George Will says some stupid things and rarely knows what he’s talking (or writing) about. He’s been doing it literally for years, but we’ll get to that later.
Recently, he penned a piece in the WaPo that got picked up by the Statesman about how global warming is a bunch of BS based on some really awesome anecdotal evidence that in some cases, when you dig a little deeper, is taken out of context and actually supports global warming.
I especially love the Julian Simon story in Will’s piece, mostly because I love Simon. However, as usual, Will completely misses the point of Simon’s work and the bet. The bet was more broadly about mankind’s ability to fix problems and grow around constraints. In a similar vein, I’ll make George a little bet… in 10 years, the environment will be cleaner than it is now and we will probably have found a way to reduce the carbon load in the atmosphere. This won’t be because global warming isn’t a very real problem… it’ll be because we have the capacity to fix the damage we’ve done. If only we’ll ignore the idiots like Will who are tragically incapable of realizing the frailty of the environment.
Oh, and as for getting things wrong, there’s this…
Jonathan Schwarz has this awesome story about Will from Noam Chomsky. The persistent lying and lack of accountability may sound familiar to you.
CHOMSKY: [A] few years ago George Will wrote a column in Newsweek called “Mideast Truth and Falsehood,” about how peace activists are lying about the Middle East, everything they say is a lie. And in the article, there was one statement that had a vague relation to fact: he said that Sadat had refused to deal with Israel until 1977. So I wrote them a letter, the kind of letter you write to Newsweek—you know, four lines—in which I said, “Will has one statement of fact, it’s false; Sadat made a peace offer in 1971, and Israel and the United States turned it down.” Well, a couple days later I got a call from a research editor who checks facts for the Newsweek “Letters” column. She said: “We’re kind of interested in your letter, where did you get those facts?” So I told her, “Well, they’re published in Newsweek, on February 8, 1971″—which is true, because it was a big proposal, it just happened to go down the memory hole in the United States because it was the wrong story. So she looked it up and called me back, and said, “Yeah, you’re right, we found it there; okay, we’ll run your letter.” An hour later she called again and said, “Gee, I’m sorry, but we can’t run the letter.” I said, “What’s the problem?” She said, “Well, the editor mentioned it to Will and he’s having a tantrum; they decided they can’t run it.” Well, okay.