What Would John Galt Do?

A whole different way of looking at "WWJD"

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Gore-ball warning

OK, I've been avoiding the Great Global Warming Hoax since I began this blog, referring to it only obliquely. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to wade into it now.

I've had to wade into a lot of shit in my day and now that I'm not living on a farm any more I was hoping that my barn-cleaning days were over. But here I am, shoveling shit again, except that this time it's bullshit instead of cow shit or chicken shit or (gawd forbid, the most vile of 'em all) pig shit.

I've been reluctant to wade into this particular cesspool of environmental myths, half-truths and outright lies because I am not a Real Scientist. I don't feel qualified to read the scientific journals and papers, and grasp the nuances therein. However, very few of the dogs in this fight are Real Scientists -- and most of the ones that are real are definitely not in the global warming alarmists' camp.

However, I grew up during the Space Race when science education was actually considered important in the public schools, and as such I have a better science education than most college graduates do today. We were also taught Critical Thinking skills in those days -- another area that is clearly no longer considered important in today's academe. As a perennial winner at science fairs (for doing Real Science rather than a rehash of what was already known), I suppose I might even qualify as an amateur scientist. Maybe. In any event, I do have a solid foundation in science education and know damn well what the difference is between Real Science and propaganda.

I wish everyone had such an education. All of us would be a lot better off without billions of dollars' worth of our productivity going down the toilet because of the environmentalists' fraud.

So, if you disagree with me, keep it to yourself. I'm not interested in engaging anyone in debate over this subject; I do not feel that I am well-enough informed to be able to do that (even though I am vastly better informed than you are). Don't bitch to me about a lack of references; this is a blog, not something I'm writing for publication. I can back up every statement I make here, but I'm not going to spend time looking up references when I'm not getting paid to write. If you really cannot find corroboration of my points below with an Internet search engine, then I'll be happy to do the research for you at the low rate of $40 per hour.

But there shouldn't be any need for that. Others far more knowledgeable about climate science than I am have already done the research and proved all of my points below.

Let us proceed.

The global warming alarmists are making three claims. In order for them to be right, all three must be true. Further, the claims are independent: proof of one does not prove either of the other two. This is important, because they want to be able to prove one of them and have us accept the remainder on faith.

Their three statements are:
  1. Planet Earth is getting warmer (true, but not as much as they want you to believe);
  2. Earth's warming is caused by burning fossil fuels (could be partially true -- maybe);
  3. If it isn't stopped, this warming will have catastophic effects on Earth's ecosystems (pure speculation).
This issue is the worst case of Abuse of Science in the history of the human race. The Left quickly made this brainchild of a lone nutcase working at NASA their cause celebre (or should it be cause macabre?) because of its enormous potential to destroy Capitalism forever. The fact that adopting their "solution" to this non-problem will mean agonizing death to billions of people through starvation and disease means nothing to them: after all, one hundred million were slaughtered in the name of Communism in the 20th Century alone.

Now let's look at some facts:
  • The Earth has warmed slightly in the last 100 years. Sort of. Actually it has warmed, and then cooled, and then warmed some more. The total net warming over the entire hundred years amounts to about half of one degree -- 0.6° C to be exact.
  • There is no way to reliably predict how much more the Earth will warm, or how fast. Or for how much longer. The computer models being cited by the alarmists cannot even accurately predict the past (i.e., when fed historical data); therefore, they have no meaning or worth outside of the branch of science that deals with using computers to predict things.
  • There is no "scientific consensus" on global warming -- or on anything else, for that matter: the term itself is an oxymoron. A consensus isn't science, and science does not use consensus to do its work.
  • There are no "thousands of UN scientists" who believe in global warming. There is a UN bureaucracy -- the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has assembled the work of various climatologists around the world into various Reports. None of these climatologists actually works for, or is funded by, the UN.
  • The "thousands of UN scientists agree" statement comes from the summary of one of the reports. That summary, written by a bureaucrat, makes a number of alarmist statements that are not in the report itself. Few journalists have ever read the actual report; they simply quoted the summary. While the summary says that global warming is real and it is definitely human-caused (points one and two of the alarmists' three-point claim); the report itself says that not enough is known to draw any conclusions about whether the warming is human-caused.
  • Recent data suggests that part of the current warming period might be human-caused -- up to a maximum of somewhere around 25-30%. Using the worst-case numbers, that means that at most about one-tenth of a degree (of the 0.4 degrees that the planet has warmed since the last cooling period ended about 35 years ago) can be attributed to the carbon dioxide that humans have returned to the atmosphere.
  • There are other explanations for the data immediately above, but the data ARE consistent with what we know (which isn't much) of CO2's role in "climate forcing". That is not proof of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW); it merely means that it could be possible.
  • This is not the first time in human history that the planet has warmed. There was no global apocalypse then, and there won't be any environmental meltdowns this time either. In fact, the 200-year-long Medieval Warming Period (MWP) -- during which the Earth warmed considerably more than it has (so far) during the current warming period -- ushered in a time that was remarkably free of wars and famine. The period is also known for significant advances in human rights, exploration and mathematics.
  • Real scientists do not release their findings to the Press before they have published in peer-reviewed journals and/or presented papers at symposia. And real scientists rarely, if ever, inject themselves into the political arena.
  • Facts do not matter to True Believers.
OK. Those are the facts. You can not argue with them; if they're "inconvenient truths" standing in the way of what you want to believe, I'm sorry. If you don't like them, don't argue with me; I don't have the time (unless you want to pay me). Go do the research and you'll find that I'm right and you're wrong.

