The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown.

The Whining Has Started

Here’s a long, plodding, yawn-inducing article that tries to explain how it is that AGW “deniers” seem to be gaining on “warmers”. A point-by-point refutation would be possible, but you would never read it — for it would be less tolerable than its target. Do consider just two questionable contentions:

Deniers will claim in the same breath (or within a few minutes) that (a) temperatures cannot be measured reliably, (b) there is definitely no warming, (c) the warming isn’t caused by humans, and (d) we are doing ourselves a favor by warming the planet. The four propositions are incoherent because they cannot all be simultaneously true — and yet deniers will utter all those in close succession all the time.

If you believe this newsletter has been guilty of such silly argumentation, please report the instance to blair@vivaldi.net.

Second, here’s a quote from the article that could be pondered at length:

It’s a fact that the typical scientist already knows intuitively: Uncertainty grows with risk, exposure and potential loss, especially with complex nonlinear systems, like the global climate system.

That’s obfuscation pretending to be rational discourse. The reader can only guess at what the author of the Salon piece is trying to say. Is he referring to the trendy fantasy called the butterfly effect? Using that blarney, one can argue that a minuscule cause could produce catastrophic results — a claim for which there is no possible refutation. Aha, an unfalsifiable hypothesis! That lunacy indicates a need to readPopper

…or is the argument that if you are extremely uncertain about something, the risk that it could be catastrophically dangerous must be extreme? Consider an example: because science is totally uncertain about the nature of ghosts, those putative entities (for which there really is some evidence) could and probably will do greater harm than is currently suspected. Therefore anti-ghost measures must be urgently developed and adopted. Boo!

It’s simpler than that. All you need to see is that the “warmers” generate and then exploit anxiety by positing fantastic scenarios and preaching the worst imaginable outcomes. Revisit NTG Nr. 299, and look under Misanthropic Faith, Part Three.

The only rational course is to ignore tortured logic and mumbo-jumbo. Focus on hard facts, such as the actual temperatures of the atmosphere over the last twenty years; the global presence of the medieval warming, which could not possibly have been caused by technology; the fact that the Maldives are still welcoming wealthy infidels; the logarithmic greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide; how much of the atmosphere is anthropogenic carbon dioxide; and whether there are any extremely cold periods in the earth’s history that had extremely high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Finally, a word is in order regarding the great emphasis the author of the article places on consensus. Science should never be ruled by the simple notion that truthfulness can be verified by taking a vote. That’s just guesswork by committee, and it employs the antithesis of science: trendy, repressive mythic thinking. That slavish worship of consensus gave the world phlogiston, the aether, spontaneous generation, homeopathy, eugenics, heliocentrism, prefrontal lobotomies, phrenology, Freudian analysis as a new science, Ptolemaic astronomy, behaviorism, creationism, Lysenkoism, witchcraft as a criminal offense, intelligent design, demonology, isostasy (claimed to explain how mountains and mountain ranges such as the Himalayas were formed), astrology, palmistry, and who knows how many false understandings of and attempts to deal with reality such as the cargo cult, Voudon, Christian Science and Scientology. To those will possibly be added the big bang, black holes, dark matter, and dark energy.

“Warmers” preach that mankind can be saved only by the sacrificial abandonment of much of modern technology. Their reasoning reminds of the ideology of Cambodian autocrat Pol Pot.

The rationalization of brutally penitential faith is perhaps the greatest unintentional self-parody.

A Precise Statement Of Obamoid Intentions And Practices

This sums it up:

No one can argue that even before his 2008 electoral victory, Barack Obama and his cadre of collectivists were bent on “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Obamasaid so himself. We now know that it was far more than a clever rhetorical flourish.

What remains unappreciated by far too many, particularly Republicans and conservatives in Washington who years ago should have recognized the need to more proactively and more aggressively resist, is that Obama, his White House, and his regulatory leviathan intend to impose that transformation by any means necessary: constitutional or unconstitutional, legal or illegal, civil or hostile — and now, as seen earlier this month in Nevada, nonviolent or violent. There are no rules, only constant tests of limits. (Source.)

