Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

“Being There” for all Canadians

Dear Diary:

Whew! What a breathtaking week.

It all began with our glorious leader’s cringe-inspiring response to an under-employed oil worker who should “hang in there” – apparently for eternity while the PM steadfastly refuses to indicate that are any conditions possible under which he would approve a pipeline – Energy East – that would run through Montreal.

Nevermind that there has been a pipeline running through Montreal for close to 75 years – that being the Portland-Montreal pipeline that in a good year has carried close to 100 million barrels of foreign (Saudi, Venezuelan, who knows?) oil under the St. Lawrence river.

Suncor refinery in Montreal

Suncor refinery in Montreal

This probably comes as a surprise to most media such as Le Devoir’s Marie Vastel who regularly wonder – unchallenged by the likes of Rosie Barton – on political talk shows whether enough is known about pipelines, their safety, the threat of spills and whether they can be cleaned up. Hmmmm.

So, we dug around a little and here’s what your journalists – yes, yes, the same folks who have been whining all month about their craft’s demise and how it is vital to democracy, blah, blah, blah – aren’t filling you in on.

The Portland-Montreal pipeline is in trouble because the Energy East project involves carrying Canadian crude from West to East which means no one in Eastern Canada would have to buy oil from people who regularly conduct mass beheadings. A couple of years back, there was a proposal to actually reverse Portland-Montreal, which would have made it possible to not only get Canadian crude to Montreal, it could also then get loaded on tankers in Portland. But in a delightful confluence of the economic interests of the pipeline’s Montreal and Portland owners and the eco-kook lobby, civic leaders in Portland said no to “dirty” oil. This, as we all know, is because it is morally superior to buy oil from medieval kingdoms, west African dictators, South American tyrants, and various other mullahs than it is from fellow Canadians.

And as far as Albertans are concerned, as Ian Robinson – a good Timmins kid – points out: we don’t like them.

Anyway, we don’t think the eco-kook lobby’s biggest concern is that oilsands crude is so “dirty” – what with it being responsible for 0.15% of global emissions and all. No, it’s because there is a lot of it. And so long as there is a lot of oil, its price will remain low and people will still be able to heat their homes, drive their cars, etc at affordable prices – thus delaying the orgasmic day when “green” alternatives are economically affordable and the new Utopia arrives. (the parallels to the Social Gospel movement are unmistakable).

Anyway, the next time one of those journalists/saviours of democracy blathers on like some upper class twit about Quebec not knowing whether oil pipelines are safe, ask them how the, er, blazes they can not know – they’ve had one for 75 years.


#PMJT continues to insist the reason he can’t be sure whether Energy East’s $9 billion infrastructure proposal and its liberating influence on Canada’s largest industry – energy – is because Stephen Harper  “politicized” the National Energy Board process.

If this is true, it is an extremely serious charge. What is pretty much just as serious is that you can read, or watch, or listen to just about any report on this accusation without finding the slightest shred of evidence that even one of those doing the reporting asked the fundamental follow up question – how? Like, “Mr. Prime Minister, you just said that your predecessor of violating the rule of law by interfering with the workings of an independent, quasi-judicial administrative/regulatory agency. Exactly how did he do that?”

Nope. No one asked. Not one. We suppose we are expected to accept as the nation’s journalistic elite does, that just because someone says something, it is true. If it is, someone should call the cops about the former prime minister. If it’s not true, the current prime minister is telling lies. But we, the mere public in whose interest these noble guardians of the truth serve, apparently don’t have the “right to know.”


Staying on energy, we were all moved by the government’s speedy response to the economic crisis in the West, weren’t we? Sure you were. How can you resist those doe-eyed glances of sincerity, flanked as they are by Gallic locks and exposed, manly forearms? Come on.

trudeau_notley_meeting_20160203-1

First, it was announced next to his new pal “Rachel” that $700 million in routine infrastructure funding earmarked by the previous government for Alberta would be “fast-tracked.” We don’t know the details regarding over how many years this money was originally intended to be spent (mostly because, again, no one in our media apparently thought to ask) versus how it will now be spent. So, let’s assume it was intended to be spent over 5 years at $140 million annually and now will be spent instead over two years at $350 million annually. Here’s the problem: after two years, it’s all gone. What happens then?

being-there-peter-seller2We assume this what the PM – who some are saying is  revealing an increasing resemblance to a younger Chauncey Gardiner – means when he talks about Canadians “Being There” for each other.

Then, it was announced with much fanfare that Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta could apply for some short-term assistance that they already were completely legally  entitled to apply for that in the case of Alberta amounts to $250 million.

Gosh and golly in Alberta that’s almost a whole $1 billion worth of “assistance” that the province was going to get sooner or later but will now get more of sooner and, near as we can tell, less of later. Impressive.

To be fair – and to relieve our incessant berating of the journos – the announcements were greeted with skepticism by most Alberta-based commentators (none of whom, we note, are ever asked to participate in CBC panels filled with people who live and work in Ontario/Quebec but apparently are, like Hollywood actors, experts on everything).

