Wizards versus Prophets: How to feed 10 billion people

The Atlantic carries a useful discussion of two schools of thought, one of which is broadly eco-doomist, and the other is ameliorist. The dispute takes place in the vital issue of agriculture, and the author situates the dispute as one between William Vogt (1902-1968) and Norman Borlaug, (1914-2009) father the Green Revolution. It will come as no surprise that they knew and despised each other.

Vogt published his views in 1948 in a book called the Road to Survival, which, according to Wikipedia set forth

…his strong belief that then-current trends in fertility and economic growth were rapidly destroying the environment and undermining the quality of life of future generations. Vogt’s most significant contribution was to link environmental and perceived overpopulation problems, warning in no uncertain terms that current trends would deliver future wars, hunger, disease and civilizational collapse.

Road to Survival was an influential best seller. It had a big impact on a Malthusian revival in the 1950s and 60s. After its publication he dedicated many activities to the cause of overpopulation. From 1951 to 1962, he served as a National Director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Borlaug, says Wikipedia:

…was often called “the father of the Green Revolution”,[5][6] and is credited with saving over a billion people worldwide from starvation.[7][8][9][10] According to Jan Douglas, executive assistant to the president of the World Food Prize Foundation, the source of this number is Gregg Easterbrook‘s 1997 article “Forgotten Benefactor of Humanity”, the article states that the “form of agriculture that Borlaug preaches may have prevented a billion deaths.”[11] He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply.

As a Bengali-born professor of economics once told me, in relation to the Green Revolution, “when I first came to Bangladesh I could see the ribs of the rice farmers; now I can’t”.

The Atlantic article is entertaining and informative, but it fails to mention the vital point, which determines whether Vogt or Borlaug will win the argument. As soon as women can be guaranteed that they will have one or two surviving children, they cease to have more. Everywhere in the world, industrialized or not, population growth is crashing. This process is occurring with great suddenness in Islamic countries. The world population will be 10 billion by 2050; what the article fails to mention is that it will be 7 billion by 2100, according to David Goldman, who bases himself on UN population projections and the latest birth rates.

These issue are explored in David Goldman’s How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is dying too). The book overturns a number of beliefs that were drummed into us in the 1970s and beyond: overpopulation, ecological disaster, resources running out, doom, in short.

Goldman advances the view that throughout history, but especially now, population decline is mostly to be feared, because it throws economies into a tailspin. Fertility rates have fallen below replacement in nearly all wealthy countries, and are doing so in Islamic countries.

In the great ideological debate about human nutrition, one can only hope that Borlaug’s practical optimism will prevail. The eco-doomist vision has never failed to produce want, misery and failure. Stick with the optimists, it will be tough enough even if they are right.

Of the questions that need to be asked bout human society in the next decades, the relevant one is whether we will still breed in 2050 enough to avoid social and economic collapse. There will be enough food, enough water, and enough resources. The truly important question is whether there will be enough humans to enjoy them by 2100. Spengler maintains that birth rates are falling between the green line and the yellow line in the UN population projections, shown below. (I leave aside the important question whether the remaining humans will be slaves or masters of their robotic machinery).

World Population Estimates

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population_estimates#/media/File:World-Population-1800-2100.svg

Goldman says the green line is the correct one.

 

Why I do not blog much about the Liberals

http://www.craigmarlatt.com/canada/images/government/cabinet.jpg

 

The Liberals are a body of people who believe themselves to be our natural governors. This belief is predicated on nothing more than a deep belief in their superiority. We are Liberals, therefore we are superior. Because we are superior, we need no more claim to power than our superiority. Today we might be collectivists; tomorrow we could be free-marketers. It is of no consequence. We are superior and people who oppose us are our moral inferiors. It is irrelevant whether we are Sikhs, or Christians, or Muslims or Jews. We do not take our religions seriously anyway, for the most part. We are Liberals; we are superior. That is all you need know, or ever know.

