Magazine December 21, 2015, Issue

The Week

(Roman Genn)

 ‐ President Obama insisted that gathering in Paris to eat canapés and chat about the weather in the wake of the horrific Islamic State attack on that city constitutes a “powerful rebuke” to the terrorists. Add in dessert and brandy and it’s practically D-Day.

‐ The day after Thanksgiving, Robert Lewis Dear barricaded himself inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, holding law enforcement at bay for nearly six hours before he was captured. In the interim, nine people were injured and three killed, including one police officer. Reports so far suggest that Dear was mentally disturbed, with a particular inclination toward paranoia, hostile to abortion but with no known organizational ties to the pro-life movement (and free of any diagnoses or convictions that could have prevented him from owning a firearm even under Colorado’s relatively stringent gun laws). None of this has kept the Left from pushing its pet conclusions. Liberals, from social-media pests to top congressional Democrats, have blamed the “hateful rhetoric” of the pro-life movement for “inciting” Dear to his heinous act. This is nonsense, and alarming nonsense. A tendency to blame the acts of deranged individuals on the rhetoric of advocacy groups is a sure path to the curtailing of civil society, of the rights of individuals and groups to work to change policies and attitudes. And, of course, the rhetoric blame game works in both directions: If the pro-life movement is responsible for Robert Dear’s attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic, then surely the Southern Poverty Law Center is responsible for Floyd Lee Corkins’s 2012 attack on the Family Research Council. We prefer that individuals be held responsible for their own actions, and reject those who exploit the tragedy to smite enemies or score political points.

‐  The White House is not budging on its promise to take 10,000 Syrian refugees over the coming fiscal year; the Democratic presidential candidates, meanwhile, have promised to take six times more in the following years. A majority of the American electorate is against them, and rightly so. There is no compelling reason for the United States to bring Syrian refugees to its own shores, and both the cost and the risk to American security, given that they cannot be thoroughly vetted, militate against it. But the United States can still do its part to allay the crisis. Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and other surrounding countries are best situated to shelter fleeing refugees, and most are doing so; the United States can and should provide aid to help them shoulder the burden. In the long term, the goal should be to prevent a Syrian diaspora, so that Syrian refugees can return home when the conflict in their country ends. If the United States is to accept refugees, it should prioritize Syrian Christians, who face unique persecution from the Islamic State, who find themselves the victims of assault and more from Muslim refugees inside the United Nations’ refugee camps, and who are likely to be more assimilable. We can and should help Syria’s huddled masses, but too much of our debate is about proving our virtue instead.

‐  Aides to other Republican presidential candidates are calling Donald Trump a “fascist,” and John Kasich’s campaign is running an ad likening him to a Nazi because he allegedly wants to “round up all the Hispanic immigrants.” Trump has suggested that he wants to deport all illegal immigrants very rapidly and then let many of them back in. It’s a stupid position, but it’s not what Kasich says it is, and it’s not fascistic. (If mass deportation of illegal immigrants is proof of fascism, then the commander of Allied forces in Europe turned fascist when he became president and engaged in it.) There is, admittedly, something fascistic about Trump’s basic pitch that the country needs to be cleansed of its corrupt elites and run by a benevolent strongman. But there is also something fascistic about Barack Obama’s demand that Americans put aside their partisan differences and work together like the members of Seal Team Six — an argument he made in a State of the Union address. It’s debatable how dangerous this sort of thing is. Less so is that there is nothing conservative about any of it.

‐  Trump said that on 9/11 he “watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering” as the Trade Towers came down. The cheering throngs, he specified, were local Muslims. The media indeed ran clips of cheering Palestinians on 9/11, and the Washington Post reported, days later, that police had questioned “a number of people” in New Jersey who reportedly cheered the attacks in rooftop parties. Maybe Trump conflated the clips and the story? No, indeed: He insists he saw what he saw. When Serge Kovaleski, the reporter who filed the rooftop story, made plain what he wrote, Trump mocked him. Kovaleski has a disability of the joints and Trump, miming confusion, gave a grotesque impersonation of a cripple. George Washington, the first man to hold the office Trump aspires to, copied a book of 110 rules of etiquette when he was a teenager. Maybe Trump should read it. Rule 21: “Reproach none for the infirmities of nature.” Rule 50: “Be not hasty to believe flying reports.” Rule 111: If you’re already King of the Clowns, you can’t run for president of the United States.

