Silly debates

In his Washington Post column Charles Krauthammer points to the irrelevance of much of the debate over Iraq. What is being argued about is generally not the actual situation and what to do about it, but rather just what words to use when talking about it. At the heart seems to be a struggle about prestige, popularity in the press and electorate, and the right to self-boasting.

It strikes me that the debate on global warming is the same way. Why bother with facts and consideration about the merits and faults of proposed solutions when one can accuse the opponent of not caring about the environment/poor people.

It’s a saddening development, if this is a general trend. Of course, seriously thinking about the issues at hand is much more difficult than having the kind of pseudo debate we currently have. But if we actually want to get anywhere, taking on those hard problems is precisely what we must do.

Don’t want a surge? Present a different plan, and lay out the consequences of it. Want to do something about global warming? Find out what causes it, what it would lead to, and present a viable way to do something including a careful consideration of the costs of such a plan.

That’s what we should demand, both of politicians and others engaged in the debate, but also of those in the media covering the issues. Otherwise we won’t be able to solve anything that’s difficult.


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