Hence they can act with reckless disregard for common sense,  religious convictions, and economic prosperity. Winning elections is what we do, and that is who we are. Pure power. They have not yet reached the stage of Orwell’s explanation of the Inner Party in 1984; they still proclaim their devotion to the common good.But their claim to rule is not based on delivering the goods, bettering the condition of man: quite the contrary. Their claim to power  their own minds is that, as morally superior people, they have the right to rule, and only error in the electorate can cause them to be temporarily excluded from power.

Thus, in Canada at this time, we see that

We see disastrous anti-growth policies in relation to carbon taxes, failure to support energy pipelines, and empty pledges to reduce CO2 emissions.

I will not spare a paragraph on their Liberal counterparts in Ontario. They represent what the federal Liberals will look like after ten years in power.

Consequently, when the Liberals take over the government of Canada, there will always be a brief period of sunshine as prosperity is faked through excessive spending, but never on the military, the civil services smiles as government activity expands, our national symbols are degraded, the Indians sucked up to, and a wave of social concern and compassion is announced for every soi-disant downtrodden group. The sunshine does not last because it cannot last. Yet the country is rich enough, and its people productive enough, that it can take nearly a decade for the damage to become visible.

The Liberals cannot help themselves. They are the children that Jordan Peterson talks about, the little two-year old God Emperors who were catered to at every moment in their lives arrive at adulthood without having encountered restraint, discipline, or convictions. They mouth the right attitudes. If they are ruthless and amoral enough, they Party finds them, and they find the Party.

They know best. They are Liberals. They cannot learn. They cannot learn because they have nothing to learn.  They can only act the way they act. In a properly constituted world, some of them might face firing squads. But we do not live in such a world. They will continue to govern us, badly, until such time as the population vomits them out of power. Until that time the rest of us not so privileged can only witness and observe the preening, the self-congratulation, and the ruinous policies.

 

 

From the other side of the universe

President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Samantha Power, NSC Director of Multilateral Affairs, in a scene from THE FINAL YEAR, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

 

 

Chris Knight reviews a documentary on the subject of the last year of the Obama regime. It makes entertaining reading. By “entertaining” I do not mean that readers of this blog will like the movie. To the contrary, they will marvel at the capacity of a man to be so deceived. The President who was a friend to every enemy of the United States, and indifferent or hostile to most of its friends, the man who hated and disdained half the electorate – the people who elected Trump, the President who kept the United  States’ economy in stasis, the man who feared global warming but who could never allow himself to utter the words “Islamic terrorism”: you will recall President Obama. And we will not even start on the Clinton Foundation’s pay for play scheme to translate the foreign policy of the United States into donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Gently weep, o readers, at the memory of it all.

 

“A word of warning; more than any other film this year, The Final Year may make you cry. If you feel an almost daily despair at the prospect of a racist, sexist, inarticulate liar holding the highest office in the world, you will despair even more mightily at the memory of a time when none of that was true.

Greg Barker’s documentary follows U.S. President Barack Obama through his last 12 months in office, mostly through the eyes of some of his closest staff: national security advisors Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes; UN ambassador Samantha Power; and former Secretary of State John Kerry, whose great take-away quote in this film, spoken to Russian officials at the United Nations, is: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

[Yes I am, especially if yours are wrong – Dalwhinnie]

“The Obama administration was flawed. That’s a given; they all are. But we see these people jetting around the world, doing their damndest to leave the planet in a better state than they found it, whether through climate-change agreements, rapprochement with Iran and Cuba, brokering a Syrian ceasefire, or something as simple and moving as organizing the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to Hiroshima.

Barker conducts a few interviews, but the film is strongest when it just leans in to observe. Power attends a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens, speaking through tears about coming to America from Ireland at the age of nine. Rhodes, on his way to an aircraft, mentions to a colleague in passing: “The last thing that this world needs is more walls.” The film introduces the White House Press Secretary, a guy with the almost adorably antiquarian name of Josh Earnest.

