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Hermann Goering on Anthropogenic Global Warming

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hjmaiere Posted: Sun, Mar 30 2008 1:52 PM

Humans, like other primates, are communal. Our ancestors spent almost all of their evolutionary history as humans living in small groups of interdependent individuals. At the same time, tribes were in competition for each other for natural resources: foraging grounds, hunting grounds, agricultural lands. The ability of a tribe to survive depended very much on the ability of its members to act in concert, while simultaneously maintaining the capacity for aggression against the members of competing tribes. This simultaneous capacity for both solidarity and aggression is not unique to humans. Chimpanzees (our closest genetic relatives in the animal kingdom) have been known to capture, kill, and even cannibalize the members of rival troops.

In general, humans can't and don’t live on their own in primitive conditions. Abandoning the tribe was not an option, unless one managed to join another tribe. Consequently, survival itself depended on an individual’s ability to sustain his or her membership within the tribe. (Any critic of libertarianism who asserts that libertarians assume otherwise is erecting a straw man.) This dependency on tribal membership for survival, combined with the inherently non-homogeneous distribution of physical and mental attributes amongst the individuals within a tribe, leaves room (evolutionarily speaking) for individuals within the tribe to extract privilege from the rest of the tribe.

Privilege is not always predatory in nature. Some individuals gifted with atypical physical attractiveness or skill in sports or the arts might enjoy social status and privileges beyond their fellow tribe members, for example with regard to the selection of mating partners. (Think rock star.) These privileges are volunteered instinctually exactly because these attributes and talents are outward manifestations of genetic fitness. The instinct to grant privilege goes beyond those who would participate directly in the perpetuation of those genetic tendencies. This is because even those who enjoy the elevated social status as gifted individuals still likely share the instincts to grant those privileges in other situations. What matters is that the overall effect of volunteered genetic favoritism is to make it more likely that the healthier genes will be passed on, but still carrying the instinct to volunteer genetic favoritism. The point is that there is an evolutionary explanation behind the human instinct to both extract and grant privilege.

Privilege becomes predatory when it is used to extract a disproportionate influence on tribal 'consensus.' Every member of the tribe might participate in, or influence the tribal decision-making process to one degree or another, but as a purely practical matter, the tribe would not vote on every issue, or discuss things in committee until everyone agreed what the best course of action was. Instead, tribal decisions would tend to fall on specific individuals. Those individuals would tend to be those individuals who are naturally more equipped physically or mentally to make decisions for the tribe, or simply more equipped to impose them. The other members of the tribe instinctually grant these individuals disproportionate influence on tribal consensus, especially in the face of immediate external threats (like another tribe). This is because the evolutionary advantage of doing so outweighed the evolutionary disadvantage of humbly submitting to tribal consensus as an alternative to expulsion from the tribe and certain death.

This form of privilege is predatory because the individuals who enjoy the elevated social status will tend to make decisions that favor themselves at the expense of other members of the tribe. The more successful humans become at survival, the more room for intra-tribal predations there is before the parasitic behavior impacts survivability of the tribe as a whole. At some point, humans became so good at survival that society could support a whole predatory class that could command the direct services of the other members of the tribe to their own individual benefit. This particular form of predatory privilege manifests itself as authority and it is difficult to overstate the degree to which humans instinctively submit to it in one or another of its myriad forms. Its most spectacular manifestation is the privilege and social status that kings and pharaohs enjoyed, but more commonly it takes on the form of privileged classes.

Now days, Karl Marx is credited with diagnosing class conflict, but the existence of the predatory classes used to be a fact of everyday life. The predatory classes simply were the priveleged classes. It really wasn't that long ago when it was taken for granted that for the members of the privileged classes, leisure was a birthright. Liberalism (in the classic sense, a.k.a. libertarianism) arose in response to exactly this institutionalized inequity. The response of the privileged classes to this onslaught of rationality was—and is—argument by obfuscation.

Thus, while Marx (a professional intellectual in the employ of the predatory classes) might acknowledge class conflict in the form of “free man and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild master and journeyman,” Marx conspicuously circumvents any suggestion that differences in rules regarding property were exactly what distinguished oppressor and oppressed in these class conflicts. Instead, we are supposed to concern ourselves with a newer notion of exploitation that is much more ethereal, but that draws a strong psychological potency from its resonance with tribal instincts.