‐  Ben Carson is a smart and accomplished man with conservative convictions and an inspiring life story. But he has not cared to learn much about government policies, foreign or domestic. In a recent debate he said he would defeat ISIS by making them look like losers, which he would do by defeating them — a nice if circular thought; he also failed in an on-the-fly attempt to make the math work on a tax plan. In interviews, he has shown no comprehension of what the federal debt ceiling is. A foreign-policy adviser said, on the record, that Carson knows nothing; the campaign suggested the adviser is senile. Carson’s numbers are dropping. Evidently some Republicans who had hoped that this good man might be qualified to be president are reluctantly concluding that he is not.

‐  Marco Rubio hit Ted Cruz for his vote earlier this year to crimp the National Security Agency’s metadata program. The Texan supported the USA Freedom Act, which transferred custody of the store of metadata — basic information about phone calls — from the NSA to phone companies, where it will be more difficult for the agency to access. The act passed Congress with supermajority support and was signed into law by President Obama, a bipartisan reflection of the panic over surveillance stoked by the Edward Snowden revelations. Post-Paris, the politics of surveillance look different, which is why Rubio, a supporter of the NSA program, wants to make it an issue. We are with Rubio on the merits of the question, although it’s hard to see how he’s going to succeed in depicting Cruz as soft on terror. Cruz retaliated by criticizing Rubio for his support for toppling Moammar Qaddafi, lumping him in with Hillary Clinton and “Washington neoconservatives.” No one will be holding up post-Qaddafi Libya as a model for anything, although it’s hard to see how Cruz is going to succeed in depicting Rubio as a Hillary fellow-traveler. Both Rubio and Cruz are hard-liners on foreign policy, but they have different inflections — Rubio more robustly interventionist, Cruz more cautious, at least while he’s trying to appeal to Rand Paul and Donald Trump voters. The small differences are being amplified in their clash for the nomination, as the two supremely talented conservatives emerge as top contenders.

‐  The world was given a brief window into the progressive soul in November, when Secretary of State John Kerry suggested in Paris that the Charlie Hebdo assassins had been in possession of a “rationale.” Drawing a distinction between the more recent attacks, which he called “indiscriminate,” and the killings in January, which he suggested had been staged in response to “one particular sense of wrong,” Kerry asked the audience to agree with him that there was “something different” this time. In any circumstances it would have been unseemly and unhelpful for an American diplomat to publicly rank the validity of terrorist acts. But Kerry’s reasoning also rested upon a false premise: that the attack upon the Bataclan was nihilistic in nature. It was not. Rather, it was a punitive incursion designed to punish Parisians for the nature of their city, which the perpetrators described as a “capital of prostitution and obscenity.” After all these years, some high-ups in the West still don’t know why they hate us.

‐  Among the words Democrats may not utter, along with “all lives matter” and “right to bear arms,” are “radical Islam.” Hillary Clinton speaks of “radical jihadist ideology” and Martin O’Malley of “radical jihadis.” Bernie Sanders says, “I don’t think the term is what’s important.” But radical jihadis do: The first two letters of “ISIS,” after all, stand for “Islamic State.” The first principle of warfare is to understand the mind of the enemy; if terrorists believe they are fulfilling Islam, we have to know how and why. And the first condition of reform in the Muslim world is honest thought about the religion, and whether and how it has gone astray. As Jesus, a figure known to Muslims, said, “the truth shall make you free.”

‐  The Manchester, N.H., Union Leader endorsed Chris Christie for president, stressing his toughness on national security and his bluntness. There is much to like about Christie, from his willingness to rein in the growth of entitlement spending to his pro-life record — and his amassing of a pretty conservative record for a state as liberal as New Jersey. (In 2012, it had the biggest Obama margin of any state with a Republican governor.) But the qualifiers matter. Christie’s record on guns is fairly awful: During one race in the 1990s, he even said opposition to “assault weapons” was his motive for running. The state has one of the most activist liberal judiciaries in the country, and moving it rightward has not been a priority of his. Conservative voters should give him a respectful hearing, but on these and other issues his rivals will probably offer some blunt talk of their own.