Yes.

A “Progressive” Mantra

Meaning

You might have heard it first from faux squaw Liz Warren, whose rants achieved modest notoriety. She seems to have inspired The One to use it in a speech, so “You didn’t build that” has become, for would-be members of the Bicoastal Elite, a shibboleth.

Warren insists that nobody starts a business and gets rich without taking advantage of the accomplishments of other people. After all, commercial activity necessarily involves a degree of cooperation from other individuals or, more probably, from groups of individuals. According to Warren, this means that your enterprise is not your creation, no matter how innovative it might be. Your vision, persistence, and those long hours of hard work do not allow you to take credit for having built what you have.

Of course society and government have been your enabling partners from the first; that’s routine. What’s novel — thanks to collectivist mythology — is the spurious claim that even if you have invented a better mousetrap in your tiny home workshop, you did not build that; you are claimed to be a very minor partner in the creative process. You can’t expect to get rich — because you don’t deserve to.

Now of course all this has a certain plausibility; everyone works within an environment. So…what? Must Fleming be stripped of his knighthood, should Marshall and Warren return their Nobel medals, and should we ignore Pasteur’s contributions as just a natural manifestation of the collective genius?

Ethical Implications

If you cannot say, “I built that”, it is not proper for you to claim the full benefits of ownership of the invention. By the same token, a man who plans, invests in, organizes, opens, and manages a factory cannot morally receive all the profits his company makes. Both inventor and entrepreneur owe other people most of the profits produced by a new enterprise.

The obvious fact that (as the poet said) “No man is an island” has been elevated to the status of an ethical principle.

One suspects that there lurks somewhere in the background the Obamoid concept of “fairness”. Recall that The One believes in high capital gains taxes, though it is known that they result in declining revenues to the government (because they discourage investment — incidentally contributing, by the way, to higher unemployment). Obama’s high taxes on profits are intended as proactive, disabling punishment of the wealthy. That’s one way “progressives” wage class warfare.

Consequences

“You didn’t build that” has given Warren a justification for novel varieties of ever higher taxation. She calls it “paying forward”.

Operating in this punitive and confiscatory environment, all businesses (industry, commerce, innovators, anyone who has a profitable operation) will be expected to pay steeply progressive taxes. This means the penalty for success will be high enough to drive wages down even as it drives unemployment up.

Note a current economic concern: use a good internet search engine with the search terms “us middle class shrink” and see how many responses you get. Part of the pressure on the center of the economic spectrum is due to the fact that business and industry cannot afford to reward their employees well. California, for example, has so bled its business community that the state government is approaching free fall as entrepreneurs leave for Nevada, Texas, and other lower-tax states.

There’s more to complain about. For example, it will do no good for factory owners to point out that they do “pay forward” in many ways. A factory on five acres of land houses no one, so families with children do not live there, yet the factory owner pays property taxes that support the local educational institutions.

Again and again, no matter how rational industrial and commercial firms try to be in explaining the negative impact of Warren’s “pay forward” scheme, the shrill mantra will be repeated: the inventor, the small businessman, the machine shop owner, the industrial tycoon “did not build that!”

The government, which today is for the most part in the hands of “progressive” Utopians, is bidding to become a punitive and predatory tool of ideology. The Warren/Obama mantra pretends to encourage the necessary collection of debts long unpaid, but that’s a deceit. “You did not build that” promotes a degree of governmental control over the nation’s economy that has literally no limits (when, exactly, must one stop chanting the mantra, and allow innovators and employers to prosper?). “You did not build that” is a demagogic battle cry that leads bitter ideologues and fools into endless struggle with reality. The mantra is a magic incantation invoked to increase the government’s confiscation of the profits of virtually every enterprise.

That implies much more than just an increase in funds the government can spend. It means a radical extension of governmental control of all economic activity, for if you can confiscate at will, you can command.

