By Marc Seelinger
After three years of attending UNC-Chapel Hill, I have learned to put up with varying degrees of outrageous comments from my professors. They typically vary from the more benign (e.g. having to pretend Paul Krugman is a real economist) to the more subversive (e.g. having to read feminism into everything).
But every now and then, there are those comments that are just in a league of their own. Today, one such comment made it into my 20th Century Chinese History class. In the course of lecturing on Mao’s Great Leap Forward, my professor informed us that the same sort of thinking that informed Mao’s decision to continue the Great Leap (which, by the way caused upwards of 45 million Chinese peasants to starve to death) is the same sort of thinking that today informs skepticism of global warming. In other words, Mao’s refusal to admit his error and the resulting deaths of millions of his countrymen is the same sort of bone-headed thinking that prevents global warming skeptics from seeing the light. She then gave the usual line about how 98% of scientists agree, etc., etc. This of course, is after North Carolina experienced one of the coldest winters on record.
Of course, she has it completely backwards. Aside from the fact that whereas Mao killed 45 million people, and global warming skeptics have yet to kill anyone, she completely glosses over the fact that the reason Mao refused to end the Great Leap was because he was blinded by ideology (much like Al Gore and his disciples). Even Mao’s agricultural “science” was informed by the crackpot theories of Trofim Lysenko and his socialized version of evolutionary biology. Mao’s theory on communism said that a micro-managed economy would catapult China to greatness. The fact that the Great Leap served only to wreck China’s economy and actually led to a decline in industrial and agricultural output was simply a fact that Mao could simply ignore. Similarly, global warming alarmists are blinded by their own ideology and advocate policies without regard for their effect on real people (the food crisis in the developing world created by the use of corn for fuel is but one example). Fundamentally, global warming alarmists want to impose planned economies on otherwise free nations. However, the story of China, in a very dramatic way, demonstrates the futility of such a project. So, rather than serving as a lesson to global warming skeptics, the Great Leap really serves as a lesson to global warming alarmists, illustrating the ultimate failure of planning and the destruction caused by ideological blindness.
Marc Seelinger is a conservative activists at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.