‐  Bernie Sanders at long last delivered his speech on “democratic socialism” at Georgetown University: what it is; what it means to him; how it will save America. But the good senator from Vermont seems to be a bit confused about his subject matter, despite the throngs of undergraduates cheering his hymn to FDR. He says he does not believe that government “should own the means of production” but that “working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.” Okay, but what Mr. Sanders is describing is less Socialism than Big Government welfare-statism. He wants higher taxes on the rich (of course), a $15 national minimum wage (of course), more spending on public services (of course), less spending on national defense (of course), increased regulation on banks (yup), trade protectionism (no doubt), and “free” tuition at public colleges. Question: How is any of this different from Mrs. Clinton’s platform?

‐  At the urging of journalist-activist Jose Antonio Vargas, Clinton agreed in a Facebook Q&A sponsored by the Spanish-language network Telemundo to forswear the term “illegal immigrant.” The preferred nomenclature is “undocumented immigrant” or, as Clinton’s Democratic-primary opponent Martin O’Malley prefers to say, “new American.” Clinton had uttered the offending term a few weeks earlier in a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire, pointing to her past support for a border fence to “prevent illegal immigrants from coming in.” That was, she told Vargas, a “poor choice of words.” Clinton is indeed choosing words differently now: Back in 2003, she said she was “adamantly against illegal immigrants”; now she professes to be adamantly against describing them accurately.

‐  But stop mocking Hillary — or else. That was the message her campaign delivered to Los Angeles’s Laugh Factory after the presidential candidate showed up at the comedy club recently and was, predictably, teased by the evening’s roster of talent. Following the visit, an official with the campaign called club founder Jamie Masada and demanded that video of the mockery be removed from the website. “They threatened me,” Masada told Judicial Watch. “I have received complaints before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video.” The official also demanded to know the names and contact information for the performers in the video, which Masada refused to give. The video, meanwhile, now bears the title “Hillary Clinton vs. The First Amendment.” Sinister overtones aside, may we suggest to Mrs. Clinton’s handlers that a comedy club may not be her natural habitat?

‐  The latest thump in the great collegiate breast-beat is a push at Princeton to take Woodrow Wilson’s name off the School of Public and International Affairs. Huh? Wilson won the Nobel Peace Prize (which makes him notable in international affairs), was president of the United States (which makes him notable in public affairs), and was both an alumnus (class of 1879) and president of Princeton (which should engender a little team spirit). Wilson’s greatest achievement was to be the prophet of national self-determination, thus of much of the 20th century. That story has both light and dark chapters, as does the rest of Wilson’s career: He was a Lost Cause racist and a progressive disdainer of the Constitution. But, as another Princeton graduate (James Madison, 1771) observed, men are not angels.

a Republican-dominated one.

‐  UnitedHealth Group, the country’s largest insurer, cut its earnings projections, citing losses from its participation in Obamacare’s exchanges. It suggested it might leave the exchanges. Health stocks declined on the news, which may indicate that markets think other companies are in the same position. The problem appears to be that the exchanges have not proven sufficiently appealing to healthy people for them to sign up, even under threat of tax penalties. What Republicans should do now is block any bailout of the insurers and push for a conservative replacement of Obamacare — because, as unsatisfactory as that law has proven, it may be experiencing its best days.

‐  Since 9/11, progressives have tended to oppose the use of the “terror watch list” on the eminently reasonable grounds that the system is a bloated mess (it hosts 1 million names), that it is administered capriciously, and that its victims lack the due-process protections that the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act require. Alas, after the shooting in Paris, their tune has changed dramatically. In November, Democratic senators Harry Reid (Nev.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) introduced a bill that would prohibit anybody whose name is on the list from buying a gun. “Slamming this appalling loophole,” said Schumer, “ought to be a no-brainer.” Astute observers will note that there are some important words missing from this proposal — among them, “charged” and “convicted.” If it were to pass, it would effectively permit the executive branch to pick and choose who is able to exercise his or her Second Amendment rights, and who is not. This proposal illustrates two great truths: that the Left entirely forgets its civil libertarianism when it comes to guns; and that the term “no-brainer” is almost always more descriptive than intended.

