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From My Cold, Dead Hands
No.163: June 9, 2023
Welcome to The Square Inch, a Friday newsletter on Christianity, culture, and all of the many-varied “square inches” of God’s domain. This publication is free for now, but please consider clicking on the button at the bottom to become a paid subscriber to enjoy this along with Monday’s “Off The Shelf” feature about books and Wednesday’s “The Quarter Inch,” a quick(er) commentary on current events.
I hope your June is treating you well. Here in Big Sky Country the weather has been quite unusual. It isn’t uncommon to have afternoon thunderstorms, but it is uncommon to have thunderstorms swirling around non-stop for what seems like weeks. We’re glad for the moisture, mostly.
Rainfall around here is a Catch-22. You’d think that high moisture levels in the mountains will mean fewer forest fires later this year, but you’d be mistaken. High moisture levels means more growth in the forests—more stuff to burn. So I figure we’re going to have our normal smoky August. There is nothing we can do about lightning strikes igniting fires in the wilderness.
I have watched with great amusement people on the east coast recently freaking out about Canadian wildfires smoking up their cities. This is what we call “normal.” But I’ve got a bright side for the urbanites: they now have a new reason to mask up! Okay, that was probably mean.
People want the government to “do something.” Surely all this smoke covering New York City and Washington, D.C. is somebody’s fault, right? Now, maybe there’s been some forestry mismanagement in Canada. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me. The environmental lobby isn’t too keen on logging these days. But somehow it seems to me that we have collectively lost a helpful bit of vocabulary: that thing we used to call an “act of God.” You know, natural events that are outside of human control and beyond any particular human responsibility. And, purposeful arson and human negligence excepted, forest fires are acts of God. The government cannot ban forest fires, they cannot discourage forest fires, they cannot “nudge” forest fires away, they cannot “de-incentivize” forest fires. Lightning doesn’t take orders from Mr. Trudeau or Mr. Biden.
But do you know what? There are people who believe that A) it is somebody’s “fault.” And B) the government can fix it. You see, forest fires are, so the argument goes, a result of global climate change. Because humans insist on having affordable energy by way of fossil fuels, were are warming the globe, changing the climate, and making ecosystems more ripe for burning. That is certainly a widespread interpretation of the data, and it may well be true.
So what are we going to do about it? To say that the options are limited is pretty misleading because outside of getting the entire world to agree on building thousands of nuclear power plants (and pinky promising not to turn them into weapons) the options are non-existent. Even if we could wave a magic wand and instantly transform the world into battery-powered everything, something still has to power the batteries and the amount of pollution caused by making the batteries erases any supposed benefit of using batteries. This is a fact that far too many people do not understand, and it applies to more than just batteries. The pollution caused by manufacturing a windmill is equal to or exceeds the amount of pollution saved by using the windmill. The “alternative energy” movement is basically trying to empty a swimming pool by taking water from the deep end and pouring it into the shallow end. It might make you feel good about yourself, and maybe those solar panels are saving you some money on your electric bill, but in terms of fighting climate change, it’s all cosmetics. If you’re going to drive a Tesla, drive a Tesla because it is the awesomest vehicle ever made (it really is), not because you’re “saving the planet.” You aren’t.
These pesky little facts do not stop governmental do-gooders. Noah Rothman’s cover story, “The War on Things That Work” in the last issue of National Review is must-reading, and I am sorry it’s behind a paywall. He tackles it all—bans on gas hookups for stoves in new construction, incandescent light bulbs, air conditioners, efficient dishwashers, you name it. My favorite is the astounding fact that the state of California has banned gas-powered yard equipment. As of next January, no more effective leaf blowers, lawnmowers, or weedwackers! The rhetoric expended while debating that bill is just hysterical. Rothman:
Using a combustion-driven leaf blower produces emissions equivalent to ‘driving from L.A. to Denver in a 2017 Toyota Camry,’ said the mayor of San Anselmo, Calif., defending her city’s ban on certain landscaping equipment. That is an improvement on a 2011 estimate by the car-shopping experts at Edmunds, one of whom found that doing ‘a half-hour of yard work with this two-stroke leaf blower’ produces the emissions equivalent of driving a pickup truck “from Northern Texas to Anchorage, Alaska.”
If you think 30-minutes on a two-stroke leaf blower causes more emissions than driving a truck from Texas to Alaska, you need your head examined. The entire state legislature of California needs their heads examined. The party of the little guy, the bleeding heart liberals, care nothing for the Mexican immigrant Mom and Pop landscaping businesses who are now forced to buy all-new, underperforming, and inefficient lawn equipment. All for the “common good,” you see. I hope Governor Newsom’s lawn company makes him pay for it. They will. That’s how it works: the costs are always passed on to the consumer. And while Newsom can afford a spike in his landscaping bill, not everyone can.
I imagine Ronald Reagan always thought he was exaggerating for effect when he defined a liberal as someone who wants to reach around your shower curtain to adjust the temperature. But it isn’t an exaggeration anymore. And the more the environmental lobby and governmental agencies keep up this sort of thing—coming after gas stoves and air conditioners—the more they are going to radicalize people. They are certainly radicalizing me.
We are not going to “stop” climate change. The options are two, and exactly two: deep economic recession and/or depression (with climate change thrown in anyway because China isn’t going to stop burning coal) or adaptation and innovation. The good news is that America is the greatest powerhouse of adaptation and innovation the world has ever seen, and it isn’t even a close contest. The bad news is that America is governed by Nannies who seem hell-bent on “doing something” that does absolutely nothing, and stifling the freedom necessary for adaptation and innovation.
You can have my lawnmower when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.
So Donald Trump is under a Federal indictment. Yeah, you should click on that and read it. My take?
He’s guilty as sin. As in, he’s on tape bragging (as usual) that he is showing classified military plans to someone not qualified to view them. I mean … it would be unbelievable if it weren’t so patently believable.
It still strikes me as most inequitable that he should be prosecuted while Hillary got away with her truly appalling compromise of state secrets.
He’s guilty as sin.
It is a very bad precedent. Now we’re going to have Administrations weaponizing the DOJ against their predecessors. Banana Republic stuff.
He’s guilty as sin.
They can—and will—prove he is guilty as sin. Easiest case the prosecutor will have ever tried.
I have always rolled my eyes at the left-wing fantasy that Donald Trump would ever wear an orange jumpsuit. I now believe there is a greater than zero percent chance he will. The indictment describes really bad criminal behavior.
I think that, instead, we should just beat the man at the ballot box (again) and be done with him.
Beat him with who, though? Hint: his name rhymes with Don DeShmantis.
On that note, I am so done—way beyond done—with conservative “NeverTrump” commentators who admit that beating Donald Trump in a primary will require a candidate to be somewhat “Trumpy,” who then in the next breath point to Ron DeSantis saying something “Trumpy” and scream, “He’s UNFIT TO BE PRESIDENT!” I’m looking at you, Nick Cattagio. Just … Give. It. A. Rest.
The biggest driver of climate change is probably political blowhards.
My debate about climate change with Jake Meador is right here.
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