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Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Why I do not need to believe in climate change, I know there is climate change

Here is an aerial view of the outskirts of Naples. Those are volcanic craters, with magma seeping upward close to the surface. They are called the Campi Flegrei, the fields of fire.

 

Why would anyone build over a volcanic caldera? Because the last time it seethed with magma was in 1538, and who remembers that, aside from a vulcanologist?

“It’s much more dangerous than Vesuvius because we don’t know where the eruption will be,” said Morra. Unlike Vesuvius, where the eruption is likely to come from the top or side of the cone, a caldera has the potential to erupt in many different locations simultaneously. “But people are more scared of Vesuvius because with Campi Flegrei you don’t see the cone, so there is not the same perception of danger,” he said.

So let us build a city on top of it, shall we?

Yet it is perfectly rational to do so, if your time horizon is short enough. And what I am going on about today is time horizons. We humans have the lifespan of grass, of mayflies, compared to the time spans that govern the earth. Consider this piece of short-sightedness, if you were a being that lived 50,000 years, of settling in northern North America.

So why would you ever build in Montreal, when it is periodically crushed by 10 thousand feet of ice? The height of ice was 10,725 feet, or 3300 meters.

By comparison, here is a map showing the thickness of ice over Greenland today.

http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/land/greenland-thick.gif

 

Or here is a map of the world covered by ice a mere 21,000 years ago, at the height of the last ice age.

 

http://www.humberriver.ca/images/worldmap1.jpg

So, do I believe in climate change? No, I do not need to believe, as we would believe in God, or even believe in the idea that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 43 BC.

I let a pencil fall from my hand, I know it will hit the floor. Belief in the operation of gravity on this planet would be superfluous.

For this reason I do not believe in climate change, I know it. And by a similar process of reasoning, I know that humans have not caused the extent of climate change that keeps Toronto, Montreal, Chicago and Boston ice free (most of the year).

If some person asks you to believe in climate change, they are unaware. Belief is superfluous.

But to believe that we are causing it, now that takes belief.

 

 

 

 

A Review of Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler’s book describing his early life, wartime experiences and the early development of the National Socialist Movement, continues to be one of the best-selling political books in the world.  In fact, the more it is condemned, the more it seems to fascinate.  Just google ‘sales of Mein Kampf‘.  Rational analysis is in far shorter supply.

In that vein, I ran across an interesting review of Mein Kampf the other day. The reviewer pointed out that prefaces in the English editions of Mein Kampf, published in the 1930s, were quite sympathetic to Hitler, no doubt due to the fact that the Depression-level unemployment in Germany had been greatly reduced, and the nation seemed to be getting on its feet again after its calamitous defeat in the First World War. Also, the 1936 Olympics in Berlin were a huge propaganda victory for the Hitler regime.

It is no use saying that hate, bigotry and madness and whatever else strikes your fancy are the reasons for the success of the fascist movements, and the Hitler movement in particular, in the 20s and 30s, as millions of ordinary, decent people supported them, not only in Germany but throughout Europe and as far away as India. And it is easy to say that Hitler was supported by big business to crush the socialist and communist parties of the time, but that would not have happened had he not “talked a great movement into existence already.”

In the 1920s, there was a multitude of left- and right-wing parties, movements and aspiring demagogues vying for attention and power. Why did Hitler succeed when so many others failed? Our reviewer continues….

“But Hitler could not have succeeded against his many rivals if it had not been for the attraction of his own personality, which one can feel even in the clumsy writing of Mein Kampf, and which is no doubt overwhelming when one hears his speeches…The fact is there is something deeply appealing about him.”

Obviously, some deep psychological need was being addressed, something way beyond mere opinions about political parties or national policies.

“One feels, as with Napoleon, that he is fighting against destiny…”

Indeed, there are numerous references and appeals to Destiny in Mein Kampf and no doubt Hitler felt that was his purpose, either to fulfill it or thwart it.

Prior to the First World War, or the Great War as it was then known, Europe possessed many powerful socialist movements. At times, it seemed that the old imperial orders across Europe were approaching their end. But when war broke out in August 1914, the international socialist parties across Europe folded like straws in the wind before the onrush of Nationalist Awakening. Nation and race have a far deeper psychological appeal than watery internationalism (something our reviewer noted elsewhere) and Hitler and Mussolini rose to power largely because they could recognize this fact and their opponents couldn’t.