‐  Conservative superlawyer Charles Cooper, in an essay for National Affairs, has drawn attention to some recent opinions by Justice Clarence Thomas, and George Will in turn has drawn attention to that essay. Thomas is concerned with the decay of the vesting clauses of the Constitution: “The Constitution,” he writes, “does not vest the Federal Government with an undifferentiated ‘governmental power.’” Instead it assigns different kinds of powers — executive, legislative, and judicial — to three different branches. Thomas scolds Congress for writing vague, open-ended laws whose implementation requires thickets of agencies and tons of printed regulations; Thomas also implicitly condemns the executive for desiring such laws, and the courts for letting them stand. The result: “a vast and unaccountable administrative apparatus that finds no comfortable home in our constitutional structure.” Kudos to Thomas for diagnosing what ails us with characteristic eloquence.

‐  Fed chairman Janet Yellen is denouncing a bill that she says would “severely impair” monetary policy. It is, in actuality, an exceedingly modest piece of legislation. It would direct the Federal Reserve to adopt a rule to guide monetary policy. It could change that rule over time, and it could deviate from the rule. But it would have to provide an explanation. There is a powerful case for a more rule-bound Fed — a case that includes the benefits that would come from the markets’ being able to predict its behavior more accurately. And while the counterargument that no rule is perfect has theoretical merit, the poor track record of a Fed with broad discretion and limited accountability strengthens the practical case for this move. The debate over rules vs. discretion in monetary policy is a longstanding one and there are honest differences of opinion. We suspect, however, that the Fed is attacking this bill with unusual vehemence because it is a bureaucracy defending its prerogatives.

‐  The geeks at have been photoshopping the heads and tails of bright rubber duckies onto the Internet imagery of ISIS, transforming the hairy, AK-47-wielding warriors of God into bathroom toys. The effect is ludicrous and lethal, like inserting Jerry Lewis into Triumph of the Will, or splicing Alvin and the Chipmunks onto the Red Army Choir. Why only now? If we had a counterintelligence community that had any intelligence, this should have happened long ago. Next up: ISIS and their lace panties.

‐  To help compensate for their “sufferings,” the Mohamed family — renowned for their most famous member, “Clock Boy,” and recently decamped to Qatar — is demanding that the city of Irving, Texas, and the Irving Independent School District pay $10 million and $5 million, respectively, by mid January, or face a discrimination lawsuit. What, precisely, did Ahmed Mohamed “suffer”? Twitter shout-outs from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill de Blasio, and Jimmy Fallon band-leader Questlove; Facebook messages from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and actor George Takei; an invitation to intern with Twitter; a visit to Google, where he met with U.S. chief technology officer Megan Smith; a trip to the United Nations, where he took a selfie with the prime minister of Turkey; a red-carpet photo-op with Sudanese dictator (and mass murderer) Omar al-Bashir; a visit to the White House, where he chatted with the president; a Muslim of the Year award from the Council on American–Islamic Relations; and, finally, a fully funded secondary education at the Doha Academy in Qatar, where the family is now living. Being pulled out of class for his “clock” was the best thing that ever happened to Ahmed, and the Mohameds are capitalizing royally.

‐  A Russian SU-24 fighter infringed Turkish airspace, for a matter of seconds. The Turks then shot it out of the sky. Parachuting, one of the pilots was shot on the ground by Syrians rebelling against Bashar al-Assad. During the mission to rescue the other pilot, another Russian was shot. Two dead, then. Consumed with national and personal pride, Vladimir Putin is not one to take setbacks lightly; he warns of “serious consequences” and has lost no time imposing sanctions that have stranded well over a thousand Turkish trucks at Russian borders. Also consumed with national and personal pride, Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to apologize, saying only that the incident is “unfortunate” and “saddening.” The backdrop to this incident: Russia is aiming to keep Assad in power in Syria, Turkey is aiming to overthrow him, and the United States has not made up its mind.

