"Brand New Green"
Book review sums up two thoughts very well
I want to keep track of this City Journal piece, but there are a couple of ideas I want to float as well. Emphasis added.
But tepid may not suffice. “One of the greatest dangers the world faces is the possibility that a vocal minority of antinuclear activists could prevent phase-out of coal emissions,” Brand writes, quoting Hansen. It’s an indubitable historical fact that the developed world was poised to break free from a carbon-centered energy economy 30 years ago. Greens locked us back into it. By demonizing nukes so effectively, they boosted U.S. coal consumption by about 400 million tons per year. We would instantly cut our coal consumption in half if we could simply conjure back into existence the 100-plus nuclear plants that were in the pipeline three decades ago. If global warming is a problem, Brand and his ex-friends own it.
And this a little later.
It’s here, about halfway through his book, that Brand finally begins addressing what Greens have dignified with a grand title: the Precautionary Principle. That sliver of vacuous pedantry, Brand acknowledges, has become “deliberately one-sided, a rejection of what is called risk balancing,” a single-minded determination “to prevent all the harm we can.” Or imagined harm. As the precautious mind-set calcified, “evidence of harm disappeared as a precautionary principle trigger, and science was explicitly devalued.” The Old Greens followed the science only when its predictions fit with a narrative of “decay,” “decline,” and “disaster.” This was a “formula for paralysis.” The New Brand supports the “freedom to try things,” subject to “ceaseless, fine-grained monitoring.”
It all comes down to how people think. Adopting Isaiah Berlin’s familiar taxonomy, Brand explains that Old Greens are intellectual “hedgehogs”—they start with a grand theory and then shore it up with mounds of factoids dredged up to reinforce what they already believe. “Foxes, on the other hand, are skeptical about grand theories, diffident in their forecasts, and ready to adjust their ideas based on actual events. Hedgehogs don’t notice or care when they’re wrong. Foxes learn. Hedgehogs are great proponents, but foxes are invariably better forecasters and policy makers.”
Folks, those last two paragraphs sum up the catastrophic failure of modern liberalism.
It's impossible to prevent harm. The Precautionary Principle can't prevent risk. It only stops people from learning to deal with risk.
The Precautionary Principle stops human progress.