Archive for Resources

Confused minds?

Sundance starts with the trade arguments – Canada’s Liberal Politics Behind Trudeau’s Antagonistic Trade Positions… – to say something about the United States. “In addition to the size of our economy, America is profoundly unique in that there is almost no product on the planet that cannot be replicated in the United States.” And it’s not just natural resources. Examples are provided.

Additionally, our inherent American DNA strain is one of entrepreneurial existence. We know how to do things, create things, and think completely outside the box on new and innovative ideas for things. Yes, we are exceptional like that.

It’s high time we stop being embarrassed about our exceptional nature, and start being proud of it again. Because when it matters most, when it really counts, when it’s really needed, there’s a whole bunch of people all around this world of ours that are mighty happy when swagger walks in to solve their problems.

Yeah, “let’s make America great again”. Swagger on !

James Lewis wonders about the Conservative Cringe and The Real Reason Washington Post Republicans Hate Donald Trump – “Mr. Will has finally identified his complaint in a WaPo opinion piece dramatically called “Trump Has a Dangerous Disability.”

Now, I happen to think that Trump’s political jargon is a shrewd way to dodge the murderous hatred of our fair-minded media, the people Mr. Will spends his life with. We know they examine every syllable emerging from Trump’s mouth, ready to draw blood as soon as they can distort and lie about something he says that is perfectly innocent.

Trump has developed an effective way to reach you and me. We understand his private code, which leaves liberals foaming at the mouth.

After thinking about George and Jonah and Bill, who unanimously headed for the hills when Trump started to win, I’ve finally concluded that they despised Trump because he sounded low-class. It’s a class thing.

Well, the D.C. establishment also despised Abe Lincoln as a low-class hick from the backwoods who spoke with a country accent.

On the Fake News™ front, Ace describes how the WaPo digs in on a Fake Hoax story. “Hate Crime” Reported on By Washington Post 15 Times Turns Out to Be, Get This, a Hoax; Washington Post Refuses to Run a New Story On the Hate Hoax – “Democracy Dies in Darkness, doesn’t it?

Oh, and don’t forget the AP. John Hinderaker hasn’t: On the Judiciary, the Associated Press Parrots the DNC – “I think the Associated Press is even worse, or at least, more pervasive. A case in point is tonight’s story on President Trump’s judicial appointments: “Trump begins effort to pack courts with conservatives.”

Let’s stop right there. All presidents nominate judges with compatible philosophies. Did the Associated Press ever write that President Obama was “packing” the federal judiciary with liberals? I don’t think so. I tried this Google search–“associated press obama pack courts with liberals”–and got nothing.

The AP supplies some reasonably objective information, and then goes full DNC:

“The courts” didn’t “derail” the president’s agenda. Rather, a couple of Democratic Party stalwarts, who got the cases as a result of Democratic Party judge-shopping, issued absurd orders that are destined to be overturned in due course.

The AP fails to note that application of the filibuster to judicial nominees is a very recent innovation.

From there, it only gets worse:

The question is why people are fixated on incomplete or even fabricated world models and why they push them so hard on others.

 

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Why did he get elected? Climate alarmists show why.

There is a lot of talk that it was hubris, a contempt for fly-over country, and that “basket of deplorables” mentality had something to do with the Trump victory. Eric Worrall says the Climate Establishment Hopeful Trump will Betray the Trust of the American People and his sources illustrate the point.

The climate establishment is expressing hope that President Trump will treat the wishes of the American people, and the promises he made to the voters who supported him, with the same contempt and disregard which they themselves feel for the needs of ordinary people.

I suspect we’re seeing the beginning of a global attempt to pressure President Trump into watering down his electoral commitments, but I also think they have chosen the wrong President to try to bully – President Trump is not an unprincipled professional sellout like some of his predecessors.

A part of setting the stage was in establishing Trump as a ‘Hitler’ and this is also being discussed, both in terms of it being a tactic that is getting stale and in terms of its driving fear and anxiety in some social circles – particularly in higher education.

Worrall also provides a copy of Trump’s Contract with America to show what it is that has the left up in arms. It provides a solid refutation of the meme that nobody was working issues in the campaign – but then, if the issues are not those that fit your world view, denying they exist is one way to deal with your angst. But they continue to exist and now reality is meeting desire. What that dissonance does is to up the ante and that is why we see riots one the one end and hubris and scheming on the other.