‐  The European Union has proven unable to control its borders, so it is hoping that Turkey will do it instead. That is the thrust of an agreement between Brussels and Ankara in which Turkey promises to crack down on refugees attempting to cross from its shores into Europe, in exchange for an “initial” $3.2 billion and further negotiations about Turkey’s long-delayed EU-membership application. In the short term, this might slow the refugee flood; days after the agreement, Turkey arrested 1,300 people — three smugglers and hundreds of Syrians, Afghans, Iranians, and Iraqis — in its largest mass arrest of refugees to date. But in the long term? The EU and Turkey have opened talks on just 14 of the 35 chapters that must be negotiated for a new country to join, and all 28 current members have veto power — including Cyprus, the government of which Turkey does not recognize as legitimate. What happens if, or more likely when, it becomes clear that Turkey’s accession bid is a nonstarter? The EU and Turkey have also promised to discuss visa-free travel for Turkish citizens throughout the European Union — a proposal that, under current circumstances, seems deeply unwise. And, of course, if the $3.2 billion payment is only “initial,” whether the EU can sustain this arrangement financially is an open question. One suspects that this deal — trading, as it does, in promises and good intentions — is merely a substitute for the measures the European Union must, but refuses to, implement: a tough external border, the scrapping of the Schengen Agreement eliminating borders between EU states, and much stricter immigration and asylum controls. It’s a matter of course that, the longer those necessary reforms are delayed, the more convulsive they will prove.

‐  A select group of Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister Ehud Barak, and Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon had better not set foot in Spain. In government in 2010, they experienced an unusual crisis: A Turkish ship with Islamist activists on board tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Confrontation with Israeli commandos left ten of these Islamists dead. This yielded a perfect opportunity for anti-Israel lawfare, the novel tactic for obtaining verdicts in one jurisdiction or another that Israel’s self-defense is a war crime. A judge, José de la Mata, has found a loophole that revives this charge and allows for the arrest of the Israeli officials held responsible for the decisions taken in this connection. Spain no longer has an empire, but evidently some of its officials still pine for the Inquisition.

‐  Hillary Clinton heaped praise on Latin Americans for their election of female leaders, never mind that the actual roll call is an uninspiring collection of Peronists (beginning with Isabel Perón) and class-war leftists from Dilma Rousseff in Brazil to Cristina Kirchner, the Argentine looter just given the boot in favor of Mauricio Macri, the conservative former mayor of Buenos Aires. Argentina went down a familiar path, taking a loosey-goosey Krugmanite view of the stimulant powers of government spending and spending itself right into insolvency, going into its second default in less than two decades. Macri plans to abolish currency controls, reduce spending (particularly on subsidies), seek out new trade partners, and put the country on a path toward growth. Pleasingly, he also is seeking the removal of Venezuela, the Castroite thug state to his north, from Mercosur, the regional trade bloc. The Left howls that his ascent spells the end of a brief golden age of progressive populism in Latin America. But it was the Left’s own leaders, not Macri, who saw to that: There is only so much misery, privation, shame, and repression that a people are willing to endure in the name of sticking it to Richie Rich. Good leaders are not common in this part of the world; bearing in mind our fruitful relationship with President Uribe in Colombia, the United States should let Macri know that if he proves to be a real reformer, he has a friend.

‐  Of all the many harrowing things that modern moviegoing Britons are able to see on the silver screen, one would have imagined that the Lord’s Prayer would be among the least offensive. One would have imagined wrong. In November, a representative body for some of the U.K.’s biggest theater chains announced that it would not be showing a 60-second advertisement put out by the Church of England because it might make some cinemagoers feel uncomfortable. In a statement, the Digital Cinema Media (DCM) group explained that it does not permit any commercials that contain explicit “political” or “religious” content. This claim was immediately lambasted by a wide array of groups, among them the prime minister, David Cameron; a star of the original Star Wars trilogy, Carrie Fisher; and the leftward-leaning Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). “What is offensive is very subjective and lies in the eye of the beholder,” the EHRC proposed. “There is no right not to be offended in the U.K.” A lovely sentiment; a shame it’s no longer true.

