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Highways and Roads in a Free Society

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As a libertarian, I believe that you have a right to live your life as you see fit as long as you don’t violate somebody else’s right to do the same. Libertarianism represents the only non-coercive political/economic philosophy in the universe. All other such philosophies: democracy, republicanism, monarchy, dictatorship, socialism, and communism employ the brute force (violence) of government to enforce compliance of one group’s wishes on another group.

Many Americans believe that libertarianism is an unworkable framework because without government to provide and enforce laws, society would be in chaos. Additionally, opponents of greater freedom question how the services currently provided by government would be handled in a free market environment.

It is understandable that many Americans hold these doubts about libertarianism. As a society, we are socialized through the government-dependent schools, universities, and mass media to accept that we need big government to protect us from the excesses of capitalism and freedom in general. If that doesn’t get the job done, those members of society who, for a long time, have held statist views, and are therefore closed to thinking for themselves, ridicule us for believing such “nonsense” in an effort to get us to conform. After all, normal human behavior requires that we want to be liked, or at the very least, not thought to be a weirdo.

One of the biggest questions raised against a totally free society is, who would build roads and regulate their use? Where would we be without government-provided speed limits, traffic signals, and road construction?

Well, in the early 1800s, America actually had a huge network of private roads and highways. According to Thomas J. DiLorenzo, hundreds of private road building companies invested over $11 million in turnpikes in New York, $6.5 million in New England, and over $4.5 million in Pennsylvania. By 1840, this resulted in the private production and operation of about 3,750 miles of road in New England, 4000 miles in New York, and 2400 miles in Pennsylvania. In fact, in real dollar terms, this production exceeded the interstate highway program financed and run by the federal government after World War II.

And we still have private roads in America today. Besides examples like the Reedy Creek Improvement District and Dulles Greenway, the National Bridge Inventory, a database compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, lists approximately 2200 privately owned highway bridges in forty-one states! Many of these thruways charge tolls which are fairer because they are user fees. All are proof that government is not necessarily needed to build and maintain roadways in America.

Okay, well, what about local roads in residential and business districts? In a libertarian society, all land would be owned privately. Thus, roads would no longer be public, but private property with certain deed restrictions for easements and right-of-way privileges. The land would be owned by business proprietors and homeowners. They would have an incentive to maintain it as a right-of-way, because otherwise the value of their property would decrease, or in the case of a business, sales would plummet. Freeing property owners from paying property taxes eliminates the middleman (inefficient bureaucracy), and frees up more money to go directly into road repair. If you don’t think property owners would maintain their rights-of-way, think of the endless number of them who pave their own driveways and then seal them each year.

In my own case, my house is located in a rural part of North Carolina on the side of a mountain. The properties of my neighbors and me extend into our street. Consequently, I own a portion of street which is allocated as a right-of-way. Even though I pay property tax to the county, it does not maintain this right-of-way. Instead, the property owners on our street must maintain it. Every year, I spend about $300 as my contribution to maintaining the road. That’s a small price to pay if I didn’t have to pay the larger county tax amount. Now, it is true that some folks on the street do not contribute anything to road maintenance. But I am no worse off with that than I am with paying taxes for public schools in the county that I will never use.

As to what would happen if we didn’t have government provided speed limits, stop signs, and traffic signals? There is a misconception that a libertarian society would be devoid of rules. Of course, you could still have speed limits, stop signs, and traffic signals on your road; otherwise, for safety reasons, motorists might not use it. Again, if you were a homeowner, this would decrease your property value and also provide an unsafe circumstance for your own property, including your house and vehicles. Unsafe business districts would be littered with the shattered dreams of bankrupt enterprises.

In the last century, how many Americans attended local city council meetings to petition their municipality to install stop signs or traffic signals at busy intersections? How many homeowners with children or pets requested that speed limits in their neighborhoods be reduced? When there is a need, people react. It is naive to believe that people who have a stake in their communities and a financial interest therein would not fill the void left by government relinquishing its responsibility over roads.

Lastly, we have built the roads and instituted rules for the same. How would those rules be enforced? I suppose local police agencies could still have jurisdiction. But what is more likely is for homeowner and business associations to hire private security companies to handle patrolling and enforcement of the property rights of landowners. After all, if someone litters on my property, it is a violation of my property rights, not a crime against society. Thus, violators could be apprehended either physically or through identifying perpetrators to a local magistrate for the administration of justice.

At the end of the day, no libertarian believes their ideas for society would be perfect. But we do believe they would be possible and better than what we have now. Private ownership of all material things is always better. It has been proven that the freer a society is the more prosperous it is. One need only look at the history of America: we have more government restrictions on our freedom now than ever before and our decline is imminent. What is needed is an intellectual awakening in America. This awakening must open our minds and seek to question the tired mantras of statist institutions like schools and the mass media.

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About Kenn Jacobine

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Sooooo…Kenn!

    You’re a big believer in market forces, right? I mean, the ones who operate the most efficiently generally succeed, whereas those who are less efficient are generally less successful, right?

    So tell me again exactly how it is that the most successful nations in the world – you know, the ones where the populations have the highest standards of living – are (except for certain OPEC nations) the ones that are almost anathema to libertarianism.

    I mean, I think you’d have to agree that governments of all stripes usually bend to market forces – you and I both know that such has often led to war (see Pearl Harbor). So given that market forces are so powerful, and given that you believe that libertarianism would enable the market to operate at top efficiency, why is it, then, that there are zero – none, nada, nil – first-world nations that operate on libertarian principles?

    I mean, you can’t say that it hasn’t been tried, because in the long view of history, pretty much all social systems started out on libertarian principles, right? And through the centuries, I think the case could be made that there were entire empires (not including Rome, IMO) which largely operated on such.

    But what happened, Kenn? These empires – whose economies functioned on what we would today consider libertarian principles, which would have allegedly allowed them to have significant economic advantages – were in time ALL overtaken by what we know today as socialized democracies.

    Why is that? If libertarianism – which was by necessity already largely entrenched in many economic systems – enables the most efficient use of the market, then libertarianism should be the dominant system today!

    But it’s not – in fact, it’s largely extinct in the modern First World, sorta like dinosaurs diminished over time while mammals flourished. Why is that? You couldn’t be working with the wrong paradigm, could you? Naaaaahhh….

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And remember – when we get rid of all the government interference in business, there’ll be nobody around like the EPA…and we can all be breathing in canned air. Hey, but at least we’d be free from evil guv’mint interefernce in business, right?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn, your boilerplate response to all my articles is real old.

    Perhaps you should read this article and determine if you can intellectually argue against it. That should be yet another challenge for you.

  • troll

    Kenn – I don’t see how transferring legal authority to monopolize and employ coercive force from the Public to the propertied class would be much of an improvement…you might take a look at anarchist philosophy which also tries to minimize the use of coercion

    Glenn – which empires largely operated on the libertarian principles that Kenn lays out here would you say?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    The ‘boilerplate response’ is the same response that I’ve brought up so many times…that NONE of you have been able to explain away, not even once. You can call it ‘old’ if you like, but if you can’t address the conundrum I presented – and you apparently can’t – then it’s every bit as effective as the first time I presented it.

    So…how are you going to address it?

  • Doug Hunter.

    “As a society, we are socialized… to accept that we need big government to protect us from the excesses of capitalism”

    You do. Just because the lion has been kept safely behind bars for a long time doesn’t mean it still won’t eat you if you take away the cage.

    Roads to me fall under that narrow category of things that it is better to have the government run (or at least regulate to the point they might as well be running them), things I would term as ‘utilities’. Now, I’m not using this term in the usual sense, so let me explain. My definition of what a utility should be is something that is impractical to bring from multiple sources. For example, one set of electrical lines in a neighborhood is enough. In order to have actual competition you’d have to have 2, 3, or more companies build redundant capacity to your house… by my definition a true utility. Water and sewer is the same way. It’s silly to have 3 water systems competing with lines to your house. Roads are another example. If one major highway will carry the traffic from Dallas to Oklahoma City, it’s inefficient and silly to build three, yet that’s what you’d be forced to do to prevent a monopoly and the accompanying abuse. The internet framework itself is a utility, but internet and television access are not (at the core of net neutrality) as there are multiple mediums available everywhere to tie in to them. Utilities, by my narrow definition, must be protected from monopoly power as even minimal competition would require maintaining redundant systems at an overall greater cost.

    So let’s follow your idea of private roads full circle. I suppose to dispose of it’s interest the government would auction off it’s roads to the highest bidder. A conglomerate formed by Carlos Slim, Exxon Mobile, and Walmart puts the highest bid for major parts of the former Interstate Highway System, with the purchase of a major tolltag company they set up shop. A system is quickly implemented where everyone shopping recently at Walmart or refueling at Exxon stations gets discounted access on the interstate highway system. Additionally, under the guise of preserving their quality road system they institute onerous fees for trucking on their system, except of course the Walmart and Exxon fleets are exempted. Now what are Target, Dollar Tree, et al. supposed to do? Some of the big ones that aren’t in direct competition will be able to strike a deal, any real competitors or small fish will simply disappear. Now, you say they wouldn’t do something like that…. haha. They wouldn’t now under a system where the government would come down hard on them for grossly unfair practices, but we’re in your tiny government dream world.

    Ok, so society quickly realizes the problems monopoly access to a major thoroughfare creates and rightly authorizes their tiny government to enforce some equal access provisions, so we do want the government at least a little involved in our roads.

  • Doug Hunter.

    We need government to enforce some equal access lest megacorporations abuse this to stomp smaller competitors (as well as up and coming innovators) completely out of business.

    That’s just the major roads, now let’s get back to your neighborhood. Good for you that you are willing and able to pay $300 for road maintenance even when your neighbors aren’t. There are lots of wealthy and middle class communities with strong neighborhoods and healthy social interaction and plenty of people willing and able to sacrifice for the greater good and their roads would be fine. These are areas where any “-ism” would work as even the most inefficient government system can easily stand on the back of that sort of community.

    What about the others though, you know the ones I’m talking about. Lots of dilapidated houses, people relying on government support, etc., etc. Who’s going to maintain the roads there? Those portions, even the collector streets draw no bids at auction as the cost of maintenance exceeds the profit potential. People that can’t afford to clean the graffiti off their house, can’t afford to patch the pothole in their street either. These roads would lay unmaintained further imprisoning the people who lived there. A few years down the line in a poignant national moment a news crew captures a stream of poor, downtrodden children emerging from the rubble formerly known as Washington street to their school and a public outcry emerges for a tax, just a small one, to fund some streets to give these people a chance to escape their surroundings and so it is done.

    Now, we have rules requiring open access and just a little tax for universal service we’re quick on our way back to government oversight which begs the question. Why fix what isn’t broke? The country has much more serious issues than roads.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Even if you hired a private security company to police your community’s property rights, Kenn, in your libertarian Utopia with its abhorrence of any governmental “force” whatsoever, I can simply choose not to recognize the security officers’ authority – as well as, for good measure, the authority of your community to make rules.

    At the very least you’d have to have some sort of court system to give your policing some teeth.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Doug #6 Thanks for the refreshing challenge. I would see business districts (i.e. downtowns)operating like residential neighborhoods. The land of the owners of malls and just plain old stores would extend out into the streets like the property of homeowners. Each mall/store owner would be responsible for their portion of road. This would encourage collaboration not unfair trade practices as you suggest.

    In terms of interstate/toll roads, like right of way issues in regards to residential property, deed restrictions could be employed to prevent Walmart from setting up sweetheart deals for its customers to the detriment of Dollar Tree’s etc…

    As far as poor neighborhoods are concerned, if we had a truly free market poverty would decrease. In 1959 the poverty rate in the U.S was about 22 percent. It went down to about 14 percent at the time of enactment of the Great Society in 1965 and has averaged about that ever since. Now we didn’t have a true free market in the 50s but when government got even more involved the poverty rate stopped falling – coincidence? I don’t think so.

    Thus, under current circumstances you are correct – what would happen to poor neighborhoods? I only propose bringing in a libertarian society all at once. It is impossible for it to co-exist with the current statist society we have now. For instance, as long as the Fed is around fixing the price of the dollar for the big bankers we will always have inefficiencies in our economy and the boom and bust cycle which makes the rich richer, erodes the middle class, and makes the poor poorer. So no, under the current regime poor neighborhoods would pose a huge problem for privatized streets.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Dr,

    There is a school of libertarianism that would privatize police, courts, and the military.

    I am Lockean. For me the purpose of government is to protect its citizens’ natural rights. Thus, government could play a role with regard to law enforcement. It could play a role with regard to adjudicating disputes. Prisons could be private and subject to government enforcement of the natural rights of inmates. I object to government owning things and providing services outside of protecting the rights (safety) of citizens.

  • Dr Dreadful

    There’s a case to be made that a decent, safe and efficient transportation system is a natural right of the people.

    And I think an American objecting to the government owning things when you own the government is a bit strange.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    The Constitution doesn’t give the government the right to own anything. The government is based on the Constitution. Thus, you are really strange for believing the government should own anything.

  • Dr Dreadful

    But the government doesn’t own anything. The people do; the government is just the people’s agent.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    There is a school of libertarianism that would privatize police, courts, and the military.

    I would hope that’s not something you buy into, because that would quite literally bring us back to the last decades of the Roman republic, back when the rich owned their own armies – Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Crassus owned their own armies…and what happened?

    What would happen, Kenn, when the owners of one police force or court system or army decided they could run things better than the other guy, and decided to take them out? Don’t say it wouldn’t happen…because it has before.

    And you still have never given me a straight answer as to my “boilerplate” point above – but don’t feel bad – neither has anyone else on BC who strongly opposes socialized democracy. But I’ll keep asking you that question in the hopes that someday you’ll actually take a crack at answering it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And let me point out what seems to be going on with your train of thought here: you’re apparently starting with the paradigm that privatization is best in all things and that government is (almost) never good, therefore…

    …but what you’re not doing is looking at the grand march of history through the ages, at what has worked and what has not worked, at which societies flourished and which did not. When it comes to the human animal, Kenn, there is nothing new under the sun – therefore the key is to see what has worked the best for humanity before, and learn from that.

    But you’re not looking at what’s worked best before, are you?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    Glenn – which empires largely operated on the libertarian principles that Kenn lays out here would you say

    Essentially any empire where there was not government oversight of business, where there was no social safety net, where ‘civil rights’ were a non-issue.

    I think it would be an accurate statement to say that most empires before the industrial revolution operated on largely libertarian ideals – not by desire, but by necessity. Heck, in the days of Rome – which was in most ways not libertarian – even the collection of taxes was privatized, and with little or no government oversight from Rome itself; a patrician would buy the contract (from Rome) to collect taxes from a certain province, and then he’d go collect those taxes (using his private army to back up the tax collection)…and he’d keep whatever ‘taxes’ he collected over and above what he owed Rome per the contract.

    But in the vast majority of cases, one never needed a permit or license to do much of anything. There are many exceptions to the rule of course – even in time of Hammurabi there were strict rules when it came to real estate, and China was requiring written exams for civil service positions centuries before Christ was born – but for the most part, licenses and permits were not needed, there was no social safety net, and the very idea of civil rights would have been considered a joke.

    Think on this – before the modern era, what were the greatest and longest-lived kingdoms? Rome, England, and the dynasties in China…and one might also include the Tokugawa Shogunate which had the longest peace of any kingdom or nation in history. And none of these were libertarian.

    There is nothing new in the world when it comes to the human animal. Kenn should remember that, and pay more attention to what has worked best. He of all people should be remembering the lessons of history.

  • Doug Hunter+

    #9

    Poverty, at least as used wealthy nations, is an utterly useless construct. It measures nothing objective about a person’s situation, does not account for assets, does not account for certain government transfers, does not account for local cost of living and on and on. The term poverty carries the baggage of cardboard shanties, dying of diseases treatable with $.50 worth of antibiotics, malnutrition, starvation, no clean water or sewage facilities and that is how it is used internationally.

    What we now call “poverty” is some increasingly meaningless and arbitrary measure of income inequality. It means something along the lines of 14% of 3 member households made less than $19,436 or whatever so we had to provide them assistant… well duh! Did you really expect that every single human being was ready, willing, and able to go to work and earn that amount? Come on. Some people are a half step away from being classified as mentally retarded, others are battling addictions, others have assets to draw on, a few more were raised in minimal lifestyle and are perfectly content remaining that way, and a few further still… don’t tell anyone, this is a secret… a few more get paid cash under the table and don’t report it. Added together, there’s no practical way to eliminate poverty aside from the government writing a check to those who don’t earn whatever the set amount is to be.

    Poverty over time is even sillier. You mention 1965 to today. In 1965 middle class houses were far smaller, averaging 1150 square feet while TV’s were prevalent they were largely black and white, air conditioning was not yet universal, health care was, well, 1965 quality. In 1960, 73% of all households owned cars according to the census bureau while 74% of ‘poor’ families do today. As a practical matter, the poor today probably have more material things, better services, and an objectively higher standard of living than a middle class family in 1965, but again poverty doesn’t measure objective stuff, only relative. Likewise, it makes no difference to our ‘poor’ that half the world (who trul live in poverty) would give virtually anything to trade places with them, all that matters is their relative station in life. No matter how high in the air the ladder is, they’re still on the bottom rung.

    Now I realize I’ve gotten way off topic, just the long way of saying arguments regarding poverty hold little sway with me. You have to get specific about what situation and hardship you’re talking about.

    To the larger point, yes as a general rule the larger the welfare net, the more/easier people find it to slide off into it. If you take away all benefits, some of those borderline people will find their way back to work. That’s not going to suddenly make them valuable contributors to society, but they may be able to overcome their issues enough to slide your groceries across a checkout counter or something… to others it also might make the option of robbing your house become comparably more attractive or just shooting you in the street and taking your wallet. Not everyone is capable of contributing to society in any meaningful (or paycheck earning) way, it’s a fine balancing act to deal with that and not easily handled with libertarian principles.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    As much as I usually disagree with you, you’re making a lot of good points here.

  • STM

    Another complete jibberfest from Kenn.

    I live in a country that makes inordinate use of toll roads. It wasn’t so bad when you pay your two bucks at the tollgate, but in the past 10 years they’ve introduced eTolling.

    One thing that really pissed me off about the state government and the city I lived in until a year ago was that for my wife and I to get to work, becau8se we work outside normal hours and public transport was out of the question, we had to run the gauntlet of the bridge, tunnel and expressway tolls.

    These roads were built in partnership with private corporations. What’s happened here is the complete opposite of what Kenn thinks might happen, especially since the state government is a partner in these enterprises and collects the cash via eTolling.

    First, you have to put down a deposit on an eTag ($80 when we got ours, each that is), then the government collects the dough.

    I really object to governments siphoning $200 every two weeks out of my bank account.

    I pay enough in direct and indirect taxes and the federal government, the states and the local councils as it is – they need to manage their money (ours actually) a bit better and provide decent roads out of that pool of funding.

    The Sydney Harbour Bridge toll is a classic example – now at between $2.50 and $4 a crossing depending on time of day.

    The bridge was built in the 1930s. When I first started using it, a crossing cost 20 cents. It was paid off in 1985, therefore should have been free to use from then on.

    But state governments saw it as a cash cow.

    Then they had to up the toll – because they’d gone into parnership with a private corporation to build the Harbour Tunnel.

    That was because: they didn’t want everyone “rat-running” using a free Harbour Bridge and dodging the tunnel toll.

    So, yeah, Kenn’s idea has worked just fabulous here in the Great Southern Land.

    I moved interstate a year ago to get away from all that bollocks, plus $10 per hour parking (to rent a block of fresh air) in the city central business district, and legions of parking goons hammering ordinary people.

    Whenever they start talking about building toll roads in my new home, which at least is an easy-living city, I feel like screaming.

    Toll fees are like cane toads and cockroaches – they never get smaller, only larger and more annoying, and the bloody things never go away.

    Stick to fully funded roads paid for with your tax dollar.

    That’s why you pay them.

    Way more bang for your buck in economic terms and standard of living than you get spending it on a whole host of stuff used to blow shit up.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Stan, as big a bunch of nongs and drongoes as the NSW state government sounds like, I have a suspicion Kenn’s going to feel you’re only strengthening his case here…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Still, I do get where you’re coming from. It’s not just road tolls either. I was in the grocery store a couple of hours ago and they had a sign up in the fruit ‘n’ veg section explaining that because of the widespread frost damage to crops this winter, I the consumer could expect to see higher food prices temporarily.

    I thought, “Temporarily my arse.”

    We shall see…

  • Clav

    the government is just the people’s agent.

    Hah!

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Doug, I don’t understand why the rest of society has to live with leviathan because a smaller subset is disabled in some way or just unlucky? There would be less suffering in the world in general with less government. Who killed more people in the 20th Century? – government. Who kidnapped and imprisoned more people in the 20th Century? – government. Who overcharges for everything?- government. Whether it is STMs tolls or Obamacare, government makes a mess of everything. Hey Glenn, those socialized democracies you speak of, how many need bailing out from central banks? Many are insolvent including the U.S. All that printing devalues the dollar and Euro and Yen and hurts the very people that Doug referenced above. But somehow that system is good and all others are crazy? I realize that having beliefs you have held for a long time be challenged is insulting or downright scary. But, I’ve done it. I use to believe that government was great. Then I started working, owned a home, then a business, and then watched as Uncle Scam micromanaged large parts of peoplee’ lives. Hell, Washington wants to manage the whole world. But that’s okay. That is what is crazy or “jibberfest”.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Hey Glenn, those socialized democracies you speak of, how many need bailing out from central banks?