But there were nationalist leaders before that never evoked anything like the adulation that was awarded to Hitler and Mussolini. There were also reasons for this….

“…Also he has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and the avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues.”

At least intermittently, people yearn for struggle, self-sacrifice and devotion to a higher cause. Whether one considers these passions desirable is beside the point, they exist and are powerful. Hence…

“…however they are as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarized version of Socialism….whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time’, Hitler has said to them ‘I offer you struggle, danger and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.”

As if you hadn’t already guessed, “our reviewer” is, of course, George Orwell, probably the most prescient writer on politics in the twentieth century. Orwell’s essay (here) is not really a review of Mein Kampf, but an essay on the psychological basis of Hitler’s appeal to millions of ordinary people. It is an important essay because it is written honestly and without fear, not of Hitler, but without fear of bullying and censorship in his homeland. Orwell was a man possessed of a terrible clarity of vision and a crystalline honesty, qualities entirely lacking in our current world of conformity, cowardice and mediocrity.

It is important to note that his essay was published in England, in March 1940, during a period of wartime censorship, when England was at war with Germany. It is highly unlikely that such an essay, analyzing Hitler’s appeal to the good, as well as the bad, in people, would be able to be published in this country in peacetime, when, supposedly, we are guaranteed freedom of speech.

Rebel Yell

Lindsay Shepherd—Heroine of Freedom

nullYes, heroine, because she’s a real woman, not one of these whining phonies who soak up air time on the Fake News Media these days.

Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier “University”, was hauled before a kangaroo court of left-wing Marxist bullies simply for showing a video of Professor Jordan Peterson as a subject for discussion. Watch it; it will show you what a poisonous cesspit Canadian Academia has become. Far from encouraging the young to tackle the great problems of our age, it is all about submitting to the Marxist commissariat that controls most Canadian universities. The postmodernist drivel that forms the substance of “Gender studies, Black studies, Any-type-of-Weirdo Studies” is passed off as education. It is in fact left-wing propaganda, not any form of academic endeavor.  In the Christie Blatchford article in the National Post, take a look at the photo of one of her advisers, Herbert Pimlott, so typical of the sanctimonious oily worms that dominate the PC establishment.

Lindsay acquitted herself perfectly in this assault on her academic integrity. Congratulations, Lindsay—and double congratulations on your foresight for recording the whole thing so that the wider world can be informed of the rot in our academic institutions. If she hadn’t, they would have lied through their teeth as they always do.

Lindsay is now up there with Professors Jordan Peterson and Janice Fiamengo as torch-bearers of freedom in the darkness of academic conformity and decay. She has done a great service for us all and I know she’s up for whatever the future may throw at her.

If I ever run into her, the drinks are on me.

Rebel Yell

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Two of my favourite thinkers speak of disgust, exposure to foreign matter, the body, and how people divide politically: openness versus security – Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Haidt. It leads to a very interesting discussion of Hitler, in passing. It shows how much we are slaves to metaphors.

Haidt situates the problem in

  • loss of unsupervised play as children, so that they arrive at university expecting a parent will always intervene;
  • excessive exposure to social media as children, and the pervasive use of media platforms (Facebook etc) that expose women and girls to reputation damage by mob;
  • Political polarization and segregation of people into hostile tribes; no one has been exposed to a differing opinion.

Haidt recommends everyone read Lenore Skenazy’s “Free Range Kids“. Why should kids always be confined to organized play?

 

 

 

Jonathan Haidt on the problems on campus

Haidt  speaks of “intersectionality” and our tribal nature. “Intersectionality is like NATO for social justice activists”.

You cannot get to a trans-tribal political construct – that is, liberal democratic society – by stirring up tribal feeling in youth.

He says that when he was given an education in the 1980s, he was given many lenses by which to analyze society. Now he says, the kids are given only one lens: power.

Could you invent a morality more at variance with the purposes of a university?

 

 

 

George Friedman says something fundamental

George Friedman is the head of Stratfor, a strategic foreign policy thinker and writer. If you have not read his many books, you ought to. In this video, he speaks in a different way. He speaks first of the experience of his father as a Hungarian Jew, who survived a Hungarian labour battalion in the German-allied Hungarian army at Stalingrad, escaped, got back to Budapest, then escaped the Nazi round up of Jews in 1945, and then escaped the round up of Social Democrats by the Communists in 1947, got to Israel, and then to the United States.

