Core: noun, the most important part of a thing, the essence; from the Latin cor, meaning heart.

The View from the Core
America's Small Town Webzine

 Volume 1.3  Front Page February 25, 2002 

This View’s Featured Webpages

Recent columns, essays, and news articles

Musharraf condemns “backward” Muslims (London Times)
“General Musharraf said that the Islamic world was living in darkness. Muslims had been left behind the developed world because they had not invested in education and technology. ‘Today we are the poorest, the most illiterate, the most backward, the most unhealthy, the most unenlightened, the most deprived and the weakest of all the human race,’ he told a science and technology conference on Saturday. The time had come for Islamic nations to take part in collective self-criticism. ‘Once such an assessment is made, it would not be difficult to realise that the entire Islamic world was far behind the developed world,’ he said.”

Death Toll in Mideast Mounts as Recriminations Spiral (NYT)
“In an audacious attack on a West Bank outpost on Tuesday night [Feb. 19], Palestinian gunmen killed six Israeli soldiers and then escaped, stunning an army that had already been reeling from the deaths of seven soldiers since Thursday. It was the most lethal attack on Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in more than 16 months of fighting. In apparent reprisal, Israeli forces attacked Yasir Arafat’s official compound in Gaza City early today, killing at least four members of his elite guard, Palestinian officials said.”

Ashcroft Invokes Religion In US War on Terrorism (WP)
“‘Civilized people — Muslims, Christians and Jews — all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator,’Ashcroft said in prepared remarks released by the Justice Department. ‘Civilized people of all religious faiths are called to the defense of His creation. We are a nation called to defend freedom — a freedom that is not the grant of any government or document, but is our endowment from God.’”

Computer Czar Issues Warning (WP)
“Much like the airline industry before Sept. 11, high-tech companies, customers and government agencies are well aware of security vulnerabilities but are reluctant to pay to fix them, President Bush’s top computer security adviser said Tuesday [Feb. 19]. It’s just a matter of time before terrorists use those flaws to launch a cyberspace equivalent of the Sept. 11 attacks on critical national infrastructure such as the electricity grid, said Richard Clarke, the Bush administration’s cyber security czar.”

Louis Farrakhan condemns U.S. war on terrorism (SacBee)
“In a long history lesson illustrated with maps flashed on the stadium’s giant TV screens, Farrakhan explained that the war on terrorism in Afghanistan, and other Middle Eastern and African conflicts, were instigated by the United States because of its ‘insatiable appetite’ for oil. ‘If the truth were known, there would be a Nuremberg trial for American presidents,’ he said. ‘I cannot allow them to use the American solider, black, brown and poor white, to fight a war that is unjust and wrong.’ Farrakhan added that true patriots should speak out against bad policies. He also noted no Muslim leader could call a holy war against America, but President Bush, by infuriating Muslims, ‘can summon the whole Muslim world against the West by how you prosecute this war (in Afghanistan).’”

Cheney Mixes Jokes With Tough Talk (NYT)
“Earlier in the day [Feb. 19] in a speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, Calif., Mr. Cheney spelled out in greater detail why the administration must stop Iran, Iraq and North Korea from continuing to develop or pursue nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. ‘A few of our friends in Europe are hesitant to join in condemning what the president has called the “axis of evil,” states and terrorist allies arming to threaten the peace of the world,’ Mr. Cheney said. ‘But the evidence is compelling.’”

US Targets Overlooked (ABC)
“In the weeks before Sept. 11, both the FBI and the CIA were almost certain an attack by Osama bin Laden was coming. But it turns out both agencies were much more focused on U.S. targets overseas than at home, and missed or failed to connect at least three signals of what was going on in their own backyard.... All three clues — Moussaoui, the flight school alert from Phoenix, the two al Qaeda men at large — were forwarded weeks before Sept. 11 to the analysts at the joint CIA-FBI counterterrorism center in Washington.”

How to deal with the American goliath (Andrew Rawnsley)
“Relations between America and Europe, their oldest and most natural allies, are descending to a nadir not seen in more than half a century. Chris Patten lambasts the ‘simplistic’ Bush; the French Foreign Minister scoffs at the ‘hyperpuissance’; the German Foreign Minister huffs about being treated as ‘satellites’. When Americans can be bothered to listen, which is rarely, they dismiss as effete appeasement the European wincing over George Bush's blast at the ‘axis of evil’. Americans react — and quite understandably — by asking who saved Europe from the evils of first Nazism, then of Stalinism. Europe fears that America has become a swaggering behemoth; the Americans despise Europe as an axis of whingers. And both are broadly right.”