By no coincidence, Marx’s diagnosis is that it is exactly the establishment of (mutually-binding rules of) property rights and free trade by which the bourgeois exploit the proletarian. By no coincidence, his prescriptions are that the means of production belong in the hands of ‘society,’ which, by no coincidence, in practice, puts the means of production into the hands of the State, which, by no coincidence puts the means of production into the hands of the predatory classes.

So-called modern humans may have politically rejected the notion of inhereted class privilege in the form of royalty and nobility, and Marxism in particular might finally be falling out of fashion after being the root of far too much human suffering, but the human instinct to grant predatorial privilege didn't just go away, and the predatory classes understand this and use it to their advantage. Specifically, a threat to the tribe will very reliably invoke people's instinct to shut off their own individual critical analysis and submit to tribal consensus. In our evolutionary past there were situations where this instinct was critical to the survival of the tribe as a whole, but as our ability to survive extended beyond a hand-to-mouth existence, such instincts increasingly served as a mechanism of intra-tribal predation. The predatory classes thus establish, concentrate, and institutionalize political authority by routinely invoking threats to the tribe.

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”  ― Hermann Goering

Of course the critical-analysis-shunting effect of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center was milked for all it was worth. The predatorial classes managed to use it to manipulate the U.S. government into invading and occupying an entirely unconnected and militarily debilitated country, not to mention institutionalize warrantless wiretapping and torture.

But a threat to the tribe doesn't have to be a traditional foreign enemy to be useful to the predatory classes. An icon of imending moral decrepitude or the environmental catastrophy du jour can be just as effective. The trick is to find a trend, extrapolate it to the point of disaster, and then blame the trend on humans in such a way that the only percieved solution requires the institutionalization of yet more political authority. The notion of anthropogenic global warming fits the bill perfectly.

Anthropogenic global warming is an entirely political phenomenon. The vast majority of the so-called greenhouse effect is caused by water vapor, which varies wildly. Carbon dioxide is responsible for only a tiny fraction of the greenhouse effect. And human activity is responsible for only a fraction of that. People like Al Gore will make a big deal out of the historical correlation between global temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. But this has cause-and-effect completely backwards. As the oceans warm, they hold less carbon dioxide. This is a phenomenon familiar to any high-school science student.

If you actually read the arguments for anthropogenic global warming that actual scientists make, they are very strained and contrived. The sheer scale of the potential environmental disaster we risk is supposed to distract us from this, but anyone who thinks that a scientific consensus is immune to political influence, or who think the cost of avoiding global warming is slight, need only need look up "Lysenkoism." Note also that it was a mere thirty years ago that the so-called experts were just as adamant then that human pollution was inevitably leading to the next ice age.

If your goal (whether conscious or not) is to accumulate and concentrate political authority on a global scale, only a threat to the entire globe gets the job done. Such a global threat is psychologically attractive to those who suffer from extreme civilization-induced alienation, and instinctually perceive a one-world government as the re-establishment on a global scale of a longed-for primordial tribal consensus. This is what the issue of anthropogenic global warming is really about.

 

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ChaseCola replied on Mon, Mar 31 2008 9:10 PM

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."

-Hitler 

 "The plans differ; the planners are all alike"

-Bastiat

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*sigh*

The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere does vary widely between regions, and does experience significant fluctuations of the local level.  But average global atmospheric concentrations of water vapor are generally quite stable, showing only a minor positive trend which cannot explain the warming phenomenon that we've observed.  It's true that the majority of the greenhouse effect is attributable to water vapor, but the greenhouse effect is what keeps our planet warm and livable.  Concern is focused on whether or not the greenhouse effect is becoming more potent; that is, whether more heat is being trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases.  So it's not important that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas.  What matters is whether or not atmospheric water vapor concentrations are changing, and our observations show only small changes.  In the same way, it doesn't matter that human sources account for only a small portion of the CO2 in the atmosphere.  The important consideration is how concentrations of CO2 have changed over time.  Atmospheric CO2 trends since the industrial revolution have not correlated with atmospheric temperature, and the proportion of isotopes of CO2 in the atmosphere does not match what we would expect if the source of the CO2 were the ocean; it is consistent with a fossil fuel source.

If you're not going to do the research, then honestly, why bother? 

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Remnant replied on Tue, Apr 1 2008 5:04 AM

 

"Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it."

