I have followed the anthropogenic global warming issue for over a decade. I cannot recall an exposition of the argument at once so devastating and so concise as this week’s Dilbert. Hats off and a deep bow to Scott Adams.
I have been increasingly concerned for the state of free speech in this country and in the States. At every turn we witness resignations, purges, denunciations, firings, exclusions, bannings and condemnations for the slightest deviation from particular policy lines in every medium of communication.
Not to put to fine a point on it, the heretical expressions concern any attempt to qualify the general guilt of white people for their various actual, historical, real or imagined sins, including especially any attempt to explain why the complaining group ought to tone it down, think another way, or mollify its criticism. I say usually the target is white people. In this exercize of demonization, I would submit that the actual race of the complained-against party is largely irrelevant. If North American society were composed mostly of Japanese people, the rhetoric would be anti-Japanese. Whatever is normal, straight, traditional, reasoned, moderate, and which assigns praise or blame wholly or partly on the basis of the complaining group’s own behaviours, cultures, and manners, is forbidden.
The announcement that Jonathan Kay, editor until yesterday of the Walrus, had felt forced to resign his position because he had come to the defence of free speech in the pages of the National Post, is but this week’s leading example.
There will be more of such events. They seem to be numbered in the dozens a month. A micro-eruption in an unread art magazine leads to the resignation of a person coming to his defence in a wider-circulation politics and arts magazine. Why? Why was Jonathan Kay’s continuing editorship felt to be untenable?
Amidst the lunacy the article by Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic magazine comes as a breath of fresh air. Friedersdorf tries to explain why the political Left is in general, losing the battle (even as it seems to me they are everywhere triumphant).
He cites Andrew Sullivan at one point:
“Among many liberals, there is an understandable impulse to raise the drawbridge, to deny certain ideas access to respectable conversation, to prevent certain concepts from being ‘normalized,’” Sullivan wrote, anticipating the objection. “But the normalization has already occurred — thanks, largely, to voters across the West — and willfully blinding ourselves to the most potent political movement of the moment will not make it go away. Our job in these circumstances is not to condescend but to engage — or forfeit the politics of the moment (and the future) to reaction.”
I saw this once on CBC TV, when during the usual political talking heads round-up, the NDP spokesman said “we shouldn’t even be debating this!”, when discussing the topic was precisely what needed to happen. The urge to ban speech they do not like is overwhelming them, and generating a deep-rooted repugnance among the sane.
I confess I am getting closer and closer to the contemplation of political actions to oppose the tide of leftist oppression, including: federal government defunding of large parts of illiberal higher education, or the shutting down on entire departments of literature, sociology, women’s studies, and the like. But I digress too soon from analysis to recommendation.
That a serious politician will soon make such proposals is foreseeable; that they will be implemented is conceivable, if the survival of liberal democracy seems to be at stake.
From Friedersdorf again, this time quoting Phoebe Maltz Bovy:
Trumpism isn’t about weaving poor and working-class white men back into discussions of socioeconomic inequality. It’s about declaring whiteness and maleness forms of marginalization.
At last we get to the essence of the matter. The modern form of Leftist discourse – I use the word ‘discourse’ to describe shouting through megaphones- is to place the honest and hard-working people who make the country a success and seek to place them permanently in the wrong by reason of their sex, their race, and their class.
This is racist, sexist, classist and – a lesser sin – utterly snobbish. It is to judge people on the colour of skin rather than the content of character. Making people permanently wrong on these bases is designed to achieve futility and heartache. Why do it?
I confess I do not know. And I also confess I am less and less concerned with understanding the Left’s psychosis and more and more concerned with how we are going to fight it. I am worried that I am seeking less and less to understand and more and more to have some heads cracked and some people fired.
The range of what is allowed to be said has been shrinking since I left university in the 1970s, but the shrinkage seems to be accelerating.
We in the West badly need glasnost and perestroika, openness and restructuring.
Today, May 14th, the “Tops News Headlines” section of the CBC website has the following headline on top: “More people could be hit by global ‘ransomware’ cyberattack Monday, police agency warns”.
Do the CBC reporters not read news from other sources? Consider the following news item which was on the BBC website yesterday.
Yes, this particular cyberattack is over. For some background here are some relevant tweets, in chronological order, from the twitter feed @MalwareTechBlog. This Twitter handle is registered to the guy who accidentally stopped this cyberattack.
