Friday, February 26, 2016

I have my very own global warming attacker

I chipped in a few comments on a blog about global warming and ended up being the target of my very own blog post.  I am copying my initial response to the post below in case it is taken offline. 


I'm flattered you think my arguments make me worth attacking. When hyperbole reaches this stage I can tell someone is feeling afraid. 

At this stage I believe if an uninformed but open-minded person reads enough of the threads I have contributed to they will likely go on to seek more information from the broad literature available and not simply accept the global warming dogma, thus my goal will have been partially accomplished. I did not set out to debate this area of science point-by-point, but rather tryied to indicate there is a lot of misinformation out there, much more to be learned in this domain, and not to accept demands for sweeping politico-economic change without challenging the numerous linked premises, assumptions and extrapolations of the global warming crowd. I realize there are closed minds that cannot be reached through an appeal to reason and they are not my target audience - the ones who are open to reason but have not really examined the question are the ones I speak to. That, and the fact it is important not to let wild claims about disasters that involve incredible violations of human rights stand unchallenged. 

My larger goal is to see a better future for humanity, one where the best energy sources available at the time are not restricted by force and intimidation but allowed to compete on a free market against all other energy sources for their ability to help humans improve their environment by altering nature. If we let free people choose which types of energy they wish to use they will overwhelmingly tend to choose those that in their judgement are best for their lives and those of their children. If solar or wind becomes economically viable for large scale energy one day, the free market is the best place for it to be discovered and flourish. In a free society there are no subsidies for any businesses, whether oil or solar, since the state has no proper role intervening in the economy.

In contrast, when governments run around banning this, blocking that, taxing this and subsidizing that, humanity is worse off because valuable information is distorted and destroyed and useful economic activity and tests are prevented. The principles of freedom, individual rights and limited government are what brought humanity out of pre-enlightenment, pre-industrial times and have improved human life more than in all of history combined. I write to delay and prevent those people whose stated and implicit goals and philosophy stand opposed to rights and freedom from taking total control of the culture and returning us to pre-industrial times.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Democratic socialism is simply socialism via voting instead of revolution

Me, commenting on a Facebook post by Democratic Socialist, attempting to define socialism as benign and beneficial:

This fellow declares that people trading through voluntary cooperation and for mutual benefit (the free market) is not the right form of economic exchange, that some other form of economy is better.

He declares that socialism implemented through revolution (communism) is extreme, but that socialism imposed through voting is okay. Note that he does not examine the moral correctness of the end except through through the means. By that standard, slavery by military conflict is not okay, but slavery through the ballot box is just hunky dory.

He says the foundations of society must be provided through government force, ignoring that the very foundations he identifies did not simply pop into existence but were produced by the free minds he proposes to enslave.

He states he does not want to do away with free markets while he is bust advocating for an end to freedom. The system he is describing, where the pretense of freedom is maintained while the state dictates a million rules, is the form of collectivism known as fascism. In this he, clearly does not know how such democratic socialists as Hitler, Chavez and others came to power and what was the end result for citizens.

He asserts that people engaged in voluntary trade for mutual benefit are not working for the good of their community. He implies that working to further their own lives is not good for the community. What is? Sacrificing their lives for anyone except themselves and those they love.

He asserts that such services as firefighters, parks, medical care and the military would not exists without socialism, as if citizens left alone are not those who conceived of all these and would never think to value them and find ways to maintain them if left free to choose.

He thinks education is good and free if provided through the force of government but not good if people are allowed to choose and earn an education for their children; that it is somehow better if others are forced to pay for your children's education and if you are forced to pay for your own children's education through a state monopoly instead of having the freedom of choice.

In short, he is in favor of nothing less that a total dictatorship of the majority, which is simply pure democracy. This is not what the founding fathers envisioned. They saw a country of free individuals, with a constitution protecting them from exactly the kind of statist government he espouses, with police and objective laws protecting them from criminals and a military protecting them from aggressive countries. The country has lost the knowledge of the enlightenment-based founding fathers and has been in social decline almost from the start, as various forms of collectivism have eaten away at the principle of freedom from the state on which the country was founded. Very sad.

