Cognitive Dissonance and a Sustainable Future
Posted by Jeff Condon on August 18, 2011
I believe we are seeing some frightening signs from the economy again. I’m very concerned with what we will see in the coming weeks. Our industry is a sensitive indicator of the economy and oft times we have data well before the papers report it. If the trends of the past two weeks continue, you had better be ready for very bad news. I hope to be wrong.
So when I read Bart Verheggens latest anti-capitalist post, it left a dry taste in my mouth. It revolves around a couple of comments from people who are described as insightful. I describe them as naive and leftist but since they hold the values of the people in charge of the world these days, and it is their belief structure driving business into the ground, they deserve critique for their public commentary which I’m more than happy to provide. Here are a couple of quotes and some comments which belong here rather than at Bart’s thread.
In a comment over at CaS he [Andrew Adams] said it in a bit more sarcastic way:
Hmm, I can never remember whether AGW is a huge plot to enrich developing countries by redistributing the wealth of us in the West, or a huge plot to impoverish developing countries by denying them access to affordable electricity.
Neither of these is the case in his sarcastic comment of course. First, giving to poor people electricity or goods, makes them dependent on uncontrollable politicians, and will do nothing to ‘enrich’ them. Free stuff is nice, but it means that people won’t work very hard to become non-poor and pay for stuff and when the politician decides not to pay the subsidy anymore, what then? Why would they work hard if stuff is free and there is no personal gain? How many times do we have to re-live this obvious fact in history before the left notices. The second sentence is just silly, impoverish by denying affordable electricity. Oddly enough, if he had said impoverish the poor by denying industrial countries affordable electricity, I would be in agreement. But what the hell is a developing country?? What is it?
I’ll tell you what it is, it is a country impoverished due to dysfunctional corrupt and universally LIBERAL governments which control every aspect of the populations life with randomness of corrupt permission and denial. Property ownership is not a function many of these governments hold stable, and medieval religious orders often hold overwhelming power and rule with iron fists. Business is completely unstable in these countries so they are poor, they will remain poor until capitalism and property ownership stabilize and nothing we do in the West can save them from being poor. It is entirely their own fault. Yes there are bad things done by more functional countries, but NO we are not the cause of the typical ‘developing’ countries poverty. More poverty will certainly be the effect of ‘renewable’ energy, but like so many other policies, this poverty is forced on them with the best of intentions.
Where Bart’s post completely leaves the rails though is here: I added my comments in red.
The ethical issues that are behind this were summed up by Steve Easterbrook:
To many people, living comfortable middle class lives inNorth America, climate change is some vague distant threat that will mainly affect the poor in other parts of the world. So it’s easy to dismiss, no matter how agitated the scientists get. If you follow this line of thinking, it quickly becomes clear why responses to climate change divide cleanly along political lines:
To many people in North America, now at over 10 percent real unemployment, who can think for themselves understand that climate change extremism has been created by a political ideology bent on the repression of capitalism in favor of wealth redistribution. A solution which has failed in every application ever devised across the globe. They need to realize that without definable effects, they are just screaming fire in a theater. After enough false alarms, nobody listens anymore. Leftism is the answer to nothing, and the focus on leftist solutions to the problem certainly does dilute the message of the problem. Regularly exaggerated scientific papers don’t help the Air Vent’s readers buy the solutions much either.
If you care a lot about fairness and equity, climate change is an urgent, massive problem, because millions (maybe even billions) of poor people will suffer, die, or become refugees as the climate changes.
Fairness and equity, the siren call of the communist. A beautiful idea gone wrong. How about this: If you care about the economy, it is an urgent, massive problem, because billions of people will suffer, die or become refugees, not in a hundred years but NOW. As the economy is dismantled under liberal pressures, including regulations to stop the emissions of CO2, the devastation will make AGW horror stories look miniscule. You know the same AGW which has created not one single demonstrable problem to date.
Liberals, especially the climate extremist variety, completely ignore the impact on the poor of shutting down an economy. We are getting darned close to witnessing economic disaster, and the liberal press will spin away blaming capitalism and conservatism as the root cause, when in fact it was corruption, liberal redistribution and in-affordable payoffs to politically friendly groups which has created the untenable business situation in the globe.
On the other hand, if you’re comfortable with a world in which there are massive inequalities, where some people live rich lavish lifestyles while others starve to death, then climate change is a minor distraction. After all, famines in undeveloped countries are really nothing new, and we in the west are rich enough to adapt (Or are we?).
