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Friday, December 24, 2004
War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery.
And balance is "bias" when it comes to discussing "global warming," according to the laughably named FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting). Two leftists named Jules and Maxwell Boycoff reviewed 636 articles about GW between 1998 and 2002 and came to the horrifying conclusion that...you might want to sit down for this.....
NEWSPAPERS OFTEN REPORTED BOTH SIDES OF THE ISSUE!!
Clearly, something must be done. This cannot stand.
Declare the Boycoffs: "By giving equal time to opposing views, the major mainstream newspapers significantly downplayed scientific understanding of the role humans play in global warming."
I rather like the reaction of the Media Research Center, which through Don Gainor, Director of its Free Market Project, said: "The irony of a group named FAIR calling for unfair reporting is almost too humorous to contemplate."
Gainor also added: "The media need to give this unFAIR request all the attention it deserves -- absolutely none."
This is yet another manifestation of the left's inability to handle a world in which it cannot maintain a monopoly on the terms of public discourse. For decades, they dictated the terms of debate through their control of the major networks, and the major newspapers of record. No longer. The availability of alternative sources renders the majors incapable (for the most part) of ignoring alternative viewpoints as they were able to do until the last decade or so.
It's inconceivable to groups like FAIR that the left should have to defeat its opposition in the arena of ideas. They've actually managed to convince themselves that anything other than uncritical acceptance of leftist bromides constitutes "bias."
I'm not a psychiatrist, but I believe the term for this sort of cognitive impairment is "delusional disorder."
In the event you're doing a case study or something, you can find FAIR's Stalinist exposition here.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Surgeon General's Warning: Democracy May Be Hazardous To Your Health
"Freedom has become the political buzzword of the 21st century. George Bush's agenda is to bring democracy and freedom to the rest of the peoples of the world, while his own are slaves to work, crippled by personal debt, and trapped in loneliness or loveless relationships—the shackles of the rich. Now that the surviving Afghanis and Iraqis are enjoying the benefits of Western freedoms, what will this mean for their health? No empirical studies have explored the relation between the extent of freedom allowed by political regimes and the effect on a nation's health—until now."
Guess where this little editorial appeared. Le Monde? The Guardian? Nation?
Nope. This is what happens when you don't have a strong Separation of Medicine and State. This little hunk of rubbish appeared in the British Medical Journal! In its special "Christmas Double Issue," the cover of which featured a mob of cheering Cubans with this caption:
"The citizens of Havana went wild with joy as they greeted Castro's revolutionary army, which liberated the city from dictator Fulgancio Batista in early January 1959."
Check out the excellent piece linked above on CodeBlueBlog.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
More Green Slime
A gaggle of leftist swine calling itself the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has resorted to using elementary school teachers to coerce SECOND-GRADERS into participating in a political jihad against JP Morgan Chase.
How pathetic and contemptible to prey on simple, undeveloped minds.
Like those of Fairfield County, Connecticut second grade teacher Paula Healy. "Children around the world are asking JP Morgan Chase to invest in their future by doing its part to protect the world's last remaining rainforests," Healy lectured. "Earth is on loan to us from future generations, and these students know the value of protecting their natural inheritance."
It gets even more nauseating.
RAN held a "best poster" contest. The winner was a sixth grade student from Dayton, Ohio, whose poster featured a rainforest scene with this message to Morgan Chase:
"Be A Hero ... Save the Rainforest. Save the World. Please protect the rainforest instead of hurting the Earth for oil."
This is why I say the environmentalists are more dangerous than even the Islamofascists. They've fully infiltrated the public school system and have begun comprehensively indoctrinating very young children with their hysterical bleatings. No sane American is sanguine when Muslim radicals blow up churches and school busses, whether in Israel or Iraq. But far too many nod with approval as their kids come home with their latest assignment that amounts to little more than a regurgitation of the party line from the Scum of the Earth.
Consider the implications. Before they have developed any capacity for critical thought, these kids are bombarded with messages that tell them the Earth is being threatened by big, bad businesses that want to kill us all. How do you think an 8-year-old mind processes this sort of stuff?
I wait anxiously for the politician with the temerity to proclaim these people for the dire threat that they are. When the day comes that this person makes himself known, we'll have a real Profile in Courage.
The Great Gray Hag, She Ain't What She Used To Be
Courtesy of Times Watch, here are some of the more egregious examples of the bias of The Old Gray Lady. They're part of the site's "New York Times Quotes Of The Year." Somehow "bias" doesn't quite capture it, but we'll go with it for now.