Commenter: Government programs come into existence when there is a lack or hole created by private endeavors or when privatization would be unethical, such as with law enforcement. In other words, every social program we have today came into existence because the free market was failing in that area.
My reply: Disagree. Aside from law enforcement, all other activities are better, more economically, and, most important of all, justly provided by free people acting without coercion. Socialization of services is most often justified on the basis of some people's wishes to get a better service without having to pay for it.

For example, so-called public transit is fantastically expensive and only survives on massive payments taken from some taxpayers and given to other taxpayers. No wealth is created in the process, only removed forcibly and given away, while extracting a high cost of operation to do so. A free market sees all the transportation options enough people want and can pay for springing forward as rational, profit-seeking entrepreneurs try to fill market demand.

If an activity is not profitable, that is to say it cannot be exchanged between a producer and consumer who both think it will improve their life and matches with their priorities, then it does not happen. Someone may look at the resulting situation and wish for a low priced bus to appear on the street, but wishes are not reality and coercing people's activities to accomplish the wishers' ends is not moral.

Further, once free choice is removed from the equation, then ever more coercion is required to maintain the illusion. Thus, in transit we have the creation of government monopoly, the prevention of competition, the political cronyism of contracts, the featherbedding by unions, the favoritism of routes, the lobbying for preferred price categories, the posturing for control of the system, the abrogation of negotiating rights through the declaration of essential services and it goes on and on, around and around. Never is the basic premise challenged, the premise that it is right for government to coerce citizens instead of protecting them from coercion.

Just because someone claims to need something cannot create a moral obligation on anyone else to produce it for them. For most of history, humanity needed to discover reason and the principles of a rational society but did not do so. Men needed food, clothes, shelter, health and security and no one gave it to them. They had to first discover the principles that make such a society possible an then tear their freedom from collectivists at a great price. Then they had to institute a society based on those principles and try to protect them. A great failure they made was to omit the moral case for freedom, recognize that human freedom and economic freedom are inseparable, and to separate government from economic actions. This is why the US has been in moral and political decline since its founding. Only a rediscovery of founding principles can save the country.

How to end political cronyism?

A recent Facebook exchange I had that started with a posting about the US Democratic Party and candidate Bernie Sanders holding opposing positions about a campaign finance law.

Politics has been corrupting money for too long. A separation of state and economy is way overdue.

The Constitution of the US specifically grants Congress the right and responsibility to regulate commerce, so a complete separation would go against the Constitutional intention.

What did the founders mean when they included this? Did the same men who so valiantly cherished individual freedom and fought to establish a country based on individual rights intend that the state would control and restrict citizens' productive activity in pursuit of their own happiness? Did they intend to deny citizens the very freedoms the declaration of independence so proudly identified? Or was their intent to empower the federal government to act to ensure interstate commerce was not restricted and citizens of the country were allowed to trade freely? Did they mean regulate in the sense of modern regulators, who seek only the political power to control and restrict others, or did they mean it in the older sense of ensuring a free flow of trade and removal of obstacles from the path of citizens pursuing happiness through productive activity? Which position is consistent with all we know of the founder's explicit and implicit philosophy?

Think of the process of evolution of cronyism. First, government makes a rule that favors some citizens at the expense of others who have violated no rights of others and are thus by definition innocent. The rule may have been prompted by lobbying or not, but it is clearly improper in a free society for government to violate rights when its sole purpose should be their protection.

Now that such a rule exists, it pays for people to lobby either to become part of the favored group or to change the law to instead favor them. If corruption has not already been introduced into the equation, it certainly is now. And so various groups band together to lobby for their interests, specifically for the privilege of being the group to whom the interest of others are sacrificed, the privilege of benefiting from the pain of others. Groups raise money, fund campaigns, try to shape public opinion, advertise and in many other ways increase the corruption. Before long, lobbying is an essential requirement to protect your business from lawmakers who can be swayed by competitors or those who simply want to stop you from producing, the nihilists.