-Hitler 

 

Another Hitler quote is, "How wonderful for rulers that men do not think!"

 

 

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hjmaiere replied on Mon, Apr 7 2008 10:20 AM

Donny with an A:

[...]

The important consideration is how concentrations of CO2 have changed over time.  Atmospheric CO2 trends since the industrial revolution have not correlated with atmospheric temperature, and the proportion of isotopes of CO2 in the atmosphere does not match what we would expect if the source of the CO2 were the ocean; it is consistent with a fossil fuel source.

If you're not going to do the research, then honestly, why bother? 

The environment is clearly recycling anthropogenic CO2 right along with 'natural' CO2. The point, which you didn't address, is that even if humans have an effect on overall CO2 levels, it can only have a minuscule effect on global weather. The only way advocates of the theory of anthropogenic global warming can argue that CO2 is a pollution is to presuppose that artificial increases in CO2 will trigger some by-the-grace-of-god heretofore untriggered (except on scary Venus) positive runaway feedback mechanism. Given the natural tendency of the weather (including CO2 levels) to change all the time for reasons that have nothing to do with humans, this is patently absurd.

No, as I said, anthropogenic global warming is a purely political phenomenon. It panders to those who imagine themselves particularly deserving of intellectual authority. After all, their concern is for the earth itself! But as I also said, this instinctual drive to establish tribal consensus in the face of a threat is exactly what the predatory classes exploit to further entrench the political authority by which they extract wealth and privilege. And only a threat to the entire globe will serve to institutionalize authority on a global scale. Thus, the government rewards in particular the scientists biased toward the theory of anthropogenic global warming (with money they stole from you and me).

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TokyoTom replied on Mon, Apr 7 2008 10:47 AM

even if humans have an effect on overall CO2 levels, it can only have a minuscule effect on global weather.


"Give me a lever and a place to stand and I willmove the Earth"

- Archimedes


"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

-- Richard Feynman

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Juan replied on Mon, Apr 7 2008 10:49 AM
Danny:
The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere does vary widely between regions, and does experience significant fluctuations of the local level. But average global atmospheric concentrations of water vapor are generally quite stable
Of course, by definition, an average is stable - and meaningless. But is a handy tool for the pseudoscience of GW (now rebranded as climate change)

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Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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Juan replied on Mon, Apr 7 2008 10:52 AM
TokyoTom:
"Give me a lever and a place to stand and I willmove the Earth"
More pseudoscience. In this case, a totally unwarranted analogy.

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Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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Juan replied on Mon, Apr 7 2008 11:31 AM
There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states. etc etc etc

Newsweek, April 28, 1975
http://www.denisdutton.com/cooling_world.htm

Don't you love propaganda ?

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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TokyoTom replied on Mon, Apr 7 2008 10:38 PM

 More pseudoscience. In this case, a totally unwarranted analogy.

Juan, if you're really interested in discussion, you'll be a little more specific.  What, exactly, in your view is the "pseudoscience" that you're referrign to?  As for the "totally unwarranted" analogy, perhaps you can explain what you mean.  All I did was to introduce the concept of a slight influence applied over time - a reference that is perfectly appropriate to the radiative forcing effect of GHGs that have enduring atmospheric lifespans.

Did scientists become concerned about possible changes in the climate in the early 70s?  Yes?  Did they predict a cooling?  No.  Was there sensationalistic news coverage?  Yes.

The closest anyone got was a prediction that, if obviously already heavy loads of aerosol pollutants (mainly SO2) and dust quadrupled, then cooling influences on climate would outweigh the warming effects of CO2.  Not sure how young you are, but perhaps you might recall that the industrial nations made tremendous efforts to clean up air pollution - so at least in the Northern Hemisphere, atmospheric loads of aerosols dropped dramatically. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling#Concern_in_the_Middle_of_the_Twentieth_Century

 

http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn11643

 

But CO2 levels have of course grown - and aerosol levels remain high over Asia and still contribute to a cooling effect known as the "Asia Brown Cloud".  Perhaps you've heard of it?

 

Perhaps you are also aware that because of the greater land mass in the Northen Hemisphere, the startling warming being experienced at high latitudes is precisely what scientists have expected from the radiative forcings from GHGs?

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

-- Richard Feynman

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Juan replied on Tue, Apr 8 2008 10:39 AM
http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn11649

The validity of models can be tested against climate history. If they can predict the past (which the best models are pretty good at) they are probably on the right track for predicting the future – and indeed have successfully done so.