TV’s Big Three are in denial: News media show “Bias” (L. Bracher Samms)
“If a segment of our society is captive to a limited ideology, are those voters disenfranchised from the democratic process? Citizens vote one way, but if they had access to other ideas or viewpoints, they might arrive at a different decision or choose another candidate.”

House Dems make plans to circumvent campaign (The Hill)
“As comprehensive campaign finance reform nears its expected enactment, House Democratic lawmakers have already adopted strategies for redirecting the flow of large contributions to outside groups aligned with their party, a move they hope will help them regain control of the Chamber.... Reform legislation sponsored by Reps. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) and Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) that passed the House last week bans soft money but allows federal lawmakers to raise funds in $20,000 increments for outside organizations as long as those groups are ‘nonpartisan.’ The loose restrictions would allow party leaders to direct hundreds of thousands of dollars for such groups.”

Virtue at Last! (In November) (George Will)
“Opinion polls invariably show negligible public interest in campaign-finance reform, but almost every congressional district has at least one newspaper hot for reform. Media cheerleading for the bill has been relentless.... The media know that their power increases as more and more restrictions are imposed on everyone else’s ability to participate in political advocacy.... The bill’s authors say soft money is (a) scandalous and (b) not to be tampered with until after they have re-elected themselves. That is, they refused to ban soft money until they have spent all that their parties have raised and will frenetically raise until November.”

For the Love of Money (Ben Stein; yes, that Ben Stein)
“In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as a result of a mass of securities frauds in Silicon Valley and in the Drexel Milken world and in the S&L’s, there were hundreds of securities law private class action suits against managers, directors, lawyers, and accountants. The recoveries in these cases were in the tens of billions. The accountants were called to account and hated it. Their insurers on their malpractice policies hated the suits. So did Silicon Valley. The defendants did a smart cost-benefit analysis. They figured out that they would be better off if they got new laws to hinder lawsuits against them than if they actually went to the immense trouble of doing their work properly. It was far cheaper to pay campaign contributions to Congress than to forgo their freewheeling ways. So money was paid, promises were made, and the law was changed in 1995.”

Nader, Buchanan, Demand Debate Reform (CNS)
“Two former presidential nominees Monday called for the formation of a new commission on presidential debates that would include more than just Republicans and Democrats. Green Party nominee Ralph Nader and Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan, both of whom were on the 2000 presidential ballot, believe they and their parties were excluded from the debates prior to last year's election because of a two-party monopoly.”

Banking Industry Wants to Quash Privacy Rules in the Name of Security (FOX)
“Bank lobbyists are pushing for federal aid to overturn consumer privacy laws on the grounds that they impede attempts at trapping terrorists. The industry is appealing to Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and legislators for federal money to block state privacy protection laws that prohibit banks from sharing information without permission. Bankers say such regulations could prevent them from alerting authorities of suspicious activity.... But some state leaders don’t buy it, saying state laws make adequate exemptions for law enforcement. They suspect bankers are exploiting the national security issue to disguise what they’re really after: the freedom to sell customer information for profit.”

Where’s the outrage? (Frank Gaffney Jr.)
“Until Thursday [Feb. 14], the argument was that an investigation at this time would distract the agency’s personnel from the war on terrorism. Then suddenly, on Valentine’s Day, everything changed. The [Congressional Intelligence] Committee chairmen expressed their commitment to — in Mr. Graham’s words, ‘Let the chips fall where they may, whether it’s individuals, institutions or processes.’ For his part, [CIA] Director Tenet announced that he welcomed the inquiry, saying: ‘It’s important we have a record. It is a record of discipline, strategy, focus and action.’ What, it might reasonably be asked, prompted such an apparently complete reversal since it seems the demands on the U.S. intelligence community to ferret out and defeat terrorists are as great as ever? There appears to be only one explanation: The fix is in.”

