The politics of the environment

Steve Hayward who wrote the article discussed on the decline but sadly not the fall of the politics of climate change wrote an earlier and related article on Conservatism and Climate Science. This is the core of the issue discussed:

The conservative ambivalence or hostility toward the intersection of science and policy can be broken down into three interconnected parts: theoretical, practical, and political. I begin by taking a brief tour through these three dimensions, for they help explain why appeals to scientific authority or “consensus” are guaranteed to be effective means of alienating conservatives and spurring their opposition to most climate initiatives. At the root of many controversies today, going far beyond climate change, are starkly different perspectives between left and right about the nature and meaning of reason and the place of science.

This is his final conclusion found at the very end:

Liberals and environmentalists would do well to take on board the categorical imperative of climate policy from a conservative point of view, namely, that whatever policies are developed, they must be compatible with individual liberty and democratic institutions, and cannot rely on coercive or unaccountable bureaucratic administration.

Nice thought, except that for liberals and environmentalists, who are largely the same group, the very aim is to achieve coercive and unaccountable bureaucratic administration. They are not interested in the issues or in finding the dimension of the problems involved and seeking solutions to whatever problems there are. Their only interest is taking control over our lives and running things themselves without interference.

Joining the winning team

I’m just repeating the whole article because there is nothing that I want to leave out. It’s from Steve Hayward at Powerline on Trump is starting to spook the left. No one is getting tired of winning around here and some are starting to come across.

Did anyone happen to catch David Brooks’s latest column, “Donald Trump’s Lizard Wisdom,” in the New York Times? I about fell out of my chair, because Brooks almost tacitly admits that maybe he was wrong about Trump. Referring to Trump’s experience dealing with the mobbed-up New York construction scene in his long real estate career, Brooks says:

And yet I can’t help but wonder if that kind of background has provided a decent education for dealing with the sort of hopped-up mobsters running parts of the world today. There is growing reason to believe that Donald Trump understands the thug mind a whole lot better than the people who attended our prestigious Foreign Service academies.

The first piece of evidence is North Korea. When Trump was trading crude, back-alley swipes with “Little Rocket Man,” Kim Jong-un, about whose nuclear button was bigger, it sounded as if we were heading for a nuclear holocaust led by a pair of overgrown prepubescents.

In fact, Trump’s bellicosity seems to have worked. It’s impossible to know how things will pan out, but the situation with North Korea today is a lot better than it was six months ago. Hostages are being released, talks are being held. There seems to be a chance for progress unfelt in years.

Maybe Trump intuited something about the sorts of people who run the North Korean regime that others missed.

The second piece of evidence is our trade talks with China. Over the past few decades, the Western diplomatic community made a big bet: If we all behaved decently toward Chinese leaders, then they’d naturally come to embrace liberal economic and cultural values and we could all eventually share a pinot at the University Club.

The bet went wrong. . .  The president has pushed back harder on the Chinese and has netted some results. After some Trump swagger, Xi Jinping promised to “significantly lower” Chinese tariffs on imported vehicles.

About Trump’s policy toward Iran, Brooks adds:

Maybe Trump is right to intuit that the only right response to a monster is to enclose it. Maybe he’s right that when you sense economic weakness in a potential threat, you hit it again.

Please don’t take this as an endorsement of the Trump foreign policy. I’d feel a lot better if Trump showed some awareness of the complexity of the systems he’s disrupting, and the possibly cataclysmic unintended consequences. But there is some lizard wisdom here. The world is a lot more like the Atlantic City real estate market than the G.R.E.s.

I imagine that Times readers must be freaking out about this. (I can’t find the comments section on the Times redesigned web format.) Now, Brooks is not a leftist, But Willie Brown, the legendary for speaker of the California State Assembly and mayor of San Francisco, and one of the smartest politicians in America, certainly is a leftist, and he wrote this yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Trump Is More Popular Than Dems Want to Admit

It’s time for the Democrats to stop bashing President Trump.

It’s not going to be easy, given his policies and personality. It might even mean checking into a 12-step program. But setting a winning agenda is like maneuvering an aircraft carrier. It takes time to change course. And if they want to be on target for the November midterm elections, the Democrats need to start changing course now.

Like it or not, a significant number of Americans are actually happy these days. They are making money. They feel safe, and they agree with with the president’s protectionist trade policies, his call for more American jobs, even his immigration stance.

The jobs growth reports, the North Korea summit and the steady economy are beating out the Stormy Daniels scandal and the Robert Mueller investigation in Middle America, hands down.

So you are not going to win back the House by making it all about him.

If Brown is saying this, you can bet he’s on to something, and knows his party is poised to blow it.

Bonus: Later in his rambling column, Brown tells this interesting story:

Cruise control: Got into a taxi the other day, and the cabbie promptly introduced himself as “Cadillac Jack.”

