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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Friday, June 08, 2007

Spin Against the Earth

Maggie Gallagher is a columnist whom I find endlessly fascinating for reasons I'm not sure I can explain. I occasionally agree with her; she recently wrote about how a recent Italian sex scandal centered around simple flirtation, and was resolved in a courtly, charming and sophisticated fashion which we would do well to emulate. I am grateful to her for that column. But I think the real reason I read her every week is that I usually disagree with her, but even when I think she's off base, I think she's usefully off base. There's something to be learned from the distance between her perspective and mine. With the right-wing hacks, phoneys and outrage-fakers, there's not much to be gained, but Ms. Gallagher is recording her genuine responses.

Her new article is about global warming, and she writes this:

"I am not qualified to evaluate the scientific case for global warming. But three things about global warming give me pause.

"1. It transforms the United States, as the world's most successful economy, into the chief evildoer in the world;

"2. It justifies a massive extension of government power to regulate all aspects of our lives;

"3. It makes having children a sin against the Earth. (Indeed, China recently justified its coercive one-child policy on carbon-reducing grounds.)"

Well. I am also unqualified to evaluate the scientific basis of the global warming, but I suppose I know a bit about loaded language, and points 1. and 3. certainly have their thumbs on the scale. "Chief Evildoer in the world" and "sin against the Earth" are pretty heavy-handed terms. A more nuanced version might be "It emphasises the United State's responsibility to correct or compensate for the environmental impact of its economic activities, and it requires potential parents to carefully weigh the decision to bring another human into the world." That's just off the cuff, and it reveals something of my own biases, but feel free to find your own rephrasing.

As for point 2. perhaps Ms. Gallagher would prefer it if the government only regulated polluters who are homosexual or have had abortions. She's made it clear throughout her career that she favors government regulation in matters of homosexual families and abortion.

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