Bush turns away from the weaklings of Europe (Irwin Stelzer)
“Some in Washington are arguing that there is an unfortunate coincidence of timing: the War on Terror has made clear Europe’s impotence at precisely the time that it has demonstrated America’s overwhelming technological advantages. At least, that’s how an increasingly self-confident White House team sees things. The military weakness of Europe is only one factor that is causing the EU to be seen as irrelevant. Administration officials are convinced that Europe is completely inward-looking, obsessed with tweaking the various bureaucratic institutions that are known here as “Brussels”. They contrast this with outwardlooking America. While Europe fusses over Macedonia and the problems of French farmers, America is developing new, innovative long-run policies towards countries that really matter in the 21st century — China, Russia, India.”

On the right side of history (Mark Steyn)
“Sixty years ago, another simple-minded absolutist was in unilateralist overdrive. George Winston Bush was in Downing Street filling the air with inflammatory cowboy rhetoric about ‘a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime’. Meanwhile, on the Continent, EU Marshal Chris Pétain was deploring this crude talk of ‘the abyss of a new Dark Age’ as frankly unhelpful and certainly not as effective as ‘constructive engagement’ with ‘moderate elements’ in the Third Reich. At decisive moments in human history, someone has to be simple, someone has to be primal. For two crucial years in the mid-20th century, the British Empire played that role alone, and in so doing saved the world. This is one of those moments. If Osama had had a nuke on 11 September, he’d have used it. Maybe Saddam wouldn’t, maybe he’d be more rational. But, honestly, I’d rather not wait to find out.”

Pope has performed 3 exorcisms to ward off devil (Yahoo India News)
“Pope John Paul has performed three exorcisms during his 23-year pontificate, including one as recently as September, one of the Catholic Church’s leading exorcists said on Monday. Father Gabriele Amorth told Italy’s La Stampa newspaper that the Pope had carried out his first exorcism in 1982.”

Drought on East Coast Raises Worries of Water Rationing (NYT)
“Through the dry, cold nights and almost balmy winter days, across snowless mountains and under desert-blue skies, a record-setting drought has settled over the New York region and much of the East Coast, raising fears of a spring and summer of water rationing, dying plants and mud flats where water and life once ran. Water experts who have pored over records for precedents for the current situation are using words like ‘wild’ and ‘scary.’ Not only is the Eastern Seaboard feeling the effects of a dry fall and winter, but those are just the latest dry seasons in a dry spell that began in 1998. Unlike most droughts, the current one stretches in an almost unbroken line from Georgia to Maine.”

Welcome to Earth (BBC)
“This is what scientists are calling the most detailed colour image ever made of the entire Earth. Composite satellite images showing the cloud-free Earth have been made before, but Nasa’s latest image beats all others in terms of accuracy and the amount of data that went into it.”

Scientists and Psychics Hail Rare Time Symmetry (Yahoo! News)
“Two minutes past eight on Wednesday night [Feb. 20] marks a millennial mathematical curiosity with time and date forming a rare triple palindrome — 20:02, 20/02/2002 — reading the same backwards and forwards. John Cremona, pure mathematics professor at Britain’s Nottingham University, said the last time that date and time were aligned in this way was on the morning of November 11, in the year 1111. He said that the time, date and year would be palindromic again in 110 years, at 12 minutes past nine in the evening of December 21, 2112 — or 21:12, 21/12/2112.”

Articles of more permanent interest

How The Left Undermined America’s Security (David Horowitz)
“Underlying the Clinton security failure was the fact that the Administration was made up of people who for twenty-five years had discounted or minimized the totalitarian threat, opposed America’s armed presence abroad, and consistently resisted the deployment of America’s military forces to halt Communist expansion. National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was himself a veteran of the Sixties ‘anti-war’ movement, which abetted the Communist victories in Vietnam and Cambodia, and created the ‘Vietnam War syndrome’ that made it so difficult afterwards for American presidents to deploy the nation’s military forces.”

The cost of academic integrity (Walter Williams)
“College budgets depend on admitting warm bodies. That means we can’t expect college administrators to do anything to stop unprepared students from being admitted, courses dumbed-down and fraudulent grades given. Boards of Trustees tend to be yes-men and women for the president, so we can’t expect anything from them.
The money spigot needs to be turned off. Alumni, foundations and other charitable donors — not to mention taxpayers — should be made aware of fraudulent practices and academic dishonesty.

