Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: The Egregious Tax on Serfs

_richardmcgrath Libertarianz  leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories on issues affecting our freedom.

This week: “The Egregious Tax on Serfs.”

Yesterday, three libertarians – Don, Olive and myself – joined a march from the Civic Square to the Beehive protesting at the imminent Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). It felt good to exercise our right to free speech and expression in peaceful protest, without harassing anyone in the process. Despite the beautiful Wellington weather, there were only about 100 people marching, and more the pity as the issue will affect every one of us – and soon. The price of electricity and fuel will rise, thus hurting everyone who uses electricity and owns a motor vehicle. But farmers will be worst hit. The agriculture industry will basically be punished, in order to subsidise investors in forestry.

The prime movers behind this tax are Nick Smith, who was previously opposed to the concept of an ETS, calling it a lemon [read John Ansell’s blog for a full account this “Nickpocrisy”], and John Key, who gushed over Al Gore’s movie about Al having “pushed all [his] buttons.” In 2008, the National Party joined ACT and the Libertarianz Party in condemning the growth of the state sector and Helen Clark’s micromanagement of New Zealanders. National was elected on the basis of pledges to shrink Nanny and adhere to core values which apparently include limited government and personal responsibility. In 2010, however, they’ve given up on all that.

The evidence to support the hypothesis that human activity significantly influences global temperature is proving difficult to find. Computer models do not comprise hard evidence, so lets discount those immediately. The high priests of the Church of Global Warming conveniently ignore the observed rises in CO2 levels that don’t precede but FOLLOW rises in global temperature. Tey ignore that recorded temperatures in the 1930s were as high or higher than they are today, without any comparable rise in CO2 levels. They ignore the steady drop in average recorded temperatures from 1940 to 1975 while CO2 levels rose during a period of war followed by re-industrialisation. They ignore the slow but steady decline in global temperature over the last dozen or so years; in fact they want to hide the decline.

They even ignore the fact that their chief propagandist Al Gore, doomsayer of rising sea levels, has purchased coastal real estate since making his propaganda film.   

So what IS the limited government approach to the alleged threat of climate change? The first step would be to depoliticize the field of scientific research – shut down or privatise NIWA and all other government-run research organisations, and free the taxpayer from having to fund them. Let the private sector gather and analyse data on weather and temperature, it can’t be that hard.

Secondly, sit back and let the market respond to the consequences of any rise in temperature. Increased temperatures are an opportunity to millions of people, who will find crops easier to grow and the environment somewhat more human-friendly. Huge frozen expanses in Russia and Canada would likely be more amenable to development. There are endless possibilities whereby humans can take advantage of changing climate, just as humans always have. It is much easier now for people to migrate to new areas. I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but neither do politicians and bureaucrats. Entrepreneurs will provide humankind with ingenious life-enhancing breakthroughs that will harness climate trends for good.

The Church of Global Warming are scare-mongerers, whose aim is to stoke people’s anxiety about the weather to new heights and then offer to save them – at the cost of higher taxes, of course. They should be free to spout their rubbish as much and as often they like, but their freedom ends where my nose starts. Their irrational fears do not entitle them to raid my wallet, or yours.  

As former Libz leader Bernard Darnton pointed out a few years back, if socialism doesn’t work at 17 degrees, why should it work at 19 degrees? The ETS is a destructive tax, based on a crumbling edifice of bullshit. Enough is enough – vote out Nick Smith, John Key and their anti-farmer anti-business BlueLabour Party.

As one banner said yesterday: ETS = OTG (One Term Government). That’s a message even Nick Smith should understand.

ETS-OTG

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government
fear the people, there is liberty.
- Thomas Jefferson  

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Mark Hubbard said...

Great piece Richard. I particularly like that you have given the free market 'solution' to what would happen even if there was a genuine global warming. That defence is sorely needed in the debate.