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Get rid of the (modern) humans

Ken Cuccinelli describes how government is Grinding westerners under the federal boot — “The national monument designation is a backdoor land grab.”

In areas designated national monuments, productive activities are heavily restricted or even banned. These are precisely the sorts of restrictions that federal agencies have been prevented from imposing through traditional means.

These national monument designations are just regulation by another means. Though couched in the flowery language of conservation, monument designations are about the raw exercise of presidential power, seizing control of land without regard to the impact on the affected states and citizens.

Feudalism was abolished in Europe hundreds of years ago. The Obama administration should learn from history and abandon its neo-feudalism in the West.

It’s another way to take stewardship of the land away from the people and into the hands of an elite that is often driven by anything but the survival and health of humanity.

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Another unnecessary cost for those who can least afford it

Nicole Raz reports that Nevada has a trash problem — but in reverse.

Throwing trash into a landfill is so cheap in Nevada that it’s posing a challenge for the state to beef up more eco-friendly waste management programs.

In most other states, where the cost of land is higher than Nevada’s, there is an economic incentive to divert waste from landfills and look to other means of more eco-friendly waste management, like composting.

Noack said it largely comes down to demand.

“And there is demand, and we see it even with tourists,” he said, adding that he will get complaints from people about a lack of recycling bins on the Strip.

“Something should be done in that regard, but the way we have made inroads with some of these casinos is through green events, green buildings, zero waste. They themselves want to be LEED Platinum to get an award,” Noack said. “If we can get one going, then you can shame the others into also becoming green properties.”

He added that demand from residents is limited because people don’t want to pay more for their monthly garbage bill.

People seem to forget that landfills are also recycling, just slower (and more natural!). Nevada is getting hit on a lot of these expensive PC fronts these days. Consider the effort to subsidize solar and the response at solar energy fairness.

It Nevada it used to be ‘leave me alone’ but these days it seems that there are those who can’t leave anybody alone and want others to pay for their fantasies.

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Believe it or not (and, no, this isn’t Ripley)

Mark Perry put up another map comparing U.S. state economies to that of foreign countries to try to illustrate just how massive the U.S. economy really is. The comparisons of GDP is only part of the story. There is another, more stunning, statistic about the power of the U.S. IBT comments Just How Crazy Big Is The U.S. Economy?

Economist and IBD contributor Mark Perry recently put together a map of the U.S., with the state names replaced with countries that have comparably sized economies. It is eye-opening.

New York’s economy, for example, is equal in size to all of Canada. California’s is as big as France. New Jersey and Saudi Arabia have comparable GDPs.

Perry’s map doesn’t show this, but you’d only have to combine Texas, Florida and Indiana to have a GDP that’s bigger than all of the U.K.
Overall, he notes, the U.S. produces 24.5% of the world’s economic output, but with less than 5% of its population.

There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth at how much the U.S. consumes and a lot of this is in the zero sum game paradigm where what one has was taken from somebody who now doesn’t have. As with nearly every such manufactured crisis about how the world is going to run out of something, the paradigm is palpably wrong.

Perry points out that wealth is created and the U.S. does a better job of this creation than nearly another other country on the planet and by usually quite a large margin. Despite the numbers, many citizens don’t believe it. This may be because they are too close and cannot gain a broad perspective of just how good they have it. That provides opportunity for politicians. Sanders wants to emulate one poor producing country and Trump wants to protect against those who can’t compete.

Believe it or not, the U.S. is a big country in very many ways.

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The real problem: blind?

Peter Dorman: The Climate Movement Needs to Get Radical, but What Does that Mean? — “A Delayed Review of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein.”

what I find diagnostic is the warm reception it received from virtually every media outlet on the English-speaking left. This suggests that Klein is moving with the political tide and not against it, and that the problems that seemed obvious to me were either invisible to her reviewers or regarded as too insignificant to bring up. The view that capitalism is a style of thinking, progress is a myth, and political contestation is irrelevant to “true” social change belongs not just to this one book but to all the commentators who found nothing to criticize. That’s the real problem.

Critical thinking? Examination of conclusions and opinions? Consideration of implications, costs, and benefits? All by the board. That is a real problem.

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Cowperthwaite and Hong Kong

Every now and then there is a civil servant who makes a difference. The Most Powerful Wealth Generator There Is is the story of one such colonial administrator.

