When they hold the "Smartest Man Alive" contest, I plan to nominate Matt Ridley. We are lucky that he is prolific. In this morning's WSJ, he writes about "The Green Scare Problem ... Raising constant alarms -- about fracking, pesticides, GMO food -- in the name of safety is a dangerous game ... Indoor air pollution, caused mainly by cooking over wood fires indoors, is the world's biggest cause of environmental death. It kills an estimated four million people every year ... Getting fossil fueled electricity and gas to them is the cheapest and quickest way to save their lives. To argue that the increasingly small risk of dangerous climate change many decades hence is something they should be more worried about is obscene."
This is not the first time that the high-minded cheapen the lives of others -- in this case, the most defenseless others. Popular revulsion against political elites dominates our news. Trouble is that the pendulum swings all the way towards vulgar populism. Peggy Noonan goes so far as to say this: "I don’t know what happens with Mr. Trump, but Trumpism? That’s here
now—outlandish candidates backed by indignant, enraptured people who’ve
lost their judgment. Congratulations to the leaders of both parties: The
past 20 years you’ve taken us far. We’re entering Weimar, baby. The
swamp figure is up from the depths." Weimar!