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« A question for David Spiegelhalter | Main | Why is Lord Deben against "food waste"? »
Wednesday
Mar252015

Quote of the day, political power edition

I believe that climate moralists are impervious to the adverse impact of their policies because their morality is closely interwoven with misunderstanding of economics, distaste for capitalism, lack of interest in history and the overwhelming desire of their psychic elephants to dictate how other people should live.

The climate issue has to be seen as the latest chapter in the two century long battle to use the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism to justify political power.

Peter Foster places the climate debate in its historical context

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Reader Comments (59)

Two century long intellectual battle? Hmmm, smug, prim non-conformists have been around longer than that.

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

I suppose a two century battle in the sense that its roughly the time since Marx re-named the normal commercial relations among free men as 'capitalism' and gave it a perjorative sense, apparently an exercise in oppression rather than cooperation

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Lord love a duck, it floats!
===========

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Pretty good summary: Accurate, meaningful and historically informed.

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunterter

Peter Foster is obviously the kind of opponent we socialists should take seriously, even if his House of Lords speech reads like a compendium of quotes for Rotary Club after-dinner speakers.

I happen to disagree strongly with his criticisms of Montford over the psychology of climate scientists, but that's for another day.

What I found disturbing was his conclusion that “The climate issue has to be seen as the latest chapter in the two century long battle to use the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism to justify political power.” This is simply the Watermelon Theory tarted up for delivery before Their Lordships.

The rest of the speech makes it plain that the “...two century long battle to use the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism to justify political power” is his definition of socialism. If he really thinks that making kids work twelve hours a day in factories was an “alleged moral shortcoming” maybe he should say so, or else explain what we were supposed to do – go to chapel and pray for a shorter working week?

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Source ...

Peter Foster: Climate Change As A Moral Issue
http://www.thegwpf.com/peter-foster-climate-change-as-a-moral-issue/

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

When folk cannot even admit that capitalism has moral shortcomings then they are only preaching to their choir. If anything, it was the financial crisis that engendered this anti-capitalist backlash just when the sheeple were starting to believe in the phony magic of deregulation and the debt-doesn't-matter society. That the crisis was brought on by people who were too fond of fancy models and not at all driven to check their simplistic assumptions against real life data should have made everyone sit up and think a bit more rather than just doubling down on their preferred dogma.

In fact the uber-capitalists and the anti-capitalists use exactly the same self-delusion of looking at a rising trend and pretending to know why it is rising but it isn't clever, just opportunistic. When you accurately predict a downturn, having first told us exactly why it will happen, then you are worth listening to.

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It's all done for the greater good.

Mar 25, 2015 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

You can whine against capitalism all you like but it is still the only system that has pulled the human population to its most healthy, wealthy and beneficent state ever. As little as 100 years ago the average life expectancy in developed countries was still under 50.
Socialism is at best a place holder that eventually slows advancement to a humdrum status quo - doesnt create any better standard if living, but does develop a bureaucracy somthickmit essentially smothers initiative.

What the socialists despise is we're not supposed to exhibit greed and selfishness because they're nasty moralistic traits, but its those attributes that prompt strong free market and innovative processes that eventually pulled us to where we are.
Capitalism has seen some bad or poor practices certainly, but as wealth has grown,there's both time and money been developed to deal with and "fix" excesses - although some seem to think it doesnt do that fast enough.
And I also think its very true,,that AGW has been a classic socialist horse to ride, in that where else can you find such emotionally satisfying karmic outcome that greedy human practices will be (the hoped for) demise of these nasty capitalists.
The socialists need AGW to be real for emotional political purposes and they dont want the science to be wrong but they're willing to accept the hand grenade conclusion - its close enough so dont argue.

