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The left gets to have a field day maiming most of the GOP candidates for them taking views on climate change (I thought it was Global Warming, whatever) that run against the “overwhelming scientific consensus.” And indeed, that consensus has been reached by about 40 years of research (really 20) by a large number of scientists across a variety of climate related disciplines. Here is one summary of that consensus.  Now ignore for the time being that the left has a hard time distinguishing two kinds of deniers – those who deny that the planet is getting warmer vs those who do not believe that our US government or all the world’s governments together can do very much good in the realm of policy to deal with it. I guess it makes them feel morally superior to be able to wrap us all together. It is sort of like saying that folks who believe in Creationism are the same as those of us who believe in evolution but also have a tug of feeling that there is still a God out there, even if he did not mold planet Earth from his hands in 6 days just a few years ago.

Fine. But the scientific consensus in the economics community – you know, the one that has been studying economics for 200+ years with hundreds of thousands of peer review articles, panels, summits, conferences, and the like – is overwhelming that price controls are destructive and that free-trade has overwhelming benefits (even economists of the far left, whom I regularly profoundly disagree with, understand this fact, see here and here and here and here) – just to name two of the most solid consensus driven results. Yet the share of people who openly and proudly reject these consensuses is large, far larger than the climate deniers. Where are the progressives, wrapping themselves in the mantle of science, condemning their brethren for their economic denialism? We are about to launch a nasty trade war with China, we still cannot help but impose price controls in all sorts of sectors, even as the evidence of the damage those policies cause is overwhelming. And no, I do not have to appeal to authority for this.

Oh, what’s that I hear? Did you just say that it is possible that trade is not always good, despite the overwhelming evidence to support it? Did you just say that you read some macro-model which laid out conditions for when opening trade may reduce wages in one country (even if it produces positive social benefits)? It was only a theoretical model after all. Did you just read one study showing that if the pace of comparative advantage is fast enough, then the gains from trade might be smaller than their already huge amount? In other words, are you trying to tell us that there is some possible cost to pursuing and advocating for free trade? Or that perhaps the model economists use to think about and test the effectiveness of trade is somehow limited, despite 200+ years of data across thousands of economies and with only a small number of factors needing to be accounted for? Are you telling me that modern economies are different than old ones, so that even if the models did a good job explaining progress back then, they are not applicable today?

Yeah, I thought you said that. But I guess it would be unbecoming to mention this in the realm of climate science. Hilariously perhaps, if there is any cost of free trade, that is dwarfed by the cost of executing poor climate policy. But no big deal, it’s not really about the climate anyway, is it?

3 Responses to “Rejecting the Scientific Consensus”

  1. chuck martel says:

    A very astute observation. Write it up in a manner a little more accessible to the illiterati and get it published in a more popular venue.

  2. Arthur Dashan says:

    Can’t forget about all the research that goes against climate change that is consistently being derided or ignored, despite valid data being present. But, as you said, it’s not really about the climate anyway.

  3. Harry says:

    There are trillions of dollars per year (as opposed to the budget numbers, which one always has to divide by ten) at stake here. It is about other people’s property, and our voracious government and other people want to be fed.

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