By Mr. Curmudgeon:
During his State of the Union address, President Obama said that if Congress fails to pass draconian environmental legislation “to protect future generations,” he will direct his “cabinet to come up with executive action we can take … to reduce pollution, [and] prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change …”
Should America, if not the world, breathe a sigh of relief?
Friday, an asteroid estimated to weigh 10 tons and no bigger than a large kitchen table, streaked across the sky above Russia. Moving through Earth’s atmosphere at 33,000 mph, the shockwave preceding the fiery rock bounced off the Russian tundra and slammed back into the meteor, triggering an above-ground explosion that toppled nearby structures and injured more than 1,000 people. Mr. Obama’s cabinet will have to tackle our planet’s near-earth-object problem once they save us from Al Gore’s invisible friend – global warming.
Executive Orders certainly impede the actions of a free people, engendering a god-like sense of omnipresent power in the mind of the pen-wielding signer, but it can’t slow or stop the solar system’s deadly, whirling debris. There is a lesson in all this: reality is far too complex for mere mortals to predict let alone manage.
In a letter dated July 3, 1776, John Adams confided to his wife Abigail that “succeeding generations” of Americans would celebrate the 4th of July “with pomp and parade … sports … bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…” One month later, Gen. Washington’s Continental Army suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Long Island.
It would be seven years before Britain officially ended hostilities in America. Furthermore, the United States would not see a Pacific territory admitted into the Union until California brightened the constellation of stars on our flag in 1850. How could Adams know his nation would gain her independence and expand from sea to shining sea; that future generations would travel across North America in covered wagons or over asphalt ribbons in vehicles powered by fossil fuel, courtesy of dinosaurs annihilated by a massive meteor?
He didn’t. Adams believed liberty unleashed the creative impulses in a free people. That America’s unpredictable future was made more secure if built by free individuals working in cooperation with one another. That can’t be commanded into existence by autocrats with the stroke of a pen, or planned by commissions comprised of all-knowing bureaucratic “experts.”
Will all who predicted Russia’s meteor encounter please raise your hands … anyone … anyone at all? Why didn’t the fundamental transformer of America’s future “prepare our communities for the consequences” of an impending asteroid impact during his State of the Union harangue? It’s strange that utopians, who claim the power to mold the future, continually fail to predict it. An inconvenient truth, as Al Gore might say.