And as the final year dwindles to the final days, a new president prepares to take office. His first year concludes on Jan. 20. The story of those 12 months will no doubt make a fascinating documentary one day. It may even make you cry.”

How is this fellow employed at Canada’s supposedly conservative newspaper?

 

Your daily dose of Jordan Peterson

You need to hear him. The BBC interviewer interrupts constantly and it is obvious that nothing Peterson says fits her preconceived notions. Yet he calmly prevails. I wish I had as much precision of speech when under pressure.

Worth watching just to see how a careful answer can influence even a BBC interrogator. She interrupts, she fails to listen, she is disagreeable, she acts is unfair.  She projects madly from stuff she misinterprets. In fact, she argues like your wife, your girl friend.

He points out she has the right to be disagreeable, and that she is being disagreeable, and she agrees with him. So how come Jordan Peterson does not have the right to be disagreeable to radical leftist ideologues?

 

 

There’ll be a meter on your bed

There’ll be a meter on your bed

That will disclose what everybody knows

-L.Cohen

 

Amazon’s creepy plan to put a camera and microphone in every BEDROOM with launch of its £120 Echo Spot ‘smart alarm’

Products like the Amazon Echo are proof of a strange new shift in our culture. Suddenly people are okay with having a device in their homes that they know is listening to them. They’re voluntarily inserting electronic devices into their private lives, which are capable of spying on them and sending the data to private corporations and governments.

At some point our society accepted the idea that trading our privacy for a minor convenience is totally worth it, which is something that would surely be mind-blowing to previous generations. However, that social acceptance is about to be pushed to a whole new level. Today, Amazon introduced a new device to their Echo line of products, called the Echo Look.

It’s basically a camera that you stick in your bathroom or your bedroom or wherever you dress, and it takes full length images of what you’re wearing. It’s being called a “style assistant.” It has a service that “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists,” presumably to give you feedback on what you’re wearing. I’m guessing that at some point, it’ll make suggestions for clothes you should buy on Amazon.

Let that sink in. Amazon thinks that millions of people are going to spend $199 on a camera that is supposed to be placed in their bedrooms, stores images of them, and is probably going to criticize their fashion sense before hawking products to them. I’m not sure what’s scarier. Is it that this thing even exists, or that Amazon’s assumption that millions of people are going to buy this product, is probably correct?

 

 

I take the occasion to say again that Leonard Cohen was by no means some kind of progressive, left-wing person. He saw things through a religious prism. Almost every week I find some resonance between one of Cohen’s darker prognostications and what is happening today. “Everybody Knows” was written in 1988.

Trump and the reversal of PC

Myron Magnet nails it: Trump is the dawn of the last days of political correctness: the view that it is not just improper, but immoral, and ought soon to be illegal, to advert to any instance of human inequality as if the less fortunate might have some role in their misfortune, their poorer circumstances, their condition. It is not “blaming the victim”; it is not “hate”. It consists of the reference to facts, to which the Left is strongly averse. The Left hates facts because the facts of life are conservative.

Two op-eds in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal and one on this website brilliantly call attention to aspects of the vast political and cultural change, still in its early stages, that is gathering force in this country as inexorably as the spring thaw breaks up a frozen river, first as a trickle and then a torrent. Donald Trump figures in all three stories. He is at once a cause and an effect of the change—the Tea Party movement embodied and in power, and as much a rejection of the existing order of things as the mob that swarmed onto British ships in Boston Harbor 245 years ago and flung overboard their cargo of tea whose tax they refused to pay in a gesture of defiance that declared “No more!” And they meant it.

Freedom of speech is not for ideas of which you approve. It is meant for “hate” and “hatefacts”.

Canada is a high trust society; the US not so

Paul Bédard writes in the Washington Examiner. He cites the Pew report as saying:

The U.S. is also one of only a few countries where governing party supporters are less satisfied with their news media than are non-supporters. In most countries, people who support the political party currently in power are more satisfied with the performance of their news media than those who do not support the governing party,” said the study.