Mar 25, 2015 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered Commentermikegeo

JamesG
Conflating deregulation and "debt doesn't matter" is a nonsense and, if anything, goes to prove Foster's point.
Nobody with any nous is arguing for unrestricted capitalism though that is always the argument put forward by the liberal-left just as any (mild) criticism of the NHS is met by them with "I suppose you'd rather have the American system". All is black and white to them.
Presumably you are happier with the idea that regulation of human activity in general ought to be kept to a minimum but that debt does matter ... or perhaps should I say you would be if it weren't for the fact that that philosophy fairly well sums up Margaret Thatcher.
Forgive me if I sound as if I'm making this personal; that is not my intention but you seem to be arguing for just that sort of black/white dichotomy. To say deregulation is "phony magic" tells me a lot about your political position. The world is a lot more complex and subtle than that.
Apology available if I'm misunderstanding you.

Mar 25, 2015 at 3:38 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

CO2 is a proxy for private sector industry which allows a substantial group of the public sector to feel sanctimoniously self righteous when they say "I hate CO2 / Private Sector / industry".

And those who attack CO2 are clueless that without a private sector there would be no public sector.

Mar 25, 2015 at 3:55 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Humans need both capitalist and socialist influences and it’s been going on faaaaar longer than 200 years. Since at least 1066, land and rights have been exchanged for man power and then cash. At the same time the church and the guilds kept hold of land and cash and food for the public good. At various times those under one scheme suffered more than the other. The quality of those in charge were vital to the prosperity and happiness of everyone. It was a mixed bag.

Socialist societies that do not allow individuals to prosper, founder because people stop striving. Petty rules multiply to take the place of genuine co-operation. people achieve the least they can to maintain their basic reward. Societies that are dominated by self interest can become very unbalanced where might wins over ability. It doesn’t work well if those at the top can achieve what they want using only a small number of people (eg oil industry or diamond mining).

AGW policy at the moment is the worst of both worlds. It stifles free market ingenuity and at the same time it enslaves the poorest first without granting them a basic allotment or guaranteeing them a future either. It’s not born out of necessity, it’s entirely driven by opinion and the social structures built upon it are artificial and badly formed. It allows unworthy people to dominate and become wealthy without actaully doing anything of any value.

Mar 25, 2015 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

mikegeo:
AGW has been a classic socialist horse to ride

Many, most even, of those claiming to be socialist may (shamefully in my view) have chosen to ride the AGW horse but history shows - at least to those who bother to look - that it only gained credence as a quasi-scientific political agenda once the anglophone political centre right placed it firmly on the world stage in the mid-1980s.

Don't take this socialist's word for it, read Rupert Durwall's excellent history or even, at a pinch, Christopher Booker's less rigorous and now slightly dated polemic. Both books have plenty of Geoff's Rotary Club Moments but they are essentially correct assessments. What makes them particularly useful is that not even the stalwartiest of this blog's stalwarts could in any way, shape or form accuse either writer of being anything other than staunchly conservative. Well, so I'd like to think.

Mar 25, 2015 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterdaveB

The odd things is those who moan most about capitalism instead of moving to live in 'socialites paradises' stay under capitalism , while those that actual get to live on these 'socialites paradises' went to get out and move to places under capitalism.

The left's hard on for places like Cuba never extends to getting first hand experience of the place , but restricts itself to admiring them form a 'safe distance'

Mar 25, 2015 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Al Gore is owned and operated by Occidental Petroleum. So much for green ideology. The entire green movement is sponsored by governments / big business. Same thing.

Mar 25, 2015 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

This debate is just another example of "post-normal science", and it is essentially the childish desire to simply scribble in your coloring book rather than stay within the lines (and with sensible colors that reflect the real thing). Which is to say, it sucks, and so do you when you engage in it as if it were a sensible occupation. It just shows the public "climate debate" is hopelessly incompetent; Peter Foster is simply wrong to write, "The climate issue has to be seen as the latest chapter in the two century long battle to use the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism to justify political power." At best, that is only one thread of the actual historical context (which is the general rise of unquestioned and ineluctably divisive dogma over good, honest reasoning), and a minor one at that, prior to the inauguration of the IPCC. Now, if he wants to say it is a thread that has become paramount among the radical Left and its fellow travellers, that's fine; but it's also obvious (just from reading about it in the news), and still an exaggeration, that limits and distorts the larger picture of this debate and of these times. In short, it allows the anti-capitalist trolls an undeserved attention and platform to misdirect the public's attention (and if you would argue that we have to give them that attention because they are in power, I would say this is why I have called this the War of the Insane Left, whose first casualty was the truth, and the idea that finding the truth, not an ideologically biased consensus on morality, was the only good reason to debate). You all wouldn't be in this mess if you had just listened to me, and learned once and for all (from my Venus/Earth temperatures comparison) that the CO2 climate sensitivity is zero, period, and that there is no valid "global" climate science and no competent climate scientists.