    Doesn’t matter. Why? Because when all is said and done, the socialized democracies will STILL be on top and you know it. Or do you need to be reminded of the many, many times that the other nations have gone through their own much worse financial troubles? The common monetary unit – the Euro – seems to have been a bad idea, true…but that by NO means disproves the strength and success of socialized democracies, as anyone from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (not to mention the Scandinavian nations) can tell you! And the ongoing troubles in England and Europe are according to the head of the IMF due more to austerity measures than anything else – the more austerity measures Greece and Spain and England institute, the more problems they’re having. Oh, but I forget – you wouldn’t want to listen to anything the IMF said.

    But in the end, the socialized democracies are still on top by a LONG shot – their peoples’ standards of living – the only REAL indicator of a nation’s success – will still be much higher than that of the third-world nations…and you know it.

    You’re trying SO hard to keep from addressing the conundrum I presented…and you CAN’T without blowing up your own belief system.

  • Dr Dreadful

    @ #22: Scoff if you like, Clav, but I’m being no more nor less idealistic than Kenn here.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I realize that having beliefs you have held for a long time be challenged is insulting or downright scary. But, I’ve done it.

    Kenn, your journey from traditional republican to libertarian doesn’t automatically make your position sounder than the next guy’s. I find your thinking as suspect as that of any born-again evangelist.

    Certainly there are many things about government that are broken, but you can say that of just about any human institution from Washington to the YMCA. Governments have made a mess of a lot, but saying they make a mess of everything simply because they are governments is fallacious. In advocating for government to disappear almost completely you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • Doug Hunter+

    “Doug, I don’t understand why the rest of society has to live with leviathan because a smaller subset is disabled in some way or just unlucky?”

    It doesn’t. The leviathan as you put it is the creation not of one doctor Frankenstein with one cause, but as an ugly collaboration of a multitude of doctors over a period of hundreds of years. The disabled are just one of a multitude of stakeholders with vastly differing viewpoints and value systems and cultures that have played a part in the old imperfect union. If you’re going on a trip down Libertarian lane you must be able to address the boilerplate reductio ad absurdum argument as it will come up in virtually every challenge.

    Ultimately, the question should not be for me to explain to you the status quo, but for you to show me how it could be better. If you’ve read many of my opinions you’d find you are really preaching to the choir… roads are just not a very defensible starting point IMO.

  • Igor

    Without State and Federal roads programs there would be little road infrastructure in the USA. It just does NOT happen that roads and highways spring up because ‘business’ and ‘entrpeneurs’ recognize their potential and get things started.

    Without government activity we’d be riding around in horse-drawm carriages on muddy rutty farm roads.

  • Clavitos

    Doc, My scoff was not directed at you personally; I simply do not subscribe to the Utopian myth that the federal government represents me in any direct way: it wages wars (and on one occasion, sent me out to do the “waging”) of which I disapprove, it spies on its people, shoves unpopular legislation down our throats, etc. ad nauseam.

    I have found, however, that the closer to me, the constituent, a government is, the better it does actually serve me. The city of Miami’s government does a far better job of earning my approval than the feds, the state does slightly better than the feds, and the county does almost as well as the city.

    Washington simply disgusts me; the elected employees of the people are motivated largely by self interest concentrated on the related goals of accumulating more power and more money. They have few, if any, ethics or morals, are two-(or more) faced, and for the most part, leave the land worse off when we finally grow tired enough to deny them re-election and force them to crawl back under their rocks.

    When I was a youngster in Mexico, the teachers at the American School used to lecture us on the “good” qualities of the USA and its government. Without committing the rudeness of saying so in so many words, they made it clear that they considered the American government much superior to the Mexican, and the same was true for American politicians. In the more than fifty years I have lived here, I have come to realize it was a lie: the American government is not “better,” and American politicians aren’t either.

  • troll

    (“Clavitos”…that’s not what your wife said)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav, I have to wonder if your exponential approval of government the closer it gets to you is a manifestation of the “But MY Senator Isn’t Like All the Others” phenomenon.

    This, of course, is the phenomenon whereby the great American public despises its federal elected representatives so much that less than 15% of it approves of the job they do – yet it keeps on re-electing the same idiots cycle after cycle because THEIR guy is a man/woman of principle, not like all those other shysters in Washington.

    The closer you get to government, the more you interact with it, the likelier you are to understand where it’s coming from, and the likelier you are, therefore, to feel kindly disposed towards it.

    (In the interests of full disclosure, I personally feel that one of my Senators is a person of honour and principle and the other is a time-serving automaton. Since you know which state I live in, I’ll leave you to determine which is which. My Representative only just got elected (largely because his opponent decided it would be a grand idea to exploit his own terminally ill daughter to try and win the election) so I’m reserving judgement on him for the time being.)

  • Clav

    I’m aware of the phenomenon you describe, Doc. You are probably partially right, but I really think that I can (and do) get more from the Miami municipal government than from Washington; it’s one reason why I’m in favor of shifting ever greater responsibilities currently handled at federal level, to state and local levels. One sterling example: the state of Florida and its county and municipal governments are the undisputed champs of hurricane emergency management. Although I think it’s likely due in large part to having had much more experience than other areas affected by these storms, it nevertheless was a real eye-opener to watch from afar the debacles that were the responses of FEMA, state and especially municipal authorities, to Katrina’s aftermath a few years ago. A later example, Sandy was better managed than Katrina, but still nowhere near as well as we do it down here.

    BTW, Doc: I have learned how to beat the &#^%@$ spaminator software; I’ve been testing it for several weeks now, and have been able to get every single one of my rejected comments (and there have been plenty of those!) published on the next try. I love it when I can beat the system!

  • Clav

    troll: Hijole, mano. How you know that? :)

  • Dr Dreadful

    I’m in favor of shifting ever greater responsibilities currently handled at federal level, to state and local levels.

    Careful what you wish for, Clav. You’d be likely to see an increase in your local taxes to pay for the devolved responsibilities without a concurrent decrease in your federal taxes, since the vast majority of those go on defense and Social Security, which would remain the responsibility of the feds.

  • Doug Hunter+

    #31

    Smaller government should generally reflect local positions and values better than larger ones with more stakeholders and more disparate views, same goes for local representative. Nancy Pelosi is not representing me and her views are farther from mine than my local representative, but she wouldn’t be where she is if she wasn’t making her consituents happy. There’s nothing inconsistent with people rating their local reps better, that should be expected.

  • Clav

    In most states I agree with you Doc; the local taxes would increase commensurately with the extra responsibility, and to a degree, I wouldn’t mind; it’s much easier to keep track of what’s done with your taxes at the local and state (to a lesser degree) levels than when it’s spent in DC or another state – or worst of all, another country.

    However, we here in Florida have another source for taxes, which, among other things, pays our state income tax, and has yet to even approach saturation point. It’s called a bed tax, and by and large it’s paid by tourists, not us Crackers.

  • zingzing

    “I really think that I can (and do) get more from the Miami municipal government than from Washington; it’s one reason why I’m in favor of shifting ever greater responsibilities currently handled at federal level, to state and local levels.”

    so you’d replace gov’t with… gov’t? if i were you, and i wanted less gov’t right outside my door, i wouldn’t invite more gov’t into your neighborhood.

    but you’re right, what goes on in washington only very rarely directly affects your life. whatever comes out of there has to be rather watered-down in order to even attempt to make sense in this huge, diverse country.

    i’d think you’d want to keep it that way, but if you want more gov’t, you go for it.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Ah, yes, Clav, I’ve encountered that animal before. A number of resort cities here in California levy a bed tax or hotel tax. Can be a nasty little surprise when you’ve booked what you thought was a sweet deal on Expedia or Priceline… :-)

  • Clav

    zing, you make an interesting point, and I agree that it appears I’m calling for more government which is the complete opposite of what I’ve espoused on these pages until now.

    However, the way I see it is that it’s easier to control the locals than that big blob over the horizon, which, theoretically at least, is responsible to the whole country. The City of Miami government only has a total of 600K constituents and the Miami-Dade county government rules over a population of only 3M.

    When Miami or the county are “legislating,” with very little effort and no expense, I can go, sit in and even demand to be heard on an issue. Not in DC.

    So, yes, counter intuitive as it may seem, I believe in “keeping my enemies closer.”

  • Zingzing

    “the way I see it is that it’s easier to control the locals than that big blob over the horizon”

    That cuts both ways, remember. Had them more power over your daily life and see who’s doing the controlling.

  • Clav

    Had them more power over your daily life and see who’s doing the controlling.

    Good point, but I live literally next door to City Hall; they wouldn’t dare, I’ll run my boat right smack into their lobby and flood it with diesel.

    Seriously, I’ve seen far less tendency for power grabbing from city hall than I have from that dingy city in the swamps.

    Bribery is another matter; in the capital of Latin America, nothing happens without La Mordida…

  • STM

    Having consistently read Kenn’s views over the past few years, I feel I must comment generally on this.

    I agree with some things Kenn believes in, especially intrusion by government into the lives of citizens, but I find it quite bizarre that many Americans can’t accept that the tax dollar is better spent on things that cut the divide between rich and poor – such as universal health care (which in Australia sits very comfortably and works in conjunction with private health insurance).

    You will always have an underclass in any developed free society but in my experience, the vast bulk of the (smallish) underclass in Australia are so-called working poor, rather than welfare recipients. They pay taxes that are proportionate to everyone else, which IMO is a very fair system. The standard of medical care in this country is very high, and available to everyone. It’s good that people don’t have to go bankrupt if they become ill.

    That is, it works well despite unwieldy state and federal government health bureaucracies doing their best to totally c.ck it up.

    It’s called community, not socialism. Socialism’s something else again and I don’t believe that what many Americans, Kenn included, think is socialism, is actually socialism at all.

    We also in this country will have one-off levies for victims of natural disasters, such as the recent terrible busgfires and the flooding in Queensland and northern NSW.

    It’s nice that everyone chips in to help their fellow citizens who are less fortunate. People are happy to do it, which I suspect wouldn’t be the case in America.

    I don’t have a problem with the government collecting that money in one-off income tax levies as I can at least see in black and white what they are spending, and how, for who and where it’s really going (a lot of Aussies gave to private collection agencies a few years back for victims of the black saturday bushfires, and there was drama over exactly where that money was going).

    The idea of community helps to create a more level playing field, a happier citizenry (although not THAT happy that we won’t be voting this excuse of a government out on its sorry arse at the September federal election).

    For all Kenn’s railings about libertarianism, and he would no doubt regard Australia as very much a socialist country (he’s wrong, though) and therefore the kind of place that would benefit from his ideas, I can only point to the undisputed facts:

    Australia right now has arguably the world’s strongest economy; Australians on average earn more than their American cousins; the minimum wage is $607 a week, about $16 an hour (or roughly a bit over $US16 an hour, and IMO still not enough to live on); the Aussie dollar is consistently valued higher than the US dollar; our standard of living is higher than most of Europe and English-speaking North America, yes, including the US; unemployment is consistently very low compared to most other developed countries; we had NO recession during the GFC, and the level of poverty and the gap between rich and poor is much lower than it is in the US and many other countries.

    And, hey, look, we’re a thriving free and liberal democracy (OK, we’re a constitional monarchy, for the nit-pickers) … and we can still look after our vulnerable, sick and old properly.

    Granted, there’s only 22 million of us, which helps, and there’s a stack of shit in the ground here that everyone wants to buy, which also helps.

    But we are, as they say in the classics, a nation of people who are as happy as pigs in shit.

    I believe the reason we’ve got it so good is down to good karma … a genuine belief in community coupled with an in-built convict dislike of authority figures (governments, politicians and jurists) who are ALWAYS held to account by the people.

    That’s because this country is based and run on a genuine notion of a fair go for all, both legally and – crucially – morally.

    It’s all very well to have the promise of equality enshrined in a constitution, but unless there really is equality, it’s just lip service.

    Or, as we say in Oz, a load of American hot c.ck and bullshit.

    For all Kenn’s one-argument rantings on this subject and more, I am here to tell you that you can have COMMUNITY through the law and through government, without it becoming socialism.

    We are living proof of that. I believe I live in a workers’ paradise that has learned how to share the wealth so that even the rich are happy.

    Would I live anywhere else? No. I believe this is the best country in the world.

    Unfortunately, we have to have a government, but it helps if as a citizen you have a genuine say in what they do.

    Sadly, I don’t believe Americans of any political persuasion have that any more.

    The US become a faux modern democracy run by an oligarchy in which the wishes opf the people are overidden by the voices of big money lobby groups, corporations and powerful individuals and bureaucracies – and only pays lip service to the ideas of freedom and fairness.

    A great idea has gone to hell in a hand-basket in the space of 200 years because the political process has been hijacked.

    That is America’s real problem … not anything Kenn and many others of a similar bent are seeking to change.

    But true freedom means having more than one point of view, and having those regarded – to a point – as being as equally valid as any other (also to a point). So I don’t begrudge anyone their right to an opinion nor would I, unlike many other commentators I have seen here and elsewhere, seek to silence those views.

    Except when it comes to privately funded, user-pays roads: they suck.

    Besides, a taxpayer-funded road IS a user pays road.

    Ultimately, I paid for the bastard, so I’m using it ’till it’s worn out and I pay for another one.

  • STM

    I have just spent half an hour of my time writing a general reply to Kenn and everyone else, which has been blocked??

    Can someone rescue it, or at least sort this bloody problem out?? It’s now BEYOND A JOKE!!

  • STM

    In fact it’s total f.cking joke, and a waste of everyone’s time and effort.

    Ultimately, it will cost techno-ratty money as people slowly drift away.

    Cheers

  • STM

    … Not

  • Clav

    Stan, if you still can, copy the comment, then close the tab for this thread, reopen it, and change your name slightly (I change mine from Clav or Clavos to Clavitos), then paste the comment into the box and hit “post Comment.” It should work — I’ve not missed yet with it, and have been using it for weeks.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Stan, I managed to liberate your comment since it had got stuck in the one of two spam traps that Chris and I can actually get at. Hopefully it’s now convinced that you’re not a spammer just because all of your comments come in upside down.

  • STM

    Ho ho Doc … haven’t heard that one before. Much.

    How are you good Doc … and you too, Clav??

    I was angry, so I went for a swim. Now I feel better. Always works …

  • STM

    In winter, a nice cup of tea or three seems to work just as well :)

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

    I just want to endorse what Stan The Man had to say in his now liberated #42. Great to see a modern country working so well.

  • troll

    …it’ll be instructive to see how Australians handle the social impact of their developing mining boom

  • troll

    America — the deterrent Australians love to hate

    well…”say hello to the bad guy”…we got yer American Exceptionalism right here (grabs his copy of the US defense budget which he keeps close to his privates)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Stan –

    It’s called community, not socialism.

    AMEN!!!! That was a frickin’ brilliant rant…and one that I wish were required reading among all those who seem to believe that all government is evil.

  • Doug Hunter.

    #53

    If I needed an example of how a sparsely populated, resource rich corner of the Anglosphere could be successful I’d need look no farther than Canada. The US is a bigger country with bigger problems without the luxury of a nice ocean to buffer us from the third world. They’ve got a nice track record of helping their citizens, we’ve got a nice (or not) track record of being the world’s policemen and inventor, providing security for countries unable to defend themselves, shepherding the green revolution which saved by most estimates over a billion lives worldwide from starvation, built the forst mobile phone network in 1946 and have led almost every advance through the iphone, and in our spare time tinkered with computers to form the internet on which the world revolves today. I’d say that’s an admirable track record too.

    Now, we could have spent the money that went to DARPA developing the internet or taxed the profits Bell labs was plowing back into cellular technology and put it towards food stamps and universal health care… I’m glad we didn’t and the whole world is better off because of it. Investments in raw science, technology, and advanced industry pay much higher dividends than the welfare state, unfortunately it’s more difficult to measure as science and technology benefit the whole world while the welfare states only benefit the citizens of that country. That’s an argument I’ve been making for years and MIT has finally caught up with a recent paper Can’t we all be more like Scandinavians? coming to largely the same conclusions.

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

    Doug, Australia is a massively multi-racial country with far more diversity than many other countries.

    The USA doesn’t invent more than other countries once scaled for population size, does a crap job as the world’s policeman, did invent the internet but not the web, and doesn’t even make the best or most popular phones, so please stop blowing so much smoke up your country’s arse!

    The USA is, like Europe, over-regulated and both somewhat out of control and dysfunctional. Australia is showing us a great example of what a state can do.

  • Doug Hunter-

    #55

    1. I’m aware of Australia’s diversity and didn’t mention it.

    2. All rich countries contribute something, I mentioned specific things because not all inventions are equal. For whatever reason, the US has been at the forefront of many transformative technologies.

    3. We’ve sucked as a policeman, but before we splattered bases all over Europe they were starting world wars every generation or so… been awful quiet since. If my history was accurate at all the Soviet Union was salivating heavily at the prospects of moving the old curtain farther west after WWII. When we have gotten involved it’s ended poorly, but I’d say just having the policemen out in the street has kept a few in line. (I don’t think any two countries housing US bases have ever went to war against each other, something to ponder)

    4. I never said Australia was not setting a good example of what they can do with what they have, exactly the opposite. Like the MIT study I linked, the point is that the ‘best’ solution is not the same for everyone.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The US did take a bit longer to catch onto mobile phones. When I first lurched leftwards over the pond in 2001 mobiles were already commonplace in Europe, but I was surprised to find that most Americans still didn’t have them, and that a startling number of people were still knuckling around with pagers. I think it was because of the expansive geography of the American continent – took a bit longer and more money to put the infrastructure in place.

  • Doug Hunter-

    #57

    Yeah, I think you see the same thing with adoption of broadband technologies. I see comparisons to how we’re less wired than some European countries or South Korea. South Korea sports 530 people per square kilometer whereas the US has 34 (compared to Canada with 4 and the good old Aussies 3). Of course, averages are not good indicators either as it also depends how your population is laid out. Australia, despite being far less dense has a higher percent of the population living in major cities than the US, we tend to love our sprawl here.

  • STM

    Troll writes: “America — the deterrent Australians love to hate”.

    For all Seppos on this site: Nah, we don’t love to hate Americans, and we certainly don’t hate ‘em. In fact, most Americans who come here will tell you how nicely they were treated.

    That’s because, unlike a lot of people from other countries on this planet, Aussies actually rather like their American cousins.

    I might think some things about America s.ck big time, but it won’t stop me from liking your average Seppo.

    And it won’t stop me from admiring the idea behind America, even when the reality doesn’t quite match the intent.

    Any Aussie who’s been to the US will also tell you how well they’ve been treated over there. I can’t think of anywhere in my experience, apart from Portugal, where the people have been so welcoming and hospitable.

    Those who’ve never met any Americans tend to be the ones who really don’t like ‘em.

    It’s always good to have long memories, too. We have had a fair bit to be grateful for over the years.

  • STM

    Doug,

    Aussies have invented two of the handiest inventions in the history of mankind:

    The Hills hoist rotary clothes line, and the Victa circular rotating blade lawn mower.

    Lol. That kind of sums this place up. If you can mow your lawn and put up something that makes hanging out the washing easier, everyone’s as happy as a drunk tongue kisser at a family reuinion.

    This place is geared for ease. The less time you have to spend on housework or garden chores, the more time there is to drink beer, eat out, chuck a barbecue, or go to the beach.

    Everything’s relative …

    I forget to mention the aircraft black box.

    Useful, but not anywhere near as much fun since most of those benefiting from it aren’t around to enjoy the aforementioned.

  • STM

    Doug, the thing with our population is that we have to live mainly on the coastal fringes of the continent as most of this country is desert or hot, dry arid scrub and bush.

    You are right about the figures being somewhat misleading: Australia is one of the most urbanised socities on Earth, despite the huge size of our country and the small population.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    As a Brit who now lives in the Untied States, and has visited Australia on a couple of occasions and seen a fair bit of it, I am here to tell you that the greatest thing about the land Down Under is that it’s the best of both worlds. Aussies combine American-style pioneer spirit, love and awareness of space and the outdoors, and cosmopolitan come-as-you-are attitude with the Brits’ iconoclasm, healthy disrespect for authority, ability to drive on the correct side of the road and proper chocolate.

    Another great thing is that, although the Aussie people are grand folks, if you get a bit tired of the crowds all you have to do is shuffle inland a bit and there’s no bugger there. For thousands of miles in all directions.

    Wrap all of this up into a strapping suntanned package with a cricket bat in one hand and excessive amounts of sunscreen splurged across the nose, and I think you’ve hit on what makes Australia so successful as a nation.

  • STM

    Or, if you live in Adelaide, just go out at night. There’s no bugger there either. And it feels like for thousands of miles in any direction. No need to go inland.

    It being like a giant country town is part of the appeal. I didn’t realise it wasn’t normal to wait 15 minutes to make a right hand turn until I moved to Adelaide (and if you’re in the US where the steering wheel is on the wrong side of the car and they thus are forced to drive on the wrong side of the road, that’d be a left-hand turn across oncoming traffic, yes??).

