Yes, it could well be that the purpose of this ridiculous proposal is to start with something so far out there that whatever awful thing Pelosi actually pushes almost looks reasonable in comparison.
[Update a few minutes later]
It must be said at the outset that climate change is real and observable, and the consensus that human activity contributes to that change (though to what degree has not yet firmly been established) is all but unassailable. But for a certain set of activists, there is only one acceptable response to the challenge: privation. The technological innovations attributable to market forces—innovations that have led to the dramatic reduction of American carbon emissions—are dismissed, not because their contributions are not observable, but because they undermine the notion that a simpler, monastic life is the only real source of collective absolution.
Critics of the activist class’s evolving policy prescriptions are attacked as “deniers.” Those who predict catastrophic, near civilization-ending disasters resulting from unchecked climate change are deemed “prophets.” Oracles forecast “the end of the world” within our lifetimes absent the adoption of their preferred paradigm. And any critical reflections on this new eschatology, the portents of which have often proved irreparably flawed, is dismissed with fervent passion.
A faith requires its pieties, and the so-called “Green New Deal” amounts to a sacrament. To true believers, its implausibility and impracticality is not a mark against it. Just the opposite; it is an expression of zeal, an acknowledgment of the righteousness and urgency of the cause it seeks to address. Its efficacy is measured in the number willing to genuflect before it.
I remain an agnostic (in fact, in this case, an atheist).
[Update Sunday morning]
War is the most ancient avenue of glory, but it isn’t for everyone: Many of our progressive friends believe that American military might is a force for evil in the world, and that the military itself is malevolent, backward, and hateful. But there are war substitutes and war analogues to be had. My friend and colleague Jonah Goldberg is the poet laureate of “meow” — the Moral Equivalent of War — and its baleful effects on our political thinking and discourse.
…Meow has many cynical political uses: If every political opponent is the moral equivalent of Adolf Hitler, if every political initiative tantamount to D-Day, then there is much that can be excused in the way of underhandedness, rhetorical excess, demagoguery, and the like. As Goldberg reminds us, war and war alone has been the great champion of socialism, because it provides an emergency pretext for the authoritarian project of reorganizing an organic society in accordance with the necessarily synthetic model decocted from ideology, bias, bigotry, eccentricity, and the self-interest, always unavoidable, of the planners empowered with drawing up the blueprints of this or that brave new world or utopia.
And, hence, the Green New Deal: Our war, requiring a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II.” Under whose command? That of Field Marshal Sandy, of course.
About the details of the Green New Deal, such as they are, there is not really much to say. On Friday, I spoke with one of the world’s leading authorities on North American building practices and asked him about the plan to “retrofit” these structures in the service of a “net-zero energy” agenda. Neither “scathing” nor “derisive” quite captures his response. He has been involved in a number of net-zero retrofits and understands how complex and expensive they are — and how they can destroy a building when done poorly. Ask a farmer, an aerospace engineer, the manager of an electric utility, or a truck-driver about these highfalutin’ schemes and sentiments and you will get another superfluous proof of Robert Conquest’s maxim — “Everyone is conservative about what he knows best” — and Williamson’s First Law: “Everything is simple if you don’t know a f*****g thing about it.”
[Update a few minutes later]