Now, here is my rant. This is opinion. Unlike most opinion, it is rational and fact-based. But you can argue against it if you wish, especially if you see holes in my logic. If you see holes anwhere else, you're looking at porn -- be sure to send me a link. Unless it's a photo of Gore's balls warming -- I don't wanna see that. Too much information.

So, according to the global warming alarmists, an environmental doomsday is coming soon because humans have returned some of the carbon dioxide that was once in the atmosphere, back to the atmosphere. Conveniently for them, the Earth actually IS warming a little bit, but only since about 1970. Before that, the planet had been cooling for a few decades. If you're paying attention, you will notice that they never show you the data from about 1939 to about 1970. This is called "cherry-picking" one's data, and real scientists don't do it.

They have ensured that the voting population has been barraged in every even-numbered year (which, purely by coincidence I'm sure, just happens to coincide with national elections in the United States) with news reports "proving" that the planet is getting warmer, and that the doomsayers have been right all along. Notice, if you will, how disingenuously this is being finessed: because it is well established that the planet actually is getting warmer, then we are definitely going to have a global apocalypse. No one is allowed to examine that these are separate issues, and that proof of one has absolutely no connection to the other. And anyone who raises skepticism about the Apocalypse (i.e., alarmist point #3 above) is a "flat-earther" (some even go to the extreme of saying "holocaust denier") who refuses to accept the FACT that the Earth is warming!

This isn't science, folks. It's propaganda that has a certain goal in mind (NOT saving the Earth!). And because so few people (and, apparently, even fewer journalists) have been trained in critical thinking, the alarmists are getting away with it.

So, as we build toward another election in the United States, the propaganda has been growing more intense (and more absurd). We've had stories about polar bears facing extinction because ONE polar bear was spotted on an ice floe, stranded at sea -- and now it's a given that the entire Arctic is in trouble. Much ink was spilled over the smaller of the two Antarctic ice caps shrinking, while news that the larger ice cap is growing was ignored. Greenland is called "Green Land" for a reason -- it had no ice cap when the Vikings discovered it -- but you'll never hear about that in the alarmist stories about how the Greenland ice cap is "melting". No, it isn't melting. Well, maybe; we don't actually know. Parts of it are RECEDING, but the interior appears to be getting thicker. No one knows what the actual net change is. Frankly, no one should care. Greenland was once GREEN, and it wasn't a global environmental disaster. Unless having Vikings going around discovering places is a disaster. Uff Da!

The most ridiculous global warming alarmist story to hit the press (so far; I'm sure it will get worse) was a week or so ago, when thousands of news outlets breathlessly reported that -- GASP! -- Poison Ivy grows faster when there is more carbon dioxide in the air! Imagine that! A PLANT, for the love of gawd, actually growing FASTER when there is more CO2 in the atmosphere! What is this world coming to??

Proof, I guess, that the global environmental Apocalypse is upon us, just as the doomsayers predicted.

Ever wonder WHY they picked poison ivy instead of, say, rhubarb? Or any of the precious little Amazon rainforest plants? Hmmmm?

This is what we're dealing with, folks. It's a concerted propaganda campaign, and the worst fraud (so far) ever to be perpetrated upon the human race. Al Gore has now replaced Joseph Smith (founder of the Mormons) as the most successful liar in U.S. history ("successful" being defined in terms of how many people he has duped, and continues to dupe).

I am picking on Al Gore here not because of his recent rise in popularity, but because he, more than anyone else, is responsible for this hysteria which has already cost us billions in lost productivity. It was he who invited James Hansen -- the abovementioned "lone nutcase working for NASA" -- to speak to the Senate committee that Gore chaired in 1988, and he who went out of his way to exclude other scientists whose work disputed Hansen's findings. And it was there, in Gore's committee, during yet another bitterly partisan Presidential election year in which the Democrats claim that the opposition won unfairly, that the global warming hoax was born.

I shudder to think that that man almost became President.

We are not dealing with reasonable people in a rational debate here; we are dealing with radicals, in the dictionary sense of the word, who will stop at nothing to remake the world in their image.

Though there are many avenues open to the human race to deal with global warming (after all, humans dealt with it just fine the last time it happened), Gore and his little friends have a monomaniacal obsession with a single course of action: eliminating man-made carbon dioxide emissions. There is only one way that this can be accomplished: roll back human progress to the state existing before the Industrial Revolution.

Having no man-made CO2 in the atmosphere means having NO cars, NO aircraft, NO factories and NO electricity. Without manufacturing, and the energy it requires, most of modern medicine will also disappear. It also means mass starvation, because it is simply impossible to feed the current world population with pre-Industrial-age agricultural technology -- because, you see, there will also be NO farm tractors, very little irrigation and (most importantly) NO artificial fertilizer. It was the invention of the latter that prevented the mass die-off predicted by Malthus.

