04.24.2015 1

Sixty-five years of duck and cover

By Don Todd

duck and coverIn the 1930s, the theme song of the Democratic Party was “Happy Days Are Here Again.” What a change that is from the current unofficial theme song of the left which seems to be “Nobody Knows the Troubles I’ve Seen.” The left is in a constant state of high anxiety over impending doom. The cause of this doom changes periodically, but the message is always the same: “The end is near!”

People used to laugh at such eccentric notions; now the Democrats want to punish anyone who disagrees with their predictions of impending catastrophe.

In the 1950s, “nuclear holocaust” was just the thing to keep people up at night. Grade school children were called upon to hide under their desks with their hands over their heads as if this would protect them from a nuclear attack. Conelrad, the emergency broadcast system was advertised regularly on the radio just to remind everyone an attack could come at any moment.

Over time, people got tired of worrying about an attack that never came; so to replace the H-Bomb, Dr. Paul Ehrlich in 1968 came up with The Population Bomb. Time magazine ran a cover story, and television documentaries were produced to convince the American public that soon we would be eating our dead because of a lack of food and arable land. Dr. Ehrlich’s book became a best seller, and anyone who disagreed was labeled an idiot and a science denier. To defuse the population bomb, it was recommended that birth control chemicals be placed it the public water supply. The recommendation was made by Dr. John Holdren, who is now President Obama’s National Science Advisor. Dr. Holdren did have one caveat, and that was that these chemicals should not affect our pets.

When The Population Bomb fizzled, a new crisis appeared on the horizon, “The New Ice Age.” Soon, we were told, we would all be freezing in the dark. Newsweek ran a cover story.

When this did not happen, we were soon warned about the depletion of the ozone layer that was being caused by canned aerosol products and the refrigerant used in most homes and cars on which DuPont was about to lose its patent. A large segment of the population was predicted to imminently be in danger of coming down with skin cancer. Products were effectively banned; a new patented refrigerant was produced by DuPont; and now we seldom hear of the ozone layer.

Acid rain was a grave concern. It was going to defoliate the forest; there would be no shade; and like the other scientific emergency fantasies, the end result would be death to all humans. Cockroaches, it was predicted, would survive.

Nuclear winter had a short run as the next thing to worry about. ABC did a movie of the week on it. Dr. Ehrlich of The Population Bomb fame traveled the country scaring college students with his new horror stories. My son attended one of these sessions at George Mason University, and he reported that a young woman ran from the auditorium shrieking in fear.

Then global warming debuted in a crowded Congressional hearing room during a typically hot Washington summer day with the air conditioning turned off. The witness was sweating. How could anyone deny warming was here when you could see it right before your eyes?

Global warming did not happen, so a shift was made to climate change. Since the climate changes over time that seems life a safe bet.

What is one to make of 65 years of predictions of impending doom from the left? Part of it is “Hey, look! A squirrel!” They do this in order to distract people from the real damage the left is doing to Western civilization. Another part is that these are very unhappy people, and misery loves company.

Don Todd is Director of Research at Americans for Limited Government.

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