Rational Global Warming Skepticism and How Liberals and Conservatives Are Doing Everything Wrong

I have no valid reason to trust the US Federal Government. It is run by two demonstrably corrupt political parties and has deceived us into multiple wars, spied on us while denying it, conspired against us, destroyed college and health care (yes, I’m speaking about subsidies and loans, there are much better, non-market solutions); the War on Drugs, imperialism, free-trade acts – I have no valid reason to trust the Federal Government, and no valid reason to trust the political parties and bureaucrats who control it.

I have no reason to trust the media.

I have no reason to suspect that, in 50 years, scientific consensus will be that human activity has had a negligible effect on the Earth’s climate and that global temperatures are rising because we’re still emerging from the last big ice-age; or because the sun’s heating up; or because atmospheres on rocky planets are inherently unstable (Hey there, Venus and Mars). Scientific paradigms shift.

I have no valid reason to trust the politicians, bureaucrats, media, or scientists who tell me humans are heating the planet. But just because I am suspicious of motives and skeptical of current paradigms, doesn’t mean I can’t be concerned about the very real possibility that humans are heating the Earth’s atmosphere.

You can be skeptical of human-driven global warming and still be concerned about it. Human-driven global warming is a valid possibility and a valid concern. Just because you distrust Democrats and the Federal Government, doesn’t mean you can’t be concerned about global warming.

Hypothetical Scenario: An asteroid is hurtling towards Earth. Scientific consensus says this is bad for children and all living things, because the asteroid will decimate the planet. The dissenting opinion is that Yeah, hey, there’s totally an asteroid, but fat chance in hell it’ll actually hit us.

Not worth chancing hell. It’s valid to be skeptical of the asteroid-decimation paradigm, but irrational not to act on the very real chance that it’s true.

Why should I trust the Democratic Party’s motives behind climate change? Why is The Obama opening Alaska up for more drilling? Why is The Obama’s darling free-trade bill going to send more of our manufacturing to developing nations? Why did The Clinton’s free-trade deals export all our manufacturing? Don’t people understand the US has much stricter environmental laws than China and Taiwan? and that in the name of reducing emissions we should be keeping manufacturing here, in the US, where we can limit these emissions?

Oh, right, but Corporate America can reap ludicrous profit by exporting manufacturing…

… reasons to distrust the powerful, and to distrust their motives.

I am concerned that Earth’s dominant hegemonic power will use global warming to justify the expansion of its own power, both foreign and domestic. Never let a good crisis go to waste. I have little reason to assume the ruling class wants more power for anything but their own benefit.

I want the Federal Government to do as little as possible. I do not want the Federal Government to regulate power-plant emissions, automobile MPG’s, or lightbulbs, and every time a Liberal argues for more Federal regulation, I want to pull my hair. We need to regulate these things, and we should be regulating them at the state level.

(Manufacturing emissions should remain Federally-regulated, because in manufacturing there is a real risk of the Race To The Bottom phenomenon. If NJ tightens power-plant and car emission regulations, power-plants and car salesmen aren’t going to flee to Alabama, because NJ is still going to need cars and lights. If there is no risk of Race To The Bottom, the responsibility must remain with the states.)

Liberals have to understand that a large percentage of the US population distrusts the US Federal Government for valid (and wise) reasons, and that environmental regulations can develop much quicker at state and local levels, at least because democracy is more nimble in smaller groups.

Now for Conservatives: It doesn’t matter if you disagree with the overwhelming scientific consensus, human-driven global warming is a valid theory and a valid concern because it has yet to be disproved (if it ever will be). If there is a chance we’re destroying our atmosphere, for the sake of the entire freaking human population, you do not prevent human-species-saving actions.

Conservatives are not going to prevent environmental regulations from tightening because a large portion of our population wants tighter environmental regulations. By refusing environmental regulations at the state level, Conservatives are forcing Liberals to Federally regulate.

Conservatives, by refusing environmental regulations at the state level, are contributing to the growth of the Federal Government. Want to downsize the Federal Government? Then you need to give people the regulations they want at the state level.

Los Angeles? Where?

If Liberals would stop trying to Federally strong-arm the entire freaking country and shift their voices into passing state legislation, and if Conservatives would stop refusing environmental legislation at the state level and stop sucking-face with coal, then we could stop heating the Earth’s atmosphere without having the Federal Hegemony assume more power.

What the Federal Government Should Do:

  1. End Free-trade agreements
  2. Regulate Manufacturing Emissions
  3. Pour Billions into public research. Don’t subsidize green companies. Use that money (and a whole lot more money) to develop the technologies we need to be sustainable – solar power storage, graphene production methods, energy efficient housing, electric and self-driving cars, and of course, how to transmit energy to Earth from orbiting solar-arrays.

