In today's WSJ, Bret Stephens proposes a contest to predict the next apocalyptic scare. The present one, man made, greenhouse gas induced "climate change" or "global warming" is literally running out of steam. GW is the latest in a long line of contrived, humankind threatening panics. Others have included overpopulation, nuclear winters, ozone holes and global cooling. Stephens outlines the course that these panics generally follow.
...The subject of the panic changes every few years, but the basic ingredients tend to remain fairly constant. A trend, a hypothesis, an invention or a discovery disturbs the sense of global equilibrium. Often the agent of distress is undetectable to the senses, like a malign spirit. A villain—invariably corporate and right-wing—is identified.
Then money begins to flow toward grant-seeking institutions and bureaucracies, which have an interest in raising the level of alarm. Environmentalists counsel their version of virtue, typically some quasi-totalitarian demands on the pattern of human behavior. Politicians assemble expert panels and propose sweeping and expensive legislation. Eventually, the problem vanishes. Few people stop to consider that perhaps it wasn't such a crisis in the first place.
Stephens lists some of the requirements of a new imaginary scourge.
It must involve something ubiquitous, invisible to the naked eye, and preferably mass-produced. And the solution must require taxes, regulation, and other changes to civilization as we know it.
Well, I have a perfect candidate - wireless / microwave radiation. Modern civilization is increasingly dependent on wireless technologies like cell phones and the internet. Meeting Stephens' requirements, wireless radiation is ubiquitous, invisible, and mass produced. The list of malaises attributed to its presence is constantly growing. (see link below). Opposing it will involve the full arsenal of leftist weaponry - taxation, regulation and litigation. A new, global anti-wireless-radiation industry will arise. It will have financial, political and ideological interests in maintaining a high level of public alarm over the potential catastrophic consequences of inaction. Demonized corporate targets will include Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, pushing aside (though not replacing, of course), BP, Shell and Exxon. Greenhouse gas, your time has passed. Wireless radiation is the new hysteria du jour!
The prize for winning Stephens' contest is a beer and a burger, on him, at the 47th Street Pig N' Whistle in NYC. I can see only one obstacle to me claiming the prize - my suggestion is too obvious and several other contestants will have the same idea. How about a party, Bret?