It May Not Seem Like It, But…

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Yes, it's Perihelion Day! Try to get out and feel those solar photons on your face.

(I've scheduled this post to appear at 11:17 am EST, the very perihelionic moment. Why? Because I can.)

Briefly noted:

  • The WSJ editorialists are a little put out with an elderly doomsayer: The Paul Ehrlich Apocalypse Is Back.

    We’ll say this for Paul Ehrlich—at least he’s consistent. In 1968 the Stanford biologist famously declared that “the battle to feed all humanity is over,” at a time when the earth’s population was about 3.5 billion. Today we have a population of eight billion (better fed than ever), yet there was Mr. Ehrlich, on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday night, still predicting that “humanity is very busily sitting on a limb that we’re sawing off.”

    The CBS narrator acknowledged that the green revolution in agriculture disproved Mr. Ehrlich’s prediction of mass famine. But the show went on to suggest that Mr. Ehrlich’s repackaged gloom about melting icecaps and the rate of extinction may finally prove him right in saying we are still heading the way of the dinosaurs.

    I won't watch the interview, but maybe someone will let me know if he said, "Hey, I only have to be right once…"

  • Ron Bailey is equally bemused at how prophets of doom keep getting prime-time air: '60 Minutes' Promotes Paul Ehrlich's Failed Doomsaying One More Time.

    Stanford University biologist and perennially wrong doomster Paul Ehrlich appeared on CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday where he once again declared, "I and the vast majority of my colleagues think we've had it; that the next few decades will be the end of the kind of civilization we're used to."

    Ehrlich made himself (in)famous when he in his 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb: predicted that "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970's the world will undergo famines-hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate." Instead of rising as Ehrlich predicted, the global crude death per 1,000 people has fallen from 12.5 in 1968 to 7 in 2019 before ticking up to 8 in the pandemic year of 2020.

    Ehrlich has been Bailey's bête noire for years and years; the end of his articles has a collection of links to prove it.

  • And finally, an on-theme tweet from a former FCC Chairman:

  • I haven't agreed with Ben Sasse about everything, but he's been a rare bright spot in the US Senate. As he bids farewell to that gig, he's got one parting shot on America’s True Divide: Pluralists vs. Zealots.

    The most important divide in American politics isn’t red versus blue. It’s civic pluralists versus political zealots. This is the truth no one in Washington acknowledges but Americans must realize if we’re going to recover.

    Civic pluralists understand that ideas move the world more than power does, which is why pluralists value debate and persuasion. We believe America is great because it is good, and America is good because the country is committed to human dignity, even for those with whom we disagree. A continental nation of 330 million souls couldn’t possibly agree on everything, but we can hash out our disagreements in the communities where we live and the institutions we build. The small but important role of government, for the civic pluralist, is a framework for ordered liberty. Government doesn’t give us rights, or meaning, or purpose or permission. It exists to protect us from the whims of mobs and majorities.

    Political zealots reject this, holding that society starts and ends with power. Government in their view isn’t to protect from the powerful or the popular. More than anything else, zealots—on the right and the left—seek total victory in the public square. They believe that the center of life is government power. They preach jeremiads of victimhood and decline. On the left, they want a powerful bureaucracy. On the right, they want a strongman. But they agree on a central tenet: Americans are too weak to solve problems with persuasion. They need the state to do it.

    How much did the average IQ of the US Senate go down with Sasse's departure?

Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:56 AM EDT