Whatever Happened to Puritan Wine?

Writing back in February, Christopher Horner had a great line which pops back into my head every now and again:

[C]limate changes – it always has, it always will. Of course, saying “climate changes” makes one a “climate change denier.” Go figure.

I was reminded of his observation recently, while reading David Hackett Fischer's classic historical study, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. The book itself argues that America's complex culture can be understood, in large part, by looking at the waves of English-speaking settlers who came to the New World between 1629 and 1775, with each wave bringing men and women from a particular region of England to a particular region in America, and with them the peculiar habits and mores (and accents) of their points of origin.

In the first section of the book, concerning the emigration of East Anglians to Massachusetts in the early 1600s, Hackett Fischer describes the initial, and fairly grim, encounter with the New World of those Puritans who had crossed over on the advance ships of the Winthrop Fleet, as documented in their journals:

Their first sight of America was not encouraging. In the month of June 1629, when England was all in bloom, these weary travelers reached the Grand Bank of Newfoundland. Suddenly the wind turned bitter cold and they passed an enormous iceberg hard aground in forty fathoms of frigid water, with the green Atlantic surf roaring against it. It seemed to be "a mountain of ice, shining as white as snow, like to a great rock or cliff," towering above their little ships. In great fear they sailed onward through a foggy night, while drift ice scraped dangerously against fragile hulls and the ships' drums beat mournfully in the darkness.

Dress warm, Pilgrims!

As they traveled further south towards Massachusetts Bay, things became more pleasant, but Hackett Fischer spends some time meditating on the unusual climate of the land the Puritans found themselves in, which proved surprisingly amenable to the foundation of their "Calvinist utopia."

The first and most important environmental fact about New England is that it was cold -- much colder in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than today. The Puritans arrived in a period of the earth's history which climatologists call the "little ice age." Ocean temperatures off the coast of New England were three degrees centigrade colder in the eighteenth century than the mid-twentieth. In the coldest years of the seventeenth century, the water temperature off New England approached that near southern Labrador today. The Puritans complained of "piercing cold," and salt rivers frozen solid through the winter. One wrote that many lost the use of fingers and feet, and "some have had their overgrown beards so frozen together that they could not get their strong-water bottles into their mouths."

It's worth noting that Hackett Fischer doesn't say a single word about the industrial revolution or any other purported horseman of anthropogenic climate change. Most historians would include a virtue signalling nod in this direction today, but Albion's Seed was written in 1989, just before the current climate narrative had hardened into gospel. He simply states the widely shared interpretation of climatological data of the time.

Welcome to the Bay State: brrrr.

That interpretation was, essentially, that fairly dramatic worldwide climatic fluctuation is a common feature of both the historical and scientific records, with the Roman and Medieval warming periods providing a background to the expansion of the Roman Empire, the far-flung voyages of the Vikings, and the building of the great cathedrals. (There is also agricultural evidence for this warming, memorably mentioned by Mark Steyn, who pointed out that in the Middle Ages, there were vineyards "in places where one would certainly not dare to drink any local wine now," such as northern and southeastern England).

And then, round about 1300, the world began to cool, with the aforementioned Little Ice Age as the result. (Though even this is an overly-neat presentation of the data, as we know that there was a dramatic cold spell in the 900s A.D., and tree-ring records seem to indicate that some of the hottest years in the history of the Mediterranean occurred during the Little Ice Age).

Temperatures began to rebound in the mid-19th century, though they haven't done so in anything like a straight line, as the popular presentation seems to suggest. In 1974, Time Magazine famously warned us all about what was then "three decades" of global cooling, which, it was speculated, could be "the harbinger of another ice age." More recently, beginning in the late 1990s, temperatures have been more or less flat, which climatologists have taken to calling the "pause" in global warming (though one wonders if this "pause" is the basis for their terminological shift to the more accurate, if less meaningful, "climate change"). All of which is to say, there have been ups and downs, as well as plateaus.

Of course, from the perspective of the experts invested in climate change, these fluctuations had to be made to disappear. As John Robson put it,

Climate doomsters don’t like to talk about the Little Ice Age for obvious reasons: a natural temperature drop between around 1300 and 1650 and a rebound after 1850 make it pretty plain that much of the increase in the last 150 years was, at least prima facie, natural as well. And to get rid of the LIA they also had to do in the Medieval Warm Period, along with the Roman and Minoan ones and for that matter the Holocene Climate Optimum.

The climate changes. Modern climatologists would have you believe that change is rare, that gentle cooling was the norm for at least a thousand years before humans started emitting significantly more carbon through industrial activities. But both sides of that statement -- the gentle decline and dramatic increase of temperatures -- are contradicted by both science and history.

Just ask the Puritans, who might not have been induced to leave East Anglia had it been full of the vineyards their distant ancestors had once tended there. Then again, considering the abstemious nature of their sect, had they grown up surrounded by the grape, they might never have become Puritans.

