Thursday, August 07, 2014

environmentalism as misanthropic narcissism

In the latest in his series of excellent posts, Ben Pile considers the central conundrum of contemporary environmentalism that as a popular movement it is fundamentally elitist and in opposition to most actions, ideas and beliefs that stem from the principle of individual liberty. Environmentalism as an ideology is profoundly, and irrevocably, a stasist instrument for the enforcement of conformity to elite constructs.

Pile notes that while the ideology of environmentalism is primarily a political construct, it is never presented as such.  Rather,environmentalism is present as a moral imperative and compliance always is couched in terms of deep guilt and emotional rhetoric.

In its substance, environmentalism relies upon presumption, axiomatic constructs and referrals to authority to bolster its assertion of preferred, nay, essential actions to avoid the coming Armageddon.  In reality, the substance is always rather less dystopian and most, if not all, doom scenarios are invalidated and rendered moot by prosperity and continued advancements in technology -- a premise that environmentalism dismisses with derision rather than any valid consideration of the historical precedent of civilization to date.

Pile concludes that environmentalism is merely misanthropic narcissism. It is less real political ideology and more performance art, a contemporary theater of illusion to delude, seduce and ultimately suppress the masses into conformity and compliance with the preferences of an elite who are removed from the restrictions they impose on others. The environment is a prop and its vagaries a mere contrivance to be used as necessary to invoke fear and provide justification for continued control of society.

Environmentalism has assumed the mantle of political ideology as a proxy measure that illustrates the absence of true political debate and analysis. It is the last vestige of stasist control in an era when stasism is an anachronism and the realization of individual freedom has never been greater in history.

Far from being progressive, contemporary environmentalism is a fundamentalist, reactionary imposition of stasism.  And like all forms of fundamentalism, it will be overthrown by the progression of change that is immutable because it is definitive to the human experience: basic to change is the liberation of the individual. 

Sustainability is change. Change is sustainability.  Environmentalism adopted the slogan but has never understood the defining construct of the narrative.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

When politics doesn't provide options

Recent elections in Britain caused great dismay and conjecture, causing many observers to condemn the irrationality and sanity of the populace.  This is part of a wider trend observable in all Western democracies of alienation of the ruling elites (a.k.a. the Clerisy) from large parts of a populace disenfranchised by the edicts of an elite whose values they neither share nor embrace.  Popular movements such as the Tea Party in the US are vilified by the intellectual elite and the mainstream media.  Both largely misunderstand both the genesis and motives of such expressions of discontent.  The elite are simply unable to understand why their ideology could be rejected and, thus, they condemn what they can neither condone nor comprehend.  Their ideology is inviolate, so axiomatic that it can only be that the populace must be lacking in morality, social responsibility or intelligence.

In Starship Troopers, Heinlein takes time to discuss the nature of morality and social responsibility.  He writes:

  • Man has no moral instinct. He is not born with moral sense. You were not born with it, I was not ...We acquire moral sense, when we do, through training, experience, and hard sweat of the mind. 
  • The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. 
  • A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual's instinct to survive--and nowhere else!--and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts.
  • We have such a theory now; we can solve any moral problem, on any level. Self-interest, love of family, duty to country, responsibility toward the human race . 
  • The basis of all morality is duty, a concept with the same relation to group that self-interest has to individual.  
  • Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination-- devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues -- which a man must develop himself; if he has them forced down him, he will vomit them out.
The lesson that Heinlein provides is powerful.  There can be no social responsibility where there is no shared identity nor sense of community.  If an elite ideology of politics, intellectualism and environmentalism is sufficiently removed from the populace to be merely the perspective of the oligarchy which it benefits, then there will be no resonance, no acquired sense of morality, no behavioral change in compliance with that ideology.  There will only ever be resentment, disconnection and political ennui.  Provided the elite do not over-step their intrusion into daily life, they will be tolerated.  The political process offers a small range of alternative elites from which to choose.  But when the intellectual and political elites become too intrusive, too incumbent on daily life and too arrogant to perceive the discontent they are prompting, then a change will occur.

Revolution is a big jump for any democracy.  So instead, discontent first manifests itself in the recognition of populist movements.  Many of these may appear to be simplistic, xenophobic and divisive in their ideology.  No matter.  It is not the substance of the movement that appeals to the disenfranchised: it is the very act of signifying rejection of the status quo, of the dogma, morality, ideology and accompanying polices being imposed by the oligarchy.

For environmentalists especially, this is a hard message to absorb, as it contrasts so markedly with their own image they have of themselves.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

IPCC over estimates climate sensitivity

Posted over at WUWT is a link to a significant new report by Lewis and Crick examining climate sensitivity.  

