As a trial lawyer, I am jealous of Tom Friedman, that prophet of painfully conventional “wisdom” whose insights grace the ever dustier New York Times op-ed pages. His latest column, “Global Weirding Is Here“, has managed to achieve what I only dream about as an attorney — a self-proving argument.
Tom is, of course, an anthropological global-warming disciple and a lay Grand Inquisitor.
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So, naturally, the uncooperative weather – you know, those giant snowstorms folks back east might have noticed – provide him with a quandary. How does one reconcile his faith that the world is becoming one gigantic orchid hothouse with the fact that it seems to be colder all the time?
Well, you start by mocking the heretics – excuse me, the “deniers”:
Of the festivals of nonsense that periodically overtake American politics, surely the silliest is the argument that because Washington is having a particularly snowy winter it proves that climate change is a hoax and, therefore, we need not bother with all this girly-man stuff like renewable energy, solar panels and carbon taxes. Just drill, baby, drill.
No straw man is safe anywhere around Tom. Now, as a professional, I admire Tom’s smooth transition from addressing the uncomfortable evidence against his point – the fact that people’s personal experience is that it is not getting warmer – to a rousing attack on those thick-headed Neanderthals who reject unproven, expensive and inefficient alternative forms of energy and economy-crippling, government-growing, freedom-limiting carbon taxes. Oh, that poor straw man will be feeling that tonight.
Now, to be fair, Friedman does mention some of the, if you’ll pardon the expression, inconvenient truths about the massive fraud that is the climate change scam that have been revealed over recent months:
The climate-science community is not blameless. It knew it was up against formidable forces — from the oil and coal companies that finance the studies skeptical of climate change to conservatives who hate anything that will lead to more government regulations to the Chamber of Commerce that will resist any energy taxes. Therefore, climate experts can’t leave themselves vulnerable by citing non-peer-reviewed research or failing to respond to legitimate questions, some of which happened with both the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Bravo, Tom . First, excuse the naïve members of the “climate-science community,” who only want to tell the truth about the science, from any blame for the criticism they have found themselves facing. It was those wicked “oil and coal companies” that made the climate change scamsters strong-arm journals to ostracize dissenters , rig or just “lose” the data to allow them to cover-up the lack of warming over the last 15 years and ignore little things like the entire medieval warming period. And let’s not forget their conflicts of interest.
Those are some of the “legitimate questions” Friedman refers to – but never outright mentions or addresses. Those questions are kind of key, since most of us are not climate scientists. Because we normal folks do not have the expertise to evaluate the data, we have to rely upon the people who do. The little problem Tom skips over is that the recent revelations have demonstrated that the climate scientists are not monastic ascetics devoted body and soul to the pursuit of truth but ego-driven, self-interested and fallible human beings like everyone else. So perhaps Tom should be a bit more understanding when the rest of us decline to reorganize our society and depreciate our living standards on their mere say-so.
But where Tom really shines – where I envy him as a professional who argues for a living – is how he forges an argument in which every single point of data must support its conclusion.
Here are the points I like to stress: . . . 1) Avoid the term “global warming.” I prefer the term “global weirding,” because that is what actually happens as global temperatures rise and the climate changes. The weather gets weird. The hots are expected to get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and the most violent storms more numerous.
This “global weirding” argument is truly brilliant because, by definition, any observed weather phenomena supports the conclusion. Any time the weather is not precisely average is proof of global warming. Tom has taken the “global warming/climate change” switcheroo one step further – he’s set a baseline that defines, well, any weather as evidence.
Is it hot? Global weirding. Really cold? Rainy? Global weirding. Not rainy? Global weirding. This is the Holy Grail of arguments – the argument that cannot be disproven because literally everything proves it. Again, bravo – Tom, I’d be proud to have you litigate my rear-ender whiplash case.
Tom, I have to say, you have done a remarkable job with your latest column. It’s just too bad we’re nowhere near as dumb as you think we are.