John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The Herd Mentality

Posted on December 7, 2009

The Herd Mentality

I remember very clearly when my seventh grade science teacher told me and the rest of the class that sometime in the early 21st century, we were going to enter into a new Ice Age.  We had had a few rough winters back in the mid-seventies, and obviously, we were preparing for a few more.

Perhaps that is why I am such a skeptic of so-called climatologists.  They come up with their theories and then seek out to prove them, only to have the Sun have a bad day, and to have the theories thrown out the window.

The revelation that some of these climatologists have been engaged in a campaign to discredit those that disagree with them, as they manipulate the data to make their theories look better is troubling, but not surprising.

Academic battles are nasty little things. As Harvard political scientist Richard Neustadt once told a reporter, “Academic politics is much more vicious than real politics. We think it’s because the stakes are so small.”

Of course, the problem with this academic battle is that the stakes are so big.  For America, the stakes are huge, because if these scientists can pin the blame for global warming on the American economy, American consumers will get punished.

I like to think of myself as an environmentalist.  I think companies that pollute the air that I breathe (willfully) and dirty the water that I drink (willfully), should be punished to the full extent of the law.

I also believe that huge tracts of our national resources should be protected from development.  I think that there are some parts of America that are so important, so vital to our national heritage, so critical to our future, that they deserve to be untouched by man, except for the lightest footprint.  In that way, I am a Teddy Roosevelt Republican.

But I also believe that we have to face reality.  We need to keep our economy moving forward.  And we need to find ways to get more electricity.  I have been a big fan of nuclear power for two decades.  If the French can get 70% of their electricity from nuclear, we can certainly do it too.

Nuclear is important because it has no emissions, it doesn’t require deep mining, and it is development through science.  It represents the future.

The debate over global warming is a distraction.  You might as well debate how many angels dance on the head of a pin.  It is like debating religion.  Either you believe or you don’t.

One thing we should all agree on is that drinking clean water and breathing clean air is an imperative.  We should all agree that protecting the environment so that future generations can enjoy it is another imperative.

The fact of the matter is that the free market, with some common-sense regulations, is the best way to achieve the environmental protections.  If you simply look at the environmental record of the Soviet Union vs. the United States in the 20th century, you can see the differences.  The Soviets were an environmental disaster.  We, in America, made tremendous progress over the last half of the last century.

The left likes to quote the fact that 4000 climatologists agree that we have man-made global warming.  So what?  History has proven that when a small group of true believers create a theory and then defend it using the most unethical tactics, that they can get the herd to come their way.

30 years ago, these same scientists predicted that we are getting ready to enter a new Ice Age.  Now, they are predicting that we are actually in Melting Age.

Either way, we should do our best to protect the air that we breathe and the water that we drink, no matter what their next prediction turns out to be.

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