Most notable among this is the quite reliable Rick Bell who pointed out that $1 billion amounts to $60 per Albertan as compared to the $1,130 each and every Quebecois et Quebecoise gets every year in transfer payments, most of which come from Alberta.

In case you were wondering, as we were, the total amount Alberta has contributed to Confederation – the difference between what it sent in and what got sent back – between 1960 and 2002 at least – was $244 billion.

Following the predispositions of the nation’s national media, we are too lazy today to find out how much more was added to that total in the ensuing 13 years, but we did find this government document that shows that in 2011 alone, Alberta’s net contribution to “Confederation” was just under $16 billion.

You do the math. We are searching for amber fluids.

 

Toeing the line: such are the joys of a controlled broadcasting sector

One of my animating passions is the importance of the Internet for freedom of expression. You do not have to get your blogging licence renewed annually for $56.00 from the CRTC (just send your money by credit card to the Minister of Finance – they make it so easy and convenient to pay). Nor do you have to conform to the CRTC’s broadcasting exemption order, which gives you the right to “broadcast” across the Internet without a licence if you conform to its provisions.

As a blogger you do not belong to the regulated universe of broadcasting. You sit down to the computer and write, post pictures, upload videos, and voilà, your blog is ready for however many or few people can be attracted to it.

Broadcasting is a different matter. From the beginning, broadcasting has been heavily regulated by the state for cultural, economic and political purposes, everywhere in the world. The original justification was that broadcasters used precious radio spectrum, which is a public resource,  and that signal channels needed to be assigned to particular uses and users so that interference would be prevented.

But once the hand of regulation was laid on broadcasting, the grip has never ceased nor its hold lessened.

Take for example, the leading issue of our time: the role of Islam in our future. Europe has been convulsed with a refugee migration, numbering in the millions, of young males who have been taught by their religion and society that they are conquerors of women and that non-Muslims are fair game for assault and rape. Mixing young Muslim men from unreformed societies into the modern world of Europe: what could possibly go wrong?

Just about everything. But you are not going to hear about “Asian” sex slavery gangs in Britain, or mass sexual assaults in Europe from your carefully controlled state broadcasters. No sirree! The carefully  controlled public and private broadcasters exercize restraint and discretion in how they treat outrages committed by Islamic street trash.

Breitbart London reports the a top German journalist has admitted that the state broadcasters take their orders from the “political class”.

A retired media boss at a major German state broadcaster has admitted his network and others take orders from the government on what — and what not — to report.

National public service broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), which was recently forced into a humiliating apology for their silence on migrant violence and sex assault is being drawn into a fresh scandal after one of their former bureau chiefs admitted the company takes orders from the government on what it reports. He said journalists received instructions to write news that would be “to Ms. Merkel’s liking”.

Former head of ZDF Bonn Dr. Wolfgang Herles make the remarks during a radio event (from minute 27) in Berlin where journalists discussed the media landscape. Moving on to the freedom of the press, the panel chair asked Dr. Herles whether things in Germany had got “seriously out of whack”. With an honesty perhaps unusual in Germany, Dr. Herles replied that ordinary Germans were totally losing faith in the media, something he called a “scandal”. He said:

“We have the problem that – now I’m mainly talking about the public [state] media – we have a closeness to the government. Not only because commentary is mainly in line with the grand coalition (CSU, CDU, and SPD), with the spectrum of opinion, but also because we are completely taken in by the agenda laid down by the political class”.

“We are completely taken in by the agenda of the political class”.

There is nothing unusual or surprizing in this admission; German media are no more directed by government than are Canadian, and if they are, it is irrelevant to the argument I am making.

Broadcast media are the slaves of the agenda of the political class. Their enslavement is manifested by government regulation, by whose grace and favour they hold their licences, and to government funding, which keeps them alive. And no one  should imagine that private broadcasters are any the less enslaved to government licences because they are also enslaved to private sources of advertizing revenues.

[Take our own broadcasting system as a case in point. We have only to consider Lisa LaFlamme of CTV news hyping every story of political incorrectness and victim-mongering versus the relative calmer national broadcaster, to see the truth of that assertion].

Can you think of one issue of importance in contemporary life where the broadcast media have not toed the line laid out by the political class? Islam? Anthropogenic global warming? Mass uncontrolled immigration?(in the US), multiculturalism? Political correctness?

toe the line 3

Toeing the line: all feet come forward the same distance and height

And can you think of a single important political issue since 1990 where the contest against it did not start in the unregulated blogosphere? Certainly talk radio in the United States has assisted the expression of non-conforming thought. Yet the overwhelming case against the preferred positions of the political class have had their origin and found their audience through the blogosphere.

The most important function of the controlled media, here and elsewhere, is to persuade you that opposition is useless, vain, even insane, and that despite what is before your eyes, you must doubt what you experience and conform to the vision laid out by the media. You are alone; you are powerless to resist. No one thinks like you. You do not speak in public what you feel in private. I call it the Iron Mask of political correctness. It is placed over all of us, and it is our duty to notice it and take it off.