‐  When Warwick University, in England, offered a series of “I Heart Consent” counseling sessions intended to prevent sexual abuse, a sophomore named George Lawlor would have none of it. In an article on a student website, he explained that neither he nor the vast majority of his fellow male students need to be taught how not to rape women. For thus stating the obvious, in vigorous if less than Johnsonian prose (“Self-appointed teachers of consent: get off your f***ng high horse”), Lawlor has been viciously attacked on social media and in the university newspaper, hounded out of lectures and bars with shouts of “Rapist!” (sometimes accompanied with physical threats), and ostracized by many of his peers. A news article explains that the purpose of the “I Heart Consent” sessions is “enabling students to talk openly about consent.” And showing what happens to people who actually do.

‐  Canadian campus protests are just like British and American ones, except everyone is very polite. When University of Ottawa officials abruptly canceled a yoga class that had met weekly since 2008, a spokeswoman conceded that “yoga is a really great idea and accessible and great for students,” but explained that its lands of origin “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy,” so all that stretching and bending is really just a case of “cultural appropriation.” The yoga instructor, for her part, admitted that “those issues are important issues and they should be raised,” but maintained that “it’s not me they should be mad at.” Meanwhile a student-government official said the reason given for the cancellation was “debatable” and suggested that the two sides should talk some more. If only American university types could all be this civil, then . . . well, then we’d have a lot less to write about here. What would be best of all, though, is if people who have a problem with yoga would simply choose to take Pilates instead.

‐  Police in Altamonte Springs, Fla., raided a condominium’s clubhouse, apprehended four women in their 80s and 90s who were playing mahjong, and gave them each a semester’s suspension for cultural appropriation . . . oops, sorry, that part didn’t happen, but the raid did take place, and the game was shut down. The police had gotten a tip from someone with a grudge against the women, and even though they were playing for just $4 a hand, the police admonished them against any further illegal gambling, as did condo management. Then someone actually looked at Florida law, which specifically allows games with a stake less than $10. So now the ladies are back in their clubhouse, and the Altamonte Springs constabulary is free to focus its efforts on bigger fish, such as shuffleboard hustlers and bingo cheats. The message in all this is that, ideally, police should know what the law says before they start enforcing it — and that an aspiring misanthrope must have mighty small ambition if the best he can do is to snitch on old ladies playing mahjong.

‐  Open to the acknowledgments page of just about any serious work of conservative scholarship and the odds are good it will include a word of thanks to the Earhart Foundation. Its longtime president was Richard Ware, and he was one of the conservative movement’s premier talent spotters. His job was to identify promising scholars and writers and to invest in their careers, using the foundation’s resources to support research projects and advanced degrees. Thousands benefited, including nine Nobel laureates in economics. When Ware stepped down as president in 1985, Thomas Sowell said that the foundation’s financial support had made “the difference between my finishing and not finishing my graduate work.” If Ware’s name is not well known, it’s because he regarded anonymity as a virtue: “I began to model everything I did . . . with the notion of letting others take credit,” he told a newspaper earlier this year. “I was always happier in the background.” Dead at 95. R.I.P.


The Paris Follies

Global warming isn’t a non-issue, but, given its agenda, the conference in Paris on the subject promised to be a non-event. That was due to physical fact, as well as to economic and political fact. The three largest national emitters of carbon dioxide are (in order) China, the United States, and India, two of which have made it clear that they are willing to bear essentially zero in the way of costs associated with reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, and one of which, India, intends to double its coal consumption over the next five years, to 1.5 billion tons per annum.

Relying on cuts in the West alone, it is probably a physical impossibility to achieve the reductions that the more alarmist global-warming activists envision. It is certainly — unquestionably — an economic and political impossibility. In reality, it probably is a political and economic impossibility to make cuts at that level with China and India on board, too, inasmuch as any Chinese or Indian government that actually attempted to impose the necessary reductions in living standards on the people of its country — who are, let us remember, already poor — would jeopardize its existence.

The Obama administration seeks to commit the United States to an expansion of Mission Innovation, under which many billions of dollars would be “invested” — not quite the word, really — in various green-energy projects. The cost structure is familiar from other international accords: The United States pays for half, and the rest of the human race chips in for the other half. Congress isn’t especially excited about the prospect, and it will be even less excited when it learns that other countries (India, again) aren’t using the money for green schemes at all but are instead simply using it to connect rural users to their power grids.

