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Political trends: Obama, Trudeau, Morales….

First we had Obama, the guy with the thinnest resume. Then Trudeau Jr., a guy who never held a cabinet post or an executive position. Now meet Morales, a guy who has “never held office”. Well at least this guy will be funny.

Jimmy Morales, a former TV comedian who has never held office, swept to power in Guatemala’s presidential election on Sunday after milking public anger over a corruption scandal that deepened distrust of the country’s political establishment.

The 46-year-old Morales overwhelmingly beat center-left rival and former first lady Sandra Torres in a run-off vote despite his lack of government experience and some policy ideas that strike many as eccentric.

The headquarters of Morales’ center-right National Convergence Front (FCN) party erupted in celebration as official returns showed he had around 68 percent support in a landslide victory.

Most progressive policy decision ever!

darth-vader-selfie

 

The port city of Odessa,on the Ukrainian coast of the Black Sea, has come up with a totally brilliant idea. It has taken down a statute of Lenin and replaced it with a statue of Darth Vader. Beyond this political commentary, it has placed a wi-fi router in its head to increase Internet connectivity. Witness a society making the right decisions.

Below is a statue of Empress Catherine the Great and her principal ministers, who were founders of the city of Odessa. This was taken in downtown Odessa last week. You will note that the post-communist regime, and presumably even the Soviet regime, both kept the statue of the Tsarina. while the new one has taken down the one of Hitler, I’m sorry, Lenin. Notice also the cell-tower on the building behind the Empress.

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The real Labour leadership winner? UKIP

If Ed Miliband was enough to polarize working-class voters outside of the Thames estuary, imagine how they will react to Jeremy Corbyn’s neo-Bennite platform.

Corbyn may be the hero of faculty lounges and organic food shops but he is bound to alienate large swathes of traditional Labour voters when it comes to the Europe question and immigration.

His victory will indeed change the face of British politics but in ways he never foresaw.

Population reduction

The UN’s Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) believes that lowering the human population should reduce the load we impose on the planet. In 2013, Figueres had a conversation with Climate One founder Greg Dalton regarding “fertility rates in population,” as a contributor to climate change.

Ironically, she is right, but the means she proposes to get to lowered population runs through higher wealth, not lower wealth, and to get to higher wealth, we need to maintain current per capita energy consumption.

Moreover, the total human population numbers will rise to 2050, but fertility is already crashing or in the process of doing so. This is the largest unrealized LARGE FACT in the world today. Everyone seems to think global population will continue to expand, as it did in the aftermath of World War 2. But as fertility (the number of babies per woman) crashes, population cannot continue to increase.

The fact is, women choose to replicate, when they can choose at all, in competition with a mass of other incentives. They will trade the possibility of a fourth child for a sewing machine; and the prospect of a third child for a better home.

The rich have always had fewer children, and now, thanks to energy consumption, we face the same income trade-offs as 18th century aristocrats: more children, less wealth to divide among them. Infowars reports

Populations in developed countries are declining and only in third world countries are they expanding dramatically. Industrialization itself levels out population trends and even despite this world population models routinely show that the earth’s population will level out at 9 billion in 2050 and slowly decline after that. “The population of the most developed countries will remain virtually unchanged at 1.2 billion until 2050,” states a United Nations report. The UN’s support for depopulation policies is in direct contradiction to their own findings.

But keeping wealth concentrated in the countries which are rich now is not the purpose of economic development, nor is it possible. The largest fact is that globalization is allowing wealth in countries that have not experienced it: not just China and India, but Indonesia, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, even Africa.

According to the UN Report “World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision”, whose first finding is:

In July 2013, the world population will reach 7.2 billion, 648 million more than in 2005 or an average gain of 81 million persons annually. Even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline, the world population is still expected to reach 9.6 billion in 2050 and 10.9 billion in 2100,according to the medium-variant projection.

Under the low variant of fertility, global population starts to decrease after 2050.

The moral is clear: allow people to increase their wealth and keep the products of their labour, and they will solve the population problem (as perceived by leftist planners)  by their own actions. Wealth is the key to population control.

I love Camille Paglia

My favourite excoriator of the political Left, in its American manifestation, is Camille Paglia. She is a rational exponent of western culture, a fervent exponent of  responsible sexual behaviour, of personal responsibility in general, and a fierce debater against political correctness in all its forms. Sure, she talks too fast and too loud, but so do 80% of Americans.

“The absolute collapse of any intellectual standards in American colleges…”

“I can feel the nothingness in American  cultural criticism…”

“The conservative movement has been a victim of its own success…”

“sexuality is a delicate interaction of culture and biology…”

“Western culture is an advanced state of decadence…”

 

 

What is the degree of intersection between  the read-meat conservatives who like the defence of gun ownership and the cultural conservatives who think western culture and art are hugely important and, in general,  superior?