Ask yourself if it is the money, the agreed upon medium of exchange of produced values, that is the essential here? If a man is phenomenally successful at creating things greatly valued by fellow citizens, who exchanges such values in a trade of mutual benefit and has not spent the produced wealth, but rather reinvested to produce ever greater value for fellow citizens, if such a man is wealthy, is the money he may spend corrupt? This money is a result of the exercise of the highest virtues a man may exercise: reason, purpose, self-esteem, productivity being primary among them. It is not the money but the purpose that may be corrupt. If he spends it on a vacation for himself and his family, he is acting most morally. If he spends it lobbying for political favors it is corrupt.

Now how does a society fully engaged in such activity correct the problem? Do they change laws on lobbying? Do they adjust campaign finance rules? Do they punish honest and productive businessmen who are trying to protect themselves from attacks by political powers? What is the correct response to a society constructed and fueled by political pull?

I submit that the only rational, and thus the only successful method of combating cronyism is to end the possibility of there being rewards of cronyism. To do so means the government must not have any levers of political power and favoritism to pull. It means the disempowerment of the cronies and an end to the potential for their very existence. It means a populace living under a system of political freedom where government exists to protect their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and has a legal system of objective laws and courts to deal with cases where citizens believe their rights have been violated. It means there is criminal law to deal with those who initiate physical force and civil law to deal with contract disputes. It means the implementation of the political-econonomic system known as laissez-faire capitalism, the system suited for homo sapiens, for man the rational being.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Objectivity needed in climate debate

Mr. Martin's comments in the Low Down of January 27 'Straw men and climate change' do little other than repeat myths and delusions about science that are easily disproven by a reading of the literature on the subject.  

A fact is not determined by a consensus or a vote, but by objective observation of reality to identify new knowledge that integrates into all existing knowledge without contradiction. The claims of so-called climate change  alarmists are so riddled with contradictions their entire corpus is properly dismissed as arbitrary and without merit, not worthy of further consideration.  

The entire hypothetical daisy-chain that an increase in atmospheric CO2 will cause the planet to warm, that this warming represents a danger to humanity, that we cannot adapt to a change if it does occur, that it is better to sacrifice actual human lives today to avoid potential harm to future lives and that massive coercive action to violate individual rights is the proper way to address such an issue falls apart at every point.  

Warming occurs on a logarithmic path as CO2 concentration rises, meaning that almost all the warming that can be caused by CO2 has already occurred and a further doubling will have almost no effect. Satellite and weather balloon measurements, the only reliable data we have, show no significant change in average global temperature since the satellite data started in the 1980s. Claims of greater warming rely on poor quality land-based thermometers that have been mostly proven as having low resolution and as being massively tainted by urban growth.  Historical data from geological, ice core and sea sediment records show the planet has been through many warming cycles and is expected to always do so. The best long term relationship between temperature cycles and another variable shows that the Sun is the main driver of climate cycles, not CO2. There are no islands sinking fast because there is no significant change in sea level, other than the cycle which was initiated by the end of the last ice age and will continue until the next ice age. All land masses are in motion in three dimensions - moving not only laterally but up or down according to plate tectonics and the relief from stresses from massive mountains of ice that used to cover large parts of the world. Again, satellite data measures this well.  I could continue with a list of scientific impossibilities embedded in the climate scare, but I trust that a few basics are sufficient for most readers since all it takes is one inconvenient fact to demolish a hypothesis, no matter how aggressively asserted.

What about the computer models that have uniformly been proven invalid, since they can barely be tortured into modeling the past and have all failed as predictive tools?  If you make a prediction and it fails to occur, it means your hypothesis is wrong - reality tells you this clearly.

What about the morality of using climate change to attack the lives of people who should be free, denying them the right to choose, the right to keep their hard earned money and property, the right to continue to advance humanity, to create wealth and improve life for people? The climate alarmists want to dispense with such formalities as rights, freedom and property and impose a global police force to monitor your emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas of life itself, fertilizer of all plant life and thus a vital ingredient for all life on earth.  These people need to be chased back behind the iron curtain from which they emerged.