The Closing of Debate

There has been a growing and disturbing trend in political debate. It is the pre-emptive declaration that the debate is over. Al Gore and the mainstream media have declared that the debate over global warming is over. President Obama has intimated that the debate on America’s economic crises is over. And with the decline in oil prices, it appears that the debate over energy independence is over.

In each instance, the “close of debate” comes at a time when the public debate begins to call into question the legitimacy of the left’s claims or solutions. In each instance, it is designed to force action fueled by political considerations instead of science, economics, or common sense. In almost every instance the “close of debate” is announced by the far left and trumpeted by the mainstream media. In almost every instance the “close of debate” is premature and the “action” advocated as a “cure” is wrong.

For instance, the debate over global warming isn’t over; the left has just stopped listening. There are hundreds of highly regarded scientists who continue to dispute both the fact of global warming and the alleged cause of it. There are few who do not concede that over the past fifteen years, the average mean temperature of the globe has risen — marginally. Those who disagree with the global warming theory simply note that the phenomenon is not new but rather recurring. In contrast, those who support the global warming theory refuse to recognize that the last three winters have resulted in a substantial cooling off — returning the average mean temperature to its 250,000 year averages, rebuilding glaciers in Alaska and other Northern climates, and dramatically increasing water availability in areas where drought was alleged to be evidence of global warming. In fact, those zealots blame the cooling trend on global warming and have changed their concern from “global warming” to “climate change” thus enabling them to point to any unusual event as evidence in support of their position.

The purpose of this “pre-emptive closure” is to force new restrictions and costs on America’s consumers in the form of “carbon credits” and restrictive energy use. Even those who advocate the global warming theory acknowledge that nothing that they propose currently will bear any results for over 130 years — a time past which they will be conveniently dead and not available to explain their mistakes.

In speech after speech, the latest being from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Tuesday morning, the new administration has sought to cut off debate on the cause and effect of the economic and financial crises. The purpose of the “pre-emptive close” is to force acceptance of the liberals’ massive spending bill as the only alternative to “solve” the crises. Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) cut off debate in the House by refusing to allow consideration of amendments proposed by Republicans. And while President Obama gave perfunctory consideration to Republicans in the Senate, Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) chose to listen to only three Republicans who have historically voted with liberals in the Senate and declined any consideration of positions advocated by the Senate Republican leadership.

And finally, with pump prices hovering just below $2.00 per gallon, all considerations for extracting additional domestic fossil fuels as a part of the plan for energy independence have been quietly shelved by the new administration. There will be no additional offshore drilling, there will be no opening of ANWR, there will be no construction of additional refining capacity, there will be no increase in coal production or methane gas production, and there will be no further pursuit of new nuclear facilities. Instead all of the government’s energies will be focused on wind and solar energy. The fallacy here lies in the fact that the same environmental radicals who have opposed development of the nation’s fossil fuels, are just as opposed to the construction of transmission facilities. In this instance, the geographical locations required for wind (the Midwest wind belt) and solar, the Southwest, require massive new transmission facilities to gather the new power created and carry it to the urban centers for that use. It is pointless to build expensive and unsightly wind turbines or solar displays covering hundreds of acres if you unable to build transmission facilities between the point of origination and the point of consumption.

And while there is danger to the American culture through these “pre-emptive closures” of public debate, the real danger lies in the accumulated impact of their “cures.” The Congress has already imposed $750 Billion to bail out the financial institutions and yet the credit availability to mainstreet business — the heart of America’s and particularly Oregon’s economy — remains decidedly stingy. Congress is set to pass a “stimulus” bill this week that will top $900 Billion that contains very little stimulus and a lot of pork barrel spending for constituents loyal to the Democrat left. And finally, Secretary Geithner has announced yet another spending proposal to aid financial institutions that is rumored to be in the $800 Billion range. This nearly $2.5 Trillion worth additional debt is heaped upon the economy at the same time that we are about to impose crushing carbon credits and leave American industry at the mercy of the next manipulation of the energy market by speculators and foreign oil producers.

At the very moment that American business is reeling, does anyone think that it can absorb this staggering new debt load while at the same time it struggles with new burdensome environmental regulations and sky high cost for “new” energy from wind and solar. America’s productivity already suffers from the highest tax rates, the highest labor rates and the most regulations (environmental, health, safety, etc.). We are about to add to that more regulation, a burdensome debt load and high energy costs.

And all the while the left stubbornly refuses to listen to any alternatives — no alternatives to energy independence, no alternatives to economic recovery, no alternatives to global warning. I have always found that the dumbest people are also usually the most stubborn and the least likely to accept responsibility for their own failures. You can build your own list but mine usually begins with P for Pelosi.