Monday, August 22, 2011

Environmentalism, NAZI style

LNSGP
Are those two symbols related? Its hard to believe but they are. Combined they can be thought of as forming the basis for the organization whose green flag is on the right: the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party (LNSGP). I should quickly add that the LNSGP, an American organization, has no affiliation with either the US (or any) Libertarian or Green Party.  The LNSGP has 3 precepts namely: personal freedom, environmental improvement, and collective action, a bit too contradictory for me.
I mention this because of my previous posting which featured Al Gore venting his frustration at the opposition to AGW. A comment to that posting contained the phrase "Dishonesty is the primary tool of the AGW deniers." The writer meant that my post was dishonest because I suggested Gore "lost his cool." No, my issue with Gore is very similar to my issues with fascism, NAZIsm, or any top-down organizational "-ism" that forces their opinions (and worse) on humanity.
Gore complains that there is no longer a "shared reality on climate," an admission that public opinion is increasingly skeptical of the climate alarmists. Then he goes on to proclaim "the very existence of our civilization is threatened." That's what he said in his rant, go have a listen. That kind of rhetoric will give anyone with libertarian leanings a reason to step back and examine the speaker and the meaning of his words with a jaundiced eye.
The truth is, I am not opposed to preserving and protecting the environment, far from it. I just have a completely different approach to how that might be achieved (see video below). Let me add, this does not mean that I agree that something needs to be done on global warming, I don't.
Al Gore and others who espouse the idea of collective action on AGW remind me too much of the Green Wing of the NAZI Party. The smear terms "eco-nazi" and "eco-fascist" have a legitimate historical derivation. Environmental concerns were deeply embedded within European fascist philosophy, and Hitler himself was profoundly concerned about the welfare of animals (PETA would love to hear that). Not that Gore and his associates are NAZI's, but their calls for global government action, reduced freedoms, and huge additional costs to fend off a supposed imminent catastrophe, have a totalitarian twinge about them.
So are AGW deniers liars? No more than AGW alarmists are. Al Gore can get just as hyperbolic as anyone, and lately his rants are back page news.
Hear how a libertarian view of the environment can be so much more reasonable:
  

14 comments:

  1. Rant is a much better word than meltdown. Of course rant doesn't fit the narrative you were pushing in your last post.

    BTW, I was the only commenter. Maybe you should have used the definite article?

    Also... it doesn't matter how logical you think you're being if you're starting from a faulty premise. Even with the most airtight logical construct, if your original premise is wrong, your conclusions are garbage.

    AGW is real. The science is overwhelming. Will the outcome be as dire as Gore implies? I don't know... That's the area of the science where there is real disagreement. There are certainly credible extrapolations of plausible feedback mechanisms that could produce conditions that exceed the worst of Gore's claims.

    As for the statist vs free market solutions... that's a different topic, but what we've seen from the "market" so far is a massive funding of pseudo scientific "research" to counter the real science and protect profits. And if there is no problem, there is no reason for the market to look for solutions, no? So claiming that a free market will solve it seem ludicrous on it's face.

    The video highlights the problem with libertarian thinking for me... Everything is "explained" in terms of statists vs free markets. But that isn't reality... that's a post hoc forcing of the facts to fit an ideological narrative.

    The truth, of course, is that politicians and judges can be and are bought. Money is power. A manufacturing plant or railroad has much more access to power than a housewife or farmer. The fact that the rich couched their trampling of the property rights of people in terms of the greater good doesn't mean it was the actual reason... it was just the rationalization used by the politicians and judges that were bought and paid for... the actual reason was the same as it ever is... Money. Profit.

    Now those same folks who used "the greater good" to enrich themselves further are using "individual freedom" to do the same thing. What actually matters is profits... not words and not ideology.

    Go back to square one on this issue. Ignore the politics and look at the science. Make sure your understanding of the science is actually correct.

    There IS a market based solution. It's called "cap and trade". When it looked like more draconian measures were possible, cap and trade was the preferred solution of the GOP. But with the success of AGW denialism, cap and trade is suddenly extreme left wing big government.

