I Miss John Howard

I was fortunate enough to meet former Australian Prime Minister John Howard on a couple of occasions while he was in office–once at a White House state dinner, where I discovered I had been added to the guest list because Howard had read and liked my Reagan books.  He’s mentioned more than once how much he wished he had been able to meet Reagan, whom he admires alongside Churchill, naturally.

Among Howard’s many virtues is his clear headedness about climate change madness.  Two days ago in London Howard delivered the annual lecture of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the group founded by former Thatcherite finance minister Nigel Lawson.  Howard’s lecture was entitled “One Religion Is Enough.”  A couple of samples:

I chose the lecture’s title largely in reaction to the sanctimonious tone employed by so many of those who advocate quite substantial, and costly, responses to what they see as irrefutable evidence that the world’s climate faces catastrophe, against people who do not share their view.  To them the cause has become a substitute religion.

Increasingly offensive language is used. The most egregious example has been the term “denier”. We are all aware of the particular meaning that word has acquired in contemporary parlance. It has been employed in this debate with some malice aforethought.

An overriding feature of the debate is the constant attempt to intimidate policy makers, in some cases successfully, with the mantras of “follow the science” and “the science is truly settled”. The purpose is to create the impression that there is really no room for argument; this is not really a public policy issue; it is one on which the experts have spoken, and we would all be quite daft to do other than follow the prescriptions, it is asserted, which flow automatically from the scientific findings. . .

Global warming is a quintessential public policy issue. Understanding the science is crucial; so is understanding the economics; so is understanding that as public monies are involved rent seekers are thick on the ground. . .

There’s much more in this splendid and spirited lecture, including a debunking of how the recent Australian wildfires constitute “proof” of global warming, but this is enough.

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