Two of our best presidents, Lincoln and Jackson, never went to college. Another great one, Harry Truman, attended only very briefly. Some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve met have no formal education beyond high school. I’ve known several from whom I learned more than I did from most of my professors. Excavators, loggers and well-drillers taught me more than my Earth Science courses did, and what I liked most was their lack of pomposity. Knowledge wasn’t something they used to impress others. It was for understanding, and they were willing to share it freely hoping to get more in return. Knowledge was its own reward.
There was a time college degrees impressed me, but that dissipated steadily during years spent on campus with people holding advanced degrees in what are aptly named the “soft sciences.” Fifty or sixty years ago, a Liberal Arts degree from an American college or university was good evidence that the person holding it had at least a basic understanding of philosophy, history, mathematics, literature, science, the arts, and was capable of rational thought, but that hasn’t been true for a while now.
The best illustration I can offer is from a project called “A Private Universe,” first published in 1987. Twenty-three randomly-selected graduates and faculty at a Harvard commencement were asked to explain what caused earth’s changing seasons, and only two could answer correctly. The rest confidently explained that as the earth gets closer to the sun in its orbit we get warmer weather, and as the earth gets farther away from the sun, we get colder weather. I was shocked when I first watched the clip. They didn’t realize their understanding is negated by the obvious fact that, while our northern hemisphere is experiencing winter, it’s summer in the southern hemisphere, so distance from the sun would be irrelevant. Twenty-one of twenty-three? Faculty as well as students? At our most prestigious university?
Scariest was how confident they were in their dubious understanding of climate. Now consider how impressed American voters are when a candidate has a degree from Harvard. Consider also that former vice president, Harvard man, and almost-president, Al Gore has convinced hundreds of millions that “our planet has a fever.” He further insists on restructuring our whole economy to reverse global warming. President Obama, another Harvard man, promises us that he will cut human-generated carbon emissions or our coastal cities will be flooded by melting ice caps - even if it means raising fuel costs for an average family by more than $1700 annually. All this while our economy is in deep recession.
Again, two Harvard-educated intellectuals are ignorant what should be obvious to any truly-knowledgeable, thinking person with only a cursory understanding of history: The earth has experienced at least four ice ages over hundreds of millions of years during which the Harvard campus was covered by glaciers a mile thick or more. Many times, those glaciers melted - because of what? Global warming. And what is the earliest evidence of human-generated carbon emissions beyond scattered camp fires? A few centuries? A few millennia at most? Those periods of acute global warming could not possibly have been caused by human-induced carbon emissions. It’s the height of hubris to think humans can reverse global warming in the 21st century - if indeed it’s occurring at all, which seems unlikely. As I write, it’s mid-October in New England and I’m watching the Patriots play the Tennessee Titans in a snowstorm. Sunday River Ski Area just opened for business twenty miles north of where I sit.
For this, Gore gets a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar? And what did Obama get the Peace Prize for? I give up.
I can only watch as these two Nobel laureate, intellectual, Harvard graduates lead half the world in a mass, global-warming psychosis reminiscent of Chicken Little and Turkey Lurkey. A quote from the late William F. Buckley is worth repeating: “I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the 2000 members of the faculty of Harvard University.”
A highly-educated, intellectual, British leader is evidently caught in their hysteria. The BBC quotes UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown: “The costs of failing to tackle [global warming in the next 50 days] would be greater than the impact of both world wars and the Great Depression combined.”
That bad, huh Gordon? You remind me of what your late countryman, George Orwell, said about people like you and our two intellectual American leaders: “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”