Predicting the past ? That sounds...confused ?

There's no such thing as 'climatology'. If the so called scientists knew what they are talking about, they would use mechanics to actually predict the future. That would be a bit more scientific...

The theory about levers is a good example. It's simple, it can be validated by experiment and is not politically motivated. 'Climatology' is just the opposite.

And frankly Tom, I fail to see the relation between 'global' 'collective' 'enviromental' non-problems and libertarianism,. wich was, I thought, a philosophy concerned with the rights of the individual.

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
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TokyoTom replied on Tue, Apr 8 2008 12:03 PM

Juan, environmental issues are very much about the rights of individuals, and if properly understood then in a manner consistent with libertarianism.  See Cordato, whom I have extensively cited.  But libertarianism also admits of community-developed solutions with respect to resources that cannot be effectively privatized (water rights, fishery rights, use of forests, etc.), those these situations continually change as new technology is introduced.  Yandle provides an interesting perspective on how mankind has evolved ways to deal with commons.  And Dolan and Adler certainly have very Lockean approaches to climate change.

As for what is "scientific", I think you`re letting your politics dictate your reality.  We have lots of actual data, now extending back hundreds of millions of years, and a continually improving understanding.  We can also see rather dramatic changes in temperatures in high northern latitudes, steady changes in climate zones further south, and climbing acidity of the ocean CO2 sink as a resuly of higher atmospheric levels of CO2.  Maybe you should spend a week with the IPCC reports, the academy of science statements, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change, and reading about how private firms are responding on their own - including investing in greater conservation, lighter energy sources and ways to sequester carbon.  They do this because they see it makes sense.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

-- Richard Feynman

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Juan replied on Tue, Apr 8 2008 12:19 PM
TokyoTom:
Juan, environmental issues are very much about the rights of individuals, and if properly understood then in a manner consistent with libertarianism.
Indeed private property can deal with pollution problems. But that has nothing to do with the non-problem of GW and the statistm behind it. While GW doesn't aggress against individuals, the 'solutions' proposed by the enviros do. If you're concerned about the rights of the individual you wouldn't be lending 'intelectual' support to GW.
As for what is "scientific", I think you`re letting your politics dictate your reality.
How so ? I'm trying to make clear what science really is. State paid 'climatologists' are not scientists. People like Faraday on the other hand, were.
Maybe you should spend a week with the IPCC reports,
Here. I've just stumbled upon this. http://www.john-daly.com/
and reading about how private firms are responding on their own -
Maybe private firms jumping into the bandwagon of GW has something to do with fascism ? Just maybe.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 8 2008 2:28 PM

I find it disgusting that the state-funded enviro-leftists will claim that voluntarily-funded scientists always have an agenda. While it's very true that privately funded scientists could have an agenda, that doesn't mean that anyone else is any more pure!

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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Ego replied on Tue, Apr 8 2008 2:36 PM

Another point: even if humans are causing global warming, the solutions are always a flagrant violation of rights and do much, much more harm to individual liberty than the warming itself.

Global warming is a simply question for the answer of statist government control. It gives elitist intellectuals (from communists to leftist-libertarians) an excuse to rule over other people.

If they really believed that global warming was both man-made and an issue, they would ban having children. Having children is a much bigger strain on the environment than using a light bulb.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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TokyoTom replied on Thu, Apr 10 2008 2:50 AM

Indeed private property can deal with pollution problems. Wring - It is the very lack of private property rights relating to open-access resources like the atmosphere that is the source of the problem.  As Mises himself points out (see look for the Mises tag on my page), private property rights were developed - using governments - precisely to deal with similar problems relating to "common property" or unowned property.  By the way, not all property has to be "personal"; there are many types of shared arrangements that have developed that are perfectly fine from an Austrian view.

But that has nothing to do with the non-problem of GW and the statistm behind it.  While GW doesn't aggress against individuals, the 'solutions' proposed by the enviros do.

While I am quite concerned about statism, it is already evident in the way it defends the interests of the fossil fuel firms.  It seems to me that you sound more like a "conservative" than a real libertarian.  The solutions are being propsed by a MUCH wider swath than those "enviros" whom you hate so much.  Still, I agree that some of the "solutions" proposed violate individual freedom, are too statis and may be counterproductive to boot.