At some point during our first conversation I managed to irk him by suggesting that he was chiefly known “for doing nothing.” In fact, he pointed out, keeping the British political busy-bodies from interfering in Hong Kong’s economic affairs took up a large portion of his time. Throughout Sir John’s tenure in office, the British political elite tried to impose its own ailing socialist economic model on Britain’s colonies, including Hong Kong. Sir John managed to quash all such attempts and Hong Kong benefited as a result.

The answer to growth is as simple as that. Liberty, the ability to own your own property, make your own mistakes and chart your own destiny is the key to growth for everybody. When you are free to pursue wealth, wealth happens. That’s because when people make free exchanges, both sides benefit from the exchange. When that happens, business and civilization thrive and grow.

and then there’s Venezuela…

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Preposterous, climate consensus

Valerie Richardson notes that More studies rebut climate change consensus amid government crackdown on dissent, As the siege continues, it is evident that any area of weakness is getting reinforced.

“As the body of evidence refuting climate alarmism continues to balloon, the question of how the IPCC can continue ignoring it becomes ever more glaring,” said engineer Pierre L. Gosselin, who runs the NoTricksZone website and translates climate news from German to English.

In spite of that research — or maybe because of it — Democrats have renewed their efforts to clamp down on climate dissent.

Two weeks ago, 17 attorneys general — 16 Democrats and Mr. Walker, an independent — announced that they would investigate and prosecute climate-related “fraud,” citing investigations by journalism outlets accusing Exxon Mobil Corp. of stifling its own scientific research in support of the “settled science.”

While Exxon Mobil has denounced the accusations as “preposterous,” Mr. Walker followed up Thursday with a subpoena calling for the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s work on climate and energy policy from 1997 to 2007, including the nonprofit’s “private donor information,” the institute said.

There is kickback. Part is due to the gross abuse of basic freedoms. Part is also due to the fact that many of the accusations and allegations apply to the accusers and not the accused. Doubling down on insanity only makes the lunacy more obvious.

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Ivanpah showing its worth

Stanislav Jakuba takes a look at the numbers: Central Station Solar: Ivanpah Fail. It’s one of those solar efforts where the economy of scale was supposed to produce effective results.

This latest 392 MW (name-plate) giant was built on 13 km2 of land in Mojave Desert at a cost of 2.2 billion dollars. It generated a disappointing .4 billion kWh thus producing at an average rate of 46 MW the first year.

The $2,200 megawatt price per those 120 MW represents a $18/watt investment. By way of comparison, another nonpolluting source of electricity, nuclear power plant, the Millstone reactor No. 2 in Connecticut, operating at 880 MW since 1975, cost $0.5$/watt, making Ivanpah is thus 36 times more expensive (inflation excluded).

For comparison again, the Millstone nuclear plant complex employs also about 1,000, and its two reactors have been producing 1870 MW actual electrical output. Assuming the same salaries, benefits, and the electricity selling price, the operating expense is 15 times higher at Ivanpah.

As for the occupied land comparison, those 120 MW spread over 13 km2 represents 9.2 W/m2. In contrast, ground based nuclear plants produce some 2000 W/m2 thus utilizing the land area some 200 times more effectively. And they can be erected in any climate and in proximity to users.

The numbers indicate order of magnitude increase in cost for this alternative energy over nuclear. Who pays? It shows up in taxes and energy bills in a way that is regressive. That means the impact on the poor is most significant. The same people who are pushing this expensive energy are the same ones wailing about all the poor people. There is a disconnect in these people with reality and it hurts us all.

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It’s our response to the radiation

The BBC has a short video exploring the question: Has Fukushima’s radiation threat been exaggerated?

Five years after the devastating earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima power plant in north-eastern Japan, one expert is asking if the impact of the radiation was massively exaggerated.

Professor Gerry Thomas, a leading authority on the effects of radiation, walks the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes through the deserted exclusion zone and measures radiation levels.

What goes totally by the board is the mass casualties due to the earthquake and tidal wave. That has now become history while FUD mongering about the nuclear plant hit by that event continues to make headlines. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island also come up on a regular basis in the same vein. The abandoned cities and other responses to fears are shown to illustrate a danger that has never been realized by any measure that makes a clear distinction from the normal.

It is the same with climate where the measures of an ideologically desired effect are so small that they are difficult to separate from ‘normal’ that FUD mongering has to take the place of actual reality.