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  2. I commented on that post as well - thats 2 comments.
    I don't know where you live, but here in Ontario Canada we have an election, I'm a candidate in opposition to the Liberal party in power. The party in power has accepted the whole AGW thing hook, line and sinker. They have produced legislation based on their acceptance of AGW - the Green Energy Act - which calls for huge subsidies for wind/solar power. This is NOW law. This is not a scientific theoretical discussion, this is the future of the largest most dynamic province in this country. They have bypassed the ideological discussion and we are paying for it in our monthly bills NOW and the future insecurity of this province. So don't be lecturing me on the science and my ideology.
    "Go back to square one on this issue. Ignore the politics and look at the science. Make sure your understanding of the science is actually correct."
    You say go back to square one. "Square one" for me is the moral issue - where my choices are eliminated because they know better, they have already chosen what they think is the best way to go - solar power in Canada, really! What right does my government have to assume there is just one solution AND then act on it by extracting taxes from its citizens. That IS NOT A FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT anywhere. But its a fact here.
    Your Mr. Gore has become wealthy on this issue and now his whole house of cards is in jeopardy because the reality of free markets will collapse the US dollar, the Euro and all fiat currencies. In Europe the nations that have adopted green energy solutions are pulling back because they cannot afford the subsidies. Cap and Trade is NOT a market solution. The caps are imposed by government, how is that free market?
    You go back to square one and answer the moral questions. What is the relationship of a government to its citizens? Should governments protect the rights of its citizens? What are those rights? Are they LIFE, LIBERTY, SECURITY/PURSUIT of HAPPINESS? If they are, then what business does government have in telling you to curtail your use of energy? To save the world? Are you sure that will save the world? Is science certain that forcing people to comply with arbitrary "caps" will save the world? OR is it better to handle this issue locally rather than impose sweeping draconian rules on everyone? If big government rules were the solution to our problems, then why are there so many problems that seem to be related to the size of government?

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  3. Hmmm...

    First and foremost, this is a reality question. Before morals or ideology or political solutions are even germane, we have to establish if we are talking about something real or imaginary.

    From what you've said in the last two posts on this subject, you don't think AGW is real.

    But we are talking about science, not politics. Opinions don't really matter. What does matter is evidence. What does the science actually show?

    Unless we agree on underlying reality, no discussion of morals or politics or ideology is ever going to lead anywhere.

    Denying reality is a losing game, no matter how pure your morals.

    It is possible to be an atheist, skeptic and libertarian and still understand that AGW is real. An example of the top of my head would be Michael Shermer.

    Are links allowed in comments? if so then check out his article in Scientific American:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-flipping-point

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  4. I am familiar with Shermer and his position. I have also never said that I do not believe the earth is warming (see posts that go back a few years). Its fairly obvious that it has been warming over a very long time. Where I'm sitting, just south of a large glacial moraine, there was an ice sheet hundreds of metres thick about 11,000 yrs ago. That has since retreated north leaving the Great Lakes (nearby to me).
    Humans did not cause that retreat and we have at most a minor role in current warming. Reversing that trend is ludicrous, the costs are literally astronomical. That is being realistic. Who will pay? Its like the US gov'ts war on terror - it will never end, its a scam to scare people.
    GW is real, I know that, if AGW is real (notice I said if - it may be) we will adapt as needed and locally.

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  5. You're aware, but did you READ the link? Did you check out the references he provided? Or did you just reject it all out of hand?

    Stop spouting bullshit. You sound like a creationist denying evolution.

    Ice ages come and go. Climate changes over tens of thousand to hundreds of thousands of years.

    What's happening currently isn't a part of that cycle. If you look at the science without letting your ideology get in the way, it's painfully clear.

    You're a bright person... You know all about confirmation bias and all the other tricks the human mind plays... all the ways we rationalize our fervent beliefs so that we can cling to them in the face of contradictory evidence.

    Apply the skepticism you're exhibiting towards AGW to the "science" of the AGW deniers. Treat their arguments in the exact same manner you do those of real climate scientists.

