Stillwater News Press

Opinion

February 27, 2014

GEORGE WILL: Perfect climate for liberal left

STILLWATER, Okla. — WASHINGTON — The many jaundiced assessments of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on the fifth anniversary of its enactment were understandable, given that the sluggish recovery, now drowsing through the second half of its fifth year, is historically anemic. Still, bleak judgments about the stimulus spending miss the main point of it, which was to funnel a substantial share of its money to unionized, dues-paying, Democratic-voting government employees. Hence the stimulus succeeded. So there.

This illustrates why it is so sublime to be a liberal nowadays. Viewed through the proper prism, most liberal policies succeed because they can hardly fail. Each achieves one or both of two objectives — making liberals feel good about themselves and being good to liberal candidates.

Consider Barack Obama’s renewed anxiety about global warming, increasingly called “climate change” during the approximately 15 years warming has become annoyingly difficult to detect. Secretary of State John Kerry, our knight of the mournful countenance, was especially apocalyptic recently when warning that climate change is a “weapon of mass destruction.” Like Iraq’s?

Blogger Steven Hayward notes that Kerry, he of the multiple mansions and luxury yacht, issued this warning in Indonesia, where the average annual income ($3,420) suggests little latitude for people to reduce their carbon footprints. Never mind. Obama says “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”

When a politician says, concerning an issue involving science, that the debate is over, you may be sure the debate is rolling on and not going swimmingly for his side. Obama is, however, quite right that climate change is a fact. The climate is “always” changing: It is not what it was during the Medieval Warm Period (ninth to 13th centuries) or the Little Ice Age (about 1500-1850).

In Indonesia, Kerry embraced Obama’s “Shut up, he explained” approach to climate discussion: “The science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3-D movie.” Leaping scenes? The “absolutely certain” science is “something that we understand with absolute assurance of the veracity of that science.” And “kids at the earliest age can understand.” No wonder “97 percent” — who did the poll? — of climate scientists agree. When a Nazi publishing company produced “100 Authors Against Einstein,” the target of this argument-by-cumulation replied: “Were I wrong, one professor would have been quite enough.”

Climate alarmism validates the progressive impulse to micromanage others’ lives — their light bulbs, showerheads, toilets, appliances, automobiles, etc.

Although this is a nuisance, it distracts liberals from more serious mischief. And conservatives incensed about Obama’s proposed $1 billion “climate resilience fund” — enough for nearly two Solyndra-scale crony capitalism debacles — should welcome an Obama brainstorm that costs only a single billion.

Besides, the “resilience” fund will succeed. It will enhance liberals’ self-esteem — planet-saving heroism is not chopped liver — and will energize the climate-alarmist portion of the Democratic base for this November’s elections.

George Will’s email address is georgewill@washpost.com.

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