Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Against All My Liberal Beliefs, a Libertarian Economy Can Succeed

Against All My Liberal Beliefs, a Libertarian Economy Can Succeed

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Maybe it was when my wife and I were getting our picture taken in front of the soon-to-open Lamborghini showroom here in Manila; and the fact that my nephew (who works as a programmer for Chevron here) told us that there was a Maserati showroom that would open up a little way down the street. Just three hours earlier, I was getting a haircut and pedicure (yes, pedicure) at a small barbershop a block from our family compound. And the cost of my haircut and pedicure? Just over four bucks.

Welcome to the Libertarian paradise, where libertarian economic theory can and does work, enabling achievements that would be frankly impossible in America.

The Philippines isn’t perfectly libertarian; as with perfect democracy or perfect communism, perfect libertarianism is not an achievable result but rather a philosophical goal. The barber shop is a good example: of the six people working there, three are openly gay, two are transvestites, and the manager is a woman whose biggest challenge, I’m told, is preventing catfights among the workers. One of the transvestites was giving my son a haircut at the time and it bothered my son not at all, but he did tell me that almost anyone back at high school in Washington would never have set foot in the place because of the peer-enforced cultural fear of LGBTs. But cultural tolerance of LGBTs is a libertarian tenet, is it not? Outside of certain religious lines in the sand (abortion and birth control), the Philippine people are about as tolerant of others as it gets.

As with their culture, the Philippine economy embodies many libertarian tenets. In the article referenced, I asked if libertarianism leads to a happier population. But now I am exploring the obvious success of a significant portion of the Philippine economy. For those readers of this article who live in a major city, look outside and count the construction cranes you see being used to build skyscrapers and high-rise condos. How many do you see? Four? Five? Maybe even ten? In Manila, there are at least a hundred construction cranes in use right now; I daresay probably more than in any entire American state! For instance, there’s a suburb of Manila called Fort Bonifacio Global City. It’s a little over the size of downtown Seattle (you know, the home of Boeing, Microsoft, and Starbucks, and where, in good years one can see maybe five construction cranes at one time) But Fort Bonifacio is a planned city of skyscrapers and high-rise condos and gorgeous landscaping, very clean and orderly, no homeless, a first-class city that would be the pride of any state in America.

And it was all built in the past ten years.

Think about that! Manila is a poverty-ridden city in a third-world nation where it’s not unusual at all for people to live on less than two dollars a day, yet this city constructed an ultra-modern suburb over half the size of Seattle, all in ten years. I think it’s safe to say that even the richest city in America, New York City, could not even hope to do this. Manila’s not the only example, or the biggest. In the past thirty years, Shanghai went from having zero skyscrapers to now having nearly twice as many skyscrapers as New York City. Like the Philippines, China has an economy (if not a culture) that is largely libertarian in practice, and they have been able to achieve something that is beyond America’s capability even though our economy is still so much larger than theirs.

So how is it that Shanghai and Manila are accomplishing feats that no American city could hope to match? I believe the first half of the answer lies with the free-trade economics philosophy championed by Ronald Reagan as I described in my article The Global Upside of Reaganomics, because free trade has allowed trillions in American capital (and tens of thousands of our factories, our precious manufacturing capability) to flow overseas, thus enabling third world nations to build beautiful, gleaming cities.

The second half of the answer is less palatable to the cultured tongue. As we were leaving Fort Bonifacio Global City, perhaps a kilometer away from that soon-to-open Lamborghini showroom, we returned to the reality of life in a third world nation: children walking among the cars in the street selling anything for a few pesos, homeless living in ramshackle huts made of cardboard and salvaged plastic sheets, you get the picture. It’s like the yawning gulf between the litter-strewn mean streets and the utopian mansion of the CEO in Blade Runner, right down to the urchins prowling the streets, numerous empty buildings rotting in decay, only more so. The tired, poor, and wretched refuse of a third-world nation provide an inexpensive and compliant labor pool for the rich and powerful to accomplish much more than they ever could in the socialized economies of the first world nations.

Again, it is as Republican Liberty Caucus head Dave Nalle said:

“True libertarians love the poor because a capitalist society needs a poor underclass in order to function efficiently. This is why we support open immigration”.

The economies of China and the Philippines are solid proof that libertarian economies can not only work, but can accomplish wonders beyond the capability of the more socialized first world nations. To my liberal eye, it is also proof that trickle-down economics never trickle down to the people. America could not hope to accomplish such wonders as modern Shanghai, as Manila’s Fort Bonifacio Global City, because (Republican efforts notwithstanding) since the New Deal, we’ve had a system that ensured that nearly all Americans got some of the benefit of our national prosperity. One must also wonder if these libertarian economies will continue to prosper once their markets, the rich Western nations, are no longer able to lay their golden eggs.

And that is the choice that America faces: to return to the Keynesian principles of the New Deal which enabled us to have not only the world’s mightiest economy but also the world’s highest standard of living, or to continue to embrace the Austrian school libertarian economic principles expounded by the GOP candidates. We might match or even exceed the same great feats of construction that mark today’s Southeast Asia, but there’s a price, and it would be paid in the coin of suffering and misery of an ever-increasing segment of the American population, the poor who would find out first hand just how deep poverty really is for those who live in third world nations, with those beautiful, gleaming skyscrapers in plain view, but forever out of touch.

Powered by

About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Danprkr

    Interesting. He does knock Libertarianism in the end by stating how bad the poverty is, but doesn’t give an comparators to what it was before. In his view we will have more poor with Libertarianism, but when you look for OBJECTIVE numbers on poverty in the the Philippines and Manilla in particular all you find are ‘self rated’ poverty stats. Which cause me to wonder have that many people actually had their situation get worse, or does the same situation just seem worse to them because they see the prosperity all around them, and they haven’t been able to grasp it for themselves? I’m not sure how you can objectively check that, but I do wonder.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Danprkr –

    Has the situation of the poor gotten worse? No…and when you’re talking about people who live on maybe two dollars a day, it can’t get much worse. I know quite a few in this situation here, I give them little jobs here and there, and they do hard work with (usually) quality results because I always pay more than the going rate – it would be dishonorable for me to do otherwise.

    Don’t get me wrong – there’s many whose lives have significantly improved because of the progress that has been made…but there’s many, many more whose lives have improved not at all. It has to be seen to be believed.

  • http://save2morrow.blogspot.com Bob Baker

    I’m sure you realize that Keynesian economics is the policy the U.S. has been operating on since 1935 without a break and has led us to the brink of economic extinction, created a larger divide between the wealthiest and the poor than 1929, and left us all waiting for the LAST shoe to fall. The first trillion dollar stimulus was Reagan’s, but that was back when a trillion dollars was a lot of money.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Bob –

    Did you know that there was once a president who took office in a time of economic disaster, and not long after he put into effect his stimulus package and the economy was almost back on track, a new conservative political force (that included some conservative Democrats) arose that essentially held Congress and the economy hostage until they got their way on austerity measures and taxes?

    Sound familiar? It’s not Obama and the Tea Party, though the similarities are great.

    The president was FDR, and the political force was the Conservative Coalition.

    If you’ll look at the numbers, by 1936 we were essentially OUT of the Depression…but just as the Tea Party has done in the past two years, the Conservative Coalition essentially forced Congress to accede to their demands for austerity and tax cuts.

    And what happened? We went back down into the Depression. The Great Depression was a double-dip, just as we’re facing now thanks to the austerity your boys would impose on the nation.

    AND ONE MORE THING, Bob – maybe you don’t remember, but back in the recession of the early 1980’s (when I was a Republican) we used to say that in order to fix the economy, we just need a good war. Why? Because YOU KNOW that WWII pulled us out of the Depression, right?

    Yes, you do know that.

    Now consider this, Bob – in economic terms, WWII was the largest taxpayer-funded government stimulus in American history…and it proved without question that a government stimulus DOES work to bring a nation out of a recession.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, can you show me any time in history that austerity measures pulled a nation out of recession or depression? Hoover tried austerity measures for three years after the 1929 Crash…and it didn’t work.

    Your turn.

  • Cannonshop

    Glenn, I doubt there has been a prior example of Austerity Measures actually being put into PRACTICE. You can’t make a comparison with something that has never actually been done.

  • Robert Lallier

    Sorry, Mr. Contrarian, you need to stop fighting Republicans and actually read some real libertarians. I think you’ve had a deconversion experience and just can’t get out of the headspace where you feel the need to attack the conservatives and Republicans for whose beliefs you may once have held some sympathy. There’s nothing worse than a reformed addict. Stop fighting straw libertarians and read some real libertarians, like Murray Rothbard, to see why your takes on the Great Depression and FDR are horribly distorted by error. Don’t argue with me here. There isn’t enough space and time on a web page full of opinions to learn much more than opinion. Go read. From what you’ve written it is easy to see whom you haven’t read. Yes, there are plenty of misguided conservatives and Republicans who believe war is an economic panacea and leads to “national greatness.” They are driven by quack economic ideas just as misguided as those of the political left. Many of them once were of the political left. Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich are not are not who you seem to think they are or were. They are not libertarians by any stretch of the imagination. If you want to argue with Republicans, that’s fine, but in the name of intellectual honesty, please stop conflating them with libertarians. Read the Austrian critiques of Keynes, and at least give their reasoning a hearing; don’t just accept from somone else that anyone who disagrees with that dead economist must be crazy. The Austrians have their reasons for disagreeing with Keynes and from what I’ve read here, you haven’t actually seen them. Austrian economics teaches that IP is not real property and in that light there is a wealth of free books online over at Mises.org from which you can choose to broaden your experience, if only you have the curiosity.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    You’re really going to state that out of all the recessions that have taken place in modern history, you doubt that anyone’s ever tried austerity measures to get out of a recession?

    Stimulus packages don’t always work…but the example of WWII shows conclusively that government stimulus properly applied does work.

    There certainly have been recessions in modern history where austerity measures have been tried, and I am unaware of any that have worked. For instance, as I stated above, that’s precisely what Hoover tried for three years after the crash of 1929 – his Treasury Secretary was a big fan of fiscal austerity. I clearly remember finding this out as I researched history to debate Kenn Jacobine.

    And if you’ll look at the efforts of Europe not only now, but all through the past five years or so – they’re all trying austerity measures…and see how much good it’s NOT doing them. To be sure, there was a lot of waste that needed to be cut in Greece, but the austerity measures have not helped Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, or Iceland…and it’s these struggling economies who may well pull Europe and America down into another recession.

    Cannonshop, the rhetoric about austerity measures sounds good – it really does! But in practice, austerity does not work. Here’s the major argument against them:

    Opponents argue that austerity measures tend to depress economic growth, which ultimately causes governments to lose more money in tax revenues. In countries with already anemic economic growth, austerity can engender deflation which inflates existing debt. This can also cause the country to fall into a liquidity trap, causing credit markets to freeze up and unemployment to increase. Opponents point to cases in Ireland and Spain in which austerity measures instituted in response to financial crises in 2009 proved ineffective in combating public debt, and placing those countries at risk of defaulting in late 2010

    And again I point you back to the biggest taxpayer-funded economic stimulus in American history – WWII. We finished WWII with the largest debt in American history (even larger than today’s in relative terms), but we nearly paid that off NOT by austerity measures, but by using that other great fear of Republicans – high taxes on the rich.

    It’s PROVEN that stimuli work, and high taxes are sometimes necessary…but it’s NOT proven at all that austerity measures work even though they’ve been tried many times.

  • David

    Read Theory of Money and Credit by Ludwig von Mises, along with his more famous work, Human Action.

    It would also be a good idea to read The Critics of Keynesian Economics and Failure of the “New Economics” by Henry Hazlitt.

    After those four books, you may be tempted to burn your copy of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Okay, Robert –

    Tell me exactly how – in economic terms – our taxpayer-funded ramping-up of our heavy industries for war was not an economic stimulus.

    I’m not talking about the war itself, but how strong the economic stimulus left our industrial and manufacturing capability after WWII.

    And while you’re at it, tell me why it is that even though the taxpayer-funded economic stimulus of WWII left America saddled with a debt relatively higher than even today’s, we were able to pay it off by raising taxes on the wealthy to well over TWICE the rate where it’s at right now?

    I suggest that if you’re going to call me on my claims, give references – I try to limit my claims to what I can prove using credible references…and I’m not often wrong. So if you can prove me wrong, then by all means please do so! But bring your references – credible ones, mind you.

    And you take issue about me conflating libertarians with Republicans. First of all, even in the past election 70% of the libertarian vote went for McCain. Second, Republicans have historically been enamored of certain (but by no means all) tenets of libertarian fiscal thought, and are today strongly influenced by the supposed need to slice-and-dice federal agencies and our social safety net in the name of austerity. Libertarians would strongly support such a move, whereas many liberals such as myself know history well enough to know where such austerity can lead.

  • Igor

    I’m surprised to see anyone cheered by the appearance of many high-rises, since they seem to me just to be places to accomodate the ever-increasing population that exploiters require to house new generations of city-bound peasants. Besides, they’re a blight on the landscape.

    I think that libertarianism can prosper and do well in small scale, such as villages or homogeneous farming communities. When I was a lad (a long time ago) my father sent me to work on a farm in southern Minnesota populated by old Swedes every summer. I don’t think Dad got anything for my (doubtless) peerless labor other than a chicken and some home-canned corn, but I learned a lot (even some Swede, since that was the only language spoken among peers in that community) including this creed “talk conservative, act socialist”, which I deduced by inference.

    Spoken Politics was relentlessly conservative among those people who would routinely band together and go from farm to farm at planting and harvest season, pooling their machines and their labor, every one of them working from dawn to dusk as equals, where the smartest guy on any subject was the boss on that subject. And if something was screwed up there weren’t recriminations and fights, just consensus determination to get things right.

    To me, that situation seems like a libertarian ideal. But the problem is that it doesn’t scale upwards: it can’t be applied to arbitrarily large societies where you have to develop administrative structures and you can’t depend on consensus and social opprobrium to guide people, or even “market forces”.

    Personally, I’m not going to signup for any political system based on instantiating a simple-rule philosophy of some diatribist such as those authorities mentioned herein. They are always devised to provide loopholes for crooks and thieves to slip through. IMO that’s the route of a very lazy person. IMO we as citizens have before us the complicated and demanding task of devising a system that gives every citizen a way topursue and achieve a large part of his desires. That includes the aspirations of the ambitious to get wealth in excess of most people and the the aspiration of the quotidian worker to have some security and satisfaction in his life. It doesn’t mean that you have one chance and then it’s finished, it doesn’t mean winner take all, it doesn’t reward the chiselers (any more than a chiseler should be rewarded to continue his mean life).

    Personally, I’m an Eisenhower Republican: keep the best and reform the rest.

    Society is NOT just a playground for the most aggressive and ambitious to duke it out for supremacy, laying waste to all around them, polluting the environment, the very air and water that we need for sustenance, and pitting armies of peasants one against the other.

