The Rise of Ad Hominem (and the decline of everything else.)

(Title gleefully lifted with apologies to Hugh Nibley.)

Sadly, the Mormon faith has become a place that incentivizes the survival of the least fit. Since strict obedience is demanded and harshly enforced, only the least talented, least articulate, least nuanced thinkers, least likely to take a stand against abuse, and the least courageous people thrive in the Church today.

– Kate Kelly, former Mormon and current leader of Ordain Women, writing for the UK Guardian.

So there!

As one of the untalented, inarticulate, nuance-free, abuse-tolerating cowards who remains in the church, I obviously have no standing to answer this charge. Which, ultimately, is Kelly’s purpose here. Once you accept her premise that all Mormons are knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, you can save yourself the aggravation of listening to anything they have to say.

If not “skeptic,” what should the opponents of climate science be called? … The dissenting scientists have been called “lukewarmers” by some… It is perhaps no surprise that many environmentalists have started to call them deniers.

The scientific dissenters object to that word, claiming it is a deliberate attempt to link them to Holocaust denial. Some academics sharply dispute having any such intention, but others have started using the slightly softer word “denialist” to make the same point without stirring complaints about evoking the Holocaust.

The above is from a column in the New York Times devoted to finding the appropriate ad hominem label with which to utterly dismiss people who notice the earth hasn’t warmed at all in 17 years and that all the alarmist climate models have been wrong by a factor of 300%, and so maybe a regressive tax on the poorest of the poor that even alarmists admit won’t lower global temperatures might not be a good idea.

I’ve written about Shakespeare denialism many times before… and I’ve started to feel like I’m running around in circles while simultaneously banging my head against a wall (do not try this)… When the media use false balance in stories about the “authorship question,” they also bestow undue legitimacy on a discredited notion. Shakespeare deniers have received sympathetic treatment in surprising places for a long time.

A recent article on skeptic.com from an orthodox Shakespeare scholar that maintains the best way to deal with the myriad of problems with the conventional wisdom about Shakespeare’s authorship is to call those who ask questions “deniers” and refuse to create the “false balance” that comes from letting them speak.

“And lest we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

– President Obama, February 10, 2015

Rather than be concerned about the barbarism being perpetrated in 2015 in the name of Islam, Christians should recognize they are disqualified from passing judgment because other Christians committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ a thousand years ago.

To sum up:

Contrary opinions no longer need to be refuted; they only need to be disqualified. And disqualifying opinions these days is remarkably easy to do.

Heaven help us all.

Obama’s $500 Billion Dollar Tax on the Poor

During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama made it clear that taxing the rich required the rich to pay not just more money than the poor, but to pay at a higher rate, too. When Charlie Gibson, of all people, pointed out that a lower capital gains rate actually brought in more government revenue than a higher one, Barack was having none of it.

“I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness,” Obama said. “[T]hose who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That’s not fair.”

So, to sum up, even if a lower tax rate generates more money, “fairness” trumps all. In practical terms, this means soaking the rich was more important than funding programs that help the poor.

Given that position, it’s stunning that he is now bypassing Congress to unilaterally implement the most regressive tax in the history of the country, and left-wingers, by and large, are cheering him on. “[This regressive tax] re-establishes the moral authority on the part of the United State of America in leading the world community,” bloviated former veep and current hypocrite Al Gore. His sentiments are echoed by lefties throughout the blogosphere, and none of them seem to notice that what they’re applauding is a $50 billion-per-year tax that will be borne largely by the poorest of the poor.

Of course, that’s not what they’re calling it. No, this tax is disguised as new EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants designed to combat global warming.

Oh, here we go. Now your eyes have rolled up into the back of your head. “I really don’t understand your obsession with climate change denial, Jim,” a friend of mine recently wrote on Facebook. “I find your position on this subject very strange and counterproductive.”

Well, fine. Strange and counterproductive is the story of my life. And, yes, I often feel like the guy in the loony bin who screams at the walls and thinks everyone else is crazy except him. But it’s just staggering to me that people who would never accept an annual $50 billion regressive tax on the poorest of the poor when it is framed as such will applaud the same thing when it’s wrapped up in a pretty “Stop Global Warming” label.

I didn’t lead off here by mentioning global warming because that always veers the discussion away from the point I’m trying to make. This is not an article about “climate change denial.” This is an article about how global warming alarmists are oblivious to how their actions are exacerbating poverty and death right now, not in some distant polar-ice-capless future.

It’s very simple. The president is unilaterally forcing coal plants to cut their emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by the year 2030. A study conducted by the United States Chamber of Commerce has determined that this will cost the economy $50 billion per year. That’s a whopping $500 billion over ten years, and by the time we reach 2030 and hit those emissions targets, the cost will be close to a trillion bucks.

Who’s paying that trillion bucks? Only people who use electricity. Or, in other words, everybody. And the rate of payment isn’t even remotely progressive.  99% of this expense will be shouldered by the 99%. This is as regressive a tax on the poor as anything that has ever been done in the history of the nation. Bill Gates and the 1% can afford a 15-20% increase in their heating bills. The 85-year-old widow whose only source of income is her Social Security checks cannot. It’s the poor who are getting soaked.

And for what?