From what I can gather the NHS ransomware is WannaCrypt (wcry) spreading using P2P exploitation of SMB with leaked NSA exploit.
Some analysts are suggesting by sinkholing the domain we stopped the infection? Can anyone confirm?
#WannaCry propagation payload contains previously unregistered domain, execution fails now that domain has been sinkholed
I will confess that I was unaware registering the domain would stop the malware until after i registered it, so initially it was accidental.
So long as the domain isn’t revoked, this particular strain will no longer cause harm, but patch your systems ASAP as they will try again.
My bad – finished analyzing all
#Wannacry worm mods we have and they all have the kill switch inside. No version without a kill-switch yet.
Yes CBC, you read that right. This “particular strain” of cyberattack is over because the virus will go check for the domain name and execution will fail. A new cyberattack will require a different virus code which doesn’t rely on checking for the status of this domain name. You should have known this two days ago.
It is strange that after every Ottawa Senators playoff game this season, CBC has been able to find “8 tweets that defined Game….“, but the reporters cannot find tweets relevant to other news.
People I know and like, and people I hardly know, are going out of their minds with Trumpophobia. I have been approached recently on several occasions by people overwrought with fury and consternation about Donald Trump. One fellow even was boasting of a German passport he had recently obtained, saying that he could consider emigrating to the centre of the free world, Frau Merkel’s Germany. I am not making this up. I look forward to his discovering how actually free Germany is, with its tumultuous Muslim problem, its anti-free speech codes, and its thought policing. And as he is probably a Jew, I also look forward to his discovering how well his religion and ethnicity goes over in militantly anti-jewish Muslim circles and with German greenies. But of course he was only posturing; if he acted on his mistaken principles I might actually have respect for his mistaken position.
Other, less virtue-signalling Americans are droning on relentlessly of Trump’s supposed subordination to Vladimir Putin, the fixed election, the calumny, the stupidity, the venality, the awfulness of Trump.
This summer I confidently expect to have to endure the Democrats whining constantly during their summer migration and stay in the village where I have my country place.
I have some advice:
You are being tedious beyond any reasonable limit!
I am fed up with your whining. I am not interested. Go away! If you persist in this, Trump will drive you into chemotherapy, catatonia, or dementia.
To quote the Master, Oscar Wilde,
-in matters of society, it is not a question of being right or wrong, but of being charming or tedious.-
And you are all being tedious in the extreme. Get over yourselves. Talk by 60 year old seriously privileged white people about -resistance- to Trump is more fatuous than you can imagine.
Said a Chinese paleontologist:
“In China you cannot criticize the government, but you can criticize Darwin. In the United States, you can criticize the government, but you cannot criticize Darwin.”
One of the books pushed aside by Whittaker Chambers’ Witness has been “Darwin’s Doubt”, by Stephen C. Meyer, which I have now resumed. I confess that, the more I read into Darwin and Darwinism, and I read a lot about Darwinism, it is evident that:
- He published two entirely distinct theories of evolution, natural selection and sexual selection.
- He published “The Descent of Man, or Selection in Relation to Sex” thirteen years after “The Origin of Species”.
- Accordingly, natural selection is not a complete theory of evolution. A complete theory explains all the facts in its purview. The Origin of Species does not pretend to do so.
- The fact that Darwin published two distinct theories means that he did not consider that natural selection is a complete theory of evolution. (This is to his credit as a serious scientist).
- It follows that, if two theories of evolution have been promulgated by the greatest biologist of the 19th century, there may be more mechanisms or explanations for evolution.
The longer you look into the question, as a lawyer examining evidence, the more you are compelled to conclude that the case for the origin of species in naturalistic or purely materialist theories is unproven. The Darwinian case is plausible; it is not proven. Nor can such a thing ever be proven. It can be argued, and argued persuasively, but it is beyond human capacity to prove,
Natural selection cannot be a “fact” in the sense in which that philosophical illiterate Richard Dawkins speaks. It is and will always remain a theory, more or less – I would argue less – plausibly demonstrated. Evolution may be an observed fact, but whether it occurs through natural selection exclusively or by other causes is, as Darwin attested, an answered question. It occurs by at last two forces: natural and sexual. Whether there is a third or fourth cause of evolution has not been established, but in principle it cannot be ruled out.
