Saturday, October 10, 2009

Not Evil, Just Irresponsible

People tend to go on about the inevitability of death and taxes, but there is one constant in civilization they're missing; disagreement. In most respects, disagreement and ensuing argument is a beneficial thing in the long term, as it can enable viewpoints to be moderated and consensuses to be reached. This process most definitively goes off the rails, though, when ideology enters the equation.

The Fraser Institute is a Vancouver-based think tank that bills itself as working toward "a free and prosperous world through choice, markets and responsibility," and which supports "greater choice, less government intervention, and more personal responsibility." It's a decidedly conservative think tank, in other words, that counts among its senior fellows former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and ex-Reform Party boss Preston Manning, who loves that word "refooooooorm."

On Thursday, the Fraser Institute put out a press release which urges Canadians to "set a world record" for a movie premiere's attendance by hosting their own release parties of Not Evil Just Wrong, a documentary that "examines the hype and fear-mongering of the environmental movement over global warming."

Oh boy. The sheer weight of the bias in this article is enough to make Atlas shudder. At first I thought the quote from filmmaker Phelim McAleer, who says the movie will "clearly expose the overblown rhetoric and false claims behind... environmental doomsday predictions," was harsh enough, but it's nothing compared to what the Fraser Institute itself has to say about this.

Apparently, sayeth the Fraser Institute, actions to curb carbon dioxide emissions will destroy "Canadians' middle-class lifestyles and dreams for their children," and there's no real problem with the environment anyway because the film will reveal "the deceptions about global warming that scientists, politicians, educators, and the media have been force-feeding the public for years... the same kind of anti-human propaganda that triggered a ban on DDT and condemned millions of children to death by malaria."

The cheek is absolutely outstanding. This press release is so vociferous I can't help but read it as a parody of itself. I simply can't believe that anyone would look at something so charged and consider it perfectly reasonable. So I went to the Not Evil Just Wrong website for an unfiltered look.

Oh boy.

"Global Warming alarmism and the tax increases that go along with it are going to increase costs for working families during one of the worst recessions in living memory." Didn't you read the papers? The recession is over, baybee! Well, okay, I'm being a bit facetious and Canadian there, but the quote is nothing more than the enshrinement of the temporary over the long-term - the same thing that, by the by, got us into this mess in the first place. Ten years from now the recession is going to be a memory, but ten years is only half of the average residence time of a carbon dioxide molecule in the atmosphere.

"Al Gore and his allies want to ban fossil fuels in the developed world." This is absolutely insane. Though I can't honestly say I wouldn't like to see fossil fuel burning banned, I'm realistic enough to realize that it would make Prohibition look like a triumph of law and order. France and Ontario are the only jurisdictions I can think of, off the top of my head, that do not derive a majority of their electricity from burning fossil fuels. 86% of all electrical generation in the world is derived from fossil fuel sources.

"They want us to change the way we live," says the trailer. My god, says I. Take steps to move away from an isolating, entrapping existence between city and country that puts you at the mercy of a ton of coughing steel? Why would anyone ever want to leave that behind?

"I don't think it would be a bad thing for this Earth to warm up," says a man quoted in the trailer. "In fact, ice is the enemy of life."


If the trailer is any indication, this movie will be full of "rah-rah AMERICA FUCK YEAH," telling people about how environmentalists are wrong and evil because they want to close factories and put millions of people out of work and send the world back to the Dark Ages. Because, you know, there's no chance of the consequences of increased global temperatures working out to the exact same thing.

Let me say, for the record, that I would love for the people behind Not Evil Just Wrong to be right. I can't think of anything I'd rather be able to know for a fact than that climate change is a scientific error, and that Earth isn't threatened by ecological collapse. I would love to live in that kind of world. But we know that carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas, and we're pumping more and more of it into the atmosphere every day. But who cares about increasing the possibility of death when the alternative is TAXES?

To pretend that it doesn't exist might not be evil - the jury's still out on that - but it most definitely is reckless and irresponsible. And the people who made it are definitely not going to be on the invite list for my weather bunker.


  1. No, no, ice is TOTALLY the enemy of life. Much worse than, you know... desertification. Or hurricanes.

    Also, you have a weather bunker?

  2. this is well written

  3. I love you, man!

    I will be attending one of these "release parties"... my eldest child invited me and initially I thought, "This would be a great way to have further discussion about the myriad facets of human impact on environment, which is typically generalized as 'global warming'"

    They're first going to see Al Gore's film... I haven't seen it, just some trailers, and while it appears to be somewhat alarmist (unfortunate that humans typically only respond greatest to alarmism)it appears generally sound and based in factual observation, just from the trailers I've seen.

    Next they'll be watching "Not Evil, Just Wrong"... odd title, says I. Research some, I do. OMG, says I.

    Now I am going to the release party simply to "know thy enemy", and combat the incessant christo-babble my children are incessantly exposed to by my (overly) christian-conservative-without-a-shred-of-intellectual-assessment ex-wife.

    Of course, we're going to completely ignore the very real possibility that our dependence on petroleum products will *also* have similar consequences on the working class as global production continues to decrease while China's and India's demand are just ramping up (to pick on two of the larger countries whose oil consumption is growing at double-digit rates). But ask the christos... I was flabbergasted when one of them told me the other day that the earth is making enough oil, right now, to compensate for our consumption...

    I'm printing this out now, as it's significantly more eloquent than my own initial response.


  4. Thanks for the commentary! I'm glad there are people finding a use for my scribblings. It is all fuzzy-feeling.