All of this, to save the world from warming up one-tenth of one degree. This is radical -- in the dictionary meaning of the word. It would rip our culture out by its roots.

And that is exactly what these people desire. Maurice Strong, organizer of the first "earth summit", is on record wistfully pining for "the collapse of civilization." Others are on record calling for the elimination of 90% of the Earth's population. If you will get busy with an Internet search engine, you will find many, many more examples.

Many years ago I noted (and horrified one of my students in doing so) that "if you want to destroy an economic system, there is no better way to do it than to deny it access to its own energy, and its own natural resources." That was before global warming had become an issue; I was referring to the environmentalists' opposition to nuclear power, and their then-recent escapades to shut down logging in the US' most productive forests (the Pacific Northwest). They succeeded at both. Now they're going after all of our other sources of energy. Do you think that is a coincidence?

I do not.


What Would John Galt Do? Well, consider these words from Ayn Rand:
Ecology as a social principle ... condemns cities, culture, industry, technology, the intellect, and advocates men's return to "nature," to the state of grunting subanimals digging the soil with their bare hands.
--"The Lessons of Vietnam," Ayn Rand Letter, III, 25, 1

John Galt's creator had it figured out a LONG time ago.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

More rogue-ery

Okay, I gave my friend Dave a pretty Bad Time® in my last post. Frankly, it was mostly an excuse to link to his website to increase his ranking in Google searches but I thought it would be fun to pull on his chain a little. I mean, why let him get off scot-free, right? Do you think John Galt would let anyone get something for nothing?

Besides, Dave raised some of those libertarian issues in his emails to me that can be argued on both sides from a libertarian perspective. But I was having Too Much Fun® lampooning him and ran out of steam before I'd gotten to any of the meaty stuff that he brought up.

Therefore, herewith is a more serious treatment of those issues.

Dave had three or four points to his rant:
  • He doesn't like the requirement for a permit to raft the river, and cops checking for "your papers, please".
  • He REALLY doesn't like being denied the opportunity to drink a beer -- actually a case of beer -- while floating down the river. He said this is what bothers him the most.
  • He also doesn't like the pi cops "making sure you aren't smoking something they don't approve of".
  • His response to the idea of ladies "improving the scenery" (so to speak) was a lugubrious "oh, that's probably illegal too in today's oppressive environment," yada yada. I thought for a moment that Eeyore had snuck in and taken over his keyboard.
So the real question, for THIS blog anyway, for all four of these is, "What Would John Galt Do?"

Well, first of all I think that if John Galt owned that stretch of river, he would expect people to pay (in gold, of course!) for their enjoyment of its use. If he didn't own it, he would expect to pay the owner if he wished to use it. That's just basic Property Rights stuff.

So, making sure that the people using the river have paid for their use thereof is well in line with libertarian (and even Libertarian) principles. The "papers" that the cops seek amount to little more than a reciept proving that one has paid. Certainly no Libertarian can object to that! The alternative amounts to expecting the taxpayers to pick up the tab for parking lot maintenance, porta-potty service, litter cleanup, asshole extermination, and so forth.

I think I beat the second point to death in my last post. Basically, I can see both sides of the alcohol issue, and in formal debate I think I could comfortably argue either side with passion.

I'm not even going to comment on the third point. I doubt that John Galt would care much one way or another about people smoking dope on his property, but who knows, really? I think most people reading this are probably on the same page on this one (i.e., not the Government's business as long as your drug use isn't messing with anyone else's property or pursuit of happiness).

And the last point? Bare breasts are becoming more acceptable every year; I have seen more breasts, in public, in the last few years than I have seen throughout the entire rest of my life. Eugene, Oregon (and I believe Ashland, Oregon as well) has a law on the books specifically declaring that it is legal for women to be in public with bare breasts. The religious bigots who have hijacked the word "conservative" are making a lot of noise (mostly to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission) about their little obsession with this harmless bit of anatomy, but they're losing this war and they know it.

At least there's one little bit of good news.

When libertarians disagree, a good part of the debate comes down to the question of where to draw a line. At what point does one person's right to (for instance) peaceful enjoyment of the water take precedence over others' right to ingest chemicals peacefully -- when that same chemical is also known to turn some people into assholes that make the whole place anything but peaceful?

These discussions almost always end up in shouting matches over "rights". But many of the "rights" people assert aren't rights at all (such as the so-called "right" to health care: no, there is no such thing as a "right" to force others to pay your healthcare expenses for you. I'm sorry.).

Before we can have a rational discussion in areas where rights conflict, the first thing we need to do is ensure that we are dealing with genuine rights. I recently read an excellent piece about environmentalist rhetoric that begins with the clearest discussion of rights (real and phony, and how to tell the difference) that I have ever seen. I highly recommend it to anyone reading my words here, since it is nearly inevitable that I shall make reference to "The Rhetoric of the Environmental Movement" (Ronald Hamowy, Mises Institute) again and again in the future.

WWJD -- What Would John [Galt] Do?