    Our system CAN work for the benefit of all (we know that because it used to work better for all, or for most, certainly more than at present) but we need to reform the parts that are failing.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Well said. To support the difference you noted about how libertarianism doesn’t scale upward, if you’ll check, the hard numbers show that those who live in blue states generally have higher levels of education, lower teen pregnancy rates, lower violent crime rates, higher incomes, lower birth mortality rates…the whole shebang.

    And it is NOT because they live in blue states – it’s because they live in states with larger population centers, and large cities necessarily bring the better universities, the major industries, and so forth…and it turns out that those who live in cities have a greater exposure to those from outside their own income brackets, their own color, their own culture…and so people in cities tend to be more liberal.

    How about that! The larger the city, the more liberal the population generally is. That’s why back in 2008 an open lesbian was elected mayor in Houston (or was it San Antonio). She probably could never get elected to a statewide office in uber-red Texas…but the cities themselves are not always so red.

    And the trend is not limited to America – all over the world, the greater the population center, the more liberal the population will generally be in comparison to the cultural mores of the nation as a whole.

  • Clavos

    It was Houston; San Antonio is anything but liberal and is a very small town (though they don’t think so).

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    A big small town — over 1.3 million in the city and over 2 million in the metropolitan area. But we get the point.

  • REMF(MCH)

    1.3 million is a “very small town”?
    Interesting.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The last I heard, the majority of Filipinos were in the state of abject poverty. Had no idea the improvement had come so quick and to so many.

  • Clavos

    I lived in SAT for most of the 90s.

    It’s a small town with a small town attitude and mentality.

    And VERY conservative.

  • Zingzing

    “Depends on your def of small, zing. Mine is anything less than 250K, having lived in several that small in my day.”

    — clavos, on his definition of a “small town,” about a year ago. 600% growth from already inflated numbers! Apparently, there are only 24 “large towns” in America.

    That said, I’ve got some friends from there and they’d probably agree with clavos in much of what he says about it.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    What exactly is a small town mentality?

    Even in that bastion of provincialism we know as the USA are all small towns the same?

    I spend time in two small towns and they are very different to each other, but I assume the remarks above refer to some kind of stereotype.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    The majority do still live in what would be abject poverty to Americans. While there are perhaps several million whose lives have improved markedly, that still leaves 80+ million in poverty. There is a growing middle class…but the size of the middle class in comparison to the poor is still quite small.

    And that was the point of my article – our choice is whether to go with the libertarian way which allows fabulous improvement for some but leaves the rest with little or no improvement (trickle-down IS a fantasy), or we can go with the more liberal (socialized) way which gave America the world’s best standard of living (for the population as a whole) for several decades.

    Which is more important – the freedom of a few to experience fabulous growth? Or the opportunity for a significant majority of the population to actually become part of the middle class?

    What would your answer be?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Where I come from, anything larger than 50K is a city, and anything larger than 100K is a big city.

    And now I’m living in a true megalopolis by anyone’s definition.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not concerned with the middle class, Glenn. The middle class will always surface. Concerned with the poor.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski
  • Ralph

    Thanks for the article.

    For information on what Libertarians and friends are doing with voluntary approaches see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization.

  • Igor

    IMO libertarianism is utterly dependent on a successful federalism that extends down to municipalities. That’s because IMO libertarianism doesn’t scale up. The history of the USA 19th century says to me that pioneers propagated copies of the federal system down into their local communities and that made their libertarianism work.

  • Maurice

    Please read this.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Maurice, please read this.

  • Maurice

    Jordan, the study from UCLA was done in 2004. Your Salon article is from 2009 and and makes no substantive argument against it. In fact there is no mention of NIRA in your Salon blurb.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    We can argue about the causes of the Great Depression and FDR’s role till the cows come home, but what isn’t in dispute is that both the Depression and the current recession (among numerous other economic downturns) originated in the United States.

    Which would seem to demonstrate that the US can’t be trusted with the world’s money, and that everyone would be a lot better off if they just let y’all dig your own holes.

  • Jordan Richardson

    What difference do the years make, Maurice? It’s a talking point and has been for quite some time, having emerged in various forms from the American right.

    The NIRA, which was only in existence for two years, was one of many policies instituted by FDR. The UCLA study has been famously critiqued for oversimplification and for ignoring the prosperity of the 40s.

    And what of this:

    overall, the numbers prove it helped – rather than hurt – the macroeconomy. “Excepting 1937-1938, unemployment fell each year of Roosevelt’s first two terms [while] the U.S. economy grew at average annual growth rates of 9 percent to 10 percent,” writes University of California historian Eric Rauchway.

    If that’s not good enough, there’s this article that you may reject because it’s from 2009.

    As I’ve said before, though, you’ve got your beliefs about how things ought to work. The only facts you seem interested in are the ones that support your faith in free markets.

  • Maurice

    Jordan – you are right – we are at an impasse.

    Most of my beliefs come from “Free to choose” by Milton Friedman. He was one of the first to blame FDR and failed policies for the prolonged depression. The following is from an article about his work:

    In the decades following Friedman and Schwartz’s work economists started examining other government-policy failures in the aftermath of the crash. They have found an abundant supply of them. Here are several key examples of these bad policies: 1) In response to a sharp decrease in tax revenues in 1930 and 1931 (caused by a slowdown of economic activities), the federal government passed the largest peacetime tax increase in the history of the United States, which clearly applied the brakes on any recovery that could have taken place; 2) the federal government also passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930, substantially increasing tariffs and leading to retaliatory restrictions by trading partners, which resulted in a considerable decrease in demand for U.S. exports and a further slowdown in production (not to mention a loss of mutually advantageous division of labor); 3) the federal government also instituted all sorts of “public works” programs, beginning under Herbert Hoover and increasing dramatically under FDR; the programs removed hundreds of thousands of people from the labor market and engaged them in economically wasteful activities, such as carving faces of dead presidents into the sides of a mountain, preventing or delaying necessary labor-market adjustments; 4) another federal policy that prevented (labor and other) market adjustments was the price and wage controls enacted under the National Recovery Administration and in effect from 1933 until 1935 (when ruled unconstitutional); this policy massively distorted relative market prices, impairing their ability to function as guides to entrepreneurs; 5) the Fed was not blameless after 1933 either. It increased bank-reserve requirements in three steps in 1936 and 1937, leading to another significant decrease in the money supply. The result was the 1937–38 recession within the Depression, adding insult to injury.

  • Jordan Richardson

    And, see, I find Friedman and the Chicago school morally repugnant. As Krugman has said, Friedman’s most basic error was in his unwavering faith in the free market, in the notion that “markets always work and that only markets work.”

    There are always going to be bad policies with regard to government. Government sucks in general, but so does the alternative of letting “free markets” thrash about without controls and regulations. The trick is in finding the balance.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    the largest peacetime tax increase in the history of the United States, which clearly applied the brakes on any recovery that could have taken place

    How? By magic?

    the programs removed hundreds of thousands of people from the labor market and engaged them in economically wasteful activities, such as carving faces of dead presidents into the sides of a mountain

    Typical conservative shortsightedness. Considering that the whole thing cost less than a million dollars, and that Mount Rushmore is now South Dakota’s top tourist destination, attracting more than 3 million visitors annually, I would hardly classify that project as wasteful.

  • Maurice

    Dr. Dreadful, please read:

    In August 2009, on a visit to Elkhart, Indiana to tout his stimulus plan, Obama sat down for an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, and was conveyed a simple request from Elkhart resident Scott Ferguson: “Explain how raising taxes on anyone during a deep recession is going to help with the economy.”

    Obama agreed with Ferguson’s premise – raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea. “First of all, he’s right. Normally, you don’t raise taxes in a recession, which is why we haven’t and why we’ve instead cut taxes. So I guess what I’d say to Scott is – his economics are right. You don’t raise taxes in a recession. We haven’t raised taxes in a recession.”

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Maurice, appealing to authority doesn’t answer my question.

  • Cannonshop

    I’m going to try and steer away from the more controversial issues brought up in the comments, and just address the ‘choice’ Glenn’s brought up.

    How do you pay for it, Glenn? Here’s what I’m saying: we’ve had forty years of steadily increasing national debt. It occurs to me, that this may be a result of the ‘high standard of living’ you’re discussing, and here’s how:

    If you’re allowed to spend more than you take in (as, say, uncle sam, or better yet, any relative you know who’s in massive debt), you can, for a time, live REALLY well.

    Right up to where you’ve burned through your credit-card and your income won’t cover the interest on your debt anymore.

    Now, the U.S. has had an AMAZING standard of living, in part, I’ll allow, due to the ‘semi-socialism’ you support. But what is the cost? Who’s going to PAY FOR IT?

    I’ll submit that we KNOW who’s paying for it, and it’s not the people who grew up in an ever increasingly comfortable standard of living. It’s the kids of those folks, and their kids and theirs after them…who will probably NOT have that high standard of living, but will still have to pay the bill on it.

    Because it was already spent-years ago. For Socialism to work, you need a powerful economic engine-and ours is basically worn out, dying, and we have nothing to replace it with.

    Wealth is a generated thing, not redistributive, and not something you can crank out of a mint or printing press, and frankly, the ‘generators’ of Wealth have been unwelcome in the United States for a long time now. Eventually you can’t keep robbing peter (The Americans of Tomorrow) to pay Paul (the recipients of benefits from the government today).

    That’s where we’re at-robbing the babies to care for the desires, not even needs, of the Boomers.

    Keep running demand higher than supply and eventually, you run out.

    Libertarian economies don’t do that, because there’s no “Higher power” with the bottomless ability to pretend to make up losses and jail anyone who says otherwise.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Cannon, I think you also need to blame, at least partially, the activities of the free market, and in particular the advertising and marketing that convinced consumers they needed and could afford all these luxuries in the first place.

  • Clavos

    the advertising and marketing that convinced consumers they needed and could afford all these luxuries in the first place.

    Sigh.

    So Americans are so stupid and gullible they can be manipulated into doing things that are harmful to them by those evil, scheming, conniving bastards on Madison Avenue?

    Oh, puleeze.

    You obviously think that Americans are sheep with no brains who can be manipulated at will.

    Come to think of it, so thinks all the political class.

    Actually, so do I.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Clav… exactly.

  • Cannonshop

    #36 Doc, part of the reason it’s so successful, is that “We” keep making up excuses for it, covering bets that shouldn’t be covered, and excusing ourselves (and those around us) for it.

    If people are easily manipulated, maybe it’s because they WANT to be, and because they rarely directly percieve any negative to allowing themselves to be manipulated by ‘advertisers’.

    It’s not the fault of freedom that people will screw up, Doc, it’s the fault of people for assuming there will always be someone else to clean up after they’ve screwed up-someone who WILL clean up after them, see?

    I’m just in favour of letting people suffer the consequences of their own bad choices, without giving them the ability to compel others, whom have not screwed up in such a manner, to cover their losses and absorb their share of the damage.

    You can’t be free, if you won’t be responsible.

  • S.T.M

    *STM lobs accidentally on another hugely exciting BC thread while trawling the universe in search of the answer to the meaning of life and why anyone in their right mind would want to move permanently from Sydney to Adelaide* The story continues …

    “Hang on, how did I end up in this joint. Where is this place anyway?

    Hello, anyone home? Anyone with three quarters of a brain cell will do.

    Is anything real? Where the fuck are we? No, that’s not a tribe in Africa.

    Is it?”

    Gee that STM bloke asks a lot of fucken useless questions, don’t ‘e?

    Oh, I know what the problem is. He must have taken a wrong turning a ways back …

    Left turn, instead of a right.

    Shee-it! It was the endless bombardment by commercial advertising that got him in the end. Man never stood a chance.

    Went mad in the noodles aisle at Woolworths.

  • S.T.M

    *last seen in an alternative universe rolling down the hill in a supermarket trolley, yelling “yee-hah” American-style at the top of his lungs while trying to stuff a pack of dried tonkatsu-flavour instant noodles down his gob*

  • Cannonshop

    LOL…STM, dude…In keeping with the philosophy of our left-leaning brethren, you owe me a keyboard for that.

  • S.T.M

    G’day Cannon,

    Sorry about the keyboard champ :) I’ll ask the union to fix you up with a brand newie.

  • S.T.M

    “the programs removed hundreds of thousands of people from the labor market and engaged them in economically wasteful activities, such as carving faces of dead presidents into the sides of a mountain”

    At least they got paid. A man will do almost anything for three squares.

    George Washingmachine’s nose would’ve taken two blokes working round the clock.

    No doubt old George would’ve been the first to suggest they get paid weekend and night penalty rates for missing out on leise time regarded as normal by most others, and not spending any time with their families.

    This is probably why a libertarian economy wouldn’t work. Those guys would’ve been paid market rates, ie remuneration commensurate with the scale and importance of the job they were doing.

    In other words, they’d probably have got diddly squat.

    Mt Rushmore is only one of a million lunatic government schemes over the years all over the world, but then a job’s a job, and it’s a good way of making the money go round again and creating work for others.

    Every extra person who can afford to buy a sandwich in a diner creates a bit more work for a waitress, a delivery driver, a meatworker … and a bit more profit for a diner owner. And so on and so forth …

    Am I on the right track yet?

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Glenn, comment #9 – I don’t think that the SAME kind of stimulus can work today. Then it was aircraft and automobile manufacturing that drove the war effort. Now the US is the number one manufacturer in both areas. What we need is a new industry that we can pour billions of dollars, and millions of people, into, and i don’t know what that could be…well maybe space industry.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Long time no see, Stan… ADELAIDE? I thought you were going to move to Hobart and live happily ever after? Did you take a wrong turn in the Bass Strait?

    Nothing against Adelaide especially. My wife’s former roommate is from there: delightful girl. And they grow some decent grape juice round there.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I’m just in favour of letting people suffer the consequences of their own bad choices, without giving them the ability to compel others, whom have not screwed up in such a manner, to cover their losses and absorb their share of the damage.

    Cannon, I’m not at all comfortable with your willingness to absolve the market of ALL responsibility for the mess, as if it were some perfect system which only fails to work because humans interfere with it. You forget that it’s a system created BY humans.

    Yes, people make crappy choices, but they’ll do that anyway. Your “free” market, though, deliberately encourages those bad choices. This is no accident. It’s set up in such a way. It does NOT say: “Here’s Product A (which is useful) and Product B (which is completely frivolous). Your choice.” It says, “You’ll buy Product A anyway but you should also buy Product B because look, it’s shiny.” It then quietly engineers Product A in such a way that it’s designed to fail, or be rendered obsolete, within a short period of time so that you have to buy a new one.

  • Igor

    The so-called “free market” is relentlessly screwed with by the corporations (through the politicians who serve them) to tilt the field in their favor. Thus the constant and united wars against any kind of consumer protection, even product transparency. Thus the lack of prosecution of anti-trust laws, the constant growth of monopolies, and the weak civil penalties against corps as well as the almost non-existent criminal prosecutions against blatant criminals.

    The peasants have almost no resources in the economy. If you want to buy a house you are presented with a take-it-or-leave-it contract: you cannot negotiate one word of it. All of the judicial system will enforce the banks will against yours, even when they are palpably in the wrong, witness “robo-signing”.