The liberation that came with the Internet – an unlicensed and democratic medium – was to allow people to identify themselves and not be alone, to make it easy for small groups to form who could share their disbelief in the false gods set before them by the national media to worship.

Some views expressed on the net are crazy, some bad, some vicious. Of this there is no doubt.  But the negatives are eclipsed by the enormous increase of freedom of opinion made possible by the freedom, efficiency, and ubiquity of the Internet. The means of expression has been liberated from government licensing, for the time being. Let’s keep it that way.

toe the ine 2

Toeing the line: Government regulation of the broadcasting sector

All Trump,all the time,,, part(7)

Our soi-disant conservative National Post is gloating in several places today that Trump may be on his way out after coming in second in Iowa.

I will refer our social and intellectual superiors to the Reuters rolling poll of candidates. Trump consistently polls around 38%, Cruz 14-15%, Rubio 12%.

It will do Trump good to absorb a loss. A little modesty might suit you better, Donald.

As to the National Post, we can only regret the loss of insight into what makes North Americans tick since Conrad sold it. The Post reveals that it has bought into the Republican establishment view which, in my opinion, is why the latter have lost several recent Presidential elections. The Republican candidate lacked the vital connection that would attract the average American to his cause. The Donald does not.

But we shall see.

Sub-human rights trump women’s rights?

What is the world coming to when even the feminist agree with this sentiment?

racists4rapistsRote Antifa posted a picture of young feminist on Thursday, holding a sign that stated she preferred rapists from Syria and North Africa over nationalists in Germany who have demanded Chancellor Angela Merkel stop taking in more refugees.

The picture itself is photoshopped where the word “REFUGEES” has been replaced with “RAPISTS” but it is instructive that Rote Antifa, an anti-fascist  organisation, chose to post this on their website because they are in concordance with the message. When did we start subjugating women again and start giving a small minority of sub-humans a precedence in rights over half of the human population?

Now we also learn that the sexual attacks in European cities on New Year’s Eve weren’t news at all. Consider this.

Authorities in Sweden are investigating claims that police there covered up sexual assaults committed mostly by immigrant youths at a music festival in Stockholm — attacks apparently similar in style to those carried out on New Year’s Eve in the German city of Cologne.

Police documented 38 claims of sexual assault — including two alleged rapes — in connection with the “We Are Sthlm” festival in 2014 and 2015, according to Reuters. They believe the attacks were carried out by about 50 people, most of them young Afghans, Reuters reported, citing Dagens Nyheter, the Swedish paper that broke the news.

Leftist will resort to psychobabble when it comes to this, but in this case it is best to apply the Occam’s Razor and ask the following question about the Western Civilisation –  has there ever been a civiilsation with a wider disparity between intellectual accomplishments and common sense?

All Trump, all the time,,,(part)6

It amuses me to read the clever and the wise gradually bring themselves around to the inevitability of Trump. Colby Cosh can usually be relied upon to be insightful, and less knee-jerk, than many Post commentators. This weekend he allowed himself the following on the subject of The Donald:

It’s a strange election season, all right. Scott Adams, best known as the creator of “Dilbert,” has carved out a niche on his weblog as the leading expositor of Trumpian strategy. Adams believes Trump is literally hypnotizing the American public, using an arcana of powerful persuasion methods. The cartoonist disavows any claim to support Trump per se, but he has remained bullish even as other commentators predicted disaster after every grandiose halfwittery or scornful bon (?) mot.

Adams’ Trump-as-Master-Persuader schtick is becoming tacitly influential, I think, among chastened journalists who thought Trump would crash months ago. When the revered psephologist Nate Silver did a dramatic U-turn last week and admitted that he had harmed his prophetic bona fides by underestimating Trump, one could not help thinking of it as a surrender — could not help envisioning the sudden cinematic crumbling of a mighty fortification built out of Excel spreadsheets and wishful thinking. Silver almost seemed … relieved.

First, Trump is not “literally” hypnotizing anyone, he is metaphorically hypnotizing.

Second, this is what Adams had to say in August 2015, now fully six months ago.

Like many of you, I have been entertained by the unstoppable clown car that is Donald Trump. On the surface, and several layers deep as well, Trump appears to be a narcissistic blow-hard with inadequate credentials to lead a country.

The only problem with my analysis is that there is an eerie consistency to his success so far. Is there a method to it? Is there some sort of system at work under the hood?

Probably yes. Allow me to describe some of the hypnosis and persuasion methods Mr. Trump has employed on you.

And he describes them in the posting. Now take the example of Trump not retreating from anything he ever said, even when it was silly. This is from January 2015:

He does use hyperbole for effect, but the deeper explanation is simpler. It is Persuasion 101.

The first rule of persuasion is that you nudge the other person, but you NEVER let them nudge you. Let me repeat this word a few times: NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER.

That’s exactly how often a good persuader should admit a wrong: NEVER.