The Plains vs. The Atlantic: Is Middle America a backwater, or a reservoir? (Blake Hurst)
“The combination of progressive taxation and urban real-estate prices ensures that almost nobody on the coasts has more spendable income than the highest paid people in Franklin County or the rest of rural Red America. People here in Missouri’s small towns can buy a beautiful older home for less than $100,000. Brooks makes much of the fact that he literally could not spend more than $20 for a meal in Franklin County. The fare in Red America is a bit limited. You can’t buy one of those meals with a dime-sized entrée in the middle of a huge plate, with some sort of sauce artfully squirted about. But you can buy a pound of prime rib for ten bucks. Class-consciousness isn’t a problem in Red America, because most people can afford to buy everything that’s for sale.”

Proof that the classics speak to everyone (Katherine Kersten)
“For 35 years now, we’ve been hearing that ‘the classics’ — the great books of the Western world — are largely irrelevant in today’s classrooms. Why? Most were written by dead white males. Obviously, then, they can hold little meaning for females or for black or Hispanic kids. Everyone knows that if young people are to be moved or inspired, they need books whose authors ‘look like them.’ Try telling that to the students at Wilbur Wright College, a two-year community college in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago. Students at Wright are predominantly black, Hispanic or from immigrant families. Wright is for kids who aren’t ready for four-year colleges. Yet students there are flocking to a Great Books program and lining up to read authors like Plato, Cicero and Dante.”

The Green Matrix (Diane Alden)
“The people who rule the green matrix seek to centrally plan our lives. They have adopted the same philosophy as those who drove the peasants off the land in Russia. They are of the same mind as the Red Guard in China.
They are willing to sacrifice science, the truth and freedom, as well as the well-being of humans and the environment, in order to promote their utopian vision for the world – a vision that considers man a cancer on the land. Strangely, the term ‘green matrix’ comes up in many of their studies, claims and policy papers. But this isn’t a movie. It is the new totalitarian vision.

Why the Muslims Misjudged Us (Victor Hanson)
“Two striking themes — one overt, one implied — characterize most Arab invective: first, there is some sort of equivalence — political, cultural, and military — between the West and the Muslim world; and second, America has been exceptionally unkind toward the Middle East. Both premises are false and reveal that the temple of anti-Americanism is supported by pillars of utter ignorance.”

Parsing out grammar (Linda Chavez)
“I learned how to diagram sentences in elementary school — or what we used to call, appropriately, grammar school.... Progressive teachers and their professional associations, especially the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), believe diagramming sentences is make-work that bores students and turns them off to writing. So they banished diagramming from the classroom years ago, along with most grammar instruction. ”

Slouching Toward Bias: A Neo-Conservative Critiques the Media (Poynter)
“‘The media, notably certain powerful big city dailies and the network news divisions that generally follow their lead, reflect a worldview that is not only distinctly liberal in character, but hostile to those who hold alternative views.”

The Education of Abraham Lincoln (Eric Foner)
“He read incessantly, beginning as a youth with the Bible and Shakespeare. During his single term in the House of Representatives, his colleagues considered it humorous that Lincoln spent his spare time poring over books in the Library of Congress. The result of this ‘stunning work of self-education’ was the ‘intellectual power’ revealed in Lincoln’s writings and speeches.”

Ten Days in September (WP)
“This series is based on interviews with President Bush, Vice President Cheney and many other key officials inside the administration and out. The interviews were supplemented by notes of National Security Council meetings made available to The Washington Post, along with notes taken by several participants.”

Lost Boys (Amy Benfer)
“Suddenly, the debate among researchers is focused on the boys: Are they behind because of the girl empowerment movement? Are they being shortchanged in the classroom simply because they are boys?”

Skewed News: Fair and balanced coverage requires diversity of opinion (Cathy Young)
“Neither Goldberg nor McGowan allege a deliberate vast left-wing conspiracy to distort the news. Rather, they convincingly argue that news coverage is often influenced by a knee-jerk bias stemming from the journalists’ own views on political and social issues.”

