Stubbornly ignorant and arrogant too

Doomsday, 1975

Rather than wait around for the power to be restored (which it now is) I went up to Maine today to help out my son John. The drive up gave me an opportunity to listen to various people express shock and surprise at the effect of a major storm on beachfront properties. Governor Christie exclaimed that he’d never have imagined such devastation, NPR rang up the usual empty heads to discuss global warming – induced severe weather and on and on and on. New York Governor Cuomo,speaking of river waters flooding the new World Trade Center site, sums up our governing class’s grasp of reality and science neatly:  ““When this space was built, there was no assumption that the river could overcome the bank,” he said. “We’ve just ignored it. We’ve just been blind to it.”


To be surprised at this damage is to admit to a lifetime of deliberate ignorance. In 1973 a geology professor of mine used to rail against the insanity of building homes on barrier islands and emergency facilities like hospitals and fire stations on fault zones and flood plains. This was long before global warming was invented; in fact, it was even before the “settled science” told us we were doomed to suffer an ice age. Common sense and a knowledge of geology dictated that you don’t build where destruction is certain.

Warmists ridicule creationists for believing that the earth is just 7,000 years old, but to a warmest, 7,000 years is as irrelevant as 7 billion. A warmist refuses to look beyond 100 years, and therefore any storm, tidal surge, temperature rise or global climate change at all that exceeds what happened in the past century is, within their world, unprecedented, in the literal sense that it has never happened before.

How else can one explain the decision of New York Hospital, located in lower Manhattan in the lowest part of the island and flanked by two rivers and the ocean, to place its sole emergency generator in its basement? “Gee, it never flooded before, and if it weren’t for this darned global warming it would never have happened this time.” Various public officials used the same reasoning today to explain why the subways flooded, railroad tracks were washed away and homes swept into the sea: “who’d have expected that?”

Well my professor did, and so did everyone who’s ever even cracked a geology textbook. There’s no way to move an entire infrastructure out of harms way in an instant, but if our various governments had used the past 40 years to move things up as the original equipment wore out, there would be less damage today. Instead, we get a prescription to spend trillions, shut down the western world’s economy and impoverish the globe, all because the pointy-heads are worried about seeing weather that hasn’t occurred since the dawn of creation: 1938.

Let’s concede the modern rationalists their point about the age of the earth and date it as billions of years old. Only the most arrogant sort of person could claim that a mere century’s worth of time establishes the benchmark for what we’re entitled to expect from our globe – it’s larger, much larger, than we are. To pretend surprise or, worse, to actually be surprised when that is brought home is ridiculous.


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6 responses to “Stubbornly ignorant and arrogant too

  1. Inagua

    Excellent analysis and perspective, Chris. Thanks for the best storm post anywhere.

  2. Anonymous

    basic geography is not your strong suit.

    which new york hospital ? there are many. perhaps you mean New York Downtown Hospital. And if they did fall for the generator in the basement trick, then they are indeed morons.

    There is one river and a tidal estuary in lower manhattan, a harbor and certainly no ocean.

    • All I know is what I heard on the radio – they had ambulances brought in from all over, even out of state, to move every single patient – 300 of them, some in critical condition – to hospitals on higher ground. They interviewed one nurse who said that because there was no electricity the elevators didn’t work so firemen devised a slide to move stretchers from the upper floors and cops and firemen carried other patients down in the more traditional, far more laborious way. The reporter commented on the dozens of nurses and other staff who had been called into work but, with no power, were sitting around in a darkened lobby doing nothing. The same people who placed the generator in the basement apparently are also incapable of figuring out that these people could have been more effectively utilized elsewhere.

      As for no ocean in New York, I direct you to New York Harbor, just off Battery Park. You may call it a harbor, I call it a harbor with direct access to the ocean and in conditions like those of Monday, there’s no discernible difference.

  3. Inagua

    It was the NYU Medical Center, right on the East River, First Avenue about 30th Street.

  4. Fred2

    Amen. For examples abound:

    Electrical Network: Needs to be hardened and prepared against EMP; be it some looney with a nuke, or a “Carrington Event” (look it up, and tremble); Design to accept and route around/isolate damage -0 that might even mean having certain power linesubsidies so they go the safe route, not th cheap route.

    Industrial Controls: Like for water, power and everything else – highly vulnerable to hackers – Look what the Stuxnet 1 & 2 and Flame did for Iran imagine a major city’s water/electric/gas system attacking itself because someone decided life need to get more fun.

    Internet: There is a plan right? I mean, if the internet shut down tomorrow the economy would tank next week at the latest as communication stopped….

    All the stupid, stupid decisions like sticking emergency generators places where *predictable* problems cause major issues. ( See that Japanese power plant, the hospital, a little more fore-thought and paranoia would have gone long way. E.g. It’s ok to be the generator in the basement, but the air intakes and exhausts have to be up high and there has to be a way to allow it to run behind water tight compartmentalization and run sump pumps. If water does get in there have to be shut offs to minimize equipment damage so things can be restored to service elegantly.

    Off in California I know several people who like to study historical disasters, and one valley near LA has pictures of a flash flood in the early days of photography reaching half way up the valley walls… the valley now has a water treatment plan, a power plant, highway, office park with some serious bits of internet infrastructure and a major LA power line and substation. You see the picture and realize that all that is one freak rain storm in the high desert away from total annihilation with 30min warning. Building “dry dams” to slow water like they did around the Connecticut river valley all they way up into NH could work.

    Note I’m not saying that the government should step and “do stuff” but they should set up the tax and legal bases so that companies and people CAN invest in disaster prep without being disadvantaged, and perhaps instead of wasting money on climate change, spend it on “studies” that are useful, like how to protect power networks.

    I can dream.

  5. AJ

    Well, the planet is cooling again, and the cooling process began right about after Quebec started charging me an extra sixty dollars to renew the registration on my truck every year because it had a big engine — I believe it’s a sixty dollar surcharge for any vehicle with an engine over 4.0 litres. When they started with their save the planet tax, I said to myself, “well, that ought to work”, and I guess it did. So that’s it: global warming, pay more tax, problem solved.