Dragons and demons are real, it seems, but the still only exist in the minds of those invested in fairy tales and fears. The cost of the response to those fears is not considered in any rational way. Fukushima was hit by a natural disaster outside of its design considerations yet still did not provide a worst case scenario. How much is spent on trying to be perfectly safe in an unsafe world? What is the implication of such spending on the lives and health of the populace? How is the balance?

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Koch and Sanders Agree

Charles Koch: This is the one issue where Bernie Sanders is right.

The senator is upset with a political and economic system that is often rigged to help the privileged few at the expense of everyone else, particularly the least advantaged. He believes that we have a two-tiered society that increasingly dooms millions of our fellow citizens to lives of poverty and hopelessness. He thinks many corporations seek and benefit from corporate welfare while ordinary citizens are denied opportunities and a level playing field.

I agree with him.

Consider the regulations, handouts, mandates, subsidies and other forms of largesse our elected officials dole out to the wealthy and well-connected. The tax code alone contains $1.5 trillion in exemptions and special-interest carve-outs. Anti-competitive regulations cost businesses an additional $1.9 trillion every year. Perversely, this regulatory burden falls hardest on small companies, innovators and the poor, while benefitting many large companies like ours. This unfairly benefits established firms and penalizes new entrants, contributing to a two-tiered society.

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit. This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers. That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare

The issue is currently at debate in Nevada after the PUC decided that the subsidies for household solar systems should stop. For Koch, this is a step in the right direction but for the Sanders crowd this is likely a step backward. Those on the left like to rail against corporations whose profits always seem to depend upon screwing their customers. When it comes to corporations in certain areas that are in ideological sync with them, though, using taxpayer money to screw customers is a good thing.

One of the rationalizations often used to cover over this dissonance is to confuse subsidy with tax breaks. The issue here is whether to allow certain costs to reduce taxable income or to pay money in one form or another to help defray the capital costs of a plant. 

Nevada also has its “who you know” examples in the tax breaks companies like Tesla and Amazon have been able to obtain to bring business into the state. The small guys without connections are seeing ever more taxes and fees because they don’t have the privileges and contacts that the big corporations do. 

So Charles Koch and Bernie Sanders do have some common ground. The problem is that one doesn’t have to travel far off that ground to find who has exceptions and who has consistent values.

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Pick a target, Never give up. Never surrender.

Exxon has long been a target of the green movement. Now, it’s Schneiderman’s Climate Inquisition — “New York’s attorney general launches a bid to criminalize skepticism“.

what has inflamed progressives, and given impetus to the New York investigation, is the revelation that Exxon has given money to conservative organizations that oppose the extreme policy proposals of climate alarmists. Or, to use the New York Times’s tendentious description, the company may have played a role in “directing campaigns of climate denial, usually by libertarian-leaning political groups.”

The theory is tenuous, but the endgame is clear: to force Exxon and other companies to settle. Even when the underlying legal theory is frivolous, responding to a subpoena like the one served on Exxon—which seeks nearly 30 years of records—presents high financial and reputational costs. Moreover, the risk of criminal prosecution is one that most companies, particularly publicly-traded companies, can’t afford to take. Peabody Energy has already buckled under the threat of prosecution. After a few more energy companies embrace climate alarmism to avoid the taint of prosecution, the rest of the industry will be sufficiently intimidated to pull any funding from groups that question “established climate science.”

Progressives like to claim that there is an overwhelming consensus in favor of radical action on climate change. That may not currently be true, but it certainly will be once climate dissent is outlawed.

Not only is the effort to silence dissidents, it is to punish them and profit in the process. There seems to be a book on how to abuse prosecutorial discretion for ideological ends. The NY AG isn’t alone. Consider what has happened in the US AG’s office regarding, for instance, Black Panthers monitoring polling places. Then take a look at recent stories about how the LA police steal weapons from burglarized homes. 

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Yet another target: farmers

Baylen Linnekin reports on a progressive attack front you might not have hear about. Right-to-Farm Debate Heats Up — Controversies over laws in all 50 states that protect the rights of farmers to actually farm. Keep in mind that farming is one of the most direct and concrete examples of the production of value. Farming and ranching take a renewable resource, manages it, and produces food and other goods for the public.

Right-to-Farm laws are on the books in all fifty states. They are enshrined into some state constitutions, including in Missouri, where the state constitution now guarantees, in perpetuity, “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices” in the state.