    Our vaunted “free markets” are simply rigged by the strongest party, and that is somebody other than the consumer or employee.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cannonshop –

    Here’s what I’m saying: we’ve had forty years of steadily increasing national debt.

    …and you go from there saying that our debt and our high standard of living caused all our ills.

    WRONG. Your whole premise is WRONG. Why? Our deficit began ballooning THIRTY years ago with Reaganomics after he slashed the top marginal tax rate from 70% to 25%. For the thirty years that we had 70+% taxes on the wealthy, we had a few recessions, but we had NOTHING like the 1982-83 recession, the S&L crash, and the Great Recession…and let’s not forget that when we had those REALLY HIGH JOB-KILLING TAXES, in ONE decade we nearly paid off a HIGHER relative debt than we have now even with the Korean War and the Cold War AND had high employment the entire time!

    And very, very few of those poor, abused multimillionaires wound up in the soup line. Most of them profited quite well…just not at the obscene levels of profit you see now.

    Conservatives are SO afraid of high taxes and think that tax cuts are the cure for all that ails us, but you’re all ignoring our fiscal history.

    Worst of all is the conservative habit of “if a liberal supports a position then it MUST be wrong and it’s my patriotic duty to oppose it”. Think about it, Cannonshop – what liberal position has the GOP agreed with since Reagan left office? Where is the bipartisanship?

    Where’s the bipartisanship on the liberal side? There’s the Individual Mandate (a Republican idea first popularized by Newt Gingrich), Cap-and-Trade (also a Republican idea), tax cuts (ONE-THIRD of Obama’s stimulus was tax cuts and under Obama we’ve the lowest tax burden in FIFTY YEARS)…

    …so you can’t say that we haven’t been trying to be bipartisan.

    Again, Cannonshop – your entire PREMISE is wrong, you’re ignoring fiscal history, and the reason you’re doing so is that conservatives in general simply cannot conceive that liberals are right about anything…even when liberals are pushing ideas that were first popularized by Republicans.

  • Igor

    “Most of my beliefs come from “Free to choose…”.

    Beliefs? That implies that your Econ is basically religious.

  • Cannonshop

    The ideas might’ve been popularized by Republicans, (let’s face it, everyone screws up once in a while), but they’re still bad ideas, Glenn. It doesn’t matter WHO proposed them first, it doesn’t legitimize the concepts floated out. The truly amazing thing, is that Libs latch on to these ideas as if they’re going to solve ANYTHING.

    Cap-and-Trade is essentially the selling of indulgences updated to the modern world.

    The Individual Mandate is proof that a lot of Republican Politicos who proposed it were owned by teh same insurance giants that own the Democrats-it’s a forced market situation feeding an oligopoly.

    It’s just an example of how LITTLE the actions of “Liberal” and so-called, self-styled “Conservative” politicians are in going after and suppressing the Citizenry for their mutual cronies.

  • Cannonshop

    #47 which happens in an UNFREE market as well-if you want an example, the Zil comes to mind, or the Lauda.

    Fact: People make bad choices and bad decisions. I present to you, that when you buffer them against the painful consequences of those bad choices and bad decisions, they’re going to keep making the same ones, similar ones, etc.

    Witness “Party Loyalty” as a glaring example in politics (which is, perhaps, the biggest game of “hide the consequences” being played currently.)

    Built in Obselecense, (the system you’re describing in your item “a” example) very nearly killed Detroit in the Seventies and eighties-because competitors showed up with cars that were fairly durable, more efficient, and less expensive than the Detroit models. There’s a lesson there about what the Market will do to you, if you’re too unethical to survive.

    And Ethics is, in a free market, a survival mechanism. In a Regulated market, on the other hand, you can pay off the oversight and buy forgiveness (and bailouts) from the Government when you’re big enough AND screw up badly enough-as demonstrated quite recently with both AIG and General Motors (Inventors of built-in-obselecense.)

  • Cannonshop

    Remember, in a FREE MARKET (which we don’t have) you’re FREE to suffer the consequences of your mistakes, as well as enjoying the fruit of your successes.

    It goes right on back to the definitions:

    You can’t be FREE, if someone else takes your consequences for you.

  • Jordan Richardson

    in a FREE MARKET (which we don’t have) you’re FREE to suffer the consequences of your mistakes, as well as enjoying the fruit of your successes.

    I call bullshit on the second half of this notion.

  • Cannonshop

    #54 Please elaborate, Jordan. How is that bullshit-clearly you agree that if someone takes a bad risk, they ought to take the consequences, so you’re saying that they should not have the positive outcomes when they take a chance and something positive is created?

    I almost wonder if you’re saying “Punish for Stealing, but no pay for working”?

  • Cannonshop

    Probably the wrong example, Jordan, let’s try this agian…

    Person X creates something, that other people want and/or need. Are you saying that it’s immoral for person X to want something in exchange for their effort, time, call it ‘life energy’? (’cause that’s what it is.)

  • S.T.M

    OK, person X is an employee, creating something that other people, namely person X’s employer, because he can then take the thing and flog it off at a tiday profit. My view is that if person X makes enough of these and they of such good price and quality that every bastard wants one, the employee should be entitled to a decent share of the profit (with eating into the employer’s profits, which continue to grow as more of the fucken things are made).

    This is whare the whole things falls on its arse in places like America, where employers get a bit greedy (because they can) and see an opening for even MORE profits by squeezing and screwing the worker – the person who is actally doing all the work in the first place.

    I believe in productivity agreements between workers and employers, of the type that in Australia give wage and salary earners one of the best standrads of living in the developed world.

    This can only be achieved by arbitration – in other words, the law/courts/regulation stepping in to help strike a deal when employers and employees fail to reach agreement and BEFORE the shit hits the fan.

    Left to their own devives, employers MAY become greedy and employees MAY become more militant, which is lose-lose for everyone.

    Australia seems to strike a good balance between rening in the power of employers – through such things as workers rights and decent wages written into law and government ordered arbitration in industrial disputes – and putting a lid on the ower of unions by having powers to order an end to industrial action and a return to negotiated agreement.

    This sytem has been in existence for over 100 years in this country and has worked well except in cases where different governments have failed to strike the right balance and have shifted the balance of power either back to employers or in favour of workers.

    One recent example, the previous conservative government’s Orwellian-sound WorkChoices legislation, which in one fell swoop basically ended the power of collective emplyee bargaining and forced many Australians on to indivualy workplace contracts. What we saw was young people, for instance, losing their (pretty meagre) night and weekend penalty rates, which meant they worked for the same wage whatever hour of the day or day of the week they worked. Other people lost casual work that they’d had for decades, while others lost entitelments they’d previously negotiated, such as taxi fares home after 10pm, etc.

    That move bizarrely ended up targeting “aspirational” workers mostly (let’s say blue-collar workers on big disposable incomes living in nice mortgage belt homes bought through working overtime, extra shifts and decent night/weekend penalty rates, the people the previous conservative government had depended upon to remain in power, hence their quick exit at the ballot box in 2007.

    The current government might have swung a bit too far back the other way. I am not a fan, for instance, of imposing unfair dismissal laws on small businesses who might want to lose an employee because they are plain unproductive and now have to prove their case in the courts or statutory bodies in doing so.

    All up, though, it’s important for people in favour of this “accord model” (striking the right balance between decent profit and workers’ right to share in it) to understand that it’s a wholly symbiotic relationship that cannot function if one side decides to upset the apple cart. Throwing a couple of apples is OK, but there’s a limit.

    Free-market capitalism can’t function without workers, and in a society like Australia (or even in the US for that matter), the free market can’t function without business both large and small that help create wealth, jobs, a stable society where wealth is shared by everyone in varying degrees, and therefore also a decent standard of living.

    Getting everyone to accept and understand this on both sides is key.

    I sometimes get the feeling in the US that no matter how beneficial this approach might be to all concerned, any mention of government rules and regulations (laws) on one side and the notion of business making decent profits causes of a lot jumping up and down and far too much navel gazing, rather than actual doing.

    I fear this is where the US is now …. at an impasse on this stuff because it didn’t strike the right balance in the past when things were going good and is simply paying lip service to it now while things are going down the toilet.

    Just remember this, dudes, living as you do in that can-do place: America is really good at something, one thing in particular … making (or growing, or producing) and selling quality stuff and flogging it off at a profit to others smart enough to want it.

    Making money because shysters in places like Wall Street know they can rack up a squillion in a day by shuffling virtual bits of paper around is illusory wealth at best.

    Someone gets rich, and usually not average Joes or Joannes like you and me. In fact, we pay the price for their monumental free-market stuff ups and pocket lining.

    Fair-minded bosses paying decent wages = Happy employees = loyal employees = productive employees = profits = wealth creation = workforce/employers working hand in hand = equals more and better jobs, etc

    If it takes such clever measures as fair and uniform workplace laws, court-ordered arbitration to solve strikes and industrial action, and sensible prudential regulation, then it’s all good.

    I live in a place where it DOES work, so I can speak for it.

    I’d hate to see this place descendinto the kind of chaos we know comes from libertarian-style ideas, or too-far-too the left militancy wielded by big and powerful unions getting greedy because they know they can hold employers to ransoms.

    It’s not about ransoms, it’s about sharing and making everyone a winner.

  • S.T.M

    Geez, I must be getting rusty. That post is full of lits. I hope every bastard can work out what I’m banging on about.

    And yes Doc, I’m off to Adelaide. Having trouble selling my bloody house, though. There are a lot of Asian buyers in the Sydney market and I’m told they “like new, not old”. Since my house was built in the 1930s and has been attacked over the years by termites and borers (the insect kind, not the drunk bloke at the pub, although there’s a bit of that too), I’m a bit restricted in who I can sell to. Native-born Aussies understand the historical context of a California bungalow and what to expect when you live in a tranquil place on the edge of the bush, but many new Australians and first-home buyers don’t. They just want new-builds.

    If I can’t sell over the next month or so at a reasonable return for what I’ve put into it, I’m going to rent it out and becom a landlord. Either way, even if I’m still paying the crippling mortgage, I’ll be better off than I am now as an owner-occupier given Sydney’s outrageous house prices and the stress of servicing massive mortgages and huge rents in this god-forsaken rat race of a city.

    I’ll keep you posted Doc. I’ve already been down there and it’s all happening. Maybe a bit too fast for my liking, but you know what they say: who dares, wins.

    Cheers

  • S.T.M

    You know what really swung me into action Doc? $7 a fucking hour parking in the city and the beaches on the WEEKENDS. Everytime you put one foot in front of the other in Sydney you’re reaching for your wallet. It’s become ludicrous.

    How can some officious chardonnay socialist bugger sitting in an office think it’s OK to rent me a piece of fresh air at $7 an hour because they’d prefer people riding pushbikes (hardly anyone does that, though). That’s their claim, but I suspect it’s more to do with cash-cow gouging of ordinary working Aussies.

    Can you believe the city council banned Tim Tam choccy biscuits, the great Aussie icon, at council meetings because they thought the company might not be engagement in fairtrade practices in the third world with their cocolate buying? Seriously …

    Councils should stick to the four Rs – rates, rubbish, roads and recreation/sports grounds.

    I hope all the wriggly critters in their worm farms escape into the Town Hall, and they all choke on their lentil burgers and organic cucumber sandwiches.

    Time to vote with my feet!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Stan, I know where you’re coming from with regard to the house. We just moved from Fresno to San Diego, and selling our place wasn’t even an option since it’s currently worth a bit more than half what we paid for it.

    So we rented it out. Even that took months: the rental market is depressed too because people are saying to themselves, why should we fork out thousands of bucks in rent for no return when we can buy something for a song?

    There are, and I’m not making this up, foreclosed 3-bedroom condos like ours selling for $30K in our old neighbourhood.

    Far as parking fees go, mate, from my recollection Sydney has a pretty damn good public transport system. Sounds like it would have been more cost-effective for you to buy a monthly pass. The buses, trains and ferries can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. (Of course, trying to get a surfboard on the bus isn’t going to make you too many friends. Do they not let you stow it in those bike racks on the front?)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Stan’s narrative actually brings up a good example of how the free market should, but doesn’t, work according to Cannon’s ideals.

    We’ve got people driving into downtown Sydney in ever-increasing numbers, farting out millions of tons of exhaust until the windows turn black and the kookaburras start dropping out of the sky. Parking fees aside, public transit is a bit more expensive than driving (actually, considering the price of gasoline in Australia it might not be), but has the advantages of speed and the removal of traffic-related stress. In Cannon’s purely market-driven world, this in itself would eventually be enough to inspire commuters to leave their cars at home and take the train to work.

    But they don’t. They continue to make the irrational choice to spend hours fretting and fuming and crawling in traffic jams every single day. Even artificial forces like $7 an hour parking (not to mention tolls for the Harbour Bridge and the Harbour Tunnel), designed to make the car a less attractive option, don’t work. Why? Because the market has trained these consumers that the automobile’s door-to-door convenience trumps absolutely everything.

  • S.T.M

    Doc, I live five minutes’ walk from the railway and the trip into the city is 35 minutes on the train. All-stations or limited-stops trains leave every 5-10 minutes, and there’s an express every half hour, which I catch to Central rather than go on the suburban line. My office is five minutes’ walk from Central Station. That all works, especially when I start at 10 or 11am.

    However, most of the time I start at 1pm, which means I’m walking over to Central at 9pm. Now, I’m a big boy and I can look after myself, but it CAN be freaky. Lots of shady characters hanging around the railway concourses, and I’ve been hassled quite a bit on the train. Nothing worse than being stuck on a train for half an hour with someone you’d like to strangle or, worse, who is acting like they’d like to strangle you. My strategy of late has been to drive down the Pacific Highway, park at Killara in a $5 all-day carpark and catch the north shore line train into town. Better class of lunatic on that line. So yes, I’m lucky … our public transport system is amazing. However, this city has grown madly and with all the bad stuff that brings, so driving the car, especially when you finish late, often seems a far more attractive option.

    My missus recently crashed her car into the baxk of a 4WD on the approach to the Harbour Tunnel and has been catching the train into the city at 5,30am. She, and I quote, doesn’t “do public transport”, except when we’re going to the airport. However, she’s now a convert. She makes a cup of tea before she leaves and walks to the railway with it and drinks it on the train. And only twice in the past week and a half has she got on the wrong train!!

    She’s a big girl now.

  • S.T.M

    Doc, hang in there on the house. The market will come back at some point. We’re not going to be in a mini-depression forever. I believe things are looking up, although if the Tea Party gets in over there (or the loony left starts to dictate Democrat policy), all bets are off.

    This is the era of the centrist government … when the voice of the great area between loony right and loony left actually gets heard. There are certainly signs of that happening everywhere in the developed world.

    Although, like I said, expect America to be a little different.

    Everywhere else gets the rise of people with sensible everyday concerns in the centre of the political spectrum, America gets the Tea Party that can’t see the nexus between the US and global economies and the pointless, aimless Occupy movement that can’t see the nexus between Ipods, mobile phones and that god-awful capitalism thing.