(By the way, I don't put comments like this on my blog, because my blog is limited to the science, specifically to definitive facts that even the "experts" have been unaware of, and which reveal the "consensus" as incompetent. In other words, I insist upon coloring within the lines, in these degenerate times.)

Mar 25, 2015 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

The predictable yet ineffective reaction of our so-called progressive friends here indicates that the speech was right on target.

Mar 25, 2015 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunterter

The problem for PF is that just as Darwin has been used to make arguments on either side of the left-right debate, so too has the issue of the climate been used in the same way, for an against private property.

Honestly, it's a boring dead end. A yawn-a-thon that has been rehearsed a million times.

History no more divides neatly into two than the climate debate divides into scientists and deniers.

Mar 25, 2015 at 7:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Your Grace,
My, that IS a delicious quote.

Mar 25, 2015 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterDiogenes

Scientists and politicians poisoned the climate issue well before questions of capitalism entered in.

This is the observation from the Hartwell paper.

“Climate change was brought to the attention of policy-makers by scientists. From the outset, these scientists also brought their preferred solutions to the table in US Congressional hearings and other policy forums, all bundled. The proposition that ‘science’ somehow dictated particular policy responses, encouraged –indeed instructed – those who found those particular strategies unattractive to argue about the science.

So, a distinctive characteristic of the climate change debate has been of scientists claiming with the authority of their position that their results dictated particular policies; of policy makers claiming that their preferred choices were dictated by science, and both acting as if ‘science’ and ‘policy’ were simply and rigidly linked as if it were a matter of escaping from the path of an oncoming tornado.

In the case of climate modelling, which has been prominent in the public debate, the many and varied ‘projective’ scenarios (that is, explorations of plausible futures using computer models conditioned on a large number of assumptions and simplifications) are sufficient to undergird just about any view of the future that one prefers. But the ‘projective’ models they produce have frequently been conflated implicitly and sometimes wilfully with what politicians really want, namely ‘predictive’ scenarios: that is, precise forecasts of the future.”

Page 18, the Hartwell Paper, 2010
http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27939/

https://rclutz.wordpress.com/the-dysfunctional-climate-debate/

Mar 25, 2015 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

Ben, I think that you are being a bit dismissive there.

I doubt (although he is free to correct me) that our esteemed host "divides history in two." Nor do the vast majority of proper historians, whatever their political leanings.

Agenda 21 is not a mirage - it is alive and well all over the world, including in many local councils in Australia who mention it in their source documents.

Supra-national outfits like the EU and the UN deprive individual voters of the power to decide what happens in their own country.

Mar 25, 2015 at 8:44 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Thanks Ben Pile and Harry Dale Huffman (first half of comment) for injecting some orthogonal sanity into the debate.
Peter Foster's talk is a sign of what will happen if ever the sceptic argument breaks out of its Bantustan and is discussed by millions, instead of by tens of thousands, as is the case at the moment. At that point the knowledgeable war-weary few will be outnumbered 100:1 by the new boys, and the Fosters will be announcing their newly discovered commonplaces with all the idiot pride of a sixties student who's just discovered Marxism (I was one of those).

It's probably inevitable. Either we try and spread the word and risk seeing it distorted out of recognition, or we decide to be keepers of the true flame and retreat into being a sect (I see myself wandering up and down Oxford Street with a placard reading: THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH – NOT.)
There's not much we can do to resolve this dilemma. It's the way society works, and only the study of social sciences can help us to understand it. Foster understands that at least, but he leans heavily on the worst kind of naïve psychological determinism with his parable of the elephant.
Some people who were there at the talk tell me that Nigel Lawson made some interesting comments, not entirely favourable to Foster. Anyone have any more information on that?