Clearly his father was a man who was happy that there was no gunfire aimed at him on any particular day.

This is a clearly important testimony to what Europe is, and what it ever could be. As he says, any civilization that could invent a Mozart, he is ready to extent some slack to. But he says, as many have, that the Europeans destroyed themselves from 1914 to 1945, with over 100 million dead. He is persuaded they will do something catastrophic again.

This was published on February 12, 2015. It is still highly relevant, and a moving personal testament. “Who will die to save the European Union?” No one. The guns we hear in the Ukraine, he says, are the precursor to a larger split.

 

 

Why now?

 

This frenzy of denunciation is no accident. The current stream of denunciations of males for actions they have committed towards women, some of them thirty years or more ago, is not a sudden explosion of moral rectitude. It is a deliberate campaign, and has been in the works for some time, possibly predating the Trump election. Later in this article I will expose the flimsy evidence for why I think the purge has been planned for some time.

It needs to be clear that the likes of Harvey Weinstein are odious. But people have observed that Weinstein got away with bad behaviour for decades. Why now? Some have speculated that, with the failure of the Clinton campaign, the cover of the Clintons has been withdrawn. The Enabler in Chief and her oversexed husband are no longer able to help Weinstein or anyone else. Their pay-for-play foreign policy gig is now over. The details are coming out, and will not stop, about how US foreign policy was simply bought by donations to the Clinton Foundation. 90% of the $2 billion raised by the Foundation has not been spent on charitable objects.

Even so, despite the rich targets the Clintons present, I do not see this sudden sexual Inquisition, this wave of denunciations of nearly every male celebrity, as being part of a Deep State plot or something concocted by Trump to get even with the Clintons. I have no doubt that the Clintons’ collective record present any journalist with a target-rich environment.
As always, the material has been evident to any reasonably diligent investigator. But it is my contention that though the Clintons may at last be caught in public odium, this frenzy of exposure of male misbehaviour has other motives.

Is this a sudden moral awakening? Is this like Harriet Beecher Stowe and her anti-slavery Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Abraham Lincoln, when introduced to Stowe, said to her: “So here’s the little lady who started the civil war”. Maybe. Moral awakenings cannot ever be ruled out.

I am suspicious of this explanation, and not for the usual cynicism of age and experience. A couple of years ago, a Washington insider lawyer was advising a board of directors I used to sit on that there would soon be a stepping up of vigilance in relation to male-female behaviour. He said, in effect, that touching of any kind, fraternization, compliments, even gentlemanly behaviour as it has been understood, would come under suspicion. At the time I wondered where he was getting this message, because he was talking as if he knew something that we did not. It turns out that he did.

At the risk of adding two and two and getting five, I have had enough experience with this particular lawyer and with life in general to trust my inference that this purge was premeditated. If it was aimed at Trump, it is clearly failing. If it was aimed at the Clintons, possibly by dissident Democrats who feel that they must be removed from influence, it will probably result in their disgrace. (About time!)

If occult powers were aiming to put men even more on their guard than they have been, this campaign will succeed for a while. I do not doubt that proper behaviour between men and women is desirable, and that sex should be consensual. All well and true, but we seem to have abandoned the social arrangements that were used to constrain sex to marriage and courtship. The social arrangements that prevailed before the Pill are not coming back without conversions to illiberal patriarchal religions, or changes of that magnitude. Male relatives will have to be recognized as having an interest in the reproductive activities of their daughters and sisters for this to come about. The feminists and most women would oppose this reversion.

Here is another truth we do not tell the kids: the inescapable fact is that sexual activity, by nature and definition, is improper, messy, biological, and lust-driven, and that consent is nuanced and situational. Men get stiff and women get wet; women desire sex in the right circumstances, and men try to persuade women that the circumstances are right.

I feel that some forces in society seem to think sex itself is a problem that can be solved with more militant social policing and shaming. I will be accused of an obtuse misunderstanding of the issue, of conflating sexual harassment with normal courtship and wooing. Yet, given the current propensity to carry everything to extremes (ref. the campaign against Jordan Peterson) this is the direction we will go in.