If you show a willingness to get nudged, you lose your power in the negotiation. Your opponent will try to nudge you from that point on, and you will be on defense. Once you get nudged, it never ends. A good persuader is always the nudger and NEVER the nudgee. You want to keep the opponent off-balance.

Have I said NEVER enough?

Probably not, because you might be thinking that anyone who fails to acknowledge a truth that is right in front of their nose is probably a narcissistic, mentally unstable liar who is just saying things for attention.

Like Trump.

In the 2D world, Trump appears to be all of those things. In the 3D world, where you NEVER want to let yourself be nudged, it is a sign of a Master Persuader.

What you see in the 2D world is Trump the egomaniac who “can’t admit when he is wrong!” What I see in the 3D world is the most disciplined persuader I have ever seen. Trump intentionally accepts the scorn of many as a cost of winning. And it works.

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On another note, I have been reading Jon Meacham’s excellent Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of George Herbert Walker Bush, Destiny and Power. The time was just after Bush had won the New Hampshire Republican primary in March 1988. President Bush the Elder turned to the question of who would be his Vice-President.

The New York developer Donald Trump mentioned his availability as a vice-presidential candidate to Lee Atwater. Bush thought the overture “strange and unbelievable”.

So The Donald has been angling for high office for 28 years, it would appear. He has found that the simplest way to get there is to be elected. “Strange and unbelievable” indeed.

Those who doubt Trump’s electoral chances need to refresh themselves in the history of the United States. Andrew Jackson came from the backwoods to overthrow the Federalist Party; Abraham Lincoln was the candidate of a political party formed scarcely four years before; Franklin Roosevelt overthrew the Republican dominance which set in after US civil war, and Nixon’s southern strategy enabled the Republicans to dominate US Presidencies until recently.

The United States is capable of huge political change, and I think we are seeing one before our eyes. Some people have trouble discerning a tsunami because it first appears that the ocean water is going out.

 

 

 

Sean Gabb on the origins of British liberty

Dr. Sean Gabb is the head of the British Libertarian Party, a writer, speaker and public intellectual. Do not be deceived by the title ‘libertarian”; his thinking is far superior to Ayn Rand’s. Gabb is deeply informed, and broadly cultured. He is fighting a long term battle against everything the England has become since World War 2: statist, over-taxed, morally declining, and over controlled. I came across this posting in my email this morning and think that the loyal readers of Barrelstrength would enjoy reading what is possibly the fastest, deepest and most complete picture of English history they will read in the next decade. You do not have to agree in any or all respects to find it entertaining and informative. For myself, I find it endearing that a historian would consider that long term effect that climate has had on society and politics.

 

A Case for the English Landed Aristocracy,
Speech to the (Other) Libertarian Alliance,
London, Monday 10th February 2014

To understand the rubbish heap that England has become, it is useful to look at the circumstances that prompted the emergence of the modern State in Europe.

Around the end of the thirteenth century, the world entered one of its cooling phases. In a world of limited technology, this lowered the Malthusian ceiling – by which I mean the limit to which population was always tending, and beyond which it could not for any long time rise. Populations that could just about feed themselves during the warm period were now too large.

In the middle of the fourteenth century, this pressure was suddenly relieved by the Black Death, which seems to have killed about a third of the English population, and probably about a third of the human race as a whole. The result was a collapse of population somewhat below the Malthusian ceiling. In turn, this led – in England and Western Europe, at least – to an age of plenty for ordinary people.

However, continued cooling and a recovery of population led, by the beginning of the sixteenth century, to renewed contact with the Malthusian ceiling. So far as we can tell from the English statistics – which are the most complete and generally accurate – ordinary living standards fell rapidly throughout that century. With mild variations, they continued to fall until the last third of the eighteenth century. While the ceiling tended to rise during this period, the corresponding tendency to higher average living standards was offset by rising population. Living standards began to recover strongly only after the middle of the nineteenth century, when renewed warming, joined by the Industrial Revolution, lifted the ceiling out of sight. Even so, living standards in England did not recover their fifteenth century levels till about the 1880s. It was later elsewhere in Western Europe.

I think these natural forces go far to explaining the sudden emergence of religious mania and political unrest in Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The Reformation and Wars of Religion can be explained partly in terms of an unfolding intellectual change. Ideas are an autonomous force. At the same time, the force of the explosion we date from 1517 has its origin in perturbations of the Sun, or whatever other natural cause drives changes in the climate.

One of the responses of the governing classes to the spreading wave of instability was to centralise and greatly to strengthen power. Most notably in France, but in Western Europe generally, kings were exalted far above their mediaeval status. Because they were unreliable members of the new order, nobilities were brought under control, and power was shared with humble officials, who might collectively grow powerful, but who individually could be made or broken as kings found convenient. The various divine right theories of this age were the legitimising ideology of the new order.

In France, the King withdrew to Versailles. The leading nobles were required to live with him, thereby breaking their connection with the land from which they were allowed to continue drawing their wealth. Much government was given to a class of office holders, who multiplied their functions and arrested much tendency to economic improvement in ways that I do not need to describe.