Mar 25, 2015 at 8:46 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Use of the term 'capitalism' seems to encourage the tendency among certain types to view it as a system centrally imposed on society in the same way that 'socialism' is.

If he really thinks that making kids work twelve hours a day in factories was an “alleged moral shortcoming” maybe he should say so, or else explain what we were supposed to do – go to chapel and pray for a shorter working week?
Mar 25, 2015 at 2:46 PM | geoffchambers

OK I'll bite.
Is it better to work 12 hours a day in a factory, or 16 hours a day on a farm?
If families were prevented from sending their kids to work by morally superior socialists, would those families have been better off without that extra income, or worse off?
Do you think the poor had little bread because (a) 'the rich' were hoarding all the bread; or (b) only as much bread existed as could be produced with the primitive methods of the time.
Do you think the reason we can now afford the luxury of child labour laws is due to (a) restrictions imposed socialist planners and union thugs; or (b) umpteen-fold increase in productivity due to the relative absence of restrictions imposed by socialist planners and union thugs?

Mar 25, 2015 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Johanna -- I doubt (although he is free to correct me) that our esteemed host "divides history in two." Nor do the vast majority of proper historians, whatever their political leanings.

It was Foster who offered the polarised view, not our host:- "...the latest chapter in the two century long battle to use the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism to justify political power." That, after bringing the "insights" of ev-psych to the climate debate. It could do without it -- it's all so... green.

Agenda 21 is not a mirage - it is alive and well all over the world,

And what is amazing is just how many capitalists* want a slice of it.

(* - I make no judgement on the rights and wrongs of capitalism as such here. It is an observation that capitalism adapts.)

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

BenP:
History no more divides neatly into two than the climate debate divides into scientists and deniers.

I'm not sure anyone half-way politically literate has suggested it does but, as I'm sure you're aware, one of the problems with the "climate debate" is that so few do bother seriously to research its political history. Mind you, it's not easy if you do try, one reason I hold Darwall's book in high regard.

A couple of years ago, I thought I'd do a quick timeline of key stages in the evolution of the AGW bandwagon from, say, the distant days of The Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth" report (1972) to the then-looming COP-18 (MOP 8). The idea was simply to get my head round the succession of events and master a few acronyms.

I thought it'd take me an afternoon or two popping onto the odd UN web site, some EU archives and an occasional peek at Wiki. Obviously, I expected nothing remotely serious from the NGOs but I found that all accounts were so partial that the obstructions seemed almost wilful. In the event, it took me six weeks (!) of full time research [I'm retired] to come up with a more-or-less impartial and more-or-less complete timeline of the main political events. It was a weird, though instructive, exercise.

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

And what is amazing is just how many capitalists* want a slice of it.

(* - I make no judgement on the rights and wrongs of capitalism as such here. It is an observation that capitalism adapts.)
Mar 25, 2015 at 9:09 PM | Ben Pile


Eh?

Are you defining 'capitalists' as 'selfish people' and 'capitalism' as 'selfishness'?

That seems to be the only way to make sense of this 'observation'.

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Capitalism is what made the USA the greatest, richest and largest economy in the world with 3 x the population of the UK and France (not combined) and 13 times the economy of china currently. Crony capitalism is what brought us the last recession. They are not the same thing. This is criminals behaving as criminals.

I get really very angry when half baked, half witted socialists, liberals and maxists bleat on about how capitalism is bad and their depressive all must be the same brand of people management is the only solution.
Unfortunately it is the solution that has never been made to work anywhere on earth and more importantly has been shown to fail everywhere it has been tried.

The EU is perhaps the very best example of the failures of socialism. You can do nothing unless it is regulated. Capitalism means you can do something until it is regulated.

Regulations brings thousands of non productive jobs that have to be paid for by increased taxes on the productive workers. The EU admin currently costs €3 billion / year. Their expense accounts are not auditable and there is fraud throughout the system. It is a classic Russian model of communism with a DUMAS and a Kremil which rules from the centre with central planning and regulation. No people votes allowed. They might upset the system.

