Category Archives: Thinkers

The Farce of Climate Policy

Over at Master Resource, Chip Kappenberger has been doing a series of posts showing what the potential effects of the Waxman-Markey Capn’ Trade bill would have on future climate. It turns out that it is totally ineffectually and even getting the whole world to take part doesn’t help much. The idea of “stopping” climate change is so farcifal it is really a wonder that anyone actually believes it. But then again, some people believe stupid things…

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Filed under Blogs, Klimacht, Thinkers

Slow down a bit and run that by me again….

I’m a huge Jeb Bush fan (best governor ever) so I was at first disturbed by the apparent thrust of this article. Well, I did a double take and my knee jerk reaction was unnecessary. The GOP would not be “leaving Reagan behind” by sticking to its principles but becoming more forward looking anymore that it would be abandoning Locke or Jefferson. Reagan articulated, in that era, a conservative message which predated him by almost exactly two centuries, and which has even deeper intellectual roots. But to elevate any single man to a position of a political god would be as bad as the Democrat Obama worshiping. There are in history times when certain men become “indispensible” but that is transient. It is ideas which remain indispensible forever.

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Filed under Conservatism, Republicans, Thinkers

Richer and Greener-Yes, That’s The Way It Goes

Here’s a great article by John Tierney in NYT(!) today. Love the visual aid from Tierney Lab:

Xiang Dong Qin, 1998 Each line is an environmental Kuznets curve for a group of countries during the 1980s. The levels of sulphur dioxide pollution (the vertical axis) rise as countries becomes more affluent (the horizontal axis). But then, once countries reach an economic turning point (a gross domestic product close to $8,000 per capita), the trend reverses and air pollution declines as countries get richer. In this analysis by Xiang Dong Qin of Clemson University, the green line shows countries with strong protections for property rights; the red curve shows countries with weaker protections.

The best course of action should be pretty clear (notice how the countries with weak property rights protections (communist/socialist/fascist type countries) have a curve which goes much higher?) ; Unfettered economic development invariably leads to a world which is environmentally better off. The idea that we need to “de-develop” or reverse our endless growth paradigm for the sake of the environment is nonsense.

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Filed under Economics, energy, Freedom, Klimacht, Thinkers

Global Warming Will Not Make Future Generations Worse Off

So says Indur Goklany. I’ve been meaning to comment on my understanding of his analysis at some point. It is pretty convincing that even under situations where climate modeler alarming prognostications are correct, we are still better off not tying a noose around our necks economically. The only objection that could be raised is “but what if it is much worse than we think?” which is highly unlikely, but, if true, makes climate mitigation more pointless than ever.

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Filed under Klimacht, Thinkers

Rush, that’s not our way!

Rush Limbaugh got really fired up today, promising that when the Republicans get back in power, conservatives will use the liberals massive government to make them pay. Now, I’m all for calling the bastards out, but surely you must be joking! It is not the conservative way to “use” big government for anything. To succumb to that temptation, the totalitarian temptation, would mean throwing conservatism under the bus. We’d be as guilty of romanticizing the state as the leftists. The enemies of freedom should be punished, no question, but we must undo all of their destruction, all of their nanny state socialism, or become complicit in their Fascist march. By using big government, you legitimize it, and become what Marx ironically called a “useful idiot.” The German conservatives thought they could control Hitler and National Socialism, use it to destroy Communism then cast it aside, but they were wrong, dangerously wrong. The Republican became complicit with the fascist New Deal, to, when they failed to even challenge or question many aspects of it (Eisenhower famously said that any attempt to get rid of Social Security, the shadow of which is looming over my generation’s future, would be political suicide) and then there were the years of “me too”ism, and Dick “we are all Keynesians now” Nixon, or Ford, who tripped over himself to agree with Carter on essentially capitulating to the Soviets. Only Reagan and Goldwater dared to question the assumptions created by the New Deal and Great Society (in Reagan’s case this is especially interesting, as he had been a New Deal Democrat) and dare to suggest undoing them, or at least doing what was necessary to reign in their excesses, but by 1980 it was largely too late. The Bushes, father and son, were not nearly so bold (although I must appluad the bravery of Bush in trying to save my generation from Social Security, a constituency he was not elected to represent, elected by, or even belonged to). But Rush normaly stands up to the statists. So you can understand my confusion over his sudden embrace of Big Brother when he can use it to crush the left-sure, there is irony and poetic justice to it, but its not right! I say that we should make the socialists pay-but not by using the government. We should make them pay by taking away every little bit of socialist advance they have gotten in the last 100 years. But, then, the realization hit me-none of what either of us is saying is going to happen, its just not realistic. I do see that we can’t turn back the clock right now, or even in two years, to where and when we want things to be. We will have to live, for a while, with nanny state socialism. But that doesn’t mean it is exceptable for us to use it-we must, at least in increments, reverse the tide. And we must draw a line in the sand now marked “further left than this, ye shall not pass” and if they try to cross it, we must do everything within our power to hold them back-we must not make the fatal conceit. And when things finally get back under our control, we can start reversing socialism from our line in the sand. But taking cheap shots with the enemies guns as we march forward for liberty is disgraceful and totally contradictory to our whole philosophy. It is not acceptable.