You might think that "GW" is and will continue to be a "no-problem", but it is already a fact, that is affecting millions.  It can be seen in the multi-degree warming of the high latitudes, changing in climate zones/seasons/planting & harvest times, growth in fire seasons, change in glacier/snow melt and stream levels, rise in sea levels and rise in ocean acidity.

I'm trying to make clear what science really is.  State paid 'climatologists' are not scientists.

You're not trying very hard.  Accepting John Daly over all of the world's academies of sciences and the literature survey that is IPCC just shows your desire not to change your mind is stronger than your grip of reality. Quick, what do Exxon's scientists say about global warming?  I'm not thrilled about all of the state funding either, but I wouldn't say that the government doesn't hire a whole lot of scientists in its aeronautics, defense and intelligence sectors - sceintists that actually do REAL scientific work.  Does it skew the economy?  Of course.  But that doesn't mean the people who build and run complex systems etc. are not scientists.

Maybe private firms jumping into the bandwagon of GW has something to do with fascism ? Just maybe

Your faith in the market is so overwhelming!  I bet you don't have the slightest clue of firms voluntary efforts, transactions or investments.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

-- Richard Feynman

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hjmaiere replied on Thu, Apr 10 2008 10:01 AM

TokyoTom:

[...]

You might think that "GW" is and will continue to be a "no-problem", but it is already a fact, that is affecting millions.  It can be seen in the multi-degree warming of the high latitudes, changing in climate zones/seasons/planting & harvest times, growth in fire seasons, change in glacier/snow melt and stream levels, rise in sea levels and rise in ocean acidity. [...]

The weather changes. It affects people.

As I said, identify a trend, extrapolate it to the point of disaster, and then figure out a way to blame it on humans in such a way that the only perceived solution is the accumulation and institutionalization of ever more political authority.

There is an active volcano in Antarctica. The heat coming out of the ground around that volcano definitely affects nearby glaciers, and if it erupted (which is not that unlikely) it would cause devastating changes in the sea level and probably affect the weather far more than the worst predictions of even the most paranoid of the global-warming doomsdayists. It doesn't make the news because (at least now days) self-imagined intellectual elite would have a hard time convincing people that it was somehow our fault.

I've spent far more time arguing economics than I should admit. I've noticed some curious patterns to how those arguments go, especially with people who are in some way 'credentialed.' If you fail to be sufficiently impressed with argument by authority and are so rude as to bring up an axiomatic point, like, "economic value is subjective and ordinal," they will pretend that this has no relevance to whatever it is they are claiming about how the economy works, as if a body of intellectual work can overcome simple facts by weight alone. But the axiomatic point is never addressed.

Arguments about anthropogenic global warming follow the same curious pattern. As I said in my original post, carbon dioxide has only a miniscule effect on weather, and humans are responsible for only a fraction of the CO2 produced. It is absurd to blame the weather on anthropogenic CO2. Of course the weather is changing, and of course humans have an effect—sometimes negative—on the environment. None of this changes the fact that it is absurd to blame the weather on anthropogenic CO2. Nor does an appeal to authority.

 

By the way, the literature produced by the IPCC includes the names of scientists who are skeptical of anthropogenic global warming, but whose names were put on it anyway. It also includes the names of people who aren't even scientists. Anthropogenic global warming is a purely political phenomenon.

And another point: It's hard to imagine a more wasteful, environmentally devastating (not to mention cruel and imorral) thing than war, yet our political leaders and intellectual elite seem curiously unconcerned. Those who pretend to be concerned are curiously impotent to stop it. How can one avoid entertaining the possibility that their concern over the environment might just be a little disingenuous?