If I was a UK voter there is only one way I would vote. UKIP.

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Here is the truth from someone who has actually researched the subject.


The Corporate Climate Coup

By Prof. David F. Noble

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-corporate-climate-coup/5568


At its inception the Pew Center established the Business Environmental Leadership Council, chaired by Loy. Early council members included Sunoco, Dupont, Duke Energy, BP, Royal Dutch/Shell, Duke Energy, Ontario Power Generation, DTE (Detroit Edison), and Alcan. Marking their distance from the GCC, the Council declared “we accept the views of most scientists that enough is known about the science and environmental impacts of climate change for us to take actions to address the consequences;” “

Businesses can and should take concrete steps now in the U.S. and abroad to assess opportunities for emission reductions. . . and invest in new, more efficient products, practices, and technologies.” The Council emphasized that climate change should be dealt with through “market-based mechanisms” and by adopting “reasonable policies,” and expressed the belief “that companies taking early action on climate strategies and policy will gain sustained competitive advantage over their peers.”

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Stephen Richards

Full scale military, corporate, financial and intelligence gangsterism is what made the USA the biggest prison in history.


American business co-operation with Nazis ( Beta)

http://alturl.com/on4x7

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Geoff Chambers

It was because of the productivity of capitalism that we were able to dispense with child labour. In poorer societies children are put to work.

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered Commentersmithy

Global corporates are the problem and they have nothing nor desire anything to do with open and free market competition, yes indeed the large corporations see Agenda 21 as a way to curtail free market competition - particularly when they can shut down manufacturing in the west and manufacture those self same products in the second and third world countries. Thus, red tape, regulation, mass immigration and global agreements-governance are the very life blood of the global cartels and the corporate giants who run them.

Lets not make the mistake of confusing laissez faire commerce and open competitive free markets with what we are having to suffer from the incipient one world government TPTB are so bent on creating - because as we know if it suits them - it suits the ordinary Joe and Joanna: not at all.

Mar 25, 2015 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

DaveB - I'm not sure anyone half-way politically literate has suggested it does

But we're discussing Foster: "The climate issue has to be seen as the latest chapter in the two century long battle to use the alleged moral shortcomings of capitalism to justify political power."

... the distant days of The Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth" report (1972) to the then-looming COP-18 ...

The CoR was hardly a meeting of socialists -- since so many of the club arrived by private jet. This takes us to Stephen Richards comments about crony capitalism... This gives the history of the climate debate a third axis to consider.

The problem for SR though, is that a large part of the economic history of the USA is also a history of crony capitalism -- vast fortunes amassed, left in philanthropic legacies that green NGOs are now the beneficiaries of.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Peter Foster’s point that the dogma of dangerous human-caused global warming has been used in the pursuit of political power and adopted by the extreme Left as camouflage for Marxist ideology is self-evident in the Australian Parliament, particularly in the Senate.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Jake - 'Are you defining 'capitalists' as 'selfish people' and 'capitalism' as 'selfishness'?'

No.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

It takes someone who has studiously avoided studying Marx to make comments like:

Peter Foster’s point that the dogma of dangerous human-caused global warming has been used in the pursuit of political power and adopted by the extreme Left as camouflage for Marxist ideology is self-evident in the Australian Parliament, particularly in the Senate.

It amazes me that people demand nuances such as the distinction between capitalism and crony capitalism, but not between what Marx wrote in the 1850s and what happens in the Australian Parliament in 2015.

"If they are Marxists, one thing I am sure of", said Marx, "is that I am not a Marxist". (Ce qu'il y a de certain c'est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste.’)

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

"vast fortunes amassed, left in philanthropic legacies that green NGOs are now the beneficiaries of."

That's right. The most obvious example being the Pew Foundation. The legacy of the most virulently right wing family in American history, owners of Sunoco Oil. The Pew Foundation are at the centre of American environmentalism. They haven't changed their spots. They are still Sunoco Oil.


The Green movement is the oil industry in a green cloak.


