A little while ago, my son pointed me to a news item in a periodical called The Onion, reporting Republican opposition to an Obama proposal to protect the earth against destruction by asteroid impact. The usual libertarian arguments were advanced, pointing out that everyone would be forced to pay for this protection, thereby undermining the incentive to act for themselves.
At the time, I was suspicious that this might be some sort of satirical gag. But now I see the proposal being discussed, and rejected, at the very serious Volokh blog (H/T Paul Krugman and Matt Yglesias).
So, based on my extensive agnotological studies, let me make some predictions about some of the scientific claims we are likely to see advanced (by the same people, but at different times), once the debate over Obama’s socialist plan hots up.
- Asteroids don’t exist
- The law of gravity means that an impact between an asteroid and the earth is physically impossible
- An asteroid would inevitably burn up in the atmosphere
- In a quest for grant funding, NASA has fiddled the data on asteroid orbits to overstate the risk of a collision
- Massive asteroids hit the earth all the time and nothing bad happens
- Asteroid strikes are natural so environmentalists are hypocritical in opposing them
- Al Gore is fat
The general point is that if some physical state of the world would require government action inconsistent with libertarian principles or conservative tribal taboos, then since libertarianism/conservatism is always right, logic dictates that the physical state in question must be impossible.
fn1. I’m susceptible enough that I believed DD when he said that Natalie Portman was starring in the movie version of Nassim Taleb’s book. I just went to see it, and, at the very least, the screenwriters took a lot of liberties with the text.