Politics weekend open thread

Posted: April 27, 2012 by tallbloke in flames, Philosophy, Politics

Something has started over on the suggestions page with a comment by Doug  Proctor. Seem like a good opportunity for a grouse about the state of things, since the UK local elections are just around the corner, so come ye all. 🙂

Doug Proctorsays:

Martin Cohen says:
April 27, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Martin,

The concept of power used to be, “I can force you to do this, so you must do it.” The concept is now, “I know, while you do not, so you must do it.”

In the Western democracies of the 1st century, authority rides on the assumption of superior knowledge in those at the top, not their ability to use brute force. General education and the internet have eroded this and with it, the claim to power by our “leaders”. This applies to Greenpeace and the WWF as much as to Hansen, the IPCC, Obama in the US, and Gillard in Australia.

If we can stop the ability of the IPCC and its supporters from instituting their economic, social and political agendas, we will have set a precedent for all further attempts at governmental regulation based on orchestrating our agreement. When Tony Blair said that bringing in FOI legislation was the biggest mistake in his career, and said that it hindered “good government”, he meant the ability to act in the determined “best” manner when the electorate would, the facts be known, not agree it was a good, manner, not just the best. The public disapproval would then block whatever the governors wanted to do. If the IPCC, with all its money and political investment, cannot give the politicians the support they need to do what they want, what are they going to do about all the other, smaller things that they want to do but they know we will not agree to if given a voice?

In essence, the Climate Wars are a type of political mutiny. Military mutinies don’t just end the war in a “loss” but they bring down the governments who started the war. That is the threat, as Inhofe has always known it. Discredit CAGW, and you discredit governmental leadership all around the world.

Why, then, with such a risk, did the governments support the IPCC and CAGW? CO2 may be the proximal “cause”, but the desire for social re-engineering, including keeping the 3rd world at a lower level, is the true cause for all of the so-called carbon reduction strategies. The urgent belief that we must change our consumerist behavior is much more important than preventing a couple of degrees of global temperature and its consequential sea-level rise. The threat is to the greater agenda, just as resistance to conscription during a war is resistance to waging the war, not just being conscripted.

Moreover, a defeat for IPCC causes is a defeat by unofficial referendum. It is referendum by free-thinkers like Watts and Roger, facilitated by the internet. No political system wants to rule by referendum. It should come as no surprise that efforts are underway to both censure internet information and silence, by legal threats, those who host sites where “incorrect” opinions are displayed. The opinion of the people is an impediment to most rulings, and here the implications of a societal “no thanks” are severe, indeed.

The current fight about CO2 is truly important. And at this stage,I suggest, its outcome is not yet clear.

Comments
  1. Stephen Wilde says:

    It is the ‘decadence of democracy’.

    The managerial classes always come to believe that they create something of value when actually they obstruct the creation of things of value by telling the creators of wealth how to do their jobs thereby reducing efficiency.

    Wealth creators need to be restrained from abuses but a simple legal system is good enough for that. Pervasive regulation is completely counterproductive.

    With the growth of public expectations of cradle to grave security and consequent weakmindedness about enduring hardship or the inevitable difficulties of life the voters allowed politicians to buy their votes with their own money from taxation.

    In order to satisfy those unrealistic expectations those politicians then needed to vastly expand the non productive managerial classes who will in due course drag us all down and destroy our societies.

    There is no end to the process except economic collapse.

    One could argue that the collapse actually occurred in 2008 and the only thing delaying the effects is vast printing of money to defer the inevitable but the longer that goes on the worse the collapse will be because inflation destroys the assets of the prudent who would otherwise be able to fund genuine wealth creating activity.

    The growth of the UN and other supra national organisations such as the EU and IPCC is simply the managerial classes running amok globally as they build their own personal paper based empires at the expense of the creation of goods and services of real value.

    The ultimate conceit of the managerial classes is that they think they can control the natural environment and our effects on it whilst not causing death and destruction in the process.

    In reality the wealthier societies become the better they voluntarily limit reproduction to or below replacement level so left to our own devices the world will in due course reach a natural population peak which will then slowly decline to long term sustainability.

    Wealthier societies also care for their environments more successfully.

    If the managerial classes ‘win’ then we will not see enough widespread prosperity for the voluntary population limit to be reached. Instead there will be global death, disease, starvation,warfare and misery indefinitely.

    They know not what they do.

  2. James says:

    I think it best that we do not have a world government. It’s bad enough when just one country gets a “bad un” leading it.

  3. James says:

    “The ultimate conceit of the managerial classes is that they think they can control the natural environment and our effects on it whilst not causing death and destruction in the process.”

    Absolutely right Stephen. Nature always reclaims just as it always has done. Just visit a Cornish tin mine that was shut down only a century ago, it is a wildlife delight.

    As kids we went collecting tadpoles and newts from local ponds, except they were not ponds but craters left from the war. The national forest has cost billions to plant out yet all we had to do was leave it to grow for free.

    We have an obsession that we have to manage the environment and without that management the environment will fail.

