Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

January 31, 2008

Quote Of The Day: Inadvertently Telling The Truth Edition

by Doug Mataconis

Bill Clinton in Colorado:

“We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.”

And there you have it, the progressives are anti-progress.

Update: It would appear that Clinton’s quote was taken out of context. Here’s the full quote:

“Everybody knows that global warming is real,” Mr. Clinton said, giving a shout-out to Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize, “but we cannot solve it alone.”

“And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada — the rich counties — would say, ‘OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.’ We could do that.

But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world’s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.

I stand corrected, and Jake Tapper is apparently an idiot.

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  • Harry Rossman

    The *only* real answer to our current level of pollution is advances in science and technology. To essentially stagnate our R&D as Kyoto would inadvertently do would be to close any real future we have. Going back to preindustrial technology would bring famine, war and destruction on scales never before seen.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Harry,

    Oh now the pre-industrial age had plenty of horrific bloodshed on its own and yet humanity still survived and eventually thrived. So let’s not go all apocalyptic.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_khan

    I agree that “progressives” are idiots, though and that slowing down or regressing the progression of technology is wrong.

  • http://hammerheadpolitics.wordpress.com/ Hammerhead

    Yes, we do need to cut back our emissions. But Bill’s wrong, we don’t need to cut back our economy to do it – in fact, legalize hemp and we can increase our economy while doing it.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Hammerhead,

    Your plan makes sense…of course the environmentalists will never accept that line of thinking because they’re actually more obsessed with crushing capitalism than helping the environment. Why do you think they shout down anyone who tries to bring up scientific evidence that disputes their pre-held positions? Why do you think the founder of Greenpeace quit his movement? For a lot of those guys the environment’s just a red herring.

  • http://publiusendures.blogspot.com Mark

    I really, really hate to defend Bill Clinton, but it appears that quote was cherrypicked out of context. He was actually advocating quite the opposite of what the quote implies.

    Here’s the link with the full quote:
    http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/8637.html

    …And yes, it kills me to link to Sadly, No! But they’re absolutely right on this one.

  • Bill

    I am confused, why do we need to cut down even more on our emissions when we all know Al Gore is pushing junk science and the real cause of global warming is natural?

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Bill,

    As far as the politics of global warming (or climate change or whatever you want to call it) are concerned, I think it’s fairly clear that that battle has already been lost.

    The public believes that climate change is a real phenomenon and that greenhouse gases are to blame. Therefore, they are going to expect their political leaders to have some ideas on the issue.

    In the political arena at least, we’re not going to win the battle against statist environmental policies by arguing the science of the issue.

  • Bill

    Sadly, I fear you are right Doug. But, there have been many papers released lately refuting the crap Gore is selling by actual climatologists and not some biologists with an agenda. Maybe a slight ray of hope?

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Doug,

    Mark raised a valid point. Here’s the full Clinton quote:

    “Everybody knows that global warming is real,” Mr. Clinton said, giving a shout-out to Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize, “but we cannot solve it alone. And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada — the rich counties — would say, ‘OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.’ We could do that. But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world’s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.

    What Clinton said was still gibberish on most of his points but he made it very clear that he thinks slowing down the economy is a bad idea that other countries won’t buy into (and he’s right on that point). Jake Tapper is a fucking idiot if he couldn’t figure out the one coherent part of what Slick Willie was saying. Unsurprising that he works for ABC…Stossel’s the only guy there with a brain.

  • Harry Rossman

    Oh now the pre-industrial age had plenty of horrific bloodshed on its own and yet humanity still survived and eventually thrived. So let’s not go all apocalyptic.

    No doubt at all that horrific bloodshed has happened through-out history: and continues today.

    What I am considering is the shift of general populations away from rural and small centers of population toward very large population centers, such as, but not limited to, Atlanta. In addition, the primary skills being learned are not hunting, fishing and farming.

    Lastly, the current total production of foodstuffs is completely dependent on technology as it exists now. To go back to older technologies: no tractors, no targeted fertilizers, no real pest control, no preservatives, etc. would be to reduce to a fraction the foodstuffs available. Not to mention the much longer delivery times.

