The Birbal theory of climate change, etc

“Special interests, as the history of tariffs reminds us, can think of the most ingenious reasons why they should be the objects of special solicitude. Their spokesmen present a plan in their favor; and it seems at first so absurd that disinterested writers do not trouble to expose it. But the special interests keep on insisting on the scheme. Its enactment would make so much difference to their own immediate welfare that they can afford to hire trained economists and public relations experts to propagate it in their behalf. The public hears the argument so often repeated, and accompanied by such a wealth of imposing statistics, charts, curves and pie-slices, that it is soon taken in. When at last disinterested writers recognize that the danger of the scheme’s enactment is real, they are usually too late. They cannot in a few weeks acquaint themselves with the subject as thoroughly as the hired brains who have been devoting their full time to it for years; they are accused of being uninformed, and they have the air of men who presume to dispute axioms,” Henry Hazlitt wrote in his classic – Economics in One Lesson.

Stephan Kinsella (he’s a patent attorney) at the mises blog had a similar post the other day-

In his post Reality Check: Anti-Patent Patent Musings Simply Bizarre, patent attorney Gene Quinn is baffled that any patent attorney would openly oppose the patent system–or be hired by anyone. He writes, in part:

But what has me really wondering is how and why a patent attorney who is openly hostile to the patent system can get any work in the industry? Why would any inventor or company want an anti-patent patent attorney like Stephan Kinsella, who seems to be the genesis of this story, and so many other anti-patent patent stories.

Why would anyone hire me? I’ve prosecuted hundreds of patents. I’ve taught computer law as an adjunct law professor, I’ve published a great deal of legal scholarship including IP law, such as the Oxford University Press legal treatise Trademark Practice and Forms. I believe that given the patent system, tech companies have no choice but to arm themselves with patents, if only for defensive purposes. If someone went after one of my clients for patent infringement, I’d pull out all the stops to defend them from this state-backed threat. Maybe some clients like a patent attorney looking out for their interests.

[…]

The truth is most patent attorneys are in favor of patent law. Why is this? They have no special knowledge about its normative validity. Rather, they are self-interested, and have been subjected to positivist, statist, empiricist propaganda in law school. Quinn tries to turn this defect into an advantage by hogging to the biased patent profession the right to pronounce on these matters–and then ejecting from the profession anyone who bucks the union line. The patent bar of course lobbies for the system that butters their bread. They claim special knowledge to pronounce that the system is “necessary” for innovation, even though they have no proof of this. (See below.) They marginalize non-lawyers as not having enough expertise to weigh in. And anyone who does have expertise is ostracized if they point out that the emperor is wearing no clothes. They remind of leftists who will not tolerate an African American who opposes affirmative action–they impose their supposed “benefit” on him by force, which is bad enough, and then use this imposed “benefit” to silence his criticisms of it. Terrible.

I see something similar happening when it comes to climate change and the politics surrounding the same with people not believing in it being compared to religious nutjobs and holocaust deniers, or called denialists, and scientists who are skeptical about the whole business accused of being on the payroll of the fossil fuels industry. Apparently there is a “consensus” and anyone who is not part of the “consensus” is friends with Ahmadinejad or believes that the world was created a few thousand years ago.

What was generally called (anthropogenic) global warming is now called (anthropogenic) climate change (or maybe I am noticing it more now), but one might not want to read too much into this since NASA has this piece explaining the difference between the two terms-

[G]lobal warming became the dominant popular term in June 1988, when NASA scientist James E. Hansen had testified to Congress about climate, specifically referring to global warming. He said: “global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and the observed warming.” Hansen’s testimony was very widely reported in popular and business media, and after that popular use of the term global warming exploded. Global change never gained traction in either the scientific literature or the popular media.

But temperature change itself isn’t the most severe effect of changing climate. Changes to precipitation patterns and sea level are likely to have much greater human impact than the higher temperatures alone. For this reason, scientific research on climate change encompasses far more than surface temperature change. So “global climate change” is the more scientifically accurate term. Like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we’ve chosen to emphasize global climate change on this website, and not global warming.

The fact, however, is that climate change is a wider term. It lets people blame mankind for everything wrong with nature, and is like Birbal’s answer in the fable about the crows. So much for not reading anything into it.

While not based on a “consensus” as formidable as the one we are told exists today, in the 1970s there was this MSM induced hysteria about the coming ice age. This Time magazine article (via Cafe Hayek) is a perfect example-

In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims. During 1972 record rains in parts of the U.S., Pakistan and Japan caused some of the worst flooding in centuries. In Canada’s wheat belt, a particularly chilly and rainy spring has delayed planting and may well bring a disappointingly small harvest. Rainy Britain, on the other hand, has suffered from uncharacteristic dry spells the past few springs. A series of unusually cold winters has gripped the American Far West, while New England and northern Europe have recently experienced the mildest winters within anyone’s recollection.

As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.

Telltale signs are everywhere…

Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. The University of Wisconsin’s Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth.

Even if one were to believe the theory, the actions that are proposed are so dastardly that only a statist would wholeheartedly support them. I will repeat what I said a year back

The science of “global warming” is nothing but a form of Stadler-ization – an open invitation to a more intrusive government – Statism. Power. That’s what its all about.

You have environmentalists who want to halve the population of their countries in the name of sustainable living, and kooks who complain about the anthropocentrism that mankind suffers from; these folks are kissing cousins of the warmers. Then you have people who think climate change will lead to wars and is a big national security issue. As luck would have it, the second group has the perfect solution for the first. When the effects of global warming become pronounced and Bangladesh begins drowning, a nuclear war would help. Such a war would kill off a few hundred million people (satisfying the sustainable livers), and also bring about nuclear winter (satisfying the warmers). It has another benefit. As Einstein famously predicted, the fourth world war, if it ever comes to it, would be fought with sticks and stones. A world war without rivers of blood. That’s something one should aim for.

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