Well, if you pay attention to Al Gore, we’re getting our moral authority back, so, you know, there’s that. But $50 billion a year is a steep subscription rate for moral authority, and I don’t see how that’s worth further impoverishing 85-year-old shut-ins. If we’re going to grind the faces of the poor into the dirt, shouldn’t our climate change tax actually have a positive impact on the climate?

Because it won’t. And before you start waving the “Denier!” flags around, my source on this isn’t Fox News or Glenn Beck. It’s the Obama administration. It’s the United Nations. Using the numbers and projections that form the backbone of the oft-touted consensus, we discover that shutting down all coal-fired plants in America would reduce the projected rate of global temperature increase by…

(Drum roll please…)

a whopping .05 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100! 

That’s it.  Now reduce those temperature savings by 70% to account for the fact that we’re not shutting down all the plants but only reducing the emissions by 30%. Suddenly, you’ve managed to slow the earth’s temperature increase by only .015 F. But you have to reduce those savings by another 70% to account for the difference between 2100 and the 2030 target date.

That means that Obama is asking poor families to choose between heating their homes and putting food on their tables to achieve a projected reduction in the temperature increase of .0045 degrees Fahrenheit. $50 billion collected from the poor to prevent warming of less than 5 thousandths of a degree.

That’s not just science – it’s math.

So, please, spare me the pointless discussions about the 97% and the whole “denier” nonsense. Because even if Al Gore’s worst case scenario of boiling oceans happens to come true, this onerous new tax, which one Democratic senator has admitted will mean that a “lot of people on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum are going to die,” will do nothing to prevent climate armageddon. No, I stand corrected – it will lessen the impact of that meltdown by .0045 degrees.

You want unfair, Mr. Obama? That’s unfair.

So if you still find this obsession with the biggest assault on the poor I’ve seen in my lifetime “strange and counterproductive,” then I don’t know what I have to do to convince you that this is a big deal.

Maybe I’ll just scream at the loony bin walls for awhile longer.

To Save the Planet, Get Your Hands Dirty

Well, it looks like global warming is real.

Yes, despite a 15-year pause in the process which was not predicted by global climate models and which modern scientists can’t adequately explain, those same infallible scientists are 97% agreed that we are turning earth into a toxic fireball because of all the CO2 we generate, and, when you get right down to it, it’s all your fault. (And, of course, my fault, since I have spawned too many children who exhale carbon dioxide. It’s also probably George W. Bush’s fault, too, but he’s already got enough blame to be going on with.)

In order to avoid being branded as a Flat Earther, you have to stipulate to the above tenets at the outset of any global warming discussion.

So I hereby so stipulate.

I refuse to argue about the underlying science. How could I? I’m not a scientist. I’m no longer going to ask pesky questions about how much of the climatic variability is natural and how much is man-made, even though this monolithic scientific consensus doesn’t agree on the percentage of warming attributable to human activity. I’m happy to overlook the fact that previous climate models were wildly off the mark in predicting our current rate of warming, and I’m going to presume that no such errors exist in weather forecasts ten years out. Squabbling about the underlying science is so yesterday’s news.

Nope. The science is settled. To paraphrase Al Gore, the planet has a fever, and humanity is the virus. (Case in point: Miley Cyrus. Need I say more?)

The debate is over. It’s time to take action!

So here’s what I’m going to do. Every morning, I’m going to get up and go to my backyard. There’s a big patch of dirt over in the northeastern corner of the yard that used to be the kids’ sandbox. That is where I’m going to send a daily message to the Earth, employing naught but the extremities Gaia evolved me with. Using my right index finger inserted into soil moistened by the morning dew, I’m going to write the following words at dawn in big bold letters, all in caps:

“COOL DOWN!!!!”

Four exclamation points seem sufficient, but if the mood strikes me, I may add a fifth.

This primal communication, produced by all-natural means with a minimal carbon footprint, will establish a mystical connection between myself and the dust from which I sprang. The synchronicity of all things will make it impossible for the planet to reject the heartfelt plea of one of its children. And if one lone finger’s daily scrawl will not go unnoticed, imagine the power of every man, woman, and child of this great nation giving Mother Earth the finger on a daily basis.

Sure, the unenlightened will scoff, claiming that collective dirt doodles aren’t going to actually accomplish anything.

Pffft.

When did efficacy become the standard by which we measure efforts to combat global warming? 100% of scientists agree that cap-and-trade, a carbon tax, and every other political solution being championed by Al Gore and his ilk will be just as effective as my dirty digitary demonstrations, but they don’t abandon their silly proposals just because they will have no impact on global temperatures, either. Indeed, they applaud the effort because, well, at least they’re doing something.

Well, I’m doing something, too!

Furthermore, my something is just as effective as their something, and, really, it costs a whole lot less than cap-and-trade’s multi-trillion dollar price tag of new taxes and diminished economic output. Plus, under my plan, you to get to put your fingers in dirt. So it’s win-win all around!

In the future, this is where I will make my stand whenever this issue is discussed. Wasting time diagnosing the problem over and over again is pointless when every cure you propose is nothing more than environmental homeopathy.

Everyone wants to do something about global warming. Great. But what’s the point of doing something really, really expensive that doesn’t work?