Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Doomsayers

President Barack Obama has implied more than once that the current system of “capitalism“ is doomed in the face of his intended “reorganization“ of American society -- oblivious to the fact that full-scale, unregulated capitalism has never existed in this country or anywhere else in the world. “Capitalism” was blamed for the financial debacle of last fall; spokesmen for government policies and the news media deftly shifted the blame for it from those policies to the private sector with the swiftness of a card sharp.

Watching these spokesmen and the news media discuss the crisis, one has the unique experience of watching men identify the causes -- such as the government extorting the cooperation of banks and other loan institutions to accept bad loans tied to discounted mortgage obligations, or bribing them with the carrot of federal guarantees, yet refuse to acknowledge the fact that it was, and continues to be, government interference that is the root of the problem -- and then call for more of the same or greater intervention as a solution.

This is not evidence of stupidity. The phenomenon is a demonstration of evasion of the facts of reality, a decision to disconnect from reason, and an overriding urge to make reality conform to an ulterior agenda, an urge driven by a hatred of freedom, prosperity, and man.

It is the same policy of craven evasion and dishonesty that accounts for the phenomenon of little over a decade ago, when climate alarmists, moved by a panic and “concern” that seemed like scientific certainty, disseminated computer models that predicted catastrophic, man-caused global cooling that would cause falling sea levels, galloping glaciers crushing everything in their path, mass extinctions of animal species, a “nuclear winter," and the deaths of millions. Those predictions had the substance of gossamer, because none of those things occurred.

Now, when the average “global” temperature has fallen by one or a fraction of a degree, indicating -- but not predicting -- a cooling trend, the same alarmists are predicting catastrophic, man-caused global warming leading to melting icecaps, rising sea levels, retreating glaciers, mass extinctions of animal species, a “greenhouse summer“ of indefinite length, and the deaths of millions. (Hollywood, always loyal to fantasy and fallacy, did its bit to propagate apocalyptic doom with disaster movies such as “Soylent Green” and “The Day After Tomorrow.“) The evidence is that these predictions likewise are not coming to pass, and have also been proven to be made of gossamer. Politicians and anti-industrial groups resist or ignore the scientific evidence. The facts do not fit their wishes or their agenda.

Such mental stonewalling underscores the religious character of the global warming movement, a character reminiscent of the heyday of the Catholic Church (or, today, of Islam) when it had the power to punish those of little or no faith. Anyone who questions the “proofs” and pseudo-science of the creed is branded a skeptic, a heretic, or an unbeliever, is granted few or no chances of rebuttal, and is punished in a multitude of ways, such as professional ostracism or excommunication.

As reported in an earlier commentary, British scientist Lord Christopher Monckton was disinvited by Henry Waxman and his House energy and commerce committee to testify with former vice president Al “the debate is closed” Gore, lest Monckton’s testimony embarrass Gore and burn their ears and incinerate their premises. While the truth will free many men, it can deflate liars, charlatans, and politicians. Truth is a prison that will not allow them to fantasize and enact an alternative universe. They hate the truth-sayers as much as they hate the truth.

But, Obama and Gore are not the only doomsayers. There are others.

On May 23 the Townhall site published one of its very few articles that did not parenthetically sabotage its reasoning and allegiance to truth by citing, faith, God or religion, “Climate Change ‘morality,'” by Paul Driessen, an apostate from the Sierra Club and Zero Population Growth and a prolific champion of free enterprise and the truth. Not a wrinkle of mysticism taints it. His article excoriates the whole premise of anthropogenic global warming and in addition cites the projected catastrophic costs of the Waxman-Markey climate bill, which, if ever enacted and enforced, would guarantee this country’s economic collapse and the impoverishment of Americans who would be expected to shut up and put up.