Faith and Diversity in American Religion (Alan Wolfe)
“No aspect of life is considered so important to Americans outside higher education, yet deemed so unimportant by the majority of those inside, as religion. The relative indifference to religion in higher education may be changing, however, as a wide variety of social and intellectual trends converge.”

The Trouble With Self-Esteem (Lauren Slater)
“‘There is absolutely no evidence that low self-esteem is particularly harmful,’ Emler says. ‘It’s not at all a cause of poor academic performance; people with low self-esteem seem to do just as well in life as people with high self-esteem. In fact, they may do better, because they often try harder.’”

Why We Don’t Marry (James Q. Wilson)
“Marriage was once a sacrament, then it became a contract, and now it is an arrangement. Once religion provided the sacrament, then the law enforced the contract, and now personal preferences define the arrangement.”

This View’s Column

A Tale of Three Doctors — and What it Tells Us About the Environmental Movement (Part One)

No, they’re not physicians, the three doctors of this Tale. They are the following:

  • Paul R. Ehrlich, Ph.D., Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University and president of its Center for Conservation Biology;
  • Julian L. Simon, Ph.D. (1932-1998), Professor of Business Administration at the University of Maryland and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute; and,
  • Bjorn Lomborg, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Statistics at the University of Aarhus in Denmark.

Population studies? Business administration? Statistics? Yawn.

No... wait... these gentlemen, their ideas and their writings, are at the center of an international fracas.

No kidding.

Doctor One. Ehrlich appears first in this Tale, all the way back in 1968: in that year, his book The Population Bomb was published. It sold 3,000,000 copies, and got the author a guest spot on The Tonight Show.

In his book, Ehrlich proclaimed that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over.” And we lost that battle: “In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate....”

Later, in 1974, he and his wife Anne published The End of Affluence. We were still facing an impending apocalypse: the book warned of a “nutritional disaster that seems likely to overtake humanity in the 1970s (or, at the latest, the 1980s). Due to a combination of ignorance, greed, and callousness, a situation has been created that could lead to a billion or more people starving to death....”

Ehrlich, of course, has not been able to say I told you so. And, fortunately, it does not seem that he will ever be able to do so.

Doctor Two. Simon comes into the Tale in 1980. Fed up after more than a decade of similar apocalyptic pronouncements, he published “Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of False Bad News” in the June 17, 1980, issue of Science.

His article began with something of a manifesto, and has earned Simon the epithet The Doomslayer:

False bad news about population growth, natural resources, and the environment is published widely in the face of contrary evidence. For example, the world supply of arable land has actually been increasing, the scarcity of natural resources including food and energy has been decreasing, and basic measures of U.S. environmental quality show positive trends. The aggregate data show no long-run negative effect of population growth upon standard of living.

(“Arable” land is land capable of being cultivated for food production. And the strange double negative “scarcity... has been decreasing” — required, I surmise, by the terms in which his opponents had been framing the discussion — means that the known supply of natural resources has been increasing.)

Ehrlich wrote a letter to Science in response to Simon’s article. But they engaged their argument in quite a different way later that year. In response to a proclamation from Ehrlich — “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000” — Simon publicly proffered a real wager: he was willing to stake $10,000 “that the cost of non-government-controlled raw materials (including grain and oil) will not rise in the long run”.

Ehrlich and two colleagues took the bet. (They thought, it is said, that it would be easy money.) The raw materials they chose were chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten: they expected all of these materials to become scarcer and, thus, to rise in price over the following ten years.

They were wrong, and Simon won the bet, as detailed in a remarkable article by Ed Regis in Wired, Feb. 1997:

Between 1980 and 1990, the world’s population grew by more than 800 million, the largest increase in one decade in all of history. But by September 1990, without a single exception, the price of each of Ehrlich’s selected metals had fallen, and in some cases had dropped through the floor. Chrome, which had sold for $3.90 a pound in 1980, was down to $3.70 in 1990. Tin, which was $8.72 a pound in 1980, was down to $3.88 a decade later.

Now, Ehrlich has been wrong, over and over and over again, for decades, yet he has won world-wide acclaim for being some kind of prophet. He should be a gambler: he loses every hand, but somehow manages to win the game.