6/23/2010 02:40:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Global Warming is a scientific theory based on some sound arguement.

It shouldn't be linked to the ETS which defies the simplest of scientific observation and that is that wealthy people are in a better position to reduce carbon emmision than poor people. If I am kept poor by having to pay this new tax I will not be able to afford double glazing or a newer more efficient car despite desiring both. The only winners with the ETS will be the govt coffers, the oil and electricity companies who will make more money as people are forced to consume more resources as they are held in an ETS driven poverty trap using more energy demanding equipment.

K

6/23/2010 02:59:00 pm  
Blogger Richard McGrath said...

Mark - thanks; I have to acknowledge the editing skills of PC!

Anon - that's a good point about people being impoverished by this tax and thus unable to afford to implement energy saving measures with their own money. Yet another reason why the tax shuold be repealed

6/23/2010 03:15:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

First a few points on the the science:

"Computer models do not comprise hard evidence, so lets discount those immediately."

Computer models are not being used as evidence of AGW, they are being used to help plan a response. We don't really have an alternative to this, unless you want to resort to reading tea leafs.

"The high priests of the Church of Global Warming conveniently ignore the observed rises in CO2 levels that don’t precede but FOLLOW rises in global temperature."

Less than half right. Records have shown that changes in temperatures are generally preceded by changes in CO2. But long term changes in climate can last for thousands of years, whereas changes in CO2 only precede temperatures by a few hundred. What this means is that while the records show that increases in temperature can increase levels of CO2, they do not show that an increase in CO2 does not also create a feedback effect that increases temperature. What you've highlighted is not something that should be used to alleviate people's fears, it points to something that people should be concerned about, a runaway feedback effect.

"Tey ignore that recorded temperatures in the 1930s were as high or higher than they are today"

This is misleading. Certain months in the 1930's were recorded as the highest on record in parts of the US, but average global temperatures are at least .5c higher.

"They ignore the slow but steady decline in global temperature over the last dozen or so years; in fact they want to hide the decline."

I notice that you've extended the normal "10 years" into a "dozen" in order to incorporate the anomalous record from 1998, which was high (the 3rd highest on record now, 2005 was hotter followed by 2007) because of a strong el-nino effect.

I've commented here at length about the issue of people using "hide the decline" as a propaganda tool, I'll try and find the link if necessary. Suffice to say it shows either your duplicity or ignorance of the issue.

Now a few points on the politics:

I am a Libertarian (left wing, yes there is such a thing) and I think that the only valid role of central government is to protect people from the initiation of force. That not only includes preventing damage to property, but preventing any kind of molestation of that property by human induced, coercive means. Stopping pollution, or any kind of damage to the environment is a part of that role. Taking a Hands-off approach to this issue is only compatible with any kind of libertarian ideal if you ignore the science and deny that it's happening. Which is probably why your lot do exactly that.

6/23/2010 08:12:00 pm  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

@David S Other than alluding to an 'at least' 0.5degree ^ in temperature over the past 8 decades, I remain concerned that the science teaches me nothing, well, scientific. In fact it is the inclination towards the contagious use of phrases such as 'at least' which particularly disappoint.

It is good to note that, being Libertarian, you will abhor the force advocated thus far by governments in the name of a 'solution'.

6/23/2010 09:54:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

There are no absolutes in science, if you're expecting any you expect too much.

As for government responses, I tend to think they don't do enough to crack down on polluters, and what they do do is kind of.. well.. ass-backwards. If burning fossil fuels causes indiscriminate damage or molestation to people's property, surely it's the role any libertarian government to respond to it?

6/23/2010 11:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Mo said...

the problem is that such solutions to pollution are usually ignored by governments. In fact any discussion of property rights is not usually on the table.

For instance, BP’s off-shore oil leases, like all off-shore oil leases, are leases to use federal property. The water and land are owned by the government.

6/24/2010 01:22:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I particularly like that you have given the free market 'solution' to what would happen even if there was a genuine global warming."

