Friday, 14 December 2018

Cardinal Pell going home


Here's a song for Cardinal George Pell, jailed yesterday in Australia -- even though Australians may not have heard ...


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"'The process of observing the facts of reality and of integrating them into concepts is ... a process of induction. The process of subsuming new instances under a known concept is ... a process of deduction.' These sentences state not the two fundamental methods of cognition, & the correct roles of induction and deduction in human life." QotD


"'The process of observing the facts of reality and of integrating them into concepts is, in essence, a process of induction. The process of subsuming new instances under a known concept is, in essence, a process of deduction.'
    "These brief and to the point sentences [from Ayn Rand's 'Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology'] state not just the two fundamental methods of cognition, but more importantly, the correct roles of induction and deduction in human life.
    "And by 'human life,' I mean science as well as everyday life.
    "Induction is the process of generalisation, of forming universal concepts based on our observation of particular objects or events. The definition of a single concept states a principle—all humans possess the capacity to reason, for example—and the combination of several or many concepts and principles builds our knowledge of reality and, in some cases, establishes the physical, biological, and human sciences.
    "Induction is conceptualisation. From an early age, probably before we can assign words to them, we all practice the inductive formation of universal concepts... 
  "[Ayn] Rand’s identification describes in general terms the true nature of induction and makes the biological and human sciences as exact and valid as the physical sciences."
        ~ Jerry Kirkpatrick, from hist post 'On the Correct Roles of Induction and Deduction in Human Life:
           Two Sentences from Ayn Rand’s Theory of Concepts'
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Thursday, 13 December 2018

"I’m increasingly suspicious of claims that we are in a deregulatory environment...Look for the US to continue taking regulatory steps to close itself off from the rest of the world." Bonus #QotD


"One often hears about the Trump administration’s deregulation push. But how real is it? Is the number of regulations rising or falling? One Mercatus Center study found that growth in federal regulations slowed during 2017 ... 
    "Slower growth is a good thing, but it doesn’t represent 'deregulation.' 
    "There are many areas where regulation is still increasing [especially] ... foreign investment, immigration paperwork and mail delivery. Three very different types of regulation, with one thing in common. The US government seems increasingly suspicious of the rest of the world. Look for the US to continue taking regulatory steps to close itself off from the rest of the world. I expect [the US] to remain much more open than places like Cuba and North Korea, but less so than places like Canada and Australia. 
    "Meanwhile, I’m increasingly suspicious of claims that we are in a deregulatory environment..." 
        ~ Scott Sumner, from his post 'Regulation Watch' [Emphasis mine]
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Quote of the Day: On Neo-Puritanism and "Meddlesome Preferences"


"[There may be] an implicit recognition by all parties ... that, although each may have preferences over the others' behaviour, any attempt to impose one person's preferences on the behaviour of another must be predicted to set off reciprocal attempt to have one's own behaviour constrained in a like fashion. An attitude of 'live and let live, ' or mutual tolerance and mutual respect, may be better for all of us, despite the occasional deviance from ordinary standards of common decency. 
    “Such an attitude would seem to be that of anyone who claimed to hold to democratic and individualistic values, in which each person's preferences are held to account equally with those of others. By contrast, the genuine elitist, who somehow thinks that his or her own preferences are ‘superior to,’ ‘better than, ‘ or ‘more correct’ than those of others, will, of course, try to control the behaviour of everyone else, while holding fast to his or her own liberty to do as he or she pleases.” 
        ~ James Buchanan, from his essay on 'Politics & Meddlesome Preferences'

[Hat tip Jim Rose]
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

"And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle." #QotD


“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.” 
         ~ Steve Jobs, Apple CEO
[Hat tip Stephen Hicks]
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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

"We’re mistaken if we believe that the collapse of Christianity in America has led to a decline in religion. It has merely led to religious impulses being expressed by political cults." #QotD


