There’s one subject on which I tend to go along with the crowd
Of all the great controversies of the day, there is one in particular about which the wisdom I often tout is almost entirely second-hand. Little or none of it arises from my own intellectual research. I don’t really understand the fine points about this subject, but I have great respect for the crowd of credentialed experts on the matter.
I refer, of course, to global warming and climate change. The consensus on this stuff among climate scientists is so overwhelming that I am intellectually unable to disagree. What’s more, I can’t help but think of people who do disagree as fools.
Mind you, I recognize that that there are disagreements among climatologists on certain fine points of the matter. But almost all of these brainiacs agree that the climate is rapidly — and dangerously — changing because of the world’s overuse of fossil fuels.
The flip-side of this equation is inescapable: The people who scoff at the scientific consensus usually have economic ties to the polluters or are culturally suspicious of science in general. As I noted here recently in a somewhat different context, Christian fundamentalists reject mainstream climate science more readily than the general population. But then, they’re also more likely to reject Darwinian theories of evolution. The Adam-and-Eve people are not easy to reason with. They’re like the flat-Earthers of bygone centuries.
For years now, I’ve tried to sway climate-change skeptics by reminding them that they’re at odds with a nearly universal scientific consensus — but mostly to little avail. Many of these people are not embarrassed in the least by such arguments. They tend to cling to conspiracy theories about the devilish aims of the so-called climate alarmists. They sense that anti-Americanism is at play.
I have mixed feelings, of course, about the likelihood that I won’t likely live long enough to see climate alarmism become gospel among the vast majority of Americans. I’m already pretty long in the tooth, and I’ll be lucky to last another decade or two. The worst of negative effects of climate change almost certainly will come thereafter. I’ll be spared exposure to the increasing calamity, but I’ll also be denied the opportunity to mock the deniers with a tone of I-told-you-so.
You readers who are a lot younger than I would do the right thing if, decades from now, you admiringly recall that some of us were right about this climate thing all along.