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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The billion dollar man

It is a well-worn aphorism that you should avoid meeting your heroes, because up close and personal they will often disappoint you with their inevitable human foibles, as compared to their superhuman attributes as witnessed from a worshipful distance, often spilling tomato juice down the tie of your admiration. But although I have personally found this to be true, with an old Sheffield Wednesday sporting hero of mine who I once discovered sneakily chatting up a girl I was after, the cad, I still feel one must gather one’s rosebuds from life. So despite the aphorism above I always take the risk of meeting heroes, however briefly, on the rare occasions when I get the opportunity to do so.

And last night, when I met one of them, alas very briefly, it proved no risk at all. For not only was my hero just as good in the flesh as he is as a picture on the Internet, he was even better. Far better, a true heroic star, a man of penetrating intelligence with a hint of self-deprecatory humour, a man of sparkling West Coast eloquence with an ability to make uninteresting questions put to him seem vital and imaginative, and a man of such devastating rhetorical ability that in just half an hour he managed to destroy a New Left edifice, constructed out of glue and matchsticks over three decades, to leave it as a dusty pile of splinters on the floor.

He was outstanding. He was inspirational. He was magnificent.

And no, I’m not talking about David Carr. Because I met him last year. I am, of course, talking about Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Michael Jennings, below, details Mr Lomborg’s short talk for the Adam Smith Institute, last night, so I’ll break my usual habit and keep this short. First, you must buy the book, if you haven’t done so already you naughty person. Second, we’re not going to run out of Shale Oil until about the year 5000. Third, that won’t matter, because we’ll be off fossil fuels by the end of the 21st century. Fourth, I was the first one to get my book signed last night because I’m one of those sorts of people. Fifth, if you ever get the chance to hear Bjørn Lomborg speak, yourself, just stop everything. Take that opportunity!

My greatest hero of all, Ludwig von Mises, once stood alone to take on the entire world before he then beat it. Bjørn Lomborg is a man in that vein. Almost alone, and despite copious icebergs of abuse, he has dragged the gun down from our heads that Greenpeace eco-warriors were gleefully pointing at us and wiped the imminent smile of success from their faces. Think Agent Smith. Think Mr Anderson. He is the one.

The book is available on all good websites everywhere. It’s a no-brainer. Just buy it.

[BTW, for all Lomborg groupies, such as myself, there is another great review of the event here, by Andrew Medworth of the ASI]

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