"Social-justice ideology does everything a religion should. It offers an account of the whole: that human life and society and any kind of truth must be seen entirely as a function of social power structures, in which various groups have spent all of human existence oppressing other groups. And it provides a set of practices to resist and reverse this interlocking web of oppression — from regulating the workplace and policing the classroom to checking your own sin and even seeking to control language itself. I think of non-PC gaffes as the equivalent of old swear words. Like the puritans who were agape when someone said “goddamn,” the new faithful are scandalised when someone says something “problematic.” Another commonality of the zealot then and now: humourlessness.
    "And so the young adherents of the Great Awokening exhibit the zeal of the Great Awakening. Like early modern Christians, they punish heresy by banishing sinners from society or coercing them to public demonstrations of shame, and provide an avenue for redemption in the form of a thorough public confession of sin. “Social justice” theory requires the admission of white privilege in ways that are strikingly like the admission of original sin. A Christian is born again; an activist gets woke....
    "[W]e’re mistaken if we believe that the collapse of Christianity in America has led to a decline in religion. It has merely led to religious impulses being expressed by political cults."
        ~ Andrew Sullivan, from his otherwise risible op-ed 'America's New Religions'
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Monday, 10 December 2018

"The world is a closed system in the way that a piano is a closed system. The instrument has only 88 notes, but those notes can be played in a nearly infinite variety of ways. The same applies to our planet." #QotD


"The world is a closed system in the way that a piano is a closed system. The instrument has only 88 notes, but those notes can be played in a nearly infinite variety of ways. The same applies to our planet. 
    "The Earth’s atoms may be fixed, but the possible combinations of those atoms are infinite. What matters, then, is not the physical limits of our planet, but human freedom to experiment and reimagine the use of resources that we have." 
        ~ Marian Tupy, editor of Human Progress, and Professor Gale Pooley from Brigham Young University, quoted in
           Allison Ryan's article 'Introducing the Simon Abundance Index: [How] every additional human being
           born appears to make resources proportionally more plentiful'
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Saturday, 8 December 2018

“Let us live and love, nor give a damn what sour old men say. The sun that sets may rise again, but when our light has sunk into the earth it is gone forever.” #QotD


“Let us live and love, nor give a damn what sour old men say. The sun that sets may rise again, but when our light has sunk into the earth it is gone forever.” 
        ~ Catullus
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Friday, 7 December 2018

"Separating the trading entities into national aggregates allows a variety of fallacious conclusions to be drawn by artful intriguers. Historically such intriguers formed practically an entire 'school' of economic policy now known as mercantilism." #QotD


"Separating the trading entities into national aggregates allows a variety of fallacious conclusions to be drawn by artful intriguers. Historically such intriguers formed practically an entire 'school' of economic policy now known as mercantilism. In his classic work 'The Wealth of Nations' (1776), Adam Smith exposed many of the errors and misconceptions of this school and argued forcefully for freedom of trade as the policy consistent with maximisation of people’s wealth as a whole rather than augmentation of the intriguers’ wealth at the expense of the general public. As Smith concluded, 'Nothing . . . can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade'.”
        ~ Robert Higgs, from hist article 'Against the Whole Concept and Construction of the Balance of International Payments'
[Hat tip Cafe Hayek]
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Thursday, 6 December 2018

David Attenborough: 'The sky is falling'




David Attenborough has been widely lauded in headlines worldwide for his dramatic claim that is"civilisation" is to be saved then "we" have just thirty years in which to "take action" -- that action being in the main, as per his speech, government action to ban private actions. “The world’s people have spoken," claimed Attenborough. "Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now." A strange claim indeed to make in a week in which many of France's people set fire to Paris to protest the decision-makers' new French carbon tax.