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Juan replied on Thu, Apr 10 2008 11:04 AM
It is the very lack of private property rights relating to open-access resources like the atmosphere that is the source of the problem.
That would be true if the 'problem' existed.
As Mises himself points out (see look for the Mises tag on my page), private property rights were developed - using governments - precisely to deal with similar problems relating to "common property" or unowned property.
Well, yes. Yet a sizeable amount of libertarians would disagree with Mises 'utilitarianism'...But isn't that beside the point ?
By the way, not all property has to be "personal"; there are many types of shared arrangements that have developed that are perfectly fine from an Austrian view.
Since property is an individual right there can hardly be 'collective' property. Individuals can own shares of course. I don't know what you mean by 'personal' though.
While I am quite concerned about statism, it is already evident in the way it defends the interests of the fossil fuel firms.
Of course it is. Statism defends the interest of fossil firms and the interest of a lot of other corporations. I'd love to see all subsidies ended.
It seems to me that you sound more like a "conservative" than a real libertarian.
Actually I think you're the conservative here. It seems rather obious to me that enviromentalism is a form of conservatism, with some 'science' added to it, to make it look more respectable. Just like 'scientific' socialism you know.
The solutions are being propsed by a MUCH wider swath than those "enviros" whom you hate so much.
Hm. So this is not about truth, but about numbers ?
Still, I agree that some of the "solutions" proposed violate individual freedom, are too statis and may be counterproductive to boot.
Well, that's my main concern...
You might think that "GW" is and will continue to be a "no-problem", but it is already a fact, that is affecting millions. It can be seen in the multi-degree warming of the high latitudes, changing in climate zones/seasons/planting & harvest times, growth in fire seasons, change in glacier/snow melt and stream levels, rise in sea levels and rise in ocean acidity.
The planet is a complex system and always changing...I agree that's fact. I'll add it's been probably changing for million and million of years ?
I'm trying to make clear what science really is.
You're not trying very hard.
Science can deal with small isolated systems that can be subjected to experiment. That is not the case with the climate. That is a fundamental 'methodological' problem.
Accepting John Daly over all of the world's academies of sciences and the literature survey that is IPCC
I came accross his site yesterday. It seems he was an individual who provided common sense refutations to the establishment's views - that's all. Just like some people used to deny that the earth was flat, or the centre of the universe - views held by the 'scientific community'.
Quick, what do Exxon's scientists say about global warming?
I don't know without googling. They probably say it's not real. I know there's a group of 'scientists' that don't believe in GW who have been acused of working for big oil. Let's grant they are biased. Well, so are the ones funded by tax money, right ?
But that doesn't mean the people who build and run complex systems etc. are not scientists.
Are you refering to machines ? I'm not denying engineers know what they do. Engineers working at AMD indeed built complex systems, but not as complex as the earth...
Maybe private firms jumping into the bandwagon of GW has something to do with fascism ? Just maybe
Your faith in the market is so overwhelming! I bet you don't have the slightest clue of firms voluntary efforts, transactions or investments.
Firms are profit oriented. They may engage in charity if that helps them with public relations, that's all. On the other hand, are you saying you don't know that 'green' regulations are tools used by corporations to stiffle competition ?

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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Ego replied on Thu, Apr 10 2008 11:22 AM

TokyoTom, big businesses love government regulation; in fact, they often call for more! They know that it stifles competition, which is precisely why they call for it!

Leftists, of course, lap it all up. They love when businesses call for more regulations (as if it adds credibility!), and use that fact to try to convince capitalists that their regulations and schemes are fair and pro-business.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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TokyoTom replied on Fri, Apr 11 2008 4:59 AM

hjmaiere:  Thanks for your comments.  Great initial post, by the way; I agree with virtually everything you've said, up to your last three paragraphs, though I'd note that, given our incredible ability to self-justify and self-deceive, I think you are too hasty to conclude that every policy or philosophic argument broached by elites to protect their misuse of the state is intentionally dishonest.  But you really are onto something very important when you discuss how our elites seek to trick us by triggering various tribal reactions (and playing other congitive tricks) - that is very clearly what this administration has been playing on, and very successfully up to the fall 2006 midterm elections.  Great Goering quote, by the way - I have earlier posted it, with recognition from Rockwell.  James Madison is good, too:  http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2007/12/11/madison-and-goering-on-war.aspx.

It's hard to imagine a more wasteful, environmentally devastating (not to mention cruel and imorral) thing than war, yet our political leaders and intellectual elite seem curiously unconcerned. Those who pretend to be concerned are curiously impotent to stop it. How can one avoid entertaining the possibility that their concern over the environment might just be a little disingenuous?

Those most interested in stopping the war obviously aren't in power.  Why don't Dems in Congress do anything?  I'd say for various reasons, including some you've already identified - the tribal dynamics that make leaders fear being labelled weak, an ability to capture some benefits from the flow of pork relating to the war, and a personal lack of responsibility for the consequences of the war.  DO I forgive them?  No.  Might concern about climate change devolve into rent-seeking and pork barrel?  Sure, but that doesn't mean there is no cause for concern, just cause for worrying about meaningful solutions.