“Global average temperatures stabilized in 1998 and have even cooled slightly, despite steadily rising CO2 levels. [Which can be attributed to what? An increasing world population that exhales CO2? The effects on the atmosphere of the emission of industrial “greenhouse“ gases cannot even be measured. A single volcanic eruption spews more “pollutants“ into the air than the total emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.] Except in its Western Peninsula, Antarctica is gaining ice. Arctic ice is seasonably normal. Land-based temperature data have been corrupted by air-conditioner exhausts and other heat sources.”

As for the computer models on which extortionate and confiscatory environmentalist legislation is based, Driessen notes that:

“Climate models are no more reliable than computer predictions of future Super Bowl winners and scores. Their Frankenstein scenarios are no more valid as a basis for law and policy than the special effects in The Day After Tomorrow or Jurassic Park.”

Driessen cites several studies that project costs to the economy and to taxpayers that rocket up to the billions and accomplish little or nothing except the redirection of industry to produce “green” energy sources such as thousands of wind turbines and hundreds of square miles of solar panels, aside from adding thousands of dollars to the average taxpayer’s cost of living. These projections have been made by the Congressional Budget Office, the Heritage Foundation, Harvard economists, and independent think tanks not suborned by federal study grants. The only catch, however -- although Driessen does not raise the issue, the logic must sit in the back of his mind -- is that these dire projections are based on the assumption that the economy and nation could survive such costs without plummeting us into civil strife, political and economic disintegration, and probable dictatorship.

“President Obama says the Bush administration ‘made decisions based upon fear, rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions.’ He and his Democrat allies in Congress should take that critique to heart on global warming.”

Obama, Waxman, and their global warming card sharps are, in short, pots calling the kettle black.

Driessen ends his article with:

“As it stands, this Congress is rapidly shaping up to be the most unethical, immoral and dictatorial in history. When the people finally rebel, it won’t be a pretty sight.”

Driessen, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death (2003), also wrote another interesting article for The National Free Press, “Back To The ‘Good Old Days’” (May 1), in which he projects a regression in living standards back to 1905 or 1862. In 1905,

“Coal and wood heated homes. Few had telephones or electricity. AC units were handheld fans. Ice blocks cooled ice boxes. New York City collected 900,000 tons of vehicle emissions -- horse manure -- annually, and dumped it into local rivers. Lung and intestinal diseases were rampant. Life expectancy was 47.”

The facts Driessen cites for 1862 are even more horrendous. These facts are readily accessible to Obama, Waxman, Congress and anyone else who might value the truth. Yet facts and truth play no role in their decisions.

“None of this seems to matter to the Obama administration or liberal Democrats. The 648-page Waxman-Markey climate bill would compel an 80% CO2 reduction, by imposing punitive cap-and-tax restrictions on virtually every hydrocarbon-using business, motorist and family.”

Later on in his hard-hitting article, Driessen notes that the alarmists’ computer models

“…cannot accurately replicate last year’s regional climate shifts or predict changes even one year in the future. They ignore Earth’s history of repeated climate changes and failed to anticipate the slowly declining global temperatures of 1995-2008.”

“Failed to anticipate” them, or deliberately discounted them, because they did not fit?

Driessen writes that

“President Obama says cap-and-trade will ‘raise’ $656 billion over the next decade. The National Economic Council and other analysts put the tax bite at $1.3 to $3.0 trillion.”

Presumably that does not take into account the hyper-inflated cost of living and of doing business. Again, the scenario is predicated on a functioning, productive economy and a civil society that could pay the tax, which is aside from the trillions of dollars in Medicare and Social Security entitlements and other programs to be funded also by a surviving but crippled private sector, not to mention the trillions spent on government pork barrel projects and government subsidies to maintain the “infrastructure.”

How can any rational person claim that the “computer model” of a regulated, nationalized, fascist economy has more credibility than any gossamer-woven climate forecast and which would last any measurable length of time? It is expecting that the hydraulic press of government force, fraud and deception can continue to squeeze blood from a rock and that the rock will not crack and explode under the pressure. The Tea Parties of March and April were cracks appearing in that rock.