Stranger still to hear the great man sound so shrill. In the words of Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore,
It's a real shame, but Sir David has allowed himself to be used as a prophet of doom. Who knows what caused his mind to be sucked into this deviance from his once celebratory view of living creation? The demonisation of CO2 is an evil act against the most important food for life.
Even if the doom-mongers were correct about the science, of course, that would say nothing at all about the action to be taken. Bjorn Lomborg for example warns that "strong global climate action would cause far more hunger and food insecurity than climate change itself.” And civilisation itself demands in any case that we take the doom-mongering cautiously.
Before any implication for action can be present, additional information is required.
    One essential piece of information is the comparative valuation attached to retaining industrial civilisation versus avoiding global warming. If one values the benefits provided by industrial civilisation above the avoidance of the losses alleged to result from global warming, it follows that nothing should be done to stop global warming that destroys or undermines industrial civilisation. That is, it follows that global warming should simply be accepted as a byproduct of economic progress and that life should go on as normal in the face of it.
    Modern, industrial civilisation and its further development are values that we dare not sacrifice if we value our material well-being, our health, and our very lives. It is what has enabled billions more people to survive and to live longer and better. Here in the United States it has enabled the average person to live at a level far surpassing that of kings and emperors of a few generations ago.
    The foundation of this civilisation has been, and for the foreseeable future will continue to be, the use of fossil fuels.
Nevertheless, there is a reason most people sleep far more easily than they should given all the doom-mongering going around -- and there is a very good reason for that: which is the many, many years of  fatuous, fat-headed environmental predictions made by a litany of worry-worts and misanthropic headline-hunting doomsayers.

Predictions like these:





  • Britain's industrial growth will come to a halt because its coal reserves are running out “… it is useless to think of substituting any other kind of fuel for coal... some day our coal seams [may] be found emptied to the bottom, and swept clean like a coal-cellar. Our fires and furnaces ... suddenly extinguished, and cold and darkness ... left to reign over a depopulated country."
    --Economist William Stanley Jevons, writing in 1865
  • Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of IndiaPakistanChina and the Near EastAfrica. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions....By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.
    --Peter Gunter, a professor at 
    North Texas State University. Spring 1970 issue of ‘The Living Wilderness.’
  • Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….” 
    --‘Life’ Magazine, January 1970
  • Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.--George Wald, Harvard Biologist, Earth Day, 1970
  • It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.
    --Denis Hayes, chief organiser for Earth Day, 1970
  • …some scientists estimate that the world's known supplies of oil, tin, copper, and aluminium will be used up within your lifetime.
    --1990s school textbook The United States and Its People, quoted by Ronald Bailey in testimony to US House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, 
    Feb 4, 2004
  • The period of global food security is over. As the demand for food continues to press against supply, inevitably real food prices will rise. The question no longer seems to be whether they will rise, but how much.
    --Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown, 1981
  • The world's farmers can no longer be counted on to feed the projected additions to the world's population.-- Worldwatch Institute founder Lester Brown, State of the World Report, 1994
  • The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WWII is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and exploding population.
    —Reid Bryson, “Global Ecology; Readings towards a rational strategy for Man”, (1971)
  • The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer.
    —Paul Ehrlich, in The Population Bomb (Ballantine Books 1968)
  • I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.
    —Paul Ehrlich in (1969)
  • In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.—Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day (1970)
  • Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity…in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion.
    —Paul Ehrlich in (1976)
  • Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.
    --Sen. Gaylord Nelson, 1970
  • There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production—with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth. The drop in food production could begin quite soon… The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologist are hard-pressed to keep up with it… This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.
    --Science writer Peter Gwynne writing in ‘The Cooling World,’ ‘Newsweek’ magazine, April 28, 1975
  • This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000.
    —Lowell Ponte in his book The Cooling, 1976 (which was endorsed by US Senator Claiborne Pell and Bush adviser on global warming Stephen Schneider)
  • At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable... If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. … This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.
    —Kenneth E.F. Watt on air pollution and global cooling, speaking on Earth Day 1970. Watt is Editor in Chief, Encyclopaedia of Human Ecology Advisory Board Member, Center for the Study of CO2 and Climate Change
  • By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’ 
    -- Kenneth Watt, again
  • Indeed, when we wake up 20 years from now and find that the Atlantic Ocean is just outside WashingtonD.C., because the polar icecaps are melting, we may look back at this pivotal election.
    --New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, writing in NY Times, 
    Dec 8, 2000.
  • Frostban -- a harmless bacteria genetically engineered to protect plants from freezing temperatures -- "could irreversibly affect worldwide climate and precipitation patterns over a long, long period of time.
    -- Founder and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends, Jeremy Rifkin, 1986
  • The economic impact of BIV (Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus) on the beef and dairy industries is likely to be devastating in the years to come.
    --Jeremy Rifkin, Beyond Beef 1992
  • Biotech crops will "run amok"; they will create "super bugs"; they will lead to farmers using "greater quantities of herbicides."
    --Jeremy Rifkin, 1999 
    Boston Globe
  • The use of biotechnology might "risk a fatal interruption of millions of years of evolutionary development? Might not the artificial creation of life spell the end of the natural world? ... cause irreversible damage to the biosphere, making genetic pollution an even greater threat to the planet than nuclear or petrochemical pollution?”
    -- Jeremy Rifkin, The Biotech Century 1999
  • Current estimates that a flu pandemic could infect 20% of the world's population and cause 7.5 million deaths are "among the more optimistic predictions of how the next pandemic might unfold.”
    --
    Osterhaus et al. Nature May 2005
  • The next flu pandemic could kill as many as 150 million people.
    --
    Dr. David Nabarro. WHO spokesman Sept 2005.
  • As many as 142 million people around the world could die if bird flu turns into a "worst case" influenza pandemic and global economic losses could run to $4.4 trillion - the equivalent of wiping out the entire Japanese economy for a year.
    --
    Report entitled Global Macroeconomic Consequences of Pandemic Influenza, from the Lowy Institute in Australia. Feb 2006.
  • The seven atmospheric scientists predict a global warming of ''almost unprecedented magnitude'' in the next century. It might even be sufficient to melt and dislodge the ice cover of West Antarctica, they say, eventually leading to a worldwide rise of 15 to 20 feet in the sea level.
    -- New York Times report, 1981
  • If the current pace of the buildup of these gases continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit [between now and] the year 2025 to 2050…. The rise in global temperature is predicted to … caus[e] sea levels to rise by one to four feet by the middle of the next century.”
    — Philip Shabecoff, “Global Warming Has Begun.” New York Times, June 24, 1988.
  • We've got to ... try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong ... we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.
    --Senator Timothy Wirth, 1988
  • A “senior environmental official at the United Nations, Noel Brown, says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.”
    -- S
    enior environmental official, Noel Brown, in 1989
  • We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. ... Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
    -- environmentalist and presidential adviser, Stephen Schneider, in an interview with Discover magazine, 1989
  • [Within] as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.
    --environmentalist George Monbiot, writing in The Guardian in 2002
  • On June 23, 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen testified before the House of Representatives that there was a strong "cause and effect relationship" between observed temperatures and human emissions into the atmosphere. At that time, Hansen also produced a model of the future behaviour of the globe’s temperature, which he had turned into a video movie that was heavily shopped in Congress. That model predicted that global temperature between 1988 and 1997 would rise by 0.45°C. Ground-based temperatures from the IPCC show a rise of 0.11°C, or more than four times less than Hansen predicted. The forecast made in 1988 was an astounding failure, and IPCC’s 1990 statement about the realistic nature of these projections was simply wrong.
    --Patrick Michaels testifying before Congress in 2000
  • In a 2007 case on auto emissions, [James Hansen] stated in his deposition that most of Greenland’s ice would soon melt, raising sea levels 23 feet over the course of 100 years. Subsequent research published in Nature magazine on the history of Greenland’s ice cap demonstrated this to be impossible. Much of Greenland’s surface melts every summer, meaning rapid melting might reasonably be expected to occur in a dramatically warming world. But not in the one we live in. The 'Nature' study found only modest ice loss after 6,000 years of much warmer temperatures than human activity could ever sustain. 
  • -- Patrick Michaels summarising another Hansen prediction 
  • We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.
    --James Hansen, scaremongering again in 2007 
  • According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event” … “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
    -- Independent (UK) report, March, 2000
  • Rising sea levels, desertification and shrinking freshwater supplies will create up to 50 million environmental refugees by the end of the decade...
    -- Janos Bogardi, director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University in Bonn, 2005
  • The Scottish skiing industry has no more than 20 years left.
    -- 
    Adam Watson, from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, 2004
  • Unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return, Gore said. He sees the situation as "a true planetary emergency."
    --Al Gore in 2006, promoting his Oscar-winning film called, without irony, The Inconvenient Truth
  • Some of the most memorable images from Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, are the graphics that show how rising ocean levels will dramatically alter our planet’s coastlines. As Greenland’s ice sheets collapse, Gore predicts that our shores will be flooded and sea-bordering cities will sink beneath the water leaving millions of people homeless. His narration tells the audience that, due to global warming, melting ice could release enough water to cause at 20-foot rise in sea level “in the near future.”
    --
    2008 review of Al Gore's 2006 movie
  • More efforts than ever before must be exerted to enable poor countries to prepare for impacts because it had been estimated that there would be between 50 million and 200 million environmental migrants by 2010.
    -- 
     President of the UN General Assembly Srgjan Kerim, opening the General Assembly debate on global warming, 2008
  • In 2020, the UN has projected that we will have 50 million environmental refugees.
    -- University of California, Los Angeles professor Cristina Tirado said at the 2011 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • The Oceans will begin to boil...
    --James Hansen in 2010, on so-called "runaway" global warming
  • In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Gore publicly and very hysterically warned that the North Pole would be ‘ice-free’ by around 2013 because of alleged ‘man-made global warming.’ Citing ‘climate’ experts, the government-funded BBC hyped the mass hysteria, running a now-embarrassing article under the headline: ‘Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’.’ Other establishment media outlets did the same.”
  •  A team of international climate scientists and researchers at NASA claims the Arctic summer will be ice-free in 2013.
    -- report in German online national daily Die Welt