    I don’t understand how people can change gears with their right hands.

    And left hand for the blinkers?

    Americans always get everything arse-about but don’t realise it.

  • STM

    HELP

    Could someone nice free up my latest comment, which has been callously blocked by techno-ratty’s totally useless filters, whilst letting a shipload of spam through.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    #53 – One definition of community is, a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.

    This is why the Founders of America set up our system of federalism. The federal government has very few enumerated powers in the Constitution. These are mostly limited to internal and external security. Each state and locality has the real power to intervene in real life issues as those “communities” desire.

    So, if I wanted to live in a freer “community” in America I could move to that place and be happy. But, when the federal government overreached its authority it covered the whole nation. I have no choice where I live in America, because federal law covers every inch. Of course, I am a strong proponent of nullification, but that is another matter for another day.

    The bottom line is that as a libertarian I don’t want to run the lives of others. For me that is not a “community”. It’s like being the nosey next door neighbor. That is not to say there shouldn’t be rules. But those rules should be limited to protecting the rights of everyone. You all want to run peoples’ lives and you elect surrogates to do it for you. Then you hide under the cover of democracy and that is supposed to make it okay.

  • Clav

    Doc # 62 and Stan,

    Did you know who gave the world chocolate (“proper” or otherwise)?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Si, señor.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Kenn, I’m not sure how building roads out of the public purse amounts to “running people’s lives”, but there you go.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Or, if you live in Adelaide, just go out at night. There’s no bugger there either. And it feels like for thousands of miles in any direction. No need to go inland.

    They’re all at the footie.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn says:

    But, when the federal government overreached its authority it covered the whole nation. I have no choice where I live in America, because federal law covers every inch.

    Yes, the draconian tyranny that is America is crushing the very spirit of freedom within Kenn! Whether he decides to live in Florida or Hawaii, Seattle or Atlanta, Hollywood or Wall Street, poor Kenn has NO CHOICE where to live in America. He can’t say what he likes, or go where he can do what he likes or marry who he likes or smoke what he likes (no matter that depending on the law, he DOES have choice in all these things – unlike where he chooses to live now in Qatar).

    And as an American citizen, he is actually to pay – gasp! – TAXES for roads he doesn’t use and schools he doesn’t send his kids to (never mind that these provide for those who DO benefit him)…yea, there’s even a park ranger somewhere in Wyoming who’s using his tax dollars Right Now, and there’s an aircraft carrier spending his tax dollars in the Persian Gulf (not far from where Kenn is in Qatar) Right Now. There’s even a woman on Medicaid who’s getting a cancer screening Right Now and a young man going to college on Kenn-sponsored federal loans Right Now, and it is tyranny, base tyranny that any government DARES to take even a penny from poor, poor Kenn!

    And Kenn – I’ve got the same challenge as before, the same one you cannot answer, that you DARE not answer because it calls into question everything you believe: if socialized democracies are a sure path to ruin – market forces being what they are, you know – why is it that even given the troubles in Europe, every non-OPEC first-world nation on the planet IS a socialized democracy…and why is there no solid indication that this is going to change anytime in the future?

    Yeah, it’s that same tired old question that you cannot answer, that you dare not answer.

  • Clav

    Yeah, it’s that same tired old question…

    Not to mention the same tired old sarcastic tone of your entire comment.

    Lighten up, Glenn.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    You are terribly mistaken – I am exempt from federal income taxes. It’s another benefit of living outside the Land of the Broke Home of the Fleeced. I am NOT contributing to your endless wars either.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Hm. IIRC, if one is an American citizen who has a regular money-making job outside our borders (regardless of who the employer is), one is still legally bound to pay taxes…and IIRC, the only ones exempt from that rule are those in the military serving in a combat zone.

    So…how are you exempt? And don’t worry, I’m not one to go screaming to the IRS – what one does is one’s own business – I don’t want to draw attention to myself because I’m not sure that I have all the receipts I’d need to survive an audit. Besides, since I will sooner or later be living overseas (like I’ve been threatening to do for years), I’d really like to know about any such legal exemption.

    But I can’t resist pointing out that it’s strange that you’re happy to live in a nation where one can publicly receive 90 lashes for being gay, where adultery can get you seven years in jail, and which is a regional center for human trafficking just so you can avoid taxes. I mean, which is more important to you? Keeping the one-quarter or so of your money that would go to taxes? Or the freedom to do as you please as long as it’s not harming anyone else? Because it’s obvious that their societal laws are much LESS along the libertarian ideal than America’s.

    I know, I know, you almost certainly didn’t choose to go there for any reason other than the fact that it was a good paying job waiting for you (and I can’t blame you for that – heck, I’m a bit jealous) – but please don’t pretend that that’s a better place to live, because while Qatar is very, very nice, very modern, with one of the highest standards of living in the world, it’s not nearly as free as you seem to think.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    I’ve also asked you that same tired old question many times…and you’ve never answered it either. Feel free to take a crack at it – I’ve got as long to wait for the answer as the good Lord gives me…and every time you and Kenn and other BC conservatives decry the evils of socialized democracy, I’ll ask you that same question that none of you seem to be able to answer.

  • Clav

    It’s foolish to answer that question, Glenn, you’ve loaded it. Loaded, because you set the parameters of acceptability, so we either have to answer the question on your terms or not at all. I choose the latter. I learned long ago not to answer loaded questions. My wife loves them too; I don’t answer hers either.

    The real problem, as I see it, is that while I’m willing not to impose my standards on you and the rest of society, you and all of the self-righteous, politically correct are not only willing, but insistent, on imposing your values on the rest of us.

    A pox on your house, Sir.

    [Settles back in recliner
    to watch another episode of Downton Abbey]

  • Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, as I understand it, if you are a US citizen working abroad you do have to file a US federal tax return, but don’t have to pay federal taxes if your earnings are below a certain threshold (a bit under $100 grand for a single individual). That said, it’s not an exemption as Kenn says – he’s still liable for US taxes – but an exclusion, or disregard. Source

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    No, that’s not a loaded question – it’s just one that you’re trying to find a way to avoid answering. There’s reasons that all the non-OPEC first-world nations are socialized democracies, even given what happened with the Great Recession.

    You – and Kenn and the other BC conservatives – can’t think of an answer that is palatable to your sociopolitical beliefs, and that is the reason why you refuse to answer.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Thanks – that’s nice to know, esp. given that it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever make that much overseas….

  • Clavitos

    There’s reasons that all the non-OPEC first-world nations are socialized democracies, even given what happened with the Great Recession.

    Oh but it is loaded, Glenn. You have narrowly established what constitutes a first world society, even to excluding OPEC nations — in short, you have defined the only possible answer (by your criteria), which is a exactly why A) it is the very definition of a loaded question, and B) why nobody cares to answer you.

    Wikipedia defines a loaded question thus:

    A loaded question is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption ( e.g., a presumption of guilt).[1]
    Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner’s agenda.
    (Emphasis added)

    Sound familiar, Glenn? Especially the part in bold?

    So, here’s your answer Glenn: You’re right, only socialism can create a First World nation; if it ain’t got socialism (or, alternatively, if it has too much socialism), it ain’t First World.

    The news will be a blow to Fidel and Hugo — they were so sure!!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I think you’ve got Glenn bang to rights, Clav, but your answer is kind of loaded too. You’re equating a social safety net with socialism. They’re not the same thing at all. Then again, I suspect you know that. ;-)

  • Clavitos

    Doc:

    :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    You have narrowly established what constitutes a first world society, even to excluding OPEC nations

    Really? If you’ll look back at almost every post I’ve made, I’ve said “non-OPEC first-world nations”, the context clearly being that I am referring to those first-world nations that are not part of OPEC…and the implication should be equally clear that there are OPEC nations that are part of the first world. I do not include them in my question because in the study of the success of different sociopolitical models, thanks to the oil wealth of OPEC nations, their wild success would skew any such study. I honestly thought you understood that.

    You posted this definition of a loaded question:

    A loaded question is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption ( e.g., a presumption of guilt).[1] Aside from being an informal fallacy depending on usage, such questions may be used as a rhetorical tool: the question attempts to limit direct replies to be those that serve the questioner’s agenda.

    And that’s absolutely true…unless the answer is glaringly obvious. You see, look at the first line in that definition: A loaded question is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption. My statement that all non-OPEC first-world nations are socialized democracies is neither controversial nor unjustified; it is not an assumption at all. Why? From the Wikipedia’s definition of ‘First World':

    After World War II, the world split into two large geopolitical blocs, separating into spheres of communism and capitalism. This led to the Cold War, during which the term First World was highly used because of its political, social, and economic relevance. The term itself was first introduced in the late 1940s by the United Nations.[1] Today, the First World is slightly outdated and has no official definition, however, it is generally thought of as the capitalist, industrial, developed countries that aligned with the United States after World War II. This definition included most of the countries of North America, Western Europe, Australia and Japan.[2] In contemporary society, the First World is viewed as countries who have the most advanced economies, the greatest influence, the highest standards of living, and the greatest technology.

    Care to show me any non-OPEC nations that are part of the First World that is not a socialized democracy? If not, then my question was not by definition a loaded question.

    And if not, then my not-loaded question stands.

    [pats self on back thinking that maybe just this once he might have gotten the better of Clavos on a literary point]

  • Zingzing

    I wonder if the soviets ever thought “here we are in the second world,” or if they thought of themselves as the first world. To google!

  • Zingzing

    Well, it seems the second world still exists as a political term, but doesn’t have much cache as an economic term… I wonder if Russia is considered first world in an economic sense… I’d bet Moscow yes, the rest not so much.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    If we only considered Shanghai and their high-speed rail network, China would be a first-world nation…but the standard of living of the general population is significantly less than that of any of the classic first-world nations.

  • Zingzing

    China is certainly a first world nation if you only consider the nicer parts of their cities, which is why, I guess, they’ve had such an influx of people into urban centers. China’s awesome if you have money. But really, I was more wondering about the terms themselves… The “second world” doesn’t get mentioned much at all since the breakup of the Soviet Union, but I was just wondering if they felt any indignation about the (undoubtedly western) term. It’s weird (to us) how other people view the world… Ever seen a map of the world made in china? They’re on the left side of the map, at least on some I’ve seen. Sometimes they’re smack in the middle, which would fit with their chosen name, zhongguo, meaning middle country. Why are we the west according to us? The world’s a sphere. It’s all relative. (I suppose there’s some reasoning beyond 15th century politics for this, but I can’t think of what it might be… Everything seems to be centered on Western Europe in our understanding of where things are…)

    I don’t even know what I’m blathering about anymore. Time for bed.

  • STM

    Clav,

    ” … recliner”. I’m trying to talk my missus into letting me get one of those bad boys, but she won’t cop it at all.

    She thinks it will ruin the “energy” in the house.

    Fair dinkum, she really believes that stuff, but sticking wooden elephants and stuff around the joint is OK.

    They’re not even practical, unlike a recliner.

    I will wear her down on this.

  • Clav

    I’ve said “non-OPEC first-world nations”, the context clearly being that I am referring to those first-world nations that are not part of OPEC

    Agreed. That’s what I said you said.

    and the implication should be equally clear that there are OPEC nations that are part of the first world.

    But you have excluded them from your definition of “first world nations” because they destroy your definition since they aren’t either socialized or democracies, so you’ve narrowed the definition of first world countries to those which are “Non-OPEC socialized democracies,” and yet the definition, from Wikipedia, that you offer as a backup to your definition mentions neither socialized nor democracy as being aspects of First World nations. Here it is again, for your ready reference:

    In contemporary society, the First World is viewed as countries who have the most advanced economies, the greatest influence, the highest standards of living, and the greatest technology.

    In other words, Glenn, you’re stacking the deck by (as I said upthread) narrowing your definition to fit only those nations you want included in the category of “First World.” But the Wikipedia definition clearly DOES include OPEC and non OPEC oiligarchies, doesn’t it?

    And even with so narrow a definition, there are still questionable candidates in your grouping: these days, it’s a pretty good stretch to classify the US as either socialized (it isn’t yet, although you democrats are certainly working very hard to socialize the shit out of it, more’s the pity). And the days of America’s “democracy” which it never really was, (ask any black or poor citizen, ask women, or ask any foreign country the US has occupied at any time in its history how much of a “democracy” it is.) are fast waning, now that it features such anti-democratic elements as the Patriot Act, executive orders permitting killing (even of US citizens) without due process, communications monitoring without warrants, drones killing indiscriminately in other nations, drones employed domestically for warrantless surveillance — need I list more?

    You know what, Glenn? You’re right; the First World socialized democracies question isn’t loaded — it isn’t even a question! You’ve so narrowed the definition, even the USA doesn’t qualify as a “First World Socialized Democracy.”

    Maybe we should take another look at Cuba and Venezuela.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn, hmmm, do you really think I would claim that I was evading taxes illegally on a public thread just to prove some point to you? You gotta give me more credit than that. Doc is correct in #76 – I have to file but up to $92k this year is exempt from taxation.

    Glenn #73 – “what one does is one’s own business”. This statement of yours contradicts all of your previous rhetoric on this site. You can’t have it both ways. You say this now, but every post we hear you pontificate about how the government needs to forcefully take property from some to give to others. Hell, you agree with seat belt laws. This is not minding one’s own business.

    And be careful what you say about Qatar. You are the one who is willing to criticize it to make a political point, but do you realize that you are being hypocritical? The government here is a close ally of Obama’s, a president you are a solid supporter of. In fact, if the American military that you love so much invades Iran, Qatar will be a major supporter of that action. Of course, you will rationalize it then by saying, “hmmm Kenn, what did you expect Obama to do, let Iran have a nuclear weapon?”

    As for me, I am not overseas just to avoid taxes and I realize that Qatar is much more dictatorial than the U.S. at least for now. Teaching overseas has allowed me to avoid the ridiculous “No child left behind” law, potentially having to work for a union, and the violence inherent in government run schools. At all four posts I have taught at, I have had the pleasure of teaching the relations of important people in those societies. In fact, in Qatar I have taught 3 of the current prime minister’s children. It is a real thrill teaching them the great ideas of the Enlightenment period and the American values of civil rights and free enterprise. In my view, this is where real change takes place in these countries – in the classroom of international schools, not at the end of the barrel of a gun.

  • Clav

    Stan,

    I’m not sure about the “energy in the house,” but those “bad boys” do have a tendency to ruin one’s personal energy, especially when one finds oneself comfortably ensconced in it, beer by your side, and a good game on the telly.

    At that point the “honey do” list is a goner…

  • Clav

    Kenn, I’m curious about this:

    I have to file but up to $92k this year is exempt from taxation.

    Are you permanently exempt, or are your taxes deferred only so long as you remain abroad?

    I don’t remember details, but I know my Dad wasn’t paying US taxes while we lived in Mexico when I was a kid.

  • Cindy

    All old guys should have a recliner. They are like heaven. I got my husband one with heat. He really enjoyed naps.

    You might tell her you are in need of comfort, Stan. She probably wants you to be comfortable. Perhaps her sense of style is blocking that other impulse.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    It is a permanent exemption.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Stan –

    Is she into feng shui? Actually, I think it doesn’t really matter – it’s all just a woman doing what she was training herself to do when she was a little girl playing with a dollhouse. So I let my Darling have her way inside the house, and I do pretty much what I want on the outside of the house…until she starts on about a tree here or a flower bed there. A guy just can’t win….

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Kenn: permanent as in you’ll never be taxed on your overseas earnings, or as in you’ll still be exempt from taxation even if you move back to and work in the US? If the latter, I’d love to know how that would work…!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Glenn, hmmm, do you really think I would claim that I was evading taxes illegally on a public thread just to prove some point to you? You gotta give me more credit than that.

    And I do – that’s why I added that “I’d really like to know about any such legal exemption”, because I might have some of the same concerns.

    “what one does is one’s own business”. This statement of yours contradicts all of your previous rhetoric on this site. You can’t have it both ways. You say this now, but every post we hear you pontificate about how the government needs to forcefully take property from some to give to others. Hell, you agree with seat belt laws. This is not minding one’s own business.

    Actually, yes it is, and very much so. Why? Because people who ride without a seat belt are shown to have on average much more serious (and much more likely to be fatal) injuries – and such are much more expensive…and guess who pays? As a taxpayer, I do, thanks to the fact that all too often the state winds up paying hospital bills, and then there’s the social economic that comes with a breadwinner dying (esp. if they don’t have life insurance) and the family winds up on welfare. AND let’s not forget that I pay more as a private citizen too, since these costs for what other people do translate over to MY insurance costs.

    So…YES, it IS minding one’s business to support the seat belt laws, because I believe that your freedom ends where mine begins, and while those costs I listed above do affect me today, they’d affect me a lot more if there were no such laws.

    And be careful what you say about Qatar. You are the one who is willing to criticize it to make a political point, but do you realize that you are being hypocritical? The government here is a close ally of Obama’s, a president you are a solid supporter of. In fact, if the American military that you love so much invades Iran, Qatar will be a major supporter of that action. Of course, you will rationalize it then by saying, “hmmm Kenn, what did you expect Obama to do, let Iran have a nuclear weapon?”

    Actually, if you’ll check my writings, you’d have seen me say in so many words that we should allow Iran to have nukes – which I think you’d agree is NOT in accordance with Obama’s policies. I say that because if NK can build a bomb, so can Iran…and Iran wants a bomb NOT because of the U.S. or Israel, but because Iran is Shi’a and their nuclear-armed next door neighbor Pakistan is Sunni. America and Israel are Iran’s excuse – Pakistan is Iran’s reason.

    Furthermore, I wrote an article recently stating my strong opposition to Obama’s use of drones in Pakistan. You say I love the military, but I’ve written here many, many times that if I had my way, the very first cut I’d make to America’s budget would be to get rid of all the aircraft carriers (which I loved serving on). They are not cost effective and by relying on those, we are effectively putting all our eggs in one basket. Oh, and when it comes to me loving the military, just remember one of my favorite sayings: “familiarity breeds contempt”.

    And while Qatar might be an American ally, that’s not an effective point – there’s quite a few not-so-free nations around the world with whom we try to maintain a strong relationship. Heck, look at our biggest most-favored-nation-status trading partner: China!

    As for me, I am not overseas just to avoid taxes and I realize that Qatar is much more dictatorial than the U.S. at least for now.

    But they pay nicely – like I said, I don’t blame you and I’m a bit jealous.

    Teaching overseas has allowed me to avoid the ridiculous “No child left behind” law, potentially having to work for a union, and the violence inherent in government run schools.

    No argument on NCLB, you and I would argue till the cows come home about unions (they’re both good and bad – but more good than bad), but your statement that violence is inherent in government run schools is wildly inaccurate, as the experience of the vast majority of first-world nations (other than America) show. Violent schools in government schools aren’t because the government is involved – it’s because it’s in America. I fairly sure you won’t argue the point.

    At all four posts I have taught at, I have had the pleasure of teaching the relations of important people in those societies. In fact, in Qatar I have taught 3 of the current prime minister’s children. It is a real thrill teaching them the great ideas of the Enlightenment period and the American values of civil rights and free enterprise. In my view, this is where real change takes place in these countries – in the classroom of international schools, not at the end of the barrel of a gun.

    I am truly jealous – teaching history is what I’ve always wanted to do, and you’re essentially working my dream job…but for right now wiping butts pays the bills. Anyway, the only exception I take in that paragraph is where you say what a thrill it is to teach the American value of civil rights. Last I recall, libertarianism is anti-civil-rights. I mean, Ron Paul stated that businesses should be allowed to discriminate on basis of race, creed, color, religion, disability etc., the logic being that people must be allowed to sink or swim on their own, and that businesses who discriminate would be shunned by their customer base. I know that last part to be wrong, having grown up in a place where such discrimination in the businessplace was quite common.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    But you have excluded them from your definition of “first world nations” because they destroy your definition since they aren’t either socialized or democracies

    NO, Clavos. As I stated quite clearly, including the OPEC nations skews the results because they have incredible oil wealth. Not only that, but combine that incredible wealth with relatively small populations (especially if you limit the population size to those who are officially citizens of those nations, e.g. U.A.E. where only 10% of the population are citizens), and that skews the results even further. The oil-rich OPEC nations are statistical outliers and should not be included.

    In other words, Glenn, you’re stacking the deck by (as I said upthread) narrowing your definition to fit only those nations you want included in the category of “First World.” But the Wikipedia definition clearly DOES include OPEC and non OPEC oiligarchies, doesn’t it?

    AGAIN, Clavos, my question is essentially “why are first-world nations, first-world nations?” At no time did I say that the oil-rich OPEC nations are not first-world nations. The oil-rich OPEC nations are first-world nations because of oil, and because of relatively small citizenries. Do you deny that this is the primary reason they’re first-world nations? I don’t think so.

    So that leads us to the REST of the first-world nations. WHY are they all socialized democracies? Given the conservative dogma that big governments surely result in economic ruin, WHY do these socialized democracies stay on top of the economic heap? We know why the OPEC nations are first-world nations, but why the heck are all the rest of the first-world nations comprised solely of big-government socialized democracies?