    Hmm, what’s all that tell ya?

    And yes, we’ve got ‘em all here too.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Are you saying that it’s immoral for person X to want something in exchange for their effort, time, call it ‘life energy’?

    Absolutely not. I’m saying the “free market” doesn’t allow a person to get the right amount or a fair amount of “something” for their effort, time and life energy. The “fruit” of one’s successes is determined not by output of “life energy” but by the invisible and allegedly “fair” hands of the “free market,” a misnomer if there ever was one.

  • Clavos

    Beliefs? That implies that your Econ is basically religious.

    Stretch much, Igor?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Based on Maurice’s comments to this point, no, I don’t think it is much of a stretch.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    America gets the Tea Party that can’t see the nexus between the US and global economies and the pointless, aimless Occupy movement that can’t see the nexus between Ipods, mobile phones and that god-awful capitalism thing.

    I see the Tea Party movement as basically dishonest. They claimed it was about Big Government and tax hikes, but the folks I saw demonstrating were mostly ag students, retirees and middle class moms and pops: not the classes of people who were going to be affected by any of the proposed tax increases. So I reckon the Tea Partiers are motivated more by a desire not to have to pay any taxes at all.

    The Occupy movement is neither pointless nor aimless. Their agenda is actually quite clear, and it’s largely the mainstream media (ahem – that’s you, Stan) that portrays them as having no demands or aims.

    It’s not corporations per se that they’re angry about, but the excessive influence of corporations in government. In a nutshell, the grievance of Occupiers is that government no longer acts in the interest of the people, but of big business.

    And there are Occupy protests all over the globe – including your neck of the woods – so it isn’t only an American thing.

    An international Tea Party movement never materialized for the very reason you identify, though: the TPers tend to have trouble remembering that there is an outside world.

  • Cannonshop

    #67 It could just be also, Doc, that the TP isn’t in the business of Exporting the Revolution.

    Just sayin’.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yes, and the reason for that isn’t because they’re modest.

  • Cannonshop

    #69 damn, I thought you’d catch the reference, Jordan. I’m surprised you missed it, I guess there aren’t that many of we who remember the Cold war left.

    “Exporting the Revolution” was one of the stated goals of the ComInten (Communist International) meetings in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and a stated objective of the Soviet Union from the end of the Russian Civil War to the end of the Soviet State.

    It’s one of the main reasons that the most common firearm encountered in the Third World is the AK-47 and clones, and why most of the military equipment American troops have faced since 1950 is of soviet design, it drove the Russian effort to alter the Geneva Conventions in the 1970s to protect non-uniformed irregular combatants and non-uniformed ‘advisors’ then common in the brush-war eras of the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

    The Soviets generated megatons of military hardware annually that were exported at below-cost or even for free, to ideological ‘allies’, provided safe-houses for groups like Baader-Meinhoff and the various European “Red Brigades” (as well as funding, arms, and technical support).

    “Exporting the Revolution” is BAD.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Cannonshop, I’m 32 and Canadian. I’m honestly surprised I know as much as I do. :)

  • Igor

    Both sides “Exported the Revolution” during the cold war. The USA was an enthusiastic supporter of the arms race throughout world, and our ideological exporting of the American revolution was vigorous and only decreased as others became adept at holding us to our own principles (which principles seem to have finally ceased upon the ascendancy of Bush 2 to the American throne.) Besides such obvious ideological exports as Voice Of America we pursued popular cultural exports with enthusiasm and facility never before seen in history.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I certainly remember the Cold War. There was a fire station across the street from my high school and occasionally they would test their AEW siren without prior notification (no Internet in those days to spread the word).

    These were the same air raid warning sirens that had been used in World War II and never decommissioned, so the sound was bone-chilling enough even without knowing that what might be coming had the potential to wipe out all life on the planet and not just make a big crater filled with rubble and body parts.

    The teachers would usually keep plodding on with the lesson as if nothing had happened, but we would be sitting there counting to 240* in our heads.

    * The popular notion at the time was that you’d have a four-minute warning of a nuclear strike, although in actual fact, depending on where the missile had been launched from it could have been anything from a few seconds to half an hour.

  • Cannonshop

    #73 that’s right, you’re a Brit. Over on this side of the pond, it was thirty minutes that was the average everyone kind of halfway believed in.

    #72 …and did either one really make things better, Igor? I mean, if Communism worked as-advertised, wouldn’t China still be relying on it for their economic planning? Wouldn’t the PRVN still want to collectivize agriculture, and wouldn’t they be more prosperous than, say, Thailand or the Phillipines?

    “Exporting” utopia is BAD. Exporting products people want is good.

  • S.T.M

    The Cold War.

    Aaah, brings back memories/

    Oh for a simpler time.

    Air raid drills under school desks and the marvellous philosophy of Mutually Assured Destruction.

    Loved it.

    Even went to visit the Russkies for a while at one point. I thinky they’d lost interest by then.

    Even the bloke who was tailing me used to nod his head in the mornings at the metro station.

    Now we’ve all come in from the cold, it’s not nearly as much fun.

    That’s why Occupy is boring as batshit.

    They can’t do without their iPhones, the poor little possums. Or their porta-loos (paid for by the local council).

    We had PROPER protests in my day. Proper I tell you … none of this nambi-pamby hiding in tents stuff.

  • Clavos

    @#66,

    So simple belief in something elevates that something to religion status?

    Do you believe in AGW?

    Oh wait…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    No, Clav, you’re not getting me.

    Igor’s charge against Maurice is valid because Maurice’s faith in the free market has faced a significant number of robust challenges from other commenters, which he didn’t rebut other than to provide a couple of links that basically just restated his original case.

    In that respect, his behaviour is analogous to the Christian who relies exclusively on Bible quotes to defend his beliefs.

    And you know better than to equate “belief” in AGW to Maurice’s belief in the market. I might as well ask you if you believe in gravity.

  • Clavos

    But of course.

    After all, AGW is a religion — complete with dogma, priests, heretics, epiphanies, tithers, and even atheists.

    And like belief in one or more “gods,” in the absence of proof, it must be taken on faith…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    That’s your caricature, Clav, not the reality.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    I don’t think human activity alone is the cause of global warming. At this stage it can only either amplify natural cyclical warming or reduce the extent of cooling.

    We would be foolish to ignore the effect of our activities though and to continue to pump heat as we do seems rash at the very least – and potentially suicidal on a species level.

  • Igor

    Mad Avenue hires the best psychologists in the world to make sure that: “.. Americans are so stupid and gullible they can be manipulated into doing things that are harmful to them by those evil, scheming, conniving bastards on Madison Avenue?”

    The best psychologists in the USA aren’t in our schools and communities helping struggling families and distraught people, they’re on Mad Ave figuring out ways to sell us sugar water at greatly inflated prices (and now they’ve even removed the sugar and sell us plain tap water in a bottle! At a premium price!).

    And they’ve got the sales figures to prove it!

    They’ve proven that they can even get people to spend a lot of money to smoke cigarettes that INEVITABLY kill them with cancer!

    What fool dares doubt their power?

    I’ll put up against any such fool one of the thousands of canny businessmen in America who damn well knows that it is true. Then we will recognize who is The Fool.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    Then could you please point out to me with all the thousands and thousands of studies by scientists all over the world, why is it that they’ve identified no other significant factor?

    And FYI, for the past few years we’ve been on our way OUT of a stronger-than-normal solar minimum. Keep that in mind in the next few years as we start receiving the normal amount of solar radiation.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    After all, AGW is a religion — complete with dogma, priests, heretics, epiphanies, tithers, and even atheists.

    And like belief in one or more “gods,” in the absence of proof, it must be taken on faith.

    Tell me, Clavos – if you were told to sell a product and you KNEW down deep in your bones that the what you were saying was utterly false, a lie of giant proportions, and it was not only going to wind up getting people killed, but in the generations to come was going to ruin nations and cultures all over the world…

    …if you KNEW all that down deep in your bones, would you still sell that product?

    No, I don’t think you would. Even if you knew that you’d never find another job in that field, I think you have more integrity than to do that.

    But you and most of the rest of the conservatives would have us believe that the vast majority of the world’s scientists (and ninety-eight percent of the world’s climatologists) are doing EXACTLY that, that they’re knowingly and willingly telling us a Big Lie just to keep their jobs.

    And what’s the REAL reason you and most of the rest of the conservatives can’t find the guts to believe what the scientists are telling you? Because you canNOT believe that wow, the liberals are actually quite right on a significant issue. If the liberals believe it, it must be false, no matter what the scientific community is telling you.

    And all of us are going to pay the price for the conservatives’ lack of courage, their inability to see past their own dogma.

    And one more thing, Clavos – WE ALL WISH YOU WERE RIGHT. Ask ANY scientist and he’ll tell you that he wishes he could come to some other conclusion about global warming, that it wasn’t all due to human causes. I wish you were right, too! I do NOT want to be right on this issue – I wish that AGW really was all a Big Lie!

    But it’s not…and you and most of the rest of the conservatives haven’t the courage to accept it.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Even a Koch-funded research team has concluded that global warming is real, so maybe this denier crap will be running out of gas soon.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jordan –

    No, it won’t run out of gas anytime soon – as long as liberals proclaim that 90+% of the world’s scientists are right about global warming, conservatives will see it as their patriotic duty to claim that 90+% of the world’s scientists are wrong…

    …not because they’re wrong, but because the liberals believe they’re right.

    I know that sounds silly, but that’s how the conservatives think – I used to be one, remember.

  • Clavos
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    “Scientists” behaving badly…

    Yawn…

    “Climategate” has been debunked so many times it’s not even funny any more. Anyone actually bothering to look at the context of these supposedly incriminating emails (which denialists naturally don’t want people to do) can tell in a second that they’ve been cherry picked.

    At least half a dozen separate inquiries exonerated those concerned of anything worse than some intemperate word choices, which is hardly surprising considering the relentless and calculated harrassment the scientists had been receiving from denialist creti… ahem, excuse me, I meant concerned skeptics.

    “Climategate 2″ just consists of more emails (cherry picked again, of course – those “skeptics” sure do love their antioxidants) from the original hack. One has to wonder why they weren’t “released” two years ago with the others. Not juicy enough, perhaps?

    Pathetic, Clav…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    As I said, conservatives like Clavos see it as their patriotic duty to oppose anything – anything! – the liberals support…and it does not matter if the liberals support something backed by 90+% of the world’s scientists and 98% of the world’s climatologists point the finger at humanity to blame for global warming, all those scientists MUST be wrong.

    Why?

    Because the liberals think they (the scientists) are right. That’s all the conservatives need to know to declare that the scientists are all in error.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, for Clavos I don’t think it’s so much a mistrust of liberals as of the suggested fixes, which largely involve spending lots of money.

    The irony, of course, is that if the US and other big emitters had actually done anything concrete about AGW in 1997, when Kyoto was ratified, the pricetag would have been orders of magnitude lower than the cost of addressing the effects of climate change is going to be from here on out.

  • Clavos
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Bret Stephens should be perversely proud of himself. There’s scarcely a sentence of that article which isn’t a blatant lie.

    As far as your “AGW is a religion” nonsense, I couldn’t refute it much better than this response to a blog piece on the subject (comment #173 if the URL doesn’t work).

  • Igor

    Clavos,

    Personally, I’m not going to chase a link just to read an editorial.

    If you want to say something that you think I should read then please state it here. Links are really only good for factual affirmations, not for handing off editorial responsibility.

    And that goes for anyone who posts such a disembodied link.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    @ #92: Hear, hear.

    An observation, Clav: you claim to have read widely on climate change and to have formed your skeptical position based on your conclusions from said reading.

    Yet, on this topic, you seldom offer anything other than grubby opinion pieces to support your argument. I provide factual links to support mine.

    Bearing in mind what I said back in comment 77, what does that say about whose position is founded on faith?

  • SoCal Bandit

    Clavos, got any links to science periodicals rather than these right wing rags?

    Seems rather obvious humans are having an impact. Why no one would want to live a cleaner, healthier way is beyond me.

  • Clavos

    Why no one would want to live a cleaner, healthier way is beyond me.

    I’m not willing to pay for conjecture…

    Igor,

    ‘s OK; don’t read ‘em, I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, just amusing myself reading all you believers’ responses.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Sad.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    The only conjecture here is by the AGW deniers.

    You already know that the vast majority of ALL scientists (and nearly all of the climatologists) agree that AGW is quite real…and that of the AGW-denying climatologists, nearly every one is funded by those who stand to lose lots of money by AGW remedies.

    You KNOW all this, yet in the face of all the scientific research and of all the scientific fact, you still try to claim that AGW realists are somehow like a cult or a religion! Denying AGW, Clavos, is very much like denying evolution, like denying that dinosaurs ever existed.

    Scientists deal in FACT, Clavos – not conjecture, but fact. You, on the other hand, are holding on to the conjecture that nearly all the world’s scientists are wrong, and that most of them are lying.

  • REMF(MCH)

    The closer you are to the ground, the less global warming affects you…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And when you’re dead, AGW doesn’t affect you at all…but it will suck for your grandkids….

  • Clavos

    Sad it is indeed, Doc.

  • Igor

    Clavos, if they’re all just believers then why read them? since believers have nothing factual to teach? It appears to me that your intellectual basis is faulty.

  • Clavos

    Glenn,

    You already know that the vast majority of ALL scientists… agree that AGW is quite real.

    That’s close to meaningless; nearly all of the world’s scientists aren’t involved in climatology, which is a highly specialized field. When a biologist or an ichthyologist states that she agrees that AGW is a real threat the statement is no more significant than a forensic scientist or a psychiatrist saying the same thing; none of them have a background in climatology. In logic, that’s known as the fallacy of Appeal to Authority. It’s like saying that if a banker and a pimp agree that the economy sucks it must be so because they are both businessmen.

  • Clavos

    Further to #102:

    The activities of the Union of Concerned Scientists deserve special mention. That widely supported organization was originally devoted to nuclear disarmament. As the cold war began to end, the group began to actively oppose nuclear power generation. Their position was unpopular with many physicists. Over the past few years, the organization has turned to the battle against global warming in a particularly hysterical manner. In 1989 the group began to circulate a petition urging recognition of global warming as potentially the great danger to mankind. Most recipients who did not sign were solicited at least twice more. The petition was eventually signed by 700 scientists including a great many members of the National Academy of Sciences and Nobel laureates. Only about three or four of the signers, however, had any involvement in climatology.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    When an icthyologist states that YES, dinosaurs did exist, are you saying that other scientists can’t agree with him since they see the evidence themselves, as well? Particularly since the scientists are quite familiar with the rigors of scientific investigation and peer review?

    And while climatology is a specialized field, biologists (zoologists and botanists) see the evidence, too, in the changes in the biosphere and the geographical ranges of growth. Geologists and paleontologists are often required them to determine what the atmospheric makeup was ten thousand, ten million, a billion years ago as part of their research.