  4. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Nature always reclaims just as it always has done.”

    Not only that but well spaced homes with gardens in prosperous suburbs gain a vast variety of species way above the ‘natural’ forest, grassland or whatever that preceded them.

    Wealthy societies globally, exercising voluntary population restraint and caring for their local environments in their own ways is what we need.

    Agressive environmentalists are blocking us and risk destroying mankind AND the environment in the process.

    Imagine the Soviet Union spread globally as compared to ,say, Hampshire and the New Forest (and infinite variations on that theme) spread globally.

  5. tallbloke says:

    THIS darksome burn, horseback brown,
    His rollrock highroad roaring down,
    In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
    Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

    A windpuff-bonnet of fawn-froth
    Turns and twindles over the broth
    Of a pool so pitchblack, fell-frowning,
    It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.

    Degged with dew, dappled with dew,
    Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
    Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
    And the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.

    What would the world be, once bereft
    Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
    O let them be left, wildness and wet;
    Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

  6. adolfogiurfa says:

    The concept is now, “I know, while you do not, so you must do it.”
    This makes me remember of an old movie, where it was told a story about the passengers of a luxury boat, that ran aground on a desert island.
    There the ones supposed to know, the lords, the owners, were lost while one of the servants, who really KNEW how to face the new reality became the leader.

  7. Gray says:

    The question is, do we have informed democracy or do we have something masquerading under that title that is neither informed nor democratic.

  8. James says:

    “The question is, do we have informed democracy or do we have something masquerading under that title that is neither informed nor democratic.”

    Such as the EU?

  9. tchannon says:

    I wish to give you something important to read, is very difficult, from the French.

    Given the individual involved and the propensity of Talkshop folks to jump on certain things please avoid those side issues in this thread.

    Specifically read these 14 short pages by a Nobel Prize of Economic Sciences (1988).
    There are links to the next page, is a simple web site.
    http://allais.maurice.free.fr/English/monde01.htm

    “In essence, the present creation of money, out of nothing by the banking system, is similar – I do not hesitate to say it in order to make people clearly realize what is at stake here – to the creation of money by counterfeiters, so rightly condemned by law.” — Allais

    Amen to that one.

  10. Roger Andrews says:

    Disenchanted with European democracy? Come to Mexico. We have some of the best politicians money can buy. 🙂

  11. Zeke says:

    “The urgent belief that we must change our consumerist behavior…”

    One quibble here. Cutting ghg emissions by 80% is not “changing our consumerist behavior.” It is not a challenge to “the free market economy.”

    Let’s be specific and try to define our terms. Who is successfully living on 20% of our average current food and energy requirements? Where is an example of this kind of reduction in the basic necessities of life, precisely? I can only think of one group who may be living on 20% of what is required for the average among us, and that is the prison population. However, I would have to research that to be sure, because the figure for the ghg emissions of the prison population could be 30%, or even higher.

  12. Stephen Wilde says:

    “Past estimates of population growth have virtually always overestimated world fertility rates, and underestimated social trends that led to fewer babies. This time will be no different. If fertility rates decline just a little more than predicted (and the decline in fertility rates over the past four decades has been faster than almost any estimate out there), the population actually begins to shrink in 2040. By 2050, at the low end of fertility expectations, U.N. forecasts show just 7.96 billion people in 2050. And by the end of the century, the population will actually drop below its current levels. The late, great U.S. economist Julian Simon had it exactly right: Human beings aren’t a “cost” to the planet, or to human society. They are in fact its only real asset. Their intelligence, creativity and ability to learn make the Earth a beautiful place. Those things helps us to use fewer resources to create more wealth. That’s why the environmentally cleanest nations on earth are also the richest.”

  13. tallbloke says:

    Stephen, I think that’s a somewhat rosy tinted view. The rich countries of Europe got cleaner through draconian legislation and the outsourcing of dirty industry to India and China. Both of those countries now have serious pollution issues, though they are now ‘richer’ than other third world countries.

    And the ‘rich countries of Europe’ just hit the financial skids a few years ago. The real effect of that has yet to hit home. Printing money works for a while, until the inevitable inflation spiral takes off.

  14. Brian H says:

    Stephen:
    “In reality the wealthier societies become the better they voluntarily limit reproduction to or below replacement level so left to our own devices the world will in due course reach a natural population peak which will then slowly decline to long term sustainability.”
    Faster than that: http://www.fpri.org/ww/0505.200407.eberstadt.demography.html Replacement rates are crashing world-wide, with the exception of the US and some African countries. Demographers astonished! And the Low Band of the UN Population Database now shows a peak by 2040, and continuous decline thereafter. (It’s the band that’s always been accurate.) There’s more going on than just wealth increase, it seems!

    Tim;
    Allais ideas are interesting — but that website excerpt reads like a badly tidied-up Google Translation. Your own post isn’t quite coherent, either. Very distracting.

    I’ve seen references to ‘Natural Currency Zones’ that can function with a shared currency. The EU is certainly not one of them. The US barely qualifies, by dint of long historical accommodation.

