I’m not worried about global warming, in spite of Al Gore. The Earth may well be warming up. I don’t think that’s automatically a bad thing.
If the weather keeps getting warmer, and I don’t doubt it will, things will likely be quite different, I suppose, but not everybody’s gonna be worse off. Some people will do a little better. Some people will thrive, as always. War isn’t bad for everybody, and a much warmer Earth won’t be bad for everybody either. Temperatures change. That’s why we measure them.
Everything changes. There were probably long-term ad hoc committees dedicated to preventing the impending breakup of Pangea and looking for people and things to blame it on.
I tend to be suspicious of any mass movement. The masses can be led to believe in anything, from the divine right of kings to the evils of self-medication. That a lot of people think the same thing means nothing to me. My truth isn’t democratic, and ideas to which many people subscribe are merely popular, and no more likely to be true for me than any other passing notion.
How many people thought DDT was a good idea? I’ve seen a film of people sitting around a picnic-table and being fogged with DDT to keep insects away from them. It looked like a big family, smiling the whole time. Then there was Thalidomide and Saccharin and Vioxx and Newtonian physics and the vault of heaven. Do you remember X-ray machines in shoe stores?
It’s not that I never give weight to popularity. I believe that it’s cold in Antarctica, although I’ve never been there, solely because everybody else seems to think so, too.
On the other hand, I’m not convinced, for instance, that compact fluorescent light bulbs with mercury are a better idea than incandescent bulbs. I think using less electricity is good, but perhaps less so when mercury is involved. I’m trying to minimize my energy footprint on principle, but I think life is too complex for clear cause-and-effect relationships.
Anybody can be wrong, even large groups of people—voters, for example.
I’ve been wrong. Have you? Some people pretend to be right all the time. If they weren’t right, they were misled, or, more likely, you didn’t hear the right version of things, the one with all the facts.
Years ago I said something about Hitler having been a great man. I was trying to accommodate what I thought of as his achievements in a concrete, value-free idea of “greatness.” If you were a good enough organizer, it didn’t matter what you organized. My girlfriend’s uncle politely disagreed. He maintained that greatness required service to people. He was right. I was wrong.
One spring when my friend Bobby and I were 9 or 10, we would walk part of the way to school down an alley. I don’t know what made our little brains decide to break out that old man’s windows. It seemed like a good idea, although we knew that we’d be in big trouble if we got caught. We could get in trouble for any number of things, though, some of which we sincerely believed to be harmless, like smoking and doing pussy.
We were only half wrong.