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An Insignificant Truth

Al Gore has certainly lost some ground:

In a sharp turnaround from what Gallup found as recently as three years ago, Americans are now almost evenly split in their views of the cause of increases in the Earth’s temperature over the last century.

This is a welcome indication of a breaking fever, but you have to wonder what it portends. A fifty-fifty split is no match for our new summit-then-dictate democracy. Angry Americans are like American Idol judges. Their antics keep you tuned in, but they’re not voting on the outcome. First we make a colorful case that the health-care song-and-dance was the worst performance we’ve ever seen and then 535 couch potatoes show us who’s boss.

Of course, when sanity truly wins the day, the very notion that non-meteorologists ever spent time contemplating global temperatures will strike people as inexplicably bizarre. That day will come, no doubt. Centuries of empirical data are certain to change minds. But by then all the cap-and-trade, green-energy edicts will be firmly in place. Like the antiquated and nutty statutes that remain on the books today, they’ll be evidence of earlier superstitions and prejudices. But unlike, say, the prohibition on roosters crowing within city limits, these laws will have turned us into a different sort of country. Just as rule by reconciliation makes for a very different kind of democracy.


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