Right-to-Farm laws like Missouri’s generally serve two key purposes. First, they protect farm owners from state and local regulations that might restrict farming. …

Second, Right-to-Farm laws also protect farmers against the real specter of nuisance lawsuits. In particular, they help protect farmers against lawsuits by neighbors who—in legal parlance—come to the nuisance.

But don’t Right-to-Farm laws preclude lawsuits like Himsel’s? Not exactly. The fact they serve as an affirmative defense doesn’t prevent (and hasn’t prevented) people like Himsel from filing lawsuits against farming operations. It just makes such lawsuits far less likely to succeed than non-agricultural nuisance lawsuits.

From animal rights activists to the EPA’s water grab, there is an assault on the food needed to feed the poor. Current activity may be a bit below the radar – the notice of the left’s propaganda machine – right now but that may change.

The issue goes back to land use and property rights issues. Consider, for example, a subdivision built near an airport where people move in and then start complaining about the noise. Or consider Dr. Sowell’s recent column about housing prices in the Bay Area and the implication of all of the vacant land near I280 between San Francisco and Palo Alto.

It’s nice if you can afford it. It’s suffering and death if you can’t. The example of communism in Eastern Europe illustrates that. See Bruce Walker on The Ultra-Reactionary Left. Why is that history denied by the Left?

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Breathless: finding confirmation of a belief – or so it seems.

The climate alarmists have, as a fundamental belief, that evil non-government corporations are in conspiracy to hide evidence of disaster and buying influence to deny the alarmist dogma. So when something is found that supports the belief, the reporting goes breathless in the affirmation of faith. Exxon Scientists Knew Fossil Fuels Caused Climate Change Back in 1977 is an example.

It’s a story reminiscent of the way Big Tobacco covered up the deadly effects of smoking. In the 1980s, Exxon spent millions of dollars on groundbreaking research which irrefutably showed how their products would change the climate. And then they buried it all.

The story is devastating in that Exxon is likely responsible for much of the anti-science climate denial rhetoric out there to this day. I just read the whole thing, and it’s made me incredibly angry.

A bit of education in both history and science might do a lot to quell that anger but anger tends to promote denial of reality rather than acceptance. Consider, for instance, that the issue in 1977 was global cooling, not global warming. Consider that the ‘greenhouse effect’ of CO2 was already well known. Consider the confusion and misdirection evident in using a photo showing “The Exxon Valdez spilled an estimated 10.8 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1989” as an illustration for the post. Neglect the fact that windmills are killing more birds, by orders of magnitude, than oil spills have. Stop to think a minute about just what Exxon could gain by trying to suppress common knowledge or how it could think such an effort might be anything but futile.

Too much anger, too much breathlessness, too little intellectual integrity.

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Doom! I tell ya’ – Doom

It is ‘oh so typical’ of modern ignorance. Danielle Nierenberg explains Here’s why industrial food is deceivingly cheap – “Food is seemingly cheaper and more convenient than ever before. However, what people don’t pay for at the cash register, they pay in healthcare costs and environmental consequences.”

The use of the word “industrial” is enough to raise suspicions. Then there’s the idea that people are living longer and healthier lives and the environment is cleaner than it has been in the past to realize that the base presumption is oxymoronic. Another issue on this ‘anti-industrial’ ethos is the disregard of the poor who benefit most from having inexpensive healthy food. The availability of cheap food is why starvation in the world today is nowhere near as desperate as it has been for most of human history.

Conventional agriculture isn’t cheap. From the use of artificial fertilizer and pesticides to the obesity epidemic, our current food system has a number of hidden costs to the natural environment and human health, far outweighing the benefits of cheap food.

“Agriculture is arguably the highest policy priority on today’s global political agenda, in recognition of its widespread impacts on food security, employment, climate change, human health, and severe environmental degradation,” says Alexander Müller, a leader of the TEEBAgFood project team. “I truly see this as being one of the most timely and important research initiatives in the field of sustainable agriculture.”

Step one of TEEBAgFood, already underway, is using a series of sector-specific, geographically widespread ‘feeder studies.’ These studies are assessing the misplaced environmental and social costs of different agricultural commodities–rice, livestock, palm oil, inland fisheries, maize, and agroforestry.

Next, the study will produce a Scientific and Economic Foundations Report, building the theoretical context of the connections between business, agriculture, food, and biodiversity and ecosystems. A Policies, Procedure, and Consumption Report will then present a variety of viable production systems and policies, adjusted for multiple socioeconomic contexts. Finally, a Synthesis Report, supported by complementary communication strategies, will communicate the key findings and recommendations.