Naomi Klein. Green movement is in bed with big oil

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e373bd70-3d8e-11e4-b782-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3IlD0mBsv

again

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/05/naomi_klein_big_green_groups_are_crippling_the_environmental_movement_partner/

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Professor James Heartfield is a Marxist and once wrote regularly for the Guardian


In 1997 the Club of Rome collaborated with Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute to launch a new report "Factor Four" that promised to "halve resource use" while doubling wealth. The message was that you could get rich saving the planet. A privileged few did indeed double their wealth; but for the rest it was just a case of halving resources.

Immodestly, Lovins made his own California energy scheme the main example of savings in "Factor Four". His well-paid advice to the State of California was that it was a big mistake to adopt a system that rewarded increased electricity output with increased profits. Such a system would naturally tend to boost output. Instead, rewards for cutting energy use were needed. Rather than getting paid for additional megawatts the utility companies should be rewarded for saving power use: negawatts. The impact of Lovins' model on energy generation in California was decisive. "Around 1980, Pacific Gas and Electricity Company was planning to build some 10-20 power stations", according to Lovins.

But by 1992, PG&E was planning to build no more power stations, and in 1993, it permanently dissolved its engineering and construction division. Instead as its 1992 Annual Report pronounced, it planned to get at least three quarters of its new power needs in the 1990s from more efficient use by its customers.[4]


Of course the PG&E was not getting three quarters of its new power needs from anywhere: it had just reduced its output. But manufacturing energy scarcity did indeed grow somebody's cash wealth: Enron's. With these artificial caps on energy production the generating companies could start to hike up the charges to utility companies, including PG&E, now unable to meet its own customers' demands. Those energy companies were owned by Enron. Chief Executive Kenneth Lay turned Enron from a company that made its money generating power into one that made its money trading finance. Whatever else it was doing, there was no denying that Enron was cutting back its own CO2 emissions and getting rich doing it. One company memo stated that the Kyoto treaty "would do more to promote Enron's business than will almost any other regulatory initiative".[5]

Amory Lovins' negawatt revolution in California was Enron's wet dream. Having shut down its own generation capacity, PG&E was at the mercy of Enron's market manipulation. Buying surplus electricity on the open market PG&E was royally fleeced, losing US$12 billion. Utility bills rose by nine times between May 2000 and May 2001. Enron took advantage of the restricted market and cut electricity to California. They even invented reasons to take power plants offline while California was blacked out. Enron officials joked that they were stealing one million dollars a day from California.[6] The PG&E that Lovins held up as a model went bankrupt and had to be bailed out by the State of California.


http://curezone.com/forums/fmp.asp?i=1691985

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:26 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Peter Foster's paper was in many ways very good, but it does have a lurking fundamental flaw in it.
If you argue, as he does, that our modes of behaviour and thinking are really the evolutionary product of our hunter-gatherer forbears' modes of action and thought, we all have a real problem: despite appearances nothing we write or say or do, however apparently logical and rational is in fact so; it is merely the result of irrational forces of evolution. Therefore whether we be Monbiot or Delingpole, we are all riding our respective elephants who are the real directors of all our thoughts and actions which have no rational basis at all.

It's no good saying, "I am rational, but you are riding the elephant", because he can reply "contrariwise."

This problem is not particularly new but is perhaps the inevitable end product of the 'enlightenment'.

There is, I believe, an answer, but that answer is not palatable to many (on either side).

But then I'm just riding my elephant.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

“It takes someone who has studiously avoided studying Marx to make comments like …”.
You’re right there, for ‘Marxist’ perhaps I should have written ‘Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist’.
Nowadays I think it’s a distinction without a difference.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Jake Haye (Mar 25, 2015 at 8:51 PM)

OK I'll bite.
Don't worry, I won't bite back.
Please let's all take Ben Pile and HD Huffman's comments seriously. We're not going to resolve two centuries of political history on this thread. The question of the ultimate victory of capitalism or socialism will be resolved at the ballot box, or in China, or possibly both, or possibly neither – ever. There are people here like Mike Jackson and TinyCO2 with whom I enjoy having a dingdong argument. Others, less so.

