If You Kill Your Cattle, You Will Starve
Over at the Master Resource Blog, law professor Gail Heriot points out the similarities between global warming, fear-monger Al Gore and Xhosa Prophetess Nongqawuse:
Nongqawuse was a teenager and a member of the Xhosa tribe in South Africa. One day in April or May of 1856, she went down to the river to fetch water. When she returned, she said that she had encountered the spirits of three of her ancestors who told her that her people must destroy their crops and kill their cattle. In return, the sun would rise red on February 18, 1857, and the Xhosa ancestors would sweep the British settlers from the land and bring them fresh, healthier cattle. (Some of the Xhosa cattle had been suffering from a lung ailment, which may or may not have been brought by the British settlers’ cattle.)
Astonishingly, the Xhosa chieftain, Sarhili, agreed to do exactly as this young girl urged. Over the next year, a frenzy occurred in which it is estimated that between 300,000 and 400,000 cattle were killed and crops destroyed. Historians sometimes call it the “Great Cattle Killing.”
But on February 18, 1857, the sun rose as usual. It was not red. And the Xhosa ancestors did not show. But the Xhosa people had destroyed their livelihood. In the resulting famine, the population of the area dropped from 105,000 to less than 27,000. Cannibalism was reported. Following Nongqawuse’s advice was a calamity of staggering proportions for the Xhosa people.
Like Nongqawuse, Gore tells us that the sun will soon rise red over the land. Well, maybe. But already the models that he relies on have been proven wrong. The intense period of warming that these models predicted over the past ten years never came to pass. Yet we are repeatedly told that it’s still coming and that it’s just a little late. Apparently, we should pay no attention to the fact that the polar ice is expanding again. Instead, we must put the brakes on our use of energy–the very thing that makes the modern world possible–to avoid antagonizing the spirits of our ancestors, I mean to avoid climate disaster.
The most infuriating aspect of the fear-mongers’ movement is that their solution to climate change is for humanity to adopt an economic system that has brought misery and death nearly every time it has been tried. From the tropics to the poles, free markets have brought prosperity, comfort and longevity to the masses. No matter how well intentioned they are, the fear-mongers threaten to wreck the engine that allows the Earth to support a human population in the billions.
The Earth’s climate is in a state of flux. The notion that humanity should doom itself to privation and famines in a futile attempt to maintain climactic parameters within a set of narrow bands is the height of folly. If we kill our cattle, we too will starve.