    Okay? I slightly changed the question for you. I’ve changed it to “why are first-world nations, first-world nations?” The first-world nations of the world are comprised of socialized democracies and OPEC nations. The reason why the OPEC nations are first-world nations is obvious – but how is it that the rest stay on top of the economic heap, if socialized democracy is – as conservative dogma insists – an economic disaster waiting to happen?

    these days, it’s a pretty good stretch to classify the US as either socialized (it isn’t yet, although you democrats are certainly working very hard to socialize the shit out of it, more’s the pity).

    While America may be the least socialized of the first-world socialized democracies, your statement above that implies that America’s not socialized is very inaccurate, especially given that the single chunk of our federal budget goes to our social safety net.

    And the days of America’s “democracy” which it never really was, (ask any black or poor citizen, ask women, or ask any foreign country the US has occupied at any time in its history how much of a “democracy” it is.) are fast waning, now that it features such anti-democratic elements as the Patriot Act, executive orders permitting killing (even of US citizens) without due process, communications monitoring without warrants, drones killing indiscriminately in other nations, drones employed domestically for warrantless surveillance — need I list more?

    Really? If one listens to you, one might think we’re just mere steps away from runaway tyranny. But if one takes a look at the grand sweep of history, one sees just how far off the mark is your claim that America’s democracy is ‘waning’. If it were waning, we’d be going back to the days when women and minorities couldn’t vote. If it were waning, we’d be going back to the days of McCarthyism, or to the Japanese internment camps, or to the days when Woodrow Wilson jailed people for years for even speaking up against sending our troops to fight the Kaiser (and never once spoke about the H1N1 influenza that killed nearly 1M Americans in 1918-19).

    Yes, we’re doing some things I don’t like…but if one sees where we’re at right now as compared to where we’ve been, we’re a heck of a lot better off now! We surely not perfect (see the things you listed) and there are those who want us to be less free – witness the efforts of conservatives to end abortion in several states, to put prayer back in schools, to weaken (or end) the teaching of evolution in schools, to tell everyone that AGW is somehow a hoax, to obstruct any and all sensible gun control legislation, and to make it harder to vote.

    Okay? I changed the question for you – it now includes ALL first-world nations. Why are they first-world nations? We know why the OPEC nations are first-world nations, but what about ALL the rest? They’re all socialized democracies which are doomed to economic disaster according to conservative dogma…but they’re still on top of the economic heap? Why?

    One wonders how you’re going to avoid answering the question now….

  • Kenn Jacobine

    But Glenn you don’t mind your own business. The massive government controlled society we have makes it impossible for people to be left alone. Taxpayers should not have to pay for the negligence of others. If some guy doesn’t wear his seat belt and gets more seriously injured why isn’t that his problem?

    In terms of civil liberties, libertarianism is absolute in its defense thereof. Business owners have a natural right to discriminate if they choose simply because it is their property. Property rights are a civil right. What Paul was saying is that the market provides a natural mechanism to potentially punish the property owner if he discriminates. Again, your position is not to mind your own business, but to micromanage what people can do with their property whether it is right or wrong.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    What Paul was saying is that the market provides a natural mechanism to potentially punish the property owner if he discriminates.

    Yes, that’s pretty much what I said was the logic of his position…and then I stated that in my experience it doesn’t work out that way. Remember, I grew up in a place where even twenty years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, there were still “white” and “colored” entrances to the doctor’s office in the town where I was attending school (and the people abided by those entrances). The almighty market certainly didn’t hurt his business…and that tells me that the ‘almighty market’ isn’t as almighty as you’d like to think.

    The thing about libertarian thought, Kenn, is that it’s thought. It says, “well, it oughta work this way, logically speaking”. Problem is, you’re expecting logic from human beings. What had happened where I grew up was that the blacks were made into an underclass, and that ‘almighty market’ didn’t help them at all; indeed, it kept them down.

    And it’s because of what I saw – what I lived – that I absolutely agreed with Dave Nalle when he said, “True libertarians love the poor because a capitalist society needs a poor underclass in order to function efficiently”. Any society (libertarian or not) wherein business can discriminate against whomever they will, will divide along racial, ethnic, or religious lines…and it’s one or more of those – the least popular race, ethnic group, or religion – that will comprise that underclass. As an historian, you should understand this instinctively. In a libertarian society, the words ‘civil rights’ might be part and parcel of the rhetoric, but never of the reality.

  • Clav

    They’re all socialized democracies which are doomed to economic disaster according to conservative dogma…but they’re still on top of the economic heap? Why?

    Not all. The only heaps Greece and Italy are on top of are composed of dung. But those who are still on or near the top (though much poorer than they used to be), are there because, back in the good ol’ days, they raped and pillaged all the rest of the world, impoverishing it while greatly enriching themselves.

    For great examples, study the activities of the USA and the history of this hemisphere during the 19th and 20th centuries; the USA pillaged, stole, jailed and assassinated leaders and carted off shiploads of their natural resources (and their land, in the case of Mexico), paying little to nothing for them, and impoverishing virtually every nation in this hemisphere except Canada, and we’d have gone after it, too if the Brits hadn’t been watching over her. And speaking of the Brits, they are our excellent second example during their British Empire years, they too raped and pillaged much of the world, taking advantage of their control of same. Now, the “socialized democracies” are running out of money (cf. USA), and eventually, we’ll all be poor, until new nations do what it takes to rise above the rest.

    Unless war (serious world-level war) breaks out; then, participants (the winners) will likely wind up rich again.

    But the bottom line is, the “socialized democracies” (most are neither) have bitten off more than they can chew (even the USA), and the bell is tolling.

    The only thing the “socialized democracies” have proven up to this point is that that particular idea is unsustainable in the long run.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Kenn –

    If some guy doesn’t wear his seat belt and gets more seriously injured why isn’t that his problem?

    Tell that to the insurance companies who charge me more. Tell that to the family who has to go on the dole because their breadwinner just died, and I pay more in taxes as a result. Tell that to the hospital who provides the care that the guy can’t afford…and raises their prices on the rest of us to cover their loss.

    Kenn, it’s not that I believe in micromanagement – of course not! I do believe, however, that your freedom ends where mine begins. You will wear seat belts because if you don’t, it may very well cost me more money – and you don’t have the right to cost me money by your actions. You will have auto insurance because if you don’t, it’s highly unlikely you’d be able to pay all you owe in an accident…and you’d cost me more money – and you don’t have the right to cost me money by your actions. You will obey speed limits, because people who drive too fast are much more likely to injure or kill innocent people in an accident…and you’d cost me more money – and you don’t have the right to cost me money by your actions.

    You see, Kenn, the law – and the great majority of the regulations – are there NOT to micromanage, but to protect the freedoms of the innocent or the weak from being infringed upon by the guilty or the strong. Your business has the right to make money, but it does not have the right to pollute the air that I breathe or the water that my children drink.

    And that’s where unfettered commerce – one of the lofty goals of libertarianism – always leads. Just ask the residents of Bhopal.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    *sigh* Friend, you’ve really gotta get off the “world’s-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket” crazy train.

    Yeah, Greece is in a tight spot right now. But you know what? On this page there’s four indices of nations ordered by GDP per capita. The indices give stats for 180 to 195 countries. The highest rank for Greece is 32 (out of 185), the lowest is 40 (out of 195).

    But maybe you don’t want to pay attention to GDP per capita, so let’s look at the list of nations ordered by rank on the Human Development Index, which is “a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education, standards of living, and quality of life for countries worldwide.” On this one, Greece is #29 out of 187. And Italy is better off than Greece on all these.

    So…you said “The only heaps Greece and Italy are on top of are composed of dung.” That would mean, then, that the remaining 150+ nations on most of those lists ARE that dung.

    You went on a small diatribe about how aggressive America and England’s been, as if we’ve somehow been the only aggressive nations on the planet. Perhaps you missed what China, the USSR, Japan, and the Germans did over the years. We were more successful mostly because we weren’t living next door to strong nations who could resist our growth.

    Then you said:

    But the bottom line is, the “socialized democracies” (most are neither) have bitten off more than they can chew (even the USA), and the bell is tolling. The only thing the “socialized democracies” have proven up to this point is that that particular idea is unsustainable in the long run.

    And we’ve been being told this for how long? Decades. Generations. Centuries. Frankly, you need to get rid of that sign you’re carrying around – you know, the one that says “The end of social democracy is coming soon!” Your economic gotterdammerung that you Just Know is going to happen is just a modern-day version of Waiting for Godot.

  • Clavitos

    You went on a small diatribe about how aggressive America and England’s been, as if we’ve somehow been the only aggressive nations on the planet.

    Bullshit, Glenn. You damn well know i didn’t say or imply that. But among present nations still in existence we are standouts, and yet, according to you leftys, we both aspire to be “Socialized democracies.” Horseshit. Unashamed, unrepentant takers, especially the Land of the Dole and Home of the Speculator. Ask lefty hero algore about speculation; how much did he get for that joke of a broadcast nonentity of his from Al-Jazeera? $100 million?

    And we’ve been being told this for how long?

    Not very. Marx died in 1883. With the exception of Cuba and Venezuela, most of the countries that really embraced socialism have either begun to reject it (China) or have nearly finished the rejection (Russia and most of the Soviet nations).

    But I hope you leftys will keep on “improving” socialism here. As soon as the income for not working climbs high enough (and it will), I’m quitting and going cruising for good. I rather like the idea of being handed back all my taxes.

    Your economic gotterdammerung that you Just Know is going to happen is just a modern-day version of Waiting for Godot.

    I bet you get a lot of sand in your sinuses with your head buried like that all the time.

  • STM

    Recliner side debate #101

    Cindy: “All old guys should have a recliner. They are like heaven. I got my husband one with heat.”

    I’m in the sunbaked contonent Cindy … do they do one with cool??

    And yes, she’s into “style”. The furniture in the house looks great, and it’s modern, but it still doesn’t alter the fact I’d like a nice recliner to watch the footy and cricket. I’m sick of putting my feet up on the coffee table.

    It’s too hard.

    A decent chair is a man’s natural right. Let’s call it Lockean-style furniture libertarianism, so Kenn can understand I’m not trying to get one off the government.

    Clav: The “honey do” list. I’ve had tradies here doing a shitload of stuff around our new house, and she’s managed to get most of ‘em offside.

    The guys doing the sectional overhead garage doors left without doing a couple of last little things after she gave them a gobful over something that had nothing to do with them and everything to do with their boss and his crap measurements.

    Then she’s accused the gardener of killing our evergreens with weed killer because someone at her work told her it can have an effect (even though it would have to be an agent-orange sized cloud).

    Of course, I don’t think it was any coincidence that for the week before she noticed they were looking a bit dodgy, we’d had the hottest summer temps here for many years, and she hadn’t been watering them which you must do when it gets up to 45C(I can’t do it as you can only water here before 10am and after 5.30pm).

    I think the recliner might actually improve the energy in the house by making sure I’m either asleep or at least really chilled out when I’m getting the arse nagged off me.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn, the bottom line is that I have as much right to enter someone’s place of business unwelcome as I do showing up at your house unwelcome and borrowing your car. Both are violation of private property rights. You may not like it, but libertarianism is the only ism that protects property rights and thus the civil liberties of property owners 100 percent of the time. I don’t care where you came from or how many social democracies are successful because they allow property right to be violated. If the owner of property does not give permission for its use that is theft of property. it doesn’t matter to me if it is legal or not. And it doesn’t matter to me if it is meant to combat some perceived social injustice.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Glenn, the bottom line is that I have as much right to enter someone’s place of business unwelcome as I do showing up at your house unwelcome and borrowing your car. Both are violation of private property rights.

    Did you pay any attention whatsoever to what I said about my experience growing up in a society where discrimination was allowed? I guess not.

    You may not like it, but libertarianism is the only ism that protects property rights and thus the civil liberties of property owners 100 percent of the time.

    And you may not like it, but libertarianism allows discrimination, and encourages the discrimination against lower classes. I’ve already seen it and lived it…and if you knew half as much as you should given your experience, you should know this already!

    I don’t care where you came from or how many social democracies are successful because they allow property right to be violated. If the owner of property does not give permission for its use that is theft of property. it doesn’t matter to me if it is legal or not. And it doesn’t matter to me if it is meant to combat some perceived social injustice.

    Of course not. Since when should it matter that there’s no modern instance of the success of libertarianism, whereas there’s not only plenty of examples of the success of socialized democracy working, but there’s zero evidence of any non-OPEC-driven nation even coming close to comparing with the success of first-world socialized democracies. Kenn is right, and that’s all that matters, hm?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Ask lefty hero algore about speculation; how much did he get for that joke of a broadcast nonentity of his from Al-Jazeera? $100 million?

    And what’s wrong with that? We’re not against making money – we are against social injustice.

    Not very. Marx died in 1883. With the exception of Cuba and Venezuela, most of the countries that really embraced socialism have either begun to reject it (China) or have nearly finished the rejection (Russia and most of the Soviet nations).

    You’re confusing socialism with communism, Clav, and you know it. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had as much to do with the West’s particular brand of socialism as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has with either small-d democracy or small-r republicanism.

    I bet you get a lot of sand in your sinuses with your head buried like that all the time.

    Says the guy who thinks 98% of the world’s climatologists are wrong about AGW.

  • Igor

    Haw haw! I guess we soaked those dumb islamocists! Al Gore got $250million from Al Jazeera for Current!

  • Clav

    And what’s wrong with that? We’re not against making money – we are against social injustice.

    So you have no problem with his giving a demonstrably anti-American broadcaster an open door into the US market?

    You’re confusing socialism with communism, Clav

    No, I don’t think so. Communism is the natural progression of socialism in the hands of governments.

    Says the guy who thinks 98% of the world’s climatologists are wrong about AGW.

    Only the “A” part, Glenn, only the “A” part. And even then, only to the extent of questioning how much is anthropogenic and how much is part of the natural cycle of warming/cooling that has existed since the dawn of time.

    A small minority thought Malthus was full of it, too.

    And they were right.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    So you have no problem with his giving a demonstrably anti-American broadcaster an open door into the US market?

    You obviously don’t read al-Jazeera very often. I read it to get a different viewpoint, and frankly, I find them much more trustworthy than Fox News. Assuming that al-Jazeera is anti-American and therefore untrustworthy is like assuming that the Christian Science Monitor is untrustworthy because it has ties to Scientology.

    Communism is the natural progression of socialism in the hands of governments.

    And you base that statement on what, exactly? Is there any historical instance where such has happened? I mean, Germany had universal health care beginning in 1883, and they’ve been anything but communist since then. But to listen to you, well, it’s only a matter of time until Germany turns communist!!!! And let’s not forget the same goes for Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Norway…good grief, Clav, you know better than to make blanket statements that run completely counter to historical record!

    Only the “A” part, Glenn, only the “A” part. And even then, only to the extent of questioning how much is anthropogenic and how much is part of the natural cycle of warming/cooling that has existed since the dawn of time.

    And 98% of the world’s climatologists – the ones who know more about it than anyone else on the planet – are telling you that until we take care of that “A” part, the “GW” part is only going to get worse and worse in a vicious cycle. But I forget – you’re too busy looking at all the sand grains that are covering your vision (and worrying about your oh-so-precious tax dollars) to pay attention to those who know what they’re talking about. I’m just glad we didn’t ignore them when they told us how important it was to ban CFC’s to keep the ozone holes from getting bigger.

    A small minority thought Malthus was full of it, too. And they were right.

    And that would include me – that was the subject on which I won my first debate way back in high school. Malthus screwed the pooch when he made his prediction. But you’re comparing apples and oranges – Malthus was one guy, but the PhD climatologist number in the thousands, and along with them come the climatologists, the paleontologists, and the geologists who are also telling you the same damned thing!

    But we must ignore them because (gasp!) they might cause us to lose our oh-so-precious tax dollars….

  • Clavos

    …like assuming that the Christian Science Monitor is untrustworthy because it has ties to Scientology.

    It doesn’t, it has ties to the First Church of Christ, Scientist. I don’t trust it much because it is church related, and I don’t trust churches at all. And yes, Al-Jazeera has a bias that in no way can be considered pro American, or even neutral on the issue.

    And 98% of the world’s climatologists – the ones who know more about it than anyone else on the planet – are telling you that until we take care of that “A” part, the “GW” part is only going to get worse and worse in a vicious cycle.

    A claim largely based on computer models — not necessarily accurate — a fact admitted by a number of scientists and proven by the flaws in the computer models used by the Hurricane center here in Miami. And, while you apparently trust all those scientisrts to be perfectly honest and upright about what they do, we have had some indications that they aren’t entirely so.

    But then, you probably trust clergy as well.

    PhD climatologist number in the thousands

    Perhaps they do somewhere, but among the actual signers of the famous IPCC reports are a significant number of non climate scientists and a not inconsiderable number of non-scientists.

    And the whole thing is under the aegis of the UN, a body, which could very likely see the entire AGW issue as its opportunity, as sponsor of and patron of the IPCC, to gain for itself regulatory and taxation powers rivaling those of national governments; possibly even greater than those of all but the strongest governments.

    And then there’s the multi-year period we are passing through in which there actually hasn’t been any warming. OK, your turn. I’m gonna sit down now and listen tyo all you leftys make fun of me;I’ve got my camera and recorder on, and I’m ready — uh oh, where’s the popcorn?

    But you’re comparing apples and oranges – Malthus was one guy

    No, I’m not. Galileo was one guy, Newton was one guy, Pasteur, Lister, Christiaan Barnard, Crawford Long — the list goes on.

    they might cause us to lose our oh-so-precious tax dollars

    Now you’re getting the right attitude.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    A claim largely based on computer models

    No, it’s not. Models are used as a research tool, just as they are in many other branches of science. One of the things climate models do is to show us what we should expect to see if the world were warming. They have in fact been very successful at this – in fact in some areas, such as the prediction of Arctic sea ice extent, they have erred on the conservative side.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    And then there’s the multi-year period we are passing through in which there actually hasn’t been any warming.

    So exactly what multi-year period is that, Clav? In 2002 “skeptics” were telling us that there hadn’t been any warming since 1995. In 2005 we heard that there’d been no warming since 1998. In 2010 there hadn’t been any warming since 2003.

    When I hear claims like these I have a sudden inexplicable hankering for cherry pie.

    Meanwhile, here’s what’s really been going on

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You really think that we’re passing through a “multi-year period…in which there actually hasn’t been any warming”????

    Anyone who’s been looking at the actual reports knows better, but what troubles me is that you actually said that. You honestly don’t believe that the earth hasn’t warmed for at least two years (if the phrase “multi-year” means anything).

    That tells me that you really are stuck in the echo chamber – you really aren’t even trying to make an objective judgement by looking at both sides of the story.

    But you know who I like to listen to when it comes to hazards? Insurance companies. It was they who were some of the strongest proponents of seat belt laws, because they knew how much it was costing them to cover losses due to failure to use seat belts.

    What does this have to do with anthropogenic global warming? Read on:

    On Oct. 17 the giant German reinsurance company Munich Re issued a prescient report titled Severe Weather in North America. Globally, the rate of extreme weather events is rising, and “nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America.” From 1980 through 2011, weather disasters caused losses totaling $1.06 trillion. Munich Re found “a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades.” By contrast, there was “an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe, and 1.5 in South America.” Human-caused climate change “is believed to contribute to this trend,” the report said, “though it influences various perils in different ways.”

    Global warming “particularly affects formation of heat waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity,” Munich Re said. This July was the hottest month recorded in the U.S. since record-keeping began in 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported that two-thirds of the continental U.S. suffered drought conditions this summer.

    Yes, the insurance companies want to sell insurance…but they ALSO want to minimize those events that force them to pay out money. If you would rather listen to the market than to scientists, then pay attention to what the insurance market is telling you.

  • STM

    Noticed Doug’s comment about America inventing things and being the world’s policeman.

    Lol. I love it how some Americans think America has invented everything that goes to make up our modern world or, as Americans are so fond of telling us, has “saved everyone’s asses”.

    Not the case (and I can undserstand why that nonsense infuriates the Brits and the rest of their offspring).

    The truth, as usual, lies somewhere between did/saved/invented everything and did/saved/invented nothing.

    It’s America’s self-imposed isolation that leads Americans to believe much of their own horseshit.

    And if the US is really going to be the world’s policeman, it might be an idea to get up from behind the desk a bit quicker than it usually does before joining in on the dirty work..

    In other words, help with the work first and eat the jelly donuts afterwards.

  • STM

    Doc,

    I noticed this year it was very, very hot in Australia … the hottest temps since the 1940s.

    One of the main reasons for that: Monsoon was slow to develop in the north of the continent this year, plus – and this is a critical factor – it was summer and we all live near a searingly hot inland desert …

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Yeah, but Stan –

    1. Why was the monsoon slow to develop?
    2. The desert was there last year as well. So was summer.

  • Clav

    It’s America’s self-imposed isolation that leads Americans to believe much of their own horseshit.

    So Stan,

    What about those Americans who basically believe America is horseshit?

  • Clav

    Why was the monsoon slow to develop?

    Easy. It was the exhaust gases from my car that did it.

  • STM

    I’m with Clav on this. I don’t buy this argument. We had hot summer temperatures last year too, and we’ve had worse fire seasons, and worse floods.

    And it’s not the first time in 200 years that the monsoon has been slow to arrive. It won’t be the last.