  15. OT. Just noticed the new (not so new??) subtitle “Alternative Current energising the blogosphere”. I love the implicate reference to Faraday, Clark Maxwell and Tesla.

  16. Brian H says:

    Doug;
    Important post (once I got over the solipsism of “If we can stop the ability of the IPCC and its supporters from instituting…”). The scene in the US is touch-and-go; the Administration is as deluded as the EU, but the House is in full revolt, and the fall elections may clean out the Greens entirely. We’ll see. Meanwhile, here in Canada the largest province continues on its Green Suicide course, Quebec remains befogged in dirigism, and BC remains in the grip of its “greenest government ever” delusion, but the national gov. has been given a major mandate to slam the brakes on all attempts to pauperize the country with Kyoto-style nonsense.

    We’ll stop the de-industrializers yet!

  17. Joe Lalonde says:

    TB,

    Jo Nova knows how bias media coverage is. She is trying to open the honesty doors of coverage that is portrayed over Australian society.
    No doubt she in on the Australian governments hit list.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/04/abc-biased-scientist-matthew-england-outrageous-error-or-dishonest-nick-minchin-owed-an-apology/

  18. Berényi Péter says:

    The key to our age is found in the book in a book, Emmanuel Goldstein’s “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” in George Orwell’s 1984.

    “as early as the beginning of the twentieth century, human equality had become technically possible”

    This is the mortal danger to power structures, to be avoided at all costs. And we are lucky that history, although the problem itself is given, has apparently stumbled upon a slightly different solution, not the unconditionally horrible one envisioned by Orwell.

  19. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    We are seeing the end of a long term Marxist infiltration programme of the Western democracies. It has been particularly strong in the sciences. Thus today I heard an eminent biologist stating green this, low carbon that and how we had to redistribute wealth.

    These people were indoctrinated at school and in the universities. The only people who have seen through the CAGW scam are the engineers like me; very difficult to indoctrinate. the Climate Change Act was a great Marxist victory.

    A major casualty has been the Royal Society which is now no longer a scientific body because the latest fellows include the Malthusian eugenicist Erlich of the Club of Rome who has reportedly called for mass poisoning of the water supply to control population.

    O’Barmy is apparently a ‘Manchurian Candidate’ because Holdren, his science guru, is an ex colleague of Erlich and is using the EPA to shut down businesses apparently to increase unemployment. The other target is family farms, the core of the counter-revolution. The TSA.is designed to control the urban population, the latest action being to swamp Houston’s bus system.

    America is very near to the autocratic state. American money has financed the Australian greens. Germany is tottering because its energy system is under great stress with the central generators not able to afford to invest. Their greens are being infiltrated by neo-Nazis.

    It appears our takeover has been halted but they managed to neutralise defence. The real stress will be in a year’s time when the coal fired power stations close down and our energy prices rocket. Fracking is the solution but the Marxists have delayed that quite effectively.

    This battle is joined and we may be able to recover a position as an effective Nation State to cope with the mess of the Eurozone collapse, inevitable if Hollande wins. 25% unemployment to cope with Merkel’s Marxist demands for the EUSSR is already triggering revolution in Spain and Greece.

    Look at the Eurozone states who have Goldman Sachs people parachuted in as PMs. The carbon trading World government will be run by the bankers with Marxist politicians imposing Pol Pot policies. Indeed, for a taste of the future, watch the film ‘Logan’s Run’.

  20. Chris M says:

    Most Australians are dreading the 1st July when the carbon tax ($23/tonne) starts up. The Labor government didn’t have a mandate for it, but as a minority government brought it in anyway to appease the Greens. I predict a lot of small business failures due to unsustainable overheads, not only higher electricity costs but an insidious flow-on effect through the whole economy. Only welfare recipients and lower to middle income earners are to be compensated for higher costs and that will likely prove inadequate. I suspect that the Treasury modelling is unduly optimistic.

    tallbloke, I know from a previous comment that you don’t like the left = warmist and right = skeptic paradigm, and the situation is clearly different in Europe where the Club of Rome agenda of Limits to Growth apparently holds sway across party lines. In Australia however we have a stark choice. This government is widely considered to be one of the worst in our history and is currently sitting on 28% of the vote in opinion polls. Even the left-leaning journos expect it to be wiped out at the next election, which is due within 18 months. What Gillard is doing seems primarily socialist ideological, whereas we are used to pragmatic centre-left and centre-right governments. Her own party may show her the door before the election, to try to save some of the furniture. Let’s hope not too much damage is done to our beloved country in the meantime.

  21. tallbloke says:

    Chris M: “tallbloke, I know from a previous comment that you don’t like the left = warmist and right = skeptic paradigm, and the situation is clearly different in Europe where the Club of Rome agenda of Limits to Growth apparently holds sway across party lines.”

    Just so. Over here, it doesn’t matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.
    We have been living in a one party state since Tory Bliar took over the Labour party.
    Since those holding the reins of power have decided bypass consensual politics by ignoring the electorate on the climate issue, it’s up to the electorate to open the windows of the chamber of power, and send the self-servatives through them to check the flood levels in the Thames.