                                     
  • “We’re toast if we don’t get on a very different path,” [said James] Hansen and his fellow scientists [who] saw a tipping point occurring right before their eyes and that the Arctic was melting exactly the way they said it would.. 
    Hansen added that the Arctic would be ice-free in 5 to 10 years.
    -- report on James Hansen et al, from June 23, 2008
  • "[The Arctic is] melting at a brutal speed ... 
     Already last October I was predicting that the Arctic could be ice-free this summer” and “In August or September we will be seeing people cruising in sailboats up there.
    -- 
    researcher Olav Orheim of the Norwegian Research Council, reported in
    Der Spiegel
    in 2008
  • Sydney's dams could be dry in as little as two years because global warming was drying up the rains, leaving the city "facing extreme difficulties with water."
    --Tim Flannery, 
    Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist; Australia's leading conservationist, explorer, and global warming activist, speaking to ABC in 2005
  • The water problem is so severe for Adelaide that it may run out of water by early 2009.
    --Tim Flannery, speaking to the ABC, 2008
  • Brisbane will never again have dam-filling rains, as global warming has caused "a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas" and made the soil too hot, "so even the rain that falls isn't actually going to fill our dams and river systems ... "
    --Flannery again, speaking to the ABC in 2007
  • We only have four years to save the world. If “there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late... What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment,” he said.
    --Rajendra Pachauri, the former head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reported in 2007
  • We have hours to act to avert a slow-motion tsunami that could destroy civilization as we know it.. Earth has a long time. Humanity does not. We need to act urgently. We no longer have decades; we have hours. We mark that in Earth Hour on Saturday.
    -- 
    Elizabeth May, leader of the Canadian Greens, writing in 2009
  • Brown warned there was only “50 days to save the world from global warming,” the BBC reported. According to Brown there was “no plan B.”
    -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 2009
  • Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned in a grandstand speech which set out his concerns for the future of the planet. The heir to the throne told an audience of industrialists and environmentalists at St James's Palace last night that he had calculated that we have just 96 months left to save the world... Delivering the annual Richard Dimbleby lecture, Charles said that without "coherent financial incentives and disincentives" we have just 96 months to avert "irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it."
    -- Prince Charles in 2009, as reported by The Independent (UK)
  •  Obama’s second term is “the last window of opportunity” to impose policies to restrict fossil fuel use. Wirth said it’s “the last chance we have to get anything approaching 2 degrees Centigrade,” adding that if “we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”
    -- United Nations Foundation President Tim Wirth speaking to 'Climatewire' in 2012
  • "Over the past 50 years, southern Australia has lost about 20 per cent of its rainfall, and one cause is almost certainly global warming ... In Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, water supplies are so low they need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months."
    --Flannery yet again, speaking in 2007, the year he was named Australian of the Year
  • "We have 500 days to avoid climate chaos.”
    -- French Foreign Minister Lauren Fabius, meeting with John Kerry in 2014

