Facts are stubborn things. So said John Adams, and Senator Jim Inhofe agrees in his inaugural book, The Greatest Hoax. The title refers to the senator’s oft-cited proclamation that anthropogenic global warming is the “greatest hoax” ever perpetrated on the American people.
The Federal Reserve probably would give global warming a run for its money in that regard, but Inhofe’s point is well-taken: the greenies on the left are relentless in their pursuit of global control of everything related to the environment. Which is to say, everything.
For a book written by a politician, it is surprisingly long on facts and short on self-adulation. It features no less than 408 footnotes and a useful index. Inhofe’s penchant for research lends him credibility. As with any stark partisan, his credibility is maligned constantly by the opposition, so research serves him well. As Inhofe notes, environmentalism has become a religion, for some quite literally. And the personal attacks he describes go far beyond the pale.
It is a curious thing that a political movement, purportedly based on science, inspires such rancor. Inhofe ably makes the case that the science is not settled, which does not endear him to environmentalists. The green orthodoxy pursues apostates with a zeal on par with seventeenth century Massachusetts Puritans. Where is the removed, scientific objectivity? Clearly it is not afforded to people like Inhofe.
Inhofe maintains an admirable equanimity about the predictable name-calling and slander he’s endured, but one instance did raise his ire. During the 2010 DC-area snowstorm known as “Snowmageddon,” his daughter, Molly Rapert, and her family built an igloo outside the Smithsonian and labeled it “Al Gore’s new home.” They took a picture of it, and Inhofe put it on his webpage. Seeing this, someone interrupted Keith Olbermann’s daily séance to contact the spirit of Howard Zinn, and told him about the picture. Olbermann then labeled the Raperts the “Worst Family in the World” on air. Understandably, the entire Inhofe clan took great umbrage at those words, especially since they targeted children as well as adults.
Any thinking person, who has suffered through an hour of that slouching sack of pretense, before MSNBC had the mercy to cancel him, knows he is nothing more than a leftwing hatchet man. But even for a leftwing hatchet man, that is pretty low.
Admittedly, the debate over climate change should focus on data, not anecdotal evidence such as a day of snowfall. However, the priestly knights of the green temple get extra fussy on hot days, and Inhofe cites numerous examples of greenies arguing that a hot day is evidence of global warming.
Ultimately, Inhofe used righteous indignation to his advantage and came out the victor in the ensuing public relations battle. After all, he still has his job. Olbermann’s eventual firing was unrelated to the Rapert family incident, but it still deserves to be enjoyed. I’ll give you a minute.
The Olbermann dust up is one of many interesting run-ins Inhofe had with environmentalists. He pitched many battles in his leadership role on the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works. Inhofe recounts them in some detail. A student of recent green legislation history would find it very interesting.
The green movement goes back over a century, but it saw jumps in activity in the seventies, nineties, and two thousands. The green movement of the seventies presumably dressed poorly, had a bad haircut, and it was mostly relegated to academic discussion. Inhofe takes great joy in pointing out that climate change alarmism of the seventies ironically foretold global cooling disasters.
That scenario brings to mind the 2004 movie “The Day After Tomorrow.” If you missed it, which hopefully you did, it was a movie that tried very hard to be serious, but it was hamstrung by a title straight out of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It also included a future climate model in which glaciers extended from the North Pole, beyond the equator, and into the Southern Hemisphere. Seriously. As anyone who has actually seen a globe knows, both poles are very cold, and glaciers would extend from both of them at approximately equal speed. But facts should never get in the way of good propaganda.
The green movement of the nineties had more angst, flannel, and grassroots activism than in the seventies, but it wasn’t until the two thousands that the army of obnoxious do-gooders canvassed America. Inhofe rightly attributes this rise of modern green fascism to Al Gore. Al Gore pulled a Lazarus maneuver with his political career by anointing himself the great prophet of climate change.
Inexplicably, people bought it, and somehow he won a Grammy, an Emmy, an Academy Award, a Webby, and a Nobel freaking Peace Prize for his movie about a boring Powerpoint presentation he made one time. Just to be clear, that is all true, no exaggeration.
Since Gore is already a caricature of himself, Inhofe doesn’t go out of his way to malign him. He does point out, however, that Gore is making a fortune from his doomsaying. Gore has an enviable, if detestable, scam going. He invests heavily in green startup companies, and then uses his considerable public weight to convince governments to pad their balance sheets.