Warren’s slogan is fascist propaganda. (Revisit Number 273 of this newsletter for the book review there.)

Philosophical implications

What you are witnessing as Obama and Warren and other “progressives” grope for a government-controlled Utopia is actually a cynical attempt to define the individual out of existence. When you proclaim that a person can literally do next to nothing (“You did not build that”), you declare him virtually inconsequential. When you plunder his gains without let or hindrance, you dissolve his sovereignty.

Limitless taxation may, of course, be imposed only on those who have no legal standing to resist confiscation. Further, beings who literally cannot build anything can rationally be assumed to be unable to require they be dealt with decently. They can make no claim on ethical treatment.

The collectivist mindset assumes that because the collective is the fundamental element of human reality, the individual is merely an instrument to be used by the controlling authority.

What begins with the imposition of powerlessness concludes with dehumanization.

Ultimately, “You did not build that” is a proclamation that the individual, as understood in non-Marxist and non-fascist Western philosophy, does not exist.

As always, simple sloganeering runs much deeper than is immediately obvious. The implications hidden here are contemptuous and dismissive of the USA’s foundational proclamations. Yes, that does mean collectivists believe the sentiments underlying the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights may properly be ignored.

[Footnote: Was this commentary interesting? Closely related ruminations are found below, in the item on collectivism’s Utopian dreams. Now you know what you can skip.]

Notes On The US Federal BLM And The Cattle It Rounded Up

Yes, the Bundy story does bore many citizens. Unfortunately power-hungry Utopians know that and take advantage of it. How to resolve matters? Begin with a discussion of the facts and a guide to rationality.

Background: some believe that the government of the Mexican United States (Estados Unidos Mexicanos) gave ownership of land ceded by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) to the government of the United States of America. It’s not true. Read the treaty: article five states clearly that the cession of land was a redrawing of the boundary between the two republics. Ownership is not mentioned.

Finally: what did the BLM thugs have to gain by doing this? Vandalizing Bundy’s property was bad enough….

utopia

Modern Collectivism’s Dreams Of Utopia

Do you believe Obama is worried by the fact that the US middle class is weakening? He certainly places great importance on a reduction of income inequality. (Oops! Embarrassing commentary intrudes.) That concern defines a goal that some citizens will find irrelevant. It also suggests that the government will attempt to adjust the individual’s financial circumstances, a process that could impose a stringent progressive tax. Is it wise to endorse sloth and discourage productivity in order to equalize achievement?

Seeing to economic equality, even if that equality is only approximate, places great demands on government. One’s imagination can take flight…only to crash in an egalitarian dystopia.

The general principles collectivists ignore

1. “Equal pay for equal work.” There is no better way to realize that ideal than to resort to free labor markets.

2. Frustrating the aspirations of a person who wishes to work eighteen hours a day developing a new business that could succeed and hire employees…is simply stupid.

3. The more choices the citizen has, the more likely he is to find his niche in life.

4. Standing aside when decent people try to get what they want is respectful; giving them what you think they deserve is not kind — it’s authoritarian and can be counterproductive.

5. Imposing economic equality discriminates against society’s greatest assets, the talents of the people.

6. As choices increase, people perceive a reduced need for paternalistic governance.

 

middle

Trouble everywhere: a shrinking US middle class, and the pesky rich

For “progressives”, the socioeconomic deterioration of the middle class is not a pressing problem; they imply and expect that either (A) more taxes and more borrowing and more regulation will somehow make things right, or (B) a much-reduced middle class would be a good idea (“brownshoe mouth-breathers — what used to be called the bourgeoisie — are not needed in a fair society”).

But the very existence of the rich distresses advocates of what is sometimes called “economic democracy”. The fact that the wealthy can benefit from their money only if they give it to others does not impress the reformers. Accordingly Obamites mock what they call “trickle-down economics”, when in fact that school of thought does not exist, either as an excuse for disparities in prosperity or as a mechanism to alleviate poverty. Rich people do certain things, and to note that they must necessarily place their money in the hands of others is not a political or ideological statement.