    That might wake them up. 🙂

  22. adolfogiurfa says:

    “How and by what means this political/social scheme could be transmitted from one place to another, from one society to another, as to achieve the goal of our corporations to become owners of the world and at the same time optimize “our” profits?”

  23. Doug Proctor says:

    Everybody,

    Wow! The comments are numerous and interesting. We may be technically oriented people, but we are also social and, therefore, political animals. Really, what I have found is that the technos are ANALYSTS, which is how I prefer to identify myself (when a box is appropriate). We analyze things, virtually everything. And come to conclusions.

    The claim that people in CAGW are Marxists is about putting people in a box, also. These days I cannot believe that anyone thinks Marxism as a political or social system works, but the concept behind it is as valid as it always was. The unequal distribution of the benefits of labour are a difficult, divisive and counter-productive aspect of capitalism, the worst coming from pure capitalism, i.e. you charge the most that you can and give away the least that you can. Henry Ford, I understand, paid his workers sufficiently that they could buy the cars they were making. He succeeded financially by expanding his markets while making his workers feel respected. This idea is not historically widespread, as any thought about the aristiocratic, “managerial” classes and how they lived so well while their workers did not, will tell you. In the kleptocracies of the world this is a basic to how they work. In Swaziland the other day, the king bought himself a personal jet and another wife while his subjects live in poverty: it is not just the king who believes that one deserves whatever he can take, but his subjects, too. The subservience of the subservient is the key to the powerful retaining their power.

    What the Greens want is, in theory, for those at the top – the ones not like them, that is – to have less so that others can have more. It may appear to be a Communism, or Socialism, but it really isn’t. It is more about everyone becoming middle class, except for those organizing it, of course. Gore is a political animal who is in this group; the top people of Greenpeace and the WWF are also, along with David Suzuki. They dispise castles but sure like villas by the sea.

    The appeal to consensus, as with the IPCC, is a style of no-risk, NO FAULT mental shenanigans. If everyone gets behind something, first, it must be a good idea, and second, if it turns out not to be a good idea, nobody specifically was in error. How were we to know? The redistribution of wealth is also, on the surface, a no-pain moral indulgence. Since it is from our taxes, which we pay anyway, or, better still, the taxes of Big Capitalists, the idea is that we are merely redirecting taxes for more noble uses. Ten bucks per gallon of gas in the US has never been touted (publicly). The Greens may smile and drive a SmartForTwo, but they really have not considered reducing their lifestyles or giving up the SUV they have as well as the SFT. The changes wrt CAGW required and desired by the Maurice Strong and David Suzukis are, in the Green fantasy, impositions of no great deal, and which certainly do not impact the middle-class way of life. More good stuff for more people, just not as much good stuff for some people.

    The Green fallacy is that there is a abundance of profit that can be pushed down below the First World middle without changing the middle. Any simple math or consideration of the shape of a pyramid shows this to be a fantasy. But, like a Disney, talking-penguin fantasy, it is very comfortable, especially when you have the money to go to Disneyland and see your charcters wandering around huggling laughing children.

    My piece was on the threat we bloggers pose to the political grip on power, however. If not for the skeptical, technologically informed AND unlimited access to the internet, the only barrier to all the CAGW nonsense would have been the captains of industry whose businesses and investments were being negatively affected. As in the past, they probably could have dealt with their problems with trade restrictions, special exemptions and subsidies derived from the taxes of Ordinary Joes. The windfarms would have fallen down, the solar panels, coated with dust, failed to deliver, but things would have ground on until complete failure stopped even the attempt. Or until some other bright boondoggle replaced them. It has only been the pushback from the thinking citizen that has stopped things so far, and not really politically. Obama and Gillard, to name two, still make hay with their green-ness, while Inhofe is still the semi-pariah, the ranting obstructionist. But the skeptics constant vigil and voice has created consternation. The warmists call it confusion, but it is really consternation: if CAGW is an illusion, the agenda will fail and those at the top will suffer, why? because people are looking.

    I also say that what is going on is an unofficial referendum. People are voting: who doens’t think that Gore and Hansen aren’t monitoring traffic at WUWT and Tallbloke’s? Why would Suzuki et al say that there is a well organized and financed disinformation campaign unless they were conscious of how many people are reading and responding to the skeptic sites, escpecially relative to the warmist sites like RealClimate? The climate wars are being fought laptop-to-laptop, in the homes and the offices of ordinary people. Such things are supposed to be fought in boardrooms and once every four years in voting booths.

    In the US, awkward legislation gets through as “riders”, or attachments to larger legislation. It is a quid pro quo way to get others to support you when they don’t want to. Without the rider concept, much back-scratching would not happen, probably to the benefit of all Americans, but that is their system. CAGW is a bit of rider-like legislation, pieces that the ruling government does for specific voter support while they do other things that have larger voter support, like paying pensions. If a rider-like approach is untenable because people want to vote on it specifically, the politicians are in trouble. The skeptical approach is impossible to control, and if enough people disbelieve, then implementation will show up in the next election. When you require the people to believe you, not fear you, any “confusion” about your rightness disempowers you.

