Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Throughout my psychiatric career, the primary focus of my research has been on psychological adaptation to extreme environments.

That is why this article intrigued me. In it, Iain Murray considers the question, can we live with global warming?
Yet there are policies that can be adopted by national and regional governments that will have beneficial effects. The precursor to adaptation is resiliency, which gives a society the capacity to adapt. Characteristics of a resilient society include a strong economy, the rule of law, high trust (lack of corruption, confidence in institutions etc) and a lack of regulatory barriers to innovation. A resilient society recognizes that the ingenuity of its citizens is, in Julian Simon's words, its "ultimate resource," not the presence of abundant natural resources, the leadership of a certain class or the teachings of a dead philosopher. The guarantees the citizenry needs to exercise its brilliance constitute the institutions of liberty.

Thus, in the US, where the other institutions are already strong, we can strengthen our adaptive capacity by increasing our freedom to innovate in response to threats such as climate change, whatever its cause. There are many regulatory barriers to innovation in general, and in sectors like energy and transportation in particular.

This may be the first time I have seen a reasonable assessment of how to deal with global warming--if we are truly entering a time of significant climate change--that does not approach the subject with a Gore-like hysteria that wishes to use the issue to forward a draconian ideological agenda. The doom and gloom alarmists on this issue are quick to assign blame and to predict the worst possible outcomes--particularly, it is important to note--if their agenda is not immediately adopted.

The anti-capitalistic, anti-American, anti-human preoccupation is clear; and, as I noted in this post, the entire issue of protecting and defending the earth's environment has been stolen by the political left and is one of the four pillars of modern socialism's strategy to regain their prominence in intellectual and political circles ( following, it is interesting to note, the utterly abysmal record of transgression against the earth, prominent in every socialist and communist dictatorship).

These 20th century socialist failures and the remnants of them that persist into the 21st century (as well as several brand-spanking new variations of the theme currently in South America) have never been able to create wealth for their own people with their flawed ideology. Hence, they claim the "morally superior" highground by stating that all wealth is bad. They therefore appropriate it (since they cannot create it), as well as the techonology that drives it and proceed to drive their economies into the toilet.

Things like economies and environments must be left in the hands of the elite to manage for the good of the people and the planet. For, without this type of management by superior people like Al Gore say; who knows what evils will befall the earth?. In fact, from the leftist environmentalist's perspective, it is all that bad technology and all that wealth--as well as the humans who benefit from it--who are the ones destroying the earth and who must be controlled..

But Al and friends can fix that if they are in power. At least, so they claim.

What Murray suggests in contrast to this recurring leftist vision of a totally controlled economy (for the good of the planet) is to let loose the entrepreneurial spirt--and create more wealth, not less:
...a richer-but-warmer world provided greater benefits than a poorer-but-colder world. The benefits of wealth more than offset the costs or warming, while the climatic benefits of a colder world were more than offset by the costs of starving the world of energy to keep it cold. For example, if nothing is done to reduce temperatures, increasing wealth will drive down the population at risk from water shortage by up to 57 percent. The adaptive approach banks these benefits.

This is of course exactly the opposite of what the ideologues and environmental purists want to do. They see the solution to the problem as CONTROL and MORE CONTROL. That is because their ideology has constricted their vision and limited the capacity of their minds to adapt and consider alternative strategies to deal with the problem. Even if the most draconian of the solutions proposed by the left were to be implemented immediately, there is little or no evidence that they would have any impact at all on climate change. But such measures would undoubtedly negatively impact all of humanity--particularly the poorest and most miserable of this earth.

Those same people, in fact, who the left claims to champion so regularly.

Whatever is causing global warming--and I am not at all convinced that human agency has much of a role--the solution lies in the human ability to psychologically and physically adapt to whatever nature throws at us; and to continue to create wealth and develop technologies that move all of humanity forward.

The anti-human environmentalism of the left, if implemented, will only succeed in leading humans back to the cave.

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