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Michael Barone has a thoughtful piece on how history can determine thoughts and opinions.
… It seems farfetched to suppose that centuries-old events and migrations could be reflected in the election results of 2010 and the overthrow of a regime in 2014. But you can see the mark of history on current electoral politics elsewhere, in Europe and North America.
Take Poland. In its 2010 election one candidate carried the regions that were part of the German Empire and most that were in Austria-Hungary before 1918; the other carried the areas that were part of Czarist Russia except for metro Warsaw.
Or move west to Germany. In post-World War II politics, the Christian Democrats have carried most regions that were Catholic after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, and the Social Democrats have carried most regions that were Protestant.
And then there is the United States. Southern whites remained overwhelmingly Democratic for almost 100 years after the Civil War. During that period, the Republican strongholds were northern areas settled by New England Yankees and their progeny.
Party allegiances were reversed in a process that took half a century, but the regions are still distinctive, with southern whites heavily Republican and the Yankee diaspora generally Democratic.
Many counties in the Appalachian chain still vote as they fought in 1861. Exceptions are coal counties, which swung Democratic with unionization and now swing Republican thanks to Barack Obama’s “war on coal.” …
Joel Kotkin calls it “the debate is over syndrome” and says the left is becoming increasingly totalitarian.
On climate and other issues, many in academia, media, government insist their viewpoint is unassailable and won’t tolerate dissent.
The ongoing trial involving journalist Mark Steyn – accused of defaming climate change theorist Michael Mann – reflects an increasingly dangerous tendency among our intellectual classes to embrace homogeneity of viewpoint. Steyn, whose column has appeared for years on these pages, may be alternatingly entertaining or over-the-top obnoxious, but the slander lawsuit against him marks a milestone in what has become a dangerously authoritarian worldview being adopted in academia, the media and large sections of the government bureaucracy.
Let’s call it “the debate is over” syndrome, referring to a term used most often in relationship with climate change but also by President Barack Obama last week in reference to what remains his contentious, and theoretically reformable, health care plan. Ironically, this shift to certainty now comes increasingly from what passes for the Left in America.
These are the same people who historically have identified themselves with open-mindedness and the defense of free speech, while conservatives, with some justification, were associated more often with such traits as criminalizing unpopular views – as seen in the 1950s McCarthy era – and embracing canonical bans on all sorts of personal behavior, a tendency still more evident than necessary among some socially minded conservatives. …
… Political uniformity is certainly in vogue. A remarkable 96 percent of presidential campaign donations from the nation’s Ivy League faculty and staff in 2012 went to Obama, a margin more reminiscent of Soviet Russia than a properly functioning pluralistic academy.
Writing in the Telegraph, UK, Christopher Booker says future generations will find it hard to understand the globalony hysteria of the left.
When future generations come to look back on the alarm over global warming that seized the world towards the end of the 20th century, much will puzzle them as to how such a scare could have arisen. They will wonder why there was such a panic over a 0.4 per cent rise in global temperatures between 1975 and 1998, when similar rises between 1860 and 1880 and 1910 and 1940 had given no cause for concern. They will see these modest rises as just part of a general warming that began at the start of the 19th century, as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age, when the Earth had grown cooler for 400 years.
They will be struck by the extent to which this scare relied on the projections of computer models, which then proved to be hopelessly wrong when, in the years after 1998, their predicted rise in temperature came virtually to a halt. But in particular they will be amazed by the almost religious reverence accorded to that strange body, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which by then will be recognised as having never really been a scientific body at all, but a political pressure group. It had been set up in the 1980s by a small band of politically persuasive scientists who had become fanatically committed to the belief that, because carbon dioxide levels were rising, global temperatures must inevitably follow; an assumption that the evidence would increasingly show was mistaken. …
Also in the Telegraph, Charles Moore has more on globalony.
… The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky 21st century, “global weirding”) has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. All the action plans, taxes, green levies, protocols and carbon-emitting flights to massive summit meetings, after all, are not because of what its supporters call “The Science”. Proper science studies what is – which is, in principle, knowable – and is consequently very cautious about the future – which isn’t. No, they are the result of a belief that something big and bad is going to hit us one of these days.
Some of the utterances of the warmists are preposterously specific. In March 2009, the Prince of Wales declared that the world had “only 100 months to avert irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse”. How could he possibly calculate such a thing? …
… The origins of warmism lie in a cocktail of ideas which includes anti-industrial nature worship, post-colonial guilt, a post-Enlightenment belief in scientists as a new priesthood of the truth, a hatred of population growth, a revulsion against the widespread increase in wealth and a belief in world government. It involves a fondness for predicting that energy supplies won’t last much longer (as early as 1909, the US National Conservation Commission reported to Congress that America’s natural gas would be gone in 25 years and its oil by the middle of the century), protest movements which involve dressing up and disappearing into woods (the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, the Mosleyite Blackshirts who believed in reafforestation) and a dislike of the human race (The Club of Rome’s work Mankind at the Turning-Point said: “The world has cancer and the cancer is man.”).
These beliefs began to take organised, international, political form in the 1970s. …
Associated Press reports on efforts to clear the Great Lakes of ice.
U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews kept up their battle Monday to clear pathways for vessels hauling vital raw materials on the ice-clogged Great Lakes, where a shipping logjam forced a weeklong shutdown of the nation’s largest steel (mill).
Traffic remained largely at a crawl after a winter that produced some of the heaviest ice on record across the five inland seas, where more than half the surface area remained solid this week. Icebreaking ships slogging across Lake Superior were still encountering ice layers 2 feet to 3 feet thick. In some areas, wind and wave action created walls of ice up to 14 feet high.
United States Steel Corp.’s plant in Gary, Ind., had resumed limited operations after receiving a shipment over the weekend of iron ore from a company mill near Detroit, which was sending one additional load, spokeswoman Courtney Boone said.
Two ships were scheduled to arrive Tuesday with ore from mines in northern Minnesota following a two-week voyage across Lake Superior, which ordinarily would take three days.
Other companies were hoping their supplies would be adequate to avoid significant disruptions. …