Parenthetically, as noted by United Liberty on April 22, 2014,

Rich people often don’t stay that way: Say what you want about the rich, but those who are often the subject of attacks and derision don’t stay wealthy for long. “It turns out that 12 percent of the population will find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution for at least one year. What’s more, 39 percent of Americans will spend a year in the top 5 percent of the income distribution, 56 percent will find themselves in the top 10 percent, and a whopping 73 percent will spend a year in the top 20 percent of the income distribution,” The New York Times explains. — Although 12 percent of the population will experience a year in which they find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution, a mere 0.6 percent will do so in 10 consecutive years.

The rich need, depend upon, a prosperous middle class, but Obama appears to believe he does not. He is wretchedly mistaken. His health insurance will not work absent a large and financially comfortable middle class. That truth will not be obvious to The One, who knows little about what enhances or reduces the economic strength of the nation; his passion is the radical “progressive” reform of society, and his political skills are in campaigning.

Links

Will Hillary run for president? Sure. After all, she can be confident that most voters won’t be aware of this and related events, such as her reluctance to testify on the tragedy before a Congressional committee, as well as her “acceptance of responsibility” and subsequent furious rejection of responsibility. From the first, the policy of the press has been to give Hillary’s wretched performance minimal coverage, which means editors can say truthfully that her bizarre statements and deeds were and are reported. Now pause for a moment to recall how the news media hammered tirelessly on Watergate, in which no one died — or was even bruised. For many in Washington, Watergate was a career-ender. But Benghazi….

“Progressives” favor vivisecting the second amendment to the US federal constitution, so, benefiting from the sterling intellectual example provided by Senator Feinstein, one can rationally take the same attitude toward the first amendment. All this press and speech freedom stuff — it’s messy; you can’t have people writing drivel and spouting off without any guidance, now can you? Some adjustments are in order, right? No, wrong. In spades.

Seminal, iconoclastic, and hilarious: astronomic absurdities. Don’t skip it, but don’t be drinking anything while you watch it. It’s the funniest math/science item ever to be linked in this newsletter — and it might turn out to be the most fundamentally significant.

Harry Reid denounces as “terrorists” folks who risked their lives to support rancher Bundy, and this newsletter mutters that if the full story of how Reid got to be so rich were somehow available, he’d have serious problems with the voters and with the law. Hiss, spit.

Oh, horrors. This is disillusioning; labs that work with dangerous viruses are supposed to be careful enough to prevent things like this.

This gentleman, who is being encouraged to run for president, says the Bundy ranch mess involves a federal over-reaction. What do you think of his reasoning?

Give this video a try. It’s a compilation created by Anonymous. Note, please, that claims made in the video accuse the US administration of policies that can only be called fascist.

War? Over Ukraine? That’s Russia’s back yard! Why are Obama and Kerry doing this? (Remember the Monroe Doctrine.)

The perils of single-payer health care (also known as “socialized medicine”) are made clear in this distressing story from Great Britain. Obamacare, often referred to in this newsletter as a stalking horse for socialized medicine, should give everyone pause — for bureaucrats have a tiny legitimate role to play in the healing arts.

Number 14 on this newsletter’s List Of Things/Fads/Customs That Would Be Ignored In An Ideal World is football, which can also be called soccer, depending on where you live. Yes.

Watch and listen carefully. This guy is right. Again and again.

Oh, good… grief!

For how many years has this newsletter been muttering and cussing about EMP weapons and Carrington Events? Perhaps something is finally getting through to the knuckleheads who run the country.

Related: defense of the US power grid is grossly inadequate. (The “knuckleheads” are actually chowderheads, as will be proved if a fourteen-year-old turns off all the electric power west of the Mississippi. Why are the control systems accessible via telephone lines?)

Don’t mess with Texas.

Why would the US department of education need a SWAT unit? This is insane…. See also NTG 332 for a relevant book review.

 

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