    Okay? A geologist CAN state that his research indicates AGW. So can biologists. So can paleontologists. I can go on, if you like.

    AND YOU NEVER DID answer my question, which was, since you think that most scientists agree with AGW because they’re afraid to lose their jobs, I assume that you have too much integrity to keep a job or a career that would force you to lie to people, and that such lies would cause widespread unnecessary deaths.

    Sooo…what makes you think that 98% of the world’s climatologists have any less integrity than you?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    The activities of the Union of Concerned Scientists deserve special mention.

    Not really. Any social psychologist can tell you that organizations tend to self-perpetuate, even when the circumstances under which they originally formed no longer exist.

    The March of Dimes, originally founded to combat polio, is another prime example.

  • Clavos

    @#104:

    Uh uh, Glenn, most of the world’s scientists not directly involved in climatology haven’t a clue about it — any more than a climatologist has a clue about nuclear physics, say.

    To say most of the world’s scientists “believe” in AGW is essentially meaningless, and in any case, is a logical fallacy, as explained above.

    And BTW, ichthyologists study fish, not dinosaurs.

    Sooo…what makes you think that 98% of the world’s climatologists have any less integrity than you?

    Their emails, as revealed in Climategate I and now II. And yes, Doc, I know you think the importance of those emails was thoroughly debunked; I disagree.

    AGW is the most politicized scientific theory since Galileo argued that the earth revolved around the sun — or better yet, since Malthus argued that humanity would overrun the earth and starve to death in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As such, AGW (and the motivations of its proponents) are highly suspect in my and millions of others’ books — at least to the degree that I don’t want to see the US spend trillions on amelioration, and injuring (if not killing) its preeminence in the world marketplace in the process without a hell of a lot more convincing evidence than what is presently on the table. And I’d like to see the scientists currently throwing doubt on the whole idea be convinced they’re wrong, too before we plunge headlong (and for the most part, unilaterally) into further ruining our economy.

  • Igor

    Our economy is in greater danger from AGW than from measures taken to counter AGW. Counter AGW measures will provide right-now employment and develop technologies, devices and businesses that can be sold around the world in the future.

  • Clavos

    Algore’s ill-conceived cap-and-trade scheme would have bankrupted not only the economy, but many individual Americans as well, though gore himself got even richer than he was, despite the stupidity of the idea.

    And Solyndra and BrightSource and others like them present much more danger to our economic well-being than the AGW theory does.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    And yes, Doc, I know you think the importance of those emails was thoroughly debunked; I disagree.

    On what grounds?

    AGW is the most politicized scientific theory since Galileo argued that the earth revolved around the sun — or better yet, since Malthus argued that humanity would overrun the earth and starve to death

    Interesting that you should change comparisons in mid-sentence, Clav. Galileo’s theory was backed by solid scientific data yet met strenuous resistance from those with a vested interest in the status quo. Sound familiar? Probably why you switched to Malthus.

    I don’t want to see the US spend trillions on amelioration, and injuring (if not killing) its preeminence in the world marketplace in the process without a hell of a lot more convincing evidence than what is presently on the table.

    Tell me, Clav, what evidence would convince you?

    I asked the same question of RJ a while back and he never responded, probably because he was afraid I’d provide it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    And Solyndra and BrightSource and others like them present much more danger to our economic well-being than the AGW theory does.

    Seriously? A couple of companies who happen to be in the green energy business get government bailouts to the tune of a few billion and you think that’s a bigger deal than the trillions of dollars’ worth of potential devastation from rising sea levels, desertification, disease, species and habitat extinction etc?

    Cherries are on sale at the grocery store right now if you’re that desperate to pick ‘em…

  • Igor

    Clavos is wrong (again) in 106:

    “Uh uh, Glenn, most of the world’s scientists not directly involved in climatology haven’t a clue about it — any more than a climatologist has a clue about nuclear physics, say.”

    Actually, I’d expect a climatologist to have plenty clues about nuclear physics, since, like all sciences, both use mathematics and math notation, differential and integral calculus, partial differential equations, hamiltonians, Eigen functions, etc. Also, I’d expect that both climatologists and physicists are familiar with Maxwells Equations and the Navier-Stokes equations. These are the common language and method of all science.

    Certainly, a climatologist would have sufficient curiosity (scientists are endlessly curious) to have studied another scientists writings on nuclear physics and would have a better understanding of nuclear physics than someone untutored in science, such as a yacht salesman.

    IMO your haughty statement defames both physicists and climatologists, implying that each is no better qualified than any high-school dropout apart from their narrow specialities. You are wrong. Your slander is low and further illustrates your ignorance of all matters scientific.

    That should be enough to disqualify you from serious consideration by any sincere person searching for knowledge.

  • Costello

    Why does anyone bother with Clavos in this area? He’s in the same group as flat-earthers and those who thought the universe revolved around the earth

  • Clavos

    That should be enough to disqualify you from serious consideration by any sincere person searching for knowledge.

    You’re absolutely right, Igor.

    Hell, even I don’t take myself seriously, so it’s entirely appropriate that no one else does, either.

    Doc, I dunno what would convince me, but the sea is about 40 feet from my den, and I have yet to see it get higher, except in storms. Speaking of which, the climatologists said AGW would result in bigger, fiercer storms, yet we’re about to break a record here in Florida for length of time since we’ve seen a storm of any magnitude.

    And despite igor’s condescension and patronizing; as a lifelong mariner, I’ve learned a thing or two about the behavior of the weather (I know — weather is not the same as climate, but the two are closely related), and the cyclical nature of currents, ocean temps, etc. and how those cycles manifest themselves. Mankind can’t yet predict whether or not it’s going to rain next week, but we’re to believe scientists who have been caught admitting to playing politics with their data, that they can predict what will happen in the atmosphere 30, 40, 50 years in the future and beyond?

    There are serious scientists with important jobs who express very credible doubts — with data. And yes, I know Richard Lindzen has worked for and been paid by Exxon Mobil, but how does that make him any less credible than scientists on the other side of the divide who are paid by vested interests from that side? Sauce for the goose, etc.

    It’s a political football, Doc, and for my money, suspicious on that point alone.

    Here’s my prediction: One day, our grandchildren (or perhaps their kids) will wonder what all the hysteria was about.

  • Clavos

    He’s in the same group as flat-earthers and those who thought the universe revolved around the earth.

    Actually, I think they thought the sun revolved around the earth, but whatever…

    Anytime you don’t like the message, kill the messenger, costello.

    Seems like I heard somewhere that there’s a flaw in that kind of argument…

    Yawn.

  • Igor

    Clavos #108, why the hard words about cap-n-trade? It brilliantly solved the acid rain problem caused by sulfur admissions.

    “Algore’s ill-conceived cap-and-trade scheme would have bankrupted not only the economy, but many individual Americans as well, though gore himself got even richer than he was, despite the stupidity of the idea.”

    Smithsonian article on sulfur

  • Costello

    Actually, the earth was thought to be the center of the universe so everything, sun included, was believed to have revolved around it according to the geocentrice model. Science doesn’t seem to be your forte.

    And no was is saying kill the messenger just ignore him since he is determined to keep his head in the sand. Your grandchildren are going to wonder why you were more concerned with saving a buck over leaving behind a polluted planet for them

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    How many bucks are there left for us to spend? Aren’t we running on fumes already?

    Are we really in the position to be thinking about our grandchildren while we can’t seem to be able to fend for ourselves?

    Indeed, this does come close to a belief in an afterlife.

  • Clavos

    Actually, the earth was thought to be the center of the universe so everything, sun included, was believed to have revolved around it according to the geocentrice model. Science doesn’t seem to be your forte.

    Nor yours. that’s history, not science.

    Your grandchildren are going to wonder why you were more concerned with saving a buck over leaving behind a polluted planet for them

    Not being very fond of the little tykes, I never had any chillun, so I don’t think I’ll have grandchildren either. But if I had, they would have been the direct beneficiaries of my buck saving, so I don’t think there would have been much complaining.

  • Clavos

    As the rate at which articles like this one are being published in respected venues like Reason is noticeably accelerating, my skepticism is reinforced.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    There are serious scientists with important jobs who express very credible doubts — with data. And yes, I know Richard Lindzen has worked for and been paid by Exxon Mobil, but how does that make him any less credible than scientists on the other side of the divide who are paid by vested interests from that side?

    As I’ve often said, I wish you’d take the cynicism you proudly apply to most that is liberal and apply it to conservative dogma. After all, you’re asking why the word of a climatologist who is one of the AGW-deniers who comprise a mere fraction of the climatology community…AND he works for Big Oil…

    …and you wonder why his word should be suspect? Apply your cynicism THERE, too, Clavos!

    Sauce for the goose, indeed!

    AND LET’S ADDRESS THIS COMMMENT:

    Their emails, as revealed in Climategate I and now II. And yes, Doc, I know you think the importance of those emails was thoroughly debunked; I disagree.

    Clavos, when Climategate came out, you and yours posted snippets, cherry-picking what you thought would support your AGW denial. And I shot them down, showing you and yours in every instance how those e-mail quotes were in large measure taken out of context.

    Okay? You’re digging up an old thoroughly-debunked strawman…and you’re hypocritically refusing to apply your treasured cynicism to the increasingly-rare climatologists who share your beliefs.

  • Clavos

    And I shot them down, showing you and yours in every instance how those e-mail quotes were in large measure taken out of context.

    Bull. You “shot them down” in your eyes, not mine.

    AND he works for Big Oil…

    …and you wonder why his word should be suspect?

    Uh huh. The guys you believe are paid by big government — I see no difference — both sides are answering to their masters and grinding their own axes.

    …the increasingly-rare climatologists who share your beliefs.

    You’re exactly backwards on that one, Glenn; their numbers are increasing — rapidly.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    the sea is about 40 feet from my den, and I have yet to see it get higher, except in storms.

    Your anecdotal evidence is no substitute for recorded measurements.

    Speaking of which, the climatologists said AGW would result in bigger, fiercer storms, yet we’re about to break a record here in Florida for length of time since we’ve seen a storm of any magnitude.

    We’re coming out of a La Niña, which has resulted in some unusual weather patterns all over the globe (an uncharacteristically wet winter in central California last year, for one). Rest assured, you will get your storms back.

    as a lifelong mariner, I’ve learned a thing or two about the behavior of the weather […] and the cyclical nature of currents, ocean temps, etc. and how those cycles manifest themselves

    And presumably your observations have led you to the conclusion that anthropogenic climate change isn’t happening. The observations of other experienced mariners have led them to conclude the opposite. So what?

    Mankind can’t yet predict whether or not it’s going to rain next week

    Getting there, though. Forecast accuracy has increased significantly in recent decades and I generally find it to be pretty spot on. That said, we were supposed to have 50 mph Santa Ana winds here on Wednesday night and we got barely a puff. (Inland was a different story.) Out past about a week and a half, chaos takes over and most weather services sensibly don’t even try to forecast beyond that timeframe.

    weather is not the same as climate, but the two are closely related

    Yes, in the same way that a brick and a house are closely related. But a red house with half a dozen yellow bricks is still a red house.

    but we’re to believe scientists […] can predict what will happen in the atmosphere 30, 40, 50 years in the future and beyond?

    Yes. We can predict with a very high degree of certainty that it will be a lot warmer in New York City between June and September next year than it currently is. This is because past temperature records show us that New York tends to be hot in summer. If those past temperature records also show us that New York in summer has been getting steadily hotter, why do you not accept that this should also show us something?

    I know Richard Lindzen has worked for and been paid by Exxon Mobil, but how does that make him any less credible than scientists on the other side of the divide who are paid by vested interests from that side?

    In itself, it doesn’t. His flawed methodology does.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    As the rate at which articles like this one are being published in respected venues like Reason is noticeably accelerating, my skepticism is reinforced.

    So is mine. I did some Internet research and couldn’t help noticing that Ronald Bailey, the science editor of Reason, author of the article and so anxious to accept the Oregon State team’s findings as the death knell for AGW despite the team’s own caution, seems to have been silent on the BEST temperature study, commissioned by the Koch brothers and eagerly supported by climate change “skeptics” like Anthony Watts… at least until the results came through.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    You’re exactly backwards on that one, Glenn; their numbers are increasing — rapidly.

    Source?

  • Costello

    Nice misdirection. Every discipline has a history to it on which new practioners build, otherwise scientists would keep discovering the wheel and gravity. But you keep clinging to your misconceptions since they bring you so much comfort

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    Is this a fair assessment of the pro-AGW POV?

    1) Earth’s temperature soon will be rising at a catastrophic rate.

    2) Natural causes are inadequate to explain the rise in temperature.

    3) If humanity curtails (or stops) burning fossil fuels the temperature would stop rising or be harmlessly slow to rise.

    4) If fossil fuel consumption is not at least curtailed, future temperature will rise with such catastrophic effects (dangerous sea level rises, polar melting, droughts, famine, the rebirth of Elvis, etc.) as to justify today the necessary measures to prevent that rise, even if those measures result in severe disruption of our way of life.

    If you agree it is fair, can you show me incontrovertible, peer-reviewed and accepted scientific proof (NOT involving computer models) of these assertions, variations of which I have heard ad nauseam from believers and vested NGOs (IPCC, e.g.) for years now?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Clav, your sum-up of AGW theory is pretty fair. However, your the terms of your demand for proof are not.

    Modelling is used in every field of science. Why it should be an unacceptable tool ONLY in climate science is something no “skeptic” seems able to adequately explain.

    And if you’ve been restricting your search for proof to “believers” and NGOs, that accounts for why you haven’t found the evidence you require. Perhaps you should look at some actual science.

    You might start with this. Pay particular attention to the line directly beneath the first indented quote.

    Or there’s this, which breaks it down pretty clearly – with links to at least 10 peer-reviewed discussions of empirical data.

  • Clavos

    Doc, it’s late, so I’ll look at your links tomorrow, but two things:

    I count the scientists among the believers, in fact they are the clergy.

    Re models: have you ever looked at the National Hurricane Center’s graphics of their models as a storm approaches the US coast?

    Therein lies my lack of faith in computer models; there, and in the old geek cliché, GIGO.

    Models are only as good as the (human supplied) data that goes in them and the human hands who program them; computers fail routinely.

    And, obviously, I have little confidence in human hands, even scientific ones.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Clavos has made up his mind that no matter what anyone shows him, he will not believe that GW is in fact AGW.

    Why? I strongly suspect that he suffers from the same problem that affects many conservatives – that of “if a liberal believes it, it must be wrong”…which is pretty much what I and my fellow conservatives believed until I started paying attention back in the early 1990’s. I know that sounds silly, but think about it – we liberals have not been afraid to adopt conservative ideas (see “individual mandate” and “cap-and-trade”), but once we did, all of a sudden those ideas became heresy in the conservative community.

    And because Clavos has this particular problem, there is absolutely nothing we could show him that would get him to change his mind – he will always, always play the “doubting Thomas”…

    …until the conservative cognoscenti declare otherwise.

    I suspect that there’s precisely zero chance of this happening as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House.