    Gore sees a Prophet when he looks in his shaving mirror. Romm sees a smart, good man who can recognize a prophet when he appears on TV. Gleick sees a Movement of Good People under attack and, like the proud soldier he is, acts in its defence. All of these people understand that the system works today only as long as the understanding of the superior knowledge of the governors is widespread. The skeptical voice is a threat to that public understanding.

    A windshield is a brittle plate. It requires only the tiniest of crack to begin its catastrophic failure. The skeptic, with his thoughts spread through the internet, is that initiating crack. It is hard to stop, but not impossible. The European Greens have stumbled, but not fallen. The Australian Gillard may be the test case, for if she falls, the political price will be clear. If.

    As I concluded, the debate is important, and the outcome is, I’m disappointed to say, not yet clear.

    P.S. I’m not even sure what solipsism has to do with my poor wording. There are a couple of typos, also in the opening bit. But this isn’t a contest or paid lecture. It’s a discussion carried out one monologue at a time. We get some slack. And the Green Suicide in Quebec? I’m a Canadian, so I know that Quebec has always been a child who wants as much as it can get as it is “special”, and deserves more. Like Mann and Hansen. But Quebec never votes for the losing party. If the winning party says CAGW is bogus, Quebec will go over to the skeptic side, though claiming that they were misled by Anglophone carpetbaggers. Shrug.

  24. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Doug Proctor; you allow too much altruism. In reality, what happened in the UK was that Brown was paid to get into power by a business colleague of Robert Maxwell using money suspected to have come from a scam in Northern Ireland. The apparent quid pro quo was planning [the UK land prices are very high] AND the system of subsidies for windmills and solar panels. The investors in these companies are the West Midlands’ Mafia.

    The case was exaggerated by pumping money into the research system so there were only papers promoting the CAGW scam. UEA is the Marxist/Common Purpose finishing school. In Europe and in the US we had similar scams. The top dog in Europe was Gerhard Schroeder who whilst still Chancellor was setting up his gas import company with Gazprom. Merkel was a communist apparatchik, and daughter of a paster who emigrated to the East out of Political motives.

    And of course Gore with Blood, ex CEO of Goldman Sachs, has his carbon trading company in London. What we have is for the first ever time Marxism being used as a cover for International Capitalism to create a new commodity.

    Brown at the Copenhagen Conference announced there were just 50 days to save the World. Rudd was there with an enormous delegation of Australia Fabians. The Fabians control the EU hence the recent monetary tie-up with Australia.

    Carbon trading is needed to support the Euro. It was also intended to support the Amero, the other building block of the new World currency.. If this plan succeeds the West will be impoverished as the bankers stave billions. The Marxists are still on board with the promise of 1 million green jobs: http://www.campaigncc.org/greenjobs

    Each of these jobs displaces three in the real economy.

  25. Zeke says:

    “…Marxism being used as a cover for International capitalism to create a new commodity”

    There are hedge funds and select venture capital and commodities traders who have billions at their disposal to manipulate prices on our basic food, fuel, and energy needs. What makes you think they are not Marxists, albeit well-placed? Is George Soros a capitalist?

    And agreed, the desire to set a price and very tight household/Smartmeter controls on “carbon” is still the issue. We now have two nasty carbon tax candidates in the coming US elections.

    Goldman Sachs is no longer what it was, no longer recognizable:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/why-i-am-leaving-goldman-sachs.html?pagewanted=all

  26. manicbeancounter says:

    “In the Western democracies of the 1st century, authority rides on the assumption of superior knowledge in those at the top, not their ability to use brute force.”

    In the Greek democracies that superior knowledge was not assumed, but was gained in open debate. To win at debate one had to take on board the others arguments, and better them to prove oneself, just as in less “civilized” nations the strongest warriors proved themselves in games of combat. Just as in combat, the strongest were only acclaimed as such by beating the previous champion “on a level playing-field”, so the Greeks believed that a higher form of superiority was only gained in open debate.

    In modern democracies, keen debate has been replaced by political spin. No longer do we have rhetorical sparring, but just long range sparring, based on appearances. We have trained professionals who know churn out one point after another, but never to truly take on the opinions of their opponents, nor even to answer an awkward question.

    Even worse is the field of climatology. How would the ancients have viewed the following?
    1. Refusing access to the debating platform (the professional journals) to those who did not agree. The Spencer and Bracewell 2011 and Lindzen and Choi 2011 papers are cases in point. Or failing to abide by the rules of those platform. For instance, critical papers being reviewed by those being reviewed.
    2. Refusing to debate on equal terms. (Al Gore, plus most of the “scientists”.)
    3. Failing to meet the major criticisms. (Montford’s Hockey Stick Illusion has many examples).
    4. Misrepresenting the others arguments and allowing no rebuttal. Or ad hominem attacks.