I turn now to England. In some degree, there was a growth of absolutism here during the sixteenth century. The Tudor Kings ended the civil wars, and made themselves supreme and unchallenged. Because England was an island with only one land border – and Scotland was easily managed – there was no need for a standing army; and standing armies, and the consequent arms race between states with land borders, were a secondary cause of the growth of absolutism. Even so, the Tudor Monarchy ruled England through a strong administration centred on London.

This growth was arrested and reversed in 1641, by the abolition of nearly every body of state unknown to the Common Law. The Privy Council remained, but its subordinate institutions – Star Chamber, for example, and the Council of the North – were swept away. The immediate result was civil war, followed by a republic run by religious maniacs. But this soon collapsed, and the Monarchy was restored in 1660.

However, the Restoration was of the Monarchy in name only. It is best seen as an aristocratic coup. The Restoration Parliament finished the work of 1641, by abolishing the feudal tenures, by which the Monarchy had kept control over the nobility. The landed aristocracy gained something like absolute title over their estates, untouchable by the King. The network of rights and obligations that tied them to those who worked the land was simplified to a relationship of landlord and tenant.

From the 1660s, we can see the emergence of an aristocratic ruling class checked only at the margins by the Crown. Before then, Members of Parliament were often humble men from their localities, who needed to look to their localities for expenses and even salaries. Very soon, the Commons was flooded with the younger sons of peers and aristocratic nominees. Andrew Marvell was one of the last Members of Parliament who needed to draw a salary. The commons became an aristocratic club. This process was hastened by the decay of many boroughs and the growth of the more or less unrepresentative system that was ended only after 1832.

There was one attempt at reaction by the Crown. Charles II and James II presided over the growth of a new official class. Samuel Pepys is the most famous representative of this class. But there is also Leolyn Jenkins, the son of a Welsh farm labourer, who was educated in the Roman Law – not the Common Law – and who led the parliamentary resistance to the Exclusion Bills by which the aristocracy in effect tried to seize control over who could be King of England.

But James II overplayed his hand, and was deposed and exiled in 1688. Thereafter, the aristocracy did control appointment to the Crown, and was able to monopolise every institution of state – allowing those that failed to serve its interest to atrophy.

During the eighteenth century, the internal administration in England became largely a matter of obedience to the Common Law. History was written backwards, so that it became a narrative of struggle to maintain or to restore a set of ancient liberties that were usually over-stressed, or even mythical. I suspect that any educated man brought forward from 1500 to 1750 would have failed to recognise his own England in the standard histories. The tension between competing institutions and legal systems that shaped his life had been reduced to a set of struggles over a Common Law that was only one element in what he considered the legitimate order of things.

I repeat that ideas are an autonomous force. The whiggish ideologies that dominated the century were strongly believed by the ruling class, and were beneficial to the people as a whole. Opposition to Walpole’s excise, and the Theatres Bill cannot be simply explained as the play of sectional interests, or the work of politicians hungry for office. The Third Duke of Sunderland, Lords Hervey and Chesterfield, the Rockingham Whigs – these were men of strong liberal opinions. No ideology becomes hegemonic unless it is also believed. There was an almost paranoid suspicion of government within the ruling class, and a corresponding exaltation of the liberties of the people. But English liberty was also a collateral benefit of the aristocratic coups of 1660 and 1688. Self-help and a high degree of personal freedom were allowed to flourish ultimately because the enlightened self-interest of those who ruled England maintained a strong bias against any growth of an administrative state – the sort of state that would be able to challenge aristocratic dominance. People were left alone – often in vicious pursuits – because any regulation would have endangered the settlements of 1660-88.

Our understanding of English history in the nineteenth century is shaped by the beliefs of the contending parties in that century. The liberals and early socialists demanded an enlarged franchise and administrative reform, because they claimed this would give ordinary people a controlling voice in government. The conservatives claimed that extending the franchise would lead to the election of demagogues and levellers by a stupid electorate.

This does not explain what happened. Liberal democracy was a legitimising ideology for the establishment of a new ruling class – a ruling class of officials and associated commercial interests that drew power and status from an enlarged state. The British State was not enlarged for the welfare of ordinary people. The alleged welfare of ordinary people was merely an excuse for the enlargement of the British State. The real beneficiaries were the sort of people who thought highly of Sidney and Beatrice Webb.

If this analysis is correct, men like John Stuart Mill and even Richard Cobden were at best useful idiots for the bad side in a struggle over which group of special interests should rule England. The real heroes for libertarians were men like Lord Eldon and Colonel Sibthorp, who resisted all change, or men like Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Salisbury, who, after the battle for “reform” was lost, found ways to moderate and, in the short term, to neutralise the movement of power from one group to another. Or the greatest hero of all was Lord Elcho, who kept the Liberty and Property League going until he was nearly a hundred, and who fought a bitter rearguard action for an aristocratic ascendency that was intimately connected with the rights to life, liberty and property of ordinary people.

