Does Gaia Hear the Prayer of a Climate Alarmist?

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Global warming has a pause button? Who knew? It “seems to have paused since the turn of the millennium,” reports James Maynard at Tech Times“but climatologists believe this slowdown is not a reason for celebration.”

The pause, they say, may be due to cooling of the Pacific Ocean since the last El Nino cycle, and warming will probably re-start with the next such cycle. Climatologist Michael Mann of Penn state calls it a “false pause” and notes that none of the explanations offered for it “involve climate models being fundamentally wrong.”

Perhaps that’s the problem. Maybe the global climate just does what it does instead of what Michael Mann’s models  decree it must do.

Bailey Smith, then head of the Southern Baptist Convention, raised hackles in 1980 with his announcement that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” While Smith found a few defenders, most Christians condemned the claim. The most trenchant criticism came down not to any denomination talking point, but to a simple notion,  one even agnostics could buy into : God, not Bailey Smith, decides who God listens to.

A disclaimer: I tend to agree that what’s often falsely characterized as the “scientific consensus” is plausible. That is, it seems very possible that human activity exerts non-trivial effects on global climate.

That said, the alarmists — you know, the people who warned us in the 1970s that Earth was slipping into a new Ice Age, who by the ’90s had changed their wolf cry to global warming, and who lately stick to the safer, less specific term “climate change” — might do well to heed the Bailey Smith lesson. Certitude concerning powerful forces goeth before a fall.

When the testable elements of the “scientific consensus” — predicted temperature changes, predicted frequency of large-scale weather events like hurricanes, etc. — routinely fail to transpire, that failure calls for some degree of re-examination. And perhaps a bit more humility before the forces of nature.

But no. Climate alarmists characterize the “scientific consensus” as so unquestionable, and the stakes as so high, that the two taken together constitute a strong argument for putting the alarmists in charge of public policy.

I disagree. Power is a dangerous thing. Perhaps even more dangerous than global warming. At the very least, we should require more proof of the latter before granting the former. Let’s not surrender our freedoms lightly.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.



Love Me, I’m a Hollywood Liberal Film FrameDuring the 87th Academy Awards ceremony on February 22, films about Martin Luther King, Jr. and whistleblower Edward Snowden, Selma and Citizenfour, received statuettes for, respectively, Best Original Song and Best Documentary Feature.  But the shutting-out of Selma from other Oscars due to industry backlash against its less than fully idealized portrayal of former US president Lyndon B. Johnson, and host Neil Patrick Harris’s quip that “Edward Snowden couldn’t be here for some treason,” made clear the limits of Hollywood liberal tolerance for dissent.

To update Phil Ochs’s classic indictment: “I cried when they shot Martin Luther King Jr.  But Edward Snowden got what was coming. So love me, I’m a liberal.”

Harris might have been tongue-in-cheek, but imagine if he’d made the same remark about a surviving but jailed 86-year-old King. And if he didn’t intend it as political, that merely shows what sort of political assumptions Hollywood takes for granted.  For instance, that the very existence of the National Security Agency is not infinitely more a betrayal of American ideals than Snowden’s exposure of its secrets.  In fact, the NSA helped implement the federal government’s surveillance of King as portrayed in Selma.

Another dissident subject of an Oscar-winning film (Karl Hess: Toward Liberty, Best Documentary Short Subject) observed in his autobiography Mostly on the Edge that “the support of big business flowed naturally to Lyndon Johnson, who knew how to wheel and deal with corporations that felt they had the right to be treated as virtually a fourth branch of government.”  As exemplified by Hollywood’s ties to mostly-Democratic administrations, e.g. Jack Valenti’s move from LBJ’s personal aide to head of the Motion Picture Association of America.

In his acceptance speech at the 53rd Oscars, Karl Hess: Toward Liberty co-director Roland Halle contended that “[Hess’s] ideas on how [to] take control of one’s life I think can map our route toward liberty, and liberty is all this country’s about.”  With his statement “that the really American revolution would be to destroy power,” Hess’s notion of what “this country’s about” clearly differed from identifying it with the covert functioning of the NSA.  Its documentation of Hess’s journey, from his expulsion from the top ranks of the Republican Party to his pioneering of solar power and other decentralized ecological technologies — all without ever being a liberal, Hollywood or otherwise — offers prescient lessons for bringing liberty to a post-NSA America.

New Yorker Joel Schlosberg is a contributing editor at The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (


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