No rational person would vouch for such a computer model. But career looters and enemies of freedom, such as Representative Henry Waxman of California, would. To him, men in the private sector are just so many serfs who will automatically keep creating wealth and values to tax and regulate for the government and its dependents to consume. And should the serfs realize that they have been indentured to a life of sacrifice, service and toil for the sake of the elderly, the lame and the halt, for the environment and what-not, and show signs of rebellion, Waxman and his ilk would prefer they not be able to do anything about it. During an interview on MSNBC in 2001, Waxman stated:

“If someone is so fearful that they’re going to start using their weapons to protect their rights, [it] makes me very nervous that these people have these weapons at all.”

Why would Americans protecting and asserting their rights make Waxman nervous? Does or does not the Second Amendment of the Constitution recognize that our government can become an enemy of the citizenry and that the citizenry had the right to form militias in self-defense? Did or did not the Founders mean that it was the federal and state governments that could become hostile to the citizenry?

Is he suggesting that his record in Congress, for example, in which he has voted for every proposed extension of federal power, and voted against every proposed limit on that power, has justifiably caused worry among the citizenry that the federal government is squeezing it dry, and that he, Henry Waxman, is in prominent, enabling and culpable company responsible for those encroachments? What doom does he wish to delay?

Just as climate alarmists ignore facts which do not fit into or which contradict their doomsday global warming scenarios, Waxman and his ilk ignore the facts stated in the Bill of Rights which do not fit into or which contradict their collectivist, and fundamentally man-hating vision of America.

Waxman’s offensively imperious and arrogant attitude is that of a privileged oligarch who believes he has first title to the lives, productive work and futures of Americans. Like Obama, like Nancy Pelosi, like Harry Reid, like the majority of Democrats and Republicans, he does not concede that Americans are the owners of their own lives. But his expression of fear is an invaluable clue to his deepest premises and outlook. One does not fear what one knows cannot harm or destroy one. That kind of man secretly fears retribution or justice, and so hates it and the prospect of it. He would prefer to dispense with the fear by emasculating the power of the citizenry to question and oppose him and his policies, so he can get on with further “public service.” Other men, after all, he believes, have mastered reality, and so they must be mastered in turn, necessarily with lies, whips, and government guns.

He would rather such rebellious Americans did not exist at all, so he could effortlessly lord it over a nation of selfless, obedient, dependent serfs, and thus postpone his own doom and that of the nation. He would hate the idea and fear the chance that Americans would say “no” to his power-grubbing, and so necessarily hate them. Ultimately, in the final analysis, he would rather they just shut up, or go away -- or die.

That is what Ayn Rand called the death premise. It is the core death-worshipping nature of such men which the Paul Driessens and other advocates of the paramount role of reason and facts in man’s existence must first grasp in order to understand why their arguments fall on so many deaf ears and have no effect on so many self-induced, comatose minds. It is the death premise that renders such minds in such men impervious to any presentation of reality and of the destructive consequences of their actions and policies.

Such men understand and know that if their wishes and fantasies cannot be “realized” in reality, then their chosen fate is to perish with those whom they have sentenced to certain death. When the champions of reason and man compel such men to face the nature of their hatred, as Driessen noted, that will not be a pretty sight, either.

But that will be a first step in freeing ourselves from them and their morality of death.


[IMH] said...

Minor nitpick: the global cooling nonsense was in the 1970s, more than a little over ten years ago. Since the late '80s (at least), it's been global warming.

At least, until the last year or two, when the nuts have rephrased to "climate change", so they can point to any variation at all as a sign of doom.

Michael Smith said...

Thank you, Ed, for another wonderful article.

The death-premise is protected by the same phenomena as "the big lie" -- it is so outrageous and so morally repugnant that people assume it cannot be true and that the environmentalists and the power-lusting looters in Congress like Waxman must have some good reason for what they do.