    I suspect this continent has been having floods, heatwaves and bushfires – and slow-to-arrive monsoons – for many thousands of years.

    I’m not really noticing that it’s that much different than it ever was.

    Sorry Doc, but I don’t buy the warmenist argument. It’s a flawed science at best, and at worst something dreamt up by a bunch of self-interested academics trying to keep themselves funded and in a job.

    But yes, we ARE polluting the planet and chopping down too many trees.

    I’ll buy that much, and I’ll say we should be doing something about it, but not the other alarmist bollocks.

    Just sayin’

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

    Stan, you might want to check out this site from your own government about climate change in Australia before finally making your mind up on this issue.

    As to the subject of climate change in general and how much humanity is affecting that, for me it is a fairly simple matter.

    Our climate is always changing, going through fairly long periods of warming and cooling. Although a cooling period is long overdue, the planet is currently warming.

    Any additional heat energy added to the natural cycle is going to amplify the process and, if enough heat is added, disrupt or possibly permanently change the natural cycle.

    It makes sense to work towards reducing our heat and gas output to reduce the influence of our activity on our only home otherwise we may become the latest species to go extinct.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Stan –

    We’ve got 40% more CO2 in our atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

    Now bear in mind that burning ONE gallon of gasoline creates twenty pounds of CO2 in our atmosphere – that’s what, something like a little over two kilos of newly-atmospheric CO2 per liter of gasoline. There’s over a half billion cars operating in the world nearly every day – and that’s just cars and doesn’t count factories, ships, and industrial equipment. Our planet’s ecosystem was never designed – by evolution or anything else – to absorb gigatonnes of man-made CO2, year after year after year.

    Not only that, Stan, but the increase in CO2 is making the oceans more acidic. You should be concerned about this because it’s affecting your Great Barrier Reef. And then there’s the not-so-small matter of ocean acidification affects our fish stocks worldwide. Enjoy your seafood while you can – it’s going to get a lot more expensive in the years to come since the supply is going to significantly decrease.

    One has to wonder just how long we can shit in our own bed before it starts getting really uncomfortable…and how long people will continue to say “It makes more sense to me to shit in my bed for free than it does to pay a few dollars to clean it up.”

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Stan, what you should be considering is not whether you’ve had hotter heatwaves, worse floods etc in the past but whether they are on the whole trending more severely. And they are.

    Of course every season isn’t going to be more extreme than the last: there are multi-year ocean current and atmospheric cycles that can periodically exaggerate or mitigate “routine” temperatures and weather events, and solar activity can have some effect too. But if you statistically smooth out those kinks then you will see an overall warming trend. Check out the links in my #112 and #113 if you don’t believe me.

    I’m disappointed that you’re regurgitating the old crock about all this being a ploy on the part of scientists to get funding. Don’t you find it odd that it’s only climate scientists that get charged with this? You don’t ever see people accusing biologists, archaeologists and astronomers of fudging and exaggerating data in order to get rich.

    If climatologists are trying to get on the gravy train, it clearly isn’t working.

    And anyway, no-one’s telling you to believe climate scientists or anyone else. You can always just look at the data. It isn’t hidden.

  • Clav

    Here, Stan. This is for you.

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

    Not sure I see the sense in referencing an opinion piece written by a journalist that criticises another article written by another journalist, neither of which have any serious scientific grounding or credibility, as evidence of anything, but maybe some people have different ideas of what constitutes useful information.

  • Clav

    You have a real gift for the obvious, Chris.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    So do 98% of the world’s climatologists and 90% of the rest of the scientists – many of whom are in fields that are directly impacted by AGW.

  • Igor

    People who are arguing against global warming in general, and anthropocentric GW in particular, are fighting a rearguard action, and will lose, because they are wrong. The evidence is against them, and their constant hectoring of scientists reveals their desperation and reflects badly on them.

    Nobody thinks the anti-GW people are fighting a noble battle against an Establishment Monster gone mad. Whatever style points they got for being contrary are lost and their harassment has just become dreary.

  • Clav

    Nobody thinks the anti-GW people are fighting a noble battle against an Establishment Monster gone mad.

    Those who think they’re fighting “an Establishment Monster gone mad” are idiots. There’s no madness involved, just money to be made, as Messrs. Gore and Obama realized long ago.

  • STM

    The big problem, there has so much alarmist nonsense put our there by people who have had to admit they were wrong.

    That is why I believe it such a nonsense.

    I also want to vomit when the government-funded so-called environmentalists, ecologists, “climate change experts” and the Green left in this country tries to blame our adverse weather conditions on climate change.

    The truth is, it’s always been hot here.

    It’s always rained a lot to the point where we have terrible floods.

    We’ve always had tropical weather, with the vagaries of the monsoon season.

    We’ve always had bushfire.

    We’ve always had tropical cyclkones and severe storms (we’re surround by ocean, there’s the clue on that).

    Etc

    My advice to those people: Go and get a proper job.

  • STM

    … and cut the hysterical,alarmist nonsense.

    You’re not helping to promote the grain of truth within this argument by spouting a pack of lies, nonsense, poor reseaerch and general horsesh.t.

    That really is the problem here. A lot of people who might have felt there was a grain of truth contained in all this have now stopped listening, and for very good reasons.

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

    Clavos: You shouldn’t underestimate the power of stating the obvious.

    Not only is it a really useful tool for revealing bullshit, it stops people building castles on the sand…

  • Igor

    Gore and Obama are politicians, not scientists, so their opinions are throw-aways.

  • Clav

    Gore and Obama are politicians, not scientists, so their opinions are throw-aways.

    Except, of course that they (Mr. Obama in particular) control what, if anything this country will do about AGW, including some ideas which involve enormous amounts of money changing hands, like Cap and Trade.

    In point of fact, the opinions of politicians, far from being “throw-aways,” count for far more than all the scientists combined. Ultimately, they and their ilk will have far greater impact on the world’s economy, and on the issue itself than the scientists will.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The big problem, there has so much alarmist nonsense put our there by people who have had to admit they were wrong.

    Here’s the thing, though, Stan: they haven’t been wrong.

    Almost every prediction of AGW theory is being confirmed by the data.

    At least read my previous response to you, because the impression I get from your 130 and 131 is that it’s going in one ear and out the other, as my old Dad used to say.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Except, of course that they (Mr. Obama in particular) control what, if anything this country will do about AGW

    Good.

    In theory, at least.

    In practice, they’re sadly doing bugger all, but at least we haven’t got some idiot at the helm who denies global warming is even happening.

  • Clav

    You well may say “good,” but I, for one, would rather see that responsibility in the hands of someone with a better track record than Obama in terms of investing in new technology. Until now, there’s been too much of the reek of cronyism on Mr. O’s part.

  • Clav

    Igor,

    It’s anthropogenic, not anthropocentric. The distinction is important because the term is used to indicate man-made, not man as “…the most significant entity of the universe,” as Merriam-Webster defines it.

  • Clav

    …they’re sadly doing bugger all.

    I disagree, Doc. In reality, they’re doing worse than bugger all; motivated by cronyism, they’re wasting money on shaky ventures like Solyndra, whereas doing bugger all would accomplish as much without wasting the taxpayers’ money.

    And it appears that the Inconvenient Truth about Mr. Gore is that his primary interest lies in lining his and his pals’ pockets, rather than actually ameliorating the effects of global warming.

    But that’s par for the course in this country, where the advent of a crisis usually draws out the scoundrels first.

  • Igor

    @130-alarmist nonsense is only effective if you let it be. Such as, so many people who allowed themselves to be fooled by Bush/Cheney into supporting the Iraq invasion with alarmist images of mushroom clouds over Chicago.

  • Igor

    @138-clav: I know that it’s anthropogenic, but my editor wouldn’t allow it. Someone else had the same problem.

  • zingzing

    “they’re doing worse than bugger all; motivated by cronyism, they’re wasting money on shaky ventures like Solyndra, whereas doing bugger all would accomplish as much without wasting the taxpayers’ money.”

    you do know that a vast majority of those green investments have not gone belly-up, correct? (and is it really so surprising that any company went under over the past few years?)

  • Igor

    @137-clav: good luck finding someone with an excellent record in picking new technology. Even the most successful Sand Hill Road Venture Capitalists will freely admit they are wrong 9 times out of 10. The trick is to ride the infrequent winners high.

    One of the required skills for a successful pitch to a VC is showing how Really Huge your favorite will become once it succeeds. Most unsuccessful supplicants simply can’t show how their favorite will become Really Big.

  • Igor

    @130-STM: ” alarmist nonsense” is created by writers to sell magazines.

  • Igor

    @134-clav: they can only influence you if you let them. So, stop.

    And what’s wrong with Cap ‘n Trade? CT applied to sulphur emissions has almost completely solved acid rain for a mere $6billion.

  • Igor

    I don’t think government should have invested in Solyndra. It was a classic mistake of ‘privatization’, thinking you could farm out risk like that.

    If the USA is interested in solar PV power we should develop it ourselves then farm out production. That’s how California developed Geothermal Energy, which is a success. The very last thing we should do is give money outright to entrepreneurs.

    Develop the technology at public labs in schools and captive labs with professional staffs, then license it or give it away.

    All the big important stuff we have in modern life was developed that way, whether the agricultural advances that quadrupled the productivity of the worlds farmers, or the internet functionality that revolutionized social and business society.

  • Clav

    the agricultural advances that quadrupled the productivity of the worlds farmers

    I happened to know personally the developer of the single most important agricultural advance in history, Dr. Norman Borlaug. I was a youngster and part of the same crowd as Dr. Borlaug’s daughter much of the time he was hard at work in Mexico, developing a new strain of wheat which more than tripled the amount of grain yielded by each stalk. Borlaug worked on this important project under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO). It has been said in all seriousness that his contribution to the world saved the lives of billions of human beings. In 1970 Dr. Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his achievement.

    Dr. Borlaug died on September 13, 2009, at the age of 95; humanity lost one of the greatest human beings who ever lived.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Almost every prediction of AGW theory is being confirmed by the data.” – Doc

    No they’re not. The goalposts keep moving every report as the world does not warm as fast or a catastrophically as they have planned. Of course, your statement hinges entirely on the points you consider to be the predictions. Depending on your set you could be true, but here I’ll dispell some myths.

    What some AGW alarmists and models say: Global warming will increase global drought.

    What the actual measurements and peer reviewed science says: Little Change In Global Drought Over 60 years.

    What some AGW alarmists and models say: Extreme flooding is going to increase.

    What the actual measurements and peer reviewed science says: Long Term River Flooding Study Conclusion: Despite common perception, in general, the detected trends are more negative (less intense floods in most recent years) than positive.

    What some AGW alarmists and models say: But hurricanes and tropical storms will become more powerful.

    What the actual measurements and peer reviewed science says: Global Tropical Cyclone Landfalls: No trend since 1970

    If you want I can show you where there is no significant increase in global tropical storms over the last 370 years as well. I can show you that although sea level is increasing it has been a steady trend and not accelerated in the face of greatly expanded CO2 (rising as it has been over the last 8000 years or so since the last ice age). I can show no trend in tornadoes in the US. I can show not trend in hurricane strikes on the East Coast. I can show a rebound in the polar bear population since 1950. I can show you new research from 2012 that shows Himilayan glaciers are actually growing and on and on and on. I’ve read tons of research papers both for and against.

    You’re right, GLOBAL WARMING IS HAPPENING. The reality of the situation is that it is not nearly, not a fraction, but just a tiny portion of the catastrophe that is being fed to you by people seeking your tax dollars. Models predict catastrophe, models spit out whatever the programmer programs them to then talking heads take that and scare the average person to death. Real world measurements show that the world is quite resilient in the face of moderate change (the climate changes constantly with or without human intervention and is not prone to catastrophic tipping points).

    So on a scientific technicality you’re right that the globe has warmed (slower than expected), but the catastrophic trends are more imagined (or modeled) than real, more a product of having media and cameras available to document and rebroadcast every natural episode along with higher population densities and property values to make the damage totals higher.

    AGW is alot like Malthus’s prediction, both of them have an element of truth, eventually the world will run out of resources and eventually an amount of CO2 will do serious harm to the environment, they both also vastly miscalculated (and exaggerated) the speed and effect they problems would have.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    The goalposts keep moving every report as the world does not warm as fast or a catastrophically as they have planned.

    Who’s “they”, Doug? Climatologists don’t “plan” climate change; they predict it.

    Of course, your statement hinges entirely on the points you consider to be the predictions.

    Sounds suspiciously like you’re trying to poison the well here, but I’ll proceed on the assumption that you’re not.

    What the actual measurements and peer reviewed science says: Little Change In Global Drought Over 60 years.

    The Nature letter you link to is a single paper at odds with the majority of literature on the subject. It calls into question the usefulness of a single data set, the PDSI, as a predictor of global warming. This isn’t anything new, as it’s been under discussion in the field for some time. A paper published a few months before the Nature piece comes to exactly the opposite conclusion, yet it’s not cited by the latter, which I find rather odd.

    What the actual measurements and peer reviewed science says: Long Term River Flooding Study Conclusion: Despite common perception, in general, the detected trends are more negative (less intense floods in most recent years) than positive.

    Even a layman like myself can see a number of problems with that presentation. First of all, I can’t help notice that the vast majority of the sites analyzed are in Europe and North America, regions where dams and flood defences are widespread. It shouldn’t be surprising that this would mitigate a trend toward worsening flood intensity: that, after all, is the whole idea of such engineering. Second, what Bouziotas et al actually measured was river discharge, which we would expect to see slowing if global precipitation were decreasing; as opposed to ocean storm surges exacerbated by rising sea levels, which has been the cause of most of the worst flooding in recent times.

    And again, Bouziotas is at odds with most of the scientific literature on the topic, for example this paper.

    What the actual measurements and peer reviewed science says: Global Tropical Cyclone Landfalls: No trend since 1970

    I’m curious as to why this paper’s authors felt that only landfalling hurricanes were worth studying, but the fact is that the historical data on hurricanes isn’t that great prior to the satellite era – and that includes the data available to Weinkle et al. It’s known that warmer years tend to produce more intense storms, and this is the rationale behind the prediction that hurricane intensity ought to increase as a result of a warming climate. Once again, there is other research that argues the opposite of your citation. Just because a phenomenon does not seem to be obviously occurring now does not mean that we won’t see its effects in the future, as this paper, for example, points out.

    If you want I can show you where there is no significant increase in global tropical storms over the last 370 years as well. I can show you that although sea level is increasing it has been a steady trend and not accelerated in the face of greatly expanded CO2 (rising as it has been over the last 8000 years or so since the last ice age). I can show no trend in tornadoes in the US. I can show not trend in hurricane strikes on the East Coast. I can show a rebound in the polar bear population since 1950. I can show you new research from 2012 that shows Himilayan glaciers are actually growing and on and on and on.

    Bring it on. I’m aware of some of the research you allude to and that in it (or in its abuse by some) there is a lot of cherry-picking going on. But that’s probably enough for one comment, for the time being.

  • Clav

    Well presented, Doug.

  • Doug Hunter-

    #149

    I indeed meant predict rather than plan. Should have proofread better.

    Ok, to limit the comment we’ll take one small facet and expand on it. Starting with the first one, Drought. You mention the PDSI in your comment. The PDSI is a model taking basically two factors into account, temperature and rainfall. I’m not suggesting models do not have a purpose, but they do tend to spit out what you program into them. I have some experience as a programmer and not once when I hit enter has the program created a popup announcing that it had considered a factor that I had missed. They highly depend on what you expect will happen. If you assume that higher temperatures will lead to more drought and that’s the equation you put into your models then that’s what the models will regurgitate to you. The world tends to be a little bit more unpredictable and chaotic than that. Now let’s get back off the tangent and to the question at hand.

    You link to a drought related study and we’ll take a look at it line by line from the intro.

    “Historical records of precipitation, streamflow, and drought indices all show increased aridity since 1950″

    Hmmm. Historical records of precipitation show that although the pattern is chaotic (like most things more effected by natural variation than CO2), if you take the entire record the general trend is up 1.1mm decadal increase. If you cherrypick since 1950 there is a non statistically significant decrease as noted by the IPCC which is lost in the large natural variation. To claim that a non significant decrease in a massively variable system is good evidence ‘showing increased aridity’ is a stretch. The second evidence is streamflow data, since you just spent the last comment ripping that apart I’ll turn it around and agree with you. You can’t have it both ways, accept streamflow data when it suits you then announce that it is effected too much by human interference when it doesn’t. Lastly they have drought indices, the aforementioned models. As rainfall has remained variable but no large changes and temperature has gone up, models based only on those two inputs should indeed show increased Aridity.

    “Analyses of model simulated soil moisture, drought indices, and precipitation minus evaporation suggest increased risk of drought in the 21st century.”

    Models, models, and more models all written with the same base underlying assumptions that I mentioned above, makes intuitive sense. The one question I have is why model soil moisture when you have real world measurements you can go to, but we’ll get to actual measurements as opposed to models later.

    “There are, however, large differences in the observed and model drying patterns”

    Well no shit, I was getting to that part. Will discuss below.

    That’s the paper laying the groundwork, the paper essentially tries to create a better model fit by taking into account natural ocean cycles and other nature created variablility, a trend you’ll see often if you bother to read through the scientific literature. Global warming is always a catastrophe just over the next ppm of CO2, it’s right there in the models just keeps getting thwarted by that crafty old mother nature with all her cycles and variability.

    Now, I’m in agreement with you that models do indeed show increased aridity in light of steady rainfall amounts and rising temperatures… that’s exactly what they’re programmed to show. Let’s put our scientific brain to work and see how we could test this to see if our models are accurate. I’ve got a couple of ideas, first we could look at arid regions using satellites and measure whether or not they are growing or shrinking… sounds reasonable huh? Next, we have models of soil moisture showing the ground should be drying out, sounds good but just for the heck of it why don’t we consult the people who’ve actually been out and took soil samples and measured the moisture content… just humor me.

    What do the satellites say? Type in ‘are deserts growing or shrinking’ in google and you get good information regarding satellite views of the greening Sahara, anecdotal but interesting. What is the global trend over time as shown by satellite? The best I can find is a paper by Lui, et al. studying the leaf area index from satellite images July 1981 through December 2006. What he found is best summarized in a picture here. I think it’s pretty clear that the world is greening (or reddening according to the color choice in the figure). How does a greening world as evidenced by satellites square with a more arid world according to models? That’s another 3 page comment in itself so lets move on.

    What do actual measurements of soil moisture say regarding models that show a drying out of the planet? Let’s go to the most reliable system of measurement… actually going out and testing the soil. What does that tell us? According to the Global Soil Moisture Databank, a network of over 600 sites around the globe that actually go out and measure stuff rather than rely on models: “In contrast to predictions of summer desiccation with increasing temperatures, for the stations with the longest records
    summer soil moisture in the top 1 m has increased while temperatures have risen.” In other words, the planet is not responding as the models predicted… again, another trend you’ll find time and again when you compare scary, scary simplistic models to actual real world measurements.

    This is a massive comment on one tiny aspect of GW, I don’t plan on exploring every detail to this point. My intent was to show that the science is not so settled, that scary models are not always right, and that we’re not necessarily heading for some catastrophe, the science can barely agree on which way we’re heading at all. Models say more arid regions, actual soil measures and satellite images show a wetter, greener planet. When I research the science this is what I see time and again, moderate changes with some places getting better and others worse, when I listen to the politicians what I hear is that it is settled, catastrophy is at hand and new onerous taxes/regulation are necessary (not that the new taxes will actually make any measurable change, but again that’s another 3 page comment in itself).

    I’ll leave you with one final tidbit, another real world measure that demonstrates the effect of climate on the environment. Tree rings from the US showing massive droughts around 1000 years ago boxed in red. What I noticed prominently was the missing blue box showing the catastrophic changes that computers show must be happening in modern times. Like many actual physical measures it’s just not cooperating with global warming alarmism.

    I didn’t get into it, but I noticed your second link regarding flooding was a simulation of 20,000 runs of a computer model comparing it to a flood in England. Subject to the same thing as above although I have no doubt increased temperature may effect some things, how many computer simulations have they run to demonstrate the severe cold snap that might have occured had the atmosphere not been warmed by CO2 that would have killed 600 people in Eastern Europe? Oh, that’s right they didn’t run that one. Another one of the biases inherent in the system, they have no idea how good or bad the climate would have been without human interference, maybe our CO2 saved us from the next ice age that would be starting to wrap it’s tentacles around the northern latitudes at this point. Perhaps the real world measurements showing a warmer, wetter, greener planet, a greenhouse if you will, is not all bad.

  • Doug Hunter+

    One more note Doc, I do not mind a discussion on Global Climate Change, don’t think I’m under any impression that I can win the argument in any logical sense. The scientific community has weighed in and they will not lose face, especially with an unfalsifiable theory. There is no way to prove them wrong. If the world gets drier they predicted it due to heat, if measured soil and satellite trends hold and we get a greener, wetter world they also predicted that. If the UK doesn’t get snow that’s easily explained by global warming, if they get an influx of snow that’s also explainable by global warming. More snow, less snow. More rain, less rain. More sea ice in the southern hemisphere, less sea ice in the northern hemisphere. More flooding more drought, less flooding less drought. More tropical storms, less tropical storms. It can all be explained away under the auspice of climate change so the side issues are fairly moot points. The climate is changing as it always has. The only way to falsify the theory would be for the climate to quit changing (not going to happen) coupled with an extended decline in global temperatures. Even if that happened it wouldn’t prove anything, it would just be explained the same way the recent temperature plateau has been explained away today… it’s mother nature’s cycles counterbalancing and overcoming human input (but we were still right about CO2 all along!).

