What Does He Know About Climate? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
What Does He Know About Climate?

It is 7.30 AM, very very early for me. I cannot sleep. Even with Julie next to me breathing innocently. It is because of some bad corned beef I got recently. When my intestines are in an uproar, I get crazy.

I awakened and read FDR and the Jews, a terrifying tale of the racism that was a commonplace in this glorious America even a couple of generations ago. My grandparents were avid Prohibitionists and Republicans and my mother just hated the WPA and the lefties — there is a book in her life — and of course my Pop was a Stiglerian, Frank Knightian free marketer. But when I learned that Reagan adored FDR, I started liking him, too. Wow, he was handsome.

But let’s move on to other subjects

The whole civilized world, however much is left of it, was staggered recently by the beheadings of two Americans named Foley and Sotloff and a Brit named Haines. Perfectly normal names, but they died in a horrible way, heads slowly cut off by a lone Islamic State butcher in the desert and then images sent to the world by the morally blind Internet.

Supposedly, the reason these three men were beheaded while other European hostages were released was simple: the terrorist thugs wanted ransom for their captives. Most nations paid. The government of the USA said it would not negotiate with terrorists or pay a penny of ransom. So, apparently, did the British. Now we have learned that the government forbade the families of the hostages from seeking to pay ransom. So, their loved ones died in a horrible way, alone.

But here’s the question: Why don’t we just pay the ransom? What is the principle that we are trying to enforce? Is it that we do not want to reward kidnapping and will therefore deter kidnapping?

That’s obvious nonsense. ISIS is not cautious or calculating in its butchery. The idea that we can change their behavior by not paying a few million here or there is childish.

Is it that we just have made it a rule not to negotiate to free our captives? I don’t think so. We just did a ton of negotiating to free Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army noncom who had been held by the terrorist Taliban. We paid the immense ransom of five high-ranking Taliban captives in U.S. hands. We negotiated like madmen to free our countrymen held captive in North Vietnam. We negotiated in the Civil War to exchange Union and Confederate prisoners.

This long war against terrorism will be decided by killing the terrorists, not by showing them how square jawed and exemplary we are in Foggy Bottom — while the victims writhe in unimaginable anguish alone in the desert.

It is great to be tough. It is great to set a moral example. But human suffering is a super big thing. When we allow our countrymen to suffer this way over a principle that will have no bearing on how this war turns out, that’s just pompous and cruel. We can learn from our new best friends, the Germans, here. Pay the ransom, get our people out, and figure out how to win the war some other way.

So, you see. Deep thinking caused by bad corned beef. By the way, the fellow who brought it to me is a sterling fellow. It was not his fault.

I got out of my bed and went over to my office. It was and is a perfect crisp fall morning. I miss Sandpoint, though. You really cannot believe how much I miss it.

God bless Mark Story unto all eternity. He is the genius director of commercials who first directed me to North Idaho. What a find.

I love Leo DiCaprio. He’s about the best actor going right now as far as I can tell. I watched him close to a hundred times in Gatsby. I have watched him probably fifty times in The Wolf of Wall Street. He gets it across as a braggart, a thief, a con man, but also as a basically lovable guy. He’s just a great actor.

But what does he know about climate? What does he know about what role man’s carbon emissions play in the climate? Where is his meteorological degree from?

Yes, he’s famous. Yes, in recent pictures, he’s standing next to Ban-Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the UN, also a climate fanatic, also with absolutely zero credentials telling us we are all about to die from climate change. But why should that make me want to believe him about something he knows nothing about?

I saw the videos of the mass demonstrations about climate change in cities all over the world. The kids were having a rocking good time. I know what that’s like. I used to be in demonstrations myself. You have fun being in a crowd, shouting, throwing fits, maybe getting high, maybe meeting a new best friend.

But what do the demonstrators know that anyone else doesn’t know? Why do we place any value on the opinions of a few hundred thousand screaming young people? If we did, wouldn’t we be pretty stupid?

Climate science is incredibly complicated. Just recently, the Wall Street Journal edit page has reported over and over that average global temperatures have not risen in about 20 or more years. Why is that not huge news? In the New York Times on Tuesday, September 23, there was a story about a finding by an ultra-blue ribbon panel of scientists that warming in the air over the west coast of North America was about cyclical changes in wind currents that have nothing to do with man’s activities at all.

Very well-credentialed scientists in the field — not a majority, but plenty — say that manmade global warming is not proved, if not an outright hoax. Yes, I know that huge panels of scientists say global warming as a manmade event is real. But huge majorities of scientists used to say that certain races were inherently criminal. If you call a man a scientist, that doesn’t make him right.

And even if it is real, what do we do about it? The Wall Street Journal reported that even if all of Mr. Obama’s proposals were put in place, the effect would be to cut less than two tenths of one percent of global carbon emissions. China, the world’s leading polluter, did not even take part in the recent UN meetings on climate. India has said it is going to completely ignore any ideas about lowering emissions until their whole country is electrified. That will take forever. So, if global warming is going to kill us all — well, it doesn’t matter because I will be dead anyway. (I am going to die from bad corned beef.)

Look. I don’t like burning things that put little micro-particles into the air and into my lungs. They cause cancer and cancer is the worst thing ever. Worse than death. It would be great if wind could power everything. But the idea that we are facing a super-critical challenge that requires that we all be out on the streets marching… that is, to put it mildly, in severe doubt.

I like Leo DiCaprio a lot. I loved demonstrating when I was younger. And I want to save the earth. But sudden, irreversible mortal harm to the planet from driving my car? I’d like for someone with a lot better credentials than Leo DiCaprio or Ban Ki-Moon or screaming teenagers to order me around about that.

Now, I have to sleep some more.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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