“I’ve owned 29 Cadillacs, all of them new,” he said, and proceeded to tell me about each and every one of them as we drove across town.

Finally I had to ask.

“How old are you?”

“Sixty,” he said.

“How did you manage to go through 29 Cadillacs?”

“Well, you know, if you don’t pay for them, they take ’em back.”

Churchill and the Gallipoli Campaign

This is Steve Hayward discussing the military and political issues that surrounded the lead-up to the attack at Gallipoli. Everyone may know this already, or may just be wrong, but it seems the wasted lives were in the execution and not the concept. This is how it ends, but read it through.

The essential strategic soundness of the Dardanelles offensive has come to be more deeply appreciated as the decades have passed. Basil Liddell-Hart described the Dardanelles as “a sound and far-sighted conception, marred by a chain of errors in execution almost unrivaled even in British history.” It presents one of the great “what ifs” of history. Had Turkey been knocked out early, and the war ended sooner, perhaps the Bolshevik revolution would never have taken place. Perhaps Hitler would never have risen to power. These kinds of questions can never be answered, and it is perhaps frivolous even to indulge them. But it is a tribute to Churchill’s insight that nearly 50 years after the episode, Clement Attlee, who was Churchill’s great opponent in the Labour Party (it was Attlee who defeated Churchill in the election of 1945), remarked to Churchill that the Dardanelles operation was “the only imaginative strategic idea of the war. I only wish that you had had full power to carry it to success.”

I might also mention The Sunday Age ANZAC Day quote from Bill Shorten. Did they even pick it because they agreed with the sentiment. Here are the words. Read ’em and weep.

When we landed here on this beach, it was someone else’s country.

Who is his constituency for this, because if there actually is one, they are moronic to the core.

M. Stanton Evans has died at 80

I had known he was very ill, but M. Stanton Evans has passed away. This is from the obituary posted by Steve Hayward at Powerline which were Hayward’s own comments:

We gather tonight in a “let us now praise famous men” mode, but it is a mode distinctly uncongenial to our guest of honor.

So rather than dwell on the usual things, I thought I’d share a few of the items Stan typically leaves off his CV that were crucial and formative to many of his students and protégés.

Start with his lifestyle, as liberals would call it, or, as Stan’s mother would have said, his vices. Winston Churchill once dismissed the socialist Ramsay McDonald, who was a pacifist, a vegetarian, a non-smoker, and, worst of all, a teetotaler, by saying that McDonald had all of the virtues he abhorred and none of the vices he admired.

I think Churchill would have approved of Stan; he has all the right bad habits. . .

Stan is the only person I’ve ever known who can take Socratic irony and actually make it ironic.

Stan is, for example, a fan of America’s Founding Fathers, but does them one better: he’s not so sure that taxation with representation is such a hot idea, either.

Then there was the time in 1968, when he signed on to the McCarthy for President campaign. That lasted about 48 hours, until he discovered that the candidate was Eugene McCarthy.

I have wondered exactly where Stan got the idea to found the National Journalism Center. Back in 1970, William F. Buckley told Playboy magazine that the biggest problem facing the conservative movement was a scarcity of good writers and journalists. Stan’s founding of the NJC helped address that gap, but I don’t think he got the idea from Buckley’s Playboy interview because we all know Stan only buys Playboy for the pictures. . .

The National Journalism Center should be regarded as more than just a training ground for conservative journalists. It represents an apostolic succession of sorts, and is the kind of legacy that lasts longer and goes deeper than the printed word, whose ink will fade, whose pixels will disappear when the hard drive crashes. The larger world does not appreciate the extent to which a cadre of Stan Evans-influenced journalists would be different from writers who emerge from the name-brand journalism schools—and not just ideologically different. For one thing, we can drink more, which is saying a lot in the world of ink-stained wretches.

There was no by-the-numbers didactic instruction in Stan’s method at the NJC. Instead, his method consisted of practicing Yogi Berra epistemology, which the great Yogi summarized with his aphorism that “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

You could not help but absorb Stan’s approach to good journalism and quality writing, just by being around him, and watching how he went about his craft. I like to think Stan had a good eye for talent; after all, he invited into his realm, 30 years ago, lowlifes like myself, John Fund, and Martin Morse Wooster, and many worse after us. I tried to talk them into an NJC karaoke act here tonight, but apparently this would violate several DC laws related to animal cruelty. . .

Stan may not exactly want to lay claim to all of his apostles. But we lay claim to him. In fact, if it wasn’t for Stan and the NJC, I might well have made the dreadful mistake of getting a real job out of college. . .

His Blacklisted by History was a revelation which you should read before going on to Diana West’s American Betrayal. They will change the way you read the news, if nothing else.