After the lecture ended, several people from the audience rapidly approached me to explain what they ”knew” to be the obvious answer to the question. They explained that a single molecule of CO2 derived from the burning of fossil fuels was like a cancer cell, a poison pill, or a cyanide capsule buried in the human body, even a tiny portion of which would cause the host to die.
There it was: the demonization of CO2 – the sincere belief by a group of well educated, rational people that man-made CO2 molecules produced by burning fossil fuels are malignant, cancerous, and toxic.
I was somewhat surprised, but perhaps shouldn’t have been. For years the mainstream media, the academic/consultant industrial complex, and “progressive” thinkers have been spreading, supporting, and promulgating the fiction that CO2 molecules derived from the combustion of fossil fuels are an evil, toxic material that must be removed, or at least radically reduced, from the face of the Earth if the planet hopes to survive.The finding by the Obama Environmental Protection Agency that CO2 is a “pollutant” is Exhibit A of this irrational group think.
Once again, how could such a spectacular fantasy consume the thinking of otherwise rational people?
Sadly, history tells us this kind of mass hysteria and invidious group-think has happened before in our country. It was called Prohibition, and the demonized substance was ethyl alcohol.
The Prohibition movement was so powerful and compelling that it succeeded in causing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution to be ratified in 1920 by 46 of the 48 States. Fully 68% of the House of Representatives, and 76% of the US Senate voted in favor of the Amendment.
It was a masterpiece of Progressive social engineering. First demonize the substance, then criminalize it.
For over a decade Prohibition gripped the country, with many woeful consequences – crime, corruption, and the destruction of many legitimate businesses. It took almost a generation before reason came to bear and the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1933, effectively abolishing Prohibition.
Why is the bogus theory of man-made global warming, like Prohibition, so appealing? For one, it gives the social moralist the opportunity to exhibit personal virtue, as well as intellectual superioty. During Prohibition, virtue signaling was embodied by the “T-Totaller” proudly wearing signs demonstrating abstinence and adherence to this fashionable orthodoxy. The AGW believer buys an electric car, eschews plastic straws, loudly denounces fossil fuels, and applauds industrial strength solar and wind farms. The more opportunistic ones ride the great green gravy train of cash which fuels the Climate Alarmist movement. Alarmism is also catnip for politicians of all stripes.
But what really engages modern day social moralists, and the crown jewel of virtue signaling, is the figment that they are“saving the planet.”
What a noble cause! Who doesn’t want to save the planet?
It is a grand and fatuous exercise in self deception.