Simon, having merely the available facts and demonstrable history to back up his contrary opinions, lived somewhat in the shadow of his acclaimed opponent. He published quite a few books, which only won him opprobrium for daring to say, in effect, that The Good News is That the Bad News is Wrong. As Regis put it in his Wired article:

Naturally, he received a fair amount of bad press for all this heresy, particularly for his pet claim that what the world needs most is lots of additional human beings. They’re not just mouths to feed, he argued. Newborn babes grow up to be creative adults; they turn into individuals who contribute and achieve, who give back far more than they ever take.... “Resources come out of people’s minds more than out of the ground or air,” says Simon. “Minds matter economically as much as or more than hands or mouths. Human beings create more than they use, on average. It had to be so, or we would be an extinct species.”

Yes, Simon received — “naturally”? — bad press for his good news. This is a theme to which we must return. Now let’s bring this Tale closer to our own time.

Doctor Three. Lomborg is a late comer to the Tale with the publication of his book The Skeptical Environmentalist in 2001.

What’s the connection between Lomborg, on the one hand, and Ehrlich and Simon on the other? The connection is the very article on Simon by Ed Regis that I have quoted: Lomborg read it and was aghast that Simon had the impudence to say that all the doomsayers were wrong, and that facts and historical trends show them to be wrong. Lomborg believed the doomsaying and, being a statistician — naturally keen on facts and historical trends — he took Simon’s effrontery as something of a professional challenge.

So, Lomborg and some of his associates set out to prove Simon wrong. Instead, they discovered that the facts do, indeed, tend to prove that Simon, The Doomslayer, is largely right, and the doomsayers, like Ehrlich, are largely wrong.

I have not read The Skeptical Environmentalist. But Lomborg wrote a series of three articles, published the first week of September 2001, in The National Post, a Canadian publication. In them, he lays out the case in brief that he lays out at length in his book, also published that month. (These articles are no longer available at the URLs I have for them.)

In the first article, Sep. 1, Lomborg sets forth what he (following Simon’s lead) calls The Litany:

We are defiling our Earth, we are told. Our resources are running out. The population is ever-growing, leaving less and less to eat. Our air and water is more and more polluted. The planet’s species are becoming extinct in vast numbers — we kill off more than 40,000 each year. Forests are disappearing, fish stocks are collapsing, the coral reefs are dying. The fertile topsoil is vanishing. We are paving over nature, destroying the wilderness, decimating the biosphere and will end up killing ourselves in the process. The world’s ecosystem is breaking down. We are fast approaching the absolute limit of viability.

He wastes no time in setting the record straight about The Litany:

It does not seem to be backed up by the available evidence. We are not running out of energy or natural resources. There is ever more food, and fewer people are starving. In 1900, we lived for an average of 30 years; today we live for 67. According to the UN, we have reduced poverty more in the last 50 years than we did in the preceding 500, and it has been reduced in practically every country.

He proceeds to dispute almost every aspect of the doomsayers’ scenario:

  • agricultural production, and food consumption, in developing countries have actually increased in the past 30 years;
  • in the last 200 years, food prices have decreased by 90%;
  • the rate of population growth increase has been declining for 40 years;
  • air and water are becoming less and less polluted with every passing year;
  • species are not becoming extinct at a rapid rate; and,
  • widely held forecasts of global warming are overly pessimistic.

In his second article in the series, Sep. 3, Lomborg takes a closer look at our resources, and oil in particular — our dependence on it, and our fears of running out of it.

It seems that we have been running out of oil as long as anybody can remember:

In 1914, the U.S. Bureau of Mines estimated that supplies would last only 10 more years. In 1939, the U.S. department of the interior predicted oil would last only 13 more years. In 1951, it made the same projection: oil had only 13 more years. As Professor Frank Notestein of Princeton said in his later years: “We’ve been running out of oil ever since I was a boy.”

Though consumption has, of course, increased dramatically, we now have more known reserves of oil than ever before. This is the case, too, with other natural resources: though we use more and more of them, we have more left over for the future. Why? Because we discover more and more of them and learn ways to use them more efficiently.

In the last article in the series, Sep. 5, Lomborg basically accepts the premises of a 2001 report sponsored by an agency of the United Nations, but thinks that many conclusions drawn from the data are outlandish: he says we have to sort reality out from the hyperbole. And he argues that some of the proposed “cures” for global warming could be worse than the problem itself:

Despite our intuition that we need to do something drastic about global warming, we are in danger of implementing a cure that is more costly than the original affliction: economic analyses clearly show that it will be far more expensive to cut carbon dioxide emissions radically than to pay the costs of adaptation to the increased temperatures.