    I can’t argue against the amorphous concept climate change (especially when I agree it’s changing), I can only demonstrate that by most measures nothing catastrophic is occuring and the climate has always changed. .. call it an affirmative defense. What the politician’s say is scary, what the science says not so much. My children have to live on this planet too, I think our limited resources are best focused on verifiable problems of today than combating future changes the direction of which we can’t even be certain.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav @ #150: Doug always does present his arguments well, except for those occasions when he goes off on one, which I think he probably does for effect. :-)

    Doug:

    The PDSI is a model taking basically two factors into account, temperature and rainfall. I’m not suggesting models do not have a purpose, but they do tend to spit out what you program into them.

    Yes, models are restricted by what you put into them, which is why researchers don’t rely on just one but a whole slough of them. The more models you aggregate, the better your predictions are likely to be. So testing real-world results against just one model is of very limited use.

    You can’t have it both ways, accept streamflow data when it suits you then announce that it is effected too much by human interference when it doesn’t.

    I’m not trying to have it both ways. I explained my rationale for why Bouziotas got the results he did, namely that streamflow isn’t a strong indicator of climate change since most catastrophic floods are caused by ocean storm surges.

    Models, models, and more models all written with the same base underlying assumptions that I mentioned above, makes intuitive sense. The one question I have is why model soil moisture when you have real world measurements you can go to

    So that you know what to measure. A model provides a way of testing a hypothesis to see if it makes at least some sense. For example, there’s a model available online somewhere (I can’t remember where for the time being) that allows you, based on the parameters you input, to predict how many intelligent civilizations there are in the universe. This model does of necessity make some big assumptions, but these are based on recent observations in astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology and other sciences. I tried plugging in a series of extremely conservative values and got the answer zero – which obviously is not the case. The model therefore can be taken to suggest that the hypothesis that there exist other intelligent beings in the cosmos besides humans is worth further investigation.

    That’s the paper laying the groundwork, the paper essentially tries to create a better model fit by taking into account natural ocean cycles and other nature created variablility, a trend you’ll see often if you bother to read through the scientific literature. Global warming is always a catastrophe just over the next ppm of CO2, it’s right there in the models just keeps getting thwarted by that crafty old mother nature with all her cycles and variability.

    No, that’s you misstating the function of models. What you describe is standard scientific practice, not just in climatology but in meteorology, geography and even obscurer fields like astrobiology. Models don’t predict what will be but a range of what might be. They’re interactive. So for example, “What if only 1% of main-sequence stars have Earth-like planets?”, “What if there’s a mantle plume underneath this part of Africa?” or “What if we take out the effects of El Niño?”

    The claim we see, time and time again, from climate contrarians is that AGW theory is based entirely on models. That’s false. The hypothesis, yes, partly. The theory, however, incorporates observation.

    What do the satellites say? Type in ‘are deserts growing or shrinking’ in google and you get good information regarding satellite views of the greening Sahara

    I did that, and interestingly enough, one of the articles that came up was this one from National Geographic, which includes the quote: “This desert-shrinking trend is supported by climate models, which predict a return to conditions that turned the Sahara into a lush savanna some 12,000 years ago.”

    Now that’s probably an example of the sort of thing you’re lamenting, but it is a key prediction of AGW theory that some regions of the globe will become more arid but others will receive increased rainfall. Specifically, in this example, it is theorized that the subtropical dry zone will move poleward, and this is indeed what seems to be happening with the northward advance of the Sahel.

    The best I can find is a paper by Lui, et al. studying the leaf area index from satellite images July 1981 through December 2006. What he found is best summarized in a picture here.

    That paper actually states that the data being observed are consistent with AGW predictions. Some regions of the planet are greening while others are becoming more arid.

    This comment is threatening to take over the entire internet so I’ll truncate it at this point. I’ll just finish with the observation that many of the sources you cite are single contrary sources among a wide range of publications, most of which find the opposite. I’m not sure why we are supposed to give these outliers greater weight: being contrary doesn’t necessarily make you right. If 40 people say my new car is green and then you come along and tell me it’s brown, which is more likely? That the other 40 people were wrong, or that you’re colourblind?

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Those 40 people obviously have a financial incentive to see it as green

  • Doug Hunter+

    “Now that’s probably an example of the sort of thing you’re lamenting”

    You get it now. If deserts expand it’s global warming, if deserts contract it’s global warming. What in essence separates me, the skeptic, from you? Is not my essential position that models aren’t accurate enough to direct policy, that natural variations often trump the limited influence of CO2, and that climate changing is a constant and some places will get better and others worse regardless of what we do. You respond with a scientist whose third sentence of his paper says “There are large differences in the observed and model simulated… patterns” (agreed) and three sentences later with “differences in observed and model simulated changes result mostly from natural variability” (agreed) then you state that AGW theory is that some places will get wetter and others drier (agreed). What are we really arguing about? The scientist himself sounded pretty skeptical (he should be) to me and we both agree that the climate will change (I believe there’s good evidence that it changes with or without CO2)Perhaps it’s simply a matter of degree, to me if some places are getting wetter and others drier that is not ‘catastrophic’, that’s just what the climate always does. Now if the models were correct and the satellite data wrong and the world was becoming much more dry and plant life was decreasing it’d be another matter.

    In light of the satellite data showing greening of the globe over the last thirty years and the only network of actual soil testing for moisture showing increased moisture along with temperature do you personally believe the paper you linked to whose models showed severe and widespread droughts over the next 30 years? I’m unconvinced. I tend to take the actual witnessed data over the models. I’m not cherry picking 1 of 40 studies I’m looking at satellite data and soil moisture measurements. I don’t know of even one other actual physical means of measuring desert extent, perhaps you could enlighten me. I’ll take real world measurements over model predictions of gloom, show me a real global data set other than the two I mentioned that backs up the models.

  • Dr Dreadful

    If deserts expand it’s global warming, if deserts contract it’s global warming. What in essence separates me, the skeptic, from you?

    An acceptance that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Not all deserts are the same. The Sahara is very different from, say, the Mojave. So not all of them will react the same way to climate change.

    Is not my essential position that models aren’t accurate enough to direct policy…?

    But you’ve cherry-picked a few deviant models without reference to the many others that have been tested against real-world observations and have panned out.

  • Doug Hunter+

    “An acceptance that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Not all deserts are the same.”

    I never said all or nothing, quite the opposite I expect change. All or nothing is catastrophe, that’s what we’ve been warned of and what I preach against. What I’m not going to accept is an unfalsifiable principle, no matter what happens some model somewhere will be touted as having predicted it. We have global warming predictions of a dry desertlike future or a warm greener future and the truth, CO2 or not, will necessarily fall somewhere in between… call me unimpressed.

    “But you’ve cherry-picked a few deviant models without reference to the many others that have been tested ”

    I didn’t cherry pick a model, I looked at actual real world data. If you want to argue against your own expert that you referenced who stated right from the start that models have not matched observations then have at it.

    It’s not about deviant models it’s about the whole lot of them. It’s about a serious pattern of real world observations not matching model predictions in many areas. It happens with drought, it happens with floods, it happens with tornadoes, and pacific islands sinking, and tropical storms. BTW, the reason they look at strikes on land is because technological progress has skewed results. Weather satellites now monitor and classify many storms that only sustain hurricane winds for brief hours while hundreds of miles away from land, that’s not a fair comparison to the past where they did not have that technology.

    I can argue all those points to at least the same depth and clarity as the drought issue. On each one you’ll find that nothing particularly catastrophic is occurring even if moderate changes are taking place. For every model showing low lying Pacific islands disappearing there are real world satellite measures that show wave action has actually added mass to as many or more of them (didn’t stop their politicians stunt signing documents underwater, explain that to me if this is all above board). For every model that shows warmer weather equals larger hurricanes, there is observed data that shows little trend in actual activity over 70 years or even 370 years and on and on we could go, but you’re right we’re clogging up the interwebs.

    In the end, regardless of the data, we’re going to believe what we want to believe. You put your faith in politicians and computer models (paid for by a grant to study global warming), I’ll put mine in what my ear to the ground tells me. I know what the politicians are after by seeing policy in action. Take Australia for instance, they instituted a nice tax for the government to redistribute in the name of saving the environment, but still ship out coal as fast as they can to China. It’s definitely a green industry, just not the kind most people envision. I’ll let you pony up your funds and car to the people jetting around the world to their save the planet fundraisers, just leave me out of it.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    What I’m not going to accept is an unfalsifiable principle, no matter what happens some model somewhere will be touted as having predicted it.

    You could say the same thing about evolution, a theory which I’ll hazard a guess you accept. So what’s the difference? Mere politics?

    You put your faith in politicians and computer models

    I don’t put my faith in either of those entities. I go where the data tells me. Overall, despite some grey areas, it tells me that the Earth is warming and that humans are the primary cause.

  • Doug Hunter+

    If there is a specific number of failed predictions and models of damaging climate change that later observations proved to be bogus that would change your mind just let me know, I’ve got dozens of them. It does get frustrating not getting credit though, every time one of them goes down no one ever comes back to me and say, Doug, you were right about those models it wasn’t as bad as they said… skeptics are quite reviled.

    One of my personal favorites is the 2008 prediction of 50,000,000 to 200,000,000 climate refugees by 2010 according to the UN Assembly President. There are 43 million total refugees from all causes as of 2012, of course wars might account for a share of that… another scare tactic fail. If you’re going to make predictions make sure they can’t be verified until after you’re gone.

    *Of course, being right all those times does not indicate future performance which is why I compared it to Malthus prediction, no matter how many times you put it off into the future you can always claim catastrophe is right around the corner.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Part of the reason why conservatives like Baronius and Clavos – but not necessarily they themselves – oppose doing anything about anthropogenic global warming is because liberals are pushing it…and it’s not just AGW.

    For instance, read this study wherein 32% of Republicans agreed that we should address climate change…but that was in a question that didn’t have Obama’s name in it. When Obama’s name was added to what was otherwise the same question, their support suddenly dropped to 24%. On a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, their support dropped 21 points from 60% to 39% when Obama’s name was added to the same question.

    There’s some converse adjustments to questions asked of Democrats and Independents, and we can draw our own conclusions from that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Sorry – I meant to say “Doug” instead of “Baronius”.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    Whenever I want to see if there’s global warming, I go outside and look at Mount Rainier, where the Nisqually glacier is a fraction of what it was in the 1930’s.

    But what Doc is trying to get through your skull is, there will be some outliers in the statistics, and there will be some who overinflate estimations…but neither of those is any reason whatsoever to call the whole into question since the overwhelming majority of scientists of all earth-based sciences (like climatologists, oceanologists, geologists, etc.) are telling you it’s real – they can see the hard facts in their data.

    But here’s the key – all those scientists – every single one – wish they were wrong about anthropogenic global warming. They don’t want to be right – they wish they were stupidly, completely wrong…but that’s not what the data show. That should make you think.

    So look at it this way – when the vast majority of scientists are telling you of a threat to civilization, you’ve got a choice: you can either take their word and spend a bunch of taxpayer dollars to fix things to mitigate the problem at least somewhat…

    …or you can ignore them. But if you ignore them, you’re betting the planet that they’re wrong.

    Read that again – you’re betting the whole damned planet that the vast majority of scientists are wrong…even though they all wish they were wrong! They all wish that you are right!

    So which is the wiser path, Doug? To bet the planet that the vast majority of scientists are wrong, or to forget politics and listen to them?

  • Doug Hunter-

    #160

    I think you have the wrong idea, I got interested in this issue with the 1998 heat (which hasn’t been topped by most measures) and formulated my opinion while following the science by around 2000 and have been a skeptic ever since. I don’t believe in doing anything about global warming because no reasonable solution has been put forward. I calculated using the EPA’s own numbers the cost of their proposed program a couple years back and it came in the neighborhood of a few tens of trillions of dollars to prevent one degree of warming over 80 years or so. That in my opinion is not a very good return on investment. I view global warming as an issue to keep an eye on (and keep reworking the models), but not an impending catastrophe requiring massive mobilization of resources. If the facts change, my opinion will too.

    One of the things that is evident is the science is not nearly as scary as the pronouncement from the media and political spheres, probably because scary predictions are more interesting and attract more attention.

  • Doug Hunter-

    “So which is the wiser path, Doug? To bet the planet that the vast majority of scientists are wrong”

    They really don’t have a very good track record of predicting specific climate changes outside of the moderate warming we’ve experienced (well below their original forecasts, but still warmer). As Doc admitted, it’s not all or nothing, the reality is moderate changes, some good some bad. I fail to see how that is ‘betting the whole planet’, again the scare tactics and hyperbole are not going to work, it’s better to discuss evidence or link to science if you want to demonstrate your point with me.

    If you think the planet is being lost please provide evidence of what specific mechanism. I don’t think continued ice loss on Mount Rainier, which has probably been receding steadily since the last ice age, qualifies as evidence of catastrophe. You might also want to look into whether manmade dust and pollution has blown onto the glacier and helped melt it, that’s a common problem with ice near human development. I haven’t researched your specific case though.

  • Doug Hunter-

    Here’s a link to a paper positing that soot packs as much or more punch than global warming at least on some glaciers (just so you wouldn’t think I was making it up).

  • Zingzing

    “You might also want to look into whether manmade dust and pollution has blown onto the glacier and helped melt it, that’s a common problem with ice near human development.”

    Sigh.

  • Dr Dreadful

    You might also want to look into whether manmade dust and pollution has blown onto the glacier and helped melt it

    That’s anthropogenic warming you’re describing there, Doug.

  • Doug Hunter

    No argument from me. Humans effect the environment in any number of ways. My claim is that CO2 is just a small part of that and not particularly alarming.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    There are a half billion cars operating in the world, most of them every day of the year. And it is a fact of chemistry that every single gallon of gas burned pumps 20 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    Think about that, guy – every gallon of gas burned pumps 20 POUNDS of CO2 into the atmosphere. Multiply that by a half billion cars operating every week usually every day. How many gallons of gas do you go through a week? Multiply that by a half billion, and remember that this is every friggin’ week…and this isn’t counting all the planes, ships, heavy equipment, and factories!

    It’s a well-known fallacy to try to get the other guy to prove a negative, but do you really think that we can pump all that CO2 into the atmosphere every day of every week of every year and there wouldn’t be a very real effect on our atmosphere? Do you really?

  • Doug Hunter-

    “do you really think that we can pump all that CO2 into the atmosphere every day of every week of every year and there wouldn’t be a very real effect on our atmosphere?”

    Scientists best estimates is that humans do indeed create about 9 billion tons annually which sounds like alot. What’s more amazing is that photosynthesis absorbs about 120 billion tons annually… wow, for all those cars and factories are spewing trees are outdoing them by a factor of 10, surprises even me. In addition the ocean cycle exchanges 90 billion tons (the oceans having about 37,000 tons in absorbed storage, or 4000 years worth of human burning). Comparing the natural ocean and biosphere cycle totals 90+120=210 billion tons annually to the 9 billion tons humans emit, shows we have only thrown the carbon cycle out of balance by about 4.2% (admittedly it was in fair balance before so the addition goes straight to the atmosphere). I would indeed be shocked if a 4% change in a natural process was responsible for catastrophic destructive changes to life on earth, I think it might have moderate effects and once we stop accelerating the production of carbon I think the natural feedbacks that created the 210 billion ton balanced cycle will adjust to create a 225 billion (or whatever the number happens to be) ton balanced cycle.

    Since we’re exchanging fun facts here’s a nice chart demonstrating what we believe to be the current cycle. Interesting to note that natural processes have already changed to remove 5 of the 9 billion tons we emit, once we stop accelerating the emissions I bet nature will catch up real quick. Life on the planet would not have survived billions of year if a measly 4% change in the cycle of a trace gas was enough to cause serious harm.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    What’s more amazing is that photosynthesis absorbs about 120 billion tons annually… wow, for all those cars and factories are spewing trees are outdoing them by a factor of 10, surprises even me.

    Except that you’re forgetting that the 9 billion tons – I’m taking your word for it, for now – is in addition to all other sources of CO2. It’s as if you’re forgetting that for uncounted millions of years there was a balance between the amount of CO2 emitted and the amount of CO2 absorbed…but this 9 billion tons of CO2 is on top of whatever else is naturally there. So you really think that our planet’s carbon-absorbing biomass can evolve to absorb – in what is a mere blink of the eye in geologic time – 9 billion additional tons of CO2 that wasn’t there to begin with…and is added every single year?

    Every. Single. Year.

    Before the Industrial Revolution, our average CO2 was about 290 ppm…but since 1900 our CO2 level has climbed from 270 ppm to almost 400 ppm…that’s a climb of 32.5%. If our plant biomass was able to easily absorb that additional CO2 – as you obviously imply in #170 – then WHY has our level of CO2 climbed 32.5% in just over a century? WHY didn’t it stay the same, if our plant biomass was easily able to handle mankind’s CO2 output in addition to naturally-occurring CO2?

    And I suppose it’s just coincidence, mere happenstance that in the same century that has seen our CO2 level go precipitously higher, that our world’s population also explode sevenfold, and industry spread to almost every habitable corner of the earth?

    Here’s a nice graph for you to see how sudden and dramatic the rise has been in geologic terms…and here’s another one tracking the rise of CO2 as compared to our mean global temperature.

    But I get it – since it’s us liberals who are pushing so hard about AGW, it must therefore be wrong, false, and a socialist plot all wrapped up into one. Thou Shalt Not Agree with Any Liberal on Anything, no matter how right he is.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Scientists best estimates is that humans do indeed create about 9 billion tons annually which sounds like alot. What’s more amazing is that photosynthesis absorbs about 120 billion tons annually… wow, for all those cars and factories are spewing trees are outdoing them by a factor of 10, surprises even me.

    The revelation that all these cars and factories only emit CO2 for one year surprises me even more.

    I would indeed be shocked if a 4% change in a natural process was responsible for catastrophic destructive changes to life on earth

    Would you be shocked if a 4% change in the arsenic content of your breakfast cereal resulted in some major challenges to your physiological systems?

    once we stop accelerating the emissions I bet nature will catch up real quick.

    I think you should propose a mechanism for how it will do that. At the moment this reads like a blind-faith statement.

    Life on the planet would not have survived billions of year if a measly 4% change in the cycle of a trace gas was enough to cause serious harm.

    There are no species on this planet that have survived billions of years. Call me chauvinistic, but I quite like most of the various plants and animals that are around right now and would hate to see them disappear.

  • troll

    (…just to keep the numbers clear – 9 gigatons of released carbon translates into about 30 gigatons of CO2)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Or about four and a quarter tons for every man, woman and child on the planet. Just saying.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    good catch, troll

  • troll

    again just to be clear…it doesn’t impact Doug’s argument which is presented in terms of carbon alone

  • Igor

    Humans produce about 50% more CO2 every year than can be consumed by photosynthesis and sea absorption. That’s why net CO2 increases every year.

  • Igor

    @150-Doug: it’s this kind of post that discredits you, filled with ad hominems and strawmen. Pretty whiny, too.

  • Doug Hunter-

    “Would you be shocked if a 4% change in the arsenic content of your breakfast cereal resulted in some major challenges to your physiological systems?”

    As the arsenic content of my breakfast cereal is essentially zero, a 4% change in the arsenic content would not effect me at all. I think you’re confusing the concepts of 4% of the total and a 4% change in one component. If 4% of the atmosphere was CO2 that would be 40,000 parts per million, we’re talking changes within the hundreds.

    While we’re still on fun CO2 trivia: Did you realize that our industrialization may have actually saved the planet? Hear me out. For hundreds of millions of years the environment was packed with 1000ppm of CO2 or more while life flourished. Plants grow best at 1500-2000ppm CO2 with no harm to animals. Did you also know that although plants the last few million years have evolved to live in lower carbon atmosphere that plants start to suffer delayed and stunted growth below 220ppm and generally cannot survive 150ppm CO2. Look back at the chart Glenn provided, during the last few glacial cycles we have darted dangerously, dangerously close to a level that could have caused mass plant extinction. Knowing that 1000ppm is the long term average and that 220ppm means slow plant growth with 150ppm bringing death, 180ppm is cutting it way too close. Plants were slowly locking all their carbon away into useless (to them anyway) fossil fuels. I don’t think that would have meant the end to life on earth, but I think we could have easily had a massive extinction event unlike any many seen in the history of the planet. Good thing we evolved to unlock all that plant food.

  • Doug Hunter-

    Igor, could you please clarify the post #, 150 is Clavos. Straw men and whining and ad hominems don’t narrow it down enough either.