Along with the report, is a foreword by Judith Curry in which she writes:
  • The sensitivity of our climate to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is at the heart of the scientific debate on anthropogenic climate change, and also the public debate on the appropriate policy response to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 
  • Climate sensitivity and estimates of its uncertainty are key inputs into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon.
  • This report by Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok addresses this gap between the IPCC assessments and the primary scientific literature by providing an overview of the different methods for estimating climate sensitivity and a historical perspective on IPCC’s assessments of climate sensitivity. 
  •  The report also provides an independent assessment of the different methods for estimating climate sensitivity and a critique of the IPCC AR4 and AR5 assessments of climate sensitivity.
As Lewis notes, the report is significant as it
  •  ...shows that – contrary to the impression given by the Summary for Policymakers – the observational, scientific evidence in the main IPCC AR5 report actually supports much lower estimates of how sensitive the climate system is to greenhouse gas levels, both in the long term and over the remainder of this century...
The narrative for CAGW has been loosing impetus for some time. Despite this, the data are still being juiced to imply and promote a crisis not evidenced by empirical observation.  Bottom line:
  • The GCMs overestimate future warming by 1.7–2 times relative to an estimate based on the best observational evidence.
CAGW isn't happening.  Won't be happening in the future, probably never was happening.  Climate changes as a dynamic natural system. Always has, always will.  Humans do modify both the weather and the climate, but not near to the degree that has been implied nor implicated in advocacy of the CAGW narrative.  Severe weather has always been a feature of human occupancy of the planet and there is insifficient evidence to support the contention that either the frequency nor intensity of weather events has changed in a manner inconsistent with the historical record.

Climate was and remains a proxy for a supposed scientific imperative for a set of political policies designed to suppress growth, control economic development, centralize governance and curtail globalization.  These policies reflect a particular morality and ideology that is both elitist in design and lacking on poplar support and resonance, hence the attempt to co-opt science as a mechanism to compel compliance by invoking an authority that is difficult to challenge and contradict.

After all this  (the IPCC, the Hockey Stick, the blogs, Climategate and the constant revisionism from global warming to AGW to CAGW) the central issue remains the provision of cheap energy and not climate.

And without the stigma of CAGW, what is the rationale for windmills? For solar panels? For constraint and increasing carbon taxes?  Fracking has removed the peril of an energy crisis for the West.  What is the cheap energy option for Africa?  Why is energy not dropping in price and fueling a new age of innovation and economic prosperity?

And, lastly, absent of any climate crisis, what possible purpose is there to zero-carbon as a goal?

Remove the presumption of CAGW, dismiss the narrative, and the value of pursuing zero-carbon as a goal is similarly removed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Scary bananas: How environmental exaggeration harms emerging economies: ...

ennui or just resignation?

Read Dale Franks post over at QandO today about how his blogging had lost its passion and become steadily less frequent, less inspired and less purposeful.  I empathized.

Then I read Don Easterbrook's rebuttal to the reaction he'd received to a previous post pointing out the correlation between PDO cycles and temperature cycles and Tim Ball's post on climate as a political dichotomy and not one of science.  And I despaired.  What they write is so transparently obvious to anyone with an open mind on the topic but, apparently, open minds are in short supply despite the age of enlightenment and the extant technology to bring that enlightenment to all.

Between my empathy and my despair, was I enveloped with a profound sense of ennui with the continued intransigence of political authority and the academy to neither see nor accept what people like Easterbrook and Ball so eloquently and clearly expose?  Or was I overcome with a deepening resignation born from personal empathy with their situation?

My own blogging has become sporadic.  I have spent a career trying to change the system from within and it appears that far from taking either Manhattan or Berlin, I have failed to hold even my own home court in the form of my own academic institution.  Ennui or resignation?  Am I simply tired of the stupidity of others? Or am I conceding the field and ceasing to engage in an artificial war of words in which there can be no resolution as the other side simply refuses to accept any evidence as factual that does not accord with their narrative?  When academics blithely and routinely ignore empirical data as irrelevant, the medium has not just become the message, it has become the sole narrative of Big Brother University as funded by Big Brother Government in the cause of Big Brother Media.

Is it ennui or resignation to reject a worldview as promulgated by mass media social theorists?  Moreover, when did social theorist cease being an oxymoron?

In a conscious act of personal salvation and sanity, I have moved my teaching into a large course on tourism and an interactive senior seminar on change.  Professionally, I can survive, still exercise and extend my creative juices in the ongoing delivery and improvement of my pedagogy, and draw considerable satisfaction from the response of those students who value what I offer them: the opportunity to think, reflect and create.

I still believe in the power of education, but I am less confident that there is sufficient interest in using both the extant and future technology to enlighten, to educate and to empower.  Instead, I have a deep sense of ennui with the axiomatic dogma peddled by self-interested stasists and a sense of resignation that the forces of conformity will persist in suppressing ideas in the ongoing oppression of true freedom.

But hope is a funny persists despite all rationality and tiredness.