Emmett Tyrrell

WASHINGTON -- For longer than three decades now, thoughtful Americans have lived in wonder at the enduring spectacle of the environmentalist. How, these thoughtful Americans ask, can a group of people continue to fetch the attention of the nation after being so thunderously in error year after year? "The end is nigh," our environmental Jeremiahs have told us over and again. Yet over and again, when nigh arrives, it generally arrives very decorously and passes uneventfully. Does the environmentalist's failed prophecy send him off into history's dustbin along with other failed prophets such as the Shakers (officially known as the Millennial Church), the nudists (there have been various denominations) or the grumpy members of the Communist Party of the United States? Not at all. The environmentalist merely sets another date for our ecological doom and returns to his soapbox.

Actually, as you probably have observed, the catastrophes predicted by our environmentalists usually are followed by their precise opposites. In the 1960s, overpopulation was prophesied. Today the civilized world is confronted by underpopulation. In the late 1960s, the celebrated pessimist, Dr. Paul Ehrlich, prophesied world famine. His faithful followers wore buttons on their chests and stickers on their bumpers proclaiming "Famine '75." The anticipated famine never arrived, and advances in agriculture have made the yield of a modern acre of farmland bountiful beyond anything gloomy Paul had extrapolated. Today we endure predictions of an impending global warming; and, as our amused skeptics delight in informing us, the environmentalists of yesteryear predicted just the opposite: global cooling.

Still, what if, for a change, the environmentalists are accurate in their hysteria? What if our reliance on fossil fuel is going to turn the world into a giant sauna bath? Face up to it: A sauna bath is not a fit place to bring up children. As the Earth gets warmer, our fellow Americans could begin to shed even more of their clothing than they do during the summer now. Frankly, in this season of shorts and tank tops, I have seen enough flab. The naked midriff is a fashion that I find distinctly anaphrodisiacal. Most American anatomies, obese or otherwise, are best left covered. On that I am in agreement with the Rev. Mullahs, though for different reasons.


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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