What States Should Do:

  1. Everything Else.
  2. And nuclear power.

What We All Should Do:

  1. Stop Consuming So Much! Everything you purchase has a CO2 cost. Value frugality over consumerism. In fact, kill consumerism. Instead of purchasing more crap whenever something breaks, use your human brain to figure out how to repair your dishwasher, your blender, your furniture, your laptop, your clothing.
  2. Buy locally. Shit that ain’t shipped from China doesn’t need oil to cross an ocean.

War With ISIS?

I don’t want to spend posts casting opinions on politics and current events, but the ISIS quagmire can be my exception. There’s a lot of interesting angles.

Reasons to, as Trump put it, “Bomb the shit out of ISIS”, or to send troops back to Iraq? The simplest: ISIS is a black plague. There was the Stalin regime, the Nazis, Pol Pot, Suharto, and now ISIS. ISIS may have only massacred a few thousand, they aren’t yet a Pol Pot or Nazi regime, but it seems to be similar to what they’re after. (ISIS, on a Wikipedia genocide page.)

“Where’s her burqa? Death to the whole village!”

isis

But what happens if we begin to escalate? We have advisers over there, we’re bombing them, and then — the same pattern took two million US troops into Vietnam. We dumped trillions into Iraq and Afghanistan. Are we willing to spend another trillion to lead an invasion against the caliphate? Are we able to handle another a large war?

We’ve been in a constant state of war since at least 1941. We’re an empire, and we’re always at war. Sure, policing the world. But every empire crumbles when it over exerts itself. It’s what collapsed the British Empire, the USSR, and the Romans. $18 trillion in debt, a pivot to the Pacific to focus on China – after 70 years of war and empire, are we going to spread ourselves too thin?

Say we do invade the caliphate and we win. We send 100,000 troops into Iraq and Syria and ISIS gets eaten by scorpions and Hellfires. At what point have we spread ourselves too thin? At what point does the empire begin to collapse? If we’re lucky, we have a slow draw-back similar to the British Empire. If we’re unlucky, we collapse like the USSR.

The world has never been so flat and interconnected. When we had our Great Recession, it rippled right around the globe because our economy is a massive driver of the world economy, and world politics, and world everything-else. If our empire collapses, the collapse is likely to drag much of the world with it.

I don’t know what the breaking-point of our Empire is, and I don’t think anybody can know. But every major military engagement we enter, we’re stepping ourselves closer to collapse.

Maybe it’s worth mentioning the lack of war enthusiasm of previous generations. The US didn’t want to get involved in WW1, and it took Pearl Harbor to get us into WW2. We watched our European allies get slaughtered and we still held out.

The longer ISIS is around, the more likely it is ISIS will blow up people here, in the US. But if we march back in, and spend a few trillion, and the empire can no longer sustain itself, then democracy and liberty suffer a major blow. The world’s bastion of democracy and liberty, a crumbling state.

Is the risk of terrorism and the black-plague that is ISIS, worth risking democracy and liberty? Or am I exaggerating the potential costs?

If we do send troops to butcher ISIS, how would it play out? Easy enough to push ISIS out of Iraq, and in Iraq we wouldn’t have to nation-build and put together a new government. Though we would probably have to pressure the Iraqi government to include more Sunnis. If we kill ISIS in Iraq, we would still have to deal with ISIS in Syria, which is a larger quagmire.

If we send troops into Syria, what is the risk of going to war against the Assad regime? We’ve been backing the Syrian rebels, and will continue to do so; I doubt Assad would clear the highways for our battalions. If we send troops into Syria, where we’re allied with the rebels, we’re essentially at war against Assad, who is backed by Russia. To send troops after ISIS in Syria would require a truce between Assad, Russia, the US, and the rebels. Maybe that’s a possibility. Or maybe we have to spend another trillion and a long decade, rebuilding and restructuring Syria after we remove Assad.

For now, I’m a fan of Obama’s “light-touch” policy. I don’t like Obama, and I think his whole foreign policy agenda is disingenuous, preaching restraint while pivoting our power to combat China…. Regardless, the next Republican President is likely to send troops to Syria (Yes, I’m already calling the 2016 election, though not out of any partisan-partiality). But for now, the bombing-runs, I would think, are our best bet. France and Russia are pretty pissed at ISIS, and England’s about to join the fray, so maybe UAV’s and Hellfires are the way for the US to go.