  • Clavos

    Well,I DO believe that it’s the political football of this brand new century, and that as such, it warrants a healthy dose of skepticism.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You call persistent ignorance, selective reading, wonky theorizing, and open disdain for science “healthy?”

  • Clavos

    Yep.

  • Clavos

    For an interesting perspective on just how political the issue is, an opinion piece from the respected (if right-leaning) British journal, The Economist.

  • Clavos

    Yet another discussion of the deteriorating state of the AGW warmists’ cause, this time from The Orange County Register.

    And some quotes:

    The latest leaked emails show internal bickering apparently revealing some of their own reaching their tolerance limits, such as this email to Keith Briffa of the British Climate Research Unit: “Keith, See the last item. Why don’t you just give these people the raw data? Are you hiding something [-] your apparent refusal to be forthcoming sure makes it look as though you are. Tom.”

    And:

    These candid confessions, obviously never meant to be made public, include admissions like one from Briffa’s CRU colleague, climatologist Phil Jones: “Basic problem is that all the models are wrong [-] not got enough middle and low-level clouds.” (emphasis added)

    And this:

    The warmists’ snow job is based on gathering ground temperature records, but not to use all of them, and then to “adjust” many of those they do use. For example, numerous stations located in cold Siberia disappeared in the 1990s. And isn’t it fascinating that original data is unavailable for critics to review?
    As even some of their supporters are beginning to acknowledge, the vast majority of U.S. ground temperature stations are improperly located, often adjacent to heat-generating sources. Richard Muller, the UC Berkeley professor who got a lot of press when he released a study essentially confirming temperature readings used by alarmists, also conceded that 70 percent of U.S. stations are badly sited. Garbage in, garbage out.
    [!] (again, emphasis added)

    Here’s another:

    “Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of research grants we get [-] and has to be well hidden,” CRU’s Jones wrote in another email. “I’ve discussed this with the main funder in the past, and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

    And the pièce de résistance:

    From the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), no less, “given the downward trend in temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until at least 2030), there is no particular reason to rush into decisions based upon a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.” (emphasis added)

    Hmm…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Clav, I take it that you did NOT look at the links I provided, but have instead spent your time searching for more insubstantive nonsense, such as your latest, an incisive piece of peer-reviewed research from that prominent and respected scientific journal, the Orange County Register.

    If the hacker who released the “Climategate 2″ emails were so concerned about scientific integrity, wouldn’t you think they would make at least an attempt to look at the context, to make sure there actually was some skulduggery going on?

    For instance: “Keith, See the last item. Why don’t you just give these people the raw data? Are you hiding something – your apparent refusal to be forthcoming sure makes it look as though you are. Tom.” Why aren’t you in the least bit curious to know what this “last item” is that Tom mentions? (Or who “these people” are, for that matter.) And why would Tom suggest to Keith that he release the raw data if it’s so damning for AGW? Did he not get the memo about the conspiracy?

    Or this: “Basic problem is that all the models are wrong – not got enough middle and low-level clouds.” Is the writer talking about ALL the models EVER produced by climate scientists, or just a particular set of models used in one area of research? Turns out it’s the latter:

    “This is a discussion that referred to climate models of the late 1990s vintage. These issues were well-known and they have improved in more recent modelling. This related to model differences in development of a multi-model average for the future.” [Emphasis added, because unlike your emphases it actually demonstrates something other than innuendo. To wit, AGW deniers usually try to pretend that imperfect models from the past are never modified and improved upon, and this disproves that fallacy.]

    And finally: From the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), no less: That quote is not from the EPA, but from a climate-skeptic economist named Alan Carlin, who claimed that the EPA was suppressing a report he himself wrote. It’s a bit like charging a man with murder based solely on the hunch of a detective who’s convinced he did it.

    Hmm…

    Indeed. It’s odd how your self-proclaimed skepticism melts away at particular points.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    How about educating yourself about quotes taken out of context? There’s this wonderful article on arstechnica.com that shows how those e-mail quotes were taken wildly out of context…

    …just like with the last “climategate”.

    Then, as now, you’ve been misled. The only question is whether you’ll finally begin using your cynicism on those AGW-deniers who misled you instead of giving them equal credibility with the great majority of the world’s scientists and 98% of the world’s climatologists?

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    This one’s for you.

    I hope you’ll find, as I did, that it’s a fairly even-handed discussion of the dangers to science inherent in our funding process. Without mentioning names or pointing fingers, I think the author makes some good points.

    I have read your citations above, and am still mulling them over. It seems to me that, while I am admittedly over the top in some of my cynicism, it’s also true that many folks are too eager to accept the investigators’ conclusions without much questioning. There really has been far too much hype on both sides of the issue up to this point.

    I don’t think, as Mr. Gore alleges he does, that the science and issues are “settled;” particularly in regards to the ratio of the sources of causation between cyclical naturally occurring events and the activities of humanity.

    There is, unfortunately, much too much money being thrown at the investigators, and far too many opportunities for powerful people like Gore to enrich themselves by promoting one side over the other. Money is corrupting, and few have the cojones to resist its siren call when a lot of it is being thrown around.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I read your link – as I generally do – and I do see a problem with it. Here’s the pertinent paragraph:

    And, of course, there is the heated controversy over claims of impending doom made by climate scientists, each trying to out-sensationalize the other as they bid for taxpayer money to fund their research. Declaring an active area of investigation “settled,” demonizing critics, and promoting unfalsifiable theories may qualify as topics of study within political science, but they are alien to the scientific method. This kind of behavior imperils not just the scientific community. When translated into international policy, it imperils the entire global economy.

    You know, that statement would be absolutely TRUE if the push on AGW was coming from America…but it’s not. Right now it’s most of the rest of the world trying to encourage America to get with the program.

    It is not only the American scientific community that considers the matter settled. Even our greatest rivals in the world – China and Russia – consider the matter settled…and we would be fools to belittle their respective national scientific communities.

    Clavos, I’ve often said that when two enemies both agree strongly on a certain matter, one would be wise to pay attention to what they’re saying about that matter. This is one such instance.

    That, and on matters of science, I have a really hard time taking seriously someone who is NOT a scientist, but is a venture capitalist who writes glowingly of Herman Cain without critically addressing that “9-9-9″ plan.

    Clavos, please take more care about who it is that you’re listening to – because when it comes to AGW, Frezza’s article was snake-oil.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Clav, I read Mr Frezza’s article, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t find it quite as even-handed as you do. He misses some important points.

    Frezza seems to find it appalling that two-thirds of drug test results could not be reproduced by pharmaceutical companies’ labs, or that failed experiments don’t get reported. I think those are GOOD things. It means drug companies, contrary to the grumblings of the alt-med crowd, are doing all they can to ensure the products they put out on the market are effective and safe*. It demonstrates integrity that experiments which don’t work are discarded. You wouldn’t, for example, want an engineer to forward an aircraft component that had failed in testing to the assembly line.

    Ambition, cronyism and the like are found in every industry. That is one of the reasons why science has the scientific method, in which hypotheses are tested, experiments replicated and results scrutinized multiple times before being accepted into theory (the highest level of scientific truth). I’m not buying that climate scientists are fudging their results because they’re out to make millions. Creationists make the same claims about evolutionary biologists and geologists, and it’s just as pure a grade of bullshit.

    Looking around, I don’t see all that many scientists living in 12-bedroom mansions in La Jolla (at least not those who actually still DO science and haven’t risen to upper management). That characterisation also doesn’t jibe with what I know of scientists in general. It isn’t a field you get into if you want to become rich.

    Al Gore is a favourite red herring/strawman of the anti crowd. But, you know, I have a sneaking suspicion he may already have been quite rich before he ever took up the AGW banner. As you and I are both aware, science is never “settled”, just as an accused person’s guilt is never “proven”, except “beyond reasonable doubt”. It’s possible that the Archangel Gabriel could appear on TV today explaining that, yes, actually, the geological record is all fake and the Earth is indeed only 6000 years old. It’s possible that the 50 people who saw Jim bury the axe in his wife’s skull really saw his long-lost evil twin brother. In both instances, however, it’s so unlikely as to be ludicrously implausible. That is what Gore means.

    AGW is one of the best-supported scientific theories there is, as a result of millions of pages of published research going back over 100 years. In that respect, we can be more certain that AGW is true than that gravity is.

    * Of course, it could also mean there’s something cock-eyed in their lab procedures. But that’s another matter… :-)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    In that respect, we can be more certain that AGW is true than that gravity is.

    It’s ironic how of all the major scientific fields of study, we still really don’t know what gravity is. Standard Model? Check. Relativity? Check. Evolution? Check. Climate Change? Check. Nuclear Power? Check. Putting men on the moon and robots on Mars? Check. Fermat’s Last Theorem? Check.

    But gravity? It’s like Dave asking Hal to open the pod bay doors – ain’t happening. Heck, we’re still putting up satellites to find out if there’s such a thing as ‘gravity waves’….

  • Igor

    This alarming proposition by Clavos is clearly bogus:

    “I count the scientists among the believers, in fact they are the clergy.”

    Science is the ultimate skepticism. The tools of science are peer review, transparency and equality, there is no hierarchy.

    Clergy and priesthood are based on hierarchy, secrecy, and oppression.

    I suppose that Clavos’ damnation of scientists as ‘clergy’ is implicit damnation of clergy and priesthood.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’ve got to take Clavos’ postings in stride, Igor. His main objection has to do with the politics of the issue.

    I’m too stupid to argue the pros and cons of the debate, though I’m convinced we ought to act as stewards of the planet. But the thing is, the liberal concern with the environment, in my not so humble opinion, is but a piss-poor compensation for their own failings, in short, for failing to walk the walk.

    Hence all the talk, which does indeed smack or religiousity. The more removed you are from doing the kinds of things you ought to, the more likely you’re going to pick up a hobby horse so as to make you feel blameless and without fault.

    Human nature.

  • Clavos

    It is, of course, not my original idea that the believers in AGw have elevated its canon to the level of a religion. Many an observer has remarked upon it of late.

    And the obvious role of the truest of these believers, the scientists, is that of the clergy in the Church of Global Warming.

    I suppose that Clavos’ damnation of scientists as ‘clergy’ is implicit damnation of clergy and priesthood.

    Quite.

    Although I admit that my analogy is grievously insulting to the scientists.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    It is, of course, not my original idea that the believers in AGw have elevated its canon to the level of a religion. Many an observer has remarked upon it of late.

    Repeating it oftener doesn’t make it any less false.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    It’s only in the mind of the conservatives that liberals have somehow elevated AGW to a religion. That’s the same kind of false accusation that conservatives used when claiming that we thought Obama was the messiah.

    And Doc summed it up quite well that “repeating it oftener doesn’t make it any less false.”

  • Clavos

    Glenn,

    Ever watch Al Gore’s religious polemic, An Inconvenient Truth?

    The man is preaching scripture, the word of god. Just listen to him.

    And he’s far from being the only believer who does so.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Oh, Jeez [pun intended]…

    How is An Inconvenient Truth fundamentally any different from the speeches of Martin Luther King? Or Churchill’s? Or the writings of Dickens? Or a documentary condemning child prostitution?

    Each is an example of high rhetoric used to highlight a cause and/or rally support to it. In itself, it does not call into question nor does it add to the merit of the cause itself.

    Clav, you have no credibility on this issue. When presented with science you respond with editorials. When called out on those, you come back to Al Gore, who has done much to raise awareness of global warming research but did not actually conduct any of it himself. It’s rather like criticizing the government by attacking the managing editor of C-SPAN.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Martin Luther King’s speeches addressed the common morality in us and appealed to our sense of justice, quite a different thing than one’s beliefs in the truth of a scientific theory. The former have their grounding in common human experience and the logic of our language, the latter, even in the case of full-fledged theories, are always hypothesis and always subject to disproof.

    But that’s the trap of always having to rely on “objectivity” as a kind of panacea to help us navigate out of our morass, rather than on judgment.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    So your gripe isn’t the science and isn’t the hard data, it’s how Al Gore sounds.

    Gee, what an interesting yardstick by which to measure whether to accept what 98% of the world’s climatologists have been trying to tell you for years.

  • Clavos

    @149:

    That, like so much of what you post, Glenn, is such a ludicrous conclusion as to preclude the necessity of a response.

  • Clavos

    Doc,

    My lack of credibility is nothing new; I don’t think anything I’ve ever posted here has ever been believed by you resident lefties.

    And it doesn’t matter; I’m not trying to convince anyone; that doesn’t happen (in either direction) on these threads.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    And it doesn’t matter; I’m not trying to convince anyone; that doesn’t happen (in either direction) on these threads.

    If that’s your attitude, Clav, one wonders why you contribute to BC.

    People do occasionally modify their positions as a result of our discussions here: witness one of our most recent additions, One American’s Rant, as an example. Roger may be another, although as I pay little attention to his mostly incomprehensible ramblings it’s impossible to know for sure.

    Personally I’m here, like most of us, because I enjoy a good bunfight… ahem, excuse me, debate. :-) I also hope, on occasion, to educate and to learn.

  • Clavos

    If that’s your attitude, Clav, one wonders why you contribute to BC

    Fair question, Doc.

    I dunno; masochism?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Roger may be another, although as I pay little attention to his mostly incomprehensible ramblings it’s impossible to know for sure.” #152, Dreadful

    Here we go again, Master of the Ceremonies has spoken, that irreproachable office holder and arbiter of impeccable standards appertaining to culture, etiquette and sound thinking.

    Indeed, spoken like a true, albeit liberal, censor. You do fit your office to a tee, Dreadful, has anyone told you that? and you have surely grown with the office.

  • troll

    I on the other hand am here for the opportunity to vent my avarice, baseness, beastliness, churlishness, contemptibleness, corruptness, covetousness, degeneracy, degradation, disrepute, ill-temper, infamy, iniquity, knavishness, lowness, malice, malignity, miserliness, parsimony, pettiness, rapacity, shamelessness, smallmindedness, sordidness, stinginess, unkindness, unscrupulousness, unworthiness, and general wickedness

  • REMF(MCH)

    @ 151;
    I believed your statement that “GW Bush was so slimy he left a trail like a slug.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But of course Dreadful and others of his ilk make it a point to conceal their ignorance and intellectual cowardice under the cloak of highfalutin, meaningless statements making reference to “incomprehensible ramblings” for their inability to respond to questions put directly to them (such as in #148, for instance)– anything, in fact, to save face whenever they’re caught with their pants down.

    But that’s a typical response on the part of all second-raters who can’t stomach the suspicion they’re second-raters.

    Keep on pluggin’, Dreadful, I’m all ears.

  • Igor

    Roger is just deucedly independent, DD.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @155

    What better place to do it then here, when one’s incognito?

    May as well get it out of your system online so one can be human in real life.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s call thinking for oneself, Igor. That’s where independence comes from.

    No magic bullets.

  • Clavos

    @155:

    And those are your good points, right? :-)

    How’s the horseshoe biz these days?

  • troll

    @161: COLD…on both counts

  • Igor

    Anyone self-described as ‘troll’ is expected to have some vices.