This is not to romanticise the aristocratic ascendency. Eighteenth century England was a brutal place filled with injustice – the game laws, the press gang, a chaotic civil and criminal law, pervasive corruption. All the same, utopia has never been on offer. In passing, I will address myself to left-libertarians like Kevin Carson and Keith Preston. Their critique of the corporate elites and the plutocracy that are hurrying us into tyranny is fundamentally correct. But they are wrong to denounce the aristocratic ascendency that preceded the system under which we now live. It would have been nice for England to emerge into the modern world as a land of masterless men – of yeomen farmers and independent craftsmen and tradesmen. But this was never on offer. By the time the eighteenth century radicals found their voice, the only alternatives on offer were aristocratic ascendency and middle class bureaucracy. Old Lord Fartleigh had his faults. He hated the Papists, and thought nothing of hanging poachers. But he would never have thought it his business to tell us how to put our rubbish out, or whether we could smoke in the local pub.

Let it not be forgotten that the demolition of aristocratic rule was largely completed by the Liberal Government elected in 1906. This was the Government that also got us into the Great War, and kept us in it to the bitter end. The kind of people who formed it had already given us most of the moral regulation that we think of as Victorian – regulation that was always cried up as “progressive,” and that was usually resisted in the Lords. Since then, these people have taken up one legitimising ideology after another – national efficiency, the welfare of the working classes, multiculturalism, environmentalism, supranational government. The common thread in all these ideologies has been their usefulness as a figleaf behind which ordinary people could be taxed and regulated and conscripted, and generally made to dance as their rulers desired. Perhaps the main reason why Classical Marxism never became important in England was that, just when it was very big in the world at large, Keynesian demand management emerged as a more suitable legitimising ideology for the ruling class we now had.

I therefore commend the English landed aristocracy. If I am now, in middle age, an increasingly radical libertarian, it is only because I have realised that the system raised up by that class can no more be restored than the class itself can be made supreme again.

Saving the planet one layer of bureaucracy at a time

Dear Diary:

It is remarkable to watch a country wage Jihad on its own economy but – right now – that is what we are witnessing in Canada.

Energy is by far the nation’s largest industry. And the federal government has decided to bleed it to death. What other possible explanation can there be for its refusal to even say that it thinks pipelines to get oil to tidewater are a good idea even – yes, yes, yes – with all the usual environmental caveats.

The Prime Minister, who only weeks ago said he thought the Keystone pipeline was a great idea, now refuses to say the same about Energy East, deciding that even though he just did prime ministers shouldn’t be promoting things they should just be refereeing them.

In doing so, he appears to have confused his role with that of the Governor General or perhaps Her Majesty herself which, giving the PM’s sturdy self-image is not out of the question. Selfie anyone?

People do not elect referees. They elect leaders. So, lead on fighting greenhouse gas emissions or lead on building a stronger economy or – here’s an idea – lead on both. Just don’t stand there, as happened this week, like a deer stuck in the headlights of an oncoming Peterbilt.

This week, the government announced a new layer of regulatory examination for pipelines. It appears to have been sketched out on the back of a cocktail napkin at the moment but says, essentially, that a project’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions must be a factor and that must include “upstream impact” – in other words the emissions that come from creating the product, not just those involved in shipping the product. It does not say what an acceptable or unacceptable level is but that’s probably for another day and another cocktail napkin.

Here’s the deal: Most of that is already known. A comprehensive report done for the Ontario Energy Board indicates that:

The overall global greenhouse gas impact of Energy East will be an increase of one one-hundredth of a percentage point – 0.01%. And that most of the emissions increase comes from consumption of the product in foreign lands. Oh, and that large parts of the ghg impact in Canada comes from the fact the project consumes electricity.

There is really no debate over whether it is more or less environmentally friendly to ship oil by pipeline than it is by rail. Sourcing Environment Canada, the industry association points out that Canada’s vast network of pipelines is responsible for 1% of the nation’s emissions. That is backed up by American regulatory reports on Keystone, this report from the University of Waterloo and emphasized by TransCanada’s CEO who, when speaking of the Keystone project noted that:

“For every mile you move a barrel of oil by rail, you emit three times the [greenhouse gases] that you do by moving it by pipeline.”

Removing all doubt is that when the issue of whether railways or pipelines have a larger environmental impact, David Suzuki responds with a “but that’s the wrong question” because what we really should be doing is making sure the “tarsands” go out of production, thus reducing their 0.15% – that’s right, fifteen (count ‘em) one-hundredths of one per cent – contribution to global emissions and, using math made of fairy dust, rainbows and dancing unicorns – saving the planet.

This, dear diary, is what passes for evidence-based decision-making which only makes sense because, well, it’s 2016.


Because we worry – oh, dear diary, you know how much we worry, tossing and turning at night about anthropogenic global warming – we are mystified, given all of the above, that our leaders are about to give the Bombardier family of Quebec billions of other people’s dollars to help them cover for some bad business decisions and sell more airplanes.

