A New Motto for New Hampshre?

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Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.'s column's headline is Al Gore and the End of Climate Policy. But he does a pretty good takedown on the "climate press". Which demonstrated its lack of critical thinking…

… by collapsing uncritically in front of a newly-released “Harvard” study allegedly revealing that Exxon 40 years ago predicted today’s warming with “breathtaking,” “stunning,” “astonishing” accuracy.

These adjectives aren’t in the study itself, which is merely tendentious, sponsored by the activists at the Rockefeller Family Fund. But the timing probably wasn’t an accident.

In fact, Exxon’s results were identical to those of other scientists because it collaborated with them. Its findings weren’t hidden “behind closed doors,” as one report alleged. They were published in peer-reviewed journals. Rather blatantly, to get to its desired result, the “Harvard” study attributed to Exxon outside research that its scientists merely “reported.”

Jenkins notes that actual science has moved away pretty decisively from the doomsayers recently. You wouldn't know that from reading the non-WSJ "mainstream" media.

Briefly noted:

  • Barton Swaim intervieews George F. Will on (among other things) Why the Right Turned Left. Which I'm sure is in there somewhere. But I'm excerpting this bit, where Swaim asks GFW "What happens when the crash finally happens?"

    “I don’t know,” Mr. Will says. “I noticed during the kerfuffle over Kevin McCarthy and the speakership, the Republicans said, ‘We are really serious about spending.’ Well, 67% of the budget is entitlements. Show of hands,” he says, “everyone who’s gonna take on Social Security and Medicare? Not gonna happen.”

    Mr. Will is fond of an old joke: The first law of economics is, scarcity is real; the first law of politics is, ignore the first law of economics. “Everyone’s agreed on that,” he says. “They say Social Security’s trust fund will be exhausted in 10 years, at which point there will be a mandatory cut of 18% for all benefits. No there won’t. We’ll use general revenues, we’ll go on borrowing.” He ends this polite tirade against the political consensus with a perfectly Willian formulation: “People always ask, ‘What’s the biggest threat to American democracy?’ The biggest threat to American democracy is American democracy. It is the fact that we have incontinent appetites and no restraint on them.”

    I might live long enough to point out to people, insufferably: "This is what you asked for. This is what you demanded."

  • A provocative piece from Curtis Yarvin: The boomer map. He's one of those "illiberal" conservatives I disagree with quite a bit, but y'know he could have a point here:

    Everyone who shops at Safeway knows what Whole Foods is. They know it is better, but more expensive. The lower class wants an upper class it can genuinely look up to. The feeling that Harvard has gone insane is like realizing that Mom and Dad are both on heroin. Attacking Harvard is not the way to calm this anxiety; taking over Harvard, or replacing Harvard, are the only paths to true leadership.

    When conservatives try to appeal to liberals, they always do it the wrong way. They bend the knee. They submit. They inform—writing blogs like “Eyes on the Right.” Even to a cop, there is no scum lower than an informer. It is a total loss of dignity—about as sexy as a kitchen sponge. Attacking liberals, “owning the libs” in the Dan Bongino style, is a useless, counterproductive grift—it is not as bad as submitting.

    The right way to “own the libs” is actually to own them—to make them ours—not to submit to them, not to assault them, but to seduce them. The libs need to be into us, the way Patty Hearst was into Donald DeFreeze—“General Field Marshal Cinque.” Libs cannot get their rocks off without some kind of a cult. It must be a cult of power.

    Yarvin's claim: "Elites are attracted to power." Sounds about right. They badly want to "matter". Never mind that an inevitable side effect of "mattering" is pushing around a lot of people who just want to be left alone.

  • For another take on that same general topic, here's Martin Gurri, who's In Search of a Right Populist Agenda.

    American politics resembles a three-way scrum. An institutional center, dominated by a guardian class of elites, who manage pretty much everything in modern society, faces persistent assaults from the populist Left and Right.

    On close inspection, the three contending parties can be reduced to two ideological streams: the politics of control and the politics of incoherence. Terrified by the rise of populism, the elites have hardened into what the French would call an “extreme center,” claiming a right to rule in perpetuity by reason of its superior virtue and moderation. Democracy has been redefined as the electoral triumph of the center. Candidates from outside the fold are deemed “semi-fascist” and thus illegitimate.

    A vast apparatus of control—an octopus-like conglomerate of institutions that includes the federal bureaucracy, the news media, and the digital platforms—has been deployed to stop the populist wolf from crashing through the door. The panic evoked by Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter betrays an unhappy suspicion that the beast will break in anyway. The system is as nakedly rank-based as Marie Antoinette’s France. Having assumed guardianship over the complexities of twenty-first-century life, the elites must govern because they are who they are.

    That last bit sounds pretty close to what Yarvin is saying.

  • Well, enough political analysis for one day. The great Virginia Postrel says we should be Taking Shopping Seriously. She asks "two big questions".

    Why do people buy things?

    Not why do they buy things instead of producing them personally, but why do they buy the specific things they buy. And particularly...

    Why do people buy things they “don’t need”?

    Americans, at least, buy so many things that The Container Store does a good business selling us things to put them in.

    Why do people buy things they “don’t need”?

    Through most of human history, that wasn’t a question that came up very often, at least not when you were talking about the general public. It still puzzles people who think about it. It’s a hard question.

    But scholars get paid to think about hard questions, and they’ve come up with some explanations.

    And those explanations are … unsatisfactory. VP provides a fresh take.

Last Modified 2024-01-14 4:38 AM EDT