Remember ...
Being a climate hysteric means
never having to say you’re sorry.
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"Capacity is not the same as generation because intermittent renewables sit around doing nothing so much of the time." - QotD


"Capacity is not the same as generation because intermittent renewables sit around doing nothing so much of the time."        ~ Jo Nova, from her post 'Rampant solar, wind growth: Australia increases unreliable energy by 50% in 2018'
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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

"He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest." #QotD


"He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest."
        ~ Dylan Thomas
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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

"The great aim of all the governments of the earth: obedience and money. The object of taxation is, as the saying goes, to so pluck the goose as to procure the largest quantity of feathers with the least possible amount of squealing" #QotD


"You know, also, as well as I do, what is the great aim of all the governments of the earth: obedience and money. The object [of taxation] is, as the saying goes, to pluck the hen without making it cry out*; but it is the proprietors who cry out, and the government has always preferred to attack them indirectly, because then they do not perceive the harm until after the matter has become law…"
        ~ French economist A.R.J. Turgot, in a 1766 letter to David Hume on the subject of taxation 
* Also translated as: "to so pluck the goose as to procure the largest quantity of feathers with the least possible amount of squealing." For reference to what this means, see Paris this week.
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Monday, 3 December 2018

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." #QotD


"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."
         ~ George Bernard Shaw
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Saturday, 1 December 2018

"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." # QotD


"[I]f the wise and learned philosophers of the older world ... should find their hearts disposed to inquire, what has America done for the benefit of mankind? let our answer be this –
     "America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government.
    "America ... has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity.
    "She has uniformly spoken among them ... the language of equal liberty, equal justice, and equal rights.
    "She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own.
    "She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart.
    "She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of ... the European World, will be contests between inveterate power, and emerging right.
    "Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.
     "She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
     "She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own ... the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."

        ~ John Quincy Adams, declaring on Independence Day in 1821 that America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." But that was 197 years ago.
Hat tip Jacob Hornberger, from his post, 'Trump, FDR, and the Plight of Refugees Under Immigration Controls'
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Friday, 30 November 2018

"There's no better cause than progress when it comes to bringing the brilliance of the future into the present with great rapidity." #QotD


