houses to malls, not good cars that are driving to Planned Parenthood. Those get an exemption, but we should still have ultra-fast trains that connect the nation’s Planned Parenthood centers. Abortion is good, but once it’s sustainable, it’ll be fantastic.) Obama had to go in person, because showing up on Skype wouldn’t be the same. The magisterial presence of the Lightbringer — that would be LED, not incandescent — galvanizes us to Action, and we realize that this is a historic moment. The president certainly thinks it is. When he chooses a trip to Paris over golf, you know the planet teeters on the edge.

He also laid a flower on the shrine by the theater where some people who had nothing to do with Islam shot up a group of people who were targeted because, alas, they had nothing to do with Islam. Odd how that works. But what was the carbon impact of the flower? Every Mother’s Day we’re guilted with the ecological despoliation culminating in a simple bouquet. Were Obama’s flowers locally grown? Unless they sprang from the soil of Paris on their own, chances are they were part of an industrial infrastructure that sprang up to allow Parisians to present flowers at a moment’s notice to mistresses or cuckolded husbands, and hence that they contributed directly to a 100-ton hunk of iceberg sliding into the ocean somewhere, wrecking a fishing boat that can’t make a living any more because rising sea temps made all the perch explode like sausages tossed in a fire.

For the event, the Eiffel Tower was lit up green, but (1) that was probably from good, clean nuclear power, which of course we can’t have because Jane Fonda made a movie, and (2) the lights were installed so that they’re ready to go when Notre Dame is deconsecrated and Le Caliphate is established.

It might strike you as somewhat hypocritical. They may fly, but you shouldn’t. They may live where they wish, but you must be crowded into concrete beehives. They may eat steak, but your burger must be replaced with a divot of bouillon-soaked tofu. They may have computers and wide-screen TVs that suck up energy, because they’re using them to study the future and monitor events and you’re just sending chain e-mails to your grandkids about how Hillary’s secret birth certificate says she was born on the Isle of Lesbos, so your screentime will be rationed.

No, it is meet and just and right that the 1 percent be exempted from every restriction, because they are enlightening the rest of us. We glimpse them from a distance and raise our faces in awe — these great, powerful bodies influence our lives from afar, and only the blighted minds would deny their wisdom.

No wonder the Left also believes in astrology.

– Mr. Lileks blogs at

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