It’s anthropogenic climate disaster all over again. Government money towards academics to produce ‘studies.’ Policies based on deceit and ideology. Propaganda campaigns to persuade the masses. It is top down with the elites, the in-crowd, the believers that are to be in charge of things. What is missing? How about bottom up decision making in many small decisions by individuals who vote with their self interest in mind?

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Careless language

Bruce Thornton gets into the The Truth About Western “Colonialism” amd “How the misuse of a term legitimizes the jihadist myth of Western guilt.” It’s about displacing blame as a propaganda tool.

This leftist interpretation of words like colonialism and imperialism transforms them into ideologically loaded terms that ultimately distort the tragic truths of history. They imply that Europe’s explorations and conquests constituted a new order of evil. In reality, the movements of peoples in search of resources, as well as the destruction of those already in possession of them, is the perennial dynamic of history.

Whether it was the Romans in Gaul, the Arabs throughout the Mediterranean and Southern Asia, the Huns in Eastern Europe, the Mongols in China, the Turks in the Middle East and the Balkans, the Bantu in southern Africa, the Khmer in East Asia, the Aztecs in Mexico, the Iroquois in the Northeast, or the Sioux throughout the Great Plains, human history has been stained by man’s continual use of brutal violence to acquire land and resources and destroy or replace those possessing them. Scholars may find subtle nuances of evil in the European version of this ubiquitous aggression, but for the victims such fine discriminations are irrelevant.

Yet this ideologically loaded and historically challenged use of words like “colonial” and “colonialist” remains rife in analyses of the century-long disorder in the Middle East. Both Islamists and Arab nationalists, with sympathy from the Western left, have blamed the European “colonialists” for the lack of development, political thuggery, and endemic violence whose roots lie mainly in tribal culture, illiberal shari’a law, and sectarian conflicts.

Colonialism and Imperialism were efforts to create a global community out of tribal cultures. In some places, the tribal ethos struggles to exist and that can create much strife. The mid-east provides the current example.

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Let the free market work

Terry Anderson and Donald Leal take onClimate Policy: Adaptation, Not Mitigation (Part I, Theory). They take a look at the tragedy of the commons and how many complex problems can find practical solutions in a dynamic environment driven by free market principles.

Rather than simply throwing up our hands in despair with respect to what appear to be intractable problems of establishing property rights and encouraging markets in regard to global climate, we turn to a major theme of free-market environmentalism—dynamic markets provide the best hope for human interaction with dynamic environments.

The key here is that of using a dynamic system to respond to a dynamic problem. This is not about using static (i.e. governmental regulation and mandate) to fix a ‘real soon now’ problem that may never occur. 

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A plea to the Pope: Imago Dei

E. Calvin Beisner presents the Cornwall Alliance to Pope Francis: Be Realistic for Humanity’s Sake (energy/climate policy in the balance) and clearly identifies what is at stake.

Alongside good science in our approach to climate policy must be two preferential options: for humanity and, among humanity, for the poor. By this we do not mean to pit humanity against nature, any more than to pit the poor against the rich. Rather, we mean that because humanity alone bears the imago Dei, any effort to protect the environment must put at its center human well-being, and in particular the well-being of the poor, because they are the more vulnerable, the less able to protect themselves.

The case for this is the Biblical ethos of Imago Dei (from Genesis 1:27, wherein “God created man in his own image. . .”) and a rational God.

the Biblical worldview launched science as a systematic endeavor to understand the real world by a rigorous process of testing hypotheses by real-world observation.

Christian and Jewish scholars have performed high-quality science for centuries. They are confident that good science leads toward and will not conflict with the truth about God and man.

As people of Biblical faith, then, we have a commitment not only to truth, but also to the practice of science as one path to truth.

Your concern for genuine science and for the poor requires a more cautious approach, one that carefully considers the scientific evidence regarding the real, not merely the theoretical, effects of human action on global climate, and carefully considers energy technology and economics in seeking to protect the poor from harm.

The world’s poor will suffer most from such policies. The poorest—the 1.3 billion in developing countries who depend on wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels, smoke from which kills 4 million and temporarily debilitates hundreds of millions every year—will be condemned to more generations of poverty and its deadly consequences.