Editorial board member Adam Cohen, on prospective Bush appointments to the Supreme Court (October 18):
"Abortion might be a crime in most states. Gay people could be thrown in prison for having sex in their homes. States might be free to become mini-decreases, endorsing Christianity and using tax money to help spread the gospel. The Constitution might no longer protect inmates from being brutalized by prison guards. Family and medical leave and environmental protections could disappear."
"Reporter" Todd Purdum on June 7 as Ronald Reagan laid on his deathbed:
"Historians will long debate the impact of the huge federal budget deficits run up under Mr. Reagan's leadership, the efficacy of his tax cuts, the effects of his administration's involvements in Central America, his seeming indifference to civil rights, the environment and the plight of the poor."
Movie critic Manohla Dargis reviewing the G-Rated "The Polar Express" on November 10:
"Tots surely won't recognize that Santa's big entrance in front of the throngs of frenzied elves and awe-struck children directly evokes, however unconsciously, one of Hitler's Nuremberg rally entrances in Leni Riefenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will.' But their parents may marvel that when Santa's big red sack of toys is hoisted from factory floor to sleigh it resembles nothing so much as an airborne scrotum."
On and on it goes. You can see the rest (this is just a very small sample) here. But this got me to wondering at what point, exactly, America and the world starts to care that this particular would-be-emperor has no clothes. First there was the Jayson Blair scandal. Then there was Howell Raines' ridiculous campaign against Augusta National.
And if that isn't discrediting enough, there's the fact that the Times' featured economics columnist is one Paul Krugman. Krugman, in case you didn't know it, was paid a $50,000 consulting fee by Enron in 1999, just months before he wrote a glowing article about them. This is just a tad interesting because Krugman rarely writes anything positive about free markets, but even he has called his 1999 piece "a love letter to markets." You can judge for yourself here.
But Krugman's prevarications do not, alas, begin and end with his ties to Enron. He routinely writes things that are misleading, duplicitous, or downright untrue. And now, we have yet another example.
Donald Luskin has demolished yet another Krugman lie. Please do check out this article as it amply demonstrates what little regard Krugman has for the truth. In his effort to construct an argument against Bush's proposed partial privatization of Social Security, he's told whopper after whopper. Luskin details them all, so there's no need for me to do so here. Please check out the link.
But as I was typing this entry I got to thinking: maybe I and others are paying too much heed to the likes of the New York Times. Using the most charitable figures available, the Great Gray Hag has a daily circulation of just under 1.7 million readers. This is slightly less than the 1.8 million people who listen to Michael Medved on a daily basis.
Does this matter? I think it matters a lot. Here's why. The only reason the New York Times is important is that journalists from coast to coast THINK it is. The Times matters because everybody reads it. And everybody reads it because it matters.
But alas, I think it really doesn't - and it's just a matter of time before the Great Unwashed figure it out. I, for one, listen to Medved most every day; and find him much more informative and balanced than what I see on those rare occasions I pick up a copy of the Times. Hell, Medved's show is structured in such a way that his adversaries are pretty much the only ones invited to phone the show!
If the Times adopted such a policy, maybe I'd take it more seriously. But until such time, it seems to me that those of us who find the Times so repulsive should just ignore them.
They might not go away.
But then again, they just might.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
"Ecoloons" Doesn't Quite Cut It
We really need a new term to describe the vermin of which the environmental movement is largely composed.
"Environmental Wackos" is descriptive, but not terribly clever.
Thomas Sowell thinks we should call them "Green Bigots." (Found via John Ray's "Greenie Watch.")
An acquaintance of mine from Montana calls them "Tree-Hugging-Prairie-Fairies." That's quite a mouthful, but it does comport nicely with reality. Have you ever noticed that there's a strong negative correlation between peoples' actual proximity to nature and their misty-eyed reverence for the sanctity of all things natural? Sowell has. He notes in the piece cited above:
"A hydroelectric dam in Uganda would bring electricity to millions of Africans but it would also annoy the delicate sensibilities of environmentalists in Berkeley who like waterfalls.
By and large, the green bigots use politics, nuisance lawsuits, and physical obstruction, rather than violence, but some of them do not hesitate to booby-trap trees, threatening those who cut them down with injury or death. And they use the media to spin their party line."
Novelist Michael Crichton has apparently had his fill of Green duplicity as well. You've probably heard that he's written a new book called "State of Fear," in which he is dubious of the evidence supporting global warming alarmism. I haven't read the book, but I did read this transcript of a speech he gave last year entitled "Environmentalism as Religion." Here are some noteworthy passages:
"Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.
There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe....
There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?
And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up, to accelerate the process. And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly: the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. Generations of hatred, tribal hatreds, constant battles. The warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated, or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety...."