And we get this far merely by noting that Darwin promoted at last two theories of the causes of evolution of species.
When will people take account of this obvious fact? If two theories were promulgated by Darwin maybe
a) natural selection was thought insufficient by the Master himself;
b) maybe a third or fourth explanation is equally available
We can get this far without any discussion of intelligent design whatever.
Now you may be ready for this movie.
In the United States, you can criticize the government, but you cannot criticize Darwin. I recall Francis Bacon saying that if he had the ability, he would burn all of Aristotle. I understand now why he wanted to do so. It was not Aristotle, it was the position that the Church had put him in. And Darwin has been similarly quasi-deified by a materialist establishment.
Female sexual restraint is the basis of civilizational progress.
The matriarchy disincentivizes male energy.
The matriarchy is the result of female liberation.
A feminist future is an oxymoron.
Feeling better now?
By way of contradiction, if this video represented the whole truth, why are Islamic societies so fucked up? Disposable male energy is obviously not the whole answer, else these Islamic fuckheads would be running the world, as they think they ought to be, but so clearly are not. So there must be some other factors at work besides female chastity and suppressed sexuality that make for progress. Free inquiry?
Continuing with Witness, I want to cite some of the reasons that Whittaker Chambers cites for the enormous vituperation and calumny that fell on him from all sectors of the American intelligentsia for his denunciation of Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy. My fascination with this case rests upon my belief that, if anyone sufficiently on the inside of the global warming catastrophist conspiracy, published a book saying, in effect, ‘here was where we doctored the evidence, and these were the climate scientists who did it, and this was what we intended to accomplish’, that man would be denounced and vilified in terms akin to the well-organized outrage that greeted Whittaker Chambers in 1948-1950.
Chambers cites two sources of this outrage: snobbery and psychiatry.
In accusing Hiss of Communism, I had attacked an architect of the UN, and the partisans of peace fell on me like combat troops. I had attacked an intellectual and a ‘liberal’. A whole generation felt itself to be on trial – with pretty good reason too, for its fears probably did not far outrun its guilt….The “conspiracy of the gentlemen” closed its retaliatory ranks against me. Hence that musk of snobbism that lay rank and discrepant over the pro-Hiss faction.”
There was another, less tangible bond between those circles, which, together, accounted for a large part of the articulate American middle class. Both groups lived fairly constantly in the psychoanalysts’ permanent shadow, and few articles of furniture were less dispensable to them than a couch. And they shared a common necessity. Since my charge against Alger Hiss was that he had been a Communist and a Soviet agent, and there was besides, the Grand Jury’s perjury indictment, a good deal of clear and simple evidence that he had been, something, anything at all must be believed rather than the common-sense conclusion. The old masters -Freud and the author of Psychopathia Sexualis – were conned again. No depravity was too bizarre to ‘explain’ Chambers’ motives for calling Hiss a Communist. No hypothesis was too preposterous, no speculation too fantastic, to “explain” how all those State department documents came to be copied n Hiss’s Woodstock typewriter. Only the truth became too preposterous to entertain.” (p. 698)
Only the truth became too preposterous to entertain.
When a whole generation commits itself to an error of this monstrous kind, such as Communism was and global climate catastrophism is, you may be sure that it will defend itself against self-knowledge by any means possible.
In the book, Chambers discusses an evening spent with a Czech exile after the Second World War, in which American politics was the subject. The Czech exile disagreed with his American host on something, and had occasion to say the following. [I paraphrase]
“Ah! but you have it wrong. The reason for this is that the American working class is Democratic, and the American middle class leans Republican, but the American upper class is Communist”.
An exaggeration, but not by much. There is something about $100,000 or more in a trust fund that causes its beneficiaries to go totally soft in the head. I know of no surer method to make someone ideologically leftist than inherited wealth, which so often engenders feelings that one “owes” society something more than one’s own good behaviour. From those to whom much is given, much is owed – and all that privileged background stuff. It reliably produces a vain self -importance which is dangerous to society in general.
It also leads to the betrayal of that society for its failure to live up to the absurd demands of over-privileged snowflakes.
In the 1920s and 30s the number of people benefiting from unearned wealth were few; nowadays it seems that the leftism which used to be a preserve of the truly wealthy has become a mass middle-class phenomenon.
Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961) was, from his mid twenties until his late thirties, a Communist and a spy for Soviet military intelligence (the GRU), who departed the Communist Party and his spying, and became a senior editor of Time magazine. He was a very gifted writer, and wrote a truly great book, Witness. His insights into what Communism was, why it nearly succeeded, and the enormous difficulty many Americans had in believing that there was anything the matter with the Soviet Union, are relevant to this day.
Books I read compete for my attention. I keep three or four on the go and more ready to to take up the slack at any time. At the moment, Witness has blown past the other respectable contestants by a furlong and is heading down the track to claim the prize.
People of a certain age will be forgiven for not understanding how much the 20th century was shaped by the Communist promise. It fell like Sauron’s Barad-Dür in 1989, contrary to every respectable opinion leader in western society, except the true hardened east European anti-Communists, to whom no one paid much attention.
Whittaker Chambers remarks that the driving force of Western intellectuals supporting the Party was not a belief in the economic doctrines of Marx, which hardly anyone read, but the promise of an egalitarian society and the end of material want. The age old and senseless suffering of man could at last come to an end, and if it took a few crimes to achieve it, then it was worth it. They had the Plan. No one else did.
It must be recalled that the Soviet Union, betrayed in its alliance with Hitler, took most of the casualties of World War 2. There was deep-rooted appreciation for the Soviet Union and its wartime sacrifices across most sectors of enlightened liberal opinion until at least 1948 and longer. The desirability of central planning of the economy was an assumed truth in almost every quarter of literate opinion. I recall George Orwell reviewing a book by Hayek, the Road to Serfdom. Orwell was aghast at Hayek’s bold denunciation of central planning of the economy. Says Orwell:
Professor Hayek denies that free capitalism necessarily leads to monopoly, but in practice that is where it has led, and since the vast majority of people would far rather have State regimentation than slumps and unemployment, the drift towards collectivism is bound to continue if popular opinion has any say in the matter.
But the vogue for central planning was underlain by a deep seated belief that Communism had the correct blueprint to understanding and acting in history.
Chambers’ view of Communism was that one could serve it for many years, and still not penetrate to its essence. Then, sooner or later, one would hear screams in the night.
Whittaker Chambers wrote:
What Communist has not heard those screams? Execution, says the Communist code, is the highest measure of social protection. What man can call himself a Communist who has not accepted the fact that Terror is an instrument of policy, right if the vision is right, justified by history, enjoined by the balance of forces in the social wars of this century? Tose screams have reached every Communist’s mind. Usually they stop there. What judge willingly dwells upon the man the laws compel him to condemn to death – the laws of nations or the laws of history? (page xliv)
What provoked my interest was a passage much further along in the book concerning why the vast mass of American bien-pensants revolted at the notion that Chambers was right in denouncing well-born native Americans who were part of his spy apparatus. Readers of this blog may be expected to have heard names like Alger Hiss or Harry Dexter White but may have forgotten the enormous brouhaha that erupted across the United states when in 1948 Chambers was summoned to publish his accusations by a Congressional committee. Quite simply, he said these people were part of his spy ring. He knew so because he picked up documents from them weekly for years for the purpose of microfilming and passing on to Colonel Bykov, his GRU controller. Chambers was not believed by many liberals, and was sued by Alger Hiss for slander twice. Hiss eventually went to prison for espionage. His guilt has been more than adequately proven by subsequent decrypts of Soviet signals traffic.
Chambers had to deal with the enmity of those who believed that Communism was basically a force for good in the world, and that he was wrong or mentally unbalanced for believing otherwise. Speaking of these “liberals”, Chambers wrote:
They were people who believed a number of things. Foremost among them was a belief that peace could be preserved, World War III could be averted only by conciliating the Soviet union. For this no p[rice was too high to pay, including the price of wilful historical self delusion. Yet they had just fiercely supported a war in which one of their ululant outcries had been against appeasement; and they were much too intelligent really to believe that Russia was a democracy or most of the other upside-down things they said in defense of it. Hence like most people who have substituted the habit of delusion for reality, they became hysterical whenever the root of their delusion was touched, and reacted with a violence that completely belied the openness of mind which they prescribed for others. Let me call their peculiar condition… the Popular Front mind.
