By Quentin de la Becloyere
Have you ever watched someone committing professional suicide? You may be about to do so. No,! an not a Holocausts denier (I put that in the plural because the toll of abortions in our society is of a similar order to the Jewish massacre), but I am, and have for a long time been, a carbon-dioxide-emissions-cause-global-warming sceptic.
As I heard more and more about the scientific consensus on the causes of global warming, as I recognised the growth of a new religio-moral principle which apparently preceded all others, as I began to hear the same hysterically evangelical voices proclaiming the new gospel, I grew suspicious — for I have seen this all . before.
But suspicion is not enough. Rather rarely, but occasionally, received opinion turns out to be correct. A little research was called for. I discovered first that, although a huge amount of government funds and, in consequence, scientific jobs, depend on this belief, there is by no means a scientific consensus. You will not find the scientific opposition easy to unearth: it is very hard to get it published. But when you do. you will discover that carbon dioxide as emitted by man is, at the very least, a questionable candidate. Those who believe the long-term climate forecasts, with their myriad fungible assumptions, might just pause and ask how it is that we can't even forecast next week's weather with any great accuracy.
I am assured that the massed ranks of the world's top scientists are behind the belief that our carbon dioxide emissions are the major cause of global warming. That claim by itself puts me on my guard. According to Richard Dawkins, these massed ranks disbelieve in the possibility of God. The massed ranks are unanimous in their condemnation of passive smoking. The massed ranks hold that if you say the magic word "condom" to a teenager three times a day, the teenager won't get pregnant. The massed ranks held that self-abuse makes you blind or turns you idiot. The massed ranks held that a carbolic spray could do nothing to save women from childbed fever. The massed ranks held that race-based eugenics were morally desirable. The massed ranks held that the world was the centre of the universe.
But of course it's better to be safe than sorry. Who is safe, and who is sorry? Reduction of carbon emissions is an ideal cause to advocate because it unites both the Left and the Right. The Left champion it because it is a stick for beating the capitalist first world: the capitalist Right champions it because it puts brakes on the industrial development of the Third World — ensuring they retain their economic dominance. Everyone is happy except those who are too poor to create carbon emissions, and now will always remain so.
China. France, Great Britain, India, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, United States. What do all these countries, except one. have in common, and which is the odd one out? Yes, you're right. They all have nuclear weapons capability except for Iran.
As it happens I am a nuclear pacifist: that is, I believe it to be better to be nuked, than to nuke — because I would rather die as a human being than live as a subhuman. However, were I not so minded, and were I president of Iran,! would prepare to acquire nuclear weapons capability with all possible speed. I would have to be an idiot not to realise that having this capability will give me a voice at the highest tables, change my status from rogue to respectable, and ensure that no one attempts to enforce their will on me. I may even find the rich rogue Powers like the United States currying my favour. That is the lesson of history.
If you were to attack me for immoral and dangerous behaviour I would merely say that I could see no moral difference between possessing (and indeed updating) nuclear weapons, and attempting to acquire them. And if you tried to persuade me to abandon my capacity, I would willingly agree on condition that you, and all the others, abandoned yours — and agreed to an effective system of international inspection. But of course you won't, will you? Neither would I.
/see that Charlie Hegarty is somewhat critical in his review of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder (March 23). Charlie is clearly an anti-mess man; I am a promess man. The story is told of Chesterton returning to his desk to find an important letter. He discovered to his alarm that his thoughtful wife had tidied up the usual mess, and placed his papers in various orderly piles. There was only one thing to be done. GKC closed his eyes, pulled all the papers forward, mixed them with a swirl, opened his eyes and triumphantly picked out the required letter without hesitation.
I am with Chesterton all the way.
Some good studies have been done on the efficiency of a messy desk. Documents which are often needed tend to stay near the top of the heap. Those less used descend layer by layer, until they fall to the floor and are thrown away.
So I leave you with one related tip, which I discovered many years ago. I call it the "sump tray". Into the sump tray go all the documents which I dare not throw away in case they are needed, but may in fact never be needed again. The sump tray is cleared from the bottom every six months. Ninety nine per cent of the documents have by now proved their uselessness and go to the great trash bin in the sky. This is the apotheosis of controlled mess; and this priceless. time-saving nugget comes to you free with every copy of this newspaper.
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