Airplanes, as our revered friend Dr. Suzuki points out, are a major and growing contributor to green gas emissions.

We will not rest – no, we will not – until a full review (downstream and upstream) is done of the impact on climate change of encouraging Bombardier put more airplanes into the air.

Furthermore, primarily in order to aid Bombardier’s risky anti-climate behaviour by letting them sell more airplanes, Canada is restoring relations with Iran – the world’s 8th largest greenhouse gas emitter which will now be able to further gear up its emissions following the decision by the USA to lift its embargo on Iran’s oil exports. Again, where’s the emissions analysis. Come on, the future of the planet is at risk here, right? Right? It is, isn’t it?

Little wonder we toss and turn. Oh, how we do.


Finally, some good news. The really cool thing about living in a post-rational world that has fully embraced relativism is that now we can finally be whatever we want to be just because we say we are and play on whatever sports team we want or go to whatever bathroom we want because we and only we get to define who and what we are.
And so, this.

cat lady

Say no more.

-30-

All Trump, all the time,,, part (5)

Heather McDonald, chief editor of City Magazine, has this to say about Trump, whom she calls the Coarsener-in-Chief:

 

Trump is the embodiment of what the Italians call “maleducato”—poorly raised, ill-bred. Indeed, judging by the results, his upbringing seems to have involved no check whatsoever on the crudest male instincts for aggression and humiliation. Trump is unfailingly personal in his attacks. Nor is his comportment merely a refusal to be politically correct. Trump was on solid ground when he responded to Fox News’s Megyn Kelly during the first Republican debate that he had no time for political correctness. A repudiation of political correctness means truth-telling, however. Trump’s personal sneers are not truth-telling but merely the self-indulgent gestures of someone who makes no effort to control his desire to humiliate.

Conservatives, of all people, should understand the preciousness and precariousness of manners. Boys in particular need to be civilized. That task will be more difficult with Trump in the White House. There is no reason to think that Trump will change his tone should he get elected; he shows no sign of a capacity for introspection and self-correction. Any parent trying to raise a boy to be respectful, courteous, and at least occasionally self-effacing will have a hard time doing so when our national leader is so reflexively impolite, just as it is harder to raise girls to be sexually prudent when they are surrounded by media role models promoting promiscuity. The culture has been coarsened enough already. It doesn’t need further degradation from a president.

I agree with the sentiments. What is the cost in social manners that a Trump presidency would exact against the cost in further degradation of the United States in most other dimensions: economic, political, and in foreign relations, that would follow from a victory by Hillary Clinton?

Concerns for the coarsening of culture are legitimate, but they have to take their place against a background where forces seek to destroy western culture entirely. McDonald’s criticism is of a type that a friend of mine calls “high Tory”, and it is a tone that comes easily to some of us who believe ourselves well brought up.

The counterargument, which attracts me maybe more than it should, is that we have reached the stage where someone has to be repudiate the political correctness that is strangling us, and rip up the giant telephone book-sized rules of comportment (the iron masks of political correctness) that are not allowing us to think flexibly and appropriately about the political menace of Islam, about fighting the global warming scam, about the malicious role played by the Left in ruining universities, and about the entitlement culture that demands special awards for natives, women, gays and whoever else composes the left’s mascot groups of the moment.

When I contemplate the insane rules the Trudeau government is imposing on pipelines in Canada, I grow more tolerant of someone who is ready to rip up the social agreement that makes it difficult for people in polite society to say that global warming is a pile of shit, or that Islam is insane, or any of the myriad social shibboleths about race, class, sex and culture that keep us headed down the road to social disintegration.

Patrick Buchanan and the rejection election

Patrick Buchanan observes that backers of Saunders, Trump, Cruz and Carson have something in common: they are fed up with the way things are in the United States, and they reject the official candidacies of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and those approved by the Establishment. He writes:

This then is a rejection election. Half the nation appears to want the regime overthrown. And if spring brings the defeat of Sanders and the triumph of Trump, the fall will feature the angry outsider against the queen of the liberal establishment. This could be a third seminal election in a century.

In the depths of the Depression in 1932, a Republican Party that had given us 13 presidents since Lincoln in 1860, and only two Democrats, was crushed by FDR. From ’32 to ’64, Democrats won seven elections, with the GOP prevailing but twice, with Eisenhower. And from 1930 to 1980, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for 46 of the 50 years.

The second seminal election was 1968, when the racial, social, cultural and political revolution of the 1960s, and Vietnam War, tore the Democratic Party asunder, bringing Richard Nixon to power. Seizing his opportunity, Nixon created a “New Majority” that would win four of five presidential elections from 1972 through 1988.

After examining why that electoral majority has fallen away, Buchanan observes:

Still, whether we have a President Clinton, Trump, Sanders or Cruz in 2017, America appears about to move in a radically new direction.

Foreign policy retrenchment seems at hand. With Trump and Sanders boasting of having opposed the Iraq war, and Cruz joining them in opposing nation-building schemes, Americans will not unite on any new large-scale military intervention. To lead a divided country into a new war is normally a recipe for political upheaval and party suicide.

