I have been asked to comment on this abortion. Very well. I would have thought that, at this point in my illustrious blogging career, I would not be expected to offer further comment on the “thoughts” of Jonah Goldberg, or, indeed, the baleful influence of Gregg Easterbrook on our public discourse. I would have thought that my previous commentary would have been sufficient. I can’t remember what that commentary consisted of – I was drunk, obviously – but assuming it contained lots of rude words and dicks photoshopped on faces, I believe that History will judge it to be a balanced and judicious assessment of each man’s career and ideas. If History comes to a different conclusion, I can always find a mugshot of this “History” to photoshop some dicks on, so it would appear that I have all the bases covered in this regard. But, more is expected. Very well.
I can state with considerable confidence that the Earth will not be destroyed by asteroids. This is true, and I can back it up, but I’m not going to, because it is not required. It is not required because careful analysis by NASA scientists has revealed that “Global warming is not real because of OH MY GOD KILLER ASTEROIDS!!!” is not, in fact, an actual argument. It isn’t an argument now, it wasn’t an argument when Gregg Easterbrook tried it, and it wasn’t an argument 12 years ago when Steven Milloy invented it. Now, let’s do a little science project:
1. Get a piece of graph paper, a sharp pencil, a straight-edge, and a loaded shotgun.
2. On the graph paper, label the horizonal (side-to-side) axis “time”, and mark each square as a year, starting with 1997. Then, label the vertical (up-and-down) axis “how much of an argument this is”, and mark each square so that the top is labelled “100%” and the bottom is “0%”.
3. Make a dot for each of our three data points: “Milloy: 1997, 0%”; “Easterbrook: 2008, 0%”; “Goldberg: 2009, 0%. Using your straight edge, draw a line connecting all three data points. What does this line tell you about how the validity of this gambit has changed over time?
4. Put the shotgun in your mouth and blow your brains out. (You may need to ask your parents to help you with this step.) Step #4 was going to involve making a graph of how frequently this particular style of nonsense has been employed over time, and drawing a line to induce how often you will have to listen to it in the future, but just blowing your brains out now uses less graph paper.
The world will not be destroyed by Asteroids or by Gobal Warming, because it will first be destroyed by Stupidity. The only hope for mankind is to have President Obama and Vice-President Biden invite the leading lights of conservatism to the White House to discuss the Asteroid Menace over a game of Edward Forty Hands. Every pundits from across the country will converge on Washington in order to explain the world-historical significance of George Will’s choice of Mickey’s “Big Mouth” and wonder if Obama will be bold enough to go with St. Ides and so on and so on and blah blah blah. Then, before the P and VP arrive, an asteroid will crash into the White House lawn, killing everybody present* and saving the world. I’ve done some back-of-the-envelope calculations, and the chance of an appropriately-sized asteroid hitting Washington, D.C. during a given 2-hour window is approximately 1 in 10^39. Not great odds, admittedly, but the best we’re likely to get, and somebody’s gotta win the lottery, amirite? Let others wallow in defeatism; I choose hope.
* Plus, the editorial staffs of all national publications contract incurable Dutch Elm Disease, and are also trampled by elephants (because all the elephants in all the world’s zoos simultaneously escaped). Also: blown up by helicopters. I forgot to mention that part of the plan before, because I was drunk, obviously. So the actual odds are slightly longer. But if what we call “objective reality” is actually a re-run of “The A-Team”, this plan will totally work, provided we pretend to be plumbers or some shit, and then I’ll smoke a big cigar and drive away in a sweet ass van. Sweet! I put the odds that what we call “objective reality” is actually a re-run of “The A-Team” at about 1 in 10^36, so things are looking up already. I love it when a plan comes together.