- - Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Here we sit in the comfort of Washington and we read of the discomfort in Florida. There a massive storm moved from the Caribbean north through South Florida, displacing as many as 5 million people. It marched up the west coast, displacing many more. The eye of the storm settled on Naples and Fort Myers, but it terrified pretty much the whole state, including the largest population of retired Americans gathered anywhere. It was the largest hurricane ever to threaten the United States, and it came on the heels of the death and destruction that Mother Nature visited upon Texas, prompting one cynic to say, “We’ve got to get Mother Nature before she gets us.”

Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, was tireless in issuing warnings to the apprehensive citizenry of his state and in monitoring the activities of his state’s National Guard and first responders. He was on the nation’s television screens non-stop. He declared at one press conference, “This is a catastrophic storm our state has never seen.” He expressed similar sentiments continually. He also said “Pray, pray for everybody in Florida.” The citizenry responded responsibly. State and local government responded responsibly, but what was the response of the national media, or as we say the Mainstream Media? The Washington Post neatly summed up the Mainstream’s general response when it headlined an article “Florida Governor Has Refused to Recognize Climate-Change Risks, Critics Say.” In the body of this preposterous article appeared this telling line: “Scott’s office did not respond to a request for comment for this article.” Did it occur to anyone at The Post that the governor’s office might be underwater or that the governor might be otherwise preoccupied?

This is how poisonous left-wing politics has become in America. Even at the height of a historic crisis, the Mainstream Media has time to advance a political point, a point that is, incidentally, highly debatable. Not that there is ever any time for debate with the left. It blabs on about how the consensus of the scientific community all believes that global warming is behind such events as Hurricane Irma. It quotes political critics of Mr. Scott at length. It never could find a person who sided with him. It only quoted his opponents. It never lets up on advancing its point of view. Nonetheless, its point of view is not in the ascendancy.

Now I shall startle you perhaps, but I think along with Gov. Scott’s critics that there is a human factor in “global warming.” It is not large, and by no means is “global warming” a steady growing factor in global weather. We really do not know what the future holds for the climate. We do know that all the nostrums advanced to solve “global warming” will impede global growth, which means ensuring continued poverty for the world’s poor. Moreover, a significant number of the world’s governments have shown no inclination to follow the nostrums’ inhibiting requirements, which means the nostrums will have little or no effect. The debate about climate and how to limit global warming is a farce.

The most prudent course is to follow a policy that allows growth worldwide. By allowing growth the industries of the world will be able to apply science and innovation to the problem of “our carbon footprint.” A wealthier world in time will have the resources to develop technologies to deal with future problems, among them climate. There is no proof that Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Harvey were caused by global warming or intensified by global warming, but global warming can in time be dealt with by technological development.

As for the poisonous rhetoric of the left, I have no cure. Do you remember a few years ago when the left was actually boasting of its anger? It was as if anger were a political virtue. At the time I marveled that the descendants of Eleanor Roosevelt would consider anger a noble political value. I rather thought there might be a rebellion within the left’s ranks. Suddenly a “reform” movement would spread through leftist ranks, and they would favor sweetness and light over anger. Obviously, I was wrong. Anger among the left has endured. In fact, it has gotten more intense. Is there anything like it on the right? Actually there is if you go far enough on the political spectrum. Consider the Ku Klux Klan — there may even be a few thousand of them.

• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is author of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson Inc.

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