In the wake of the Trump administration's decision to exit the Paris climate accord, many on the left seem to be writing an obituary for the planet. "Trump to Planet: Drop Dead," wrote CNN. And the Huffington Post. And the New York Daily News. USA Today, by contrast, went with the more nuanced: "President Trump to Planet Earth: Drop Dead."
Not only is participation in the Paris accord voluntary, but each country is charged with setting its own emissions-reduction goals, however stringently or laxly they wish. Should a country later change its mind or simply not meet its own goals, there is no penalty. Unsurprisingly, even if every country meets their Paris commitments, this will not reduce emissions enough to avoid what scientists predict to be dangerous levels of warming over the coming century.
Melodramatic references to an "Age of Trump" that suddenly commenced in November 2016 obscure this reality. Simply put, our collective fixation on the person and foibles of Trump the individual causes us to overlook what is actually going on. And what is actually going on is something that Donald Trump hasn't, won't, and can't affect.
Nominally, the Times provides its readers with "All the News That's Fit to Print." In practice, it prints "All the Views Deemed to Matter." Among the things that matter most at the Times are changes in the prevailing definition of freedom. … The Times equates freedom with maximizing personal autonomy, a proposition especially applicable to all matters related to race, gender, sex, and sexuality.
My argument here is not that the Times itself is somehow responsible for this revolution. While it may encourage, approve, or certify, it does not cause. As the paper of record, the principal function of the Times is to bear witness. In that regard, it performs an essential service. But if the Times went out of business next week, the forces promoting a radically revised conception of freedom would persist, their momentum unchecked.
[Author Thomas Ricks] considers them as whole individuals who also displayed virtues that are compellingly relevant to our own time. The result is a feast of a book, laden with observations and insights that enable us to see these familiar figures, and through them our own time, in a fresh and illuminating light.
Let Forgiveness Prevail
On a happier note, once in a while human beings manage to get in touch with the better angels. That has certainly been the case with Egypt's Copts, who show us another shining example of forgiveness in the aftermath of mayhem and murder of their brothers and sisters by radical Muslims. Muslims are apparently stunned by the Copts' response—and deeply moved.
Grace and peace,