    Another link for you:
    I'm A Climate Scientist - Extended Version (NSFW)

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  6. Now you are getting insulting, and that of course reminds me of Gore's Bullshit rant. You are not getting your way, so bump up the rhetoric to a more violent tone, like Gore did.
    Its nice to be so certain about an issue in science. But the beauty of science is that all knowledge is based on the idea of "theory". I know that theories are for all practical purposes "facts" - like evolution, for example, I believe it is a fact, but there have been many tweaks in the last 150 years on the mechanism of evolution - our original theory has grown and is even more solid now. Science doesn't stop when we think we know something, so I'm entitled to be skeptical about AGW, and it is my blog after all, and your are free to ignore it, you won't be the first, and I won't feel bad.
    You think I'm ignoring the facts about AGW - I'm not, I write about it, albeit in a critical way, frequently. You are ignoring the costs (in freedom and money) of defeating AGW, and assuming it is something we need to do. I would rather not do anything about it because I don't believe it is significant, but I could be wrong. Could you be wrong?
    We are humans, we have short lives, far shorter than the time need for climate to change significantly despite what the alarmists say. I'm not concerned about my grandson's future, I will do my part to make sure he is ready to cope with whatever comes, and I hope you do the same for your offspring.
    I've seen too many important "science" stories evaporate into nothing over the years. My guess (just a guess) is that will happen to the AGW story, in fact I think its already happening.

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  7. Now you're losing and so you shift to complaints about my tone rather than dealing with my actual points.

    If you say stupid things, you get called stupid. If that's ALL I was doing, you might have a case.

    But that's not all I'm doing, is it?

    Which of these facts do you deny:

    1) The average global temperature is increasing

    2) Co2 is a greenhouse gas (which means the more Co2 in the atmosphere, the higher the earth's equilibrium temp).

    3) The increase in atmospheric Co2 over the past 100 years has been primarily from human activity.

    You say you don't deny the facts, but up there are three facts and unless you deny one of them, you have to conclude AGW is real.

    It's really that easy.

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  8. I dispute number 1.
    Here is a link (found on the right side of my blog) that shows mean temps for some recent years: http://junksciencearchive.com/MSU_Temps/Daily_Mean.html
    I agree with number 2, but water vapour is by far more important.
    I agree with number 3, but the cause/effect link to is AGW is what I dispute. There may be a link, but so what? What are you going to do about it?

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  9. No one in the AGW denier crowd disputes number one any more. If you're going to dispute that, you've already lost.

    Your link is junk. Apply your skepticism to the page.

    Start with the host "junkscience.com". It's the baby of Fox News commentator and self declared libertarian Steven Milloy. Here's a person with a known bias who isn't an actual climate scientist. How much reliance would you place on a page maintained by Micheal Moore? Or Kieth Olberman?

    You can't discover what the truth is if you only look at sites the mirror your preexisting beliefs.

    Now let me ask you a question... how different would that site be if the Mean reference temp chosen (smooth blue bell curve in each graph) was from 1901 to 1931?

    It's a slick trick and a lovely bit of misdirection... include the increasing temp data in your reference so that when you compare current temps, it doesn't look so bad.

    What matters is long term trends, not day to day (or even year to year) fluctuations.

    You really have never looked at any of the replies to your standard and long debunked caveats, have you? You just accepted them credulously because the matched your existing belief.

    Water vapor IS a greenhouse gas and it DOES make up a larger percentage of the atmosphere than Co2 by orders of magnitude.

    But it's also relatively constant over the long term (and fluctuates wildly over the short term) and creates a negative feedback effect.

    The more water vapor in the atmosphere, the more infrared blocked from escaping, but also the more solar radiation reflected out to space from the bright white clouds. Increasing temps cause more clouds which block sunlight which decreases temps.

    The other thing you are missing is that the wavelengths of infrared that water vapor blocks are different from the wavelengths that Co2 blocks.

    And while the amount of water vapor fluctuates wildly, the level of Co2 just keeps steadily increasing.

    Now if water vapor in the atmosphere was enough to explain the recent (past 70 years) increase in average global temps (which you've already said you deny!!), that would be a fairly straightforward hypothesis to demonstrate as true. But there isn't a single AGW denier group that has even tried to advance that hypothesis because it's flat out wrong. It's not supported at all by any science.

    I have to congratulate you, you scored a perfect denier trifecta... to wit:

    1 Average temps aren't increasing.

    2. Average temps ARE increasing, but it's not because of increasing Co2

    3. Average temps are increasing and it's related to increasing Co2, but humans aren't causing it.

    And you added one more:

    Average temps are increasing and it's related to increasing Co2 and human activity is causing it but I don't care!

    And THAT is what makes you an irrational denier on the subject. No matter what evidence is brought to bear, no matter how badly your arguments are destroyed, you will never change your mind.

    Which is a strange position to be in for anyone who insists that all of their views are based on evidence and rationality.