  • Igor

    It’s always dangerous to think for oneself: you may be leaning on a weak reed.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Are there any other options, Igor?

    I haven’t said I’m self-schooled, have I now?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Roger makes the error of assuming that because his thinking is different from most other people’s, it is also sounder than most other people’s.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Really silly of you to say something like that, Dreadful, a real lame accusation if there ever was one. You want some sources, gladly:

    Foucault, Lyotard, Marx, Wittgenstein, Agamben. Or shall I go though a list of teachers in post-graduate studies?

    You’ve got to expand your horizons, Dreadful, rather than sit on your butt and be content with your homegrown wisdom you so readily dispense with on these pages.

    Read, man, read, read and read. And then absorb absorb and absorb, like a sponge. n And then integrate and internalize, make these thoughts your own. And then liberate yourself from all that and develop your own voice, which will make you re-integrate all you’ve read anew.

    Are you really that unfamiliar with the process?

    And btw, you still haven’t responded to #148. Has cat got your tongue?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I’ll give you a source too, Roger: William of Ockham. He provided us with a very useful tool which you seem entirely unwilling to use.

    I also suggest you re-read Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy. It’s as good a summation of the achievements and (more often than not, faulty) logic of the great philosophers as has ever been written.

    For 148, all I can say is that had Al Gore presented An Inconvenient Truth as a scientific seminar rather than a rhetorical documentary, we’d all be far less aware of the issue and the science than we now are. Chances are he’d also have laid himself open to charges of plagiarism.

    And if you’re trying to claim that there’s no moral dimension to AGW, you’re even more out of touch than I gave you credit for.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    I am here because I was told there’s be cake

  • troll

    El Bicho…had you paid more attention to the title you’d have realized that there would be no free lunch on this thread

  • Igor

    DD, of course there’s a moral dimension to AGW. There better be. If there weren’t it would be immoral.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @168

    So what are we gonna do now — saying my father can beat your father? I never said you were uneducated, if I recall it was you who kind of flirted with the notion as regards yours truly. But why stop with Ockham or Russell?

    As to the other part of your comment, who said there wasn’t a moral dimension to environmental concerns? But these concerns ought to be independent of the relative truth or falsehood of the present, state-of-the art scientific theory. We should act responsibly regardless, is what I’m saying.

    So in effect, you’re still missing the point in that the truths which speak to our common morality and the logic of our language (moral language, in this instance) are different kinds of truths than scientific truths. Consequently, to be comparing Martin Luther King’s speeches to speeches on behalf of AGW makes sense but only in the most superficial kind of way — insofar as both involve rhetoric; but that’s where all similarities end.

    But I still see you can’t rid yourself of your sanctimonious tone. I was under the impression you were at least part-Welshman.

    Oh well!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    @169, 170

    I should think El Bicho’s reference to a possible cake-throwing contest would be more apt.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    I’d actually prefer a pie fight as they look like so much fun in the movies

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I thought you would, which is how I interpreted the hidden meaning behind your comment.

    Slapstick and more slapstick — that’s what this place really needs.

  • Clavos

    Peter Ferrara, writing in Forbes, presents more than mere opinion regarding the science behind the Church of AGW. There are facts aplenty in Ferrara’s essay.

  • Igor

    No, there are no facts in Ferraras article. Just a flurry of words and phrases and repeated disparagements of AGW supporters.

    For example, ” particularly the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)” which (whatever it is) is just a disembodied phrase thrown in, one suspects, to create an air of science-iness.

    The seeker will find no truths here, just several exhortations to buy his employers latest book, and a whole lot of bafflegab.

    Ferrera is just a political polemicist.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Oh, Clavos!

    Who is Peter Ferrera?

    Peter Ferrara is director of entitlement and budget policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation, a policy advisor to the Heartland Institute, a senior fellow at the Social Security Institute, and general counsel of the American Civil Rights Union. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He is author of “The Obamacare Disaster”, from the Heartland Institute, and “President Obama’s Tax Piracy”.

    What I do NOT see is “Peter Ferrera, scientist” He’s a LAWYER…and he’s been a mover and shaker in the Republican Party for a long time. But he is NOT a scientist.

    But I get it – it doesn’t matter who he is, as long as he speaks out against AGW, he’s got your ear.

    Soooo…Clavos – when are you going to start listening to scientists instead of lawyers when it comes to scientific subjects? And you never did address my question about the integrity of scientists as compared to your own.

    Hm?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Aren’t you overreacting, Igor? I should think it’s a rather well written and informative piece, citing the very reservations which were conceded by the author(s) of the study.

    So what if the Forbes’ contributor refers to the AGW proponents as “true believers”?
    That part, I grant you, may be polemical; but then again, the kind of zeal they exhibit concerning man-made global warming does indeed come close to a religious kind of belief.

    I’ve already expressed my present understanding of the matter, and in case you haven’t heard it, here it is.

    I happen to think that the climate-change issue and the energy with which it’s pursued is one of the symptoms of the liberal mindset — a penchant for crusades about a number of pet topics, and global warming happens to be one of those topics.

    Why?

    To compensate, I suppose, for a sense of guilt about not being more effective and directly involved in alleviating our many more immediate and concrete problems such as world poverty, the abuses of the capitalist system, the ineffectiveness of our government, to name but a few.

    The way I see it, the modern day liberal is more or less impotent with respect to being able to affect the aforementioned issues because he or she buys into the system: which is why they need crusades to make ‘em feel worthy and deserving.

    I’m well aware this is not going to sit well with my liberal-minded friends, and that I’m going to reap a bunch of hostile responses, but I can’t help it. This is what I think.

    As to “global warming,” I’ve expressed my position on it too. We should always act responsibly with respect to other humans and the environment. That’s a moral stance. And in my book, I don’t need a scientific theory to convince me of that. We should act responsibly regardless.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    By your definition, that “penchant for crusades” could be applied to those of any political stripe. For instance, the “Tea Party” was FAR more politically-active and FAR less willing to hear anything that disagreed with their mindset – and any Republican who agreed that raising a penny of taxes, or who agreed with AGW, or supported equality for LGBT’s, or who failed to castigate the Muslim community, or who even hinted at cutting Defense spending was summarily cut from the fold…”excommunicated”, as it were.

    Those of us who agree with the scientists about AGW at least have scientific observation and scientific rigor and scientific fact on our side…

    …and you cannot say that the conduct of those who agree with the scientists about AGW have been anywhere close to as vile and spiteful as has the Tea Party…even though AGW poses a far greater threat to human civilization than anyone hated by the Tea Party.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I believe, Glenn, I tried to provide a psychological accounts, underpinnings may be a better term, as to why the liberals are particularly afflicted.

    As to the Tea Party folks you bring up as a counterexample to my argument, help me if you can, but I can’t detect any guilt trip on the part of any of them. In fact, I view that movement as having been selfish from the get-go, and hardly inclusive. They haven’t expressed any concern with our poor, for instance, or any segment of our society which is hurting the most. It was always me me me!

    Don’t forget, Glenn. “Crusade” may have been a word that riled you up, but the gist of my comment, for better or worse, had to do with the underlying guilt.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I happen to think that the climate-change issue and the energy with which it’s pursued is one of the symptoms of the liberal mindset

    That’s only really true in the United States, and only because American conservatives are mostly hell-bent against doing anything about climate change.

    The “anti” attitude is starting to get some traction among conservatives in other countries, but it’s little more than a noisy fringe. Right-wing governments in the UK, Germany, France and elsewhere all agree that urgent action is necessary.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As I said, Dreadful, I’m incompetent to evaluate the scientific evidence, whether pro or con. Moreover, I wouldn’t contest any need for urgent action, whether in the US or elsewhere.

    Naturally, I was speaking of America. On the other hand, your explanation as to the fervor, just because our conservatives are hell-bent against any positive action on behalf of our environment, fails to convince either.

    Indeed, if I were to take your account at face value, I’d be well nigh forced to regard the AGW proponents as no different than our Glenn, always playing Don Quixote and fighting the windmills. For some reason, I’m not quite ready to make that kind of quantum leap.

    Which is why I still think that the explanation in terms of guilt is a reasonable one, suggesting what we both agree on is a legitimate concern but, at the same time, a vicarious acting out as well.

  • Igor

    Here are some of the polemical (noninformative) expressions in the Ferrara article:


    Salvaging The Mythology Of Man-Caused Global Warming

    If you read this column completely and carefully today, you will learn about the true state of the scientific debate over global warming. You will not get the truth about that from the Washington Post, the New York Times, or the rest of the self-regarded “establishment” media. They are devoted to the fun and games of play acting as if there is no legitimate scientific debate over whether mankind’s use of low cost, reliable energy from oil, coal and natural gas portends catastrophic global warming that threatens life on the planet as we know it.

    Recently, the media Knights Templar of the religious orthodoxy of man-caused global warming made a contrived pass at reviving flagging public respect for their fading catechism. The occasion was massively overhyped and misrepresented reporting of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project. But all that was new from that project was the departures from the official catechism.

    So the scientific foundation for shutting down our modern, 21st century, industrial economy has been obliterated. But that is not stopping religious crusaders, due to the extremist ideology and special interests driving the global warming charade.

    Commenters, you can pass on the ad hominem attacks.

    This is a really poor article. It’s just scorn and lurid similes with disparaging modifiers to phrases. And there is NO argument presented, NO citations, NO hard data and NO numeric or factual premises.

    The only thing approaching a citation is sales pitches for a book published by his employer. Even so, there is no reference to material within the book.

    All this article does is re-enforce people predisposed to be anti-AGW.

    I dread to think that anyone would believe that this could contribute to learning about AGW, pro or con.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t know what to say, Igor. I’m more concerned about injustice and how we ignore our poor, about poverty and hunger and corporate and government abuses and collusion than about climate change.

    Perhaps that’s why I’m not as riled up about it as some.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    I’m more concerned about injustice and how we ignore our poor, about poverty and hunger and corporate and government abuses and collusion than about climate change.

    All of those things are only going to get worse if nothing is done.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If nothing gets done about the environment? Rather far stretch, though I don’t disagree.

    Still, the immediate concerns are more pressing and more immediate, things we can do right here and right now, things concerning which we can have and exert immediate impact through political will and loving-kindness.

    Surely you wouldn’t disagree as to my priorities. And if perchance you do, I’ll just fare you well.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Ferrara’s article just repeats a half-dozen or so denier chestnuts that have been doing the rounds for some time now:

    ‘Muller also honestly admits that “The [land based] temperature station quality is largely awful,” noting that “A careful survey of these stations by a team led by meteorologist Anthony Watts showed that 70% of these stations have such poor siting that, by the U.S. government’s own measure, they result in temperature uncertainties of between two and five degrees Celsius or more. We do not know how much worse are the stations in the developing world.”’

    First of all, land-based temperature stations are not the only measurements we have. There are also sea surface temperature measurements, deep ocean buoys, satellites and weather balloons. All show the same warming trend.

    Second, it’s not as if climatologists aren’t aware of the urban heat island effect. This is why they compensate for the biased readings from urban stations by comparing them with rural measurements that aren’t affected by urban heat.

    ‘In addition, the scientifically recognized temperature proxy data from tree rings, ice cores, lake and ocean sediments, and stalagmites also show no warming since 1940.’

    They actually show the exact opposite.

    ‘Even the land based temperature record is not consistent with the theory of man-caused global warming.’

    So let’s get this straight. Having just tried to show that the land-based temperature record is unreliable, Ferrara now wants to use it to bolster his own argument? And again (we should probably be starting to recognise a pattern by now), he’s wrong. [The link is to a PDF of the Bulletin of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, so you need to scroll down to page 141 for the start of the paper in question.]

    ‘Fully documented work by Roy Spencer, U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, and Principal Research Scientist for the Earth Systems Science Center at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, shows using atmospheric temperature data from NASA’s Terra satellite that much more heat escapes back out to space than is assumed captured in the atmosphere by greenhouse effects under the UN’s theoretical climate models.’

    Funnily enough, Spencer’s findings are based on (gasp!) a model, which as we all know are spun from whole cloth and give a completely false picture of, well, everything. [/sarcasm] In actuality, colleagues who tried to replicate his results found that they couldn’t, because his model was too simple, didn’t provide enough information and made some unwarranted assumptions.

    ‘In August, 2011 came the results of a major experiment by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), involving 63 scientists from 17 European and U.S. institutes. The results show that the sun’s cosmic rays resulting from sunspots have a much greater effect on Earth’s temperatures through their effect on cloud cover than the UN’s global warming models have been assuming.’

    The results show nothing of the kind. They merely demonstrated that cosmic rays may play a role in the formation of water droplets in the high atmosphere. Jasper Kirkby, the CLOUD team leader, is quoted as saying that these droplets ‘are far too small to serve as seeds for clouds. “At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it’s a very important first step.”‘ [my emphasis] It appears that Ferrara and other “skeptics” have already taken the other 99 steps without bothering to wait for any data.

    ‘Finally, the UN’s own climate models project that if man’s greenhouse gas emissions were causing global warming, there would be a particular pattern of temperature distribution in the atmosphere, which scientists call “the fingerprint.” Temperatures in the troposphere portion of the atmosphere above the tropics would increase with altitude producing a “hotspot” near the top of the troposphere, about 6 miles above the earth’s surface. Above that, in the stratosphere, there would be cooling. But higher quality temperature data from weather balloons and satellites now show just the opposite: no increasing warming with altitude in the tropical troposphere, but rather a slight cooling, with no hotspot, no fingerprint.’

    Ferrara is cherrypicking. The fact is that the data currently available regarding the troposphere hotspot is inconclusive, and climatologists acknowledge that. The predicted effect has been observed in many short-term observations, and when radiosonde balloon anomalies are accounted for (balloons heat up in the sunshine during the day), their measurements confirm model predictions. The failure to observe the hotspot from some (not all) satellites is thought to be down to instrument errors and/or orbital drift. Again, Ferrara is taking one small factor and concluding that it disproves the whole. Good scientists make no such assumption.

    What all this shows is that even when their claims are debunked, or at least thrown into doubt, “skeptics” keep on making them as if they were gospel. So remind me…who is it that’s acting like religious zealots?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not to dispute your command of facts, Dreadful, just a couple of observations.

    First, isn’t it more or less a matter of language usage that the term “zealot” usually depicts some of the believers (rather than non-believers)? A zealous skeptic? Somehow, that doesn’t sound right. A skeptic may be stubborn, even obstinate at times, but zealous? A skeptic may be said to be against all crusades; some of the believers are crusaders. Is an atheist ever zealous in his profession of non-belief (and don’t bring up Chris now)?

    Second, isn’t it also the case that when an observation run counter to the theoretical prediction, then all of the statements which make up the body of the theory are placed in doubt, and one never really knows (until they find out) which of the theoretical statements is the most likely culprit? I may look up the source for you if you insist, but this is rather intuitive, I should think.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    On the other hand, your explanation as to the fervor, just because our conservatives are hell-bent against any positive action on behalf of our environment, fails to convince either.

