There is something about liberal commentators that means they can not resist the inscrutable sayings of the Chinese - no matter how daft they are. Isabel Hilton falls into the trap in today's Grauniad when she quotes a Chinese minister talking about China becoming the world's biggest polluter.
"A tall tree attracts the wind".
Don't you just love it? Of course, it's a stupid saying because - if we're talking about wind as in air currents caused by thermal fluctuations then tall trees attract no more wind than short trees - they just get caught in the wind a little more. On the other hand, if we're talking about wind as in the verbal flatulence of Guardian commentators then he got it spot on.
As China overtakes the USA as the world's biggest polluter, Hilton suggests we should lead by example to encourage China to fall into line regarding climate change - as if this is likely to have any influence whatsoever. China has hardly rushed to follow our "lead" on things like democracy, human rights, the rule of law and personal liberty. If anything, we're heading more their way than they are ours.
But Hilton seems to think they can be won over this time. Does she seriously believe that China would watch us hamstring our economic future with punitive regulation and high cost to industry and then say "hey, that looks like a good idea. Let's do it!" or would they see it as an opportunity? An opportunity to bring in more investment as manufacturers look for countries with less punitive regulation and lower costs to make their goods in.
The basis of Hilton's argument is the liberal self-loathing - or rather self-righteous loathing of the west and particularly the USA. The USA has been, for some time, the "tallest tree" economically speaking - and the one thing the tallest tree is guaranteed to attract is the axe.