Two posts to read and enjoy

The server was down this morning.  It’s back, but I’m heading out in a few minutes, so I don’t have the luxury of blogging.  Meanwhile, though, I have a couple of posts to recommend.

The first came courtesy of Danny Lemieux, who is traveling today and doesn’t have the luxury of posting himself.  It’s about the intellectual collapse of the green movement, as announced by George Monbiot, one of the lead greenies.  Monbiot is having major epiphanies left and right.  It was he who announced that the anti-nuclear activists have been lying for decades.  Next thing you know, he’ll be acknowledging that Israel is the only free and decent country in the Middle East.  As we all know, once the dominoes start to fall, they fall fast.

The second is an article by my friend Patrick O’Hannigan, saying that there is nothing wrong (although it might be a little “indelicate”) with the human impulse to celebrate an evil and dangerous person’s death.

I know I’m sending you to other sites to read articles, but come back here and leave your thoughts.  I’m interested.

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    First they came for your trans-fat. Then they came for your salt. You’re guilty of polluting. Now they want to determine what emotions you should exhibit and are appropriate. Put down your grilled burger and wipe that greasy, salty, high pollutin’ grin off your face.
    The Department of Miss Manners will determine when and where to cheer.

  • abc

    I think the fundamental mistake of the Green Movement was to misread science.  Not in the way that conservatives have and continue to do, which is to wage a propaganda war against it when it reaches conclusions that run against its narrative.  Rather, it was to misread the pace with which science could deliver solutions to problems that many in the Green Movement had focused on. 

    For example, the claims concerning peak oil in the classic form (i.e., we are running out of oil fast, rather than we are running out of cheap oil fast) led to calls for conservation and a reduction in the living standards of people in the developed world and a call for developing countries to give up plans to modernize.  This is not a realistic call, not because it wouldn’t make sense if we really were running out of energy sources, in which case it would make perfect sense.  It was unrealistic because it failed to understand the dynamic nature of markets and innovation.  When the price of oil is sustainably viewed as $60 or more, then the Canadian tar sands suddenly produce loads of additional oil.  When scientists are subsidized by the government and rewarded with $5 natural gas prices, they produce new drilling and fracking technologies that open up lots of new gas deposits that were previously thought to be unobtainable. 

    This is not to say that the basic idea of sustainability is not an important one, and that the Green Movement was wrong to promote it.  But the politics of the movement, sadly, went far beyond this concept, and they have paid the price for it.

    I hope that the failures of the Green Movement do not leads us to the opposite and equally wrong position of many folks who continue to claim that global warming is a hoax or that we can drill-baby-drill our way out of the problem with domestic supplies.  The reality is that our future energy supplies need to diversify, and, with permanently higher prices, reflecting a larger base of demand from the populous emerging markets, it certainly will diversify to include renewables and nuclear, as well as cleaner versions of traditional sources (e.g., coal).  There will be a lot of innovative new companies that will make a ton of money on this, and I hope that the government will stop the tax subsidies to traditional fossil fuels and will resist the unfair lobbying of dirty industries to ignore the real costs that they creat, so that those innovative companies can compete on a level playing field and according to a capitalist system with prices reflecting ALL of the costs involved.  In short, I hope that conservatives will cautiously question the validity of their own assumptions and the strength of our nation’s energy policies, rather than simply gloat over the moat in their brother’s eye while missing the beam in their own.

  • abc

    I have a different take on the American crowds chanting USA upon hearing the news of OBL’s death.  Those crowds, in my opinion, were not cheering the death of a man, but a victory in a battle over terrorism.  People across many nations have celebrated decisive victories in battle, which entailed the death of many people on the other side.  They do this because they are celebrating the arrival (hopefully) of peace.  If one had watched OBL die in a nationally-televised execution (which would never occur, admittedly), one might not cheer or celebrate publicly the way the crowds across the US did, since that would feel too close to celebrating an execution of a person, however evil. One might still welcome the moment, but react to it differently. But to the extent that the death of a symbol of terrorism, which is what OBL is to millions, is clearly separated from the thought of an actual, frail person, then it is not only understandable but probably very welcomed that such cheering occurred.  It is clearly a catharsis that the country needed, and one that they can pretty easily justify. 

    In this light, I do not think that liberals’ hesitation to celebrate nationalism–which isn’t even an accurate description–was a barrier.  People in the UK and Spain were celebrating this death as well, since it was an assault on their countries, orchestrated by al-Qaeda, that caused senseless human losses as well.  This was a chanting of and celebration for the triumph of humanity over terrorism.  That it manifested as USA, USA, USA doesn’t mean that an American in Britain or a Brit in America would not have cheered with the local country’s name.  However, the real meaning was more international than this.  And that is another aspect that differentiates these spontaneous chants of America from the chants of “Deutschland Ueber Alles,” for example, that we heard under Hitler or any other extreme (and shameful) expressions of nationalism that have occurred in the past.

  • Charles Martel

    Monbiot’s defection has to be one of the biggest blows the green movement has ever suffered. As the years go on, he’s going to be seen as a Giordano Bruno by the true believers and a Martin Luther by the skeptics.

    For now, though, he’s Trotsky/Emmanuel Goldstein, which means that the full weight of the green establishment will soon be brought to bear against him. So, I’m pulling out the popcorn and settling in to watch what will be a marvelously entertaining exhibition of how the left eats its own. 

  • Mike Devx

    Charles Martel:  For now, though, he’s Trotsky/Emmanuel Goldstein, which means that the full weight of the green establishment will soon be brought to bear against him. So, I’m pulling out the popcorn and settling in to watch what will be a marvelously entertaining exhibition of how the left eats its own.

    Fun, yes!  But now that he has broken ranks with the mindlessly faithful, and departed from their precise Gospel to have some independent (and blasphemous) thoughts – displeasing the Left’s Ministry Of Gospel Police to the point of Grimly Righteous Retribution – let’s hope he continues down the path of expecting and requiring proofs, and thinking for himself.  It might be too much to ask that he, as many of us did, will make the move from liberal to conservative.  But you never know!