It isn’t that the rest of the world doesn’t take the prospect of global warming seriously; it’s just that the rest of the world doesn’t take it as seriously as it takes its own immediate and long-term economic prospects. Beyond India and China, countries such as Uganda have made it clear that they are happy to accept payments and technology transfers from the West but will assume no costs.

What ought to be on the agenda in Paris, and at other conferences like it, is the question of adaptation. The middle-of-the-road projection from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests a few degrees’ variation in temperature, at a cost of a couple of points of world economic output, a century or so from now. There’s a fair amount of time to prepare ourselves for those consequences, which are not trivial but which are manageable. What’s before us isn’t a moral challenge but an engineering problem. But there isn’t nearly as much emotional satisfaction in adaptation as there is in apocalypse-mongering.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Race, Class, Health

U.S. health progress is badly faltering because of racial, social, and economic disparities, according to many public-health specialists, both in the academy and in Washington, D.C. Proponents of this view ...
Politics & Policy

The Spratly Showdown

Obama-administration officials have been busy patting themselves on the back for what happened on October 27 in the South China Sea. There, the Arleigh Burke–class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen passed ...


Politics & Policy


The car was moving at high speed. It had just broken a blockade of American and Iraqi forces and was trying to escape into the gathering dusk. American soldiers, driving ...

Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


An Embracing America I loved “Civil-Rights Republicanism” by Theodore R. Johnson (November 2). I’m an immigrant. I believe that America is so great that it can embrace us wanna-be Americans and ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

 ‐ President Obama insisted that gathering in Paris to eat canapés and chat about the weather in the wake of the horrific Islamic State attack on that city constitutes a ...

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 ...
Politics & Policy


ENTITLED WILDLIFE I’ve fought my way to easier days – So others should who find life hard. So why are there, beneath my gaze, So many single mothers in my yard? They even carp when ...
Happy Warrior

Apropos Appropriation

If there’s one thing American moviegoers want to see in their campy computer-generated Hollywood blockbusters, it’s ethnically authentic actors. Or so I imagine. Because of an unhealthy obsession with the ancient ...

Most Popular

Film & TV

Larry David Goes MAGA

For a liberal Democrat, Larry David sometimes comes off as America’s reactionary id. Last night, on a superb tenth-season opener of Curb Your Enthusiasm, David made an extended joke about the (in)famous Make America Great Again cap. To a certain extent, I think the joke here is on Larry David. David’s ... Read More
Film & TV

Larry David Goes MAGA

For a liberal Democrat, Larry David sometimes comes off as America’s reactionary id. Last night, on a superb tenth-season opener of Curb Your Enthusiasm, David made an extended joke about the (in)famous Make America Great Again cap. To a certain extent, I think the joke here is on Larry David. David’s ... Read More
White House

The Hole in the Impeachment Case

Thought experiment No. 1: Suppose Bob Mueller’s probe actually proves that Donald Trump is under Vladimir Putin’s thumb. Fill in the rest of the blanks with your favorite corruption fantasy: The Kremlin has video of the mogul-turned-president debauching himself in a Moscow hotel; the Kremlin has a bulging ... Read More
White House

The Hole in the Impeachment Case

Thought experiment No. 1: Suppose Bob Mueller’s probe actually proves that Donald Trump is under Vladimir Putin’s thumb. Fill in the rest of the blanks with your favorite corruption fantasy: The Kremlin has video of the mogul-turned-president debauching himself in a Moscow hotel; the Kremlin has a bulging ... Read More
Health Care

‘Reconsidering Fetal Pain’

Two researchers with “divergent views regarding the morality of abortion” have published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics concluding that unborn human beings likely are able to feel pain at an earlier point than previous research has suggested. The authors state that they “came together to write ... Read More
Health Care

‘Reconsidering Fetal Pain’

Two researchers with “divergent views regarding the morality of abortion” have published a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics concluding that unborn human beings likely are able to feel pain at an earlier point than previous research has suggested. The authors state that they “came together to write ... Read More