Thursday, June 14, 2007

Czech Sense

Almost alone among modern politicians, the president of the Czech Republic, one Vaclav Klaus, seems to understand the real priorities of international relations. Despite the clamor from the media about global warming, President Klaus wrote an opinion piece for the Financial Times in which he warns that freedom, not climate is at risk.

Peresident Klaus writes,
As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.

The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.

It is too bad that President Klaus is in the minority. Reporters and politicians, neither group of which is at all knowledgable about climatology may push the global warming hysteria for their own (global governmental) gains, but those of us who wish to continue to live in a free society must push back. Greenpeace and other equally extreme organizations don't like us to recall the hysteria they pushed a mere forty years ago about the "next ice age". They hope that we will forget that they have yet to be correct on a single one of their doomsday predictions, and their shills in the mainstream media are doing everything they can to help in this rush to hysteria.

President Klaus closes with an admirable list of suggestions for those in both politics and in journalism:

  • Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures

  • Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided

  • Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants

  • Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority

  • Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour

  • Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction

  • Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.

This seems like a wonderful idea. Usually, allowing people to reach their ideas on their own is a better path than forcing change from above. Communism versus the free market provides and excellent example of this, as President Klaus notes. We can only hope that the agenda-driven politicians and media are listening to President Klaus' voice of reason.

For myself, I do not know whether global warming is real or not, though I admit I tend toward skepticism, as I remember the equally strong push for a "global ice age" in the 1970s. But I do know that central planning of the sort being pushed by environmentalists, media and many politicians has never shown good results. So perhaps we should be wary about the motives of those pushing it now.

06/15/2007 UPDATE: Lumo over at The Reference Frame has put together a handy list of the blogs who picked up on President Klaus' remarks and was kind enough to include StoneHeads. I recommend dropping over to his blog and taking a look around- there is some very interesting stuff.