  27. tallbloke says:

    manicbeancounter: Welcome, good input. The distancing of politicians from the public had a defining moment in the UK. It happened when a retired woman schoolteacher skewered Margaret Thatcher on live national television over the sinking of an aged Argentinian battleship carrying a large number of conscripts that was steaming *away* from the Falklands conflict zone. The submarine’s logbook was ‘lost’ by the time the public inquiry was held.

    That was in 1982.. Since then, no UK cabinet politician has allowed themselves to be directly challenged by a member of the public. And that presumption of aloofness has now developed, under the careful tutelage of the PR agencies, to the point where as you say, politicians talk past each other, ignore the public, and deny deny deny any wrongdoing or failure without addressing real arguments.

    Now they are so far divorced from reality that they think they can embezzle money from the public via their expense accounts and reward each other with a pay rise after they are exposed for doing so, while telling everyone else to tighten their belts and cough up several hundred billion pounds for their banking pals who screwed up.

    A few ‘mea culpas’ are in order. Then a bit of humility might bring about a regeneration of the body politic though some honest debate.

  28. Q. Daniels says:

    I am endlessly fascinated by the flows of people and time.

    It seems as if the moochers, cronies and statists (but I repeat myself) have chosen to build their play for power on Rand being wrong about how the world works. That seems to be somehow perfect.

    She wasn’t wrong.

  29. adolfogiurfa says:

    @ Zeke: Goldman Sachs is no longer what it was, no longer recognizable:….
    It is the same. When it was plainly Goldman (Sachs was his son in law): A “ponzi scheme” like all the rest of bond printers, some of them now living in Shanghai.
    But the question is: Who, if sane, could ambition to own the world, if we are not immortal beings?

  30. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Interesting MBC. I have spent considerable time devising arguments which are so simple and obvious that no matter how hard the climate fraudsters try to convince the public that their science is valid, by refusing counter-argument, it will be beaten.

    The key is ‘back radiation’, a mistake by the Meteorologists who point radiometers at the sky and imagine the signal is from an energy source..To disprove it you imagine two detectors back to back in zero temperature gradient. The signal difference is zero. Take one away and the radiative signal to it is no longer nulled: the signal is real but it can’t do thermodynamic work. Planck did not work out why.

  31. archonix says:

    TB: Steaming away or not, we were at war with Argentina and the Belgrano was an enemy ship. It’s worth noting that the rest of the Argentinian navy returned to port and stayed there after the sinking – a fact that gets little mention, but which directly affected their ability to hold the islands. Without a naval force they were restricted to trying to land supplies by air which is impossible when you have to try and fly past a carrier group.

    I’m not sure it changes too much to say this though. Thatcher was berated on air by a woman with very little sense and a lot of voice, and it would appear that the result was a withdrawal from direct debate with the public in anything but the most managed conditions.

  32. tallbloke says:

    Archonix: Well, fair enough, we can have different views and debate them without worrying about the outcome. Losing face is not an option for politicians bereft of substance however.

  33. Stephen Wilde says:

    The point about the change in political attitudes after Thatcher was hijacked in public by an ignorant protestor may well be correct but we should be careful of giving false impressions about Thatcher’s alleged culpability:

    “Admiral Enrique Molina Pico, head of the Argentine Navy in the 1990s, wrote in a letter to La Nación, published in the 2 May 2005 edition, that the Belgrano was part of an operation that posed a real threat to the British task force, that it was holding off for tactical reasons, and that being outside of the exclusion zone was unimportant as it was a warship on tactical mission. This is the official position of the Argentine Navy.”

    “Argentine naval chiefs have subsequently revealed that the cruiser was indeed part of an operation that did threaten the task force. It had pursued a jagged path, weaving in and out of the exclusion zone, but in any case both sides regarded the entire South Atlantic as an operational theatre.”

  34. Martin Cohen says:

    Just in case anyone wondered, (since Doug addressed this to me originally) I also respond to Doug’s ‘climate mutiny’ post under the suggestions thread…

    Looking at the comments here and in particular Doug’s expanded hypothesis…. well, I get more and more sceptical. I just returned from the UK (I live in France) now, and was amazed to see that water meters are being made compulsory in the South-East. The reason, ‘climate change induced drought’.

    (Water – unlike nuclear electricity – is actually ‘too cheap to meter’ in the UK. There is a small cost to providing the pipes, and of course major costs in treating sewage. But water meters are an invitation to local monopoly companies to increase profits.}

    Now I heard that one in the 80s in Yorkshire, where I lived then. Yorkshire Water had the enthusiastic support of the Guardian and Beeb in their claim that people should look to their own selfish habits (taking baths, leaving taps dripping…) rather than call on the water company to provide more water. I headed a local Friends of the Earth group then and we reacted to a call by the water company for emergency rights to raid the region’s rivers by pointing out that the real problem was not any kind of shortage of rain, let alone ‘permanent shifts in climate’ but rather a money-minded decision to not invest in basic water infrastructure like reservoirs and pipes. We put an ad in the Yorkshire Post pointing this out – and it had two immediate consequences.