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Sigh-Trying really hard not to be offended

I’m really trying to convince myself that Born Again Redneck’s recent vitriol against the religious right doesn’t apply to me. I’m not super religious, and I personally am more concerned with economic issues than social ones. But I consider myself to as “far right” as one can possibly be without being some kind of theo-anarchist. And then there’s this

“I’m not sure if pure secular/libertarian fiscal and defense conservatism can ever win over the youngsters; unfortunately they seem to want nanny state socialism. But I definitely know that they don’t want any preachy nosy-parker busy-body politicians telling them what they can and cannot do. If you haven’t realized that then a) you don’t have any adult children as I do or b) you’re living in some sort of moralistic Victorian cocoon.”

Sorry, Pat, but I am a youngster (18) and yes, I don’t want people telling me how to live, but that is not what social conservatism (real social conservatism) is about, and I really hope you understand that. It’s not about religion, either, as I have said before. My fundamental belief is that you can do whatever nasty stuff you want with whoever you want in your bedroom but 1. Its up to a child’s guardians where and when they are exposed to it, so it needs to be ensured that children are protected from this stuff until they are legally adults or their parents decide to teach them about it-whichever comes first 2. One’s “actions” have consequences-if a human life is unintentionally created as a result of a person’s carelessness, responsibility cannot be shirked by denying said human being its fundamental right to life 3. The traditional family unit is the basis for our entire civilization-redefining marriage has caused this unit to fall apart everywhere it has been done-maybe this because people are intolerant, I don’t know, and I try not to think about it, but I cannot, will not deny that the destruction of the family unit is a road I do not wish to travel down. 4. Our society’s moral and legal code are Judeo-Christian value based-we cannot deny this in the name of tolerating other value systems, as it opens the door to abhorant value systems which essential allow anything. There are other elements to my beliefs, but I’m losing my train of thought at this point.

Make no mistake, there are RINOs, and by letting them speak for all of us we risk surrendering to liberalism on every issue-we should respect them, and applaud the things they do which we agree with, but also remind everyone of where they go wrong. And, incidentally, Pat, you aren’t one. You may call me a blowhard if you wish-I might even be one. But I think we both know that neither of us wants to alienate the other-we share more common beliefs than differences (that’s why I linked you) and also more in common with one another than extremists on either end.

So starting with us, what’s say we each extend the hand of friendship to prevent our “factions” from splitting apart?

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Jonah’s Whale

Clever title, no? Well as you know, Jonah Goldberg has a new book out called Liberal Fascism which understandably has some people upset. Jonah has decided that he’s tired of Liberal’s use of the guilt by association fallacy of fascists being “right-wing” being thrown at him, so he’s going to turn the tables. As I understand it from reading his comments on some reviews, he isn’t himself employing the fallacy, but I suppose this makes for an excellent exercise in why its use is faulty. I find the most interesting thing of all in the ways the book is dismissed by liberal pundits is that they think that even if Progressives had Fascistic tendencies, that’s just becuase they lived in the past, in the time of “right-wingness”, and liberalism is supposed to be the future, moving past the old right-wing times. This is of course a Whiggish outlook, which they may share in common with some liberal democratics of the bygone era of Classical Liberalism, but they also share this with Karl Marx, and this is of course the more plausible source for this view. Of course, the accusation will be that Fascism is “rejection of modernity” (Environmentalism, anyone?) but let us not forget the days when Fascism was the wave of the future (so perhaps this criteria is in fact an ill proposition-Mussolini also made the trains run on time (or was that Thyme?)). When you suggest that a Progressive held views in the past that they associate with words like “bad” “Fascism” (Liberals have an interesting thesaurus, to be sure.) they weren’t wrong becuase they were left-wingers, but becuase they were right-wing on that one issue (becuase everyone was, in the time of “right-wingness” i.e. the past). That’s ludicrously unfair, of course, becuase we Conservatives are forced to bare the weight of all kinds of skeletons, real and imaginary, without getting to cast them of as from the time of “left-wingness”. The point of Jonah’s book isn’t that todays liberals are evil for being Fascists, but that they to must own up to the skeletons in their closets, or let Conservatives alone about theirs. We are all fascists, now, apparently, so it isn’t as if Jonah is only going after you, he also wishes to eschew all “conservatives” guilty of, what’s the phrase? Oh yeah “Romanticizing the State”. The trouble with so many left-wing people in regard to how they view fascism is that the seem to use the definition “what I am not” and while it is temping to take the most reviled spot on the political spectrum and define oneself as in opposition to it, it is not accurate. Jonah has shown what few wish to acknowledge, that the left is not free of fascistic roots, and that the Progressives these people worship (think John McCain and his wanting to get back to Theodore Roosevelt “Republican Environmentalism”, as if the man were in anyway compatible with today’s party. Let’s remember that TR also liked eugenics.) were not perfect and were in fact quite “illiberal” so to speak, even if they took these actions in the name of liberalism.

Jonah is by no means walking on fresh ground. Hayek’s The Road To Serfdom was mainly a tract about socialism, but also about the fact that Nazism actually had its roots in Socialism. Or how about Three New Deals?

Jonah has gone and said what anyone really knows when they think about it. Communism, Socialism, Fascism, all stem from the same totalitarian impulse, anti-modern to be sure, in a brutal, back to nature, read in tooth and claw sort of way, but also “post-modern” in a sense, Whiggishly transcending the past and tradition.

Jonah does a good enough job defending the book himself, but I thought I’d offer this up. Much of it is echoing his points, but that is becuase I agree with them. I definitely will want to read it. I also read some reviews, as well, including the review over at TCS and I note that Jonah has an interesting take on what Conservatism is:

What many conservatives, including Bush and Buchanan, fail to grasp is that conservatism is neither identity politics for Christians and/or white people nor right-wing Progressivism. Rather, it is opposition to all forms of political religion.

I couldn’t agree more.

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