I am as certain of this as I am that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit: these people mean the cause of individual liberty no good. Their motivations - I speak here of the leaders, not those who've been duped into their fold - are no different than those of most every cult leader, demagogue and political opportunist since time began: power. The most benign among them are mere luddites: they seek only the power needed to make us all freeze in the dark.
I fear, however, that an alarmingly high percentage are not that harmless. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the real leaders of this grotesquerie regard these true-believers as Useful Idiots to be dispensed with once they have achieved their stranglehold on the mechanisms of the state.
Do you think it can really be mere coincidence that leftism and environmental lunacy are inevitably linked hand in hand? That such as Mikhail Gorbachev wind up running outfits like "Green Cross International?" That the dramatic diminution of property rights is at the core of almost every Green prescription for ridding us of their bogeymen?
No, not when the evidence is so abundantly clear that not only are they peddling falsehoods, but that they KNOW they are doing it. Ask yourself; given what we know about how wrong they've been, why do they persist? Crichton says its because Environmentalism is a religion - a matter of faith, not science. I think he's right with respect to some, but naively wrong with respect to most. Unless you believe Communism is a religion. Crichton sees all the facts, but appears to be reluctant to draw the conclusion that's right before his eyes.
"Okay, so, the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they're human. So what. Unfortunately, it's not just one prediction. It's a whole slew of them. We are running out of oil. We are running out of all natural resources. Paul Ehrlich: 60 million Americans will die of starvation in the 1980s. Forty thousand species become extinct every year. Half of all species on the planet will be extinct by 2000. And on and on and on.
With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if it's a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn't quit when the world doesn't end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.
So I can tell you some facts. I know you haven't read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because newspapers literally don't report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn't carcinogenic and banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn't give a damn.
I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong."
If I may wax Jesse Jacksonesque, Crichton sees the lies, but he doesn't see the "whys." Why foment misguided environmental hysteria? The answer seems pretty clear to me.
So to come full circle, what should we call these people? To me, the answer is simple. They're scum, and they claim to want to save the Earth.
Just call them The Scum Of The Earth.
Sunday, December 19, 2004
The Virtue of Waste, Part Two
Here is a tremendous piece entitled "In Praise of Shoddy Products." I know it's tremendous because it expresses thoughts very similar to those I expressed on this blog in a piece I called "The Virtue of Profligacy." Since they are also apropos of the season, both articles are doubly worthy of consideration.
I've had severe disagreements with the people at LewRockwell.com (from whence this piece originates), but on questions of economic philosophy they're usually spot on. Here are some cuts:
"...It is a sign of prosperity that we prefer the new to the repaired. As consumers, we show a preference for throwing away and replacing rather than being stuck with a dated gizmo or unfashionable item. What's more, our preference for shoddiness over durability is not wasteful at all, but merely a reflection of the market's ability to adjust to consumer demand with resource supply. In making ever more shoddy products manufacturers are doing what is best for all of us.
To begin to understand why, consider that in a thousand years, the pyramids will still be standing but your subdivision will likely be long gone. Does this indicate that the ancient world was a better and more prosperous place because it made structures that will last and last? Clearly not. Durability is only one value among many competing values in the production and consumption process, and it is very likely to decline in the order of priorities as wealth increases....
It is common for people to look at a hollow door or a composite-wood desk and say: what cheap and shoddy products these are! In the old days, craftsmen cared about the quality of what they made! Now no one cares and we end up being surrounded by junk! Well, the truth is that what we call high quality from the past was not available to the masses to the same extent it is today. Homes and cars might have lasted longer in the past but far fewer people owned them than in today's world, and they were far more expensive (in real terms).
In a market economy, what is called quality is subject to change according to the preferences of the consuming public. Whether products should last a lifetime (such as fine jewelry) or a day (fresh bread) cannot be determined outside the framework of a market economy. No central planner can say for sure.
If your book falls apart, your clothes collapse in tatters, and your washing machine suddenly keels over, resist the temptation to decry the decline of civilization. Remember that you can replace all these items at a fraction of the price that your mom or hers bought them. And you can do so with minimal fuss and trouble. And it is very likely that the new versions of the old products that you buy will have more bells and whistles than the old....
Of course a person is free to live in a drafty stone house, listen to music on a Victrola, wash clothes with a washboard, tell time with a sundial, and make one's clothes from flour sacks. Even now this is possible. One is free to be completely obsolete. But let us not equate this status with wealth, and let us not aspire to live in a society in which everyone is forced to prefer the permanent things to the cheap, improving, and widely available things."