12 January 2009

AGW and Libertarians

Via DK, a good post at safeism.com :
It's a source of considerable frustration to me that so many otherwise clear thinking, charming and eriduite chaps, like DK, seem to have it as an article of faith that climate change is all a big con.
I too tend to cringe when I'm with a group of libertarians and anthropogenic global warming is dismissed by the group with a sneer or a chuckle.  Don't they realize how that makes us look?  Getting over our ideas on economics is difficult enough, particularly in the current environment, without making ourselves look like freaks by standing against such a widely-accepted fact as Global Warming.

As La Bete says, libertarianism doesn't need to rely on Global Warming being false.  It is perfectly possible to argue in the normal way that state intervention will be ineffective or counterproductive, to argue for mitigation rather than prevention, even.

So in strategic terms - and as Giles Bowkett said, strategy matters - leaving AGW theory alone would be the best bet.  Concentrate our fire elsewhere: on the economy, on civil liberties.

The problem with that is that, even if I want to believe in Global Warming, I still can't.  The temperature records are made up, the computer models are a joke, the political motivation behind it all is blatant.   I could pretend to go along with it if there was a real chance of advancing the wider movement, but I'd still have my fingers crossed behind my back.

And of course there isn't a real chance of advancing the wider movement.  We're fringe and getting more so by the year.  Libertarian activism to me is about keeping the ideas and the lines of communication alive, so if opportunities arise in the unpredictable future, there will at least be something to build on.  Whether it's a bunch of us reading each others blogs, or LPUK putting up a few candidates, or the ASI proposing limited and arguably counterproductive policies to the mainstream, at least it's the skeleton of a movement.

Putting it that way sheds a different light on the Global Warming issue.  There's at least a decent chance that in two or three decades, the warmists will be discredited, and people will be asking "how did we ever get fooled by that stuff?".   And old man Amcguinn will push himeself up on his walking stick and say "here's how, and I knew it all along, and I tried to tell you.  Incidentally, here are quite a few other things that everybody knows which aren't true."

Maybe it's a long shot, but compared to what?  Compared to the LPUK forming a government?  Compared to growing an economically viable society with a high standard of living on offshore platforms?  Compared to an organisation that controls a third of the population deciding by itself that it's too big and powerful?  Long shots are all we've got.


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