  • Igor

    @180-Doug: Sorry. I was referring to #152, thus:


    152 – Doug Hunter+
    Feb 12, 2013 at 9:29 am

    One more note Doc, I do not mind a discussion on Global Climate Change, don’t think I’m under any impression that I can win the argument in any logical sense. The scientific community has weighed in and they will not lose face, especially with an unfalsifiable theory. There is no way to prove them wrong. If the world gets drier they predicted it due to heat, if measured soil and satellite trends hold and we get a greener, wetter world they also predicted that. If the UK doesn’t get snow that’s easily explained by global warming, if they get an influx of snow that’s also explainable by global warming. More snow, less snow. …

  • Clav

    I don’t see a single ad hominem in that comment.

    It’s obvious that Igor hasn’t a clue as to what constitutes an ad hominem.

    Further, Doug’s tone is straightforward and matter-of-fact; there’s not a single whine in the whole comment.

    Same goes for the fictitious “strawmen.”

  • Doug Hunter-

    I can see sorta see the whining, moreso in the first paragraph #159. Not sure about straw men or ad hominem. I think my ratio of links and factual discussion to personal insults and whiny feelings is adequate for the comment section of a blog, but I appreciate the constructive criticism.

  • troll

    I’m just back from a visit with a phd level academically based water resource management type…most planners with whom she interacts are beyond thinking in terms of prevention and are on to planning for mitigation

    might be time for individuals to follow suit

    going with Doug’s idea that the system will right itself a likely mechanism for this would be adding surface ocean……so sound policy might be to get a boat. : ). and luckily we know this guy in Florida

  • Dr Dreadful

    We’re way beyond any opportunity to prevent the effects of AGW and the IPCC and other experts have been thinking in terms of mitigation for some time. (See, for example, the Stern Report – although Stern now says he was too optimistic.)

  • roger nowosielski

    The comments section is also a good read.

  • Doug Hunter-

    #185

    Stern’s first quote “Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected,”

    August 2012 study on Carbon uptake, Earth still absorbing CO2 even as emissions rise, says new CU-led study

    Did I not mention this trend before? Models and political talking heads say one thing, in this case decreased carbon uptake, actual real world measurement science says another. CO2 uptake actually increased more after 2000. Of course that couldn’t mean skeptics were right and the models wrong, it just means that catastrophe is once again just over the next horizon… according to models of course. (and when we cross that horizon and nothing catastrophic happens they’ll just put it off once again.)

    My question is if some of the most recent real world measurements say one thing, why is your guy saying another?

  • Doug Hunter+

    Doc, I did make some attempt to find out what his personal prediction of carbon uptake was, perhaps it was higher than the previous consensus making his statement true for him. I didn’t find the data, but it does look like his estimates of global warming damage are completely outside the margin of error of other science. He might be what I would describe as an alarmist outlier in his field (of course, like many of his brethren, that automatically qualifies him for media attention, he sound very scary and cocksure)

  • Dr Dreadful

    Doug, your link actually weakens your case. Did you read the whole article?

    Of course the Earth’s carbon “sinks” are absorbing more CO2 – they’re being forced to. But that’s only half of the equation.

    If you take a sponge and drop a drop of water onto it, the sponge will absorb it. If you then pour a teaspoon of water onto the sponge, that will be absorbed too. Now take a glass of water and pour it over the sponge: guess what? The sponge absorbs more water. And so we keep going, adding ever larger quantities of water.

    However, in the meantime, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what’s happening to the sponge.

  • troll

    dreadful – seems to me that Doug is saying all statements based on models are questionable…including the idea of inevitably saturating sinks

    I get the feeling that he missed the class where we supersaturated salt solutions

  • Igor

    I hope everyone watched “Earth From Space” on NOVA last night.

  • roger nowosielski

    @190

    Which makes me wonder — in the absence of models, what do the skeptics propose that would take their place?

    If models function here as something approximating a mini-theory or are derivable from some theory, what recourse do the skeptics have to enable them to interpret the facts? And aren’t those interpretation parasitic on the very theories and models they are so determined to debunk?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doug –

    For hundreds of millions of years the environment was packed with 1000ppm of CO2 or more while life flourished. Plants grow best at 1500-2000ppm CO2 with no harm to animals. Did you also know that although plants the last few million years have evolved to live in lower carbon atmosphere that plants start to suffer delayed and stunted growth below 220ppm and generally cannot survive 150ppm CO2…Good thing we evolved to unlock all that plant food.

    And you completely missed the great error in your argument: plants the last few million years have evolved. Not only have plants evolved, but so have mammals and humans. The plankton in the oceans have evolved to live in an environment that is far less acidic than it was when the atmospheric CO2 level was 1000ppm…and a simple Google search will show you how our rising oceanic acidity is affecting not only the bio-diverse reefs around the world, but also will affect our food stocks.

    Doug, animal life – including humans – have evolved to thrive on a planet where the CO2 level is less than a third of that 1000ppm. Problem is, if you’ll look again at the charts I showed you, the rise in the CO2 level is so sudden, occurring in the geological blink of an eye, that animal life is not going to evolve quickly enough. And if you don’t think that’s an issue, read on:

    Researchers have discovered why plants and animals had a hard time recovering from the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history 250 million years ago.

    The reason: global warming.

    Because of environmental consequences of rising temperatures, those species that survived the extinction didn’t fully recover for 5 million years.

    But you can ignore all this and rest securely in the knowledge that if liberals say something, it must be wrong, because your fellow conservatives tell you that AGW’s a hoax and it’s nothing to worry about; they are always automatically right. Why? Because they’re conservatives just like you.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, your arguments are stronger when you leave out the ad hominems. This only becomes a liberal-versus-conservative thing politically, and even then it’s mostly only in the US. Doug and I are trying to confine ourselves to the science and not once has he suggested that political conservatism does anything to inform his views on this subject.

    Rise above it for once.

  • troll

    theory is inevitably political

    politics is inevitably biased

    theory is inevitably biased

    biases should be avoided

    theory should be avoided

    just the facts mam

  • Glen Contrarian

    Roger –

    None of that matters. AFAIK, almost all AGW skeptics are conservative, and this directly concerns your question.

    Clavos and I had a discussion one time – I can’t remember the subject right now, but I kept telling him that as a thinking man, if he sees a problem, then it’s incumbent on him to at least try to come up with a solution. He didn’t see it that way – he said that he had no further obligation in finding a solution to the problem beyond pointing out said problem.

    And maybe he’s right, if one feels one has little or no obligation to the world around them. I took the argument from the side of altruistic duty, and he took the side of individual rights – and he pretty much won the argument. He tends to do that.

    The reason I point this out is that IMO this goes back to the basic conservative psychology, which I’ve written about before with reference to research showing that there is a difference in the psychologies of conservatives and liberals, and that the difference may have some basis in biology. In general, conservatives don’t like unexpected change – they hearken back to the ‘good old days’, even when historians point out that those days weren’t so good…and IMO this directly translates over to the dearth of conservatives in the scientific community:

    A Pew Research Center Poll from July 2009 showed that only around 6 percent of U.S. scientists are Republicans; 55 percent are Democrats, 32 percent are independent, and the rest “don’t know” their affiliation.

    And all this directly addresses your question. Conservatives are as intelligent and sensible as anyone else, but the vast majority of conservatives are not that concerned about science, particularly when that science is telling them that their “good old days” are coming to an end…and this also applies to their rejection of science when it comes to LGBT equality, renewable or alternative energy, and evolution. And all this means that the AGW skeptics – the vast majority of whom are conservative – are simply not concerned with providing those alternatives to models that you asked about.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Doug and I are trying to confine ourselves to the science and not once has he suggested that political conservatism does anything to inform his views on this subject.

    I appreciate your admonition – I really do – but the matter has more to do with politics than with science. Remember, the Republicans were the first to suggest cap-and-trade – they were willing to address climate change. Even John McCain touted cap-and-trade to fight global warming during his presidential campaign. But as soon as Obama won, it was as if the Republicans seismically shifted against anything having to do with AGW. Yes, there were some who doubted AGW before then, but it says something when your presidential candidate addressed the matter directly.

    And it wasn’t just AGW. Same thing went for the individual mandate that was central to the Obama version of Romneycare. The Republicans – including Gingrich and of course Romney – supported it right up until it looked like Obama was going to get it passed…at which time they turned vehemently against it.

    There’s an old saying, Doc – “Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line.” Well, when it came to cap-and-trade and the individual mandate, Republicans certainly fell in line and are now near-universal in their opposition even though such were Republican ideas and supported by the past two Republican presidential candidates! I’m sorry, Doc, but the problem here isn’t science – it’s the fact that the conservatives were told in essence that liberals are evil and bad and always wrong (witness the partisanship since Obama first took office), and if a liberal supports a position, that position must be wrong. Thou Shalt Not Agree With Liberals!

    And that’s why the Republicans and conservatives first supported cap-and-trade (itself a rank acknowledgement of AGW) and the individual mandate, but now vehemently oppose both. It’s not the science – it’s the politics.

  • troll

    …I don’t recall Doug arguing for cap-and-trade

  • Igor

    @195-Troll: I don’t understand. Is this your assertion or is it a parody?

    Facts lead nowhere until they are manifest in a theory, or even a model. It is theory and the ability to model events in the universe that enable us to explain the past and (partly) predict the future. It is Newtons theories of force and gravity that control the known universe and his gravitational model of the solar system that enable us to send rockets into space.

    Facts are pathetic little things, in a sense, because they only apply to a small thing in a small time in a small space. It is theory and modeling that enable looking into the future and understanding the past.

  • troll

    Igor – it’s my understanding of the logic of Doug’s position…he has yet to deal with Roger and your point that facts are theory laden

  • Doug Hunter+

    “A Pew Research Center Poll from July 2009 showed that only around 6 percent of U.S. scientists are Republicans; 55 percent are Democrats, 32 percent are independent, and the rest “don’t know” their affiliation.”

    First of all, I wouldn’t identify myself as a Republican either in a poll. Secondly, the poll was of a self selected group, the AAAS, which is composed of only a small percentage of scientists mostly from academia.

    The AAAS homepage “goals” lists among six goals that they would like to : “Help government formulate policy” , “increase diversity in science”, and “Use science to advance human rights”. Those goals sound like things more appealing to a liberal. There are lots of polls on lots of things, some are embarassing for democrats, others for republicans. I’m not interested in scoring those cheap points (this time), I’d rather just stick to the facts at hand.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, I agree with you that AGW tends to bring out the worst in American conservatives, but how does pointing that out for the nth time advance the discussion here?

  • Doug Hunter-

    #199

    Facts tend to be pathetic little things only when they get in the way of your internal theory, when they’re on your side they tend to be golden. Don’t mistake my arguments for a blanket dismissal of the idea of a model, but strictly as a failure of several mainstream climate models to describe real world facts. I think there is also evidence that “facts”, as represented by data, have been massaged to put them in line with models at times, when ideally that should work the other way round.

    I think one of the key factors at play is confirmation bias. If you’re a modeler and you expect the climate to do something (because you heard the consensus and don’t want to look like a buffoon) then if your model is more in line with the results you expected you’re not going to look as hard at it as if it shows an unexpected result. Climate models are necessarily a simplification so there are always lots of factors not being considered which could skew your results either way, when the result is not what you expect you’re going to look harder and find the factors you missed that puts your model back in line with your internal expectations, you’re not going to look as hard for things that put your model further away from expectations. If the consensus and the reality are apart, which I believe to be the case in some areas of AGW theory, the models can be biased away from reality.

  • Doug Hunter-

    #202

    Perhaps it’s not so easy to advance the discussion because your position is not as strong as you believe. Perhaps the rhetoric surrounding AGW has outstripped the science and the consensus is not as consensified (gratuitous bushism, watch this false dichotomy) as some would make it out… that or I’m just a typical illogical, retarded anti-science conservative as some might point out. I don’t disagree that conservatives (I personally eschew most labels as I like to think of myself as special and unique… like everyone else) might disregard AGW because common solutions involve taxes and government involvement, but just maybe those that support taxes and government involvement anyway cling to it just a bit much and have their own bias as well.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doug –

    That’s pretty easy to answer. You’re a conservative, right? The study said that 9% self-identified as conservative, while 52% self-identified as liberals…and I would caution you to not pooh-pooh the AAAS – it’s one of the premier scientific associations – if not the premier scientific association – on the planet.

    Anyway, the numbers above are from a different source, and it includes a quote that is pretty interesting:

    In the 1968 election, Richard Nixon won the votes of 31 percent of physicists, 42 percent of biologists, 52 percent of geologists, and 62 percent of agricultural scientists (compared with 43.4 percent of the popular vote). While these data do not include party affiliation, they suggest that the scientific community of the late 1960s was much more evenly divided between the two major parties than it is now, and, with the exception of physicists, slightly more conservative than the American voting public at large.

    I think the author did not realize that at the time, both the Republican and Democratic parties had both conservative and liberal wings – and Nixon himself was at least in some ways much too liberal to be tolerated in today’s GOP since he supported universal health care.

    But today’s parties are far more polarized – one side hates even the idea of liberalism, whereas the other side feels much the same for modern conservatism – but it was not always this way.

    Here’s another interesting article about the apparent differences between those of conservative and liberal bents…and this caught my eye:

    In an ingenious experiment, the psychologists reframed climate change not as a challenge to government and industry but as “a threat to the American way of life.” After reading a passage that couched environmental action as patriotic, study participants who displayed traits typical of conservatives were much more likely to sign petitions about preventing oil spills and protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Perhaps as pertinent was this study, also in the same reference:

    Meanwhile examining the contents of 76 college students’ bedrooms, as one group did in a 2008 study, revealed that conservatives possessed more cleaning and organizational items, such as ironing boards and calendars, confirmation that they are orderly and self-disciplined. Liberals owned more books and travel-related memorabilia, which conforms with previous research suggesting that they are open and novelty-seeking.

    “These are not superficial differences. They are psychologically deep,” says psychologist John Jost of New York University, a co-author of the bedroom study. “My hunch is that the capacity to organize the political world into left or right may be a part of human nature.”

    And that jives with my experience – conservatives are certainly more orderly and self-disciplined – that’s why they’re better with money. On the other hand, novelty-seeking is part and parcel of scientific research.

    Doug, please understand that these are not hard-and-fast distinctions – there are conservatives who seek the new, whereas there are liberals who are orderly – but generalities and likelihoods. But its effect in the big picture is huge – and explains why there are relatively few conservatives who are scientists today, and why there are – at least in my experience – relatively few engineers who are liberals…and I can tell you from first-hand experience that if orderliness and self-discipline are traits more often found among conservatives, then the military is rightly referred-to as a breeding ground for conservatism. It’s tough to be a liberal in the military, let me tell you!

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doc –

    Glenn, I agree with you that AGW tends to bring out the worst in American conservatives, but how does pointing that out for the nth time advance the discussion here?

    How many times have we pointed out the scientific facts? At least as many times. And it’s as Roger pointed out a long time ago – and as research has shown – people tend to ignore obvious fact if it runs contrary to their beliefs, and that it’s more effective to go the emotional route. Here’s a reprint of a quote I posted in my previous comment:

    In an ingenious experiment, the psychologists reframed climate change not as a challenge to government and industry but as “a threat to the American way of life.” After reading a passage that couched environmental action as patriotic, study participants who displayed traits typical of conservatives were much more likely to sign petitions about preventing oil spills and protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    See? They didn’t go for the facts – although you and I both know that facts were on their side – but they went for simple emotion – patriotism.

    I can argue using facts – I’ve tried to do so, so many times before, although I fear I’ll never reach your level – but instead I’m trying to post in such a way as to show Doug that external factors are affecting his thinking. If he sees that as a threat – and the second reference in my most recent comment notes that conservatives seem to be more attuned to threats than liberals – then perhaps he’ll come around.

    Or perhaps he’ll read this and become all the more close-minded.

  • Doug Hunter-

    “people tend to ignore obvious fact if it runs contrary to their beliefs”

    I spent the entire second paragraph of #203 trying to express the same idea, it’s something that cuts both ways. Humans have latched onto myths (not all religions can be correct can they) that take hold for thousands of years with exactly zero evidence. Humans are creatures of emotion rather than creatures of logic in many cases. On that spectrum I like to think I’m further towards the latter than the average person, but no one is immune… even our esteemed scientists.

  • Doug Hunter-

    One more thing Glen, you always speak of scientists wanting to be wrong on global warming… I’m here to deliver good news to you. As you may be aware the IPCC is starting work on it’s 5th assesment report and a draft has been leaked.

    Chapter 1 here, see Figure 1.4 on page 1-39

    Figure 1.4 compares observed temperature 1990-2011 to all previous IPCC projections, the last one coming in 2007. You’ll be happy to note that observations are running at or below the bottom of the 90% confidence interval for ALL previous IPCC predictions… 2 of the last 4 years shown are below the 90% confidence interval with 2 at the bottom edge. That should be fantastic news if you’re truly concerned about this issue.

    Other projections such as the steady rise in CO2 they hit right on the mark. They overshot on Methane, figure 1.7, outside the 90% confidence interval range on all assessments as well (must be tightly linked to temperature as they missed em both about the same amount).

    Now, I’m not expecting you to become a skeptic, but can we at least come to an agreement that in general skeptics said the effects of CO2 on the planet and it’s temperature were overstated. Can we also agree that the IPCC (at least in there draft report), the ultimate authority on climate change, is showing in their own figure that their projections have overshot the effects of CO2 on temperature by barely, or in some cases not even, hitting within the 90% confidence interval. I don’t expect this fact to change you mind or for you to admit that skeptics have ever been right, but can we at least agree that I’m not batshit crazy for questioning the models.

    * I bet that figure gets “fixed” by the time the final draft rolls around, it’s a little embarassing to some I’d imagine.

  • Doug Hunter-

    #208 My bad. The text for the figure, does not say that is the 90% confidence interval for the IPCC projections, it just says it is the range of the projection. Doesn’t change the fact that they missed (all overestimating). Figure 1.5 shows the same thing, observations missing low on all three of the scenarios from the 2007 report.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doug –

    On that spectrum I like to think I’m further towards the latter than the average person, but no one is immune… even our esteemed scientists.

    True, but it is also fallacious to assume that the degree to which scientists rely more on emotion than on logic in spite of the data that defines their careers is equal (or even close to) the degree to which the rest of us do the same. The rest of us do not go through peer review wherein our peers delight in ruining our careers by pointing out every little hole in our published work. Matters of degree, Doug.

    Now, concerning the oh-so-damning IPCC report, did you really read the whole report? Looking at the graph you referred me to, I can see that since 2001, data sets from five years have been within the bounds set by Assessment Report 4 (AR4), and all but one of the rest were only barely outside its bounds. The incomplete one you see at the end denotes a preliminary set based on information on 2011 information that is either not yet complete or not yet fully analyzed for incorporation into the report.

    Then there’s the next graph on page 1-40. It concentrates on AR4, and again we see that all but one set of data were either within AR4’s bounds or barely outside of it.

    This is by no means reason to call into question AGW. If anything, it supports what was predicted by model AR4. Yes, there will be the occasional outlier – but so far, the outliers are only occasional, and not frequent enough to call the model into question.

    NOW – go look at the graph on page 1-41 – you’ll see the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration almost precisely track the bounds set by model AR4.

    On 1-42, we see that all models overestimated the rise of methane, but atmospheric methane was not that far below the bounds of AR4.

    On 1-43, we see that the atmospheric concentration of nitrous oxide is also rising significantly, mostly within the bounds of AR4.

    On 1-46, we see that the ocean level is rising, again in close consonance with AR4.

    IN OTHER WORDS, Doug, the graphs show that of the models presented in this chapter of the IPCC report, Assessment Report 4 is thus far fairly accurate. Not perfectly accurate, though that’s what AGW deniers seem to demand in order to change their minds, but fairly accurate.

    And by the way – I looked up the guy who owns that “stopgreensuicide” web page you referenced. It’s a guy named Alec Rawls, who is apparently working on his economics PhD. at Stanford. He also thinks that the Flight 93 memorial is actually a terrorist memorial mosque (apparently because the memorial is shaped vaguely like a crescent).

    Lay down with dogs, and you get up with fleas (as Warren showed us all). I’ve made a habit over the years of doing my best to restrict my references to sources that have some level of respectability. I suggest you do the same.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I bet that figure gets “fixed” by the time the final draft rolls around

    Well, of course it will be. This a draft. The caption underneath each of the graphs even advises: “[PLACEHOLDER FOR FINAL DRAFT: Observational datasets will be updated as soon as they become available]”.

    If certain climatic trends do turn out to be lower than anticipated that will indeed be good news, but let’s hold our horses for the time being.

  • Doug Hunter+

    #210

    “all but one set of data were either within AR4’s bounds or barely outside of it… If anything, it supports what was predicted by model AR4.”

    I fail to see how being outside the bounds (or barely outside the bounds) of an entire range of prediction on the low side supports said prediction. I’m not following your logic there. You did say something about refusing to see facts when it didn’t fit your theory earlier…. nah, couldn’t be. In my understanding if you provide a range of values as a prediction and values fall outside that range it means your prediction has failed. You do have some room for error which is why you have a range of values. If you get to adjust your range after the observation then it’s not science, it’s not falsifiable, it’s not a prediction. Those models, all of them, were wrong exactly as me and other skeptics predicted.

    To your points regarding CO2 and Sea Level Rise. I never argued that those weren’t rising. The IPCC predictions are reasonable. I have argued against outrageous claims regarding sea level rise which crop up in the media from time to time, but I’d expect around a foot of rise by century’s end, completely in line with IPCC estimates and nothing modern man is not able to cope with with 80+ years of lead time.