    BTW, outside of this one area (the reality of AGW) in this one subject I pretty much agree with most of what you post. For example, I agree that government subsidizing of less effective and more costly alternate energy technologies is wrong headed and silly. There is no reason to spend government funds on non solutions.

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  10. "The other thing you are missing is that the wavelengths of infrared that water vapor blocks are different from the wavelengths that Co2 blocks." First off I'm not sure where you got your Chem training, but when I taught Chemistry I did not use "block." Even your own people know better: http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/globalwarmA5.html
    But I'm glad we can agree on something - that government funds are misspent. That is my primary reason for any of this, I am now a politician with an attitude. I use this blog to try and change perceptions. My latest post talks about the religion of AGW.

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  11. Sorry... simplified for arguments sake... the fact that it isn't "blocked" per se but is absorbed and re-radiated doesn't change the actual point of my argument.

    "Blocked" is easier to type than "absorbed and re-radiated".

    I'm surprised you didn't object to my usage of "greenhouse gas"... because it is an actual misnomer as well.

    As far as trying to change perceptions... you fail miserably when you mislead and outright lie as part of that attempt.

    It's all too easy to point to your errors and lies and then throw out everything you say because of them.

    Get yourself an actual education on AGW, not just the denier arguments that have already been debunked. If you present the truth rather than the corporate propaganda, you'll ultimately be much more convincing when making your valid political points.

    AGW is science...not religion.

    That type of rhetoric marks you as a kool-aid drinker, not an actual thinker. Keep it up and the only people who will ever listen to you are the ones who are also drinkers not thinkers. You'll drive the thoughtful rational folks away and you will have no effect on the politics of your country at all.

    Let American Libertarian Ron Paul show you how it's done:

    "It is clear that the earth experiences natural cycles in temperature. However, science shows that human activity probably does play a role in stimulating the current fluctuations. The question is: how much? Rather than taking a “sky is falling” approach, I think there are common-sense steps we can take to cut emissions and preserve our environment. I am, after all, a conservative and seek to conserve not just American traditions and our Constitution, but our natural resources as well. We should start by ending subsidies for oil companies. And we should never, ever go to war to protect our perceived oil interests. If oil were allowed to rise to its natural price, there would be tremendous market incentives to find alternate sources of energy. At the same time, I can’t support government “investment” in alternative sources either, for this is not investment at all."

    From http://www.ronpaul.com/on-the-issues/global-warming/

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  12. That is a wonderful quote from Rep. Paul. I'm glad you posted it and there really is nothing about it that I will disagree with. Mr. Paul asks "how much?" and that is what we are "debating" here. I don't think its much, but I admit I may be wrong. My bias has always been, that the free market is the best arbiter of environmental problems and that government involvement on the scale that Al Gore etc. requires is wrong. The function of gov't should be to protect the environmental rights of individuals (life/liberty/property and not to socially engineer them cap 'n trade or anything else for that matter. As Ron Paul suggests its the government that protects the corporations at the expense of individuals. If you think I'm spouting corporate propaganda, then you have me wrong. Corporations are frequently the WORST capitalists, and as anti-libertarian as they can be. The fact that some of my beliefs coincide with corporate propaganda is unfortunate, I am no conservative (despite what Ron Paul says above). BTW, I don't agree with Ron Paul on many issues (abortion is one). I will say again, if AGW is a problem, it should be dealt with locally without coercion.

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  13. Ok... Let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that the question "how much" is answered definitively as "almost all of it" (which has actually already happened, you just reject it). Further, lets assume that the personal, financial and environmental effects from AGW are actually in the middle of the predicted ranges (which is a very generous assumption on my part... as past predictions have tended to underestimate the effects that are currently being observed).

    That would mean that both life itself and financial health for most people will be severely negatively impacted.

    Can you tell me what possible way the problem of massive release of Co2 by humans can be dealt with locally and without coercion? Do you have any actual plan that has even a miniscule chance of working?

    And if people continue to reject the actual science, how could you ever convince them that it's in their best interest to do anything at all, no matter how good your proposals?

    The current solutions being put forth by your government may not be the best possible... but you aren't offering anything to replace them from what I can see. You're just denying the problem exists at all.

    If you want to be a real player and not just another fringe political nutjob, you need to accept reality and come up with solutions to AGW that have a credible chance of working.

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  14. I believe this discussion is over. Comments are now closed on this thread.
    I will let your comments stand as is, because obviously you are right, otherwise why would you continue arguing?

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