"Crucial here is that tomorrow's brilliant companies are likely unknown to most of us, and it's safe to say that their eventual success will surprise even the most skilled of investors. Apple was a surprise. So was ESPN. So were Google, Facebook and Amazon. So once was GE and the lightbulb. All of these companies and their advances made it thanks to there being rich people capable of losing money on risky investments.
    "Presently, [golfer] Phil Mickelson is being pressured by sports journalists with limited knowledge of basic economics to once again give his money to 'good causes.' They're confused. There's no better cause than progress when it comes to bringing the brilliance of the future into the present with great rapidity. Mickelson has the means with his millions to do just that, but only if he invests the fruits of his own genius rather than doing what the chattering classes say is 'right, but is plainly wrong." [Bold added]

        ~ John Tamny, form his article 'Phil Mickelson Should Keep Every Dollar of His $9 Million Win'

Hat tip to Gus van Horn who comments, "As Ayn Rand once put it, "[T]here are no conflicts of interests among rational men." The stark contrast between effectively throwing money out the window and growing it is an excellent illustration.
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Thursday, 29 November 2018

"Either fraternity is spontaneous, or it does not exist. To decree it is to annihilate it." #QotD


"Either fraternity is spontaneous, or it does not exist. To decree it is to annihilate it."
        ~ Frederic Bastiat, from his essay on Justice & Fraternity
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Tuesday, 27 November 2018

No new taxes?


"Some experts have declared that it is necessary to tax
the people until it hurts. I disagree with these sadists."

~ Ludwig Von Mises, from his essay ‘Defense, Controls, and Inflation

National's boy-leader promises "no new taxes" in the event he is one day elected. His one-time mentor John Key once promised the same. Not longer afterwards, we were subjected to:
  • a GST increase from 12.5% to 15%
  • a new GST on items purchased online from overseas
  • a new Telecommunications Levy
  • a new Border Clearance Levy
  • capital gains tax on houses sold after owning for less than two years
  • increased taxes on KiwiSaver
  • the 2012 ‘Paperboy’ tax
  • a Civil Aviation Authority fees increase
  • an additional fuel tax increase of 9 cents per litre, with annual CPI increases locked in for perpetuity
  • Road User Charges increased
  • tobacco excise whacked up
  • massive increases in ACC levies
  • new online company filing fees
  • a creeping expansion of the scope of Fringe Benefit Taxes; and, most recently
  • the so-called "Netflix tax" on services, media or software purchased from an overseas online retailer.
And those are only the ones I noticed.

So much as we may wish to believe the boy-leader, your average Nigerian scammer would be more likely to deliver on their promises.
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Monday, 26 November 2018

"In the sciences, the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man." #QotD


"In the sciences, the authority of thousands of opinions is not worth as much as one tiny spark of reason in an individual man." 
         ~ Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)
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Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Human Progress: "Say what you will, but we do live at a time in which you can listen to Rachmaninoff, read Victor Hugo, and/or look at a Vermeer, at any time, in almost any place, essentially for free. " #QotD


"Say what you will, but we do live at a time in which you can listen to Rachmaninoff, read Victor Hugo, and/or look at a Vermeer, at any time, in almost any place, essentially for free."        ~ Stephen Schub
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Monday, 19 November 2018

QotD: "Libraries gave us power..."


"As a teenager, I also picked out Bertrand Russell’s History of 'Western Philosophy' from the local public library, which was one of the great inspirations for me. The library, that is, rather than the book. I think it’s the route out of suburbia for a lot of people. It opened up different sorts of reading for me."
        ~ philosopher Nigel Warburton interviewed by the Five Books website.

Friday, 16 November 2018

QotD: "Ownership of public property is not voluntary; it is compulsory as long as one is a member of the public. To call something 'compulsory' usually is a good start toward condemning it."


"Public [government] ownership must be borne by all members of the public, and no member can divest himself of that ownership. Ownership of public property is not voluntary; it is compulsory as long as one is a member of the public. To call something 'compulsory' usually is a good start toward condemning it."
        ~ Armen Alchian, from his Collected Works, quoted in David Henderson's post 'Wisdom from Armen Alchian'
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Thursday, 15 November 2018

QotD: "There are no natural resources, because *all* resources are created by human creativity and effort. Without such creativity and effort, there are no resources."