    The report is a draft issued by the IPCC, the website it’s downloaded from or the owner of the server farm or what browser you used is irrelevant. I’ve never read Mr. Rawls site, I knew the name as the leaker of the AR5 report and that’s a link that showed up when I googled it. I don’t see how attacking him effects the credibility of the IPCC report which we’re discussing.

    Most of my links on this thread are directly to either peer reviewed science, media reports closely covering peer reviewed science, and the IPCC itself. I don’t need bloggers to make my case for me, there’s plenty of scientific evidence.

  • Clav

    I think the paucity of Republicans/conservatives in the sciences and actually in all of academia is more due to the hostile environment academia (and by extension, the disciplines taught there) present to all who do not fit into the liberal/politically correct world view that has been the standard for scholars (in this country at least) for several decades now. I remember that even as far back as the 60s, when I was an undergrad, those of us with a conservative, non-PC POV were derided, laughed at — even ostracized from many campus activities.

    And the same attitudes are present today; they are often seen right here on BC threads.

    Which is why I am so enjoying the respectful, polite dialogue between Doug and Doc.

    Well done gentlemen!

  • Doug Hunter+

    “If certain climatic trends do turn out to be lower than anticipated that will indeed be good news, but let’s hold our horses for the time being.”

    Hold our horses, exactly my public policy position. The temperature is the core reading, if it goes low then most of the other effects are diminished proportionally (not all though). The draft IPCC report also had a chart showing the confidence of their predictions. I noted they moved ‘drought and dryness’ from ‘likely’ to ‘medium confidence’ with scope restrictions. That’s something we debated earlier, it’s nice to see they’re responding to changes in the science. If they move some of their predictions down to where I believe the evidence leads and they adjust, as they did with drought, their predictions of doom and gloom down to something that the science supports then perhaps one day I won’t need to be a skeptic anymore. I’ll still be skeptical of some of the nutjobs they let air their predictions in the media, but let’s set a realistic bar. It’s enough to get science headed in the right direction. This leaked draft has some promise.

    It will be interesting to see the final graph. I know the 2012 temperature anomaly should fall between 2009 and 2011 which will put it basically centered on the lower bounds of 2 of their predictions and possibly outside the other two… we should all hope that trend holds regardless of our politics.

    I think I’m done we this for now. Maybe later we’ll come back and discuss flooding and tropical storms and some of the other facets but it’s a pretty big topic.

  • Doug Hunter+

    Thanks Clav. Experienced some of the same when I went through. There are definitely some areas I have interest but the slant, not just by the professor’s but even embedded into the textbooks in the softer sciences, was something that would definitely turn me off. I’m more interested in discerning truth’s based on evidence than social justice and not hurting people’s feelings and relativism. (although I understand them well and have taken moral relativism right to heart) I didn’t experience that in math and computer science where my aptitude was best. I think conservatives need to take a look at the legitimate criticisms aimed their way, then man up, accept a challenge to your values and stay the course (not saying I always did, but you should). You can’t cede education to the other side long term and expect it to end well.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Doug –

    I fail to see how being outside the bounds (or barely outside the bounds) of an entire range of prediction on the low side supports said prediction. I’m not following your logic there.

    The worldwide climate is an incredibly complex thing, Doug. To even get close to right on a prediction is still impressive – that’s why they often use supercomputers to make the calculations, and even then there are significant margins for error. You could say it’s sorta like horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons – ‘almost’ still counts, if not quite as much. Those tracks that followed in and out (but still close to) the AR4 bounds still showed the trend going in the same direction, just not quite to the same degree.

    Like I said above, it’s as if conservatives are expecting perfection in the models before they will change their minds – but with something this complex, ‘perfect’ is a distant dream.

    I also mentioned earlier that in my experience, conservatives make better engineers than liberals (I spent a career as an engineer), and IMO it’s because they pay more attention to detail than liberals do…which could explain your emphasis on the data sets barely outside the bounds while ignoring the overall trend that followed the same direction as the bounds.

    Such observations are interesting to me. It reminds me of the time that a study was done on Caucasian and Asian children looking at a picture, and it was found that the Caucasians were better able to describe in detail the subject of the picture, whereas the Asians were better able to describe everything that was surrounding the subject. You can make of that what you will, but IMO that doesn’t mean one is better than the other, but that each has their own gifts…

    …and so it goes with conservatives and liberals. IMO y’all make better engineers, military leaders, and CEO’s, whereas we liberals make better artists and scientists.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav @ #213:

    I think the paucity of Republicans/conservatives in the sciences and actually in all of academia is more due to the hostile environment academia (and by extension, the disciplines taught there) present to all who do not fit into the liberal/politically correct world view that has been the standard for scholars

    You may recall that I wrote on the subject a year or two back and I still stand by my conclusions then.

    Although there’s certainly hostility to conservatives in academia – I’ve witnessed it myself – I think it’s more a case of conservatives being less inclined to spend time hitting the books when they could be out running the country. Hence, the ratio of left- to right-wingers on campus becomes disproportionate and hence, conservatives feel less comfortable in that environment.

    Bit of a chicken ‘n’ egg scenario, in my book.

  • Doug Hunter+

    #217

    I’m not liberal. I quit college (free thanks to the military) to pursue my own business. Anecdotal… yes, but 1 for 1 is not a bad start by my count.

  • Igor

    @213-Clav: Really? Are you that old? Or did you make it up?

    I was a grad student in Engineering then, a charter subscriber to National Review (that was when it was good!), member of the University “Young Republicans” and “Young Americans for Freedom” and I never saw any of that. Nobody really seemed to care. Some people were mildly curious. It was an apolitical age.

    I engaged in formal and informal debates as a conservative, from 1956 onward.

    There was no such political hostility.

    But modern republicans seem to have an inexhaustible persecution complex.

  • Igor

    @201-Doug: you embarrass yourself with lack of knowledge of AAAS, which is perhaps the premier science organization in the world, founded by Ben Franklin. I know no scientist who doesn’t belong, and the print version of “Science” is easily found at all science labs and libraries.

    Your innocence of the AAAS suggests that your comments regarding it are made up.

  • Glen Contrarian

    I didn’t know that! I just read that past members also include George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill…

    …but what Washington, Churchill and Emerson had to do with science, I’m not sure – but the first two, at least, were in positions to use their political pull to aid the advancement of science.

  • Doug Hunter

    And for the low, low price of only $75 you too can add your name to this esteemed list of members online from the comfort of your mothers basement (and be offered the chance to win a MacBook pro if you allow them to spam you!) I didn’t know there were only a little over 125,000 scientists in the world (since they’re apparently all members). Always learning something new on BC!

  • Clav

    Nobody really seemed to care. Some people were mildly curious. It was an apolitical age.

    If you think the 60s were an “apolitical age,” especially on college campuses, you must have been in a coma Igor.

    The sixties saw the radicalization of campuses all over the country, the inception of groups like the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), anti-war demonstrations, including the stopping of a troop train (which I was aboard) just outside of Oakland Army Terminal in early August, 1965.

    The 1960s not only saw the rise of the antiwar movement, but also the rise and coming of age of feminism, the Counterculture, mass demonstrations (Kent State — occurred in 1970, but its genesis festered during the 60s). The 60s saw the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, the culmination of civil rights demonstrations and campaigning throughout the fifties and reaching a zenith in the early 60s.

    The sixties, Igor, were the most political decade of the 20th century in America.

  • Igor

    @221-Glenn: in those days it was considered a part of a gentlemans education to study science and to have continuing interest in science as an adult. Nowadays, apparently, people are eager to abandon all knowledge of science after 9th grade.

  • troll

    …while meditating on LeChatelier’s Principle a pleasant question occurred to me: were humans to commit themselves to increasing their biomass by upping their carbohydrate intake might this not offset the effects of burning fossil fuels on the carbon cycle?

    Doug – you call yourself an AGW skeptic…what exactly are you skeptical about? That exceptional environmental changes are afoot? egs glacier and tundra melting

    do you think any public resources should be invested in investigating questions concerning the environmental impact of climate change despite the inevitable biases and ulterior motives involved in the process?

  • roger nowosielski

    @223

    Of course you’re right. (Igor may have missed on all the fun by checking in in 1955, not to mention that he enrolled in an engineering and not a liberal arts college.) But the “liberalism” of the 60’s was unlike the liberalism of today: it was decidedly anti-Establishment, if not anti-government.

    Which puts into question Doug’s state of mind at the time. One should think that the purpose of higher education is to become exposed to new ideas and vistas, to grow, to find oneself, rather than to become confirmed in one’s preexisting bias. I’d have a far greater respect for Doug’s conservative pov had he come by it honestly, after “stumbling through” a liberal arts education.

  • Cindy

    @225

    Yum, pass the cake!

    (Just doing my part to help the world.)

  • Doug Hunter+

    #226

    If by ‘at the time’ you mean 1960’s I was probably thinking how much fun it would be to finally be born in another decade or two.

    I have respect for people’s ideas based on the qualities (merit, internal consistency, originality, etc.) I perceive, not where or how they came by them. I have little interest in being a disciple or joining a club or ‘finding myself’ as the clay under the master’s hands (you sound disappointed). I synthesized, not internalized, the ideas I was exposed to. Hubris no doubt, but I view no man higher… such is my makeup.

  • Dr Dreadful

    The sixties, Igor, were the most political decade of the 20th century in America.

    Thought everybody knew that. Even in sleepy rural California campus politics were intense. I have a friend who was a policeman there during that time and boy, does he have some stories.

  • Igor

    Conflict of the 60s was generational, not political, but the parties were happy to add their own discords to the mix.

    Old soldiers told young soldiers to suck it up as they had done. Old blacks told young blacks to submit, and they had plenty of armed white people with them.

    OBEY! Was the message.

    Obey your parents. Obey the school president.

    “We did it, you can too”, they said.

  • Igor

    I was working next to the Cal campus when Mario Savio spoke and I agreed with him, as did my YR friends. After all, these were core American values.

    But the old republicans had different ideas, which were mostly for us to OBEY. We YAFers soon discovered that the Freedom was reserved for the old guys at the top, not us pipsqueeks on campus.

  • roger nowosielski

    Igor, every twenty years or so we experience generational gap in America because ours is an open society. The 60’s were all that, of course, but more, much more.

    To get a pulse of the times, one couldn’t do better than read Theodore Roszak’s The Making of a Counter Culture.

  • roger nowosielski

    You’ve never been young, then, Doug, and for that I indeed sympathize with you. Wisdom, just like integrity, are matters of accretion, of development, of growing up. It’s rarely inherited but most often acquired. If what you say is indeed true, I’m willing to bet you’d have no fun in any generation.

  • Igor

    I was working next to the Cal campus when Mario Savio spoke. One of my colleagues was a prof at UC and attended Marios speech, and agreed with him. And he was a republican.

    The pres of UC was replaced because he was sympathetic and wasn’t hard enough on students. It wasn’t political. Nobody even knew what their politics were.

  • Igor

    Political parties were eager to exploit, and so they did. The commies were notorious for that around the world. To them all problems were political and would be solved when they were in power. So they said.

    Wisdom doesn’t reside in any political party.

  • Clav

    To get a pulse of the times, one couldn’t do better than read Theodore Roszak’s The Making of a Counter Culture.

    Excellent book. Best account of what the 60s were about about. And while it’s true there was a generational conflict, you’re right, Roger, there was more. Much more; most of it very political.

  • Doug Hunter+

    #233

    No fun. Is that how I come across in comments? Ah, if we have crossed paths in life you might say different, a natural positive disposition (bleeding hearts bring the mood down, sorry), a love of life, women, mind altering substances and no regard for law and authority are not a bad cocktail for a youth (I didn’t end up in the military for nothing, call it a late boarding school).

    I probably had a better grounding by the time I reached college, my parents (whom I love deeply) pulled most of the rules as a young teen, except of course those of common decency, and told me I was free to do what I wanted, the only caveat was that I’d pay the consequences as well… and they stuck to it when I spiraled out of control. Kinda takes all the fun out of rebellion when they pat you on the back and say ‘have fun’. There’s no doubt that influenced strongly my feelings on individuality and personal responsibility.

    It’s hard to say what life would have been like had I been raised in the 60’s, sounds interesting but although I questioned authority from a young age I also hesitated to knee jerk the opposite way, you’ll see a lot of anti-anti comments from me on this site even now.

  • Glen Contrarian

    Igor –

    Nowadays, apparently, people are eager to abandon all knowledge of science after 9th grade.

    Especially since our anti-science climate has gotten this bad:

    Evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are major underpinnings of mainstream science. And Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun, a physician who sits on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, says they are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

    Of course it’s politically incorrect to say that the Republicans are anti-science….

  • Glen Contrarian

    I’m starting to feel very young reading the comments above, since I was just a pre-teen in the 1960’s, and have often wished I could’ve been old enough to have at least enjoyed the Summer of Love.

    But as politically-polarized as the 1960’s certainly were, there’s another social factor that we likely all enjoyed – the music! Even today, if I go to the local K-12 schools I can see people wearing t-shirts emblazoned with Hendrix or Jim Morrison, and with the occasional logo from 70’s bands like Black Sabbath and AC/DC. And Ozz, of course. And it’s not just there – go into any restaurant or Safeway or mall, and the music might include a few more recent songs, but most often it’s from the 60’s and 70’s. Even my 17 y.o. son loves Led and knows more music by the Beatles than by today’s bands. Personally, I think the musicians of that time are proving to be even more influential than Bach, Beethoven and the like. The music alone was a cultural explosion, and we’re still feeling the shockwaves.

    With the possible exception of the 1860’s, the 1960’s was our most transformational decade (sociologically speaking): Woodstock and the Summer of Love, Ohio State and the anti-war movement, the Kennedy assassinations, psychedelics, Vietnam, the Cuban blockade (and the Bay of Pigs), the Great Society, and Apollo 11. I sorta feel sorry for those who are now so far removed from that time that they will never really understand what a great and powerful period that was in the history of America and of the world.

  • Igor

    @236- “vas you dere, Charlie?” was the favorite expression of a skeptical character on the radio back in the 40s. You remember radio, don’t you? Radio was TV for grownups.

    I was there.

    Like everything else in history, endless lies are told.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And much is forgotten, too. I asked my mother and grandmother many times to write down their memories, that we would be able to learn from them after they pass. They didn’t, unfortunately, and it sorta reminds me of the next-to-final scene in Blade Runner when Rutger Hauer says “all these things will be forgotten, in time, like tears in the rain.”

    But Igor, you have to admit that even with all the lies, there is still much understanding to be garnered from the study of history. It’s not all lies, and even the lies often have valuable lessons to teach.

  • Igor

    Reading history books is like studying the entrails of a dead goat.

    Politicians are professional liars. Writers repeat the lies of politicians to curry favor.

    A friend told me “All The Presidents Men” is a good movie. A movie (work of fiction to make money) written by a writer (professional storyteller) acted by liars (who are chosen for their effectiveness at telling other peoples lies), etc. And they don’t even look or act like the people they speak for!

    The commies were always politically astute at horning in once there was something to gain. Some people even believe that the commies overthrew the Russian czar! Imagine that!

    We used to be smarter. Commies tried to take over the black freedom movement and the union movement, but they failed because people knew that would be the kiss of death.

    But that was before TV! Before the easy acceptance of lying commercials! Soon followed by lying reporters!

  • Igor

    In a GB Shaw play the youthful protaganist challenges the old general: “But what will history say?”. the answer: “history will lie, as usual”.

    And the music of the 60s was execrable. In 50 years it will be forgotten as surely as the jingles of Tin Pan Alley. By contrast, thousands of young musicians around the world are studying violin in hopes of playing the “Kreutzer Sonata” with the skill and beauty of Hiefitz. That’s why they call it “classical music”. Enduring beauty.

  • Clav

    “vas you dere, Charlie?”

    Yes, I was, Igor. And apparently more observant than you; as were all the other commenters who agree that the 60s were highly political.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    I gotta stand with Clavos on this one – the 60’s were extremely political: the Kennedy assassinations, the anti-war movement, and the Civil Rights movement make that obvious enough.

    And when it comes to music, a lot of kids today are enjoying fifty year-old music – which tells me that kind of music has staying power, perhaps matched only by that of classical music. After all, in the 1970’s were we listening to music from the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s? Ha! I only knew of that music because we only got one television station and my grandparents insisted on watching the Lawrence Welk Show – and I can still sing the show’s closing song (horrors!).

    There will always be those who love violin, but its popularity has been forever supplanted by the electric guitar and the synthesizer. We will not see another burst of musical creativity like the 1960’s until we have another trifecta including the next new instrument(s) – though it’s hard to imagine that one could outdo the synthesizer – coupled with nationwide deep turmoil and a lot of drugs.

    I really don’t think Danny and the Juniors realized just how true it would be when they sang Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay.

  • Igor

    How easily people are deceived by TV advertising. How willingly they accept propaganda. And we thought that German villagers were self-deceived during WW2!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    It’s every bit as wrong to think that ‘everything we’re shown is put there to deceive us’ as it is to think ‘nothing we’re shown is put there to deceive us’.

  • Clav

    Because my parents despised TV and refused to have one in their home, I did not watch TV until well into the 70s. My recollections of the political intensity of the 60s stem from direct personal experience, including being aboard the troop train that was stopped by activists lying down on the tracks as the train approached Oakland Army Terminal.

    That incident was the departure point to a number of lesser incidents which took place on the campus and in the city in Florida where I attended college beginning in 1966, after my return from a tour in Vietnam and my discharge. These incidents ran the gamut from regular participation in antiwar and other political demonstrations (similar to the deadly one at Kent State a few years later) to being a political writer for the university’s first counterculture newspaper.

    All direct, first hand, participatory experiences, not TV, which I still only watch on rare occasions.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Reminds me of the time – I think it was in the late 80’s – that a protester tried to stop a train on its way to a local base by putting his legs on the track. The train (which may or may not have been carrying special weapons) didn’t stop, and he lost both legs below the knee.

    We didn’t feel a bit of sympathy for him. And I still don’t. While I support his right to protest and his desire to commit civil disobedience, what he did was epically stupid (as was what the girl did in Israel when she decided to stand in front of an Israeli bulldozer and assumed it would stop). He was awarded nearly $1M in a settlement (much of which his lawyers probably got)…but I doubt he now thinks it was worth it.

    There are effective and intelligent ways to protest, to commit civil disobedience. Putting one’s life and limbs on the line simply don’t qualify.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Looking at #248, your progression from being part of the counterculture to your current political persuasion is at least as radical as mine from strong Southern conservatism to (mostly) liberal moonbatism (and you of course lived through a much more radical time). What drove the changes in your thinking, in your belief system?

    And that’s an honest question – no hidden agenda or snarkiness waiting in the wings. Yours sounds like a very interesting story and I’ve always been curious as to why people think the way they do.

  • Igor

    @247-Glenn: I never said ‘everything we’re shown is…’ so don’t attribute it to me, especially with quotes.

  • Igor

    @245-Glenn: how would you know? Books?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    @247-Glenn: I never said ‘everything we’re shown is…’ so don’t attribute it to me, especially with quotes.

    It wasn’t meant to be seen as a quote, but as what seems to be a vague summary of what you’re saying about how the level of deception to which we are subjected.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Igor –

    @245-Glenn: how would you know? Books?

    About which subject – the level of political activism in the 60’s, or the staying power of the music? I may have only been a pre-teen during the Summer of Love, but I have read enough to get somewhat of a grip on the times. Besides, asking me how I would know anything about the 60’s would be akin to asking you how you know anything about the Depression…and I’m certain you do know quite a bit more about life during the Depression than I do, since you were much closer to those days than I; that said, that while you wouldn’t know everything about what led to the Depression, you would have a clue. Similarly, I don’t know everything about what led to the sociopolitical upheaval in the 1960’s…but I do have a clue.

  • Igor

    @253-if it’s not meant as a quote then don’t put it in quotes.

    If people were so politically active, how come it didn’t last?

  • Igor

    @226-Roger: How much fun do you think I missed 62 Alfa Guiletta Veloce Spyder?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    My apologies – I was thinking that since I used the single apostrophe instead of the double, it would be understood – but that’s what I get for assuming, isn’t it?

    Why didn’t the political activism last? Fatigue, IMO, and a combination of factors that included several victories for liberalism (the end of the draft, the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate, the burgeoning impact of LBJ’s Great Society, the end of violent opposition to the Civil Rights Act, and Roe v. Wade). While liberals didn’t get everything they wanted – not by a long shot! – but we progressed farther faster than at any other time in American history.

    It’s as I’ve said before – climbing a mountain is hard, step by uncountable step, but every once in a while the climber will look back and gasp in realization just how far he’s come. I’d say that – metaphorically speaking – on some level liberals stopped to take a breath, looked back, and gasped at just how far we’d come in the previous two decades.

  • Igor

    @229-Dr D: More political than the anti-war 20s, depression 30s, the union-building 50s, etc.?

    More political than after the Russian revolution?

    More political than the dust bowl?

    More political than the union slaughters of the 20s?

    The campus politicos of the 60s were just self-indulgent dweebs trying to score hippie chicks.