Monday, March 14, 2005

Environmentalists, Revisited

Remember responsible environmentalists? Neither do I. Nicholas Kristof, who considers himself one, argues today that they are few and far between. After detailing several of the classic examples of environmentalists being dead wrong [and one example where they were dead wrong (and racist! Can you imagine what Tolles would say to a conservative book titled: Too Many Asians) disguised as "right...but overestimated"], he goes on to his central point:

Professor Diamond argues that if we accept false alarms for fires, then why not for the health of our planet? But environmental alarms have been screeching for so long that, like car alarms, they are now just an irritating background noise.

This is what we simpletons who lack nuance would call: The Chicken Little Effect. But I would add to Kristof's points the further point that we accept false alarms for fires in part because we assume benign motives. But if there were a group of people whose income depended on fire alarms (real or false) as did the validation of thier belief system, we would probably become much, much less tolerant of the constant false alarms.

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