First, JAB writes us a lovely letter. Here is the critical part of it:
[T]hanks for highlighting the retraction from the Lancet. “Vaccine-phobia” has seemed to me to be a province of young, fairly well-off and educated people. Older folks who can remember children dying of diseases on a regular basis certainly don’t seem to buy into it. I came face-to-face with it a few months back when I got together with several college friends (Bubba’s School of Truck-Drivin’ & Cosmetology, Class of 19XX). All but one of us have children, and the subject of the H1N1 vaccine came up. As in, whether to vaccinate the young ‘uns or not. Well, I was absolutely flabbergasted to hear a dear friend say she would not be vaccinating her daughters because she had “researched it on the internet.” As I happened to remember how she did in freshman Biology 101, I was a bit skeptical of her ability to “practice” medicine based on “internet research.”
I am currently reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin, whose young son, Francis, died of small pox. I don’t mean to equate H1N1 with the scourge of small pox, but can you even remotely imagine a parent from those days, turning down the chance to vaccinate their children?
The Czar of course recommends vaccinating those who are risk; his own Царевич and Цесаревич were not vaccinated for H1N1, but were for the regular flu. The latter is more common in Muscovy. And yes, the Czar did so at the advice of their doctor, who is practically an uncle to them and referred to as such.
Now. Back to JAB. Specifically, her observation on a province of young, fairly well-off and educated people. Exactly!
Let us look at a large number of things that annoy the Czar, and ask whether it is a tenet of impoverished and tragic people, or fairly comfortable, spoiled people.
JAB got one with vaccinations (there is almost a pun in the name). Poor, hungry people love vaccinations because, as she says, they see the effects daily.
Vegetarianism. You generally do not find many poor, hungry people practicing it. Sure, the Czar knows the common counter is India. But not everyone in India is poor, and vegetarianism there is due to the cost and difficulty in eating meat. The Czar is talking about vegetarianism by choice. And there, that is a province of fairly comfortable, well-off people with a lot of time.
The Green Movement. Not a lot of poor people are fans of it. They walk and bike miles to whatever work they can find, but would dearly love to do so in a car. No, in order to have a lifestyle that tolerates having only a bike and windmills and geothermal heating, you have to be pretty well off.
And on and on. Yes, it takes a lot of money, complicated education, and idle time to live simply. They fail to recognize that most of us cannot afford to live their idle utopian fantasies out. But they sure try to be creative about getting us to buy into it.
So now we take another weird turn. The Czar glances at the February 2010 issue of Scientific American to discover that global warming by carbon must be dead. Because the new terror? A multi-page article on Fixing the Global Nitrogen Problem. Yes! Evidently an inert gas used to help plants grow is a horrific evil. Nitrogen levels are building up in the atmosphere, and causing…what exactly? Well, the article is vague. A helpful graphic discusses that it might be air pollution, nitric acid, and growth of algae, which spoils drinking water. And yeah, nitrogen inhibits plants ability to absorb carbon dioxide, which adds to global warming. Wait, the Czar recalls the global warmers telling us that plants do not consume enough CO2 to matter as a solution to carbon build up. Well, evidently, there is no point trading in carbon credits because nitrogen will kill us faster.
Okay, so now nitrogen is killing us? And it needs to stop: we need to stop using it as a fertilizer. Ironically, the article explains that the large amount of nitrogen in the air is the result of poor countries using it to boost their crops so that they can feed their population! In other words, let the poor countries die of starvationotherwise, our skies in Sonoma might be hazy.
But that is not what trashes this article for the Czar. It is a small box on page 69 entitled Its Up To You. What can you do to help the global nitrogen problem? Three bullets: (1) Support wind power, hybrid cars and other policies designed to reduce fossil-fuel consumption. (2) Choose grass-fed beef and eat less meat overall. (3) Buy locally grown produce.
Ah! Live the liberal lifestyle: anything else will kill the planet! How about (4) Offer amnesty to illegals, (5) Have government healthcare, and (6) Free Roman Polanski? Anything missing? So this winds up being less a scientific review of the atmosphere, and yet another progressive polemic from the left masquerading as a science article. SI is getting a little too cozy lately with the progressive left.
But the Czar cannot escape the chilling dismissal of the poorer countries who use ammonium nitrate to enrich their crops past subsistence farming. Dudes: find a way to end starvation first by eliminating the left-wing supported corrupt dictators in those countries that keep the people poor, and then come to us about reducing nitrogen. They say they wanna save the world….