    1. YW took us to the Advertising Standards Authority for that – and lost on the facts. (Rare that a green group wins such cases…)

    2. FoE threw us out of the organisation for being ‘off message’. Yorkshire really was going to turn into a dustbowl unless we bought into energy saving lightbulbs. The man who did it – Mike Childs – is now their head of campaigns, curiously enough.

    This might look like a bit like grist to Doug’s mill, but I see several distinctions. Firstly, our campaign against YW ‘greenwashing’ was conducted using traditional media and indeed it took off because of the cack-handed appeal of the company to ‘authority’. Secondly, and this is the sad bit, people are quietly accepting water meters in the South-East as the diet of AGW news has clearly successfully entered their minds as incontrovertible fact.

  35. Ed Caryl says:

    Back radiation:
    Have you noticed that if a night is cloudy, it stays warmer at the surface than if a night is clear? Both the clouds and space are colder than the surface, yet the clouds will impede the loss of heat from the ground because they are warmer than space. Further, if there were no atmosphere at all at night, the ground would then look like the surface of the moon, and would lose heat much faster. Only heat flows. Cold is just the absence of heat. In the above examples heat is flowing in both directions. The balance, the difference, is what determines how fast the surface cools. The greenhouse gases change that balance. All the argument is over how much.

  36. Doug Proctor says:

    1) “In the Western democracies of the 1st century”: typo. In the Western democracies of the 21st century ….

    2) Mydogsgotnonose says:
    April 28, 2012 at 7:57 pm
    Doug Proctor; you allow too much altruism …

    Naw. It’s not altruism, really, but not a ganging-up on the little guy, either:

    Sure, many have jumped on the CAGW while have financial benefits coming their way. And it is easy to see the conflict-of-interests of Gore or Brown or others as part of a conspiracy of the wealthy and politically powerful. I think this is an illusion, another correlation that is not rooted in causation. What I think is going on is a condition of common self-interest among opportunists.

    As an example, consider this: I once asked Steven Lewis, heading the UN program on AIDS, whether there was a conspiracy to allow AIDS to spread in India and China while a strong effort was on to stop it in the First World., as a sizable reduction in those countries population anchored in the less educated, less wealthy groups could be in the countries’ longer term interest. He (and his assistants) were shocked by the question, but what he said (before they hustled away from me) was “No. They aren’t that sophisticated.” Indifference to the sufferings of others in general was the principal reason so little was being done. (He actually said: “Complete indifference, along with basic racism.) This is the common self-interest I’m talking about: no one person has to to anything but shrug if there are enough people who will naturally shrug along with them, for nothing to happen. Organizing formally is unnecessary for a consistent program among those who already see eye-to-eye.

    Same with the CAGW beneficiaries. Gore likes money and he is street-smart enough (along with Pachauri and Mann) to recognize personal possibilities in a CO2-restricted world. And he has the connections and seed money to take advantage of it. Same with the others. They don’t need to organize anything. CAGW is self-organizing by talking about it, and the upside develops as a natural outcome. He and all the others need simply to pluck the grapes as they grow.

    A common self-interest among opportunists shows itself by individual actions at different times or stages. I think we have seen that, like Gore getting $18 million out of the Chicago Carbon Exchange only 20 weeks before it shut down. That was somebody else’s money he took. Sure, the movers and shakers talk among themselves. But conspiracies require a sophistication and level of secrecy that is unlikely to exist in these egomaniacs. Plus, they would have to trust each other, and since they are like jackals around a carcass another predator has pulled to the ground, that is unlikely. Each wants to grab his bit and run. No hand-holding and brotherhood there.

    The Brits developed the concept of “enlightened self-interest” in the 1800s in their dealings with their colonies. Improving the native lot made business better and reduced the colonial administration’s workload. The Brits didn’t do it hugely, but better than the Portuguese, the Belgians and the Germans. So their empire lasted longer. Enlightened self-interest would be the intellectual Greens’ take in transfer payments to the 3rd World: keep the downtrodden from attacking us, and keep the planetary resources “cleaner”. Financial self-interest would be Gore’s take: “fix the planet” and get some goodies for himself at the same time.

  37. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Ed Caryl: ‘The greenhouse gases change that balance. All the argument is over how much.

    The ‘back radiation’ is combined with Aarhenius assumption that IR from the Earth’s surface is the S-B BB level in a vacuum for 16°C. This multiplied IR heating in the first ~30 m by a factor of 15.5 [Trenberth 2009 cartoon].

    Basically the IPCC has exaggerated GHG warming by at least an order of magnitude by assuming false physics. What’s more, the IR physics is wrong – there may actually be cooling from more CO2 [Nahle, 2011]. I think the effect is net zero..

  38. Ed Caryl says:

    Mydogdgotnonose says, ” I think the effect is net zero..”
    Oh, I agree… Or so low it makes no difference. Water vapor dominates.

  39. kuhnkat says:

    “Ed Caryl says:

    April 28, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    Back radiation:
    Have you noticed that if a night is cloudy, it stays warmer at the surface than if a night is clear? Both the clouds and space are colder than the surface, yet the clouds will impede the loss of heat from the ground because they are warmer than space.”