    In essence, the larger population centers would begin to starve. The effort to keep them in supply would essentially occupy the entire resources of most of the rest of the nation. I leave it to your imagination what would happen if that effort failed.

  • UCrawford

    Harry,

    Lastly, the current total production of foodstuffs is completely dependent on technology as it exists now. To go back to older technologies: no tractors, no targeted fertilizers, no real pest control, no preservatives, etc. would be to reduce to a fraction the foodstuffs available. Not to mention the much longer delivery times. In essence, the larger population centers would begin to starve. The effort to keep them in supply would essentially occupy the entire resources of most of the rest of the nation. I leave it to your imagination what would happen if that effort failed.

    Sorry, but I think history has pretty clearly debunked Thomas Malthus’ theories about how the world will die off of mass starvation. Barring the sun exploding or an asteroid hitting the planet, ain’t gonna happen. The places where that does happen (e.g. North Korea, Zimbabwe) are short-term aberrations not indicative of a long-term pattern of technological failure by mankind. We actually produce so much food in this country now that we’ve been allowing fertile farmland to grow back into forest since 1950 because it’s not necessary to use all arable land:

    http://phe.rockefeller.edu/SAF_Forest/

  • UCrawford

    Besides, as Leon Trotsky once pointed out, “Any society is only three square meals away from revolution.” If it ever got to the point where our society began mass starvation, the government would change very quickly…you know, seeing as how we still have guns…and technology would progress once again :)

  • http://hammerheadpolitics.wordpress.com Hammerhead

    UCrawford, while there are certainly a lot of crazies amongst some of my enviromentally friendly colleages (but isn’t that true of all political cliques?), I’d say that it’s more than just that. Politicans can lose a lot of their votes for being pro-hemp.

  • UCrawford

    Hammerhead,

    I agree…it’s kind of ridiculous actually that legalization’s not being looked at more in the mainstream. Of course, in the area where I live (Kansas) the only people you see openly plugging legalization of hemp or marijuana tend to be guys who fit the stereotype of the classic stoner loser, which doesn’t help much. But I think attitudes have also changed a lot here over the last 10-20 years…I work with a lot of older, very socially conservative people and most of them think pot (and hemp) should be legalized, they’re just not very vocal about it.

    In fact, most of the people I know who are supportive of legalization now didn’t used to be that way, but as they’ve gotten older their opinions changed because they consider enforcement against it such a waste of time, money and lives. I’d really be curious to see what happens if that question ever popped up on a ballot sometime. I think it would probably fail (because we’re still a pretty conservative area with more than our fair share of chirpy authoritarian Jesus freaks) but also I think it would be a fairly close vote.

  • Harry Rossman

    Sorry, but I think history has pretty clearly debunked Thomas Malthus’ theories about how the world will die off of mass starvation.

    You are correct that Malthus’ theory of the economic “pie” being of constant size has been debunked: provided that technological advancement is allowed.

    short-term aberrations not indicative of a long-term pattern of technological failure by mankind.

    As far as it goes, I agree. However, the question being discussed, is the deliberate limiting or reversal of technology. An unintended consequence of Kyoto should we be foolish enough to adopt it.

    Again, as much as the smoke spewing columns of industry create an indelible impression, the only true way out of our contribution to global (warming, cooling, etc.) is by advancing our knowledge and improving our industrial practices and methods with that knowledge.

  • http://dangerouslyidealistic.blogspot.com/ UCrawford

    Harry,

    As far as it goes, I agree. However, the question being discussed, is the deliberate limiting or reversal of technology. An unintended consequence of Kyoto should we be foolish enough to adopt it.

    Since none of the countries that were signatories to Kyoto have lived up to the terms of that pact, I’m not too worried about it. They have no intention of going back to the Stone Age either. There may be aberrational instances from time to time (like I pointed out with North Korea and Zimbabwe, and groups like the Taliban or Khmer Rouge) but they have relatively short lifespans and are not indicative of humanity as a whole.

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