Indeed, the Kyoto Protocol would require that the developed world spend astronomical fortunes to produce only a minuscule effect on the environment by the end of this century, money that Lomborg argues would be much better spent improving conditions in the developing world.

A spate of articles preceded and accompanied the publication of The Skeptical Environmentalist. But Lomborg has been in the news again lately — and that will be the subject of the rest of this column, which will continue in the next issue of The View.

© ELC 2002


What would we do without professors? If not for one Clyde Ebenreck, a philosophy professor at Prince George’s Community College, I would never have suspected that “terrorism lives within our own souls” here in the USA.

That’s what Ebenreck wrote in response, Feb. 19, to the question Is the U.S. fight [against terrorism] consistent with the concept of a “just war”?

.... Until the Klan is rooted out of our American souls, until homophobia is driven from the consciousness of our youngsters, until wealth no longer buys government favors, terrorism in this country will be alive and well.... So the Taliban has had its rule restricted, the Taliban are not and were not the terrorists. Terrorism lives within our own souls....

If the Taliban are not terrorists, but terrorism is within our American souls, why has the professor not seen fit to move to Afghanistan, say, where people are apparently much finer human beings than we horrible Americans are?

It’s not because he wants to stay here and fight what he thinks is the good fight. Oh, no. He would have to give up the conveniences, privileges, and luxuries that his life as a professor at an American college affords him. Where on the Earth is there a more privileged, pampered, insulated bunch of people than on America’s campuses among the professional academics? (Hollywood? Okay. But where else?)

Note well, Ebenreck is not complaining about the Ku Klux Klan, which has indeed committed acts of terrorism against fellow Americans, and is justly condemned: he is complaining about the Klan in our American souls.

Professor, there is no Klan in my American soul. Terrorism does not live in my American soul.

Speak for yourself. Or is that, indeed, exactly what you are doing?

© ELC 2002

R. I. P.

As have been many Americans — and, I trust, men of good will around the world — I was saddened, and troubled, and angered, by the senseless murder of Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Danny’s death is a terrible reminder, like so many others since last September 11, that evil still stalks this world. Danny was no soldier or spy, as his killers claimed in their e-mails. He was a noncombatant, an American journalist trying to understand and explain the Islamic world to his readers. His death is an act of barbarism for its own evil sake. (WSJ’s Opinion Journal, Feb. 22)

My heart goes out to his wife and family, his friends and colleagues.

For two years in the mid-1990s, I sat in a cubicle next to Danny Pearl’s in the Washington bureau of the Wall Street Journal.... Danny’s best friend at the paper, who also sat beside me — I was sandwiched between the two — was a spirited Muslim named Asra Nomani. (Timothy Noah in Slate, Feb. 21)

Requiescat in pace: may he rest in peace.

At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. (Daniel 12:1-4a)

© ELC 2002

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Including Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and other fundamental documents of US history and law

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature @
Eighteen volumes, originally published 1907-1921

Verse @
Public-domain Anthologies and Individual Volumes

HTI American Verse Project
“The American Verse Project is a collaborative project between the University of Michigan Humanities Text Initiative (HTI) and the University of Michigan Press. The project is assembling an electronic archive of volumes of American poetry prior to 1920.”

Catholic Poets @ ELCore.Net
Joyce Kilmer, Alice Meynell, Joseph Mary Plunkett

Catholic Encyclopedia
“Actual work on the Encyclopedia was begun in January, 1905. It was completed in April, 1914.”

Newman Reader
Life and Works of Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman

IntraText Digital Library
The missing link between text and hypertext

Other columnists

Jonah Goldberg
National Review Online

Fred Reed
Commentary with Moxie

Deb Weiss
A View from Here

Peggy Noonan
Opinion Journal

Diane Alden

Bill Dunn
Faith and Funnies

Ann Coulter
Town Hall

Steve Milloy
Fox News


The View from the Core, and all original material, © E. L. Core 2002. All rights reserved.

Cor ad cor loquitur J. H. Newman — “Heart speaks to heart”