Peter Foster's talk at the House of Lords was clearly important, because a journalist working in America coming from Cambridge and the Financial Times has a certain cachet. I shall read his articles on Chavez and Adam Smith with interest, but in the meantime I find his analyses simplistic, possibly because he's come late to the debate and doesn't realise how much this ground has already been ploughed over.

No account of the Great Climate Swindle that bases itself on the premiss of the false consciousness of socialists will explain the existence of a Lord Deben or a Tim Yeo. Or even of a Dame Vivienne or a Baroness Worthington or a Sir Paul Nurse or a Russell Brand or a thousand other exotic flowers of our late capitalist hothouse. These are all - left and right – monsters bred by the sleep of reason.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:41 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

@ Chris Hanley

> Peter Foster’s point that the dogma of dangerous human-caused global warming has been used in the pursuit of political power and adopted by the extreme Left as camouflage for Marxist ideology is self-evident in the Australian Parliament, particularly in the Senate

Yes, of course. I think they will win too, at least to a point of quiet destruction

As further evidence for this comment, I am dismayed (but not surprised) by the number of incoherent responses on this thread to Foster's reported talk. Foster's point that "emotion rules" is well supported here

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterianl8888

Chris H - for ‘Marxist’ perhaps I should have written ‘Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist’. Nowadays I think it’s a distinction without a difference.

It's a concatenation of nouns, and that's all.

Few on even the very far left would have put their name anywhere near Stalin's, even in the 1960s, much less later, much less today. Even those who took the M-L suffix would struggle to move more than a few dozen communists from their nursing homes. These terms really are the categories of an ancient history. When I see them used, I can' only think that whoever is using them is picking a fight with ghosts.

You trip over these -isms. They don't serve your argument. They are redundant -- too much extra baggage that no argument can really sustain.

What happens in the Australian Parliament (if I am to guess at what that refers to) is more the consequence of a historical discontinuity than the continuation of an ideological movement spanning the C19th to today. In fact, we can see thinkers on the right making the same mistakes as they lose touch with their own tradition, be it an arguments for/against private/common property, capitalism/anticapitalism on the basis of Darwin's ideas, resource depletion, environmental degradation, and climate change.

Mar 25, 2015 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

DaveB - have you written up or published your research on the CoR et al anywhere?

You should, even if some of it is covered By Rupert D.

Mar 25, 2015 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

Philip Foster 'Mar 25, 2015 at 10:39 PM)

So what's your answer? (I'll get off my elephant if you'll get off yours).

Smithy (Mar 25, 2015 at 9:55 PM)

It was because of the productivity of capitalism that we were able to dispense with child labour.
I know, I know. And if only Dr Marx and his English Working Men's Association hadn't made such a fuss, the Tories would have given women and working men the vote and Africans their freedom so much earlier.

Give over. History is where it is, in the past. Let's shut our eyes to all that and think of HADCRUT. Sceptics of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your hopes of tenure.

Mar 25, 2015 at 11:17 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I really don't want to put anybodies nose out of joint, arguments from those who stand on the left seem rational enough to me, the thing that scares me most is Cultural Marxism - which turns the sum total of mankind's knowledge and experience on its head and therefore is, the scourge of the western tradition, of scientific empiricism and logic.

What I will say:

Human beings can be very green in more ways than one.

Right or left? but not seeking the right answers and always asking the wrong questions.

Marxism or Leninism, Stalin was corrupted and man is always the problem because power corrupts - thus, truly it's best if no one has too much power and democracy must regularly be renewed but with the people having the final chop on budgets and anually not quinquennially.

Corporatism, statism and forces - powerful people, massive funds, investment banks, conglomerates interlocked with governments - moving parts we never knew existed. Plus bureaucracy - then binding the world tightly in a knot, a weave of regulation of which cannot be unravelled. Is Ultimately, the internationalists Nirvana; the end of sovereign nation states and certainly no boundaries for the big boys = but lots of boundaries and pettifogging regulation for the unit costs - ie the slave labour to build the Empires of the new world order.

I'd like to think that Britain could start to kick back against all of the above - some one has to, there's only one way to go - small c conservatism and little state with big ideas and lots of glorious free market competition, yes I know we need some regulation but that can be done efficiently - if the will is there. Trouble is, how to wean the client welfare state off the teat of the welfare state.