'Climate Cassandras' -- Plus ça Change

Remember “Anthropogenic Global Warming”?  “Global warming” became “climate change” because the warming… didn’t exist. It still doesn’t. The global temperature has, since 1997, flattened. This is explained-away by the climate alarmists as a “pause.” The problem? Here’s TIME magazine in 1974:

However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.

"Three decades." Or since circa 1944. Added to the 1997 – 2014 “pause,” the global temperature has been cooling or flat for at least 47 of the past 76 years, or more than half the time. And this as post-war prosperity accelerated and hundreds of millions of people increased their use of carbon-based fuels to enter into and prosper from the Industrial Age.

Exactly zero temperature data sets exist supporting warming. None. Never have. Sure – a few data sets exist by once-reputable climate science organizations (NASA, East Anglia / CRU), but those are re-manipulated every few years to show whatever curve is required to support the climate alarmism-of-the-day. This manipulation is of the original data sets, both at the upper end (“The earth has a temperature!”) and at the lower end (“See how fast the temperature is increasing?!”). The original data did not show the temperature increase or steeper slope demanded by the alarmists, so the data were … adjusted. This is called many things, but “science” is not one of them.

Remember the “Hockey Stick” curve that started all this? This “curve” has been the subject of constant controversy since its creation, the foundation of Al Gore’s ridiculous film – and the basis for world governments to waste hundreds of billions (trillions?) of our dollars. The problem? The curve doesn’t exist.

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MIT also rejected the 'hockey stick' and the algorithm that created it, noting that random numbers provide a similar curve and fundamental mistakes are present in the underlying math. A large body of “science” supports the AGW argument, though, right?  Don’t 97 percent of scientists support "Climate Change"?

In a word? No.

Why, then, do so many researchers and academics support it? Here’s the answer from Dr. Richard Lindzen, the now-retired Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

It was the narrative from the beginning. In 1998, [NASA’s James] Hansen made some vague remarks. Newsweek ran a cover that says all scientists agree. Now they never really tell you what they agree on. It is propaganda.

So all scientists agree it’s probably warmer now than it was at the end of the Little Ice Age. Almost all Scientists agree that if you add CO2 you will have some warming. Maybe very little warming. But it is propaganda to translate that into it is dangerous and we must reduce CO2 etc.

If you can make an ambiguous remark and you have people who will amplify it ‘they said it not me’ and the response of the political system is to increase your funding, what’s not to like?

For the Left, “Science” is spelled “capitali$m,” as most “research” papers supporting “climate change” are written for, or occasioned by, grant money. We have a surfeit of unsupported climate fantasy funded by NGOs, academia and “philanthropic” organizations because academics can be greedy. They see Big Dollars or Big Careers (which equals Big Dollars) in supporting the climate flavor-of-the-month fixation of Big Government or Big Philanthropy. Whatever those organizations are demanding, they supply: the same kind of capitalism the Left is burning down America to protest.

Climate change policies are about one thing: collectivism. The ruling class rejecting the rising individualist middle class of the Western world and billing us for that rejection. It’s about rejecting the voice of people globally, people who, because of the internet and information awareness, now are knowledgeable of how badly and for how long the various Western governments have been and are continuing to screw their citizens.

Notice who the climate change “deniers” are: middle class Western individualists, while the climate change True Believers are anti-Western collectivists. Who makes the world go-round? Individualists (we invent everything). Who mooches off the going-round world? Collectivists (they invent nothing). And now the collectivists want to collect money from the individualists under the unsupported nonsense of “climate change,” usurping the power to choose what to do with our earnings, our property, our life’s work.

Every government needs authority and a common purpose in the eyes of those governed. These can be gained via both external and internal threats. Covid-19 masks and unlawful house arrest/lockdowns by some governors and mayors serve to control you. “Climate change” is being used to achieve that common purpose as well. It's all about control.

The data didn’t support anthropogenic global warming, so the name was changed, but the goals are the same: global totalitarian collectivism under our self-anointed betters, the destruction of entire industries, and robbing the West of wealth, progress, liberty and individualism in order to enrich the totalitarian ruling class in the guise of helping the Third World with cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner parks and playgrounds, and better schools.

When even the globalists at the U.N. admit that the entire climate hoax is not about the climate, but about destroying capitalism, you can be pretty sure that climate change is a feature for the left, not a bug; an excuse to advance totalitarianism and crush the middle class – and to get the middle class to join in, and pay for, its own destruction.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism. "This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution," she said.

We’ve seen this movie before. In the words of Princeton Professor Emeritus of Physics, William Happer, in 2017,

I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the consensus on climate change and the consensus on witches.  At the witch trials in Salem the judges were educated at Harvard. This was supposedly 100 percent science. The one or two people who said there were no witches were immediately hung. Not much has changed.

At least we aren’t hanging “deniers.” Yet.