But like the Millerites, the global warming clergy has preached apocalyptic doom -- and is now facing an increasingly skeptical public. The idea that we can be so completely certain of climate change 70 to 90 years hence that we must inflict serious economic damage on ourselves in the meantime seems increasingly absurd.
If carbon emissions were the only thing affecting climate, the global-warming alarmists would be right. But it's obvious that climate is affected by many things, many not yet fully understood, and implausible that SUVs will affect it more than variations in the enormous energy produced by the sun.
Skepticism has been increased by the actions of believers. Passage of the House cap-and-trade bill in June 2009 focused politicians and voters on the costs of global-warming religion. And disclosure of the Climategate emails in November 2009 showed how the clerisy was willing to distort evidence and suppress dissenting views in the interest of propagation of the faith.
We have seen how the United Nations agency whose authority we are supposed to respect took an item from an environmental activist group predicting that the Himalayan glaciers would melt in 2350 and predicted that the melting would take place in 2035. No sensible society would stake its economic future on the word of folks capable of such an error.
In recent years, we have seen how negative to 2 percent growth hurts many, many people, as compared to what happens with 3 to 7 percent growth. So we're much less willing to adopt policies that will slow down growth not just for a few years but for the indefinite future.
Media, university and corporate elites still profess belief in global warming alarmism, but moves toward policies limiting carbon emissions have fizzled out, here and abroad. It looks like we'll dodge the fate of the Millerites, the children's crusaders and the Mahdi's cavalrymen.