To the extent that current markets are free, they have little use for these self-consciously green companies. Of course, a truly free market assumes strict property rights, which are the best guarantor of conservation and sustainability. Green hysteria creates artificial demand for green products, but private enterprise is perfectly capable of meeting that demand without government subsidies. Subsidies reward unprofitable enterprises like Solyndra.
Legislators euphemistically describe such subsidies as “investments.” Inhofe quotes President Obama, Senator John Kerry, and others exhorting us to support these investments so America can “lead” again. Obama thinks China’s government outpaces ours at green efforts, making today a “Sputnik moment.” Indeed, statists left and right would love nothing more than another space race. Newt Gingrich similarly called for a new space race on the presidential campaign trail, proving that Keynesianism is alive and well in the mainstream of both political parties. Perhaps they can come together to pass a bill to dig and fill ditches all the way to the moon. If somehow you could include the invasion of a random third-world country, you would have a bi-partisan utopia.
To Inhofe’s credit, he challenges his Republican allies for succumbing to green fascism. He repeatedly criticizes Newt Gingrich for getting uncomfortably close to Nancy Pelosi, on the issue as well as physically, in an ad. Ultimately, though, Inhofe forgives Newt’s recalcitrance because he eventually said it was a mistake. Even worse, Inhofe reveals that George W. Bush’s administration spent three times more than Bill Clinton’s in researching climate change. Democrat politicians violate free markets with a blunt, green instrument more so than the Republicans, but only marginally. By his account, no party is innocent.
Equally surprising is Inhofe’s support of the Clear Skies bill. He fought tooth and nail against Cap and Trade, while concurrently supporting a bill which allowed the federal government to regulate non-greenhouse pollutants. A self-described adherent to free market principles should not tolerate any encroachment on private property, especially at the federal level. Yet, the bill would do exactly that. The preponderance of Inhofe’s efforts on environmentalism favors freedom, but his stance there is disappointing.
Inhofe gives considerable attention to the congressional budgetary process to explain his support of earmarks, often derided as “pork.” He correctly describes how unallocated money goes to the Executive Branch to be spent by unaccountable bureaucrats. At the very least, congressional allocation is the least bad outcome for money already stolen through taxation. Inhofe favorably mentions his alliance with Ron Paul to bring light to the issue.
The executive branch must be denied unallocated money, he explains, because they use it to usurp the Constitution. Despite Cap and Trade’s defeat, the Obama administration EPA has not given up the fight, and unallocated money emboldens them. They are expanding the ongoing coup of the Executive over the other branches by publishing “findings” to classify climate change as a public danger in need of their oversight.
In a happy coincidence for the Obama EPA, the regulations and new taxes now required to combat climate change just happen to match those proposed in Cap and Trade. And Cap and Trade just happens to have the same regulations and tax bill as the failed Kyoto Treaty. Legislative failure and even the Climategate scandals do not deter the environmentalist left in the slightest. Inhofe warns they will always seek new ways to implement their hallowed tax and regulatory regimes.
The green left’s endless chicanery leaves one wondering where their determination comes from. Throughout the book, Inhofe points to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) of the UN. Proponents of climate change widely cite IPCC reports. The IPCC is bound and determined to make the world afraid of climate change.
Recently, the green menace seemed incorrigible. Al Gore was on top of the world, the IPCC was comprised of unbiased scientists, and bigfoot was spotted singing kumbaya with repentant lumberjacks.
The green fiction slowly unraveled, however, as Al Gore’s famous hockey stick graph was exposed as bad science, and it was almost completely undone when Climategate broke. Inhofe thoroughly covers these events, and the reader can almost see him smiling through the page as he recounts the most condemnable details.
One would hope that these failures would send the environmentalists packing for good, but Inhofe makes it clear this is not the case. They were undeterred while changing their tune from global cooling to global warming to climate change, so perhaps nothing will stop the greens except the tireless work of people like Senator Inhofe.
Where the book falls short is insufficiently attacking the root of the green movement. Inhofe is right to label the UN its progenitor, but he does not explicitly state that environmentalism is only a rouse for the globalist erosion of nation-states. He seems to give his adversaries the benefit of the doubt and assumes they really only want to save the world from climate change. For the rank and file greenie, that may be true. But within the arrogant halls of the UN, these policies are designed by cynical people who serve only one god: power.
An international carbon tax program is one of the most hideous ideas forged in the minds of men. Since all known life forms are carbon-based, it is a proposal to control all life. This point is not lost on Inhofe, and he makes it clearly.
All things considered, this is a good book, and I recommend it. It is very well-written, insightful, and at times even humorous. If you are interested in a relatively detailed summary of the environmentalist movement from the perspective of the right, this definitely is one you should pick up.