    I have seen this type of statement many times and had always bought into the resulting conclusion that the clouds helped retain the heat. It comes to mind that having clouds there may be an indication of less convection happening which would decrease the primary mechanism for heat moving away from the surface. Anyone with a good data set to shed more light on the issue?!?!

  40. Mydogsgotnonose says:

    Hi Ed, bet you don’t know why I think it’s net zero? It’s because there is no mechanism for direct thermalisation. Happer warned of this in 1993 when he refused to lie for Gore. Also the Tyndall and PET bottle experiments have been misinterpreted [adiabatic heating from pressure rise, indirect thermalisation at the vessel walls].

    In essence, few have considered basic statistical thermodynamics which are based on the principles of Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium and of Indistinguishably. Hence climate science argues that because it takes about a microsecond for an isolated CO2 molecule to re-emit the photon, and there are 1000 collisions, the energy has to decay thermally. However, once another molecule emits that same energy photon, LTE is restored.

    My view is that this applies simultaneously throughout the atmosphere so thermalisation is solely at heterogeneous interfaces or the quantum heads off to space. Thus the clouds heat up not the air and this is the self-control mechanism Miskolczi measures!

  41. archonix says:

    “Losing face is not an option for politicians bereft of substance however.”

    True. It brings down governments. Brown was doing okay until he made a cock of himself on a live microphone.

  42. Doug Proctor says:
    April 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    The unequal distribution of the benefits of labour are a difficult, divisive and counter-productive aspect of capitalism, the worst coming from pure capitalism, i.e. you charge the most that you can and give away the least that you can.

    Great article and great comment trail and I agree generally with what you say. But I take exception to your above characterisation of capitalism.

    Capitalism is about open markets which drive prices DOWN not up. There is nothing wrong with the concept of charging “the most you can”, nor with “giving away the least you can”, providing the marketplace for your product or service is genuinely competitive. If you charge the most you can, and give away the least you can, you maximise your surplus for funding your next creative market venture, thus potentially increasing everybody’s standard of living.

    The proof of all this is of course the last 250 years of astonishing improvement in the standard of living of mankind, now thankfully also having a positive effect even in third world countries.

    Governments are there to ensure that markets remain competitive. All criticisms of market failure should always be directed at government, not at so-called nameless “capitalists”. Banking crisis? A complete worldwide failure by governments to regulate. Third world poverty? The failure of non-democratic governments to permit market forces the freedom under the law to create wealth. Useless windmills? The failure of governments to understand basic economics and technology.

    Climate change legislation? A perfect example of the simple failure of government.

  43. Peter Kovachev says:

    This is some brilliant writing here, folks; many bulls-eyes and much food for thought. Let’s have more of these Politics Weekends!

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  45. adolfogiurfa says:

    When we changed from monarchies to supposedly democratic states, we really “changed drool by snot”, as the real ones behind such an “enlightenment” and revolutions were the former monarchies´lenders, which saw big business turning the properties of monarchies and the church to their “blessed” hands, so we went from the tyranny of a known few to the few and, as unknown for the majority, hidden tyrants.
    In the meantime they just care we should be properly “amused” and “busy”, or “bullied”, so as not to realize their control of the world´s assets.
    They succeeded in gaining this control by using those who, at that time, were not in power and who had in their peculiar psyche such unbecoming properties of human beings called “self-conceit”, “ambition”, etc., summarizing: a lack of any principles whatsoever, or in other words, those who were not Noble. Thus, in order to use these peoples for their chrematistic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrematistics) purposes, they invented the then almost forgotten old egyptian method of “initiating” them, as to convince them they were the chosen ones to be the enlightened rulers of the rest of “silly”, uneducated, and incapable to comprehend the hidden principles of the laws issued by the Great Architect of the World himself, people. (this they did it so just in case some of their newly initiated individuals had some remnants of conscience or virtue, so they were totally convinced that, whatever the case, they would do the “best for humanity”).
    So we can classify socialists, liberals, or liberal conservatives, new age scientists, philosophers, academicians or whatever they may call themselves, in several classes:
    – They who really know what they do and know their masters and deal directly with them.
    – Those who just know they can profit if they follow “consensus”.
    – Those who really believe they are doing the “best for humanity” and for the prevalence of the ideals of “Libertè,Egalitè et Fraternitè”.
    Of course, in this last class, are automatically included, all those “good hearted” people, who innocently believe they are doing good for their fellow human beings or “the planet”.
    Of course, there is a big general class which include all citizens of those countries which, having inherited from their ancestors that very acute quality called “suspicion”, who usually and always apparently “agree”, “thanks” or even bow before any “master” or “pseudo master”, having a position of command or dominion, but who do not believe anything, and think they will some day, will take the appropriate “care” of such “masters” and “pseudo masters”, by separating their self admired “heads” from its bodies, in due time, like the chinese, indian, american indians (north and south), etc. so they just “wait at their front doors, knowing for sure, that they will see the corpses of their enemies passing by”.