Who stands to gain from making sexual relations between people even more fraught and neurotic than they are?

 

We interrupt this blog to bring you something important

A friend came over today and mentioned the late Eva Cassidy, who died in 1996 when she was 33 years old,  of cancer. She is being discovered nowadays massively, thanks to the Internet. I rarely watch a singer who brings tears to my eyes. I warn you to be prepared for artistic greatness. Spread the word; it will improve your day  and everyone who hears her will be touched.

A biography of her life is here.

 

 

Nicholas Carr: a man of substance

Nicholas Carr has been writing about technology for some time. He is the author of several interesting books and blogs at Rough Type.

He is concerned with how the hand-held computer is messing with our capacity to think. In a recent posting, “How Smartphones Hijack our Minds”, he shows scientists studying the matter now believe that smartphones are damaging to us in subtle ways. I turn over this entry to Nicholas Carr. These are extracts from his posting.

Scientists have begun exploring that question — and what they’re discovering is both fascinating and troubling. Not only do our phones shape our thoughts in deep and complicated ways, but the effects persist even when we aren’t using the devices. As the brain grows dependent on the technology, the research suggests, the intellect weakens….

The results were striking. In both tests, the subjects whose phones were in view posted the worst scores, while those who left their phones in a different room did the best. The students who kept their phones in their pockets or bags came out in the middle. As the phone’s proximity increased, brainpower decreased.

In subsequent interviews, nearly all the participants said that their phones hadn’t been a distraction—that they hadn’t even thought about the devices during the experiment. They remained oblivious even as the phones disrupted their focus and thinking.

A second experiment conducted by the researchers produced similar results, while also revealing that the more heavily students relied on their phones in their everyday lives, the greater the cognitive penalty they suffered.

In an April article in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, Dr. Ward and his colleagues wrote that the “integration of smartphones into daily life” appears to cause a “brain drain” that can diminish such vital mental skills as “learning, logical reasoning, abstract thought, problem solving, and creativity.” Smartphones have become so entangled with our existence that, even when we’re not peering or pawing at them, they tug at our attention, diverting precious cognitive resources. Just suppressing the desire to check our phone, which we do routinely and subconsciously throughout the day, can debilitate our thinking. The fact that most of us now habitually keep our phones “nearby and in sight,” the researchers noted, only magnifies the mental toll.

Dr. Ward’s findings are consistent with other recently published research. In a similar but smaller 2014 study in the journal Social Psychology, psychologists at the University of Southern Maine found that people who had their phones in view, albeit turned off, during two demanding tests of attention and cognition made significantly more errors than did a control group whose phones remained out of sight. (The two groups performed about the same on a set of easier tests.)

In another study, published in Applied Cognitive Psychology this year, researchers examined how smartphones affected learning in a lecture class with 160 students at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. They found that students who didn’t bring their phones to the classroom scored a full letter-grade higher on a test of the material presented than those who brought their phones. It didn’t matter whether the students who had their phones used them or not: All of them scored equally poorly. A study of nearly a hundred secondary schools in the U.K., published last year in the journal Labour Economics, found that when schools ban smartphones, students’ examination scores go up substantially, with the weakest students benefiting the most.

Imagine combining a mailbox, a newspaper, a TV,
a radio, a photo album, a public library
and a boisterous party attended by
everyone you know, and then compressing them all
into a single, small, radiant object.
That is what a smartphone represents to us.

It isn’t just our reasoning that takes a hit when phones are around. Social skills and relationships seem to suffer as well. Because smartphones serve as constant reminders of all the friends we could be chatting with electronically, they pull at our minds when we’re talking with people in person, leaving our conversations shallower and less satisfying. In a 2013 study conducted at the University of Essex in England, 142 participants were divided into pairs and asked to converse in private for ten minutes. Half talked with a phone in the room, half without a phone present. The subjects were then given tests of affinity, trust and empathy. “The mere presence of mobile phones,” the researchers reported in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, “inhibited the development of interpersonal closeness and trust” and diminished “the extent to which individuals felt empathy and understanding from their partners.” The downsides were strongest when “a personally meaningful topic” was being discussed. The experiment’s results were validated in a subsequent study by Virginia Tech researchers, published in 2016 in the journal Environment and Behavior.