"There are no natural resources, because all resources are created by human creativity and effort. Without such creativity and effort, there are no resources." 
      ~ Don Boudreaux, from his post 'There are NO Natural Resources...'

RELATED READING:
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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

QotD: "Guide to being ethical — do NOT what the Greens do"


"Coercive attempts to stop the use of fossil fuels are delivering the same perverse economic consequences as the attempts to close down American saloon bars in the 1920s. The consumers pay more for a substance they choose not to live without, while the producers count the profits...
    "The attempt to starve coal producers of capital has impeded their attempts to build new coal mines but it hasn’t got in the way of profits. The price of coal has risen to a six-year high, which is good news for the coal business but bad news if you’re living in, say, India’s Bihar state, where three out of four households don’t have electricity.
    “'Energy prices will need rise to the level at which the marginal consumer of fossil fuels is incentivised not to be a consumer,' Redburn reports. ''In other words, the 1 to 2 billion people on the planet with zero or unreliable access to modern energy would remain priced out of the market.' ...
    Redburn’s analysts turn the ­tables on so-called ethical investors by forcing them to confront the consequences of fossil fuel ­divestment, a phenomenon that has swept university campuses, shareholder meetings and boardrooms, much as anti-alcohol mania did a century ago.
    “'Given the pernicious consequences of energy undersupply, we would go so far as to argue that the socially responsible investor has a duty to ensure capital is available to the fossil fuel industry, for as long as it is needed'.”
        ~ Nick Cater, quoted in Jo Nova's post 'Like Prohibition is to Moonshine, Green divestment activists are a boon for coal investors'

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

QotD: "We had such high hopes of this adventure; we believed God called us and now we are doing hell’s dirtiest work."


"We had such high hopes of this adventure; we believed God called us and now we are doing hell’s dirtiest work." 
       ~ US President Woodrow Wilson's top aide Henry White, speaking after World War I, at the Versailles peace talks

Sunday, 11 November 2018

QotD: 100 years ago today, the killing finally stopped. "Today is properly a day of mourning, for a world rent asunder by a stupid, useless waste of human life."


"War is not glorious. It achieves no great goals. It cures no diseases, it bridges no rivers, it builds no great cities, it does not launch people into space, clothe the naked, or feed the hungry. Those are worth celebrating, those sorts of achievements represent mankind at its best. War does quite the opposite thing — it destroys resources and people in bulk, and sets back human achievement, sometimes by years, sometimes by decades.
    "Nor is participation in war laudable. Sometimes it is necessary to defend oneself, but there is never any glory in it. Dying face down in the mud is tragic, not glorious, and World War I was almost nothing but one tragedy after another, over and over, multiplied by the millions.
    "So, today is properly a day of mourning -- for a world that was happily growing in population, accumulating capital, and engaging in peaceful trade which was, all of it, rent asunder by a stupid, useless waste of human life."

        ~ Perry Metzger, posting at Samizdata 

RELATED READING:

Friday, 9 November 2018

Have you noticed that the U.S. president has not tweeted about the caravan “invasion” since before the election?


Have you noticed that the U.S. president has not tweeted about the caravan “invasion” since before their mid-term election?

Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. As Thomas Sowell once pointed out:
"It is hard to understand politics if you are hung up on reality. Politicians leave reality to others. What matters in politics is what you can get the voters to believe, whether it bears any resemblance to reality or not."

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Thursday, 8 November 2018

QotD: "To all my American friends ... "


"To all my American friends: I hope you [got] the outcome you were hoping for [yesterday]! But if not, remember that there are many things in life that are better than politics, such as art, beauty, nature, music, sex, food, exercise, friends, lovers, your kids, your connection with others..."
        ~ Claire Lehman.