The Popular Front mind dominated American life, at least from 1938 to 1948….Particularly, it dominated all avenues of communication between the intellectuals and the nation. It told the nation what it should believe; it made up the nation’s mind for it. The Popular Fronters had made themselves the “experts”. They controlled the narrows of news and opinion. And though, to a practised ear, they never ceased to speak as the scribes, the nation heard in their fatal errors the voice of those having authority. For the nation too, wanted peace above all things, and it meant it could not grasp or believe that a conspiracy on the scale of Communism was possible or that it had already made so deep a penetration into their lives.”
Does that remind you of something?
97% of scientists believe that ….?
Anthropogenic global warming?
I am waiting for the Whittaker Chambers of the anthropogenic global warming movement to write his book on the scale of the deception, the skullduggery and the extent of the conspiracy. It will be resisted to the same extent that Whittaker Chamber’s testimony was, and by the same sorts of people. The AGW thing has not arisen to totalitarian power anywhere yet, but not for want of trying.
In any case, for any number of reasons, Witness makes for compelling reading, not least because it is a great story well told about the struggles of the 20th century, and of a man and his God.
Last night we were talking about Trump, and my friend accused me of being a ‘true believer’. I took his meaning to be that I had suspended my critical faculties in regard to Trump.
So I have had occasion to self-interrogate: am I a true believer? Do I, or have I, suspended critical analysis?
If the accusation had come from a fanatic for Hillary, it might have been dismissed. But he is not blind, and is mostly shrewd. My friend was strongly against the second Iraqi invasion, and ranted for about ten years about Iraqi civilian casualties, to the point of being insufferable at times. In the perspective of history, it can be argued that the second Iraqi invasion by the United States was destabilizing, a waste of resources, and accomplished nothing. It might even be argued that Saddam should still be on the throne, even if it meant that Saddam would get away with killing 30,000 Iraqis a year, as was his wont. It can certainly be argued, as the late George Jonas did, that Saddam should have been deposed and hanged, and the US should have got out shortly after his capture.
So my friend can be right at times for bad or poorly articulated reasons. Same as me, I suppose.
To the best of my ability, I try to stay skeptical about Trump, without succumbing to enthusiasm. What bugs me about the anti-Trumpians is the same as the global warming catastrophists: their opposition seems demented and irrational. The arguments always seem to come down to a firm belief in their own moral righteousness, deviation from which is not merely error, but sin. Their arguments come down to mantras like “97%”, or virtue signalling, and professions of their moral superiority, Trump’s manifest limitations of character, and hence their correctness.
But I keep thinking, what if that crazed fucker actually solves a world problem or two? What would it be like to have an Iran which was afraid of the United States? A North Korea that was relatively pacific? A China that was working constructively with the US? A Canada without milk marketing boards? [to reduce it to the purely local]. A United States with a simplified tax system and lower rates?
To be a conservative is to be concerned with error, particularly one’s own. A system of government designed around the reality of fallibility results from concerns for error, for over-concentration of power, for the excesses of popular will.
I happen to think the constitution of the United States goes too far in dispersing power, and that a great deal of the irresponsibility of its constituent parts derives from an excessive concern for a recurrence of George III. Nonetheless, I continue to suspect the political system can turn at any moment into tyranny when popular enthusiams are not sufficiently constrained.
Does that make me a tory? Yes. Does it make me a conservative? Well yes, but of a liberal society.
What mostly concerns me about the anti-Trumpians and the global warming catastrophists is a shared conviction of their righteousness, and an imperviousness to evidence. No amount of evidence seems enough to jolt them from their doctrinal assurance.
Who is the true believer in that case?
Explanations are sought. They can be racial, cultural, or selective on any basis whatever, such as recent immigration policy in the US.
I got an immediate response from Arran Gold, from his mountain fortress.
His explanation for the rankings are:
2. Affirmative action
3. White privilege
Hilarious, Arran! And yet, Episcopalians are privileged beyond whiteness (like most “old money” in the US, the Bushes attend that church). For those who have had the pleasure of a visit to Maui and taken the 10,000-ft drive up to the top of dormant volcano Haleakala, you may have noticed that at sea level are store-front evangelical churches attended by native Hawaiians, at 1000 ft are Baptist churches, at 1500 foot elevation are Presbyterian, and at a balmy, eternal-spring 2500 ft are Episcopalian churches, surrounded by large Tudor-style homes with rose gardens, i.e. exactly mirroring their ranking in the chart 🙂