DAILY BRIEFINGI'm a Nazi
Apr. 22 - The title of today's Almanac may have surprised you.
It would have surprised me, too, if you had told me Thursday morning that by the end of the day I'd be writing an Almanac Bloggish entitled "I'm a Nazi."
After all, I don't support the resurrection of Adolf Hitler. I'm not anti-Semitic (my mother is Jewish, so it just wouldn't make sense). I'm not interested in global domination by anyone, least of all Germany, and I don't believe in any theories of racial supremacy.
I do believe, however, that the use of cost-benefit analyses is a prudent application of the scientific method to the question of how to address the issue of global warming—and, indeed, to determine whether or not it's an issue at all.
In other words, I take the side of Danish scientist Bjorn Lomborg, who has recently been compared to Adolf Hitler by the Chairman of the U.N.'s Climate Panel for holding precisely the view I just described.
Unfortunately, I can't find any coverage of this story in the English-language press. I only noticed it on the cover of a copy of Jyllands Posten lying around an office waiting room Thursday afternoon. I couldn't read the entire article, but my Danish is now good enough that I was able to get the gist: the Chairman of the U.N. "Climate Panel" compared Danish scientist Bjorn Lomborg to Adolf Hitler because they both "treat people like numbers."
Well, I thought, so does every professional actuary, statistician, and economist on the face of the earth. I pored over the article looking for the part where the Esteemed Chairman would cite Lomborg's genocidal tendencies, or theories of racial supremacy, or maniacal obsession with world domination—but, alas, found nothing of the kind.
As soon as I got home I ran a bunch of Google searches on phrases such as "U.N. Hitler Lomborg" but came up with nothing. At last I went to Jyllands Posten online, and found this related article, in which a number of Danish scientists responded to the incident by suggesting—some humbly, some indignantly—that perhaps the U.N. Climate Panel chairman had stepped just a wee bit over the line.
Most of them elaborated by goosestepping along to the official Enviro-PC line, which insists that Lomborg is evil because Lomborg's data famously contradict the Enviro-PC line. "Lomborg is a blight upon the world," they basically said, "but it's unhelpful to compare him to Hitler."
I find it heartening that there are exist some EnviroMullahs who realize that the use of the scientific method doesn't automatically qualify one for the ninth circle of Hell. I find it heartening that some can actually utter the name "Bjorn Lomborg" without erupting into convulsions. But I find it appalling that no one is calling for this Esteemed Chairman's resignation.
Or rather, I found it appalling until I gave it some thought.
Finally I realized that it no longer means anything to compare someone to Hitler or call them a Nazi. Hell, I've been called a Nazi for everything from supporting George Bush's foreign policy to being a Raiders fan. (Which latter item is absurd—everyone knows that Cowboys fans are the real Nazis.)
I'd like to suggest that we drop the capitalization and integrate nazi and hitler into the international lexicon as synonyms for "jerk," "idiot," or "opponent," just as French schoolchildren of Arabic descent use "feuj"—a pejorative term for "Jew"—to describe anything that doesn't work properly.
One man's scientist or politician is, after all, another man's Nazi, and there are no longer any repercussions from calling someone else a Nazi or comparing them to Hitler, so why let ourselves get worked up over it?
We could even tweak the spelling of "you're a nazi" and concatenate it down to "yurranazi," which would merely be a synonym for "shut up!"
The only problem with all this is that it may tend to diminish perceptions of the appalling evil of the historical Hitler and the scourge he unleashed upon the world.
But if "a renegade" scientist is like Hitler because he uses unpopular scientific methods, then it stands to reason that Hitler was no worse than a renegade scientist. So what's all the fuss about Hitler anyway?
On a Related Note
Over on my expatriate American in Denmark expecting a child blog (which needs all the search-engine help it can get, so please pardon my hyperbolic link verbiage), I recently took note of what I thought was an important article by one Roger Kimball on the topic of political correctness. As the story above suggests, the PC movement isn't frivolous fluff that can be safely dismissed with a roll of the eyes and shrug of the shoulders. It demands absolute opposition every time it appears. If you still haven't read Kimball's article, I still recommend it.
I love when my Bloggish stuff ties into my Almanac stuff. April 22 is Earth Day. Do your part for the environment: call someone a nazi!
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov was born on this date in 1870. He later became Lenin, invented the Communist Party in Russia, and made himself first Head Bastard of the Soviet Union.
It’s interesting that Alexander Kerensky, the leader of Russia’s provisional revolutionary government in 1917 until overthrown by Lenin, was born on the same day as Lenin, only eleven years later.
One hundred years ago today, Robert Oppenheimer was born. Mr. Oppenheimer is known as the father of the atomic bomb. Its mother has never been identified to anyone’s satisfaction, which only underscores the lax security at Los Alamos.
On April 22, 1451, Isabella I, Queen of Castille, was born. She also became Queen of Aragon in 1479. She was Christopher Columbus’s patron, and must therefore share some of the responsibility for the many thousands of casinos across America.
Today's word is miljø, meaning "environment."
Today is the birthday of Peter Frampton (1950), Jack Nicholson (1937), Glen Campbell (1936), Aaron Spelling (1928), Yehudi Menuhin (1916), Eddie Albert (1908), Vladimir Nabokov (1899), Alexander Kerensky (1881), Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870), Immanuel Kant (1724) and Isabella I of Castille (1451).
Happy Hump Day!
© 2004, The Moron's Almanac