Slow witted people just piss me off, especially if you can’t tell if they are simply lying. The wealth of the capitalism-created modern technology has supported more populations and reduced more famine than any liberal country ever will. Watch the difference as we descend ever deeper into the socialist trenches of operation. I can promise you, that the evil capitalist who ‘wants inequality’ will have provided far more opportunity for the poor than the coming inadequate wealth redistributions.
The dominant political ideology in the west (certainly in the English-speaking countries) is that such inequality is not just acceptable, but necessary. So it’s hardly surprising that right wing politicians dismiss climate change as irrelevant. No amount of science education will change the mind of people who believe, fundamentally, that they have no obligation to people who are less fortunate than themselves. As long as they believe that they are wealthy enough that climate change won’t affect them, that is.
How unimaginably crude to expect people to compete and battle for success. It’s not fair to make them work hard. It isn’t right that people who work differently don’t achieve the same success. Right wing, the leftist extremists call us. Competition and do your best are simple principles which can lift any impoverished nation right out of the dirt. Study China’s special economic zones for examples. But no, we’re naive, foolish and actually want people to be poor. America’s massive success proved nothing. It was a fluke caused by WWII, not the power of free people to create products at will or keep their hard earned profits.
Isn’t is possible that instead of those of us in North America, who were the most successful and clean economy in the world, perhaps had a good idea? Isn’t it possible that the free market capitalism did work? It will be a disgusting day when the rest of the world watches the change to socialism destroy America. Be sure they will scream from the hills that capitalism doesn’t work and more socialism is the answer to our ills. I wonder if anyone will remember that we had the largest and most expensive social programs in the world dragging us down. I wonder if they will remember that we gave so much money to the rest of the world out of our own pockets for the good of humanity. I wonder if they will remember just how many food drops or which military interventions were useful. I also wonder if the economy will turn around and the American people will make an attempt to reverse the current corporate situation before it is too late.
Nope, this is about AGW today and this is how Bart concluded his post.
I don’t think that there is something intrinsic to right wing politics to discount problems that your own actions cause to others (I sure hope there isn’t). There are plenty of examples of politically right oriented people making a big stand for e.g. environmental issues (e.g. Winsemius and Nijpels in the Netherlands; Schwarzenegger in the US). It is however disconcerting that the current manifestation of this important political stream does show signs of such discounting/ignoring especially as it relates to human induced climate change.
Now of course anyone who calls Schwarzenegger a conservative, is well off any scale I can imagine. The last sentence though about discounting/ignoring is a reversal of reality, the leftists (and they are leftist) are discounting/ignoring the rational critique of both the science and the universally leftist solutions. The models are running high relative to observations so the problem is not as severe as advertised. BUT, if they are all so damned sure that we must do something, then why is the something always (and I do mean always) industrial suicide. Why is there no answer which addresses the true core problems of the science. Even James Hansen the destroyer, criticizes the flatly stupid renewable energy (whatever that is) and he then follows it up with support for increased prices on fossil fuels. Increased prices for energy translates directly to increased poverty across the globe. The same thing excoriated by our ‘insightful’ group above. The impoverished leftists in ‘developing countries’ starve. All the while, the only significant dent in CO2 production we can make today for the “must do something” group is nuclear power, is universally ignored for reasons only those same liberals can understand.
I have little concern or emotion for a group that claims the world is ending so we must destroy our way of life, when a solution that they should be supporting is staring right in their contrite faces. Go ahead, tell me I don’t understand the complex nuances of the economy. Tell me whatever makes you so smugly confident that you know best. Otherwise, perhaps you should be listening to reason.
Yet the capitalists want to hurt the poor they imply. The capitalists -who created the middle class- are the enemy of equality rather than the inventors. Capitalists should pay more money to people in primitive countries who have dysfunctional society. All that does is support the corrupt politicians so that they too chose to become dependent us for expensive energy.
What we need in the US is a return to sensibility. No countries unilateral change can prevent CO2 emission and any significant global repression of CO2, with no allowed working energy alternatives, are a path to mass starvation. We need elimination of many of the EPA’s powers and regulations. We need to build working power plants of conventional types. We need to drill for oil and feed our people so that our industry can again lead the world in ‘true’ output. We need to be a global energy and goods exporter. Only then will technologies which free industry will again develop be able to make a real dent in CO2 production. New fission reactors, fusion and solar research, better storage research are all key, but implementation of wind and solar is flatly stupid. In the meantime, we can find out if CO2 is truly as bad as they say, because it sure doesn’t look like it is a big problem today.