James Taylor (the Heartland Institute guy, not the folk singer, alas) has discovered humoral medicine. See, the Black Plague was caused by too much cold, after the Medieval Warm Period petered out. (God, why didn't those medieval physicians think to treat it with hot poultices and baths to reduce black bile? SO OBVIOUS.) Anyway, if we manage to stem the global warming tide, according to Taylor, we'll be setting the stage for a new outbreak of plague.

By the year 1300, however, the climatic good times were coming to an end. Successive cold years drove the Vikings out of Greenland, where many of the Medieval Viking villages remain buried under snow and ice to this day. Longer winters and cooler, shorter summers decimated crop production throughout Europe. The rains that fell were cold, persistent, and slow to dry up. Famine and plague, which had largely disappeared during the Medieval Warm Period, became the norm rather than the exception. And by 1350, the grim, cold climate brought about the dreaded Black Death.

The Black Death’s gruesome, powerful hold on the human psyche is readily understandable. But why is it that so many people yearn for a return to the cold, miserable conditions that spawned the Black Death?

"Even today it is clear that cold, not heat, is deadlier to human condition," Taylor continues. (HOT POULTICES, PEOPLE. Do we have to tell you everything?) "Cold weather kills, as does cold climate. Yet global warming zealots tell us it is better to have a 'natural' climate that kills people than a benign climate that is partially caused by humans." (Just to recap: The "benign" climate is the one with the deadly floods, hurricanes, wildfires, food shortages, etc., but that is warm enough that your black bile and blood are in perfect balance, thus protecting you from plague.)

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Oh god, I can't stop, I gotta put one more block quote:

The mere fact that humans may be impacting The Natural Condition does not mean we must take to the streets with pitchforks and lanterns to oppose such villainy. The Natural Condition can be, and often is, cold and deadly. Without a doubt, the warming of the past 100 years has been a welcome respite from a long and deadly Little Ice Age. The possibility that humans may have contributed to the recent warming does not make it any less welcome. Which begs the question: Why are Mitt Romney and global warming zealots yearning for a return to the conditions of the Little Ice Age and the Black Death? Because they were “natural”?


For anyone else who, like Taylor, didn't make it past the 13th century in school: Plague is actually not caused by cold? It's caused by these teeny tiny creatures, so small you can't see them, called Yersinia pestis. You probably understand that, because it's Latin and you are from the Middle Ages! I know, I know, tiny animals too small to be seen … it's really hard to conceive of. But you can see them with a microsc … uh … you can grow them in a petri d … you know what, let's just go with the humors thing, that's probably about Taylor's speed.

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