Yes, except he didn't do that. He just chanted (as always) "the market shall overcome". How exactly?

Judge Holden

6/24/2010 07:15:00 am  
Blogger Sally O'Brien said...

@ Judge Holden.
Who wrote:
"He just chanted (as always) "the market shall overcome" How exactly?."

Go and read the post again. He quite clearly elaborated. He explained the need to depolitisize science and he elaborated on how personal freedom of action maximizes our chances of realizing the benefits and adapting to the problems of climate change.

I would add that libertarians would not get in the way of the development of systems to reduce carbon emissions. There could be widely subscribed to voluntary emissions trading schemes - a market mechanism for those who are persuaded by concerns about AGW or for businesses who want to attract those concerned people.

6/24/2010 09:06:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

@David S.: "There are no absolutes in science..."

And you can say that absolutely, can you?

It's especially amusing you say that, since most everything you say above is absolutely wrong.

"Computer models are not being used as evidence of AGW..."

Well, yes they are.

"Records have shown that changes in temperatures are generally preceded by changes in CO2"

What records, where? Historical records show exactly the opposite.

"This is misleading."

No, it's true.

"I notice that you've extended the normal "10 years" into a "dozen" in order to incorporate the anomalous record from 1998..."

I didn't notice warmists at the time shouting "it's anomalous." Quite the opposite in fact--it was used to help backstop politically the sort of crap we're seeing today. And since we've seen at least one El Nino since that hasn't delivered a similar high, it clearly is germane.

"I think that the only valid role of central government is to protect people from the initiation of force."

And I agree. Yet that must be an initiation of force that is proven, and proven absolutely. And therein lies your problem.

@Judge Holden: You've never really understood either freedom or price signals, have you?

6/24/2010 09:09:00 am  
Anonymous the drunken watchman said...

@ David S "Computer models are not being used as evidence of AGW, they are being used to help plan a response."


I had to have a quick couple of Waikatos after I read this. I think this guy is taking the piss out of you Peter, you should not have reacted.

6/24/2010 10:50:00 am  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

I am even happy to consider the concept that there are 'no absolutes', and may even advocate that the answer to any good question is usually, 'it depends'.

However, by that token and I repeat myself, this climate 'science' is too full of 'at least', when the adjective might more 'scientifically' be; 'approximately'.

Your words portray their intent, sir.

6/24/2010 01:53:00 pm  
Anonymous David S. said...

"Records have shown that changes in temperatures are generally preceded by changes in CO2"

My apologies, that was meant to be the other way around, switch it around and read the paragraph again otherwise it doesn't make sense as a rebuttle.

"But long term changes in climate can last for thousands of years, whereas changes in temperature only precede CO2 by a few hundred. What this means is that while the records show that increases in temperature can increase levels of CO2, they do not show that an increase in CO2 does not also create a feedback effect that increases temperature."

"And I agree. Yet that must be an initiation of force that is proven, and proven absolutely. And therein lies your problem."

Beyond reasonable doubt should be sufficient. Say it with me now, "there are no absolutes except the knowledge of your own existence."

I've asked you this question before PC, I didn't get a response, Aristotle said that you do not truly understand a thing unless you understand it "down to the root". Name two things that you DO understand down to the root, so that we may know what absolutes you are aware of.

6/24/2010 04:46:00 pm  
Blogger K said...

Talk about divide and conquor. Whether global warming is a good or bad theory is a strawman arguement - the focus should be on the validity of the ETS

K

6/24/2010 07:04:00 pm  
Anonymous the drunken watchman said...

@David S "runaway feedback"

Cool, I like it! Got any histrorical examples?

(I presume runaway feedback never stops?, or can David S explain what would turn runaway feedabck into non-runaway feedback?)

6/25/2010 05:12:00 am  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

Or even "runback"?

6/25/2010 12:56:00 pm  

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