The latest issue of DoubleThink, the magazine of America's Future Foundation, has an in-depth and very interesting story about reason's own science correspondent, Ronald Bailey, and why he changed his position on anthropogenic global warming (which, in my view, is testament to Bailey's dedication to going where the facts lead; as I say in the article, Ron Bailey is by far the most scrupulously honest and intellectually serious science writer I know). Here's an early snippet:
A socialist when he went to college in the early 1970s, Bailey's undergraduate years happened to coincide with a boom in books warning of a coming environmental apocalypse. In just a few years, natural resources would run out. Oil reserves would dry up. The air and rivers would turn toxic. Overpopulation would lead to famine and disease. To Bailey's college professors, it was the gospel truth.
Meanwhile the young socialist's idealism led him, ironically enough, towards libertarianism.
"I became a libertarian, politically speaking because—and I know this is going to sound sanctimonious but it is literally true—if you are really concerned about the poor people then you have to pick the system that in fact helps poor people. And the only one that has done that is democratic capitalism, period," he says during a long interview at his Dupont Circle apartment.
The whole article, which delves into Bailey's reasons for changing his position on global warming and the reception of that switch within the broadly defined free-market movement, is well worth reading. Check it out here.
And check out the fantastic panel on "Global Warming: Risks and Consequences" that we hosted at last fall's Reason in DC conference. Moderated by reason's Matt Welch, and featuring economist Lynne Kiesling, Competitive Enterprise Institute's Fred Smith, and Bailey himself, it's well worth watching over at reason.tv. Click below to get started.