The scaremongers are not always wrong. The Trojans should have listened to Cassandra. But history shows that the scaremongers are usually wrong.
Parson Malthus predicted mass starvation 250 years ago, as the population was growing geometrically, doubling each generation, while agricultural production was going arithmetically, by 2 percent or so a year. But today, with perhaps 1 percent of our population in full-time food production, we are the best-fed and fattest 300 million people on Earth.
Karl Marx was proven dead wrong about the immiseration of the masses under capitalism and the coming revolution in the industrial West, though they still have hopes at Harvard.
Neville Chute's "On the Beach" proved as fictional as "Dr. Strangelove" and "Seven Days in May." Paul Ehrlich's "Population Bomb" never exploded. It fizzled, when the Birth Dearth followed the Baby Boom.
"The Crash of '79" never happened. Instead, we got Ronald Reagan and record prosperity. The Club of Rome notwithstanding, we did not run out of oil. The world did not end in Y2K, when we crossed the millennium, as some had prophesied. "Nuclear winter," where we were all going to freeze to death after the soot from Reagan's nuclear war blotted out the sun, didn't quite happen. Rather, the Soviet Empire gave up the ghost.
Is then global warming — a steady rise in the temperature of the Earth to where the polar ice caps melt, oceans rise 23 feet, cities sink into the sea and horrendous hurricanes devastate the land — an imminent and mortal danger?
Put me down as a disbeliever.
Like the panics of bygone eras, this one has the aspect of yet another re-enactment of the Big Con. The huckster arrives in town, tells all the rubes that disaster impends for them and their families, but says there may be one last chance they can be saved. But it will take a lot of money. And the folks should go about collecting it, right now.
This, it seems to me, is what the global-warming scare and scam are all about — frightening Americans into transferring sovereignty, power and wealth to a global political elite that claims it alone understands the crisis and it alone can save us from impending disaster.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, from which China and India were exempt, the United States was to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels, which could not be done without inducing a new Depression and reducing the standard of living of the American people. So, we ignored Kyoto — and how have we suffered? The Europeans who signed on also largely ignored it. How have they suffered?
We are told global warming was responsible for the hurricane summer of Katrina and Rita that devastated Texas, Mississippi and New Orleans. Yet Dr. William Gray, perhaps the nation's foremost expert on hurricanes, says he and his most experienced colleagues believe humans have little impact on global warming and global warming cannot explain the frequency or ferocity of hurricanes. After all, we had more hurricanes in the first half of the 20th century than in the last 50 years, as global warming was taking place.
"We're brainwashing our children," says Gray. "They're going to the Gore movie ("An Inconvenient Truth") and being fed all this. It's ridiculous. ... We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realize how foolish it was."
Gray does concede that for a scholar to question global warming can put his next federal grant in mortal peril.
While modest warming has taken place, there is no conclusive evidence human beings are responsible, no conclusive evidence Earth's temperature is rising dangerously or will reach intolerable levels and no conclusive evidence that warming will do more harm than good.
The glaciers may be receding, but the polar bear population is growing, alarmingly in some Canadian Indian villages. Though more people on our planet of 6 billion may die of heat, estimates are that many more may be spared death from the cold. The Arctic ice cap may be shrinking, but that may mean year-round passage through northern Canadian waters from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the immense resources of the Arctic made more accessible to man. Why else did Vladimir Putin's boys make their dash to claim the pole?
The mammoth government we have today is a result of politicians rushing to solve "crises" by creating and empowering new federal agencies.
Whether it's hunger, poverty or homelessness, in the end, the poor are always with us, but now we have something else always with us: scores of thousands of federal bureaucrats, and armies of academics to study the problem and assess the progress, with all their pay and benefits provided by our tax dollars.
Cal Coolidge said that when you see 10 troubles coming up the road toward you, sometimes the best thing to do is nothing, because nine of them will fall into the ditch before they get to you. And so it will be with global warming, if we don't sell out America to the hucksters who would save us.
To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.