Home > Uncategorized > On climate, how to avoid being a blind, self-righteous ideologue in a “Bootleggers and Baptists” coalition

On climate, how to avoid being a blind, self-righteous ideologue in a “Bootleggers and Baptists” coalition

[from a Facebook post]

Trust me — you don’t have to agree with those who say “climate science is scary, so we need to do something about it” to be willing to have a decent conversation about how governments play a deep role in generating problems, and seeing ways to use the concerns of “warmers” as leverage to try to start fixing what is broken.

Elsewhere, I got head-scratches when I said, “I think there is little we can do to change temps …, but I still think that there is room for productive “climate” policy.”

Allow me to reconcile what for some is an apparent contradiction:

The climate system is complex, and we are engaged in a massive experiment that simply cannot be turned on a dime even if we were all to make the effort (even if we stopped all fossil fuel CO2 releases tomorrow, the processes now set in motion will take centuries to play out); already CO2 levels are now higher than they’ve been for 3 MILLION years: http://theconversation.com/carbon-stored-deep-in-antarctic-waters-ended-the-last-ice-age-37488

I am not one of those who are fine and dandy with this “experiment” and who act as if it is a “conservative” venture or that market or libertarian principles justify it.

Nor, however, am I one of those who think that climate concerns — like other environmental/healthy/safety/welfare concerns — mandate massive further interference with people’s lives and economic activities, in the manner of past interventions.

Governments have been and continue to be hugely disruptive, incompetent and corrupt, and in fact are the friends of the “crony capital” corporations that are the object of popular scorn (but in fact such corporations are made, fed, coddled, catered to and protected from competition and market forces by governments).

So I “get” some of the reflexive whinging by shallow market fundamentalists that the science must be wrong and that “enviros” must be evil — though these people also piss me off, because in effect they are ideologues who are protecting crony capitalists and a very fucked up system, rather than engaging in good faith with people who can see quite clearly that there are no “property rights” or “market prices” in the air that magically direct economic activity “invisible hand”-like towards optimal outcomes.

My suggestions that there are productive climate policies is one that is NOT based on either a certainty of climate science or some false expectation that we could easily “fix” the climate (we can’t), but on the awareness that our current economic order is profoundly corrupt, costly/inefficient, significantly hampers consumer choice and innovation, socializes real (and generally recognized) pollution costs and protects bureaucrats.

And even the deepest skeptic of climate change science and theory ought to be interested in seizing the opportunity of the concerns of others to FIX what is deeply fucked up about economic regulation. That is, of course, unless they’re hooked the adrenaline rush that comes from being a blind, self-righteous ideologue in a “Bootleggers and Baptists” coalition.

Here are some thoughts, both on productive climate policies and on seeing past illusory certainty:


Note: I have reworked this from a comment I made on another post: https://www.facebook.com/tokyotomsr/posts/10202665423355536

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