As I mentioned to John Hinderaker and Brian Ward on their Ricochet podcast tonight, I'm truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support in the Michael Mann suit. I told them that I dislike legal defense funds, I've never used one before, and I always ask supporters simply to buy a book or two for a friend. But this isn't Canada or Australia, and the cost of legal battles in the US is of an entirely different scale.
Several readers suggested reviving our SteynOnline gift certificates to enable supporters to be more generous, but I had no idea they would prove so popular. They start at $25, and you can give them to a friend or to yourself, for instant gratification or to redeem when my new book comes out or the Christmas season. You can purchase online, by telephone or by mail order - full details here. In the meantime, my grateful thanks to readers from around the planet: in recent days, we've had orders from Amarillo and Anchorage, Chilliwack and Crans-prÃ¨s-Celigny, Rathfarnham and Roxton Falls, New Hampshire and old Hampshire, Lancashire and Leicestershire, Dorset and Denmark, Johannesburg and Japan, India and Idaho, Midlothian and Malaysia, Stockholm and Stockport, Singapore and Scotland, Regina and Queensland, Newfoundland and New South Wales and New Zealand, Norway and the Netherlands, and even several mysterious purchases from the town of State College, Pennsylvania, where Dr Mann and Penn State are to be found. Hmm.
As for the battle ahead, Joseph Dooley seems to have stumbled upon my epitaph:
In the grand scheme of things, Steyn is a nuclear-powered chihuahua nipping at the heels of Leviathan.
Yes, but in the land of non-nuclear poodles the nuclear-powered chihuahua is the alpha dog. Mr Dooley continues:
The shariah lobby, courted by Canada's multiculturalist ruling class, tried to silence his criticism of Islam and failed. Now the global warming/clean energy lobby, spearheaded by Mann, funded by big government to conduct studies and reach conclusions to justify bigger government, is getting its shot in.
That's an important point. Big Climate is the best thing that ever happened to Big Government. As I write in After America (a personally autographed copy of which is just a click away at the SteynOnline bookstore, and very helpful to defraying the cost of this thing):
The "security state" is a tough sell: if you tell people the government is compiling data on them for national security purposes, the left instinctively recoils. But, if you explain that you're doing it to save the planet by monitoring carbon footprints and emissions compliance and mandatory recycling, starry-eyed coeds across the land will twitter their approval, and the middle-class masochists of the developed world will whimper in orgasmic ecstasy as you tighten the screws, pausing only to demand that you do it to them harder and faster. Consider a recent British plan for each citizen to be given an ofï¬cial travel allowance. If you take one ï¬ight a year, you'll pay just the standard amount of tax on the journey. But, if you travel more frequently, if you take a second or third ï¬ight, you'll be subject to additional levies - all in the interest of saving the planet for Al Gore's polar bear documentaries and his county-sized carbon footprint. The Soviets restricted freedom of movement through the bureaucratic apparatus of "exit visas". The British favor the bureaucratic apparatus of exit taxes: the movement's still free; it's just that there'll be a government processing fee of Â£412.95. And, in a revealing glimpse of the universal belief in enviro-statism, this proposal came not from the Labour Party but from the allegedly Conservative Party. At their Monday night poker game in hell, I'll bet Stalin, Hitler and Mao are kicking themselves: "'It's about leaving a better planet to our children?' Why didn't I think of that?"
Over at Skeptic Ink, the Prussian picks up the theme in an analysis whose thesis he declares up front:
To summarize, when it comes to climate change, the left is right on the science and wrong on the politics, and the right is wrong on the science and right on the politics.
As evidence of both propositions, he cites me, and no lefties at all. But I'd forgotten the passage he quotes from me on the politics of "climate change", and, if I do say so myself, I think it bears repeating:
Governments that are incapable ofâto pluck at randomâenforcing their southern border, reducing waiting times for routine operations to below two years, or doing something about the nightly ritual of car-torching "youths," are nevertheless taken seriously when they claim to be able to change the very heavensâif only they can tax and regulate us enough.
That's the point. The President of the United States assured us last night that there's no argument, "climate change" is happening, "the science is settled", and he needs a free hand to act now. But he's the guy who gave us Obamacare, and there's no reason to believe that letting his genius loose on the planet's climate would be anything but an even bigger fiasco. The Prussian again:
One can take the Solyndra fiasco in the United States, the failures of things like wind power, and so forth. There is a distinct impression, by no means unsupported, that government initiatives in this will lead to nothing whatsoever except cronyism and failure. Indeed, as Bjorn Lomborg has repeatedly shown, carbon cuts right now will do effectively nada when it comes to tackling this problem.
But, whatever they do for the polar ice caps, they massively expand government, and advance the power and prestige of the likes of Michael Mann. And, if it turns out they're wrong, do you seriously think they'd surrender all that? So I would say it's more important to be right on the politics than on the science, which will take care of itself, and would be healthier if restored to a normal branch of objective inquiry from its present politically sexed-up fever swamp.