Understandably, the interventionists and neocons at National Review, Commentary, and the Weekly Standard are fulminating against Trump. For many are the Beltway rice bowls in danger of being broken today.

Second, Republicans will either bring an end to mass migration, or the new millions coming in will bring an end to the presidential aspirations of the Republican Party.

Third, as Sanders has tabled the issue of income equality and wage stagnation, and Trump has identified the principal suspect—trade deals that enrich transnational companies at the cost of American prosperity, sovereignty and independence—we are almost surely at the end of this present era of globalization….

For the Sanders, Trump, Cruz and Carson voters, the status quo seems not only unacceptable, but intolerable. And if their candidates and causes do not prevail, they are probably not going to accept defeat stoically, and go quietly into that good night, but continue to disrupt the system until it responds.

Unlike previous elections in our time, save perhaps 1980, this appears to be something of a revolutionary moment.

We could be on the verge of a real leap into the dark.

The complete article is published at Vdare here. Well worth a longer reading.

Temporary truce established in war on Stone Age oil people

Dear Diary:

Sometimes we are wrong and when we are, we are happy to say so.

Following British Columbia’s thumbs down on the Trans Mountain pipeline, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s abandonment of Northern Gateway, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s imposition of more conditions on Energy East and, ultimately, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s vigorous thumbs down on the latter and its Stone Age proponents, we despaired that Canada had declared war on Alberta..

But this week, things turned around. First, the Mayor of Quebec City said “I wonder how I would feel if a province or a region in another province prevented Hydro-Quebec from building its transmission lines. I would feel exactly like the people in the West do now. I understand them.”

And then, after the Globe and Mail’s deep thinkers tugged their forelocks and pondered Coderre’s “provincialism,” Rick Mercer used his weekly rant to tear a strip off His Worship.

Those developments made us happy even though, had it not been for Coderre’s inability to resist putting the boot in with his remark about Albertans being “people who think the Flintstones is a documentary” he actually did pretty much the same thing as Wynne, B.C.’s Christy Clark and numerous aboriginal leaders have done when it comes to expanding the nation’s industrial infrastructure: indulge in Canada’s baksheesh complex (in which beggars incessantly demand more and more).

Nevermind, the PM visited Coderre and, ever mindful of the fact he and others have for years worked diligently to convince Quebeckers that oil and its pipelines are putting the very future of the planet in peril, emerged with an ever more muddled view of how no one trusts the environmental review process and he’d have more to say about that at some point and obviously blah, blah, blah.

This was widely praised by Parliamentary media who of course slurped up the spin that the PM can’t take sides and needs just to be a good referee.

Which is not true. The Prime Minister can take sides if he wants and does so all the time. It’s kind of his job, we think. He didn’t have any trouble last summer taking sides against Northern Gateway when he said that when he becomes PM “I will not be approving this pipeline.” And he didn’t have any trouble taking sides in backing the Keystone pipeline. So, we will go out on a limb and say Northern Gateway got a thumbs down because that’s what wins over lefties on the west coast, Keystone got a thumbs up because that’s what wins with righties on the Prairies and Energy East is, um, hard.


For some reason – and this “thought” was expressed with some incoherent vigor the other day by the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary Adam Vaughan – the government seems to be of the view that if additional environmental scrubbing takes place on industrial investment projects such as Energy East (most of which already exists, we remind you) opponents will be satisfied.

That will never happen. Greenpeace, Tides Canada and others don’t really care about the pipeline. They care that it carries oil and they believe – oh, they believe – with a Come to Jesus passion that every drop of oil brings Environmental Armageddon once step closer. They don’t want to kill the pipeline. They want to kill the oil and gas and coal and forestry and mining industries. Until that glorious day arrives and those four horsemen of the Apocalypse are slain, no amount of bureaucratic tinkering will win them over.


Speaking of oil, our spies in the West indicate most media have accepted the spin spun from Notley chief of staff Brian Topp (Toppspin?) that when people who have paid the country’s bills for decades get angry about petty things like having their livelihoods put at risk via all the above and being called knuckle-draggers, they are “not being helpful.”

As if, had they stayed mute like Chairwoman Notley has, Coderre and the like would not have been reined in. This is more than ably debunked here by Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose.

The bigger issue for Topp, Notley, et al is that they don’t really like oil either but can’t quite kill it yet as they have coal and it’s very hard for them to put their heart into pipeline promotion when, given their druthers, they’d prefer the industry just died and the planet was saved and all true believers were swept up in The Rapture. So, you will never, ever hear them criticize those who oppose pipelines because those people are their friends and they need them to vote for them. As this troubling blog by a fellow actually doing a Ph.D studying (no kidding) on the relationship between political activism and climate change makes clear, whatever Notley does will never be enough for The Saved.

For these folks, the same crowd Adam Vaughan believes can and must be satisfied, the energy industry and the provinces where it is based might very well ask, “what is it you want us to do?”
This would be the response.