What's Tony Thinking

At Week’s End


Save the environment: burn coal — say what? You may recall my review of Michael Shellenberger’s Never Apocalypse: How Environmental Alarmism is Hurting Us All, in which he, a now-contrarian environmentalist, makes a case for emission-free nuclear power. But the environmental movement is death on nuclear. Well, the movement has succeeded in shutting down all nuclear power in Germany with, wait for it . . . a return to burning coal which puts global warming on steroids. Here’s a summary from Nellie Bowles at The Free Press.

“Environmentalists in Germany finally won their big prize: shutting down the country’s last nuclear power plant. The same day it announced the closure, German utility company Eon announced a 45 percent rise in energy costs for customers (sorry!). It’s basically assured now that—just like other countries that shut down their nuclear plants—Germany will now start burning a whole lot more coal. Truly the craziest people on this warming earth are our so-called environmentalists, who seem hell-bent on getting us back on fossil fuels. If you have money and want to give it to an eco-group that isn’t explicitly pro-nuclear energy, what I want you to do is take that cash and light it on fire.”

Normalcy might be a winner. Meanwhile over at the Dispatch newsletter Jonah Goldberg thinks a political party might make a go of it running on “not as crazy as the other guys,” or pro-normalcy. Here’s Goldberg:

” . . . I’ve lost patience for people with grandiose ideas for revolutionary this and radical that. We have two parties that have convinced themselves that the solution to all our problems is eliminating the other party so they can rule — not govern — unobstructed. And any policy that seems like a concession to the other party’s arguments is a non-starter or a moral betrayal.

“Most Americans like immigrants, but they think they should come here according to the rules. Most Americans consider abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy to be morally objectionable. But most Americans also think blanket abortion bans are too draconian. Most Americans have sympathy for the poor, but little sympathy for violent criminals, regardless of their motives or net worth. Most Americans would like the government to do something about the problems in their lives that government is suited to do effectively. Normal people can debate what those problems and solutions might be. But our political system punishes normalcy as a kind of heresy.”

The enthusiasm for “revolutionary this and radical that” from both sides is a symptom of our default to politics as the be-all and end-all, the realm in and through which the world will be saved, in a religious sense. Which is to ask politics to bear a weight it cannot carry. Politics is turned into an idol, with the predictable consequences of idolatry, i.e. the idol consumes its adherents.

What do items 1 and 2 have in common — apocalyptic extremists, environmental and political, are running the show in the age of “outrage” is everything.

Nobody loves you when you’re down and out. Last November and December, Ron DeSantis was more or less declared the next GOP candidate and next President, while the death notices were put out (yet again) on Donald Trump. Several months later . . . DeSantis is being declared a charisma-free knucklehead and Trump the sure thing for the GOP nomination.

There is nothing we seem to love more than watching the rise and fall of the anointed. We love heralding their rise and awesomeness. And we savor every delicious misstep and pratfall.

In the movie “Air” about Nike’s coup in landing Michael Jordan and creating the “Air Jordan” shoe in the 1980’s, Matt Damon plays the guy on Nike’s staff who goes all in on Jordan and has to sell it to internal skeptics. Remember, at that point hasn’t ever set foot on an NBA court. In the best part of a great movie, the Damon character tells a young Jordan how America will build him up like crazy and then bust him down just as gleefully. “Success and failure,” remarked Tennessee Williams, “are equally disastrous.”

Added extra: the movie’s portrayal of Phil Knight, played by Ben Affleck, is pretty funny.

Have a great weekend!






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