What is needed, is not necessarily what will happen but something, this way comes.

It will be done but it won't be God, mankind brings it on himself and we won't be able to blame the bible but a financial cataclysm is just around the corner. It will be a big bank implosion, and the euro is ready and primed, it will probably mean some vicious civil strife and maybe war and very hard times for a while but - though what is the alternative? It can't go on, because the debt pile is/will be unserviceable but no one dares to call in the first marker because: fear and only fear holds the world's fiat currency system together but the 'bank' will break.

Mar 26, 2015 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

@geoffchambers

...The question of the ultimate victory of capitalism or socialism will be resolved at the ballot box, or in China, or possibly both, or possibly neither – ever. ......

......No account of the Great Climate Swindle that bases itself on the premiss of the false consciousness of socialists will explain the existence of a Lord Deben or a Tim Yeo....

I thought the ultimate victory of capitalism had already been resolved. All the socialist states have failed, and reintroduced capitalist structures.

The one obvious thing that we learnt from the Great Socialist Experiments was that they start by addressing a problem which appears real, and the revolutionaries present themselves as the saviours of the people. They seize the reins of power, and enact laws which are somewhat extreme, but are justified by the need to resolve the problem rapidly.

Then, for some reason, the problem does not get resolved, and the people start to notice that the revolutionaries have become the new oppressors. The false socialist belief that everything was going to get better if we just let these wise specialists rule us has paved the way for cheats, con-men and dictators to subjugate and enslave the populace. You will see it described well in 'Animal Farm'.

And, unsurprisingly, if I were to substitute the words 'Great Climate Swindle' for 'Great Socialist Experiment' you would find that the paragraphs above still made perfect sense. Lord Debden and Tim Yeo are Squealer and Snowball, or Trotsky and Molotov. The analogies are exact...

Mar 26, 2015 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Around half the argument for AGW put forward in the Guardian is that its opponents are literally insane right wing nuts.

See Lord Monckton for a case study. A man who claims to believe AGW is part of a global, communist take over.

Mar 26, 2015 at 1:05 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

" In fact the uber-capitalists and the anti-capitalists use exactly the same self-
delusion of looking at a rising trend and pretending to know why it is rising
but it isn't clever, just opportunistic."

The "uber-capitalists" lose all their money though when the model is wrong though..... well they should have done if hadn't been "bailed out" by crony capitalism/crimanal theft from tax payers/(reverse) socialism or whichever term you like best.

I agree with Mike Jacksons response...

So do "anti-capitalists" not by their latest chinese made widget for the cheapest price from Amazon then??

Mar 26, 2015 at 1:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

A coalition of seemingly ideological opponents is nothing new e.g. ‘Baptists and Bootleggers’.
Both the Left and the crony capitalists are opportunists seeking the same outcome, government regulation.

Mar 26, 2015 at 6:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris Hanley

Mar 25, 2015 at 2:54 PM | JamesG

[ ... ]If anything, it was the financial crisis that engendered this anti-capitalist backlash just when the sheeple were starting to believe in the phony magic of deregulation and the debt-doesn't-matter society. That the crisis was brought on by people who were too fond of fancy models and not at all driven to check their simplistic assumptions against real life data should have made everyone sit up and think a bit more rather than just doubling down on their preferred dogma.[ ... ]

Mmmm ... actually, the GFC crisis was brought to you courtesy of the US DemKratz ... by making it illegal to discriminate in respect of mortgages to uber-low income groups and giving them the benefit of non-recourse loans. Those bad loans built up over the years and then the banksters stapled the bad loans to international debt raising to dilute their risk exposure and in so doing so exported their losses to the capital markets all around the world. They shut their f@%&*ing mouths and brought the world to its knees ... thank you DemoKratz! Obumbala then proceeded to make it worse by printing funny money to help rescue his donors ... they should have been left to go down! Governments printing funny money does not create economic growth, it creates a feeding frenzy of its pig-like supporters at various economic troughs ... "climate change ™" being a grateful recipient.

Mar 26, 2015 at 7:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

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