Bored with the usual drivel?

Are you bored with ISIS, climate catastrophism, Harper versus his enemies, environmentalists versus Alberta, Obama’s incompetence, decline of the West, Putin’s machinations, Ebola, and the stupidification of everyone? Me too.

For a plunge into cold water, there are a number of blogs you can read that are far removed from ordinary worldly concerns, and I recommend them.

One which I came upon today is called The View from Hell. You might wish to start with “A Unified Theory of Nerddom”. This is what happens when you are very, very smart, and quite idle.

You can waste time in the neo-reactionary canon. I do not recommend them for their suitability for work or improving your social standing.

Then there is the ferociously Catholic philosopher Edward Feser who is always ready to assert that science and Western thought went wrong by the abandonment of the idea of final causality (goal-directedness) through the influence of Rene Descartes. In this regard David Bentley Hart is in full agreement with Feser: we went off the rails when  a limiting assumption which improved our scientific method (efficient causes only) morphed into a metaphysical assumption about the limitations of what was possibly true.

Here is classic Hart eviscerating an article in the New Yorker by Adam Gopnik:

Which brings me to Adam Gopnik, and specifically his New Yorker article of February 17, “Bigger Than Phil”—the immediate occasion of all the rude remarks that went coursing through my mind and spilling out onto the page overhead. Ostensibly a survey of recently published books on (vaguely speaking) theism and atheism, it is actually an almost perfect distillation of everything most depressingly vapid about the cogitatively indolent secularism of late modern society. This is no particular reflection on Gopnik’s intelligence—he is bright enough, surely—but only on that atmosphere of complacent ignorance that seems to be the native element of so many of today’s cultured unbelievers. The article is intellectually trivial, but perhaps culturally portentous.

And so forth.

I will summon the energy to care about worldly issues shortly. I hope your summer was beautiful.

Here is the future

I once read a book by Bernard Fall about the siege of Dien Bien Phu. He said the French designers of the forts placed only 9 feet of earth on top of their dugouts, but a 155mm. shell takes 12 feet of earth to stop its blast. (Maybe the figures were 12 and 15, but they were of that order). Hence the French, who perfected military engineering in the 17th century, failed to follow the implications of what they already knew to be true when they built Dien Bien Phu. So the first days of the Viet Minh artillery barrage stove in their dugouts, and to cite Thucydides, “the strong will do what they will, and the weak shall suffer what they must”.

I think about multiculturalist proponents of “all cultures are equal”, and “race is just a social construct”, when I see figures such as those shown in the series of bell curves below. Like the builders of Dien Bien Phu, we tend to think we can hold back the implications of statistically different racial intelligence achievements by shaming, firing, thought crimes trials, special tribunals, head start programs, affirmative actions, “trigger warnings”. “white privilege” conferences, and preventing “hate” – any negative expressions towards any conceivable group except whites.

Leonard Cohen once wrote:

“Though altars were built in parliaments, they could not shelter men”

So society will become more fractious, less cooperative, less trusting, more fearful, less accomplished, and inevitably more segregated (racially, class-wise, ethnically) and all these negative outcomes will continue, as far as I can see, indefinitely into the future, all the time we prevent any thought or action that challenges and refutes the cultural-Marxist hegemony, indeed, almost regardless of what we do.

And like the French at Dien Bien Phu, we will suffer what we must because we have ignored facts which we knew but forgot in our huge arrogance. There are days when I think our civilization is rapidly going downhill. This is one of them. Sorry about that. I may feel better tomorrow.

BellCurve

Mann vs. Steyn: Trial of the century

Here is Robert Tracinski’s article on the Mann vs Steyn lawsuit.

 

The global warming hysteria is disastrous enough in its intended goal, which is to ban the use of our cheapest and most abundant fuels and force us to limp along on “alternative energy” sources that are insufficient to support an industrial civilization. But along the way, the global warming campaign is already wrecking our science and politics by seeking to establish a dogma that cannot legally be questioned….

Here is the point at which we need a little primer on libel laws, which hinge on the differentiation between facts and opinion. It is libel to maliciously fabricate facts about someone. (It is not libel to erroneously report a false fact, so long as you did so with good faith reason to believe that it was true, though you are required to issue a correction.) But you are free to give whatever evaluation of the facts you like, including a negative evaluation of another person’s ideas, thinking method, and character. It is legal for me, for example, to say that Michael Mann is a liar, if I don’t believe that his erroneous scientific conclusions are the product of honest error. It is also legal for me to say that he is a coward and a liar, for hiding behind libel laws in an attempt to suppress criticism.

These are all reasons that the lawsuit should have been summarily thrown out. It goes beyond the legitimate scope of libel and defamation laws and constitutes an attempt to suppress opinions that are considered politically correct.

You should read all of Tracinski’s article.