The key to this is that the environmentalist movement is one that only the wealthy can afford. What is not stated directly is that Biblical belief is being usurped by a belief in Gaia as god and man is demoted from being master to that of being a plague on earth. The issues in the debate are the poor and the truth. It is about what has been seen to improve the welfare of humanity and what is actually known about man’s dominion of the earth versus fantasies about nature and a proper state of the earth as a ball of mud in the solar system.

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When the ideology doesn’t produce: California

What’s up with California and water? Joel Kotkin describes the Big Idea: California Is So Over. “California’s drought and how it’s handled show just what kind of place the Golden State is becoming: feudal, super-affluent and with an impoverished interior.”

Ultimately this is a story of a state that has gotten tired, having lost its “animal spirits” for the policy equivalent of a vegan diet. Increasingly it’s all about how the elites in the state—who cluster along the expensive coastal areas—feel about themselves.

What we are witnessing the breakdown of a once-expansive, open society into one dominated by a small group of plutocrats, largely in Silicon Valley, with an “amen” crew among the low-information donors of Hollywood, the public unions, the green lobby, and wealthy real estate developers favored by Brown’s pro-density policies.

What is behind this regression of progressive ideology?

The biggest reason California has been so slow, and uncharacteristically feckless, in meeting this existential challenge lies with psychology and ends with political power. The generation that built the sinews of modern California—most notably the late Governor Pat Brown Sr., the current governor’s father—sprang from the old progressive spirit which saw in infrastructure development a chance not only to create new wealth, but also provide opportunity to working- and middle-class Californians.

it’s not just water that exemplifies the current “era of limits” psychology. Energy development has always been in green crosshairs and their harassment has all but succeeded in helping drive much of the oil and gas industry, including corporate headquarters, out of the state. Not building roads—arguably to be replaced by trains—has not exactly reduced traffic but given California the honor of having eight of the top 20 cities nationally with poor roads; the percentage of Los Angeles-area residents who take transit has, if anything, declined slightly since train-building began. All we are left with are impossible freeways, crumbling streets, and ever more difficulty doing anything that requires traveling.

Meanwhile, there is that multi-billion dollar railroad project. Instead of providing water for irrigation or (gasp) even water for the lower class to have showers, let’s build a train that will most likely never be anything more than a monument to a failed ideology whose dreams are really nightmares.

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Trafficking in fear

Net neutrality backers traffic in fear. Pushing a suite of suggested interventions, they warn of rapacious cable operators who seek to control online media and other content by “picking winners and losers” on the Internet. They proclaim that regulation is the only way to stave off “fast lanes” that would render your favorite website “invisible” unless it’s one of the corporate-favored. They declare that it will shelter startups, guarantee free expression, and preserve the great, egalitarian “openness” of the Internet.

No decent person, in other words, could be against net neutrality.

In truth, this latest campaign to regulate the Internet is an apt illustration of F.A. Hayek’s famous observation that “the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” Egged on by a bootleggers-and-Baptists coalition of rent-seeking industry groups and corporation-hating progressives (and bolstered by a highly unusual proclamation from the White House), Chairman Wheeler and his staff are attempting to design something they know very little about-not just the sprawling Internet of today, but also the unknowable Internet of tomorrow.

Promoting fear of what might be is a common tactic used in pushing many ideological ideas. You can see it with climate change, with vaccines, with alternative energy, … “alternative” anything, it seems. In this case, it’s the pipeline becoming critical to the masses for communications and entertainment and business. Geoffrey A. Manne & R. Ben Sperry suggest that The biggest threat to the Net isn’t cable companies. It’s government. The politics driving governmental control of the I’net is clear:

Generally speaking, neutrality advocates don’t spend much time in the weeds of boring traffic-flow engineering and network prioritization. What has animated everyone from HBO comedian/anchor John Oliver to millions of irate FCC commenters has been an angry suspicion that somewhere, some rich corporations are on the verge of hijacking the Internet’s architecture to profit themselves while excluding others.

Suspicion. Fear. Envy. And persistence.

One would think that after 10 years of political teeth-gnashing, regulatory rule making, and relentless litigating, there would by now be a strong economic case for net neutrality—a clear record of harmful practices and agreements embodying the types of behavior that only regulation can pre-empt. But there isn’t.

All of this goes along with the certitude and arrogance that substitutes for rationality, intellectual integrity, and actual, solid factual basis in reality of those advocating for governmental control. The pattern of behavior is a first clue about the quality of what is advocated.

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