And of course Waxman and his ilk always offer a veneer of rationalization to make the poison-pill easier to swallow. For instance, after the House Energy and Commerce committee passed the "The American Clean Energy and Security Act", Waxman claimed

"Today the Committee took decisive and historic action to promote America's energy security and to create millions of clean energy jobs that will drive our economic recovery and long-term growth."

In other words, not only will the poison-pill not hurt you, it will actually make you better.

But CEI’s Myron Ebell notes the proposed amendments to this bill that were defeated by the Democrats in committee:

Mike Rogers (R-MI) introduced an amendment suspending the Act if China and India don’t adopt similarly stringent emissions reductions. Defeated on a party-line vote with all members of the committee voting, 23-36.

Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced an amendment suspending the Act if electricity prices go up in any region more than 10% after inflation. Defeated, 23-32.

Fred Upton (R-MI) introduced an amendment suspending the Act if unemployment reaches 15%. Defeated, 21-34.

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced an amendment requiring full disclosure to consumers of cost increases due to the Act. Defeated, 19-35.

Lee Terry (R-NE) introduced an amendment suspending the Act if gasoline prices hit $5. Defeated, 25-31.

Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced an amendment suspending Act if 10,000 steel jobs lost. Defeated, 20-35.

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced an amendment prohibiting using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases (H. R. 391).Defeated, 23-33.

Obviously, if Waxman and the Democrats pushing this legislation believed their own propaganda -- if they actually believed this legislation would have positive economic effects -- they’d have no reason to oppose these amendments. Their opposition is simply a confession that the purpose of this legislation is to impose economic suicide on the American people -- suicide to implement the rottenest, vilest version of altruism yet conceived: the demand that the human be sacrificed for the sake of the non-human.

Sacrifice of any sort is a vice. But a demand for sacrifice stripped of any possible rationalization -- a demand for sacrifice devoid of any possible human beneficiary -- is nothing less than the naked worship of death.

As Ayn Rand pointed out many times, the death-premise means that at root Waxman and the vast collection of comprachico-created, brain-dead, useful-idiot haters of reason that support him do NOT wish to live -- they wish to see us die.

We are witnessing an existential playing-out of the final chapters of Atlas Shrugged, with the best of the American people in the role of Dagny Taggert who, surrounded by haters and death-worshippers, was simply unable to believe that these creatures sought the death of the very men who kept them alive. Dagny finally saw it -- and grasped it -- when she realized they intended to kill Galt.

What will it take for the best of the American people -- those who still have something of a basic commitment to rationality and productiveness -- to realize that they are the target, that theirs are the lives these death-worshipping haters want to see extinguished in a slow, agonizing, brutal retreat to the sort of grinding poverty that convinces one that life is not worth living?

Michael Labeit said...

Ed writes,

"Driessen notes that:“Climate models are no more reliable than computer predictions of future Super Bowl winners and scores. Their Frankenstein scenarios are no more valid as a basis for law and policy than the special effects in The Day After Tomorrow or Jurassic Park.”"

Does this mean that the fundamental flaw of environmental legislation is bad induction?

Anonymous said...

Michael L. asks: "Does this mean that the fundamental flaw of environmental legislation is bad induction?"

No. It is not induction at all. Whims, wishes, and desires are not instances of induction.

Or, perhaps this was a trick question.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

This is a tremendously good article. Thanks. It helps some of us fight off the sense of despair that no one "get's it."

Michael Smith said:
"What will it take for the best of the American people -- those who still have something of a basic commitment to rationality and productiveness -- to realize that they are the target . . ."

There are quite a few of us who do see it. Now we are trying to figure out what we can do to stop it. What it looks like it is going to have to be, that unpretty rebellion that Driessen mentioned, is difficult for many of us to contemplate. This is precisely because Rand's concept of the "death premise", real as it is, is very difficult for life-loving Americans to get their heads around.