Yesterday, speaking at an international confab of defense ministers in Peru, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiled his department’s Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap. A letter from Hagel asserts at the beginning of the Roadmap that:
While scientists are converging toward consensus on future climate projections, uncertainty remains. But this cannot be an excuse for delaying action. Every day, our military deals with global uncertainty. Our planners know that, as military strategist Carl von Clausewitz wrote, “all action must, to a certain extent, be planned in a mere twilight.”
Clausewitz, indeed. Side note: this quotation from the great 19th century German theorist of warfare appears to come from the translation of Colonel J.J. Graham, who, sadly, passed away in 1883, his edition have since been superseded by numerous quality 20th century translations. I like to picture Secretary Hagel composing his introduction to the Roadmap late at night in an elegantly appointed Northern Virginia study, perhaps by a roaring fire—strike that: too much carbon—with a snifter of brandy near at hand, suddenly reaching for his dog-eared and much beloved Graham translation of On War. Sure, his aides make gentle fun of this stubborn refusal to consult more contemporary editions—but the old fox is set in his ways.
If you watch the mainstream media reports on the climate change summit in New York City this week you’d think the debate is all about people power, or green power, or renewable power. But it’s really all about government power. Or, more to the point, the insidious acquisition of power by the government.
No matter where you stand on the science behind global warming, the power grab is undeniable. The debate is over.
David Harsanyi has a good post up over at the Federalist making the eminently reasonable case that increased health, wealth, and longevity at the international level are good things. We could stop a moment to ponder the oddity of being forced to make a case in favor of living longer, happier, healthier lives, but let’s not; it’s too distressing. Instead, let’s just note, for the record, that the industrial revolution was totally worth it:
As Indur M. Goklany meticulously explores in his excellent book “The Improving State of the World,” in recent decades we have made the world a lot cleaner, healthier and livable for humans. And we did so without surrendering much wealth or freedom. I suppose it makes me a technoutopian to trust that we can adapt and create ways to deal with whatever consequences – and obviously there are consequences – a thriving modern world drops on us. Historically speaking, though, would it have been better for humanity to avoid an “Age of Pollution” and wallow in a miserable pre-Industrial Age, where poverty, death, disease and violence, were far more prevalent in our short miserable lives? Or would we have chosen global warming? I think the latter. And I think we’d do it again.
“Obvs,” as the kids say.