Brit Science Writer Loses Statist Faith

by George Gilder

The preeminent UK science writer Matt Ridley, formerly an editor of The Economist and author of the best-selling Genome and other books, has long upheld the politically correct canons of his trade. But in his new book, The Rational Optimist, he has finally exhausted his patience with the environmental movement and the rest of the economic left. The cause of his sudden and violent disillusionment is the collapse of global warming science, which he and the Economist have long gullibly accepted but which Ridley has now discovered to be so deeply flawed as to rise to the level of fraud.

This is the most complete and far-reaching and even profound critique of environmentalism and socialism that has come from Britain since Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. Ridley shows that the green movement poses a devastating threat to the environment, which throughout history has always benefited most from the very economic growth and progress, fueled by fossil energy, that the Greens are dedicated to ending. The only comparable books are Peter Huber’s Hard Green and the Bottomless Well, but Ridley takes the argument further and brings it up to date. This is a major breakthrough for conservatives and a must read.

My only objection is his credulous reliance on materialist economic models based on Darwinian biology. But compared to his huge achievement the flaws are best left to cavil at another time.

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