    The comment was to Dreadful, but why indeed is there ‘fervor’? Why indeed do liberals in America (and most mainstream politicians of other nations) hold this to be such an important issue?

    MAYBE BECAUSE IT _IS_ SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE!

    Right now there’s significantly more moisture in the atmosphere than there was before – and you can see the result in the increase in total rain (and flooding) in many countries around the world – think “Australia”. And – thanks to the FERVOR of American conservatives who oppose ANYthing important to the liberals – it’s only going to get worse.

    Roger, people have a tendency to have a LOT more ‘fervor’ about something when they see that if left unchecked, that thing’s going to screw over a lot of people.

    But what really sucks is that Clavos – and you – seem to somehow see that ‘fervor’ as “proof” that we liberals just take things way out of proportion.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I have nothing to add to what I already said on the subject. If you’re uncertain as to my position, re-read my remarks up-thread. Sorry you disagree with them, but that’s not my concern.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    No. Actually, I think I read your views quite rightly, and that you simply didn’t like that I cast your views in the light of reason.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If you say so.

  • Clavos

    All of those things are only going to get worse if nothing is done.

    Ethanol, Doc?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Ethanol, Doc?

    Knitted tea cosies, Clav?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    A zealous skeptic? Somehow, that doesn’t sound right. A skeptic may be stubborn, even obstinate at times, but zealous?

    Rog, I placed the word skeptic in quotation marks for a reason. The vast majority of AGW deniers are not true skeptics, just as most of the people who deny evolution are not skeptics. This blog post explains the difference more succinctly than I could:

    “Those who who honestly and openly use logical, rational analysis to critically interpret the data are skeptics, no matter what they conclude. Those who indulge in a range of dishonest and disingenuous practices such as misrepresenting or distorting data, using logical fallacies, etc are not skeptics, regardless of their conclusions.”

    In the cases of both evolution and global warming, a cherished philosophy stands to take a major hit if the theory is true: God’s role in creation in the first, capitalism as a benevolent force in the second. So some adherents of the philosophy attack the evidence rather than question or modify their own beliefs.

    Is an atheist ever zealous in his profession of non-belief (and don’t bring up Chris now)?

    [shrug]?

    Second, isn’t it also the case that when an observation run counter to the theoretical prediction, then all of the statements which make up the body of the theory are placed in doubt, and one never really knows (until they find out) which of the theoretical statements is the most likely culprit?

    Well, of course. You’ll often hear scientists say that no theory is ever “proved”. But some theories have amassed such a vast body of evidence in support of them that we are able to say that for all intents and purposes they can be treated as fact. In these cases, the appropriate skeptical position to take is that there is far more likely to be something wrong with the contrary observation than with the theory.

    A current case in point is the recent CERN experiment which seemed to show neutrinos travelling faster than light, something thought to be impossible according to the special theory of relativity. In ascending order of likelihood, the three conclusions to be drawn from this are:

    1. The special theory of relativity is wrong.
    2. The special theory of relativity holds, but does not apply to neutrinos for some as yet undetermined reason.
    3. Something was wrong with the experiment.

    The response from the scientists who reported these results was perfectly appropriate: they were surprised, they appreciate the implications should their findings turn out to be correct, and their experiment needs to be independently replicated to confirm whether or not they are.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    wasn’t addressing the question of whether a theory is proven, only that in cases of dis-confirmation, one doesn’t really know which particular element out of the string of conjunctions represents the weakest chain.

  • Clavos

    Cute Doc, but I mentioned ethanol because it was bad idea which the glorious (exceptional, even!) american government enthusiastically endorsed, with the result being that arable land was removed from the world’s supply of such land dedicated to growing food, with at best dubious results in terms of its impact on global warming. As if that weren’t enough, ethanol is not good for engines, is unstable, and absorbs water at alarming rates.

    Stupid idea.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    The fact that corn-based ethanol is a bad idea (vice switchgrass-based ethanol, which isn’t quite so bad), not at all means that AGW is false. It simply means that there were some people who wanted to make some money out of the good intentions of other people.

    But again, that does NOT mean that AGW is false in the least…what it does mean is that AGW deniers will use any excuse they can to oppose taking action on AGW.

  • Roger B

    198 is a pretty extreme thing to say without some argument. Alcohol is a good fuel and has been used in US racing for about 30-40 years. Petrol was outlawed decades ago because of it’s flammability and great danger. All those cars going 200mph at Indianapolis are fueled by alcohol. There is NO gasoline in Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis.

    Alcohol IS imiscible with water, which is a GOOD thing as it scavenges unwanted water from the fuel system. In fact, many fuel additives for gas engines are alcohol-based.

    Why is fuel alcohol a “stupid idea”?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger B –

    Ethanol is NOT the same thing as alcohol-based fuels. Do some research on ethanol and then get back to us.

    And btw – Clavos is a strong conservative and I’m a strong liberal, and we DO butt heads on almost every subject, neither of us giving an inch…but when he and I agree strongly on something, you should pay attention.

  • Clavos

    The fact that corn-based ethanol is a bad idea (vice switchgrass-based ethanol, which isn’t quite so bad), not at all means that AGW is false

    I would appreciate it if you would show me where I said the use of ethanol meant that AGW is false, Glenn?

  • Igor

    Ethanol (C2H5OH. Its empirical formula is C2H6O. An alternative notation is CH3–CH2–OH) is an alcohol that is often used as a fuel, although it is often supplemented by nitro-methane for more power, such as in model airplanes and other small engine applications, where you usually supplement with castor oil as well (castor oil is a superb lubricant but foams in use so it’s only useful in 2-cycle engines where it’s burned and exhausted, although Porsche had an experimental 4-stroke in the 50s that used castor oil in the sump and a copper screen to reduce foam to fluid (but not quickly enough, apparently!).

    If there’s an excessive amount of water in the fuel system you can get some corrosion and cavitation damage, but that’s rare. Although, maybe the oil company pipelines are so moisture-ridden that they cause a problem with gasohol.

    Where do you guys get your info about the unsuitability of alcohol?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    My apologies – you did not say that the use of ethanol meant that AGW is false…but you ARE using ethanol to paint the rest of us as fools, and thereby using it as yet another excuse to oppose any action on AGW…

    …which was the reason I said that the fact that corn-based ethanol is a bad idea is yet another example of how AGW-deniers will use any excuse they can for opposing action on AGW.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    only that in cases of dis-confirmation, one doesn’t really know which particular element out of the string of conjunctions represents the weakest chain.

    It should be perfectly possible to know, Roger, since otherwise there would be no dis-confirmation.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    an observation that runs contrary to a theoretical prediction upsets the entire theory; any theoretical postulate may be suspect. It has got to the with the nature of “scientific cause,” which isn’t any singular kind of thing but a complex. Indeed, even in Newton’s mechanics, in addition to force as being the “prime” cause of motion (of an object), there is also friction. The effective cause is a combination of vectors.

    But in any case, I am not particularly keen on convincing you of anything. It was merely a side point precipitated by one of your earlier comments, nothing more.

  • Igor

    Glenn,

    Huh?

    “…the fact that corn-based ethanol is a bad idea…”

    I’m not willing to stipulate that. I used alcohol based fuel in small engines for many years without bad effect. Maybe it’s bad because it diverts corn from food (mostly hi-sucrose corn syrup, however, which is bad for ones health) but it leaves engines clean.

    “And btw – Clavos is a strong conservative and I’m a strong liberal, and we DO butt heads on almost every subject, neither of us giving an inch…but when he and I agree strongly on something, you should pay attention.”

    What a strange syllogism. You must be joking! Were you drunk when you wrote that? Or just hopped up on your grandiose pretensions?

    Get back to me when you have a chemistry degree.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Were you drunk when you wrote that?

    I’ve got a good buzz right now (Sprite, faux lime flavoring, and locally-produced (Filipino) gin) – as is evidenced by how my near-constant use of the delete button – but I’ve said for a long time that when two people who are of strongly different outlooks agree on something, chances are that that they are both right on that ‘something’.

    Remember that, Igor – it’s a useful tool. Think about it – when both you and someone who strongly opposes you in most things agrees with you, you’re probably right. Right? Right.

    And as to whether ethanol is a good idea, studies have shown that it takes more energy to produce a quantity of energy with corn-based ethanol than the amount of energy that is produced by the same aount of corn-based ethanol. Look it up sometime.

    And that’s why I take the name ‘Contrarian’ – I agree with the facts…and if the conservatives are right, then I must agree with them. In most things they’re wrong, but when it comes to corn-based ethanol, Clavos is right…and note that I switched from “conservatives” to “Clavos”.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “when he and I agree strongly on something, you should pay attention.”

    Could also mean you are both wrong.

  • Clavos

    Igor,

    Here’s one source for the damage ethanol can and does cause to engines. There are many others. There’s a search engine named Google you can use to find them if it’s that important to you.

    I’ve seen a number of articles about the problems with ethanol in the maritime industry journals I read in my work — it exists. You can also find articles about it in the top automotive periodicals.

  • Clavos

    Could also mean you are both wrong.

    Go wash your mouth out with soap, EB…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Have you not seen the many, MANY times I’ve disagreed with Clavos? But when he’s right about something, I will agree with him and defend him – I’d be a hypocrite to do otherwise.

    The research shows that Clavos is right when it comes to ethanol. Instead of dismissing him (and me) outright, how about doing some research and finding out why many progressives like myself are against corn-based ethanol. Switchgrass-based ethanol might be a good idea, but NOT corn-based ehtanol.

  • Igor

    This is the dumbest thing I’ve read all week:


    208 – Glenn Contrarian
    – but I’ve said for a long time that when two people who are of strongly different outlooks agree on something, chances are that that they are both right on that ‘something’.

    Remember that, Igor – it’s a useful tool. Think about it – when both you and someone who strongly opposes you in most things agrees with you, you’re probably right. Right? Right.

    No, wrong.

    It’s simply meaningless.

    It sounds like you’re trying to pump up your own infallibility while throwing a plum to an enemy to seduce him into a temporary alliance against a common foe. A common political trick (but a trick nonetheless).

    I appeal to any random onlooker: isn’t that what it sounds like? And doesn’t it just drip with contempt for anyone they haven’t included in their little Illuminati? Like me and thee?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    White Republicans and black Democrats both strongly supported California’s Proposition 8 a couple of years back. Does that mean Proposition 8 was right?

    Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia both carried out pogroms, and worse, against Jews. Does that mean Jews really were responsible for the economic and social ills of the world all along?

    My conservative friend Jason and my liberal friend Amy both support the death penalty. Does that mean capital punishment is just?

    In a nutshell, Glenn, your argument that we should pay attention because both you and Clavos oppose biofuel production is fallacious. Specifically, it’s an appeal to popularity.

  • Igor

    Your haughty directive is wasted on me, and probably many others:

    201 – Glenn Contrarian
    And btw – Clavos is a strong conservative and I’m a strong liberal, and we DO butt heads on almost every subject, neither of us giving an inch…but when he and I agree strongly on something, you should pay attention.

    Not at all. When two political nuts reach a consensus on chemistry I just giggle. I think I’ll go read a chemistry book.

  • Igor

    I could find NOTHING about engine damage at the citation you gave:


    210 – Clavos
    Dec 11, 2011 at 10:48 pm
    Here’s one source for the damage ethanol can and does cause to engines.

    Also, I googled around with things like “ethanol engine damage”, etc., and all I found was the usual ignorant hysteria from untrained mechanics. You know, the kind of BS that accompanied unleaded fuel about all our valve seats coming loose, etc., (that never happened).

    Now METHANOL does damage to rubber (which is almost never used anyplace anymore, having been replaced by neoprene and other synthetics), and theoretically can damage aluminum by stripping the Al oxide surface and damaging the underlying Al, but I could find NO evidence of that.

    Also, I could find NO studies of engine damage by engineers or scientists. If you have some that you are keeping secret, please let me know where to find them.

    Methanol is only used anymore for a few racing applications and in China (where they just don’t give a damn). Twenty years ago there were some flex-fuel cars that could use methanol (a good deal because methanol is produced in abundance from natural gas and heating wood, and costs about 50cents a gallon and is very widely sold as a solvent, or even for chemical transformation intermediary).

    But what we are talking about is ETHANOL, which is quite benign. Many of us are driving cars designed and built in the old days of petrol-only fuel, which have transitioned to ‘gasohol’ many years ago and have not been destroyed, despite many miles of use. In fact, if you disassemble the engines you will find them very clean inside, largely free of the lacquers and other deposits that petrol-only cars exhibit.

  • Clavos

    So you’ve focused on the least important part of the ethanol problem, and apparently you’re right: it doesn’t damage engines. Calling mechanics ignorant and untrained may well make you feel superior in some kinky way, but it’s rude and uncalled for.

    And in any case, the production of ethanol, which diverts resources from growing food in a time when significant numbers of people are hungry, is abhorrent and should be criminal.

  • Jordan Richardson

    the production of ethanol, which diverts resources from growing food in a time when significant numbers of people are hungry, is abhorrent and should be criminal.

    QFT.

  • Igor

    So, Clavos, please drop the ethanol engine damage claim.

    Untrained mechanics often fall for stories like that. Just ask about the famous Fish carburetor, water injection, whirling fans in the venturi, etc. It’s kinda like religion: promises to skip all the hard stuff and go straight to paradise.

    Yes, it’s criminal that we waste arable land (and water, at a liter per calorie, and we increase soil salinity that will kill our golden egg goose) but if the corn went to the food-industrial complex instead it would probably make hi-fructose corn syrup (the better to habituate sugar addicts so their money goes through diabetes to various scoundrels) or perhaps corn meal to drive mexican farmers into bankruptcy and dominate world cash crops (the better to establish worldwide monopoly markets in food and further enrich the rentier class).

    Of course, what we should be doing is harvesting the energy that the generous nuclear pile in the sky (sometimes called ‘sun’) showers on us every day so that our home and business uses will no longer require drilling into an old fermented dinosaur in the earth and pumping the fuel therein around the world, making a mess and creating fire hazards. All we need is a plot of wasteland in the Nevada desert 90 miles on a side for ALL the USA power needs. No irrigation required, no topsoil required, no worries about soil salinity, etc. Of course that would put our most powerful and beloved monopolies to considerable trouble (maybe they’d need more bailouts! But maybe we can say ‘no’ this time).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Frankly, I’d never heard the claim before now about ethanol and engine damage. The reason I oppose ethanol is that it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the energy we’d get out of that gallon.

    And this doesn’t count the waste of all the water that’s needed to produce every single gallon.

    Look that up, and who knows – you might find yourself agreeing with me.

  • Igor

    Don’t be insolent. I opposed corn ethanol before you were born. Respect your elders!

  • Filipino Libertarians

    Join the “Filipino Libertarians” page and the “Filipino-Americans for Ron Paul 2012″? group on Facebook!

  • http://monkeysocietyblog.blogspot.com Ernesto Romualdez

    Oh, please stop saying Philippines is a libertarian country. It is not. tsk tsk tsk