But the axiomatic point is never addressed.  Arguments about anthropogenic global warming follow the same curious pattern. As I said in my original post, carbon dioxide has only a miniscule effect on weather, and humans are responsible for only a fraction of the CO2 produced. It is absurd to blame the weather on anthropogenic CO2. Of course the weather is changing, and of course humans have an effect—sometimes negative—on the environment. None of this changes the fact that it is absurd to blame the weather on anthropogenic CO2. Nor does an appeal to authority.

But you haven't made an axiomatic point, like "economic value is subjective and ordinal," you've merely presented your own rather simple view - effectively that changes in marginal inputs can't significantly influence outputs - introduced a convenient strawman that I or others are talking about changes in "weather", as opposed to more general and sustained climate changes, and thrown in the "appeal to authority" rhetorical trick for denying any reality that you can't personally verify.  Is there such a thing as CO2? The elements? Does the earth rotate or revolve around the sun?  Did/do life forms evolve, or were they all created as is by God?  Is the earth 10,000 years old or 4 billion?  We inevitably rely on authority - authority that we need to find ways to test.

As I said, identify a trend, extrapolate it to the point of disaster, and then figure out a way to blame it on humans in such a way that the only perceived solution is the accumulation and institutionalization of ever more political authority.

BS - this is simply serious thinkers throwing in the towel and refusing to accept in good faith any concerns offered by others, or to proffer solutions that move away from centralized authority.  My blog has any number of posts about guys like Yandle, Callahan, Richman, Adler and others who are in favor of decentralization on climate change and elimination of subsidies, etc.  Ironically, your very simplistic reaction is precisely the type that Republicans, with the help of pollsters like Frank Luntz, worked hard to encourage:  there is no problem, the verdict's not in, those enviros want to ruin our country, etc.  Why doesn't it occur to that your tribal reactions are being manipulated and that YOU are being played?

There is an active volcano in Antarctica. The heat coming out of the ground around that volcano definitely affects nearby glaciers, and if it erupted (which is not that unlikely) it would cause devastating changes in the sea level and probably affect the weather far more than the worst predictions of even the most paranoid of the global-warming doomsdayists. It doesn't make the news because (at least now days) self-imagined intellectual elite would have a hard time convincing people that it was somehow our fault.

More BS.  The impact of volcanoes on climate is well-studied.  A volcano can have a major cooling effect (as Pinatubo did), but the effectwears off as particulates and SO2-based aerosols fall out of the atmosphere.  Since CO2 measurements have been taken it is clear that releases of CO2 from volcanoes don't even produce a blip - unless you're talking about the eruption of a massive supervolcano - which there is damn little we could do anything about.  But we should act because we don't know if there'll be some massive event in the opposite direction isn't an appeal to reason.  Should we never build homes because there might be an earthquake or fire?

In sum, the fact that there is a parasite class doesn't mean that there aren't real problems that we need to consider and perhaps address.

 

Juan:  Thanks for your further comments.  Here are a few responses.

 You:  Since property is an individual right there can hardly be 'collective' property. Individuals can own shares of course.

We agree.  I am simply trying to note that a resource need not be split up physically but can be managed as a whole, which individuals possessing certain rights (and obligations) concerning it.

You:  I'd love to see all subsidies ended.

Good; me too.  By why am I the only one who makes that argument?  You and others seem to see climate change only as an opportunity to turn purple at the evil people who think there's something to worry about (in addition to warrying about rent-seeking).

What happened in the past can tells us about the complex system, but it surely doesn't tell us that little old man is far too puny and insigificant that we should ever worry about messing with that complex system.  What a precious, self-deprecating hubris that is!

You:  Science can deal with small isolated systems that can be subjected to experiment. That is not the case with the climate. That is a fundamental 'methodological' problem.

Hmm.  So science can't deal with ecosystems, fisheries, forests, planets, solar sytems, glaxies or universes - which must be left for shamans and priests?  Perhaps you can clarify, since I obviously don't understand you.

TT:  Quick, what do Exxon's scientists say about global warming?

 You:  I don't know without googling. They probably say it's not real. I know there's a group of 'scientists' that don't believe in GW who have been acused of working for big oil. Let's grant they are biased.

I'm flattered that you felt it so important to respond to me that you didn't have time to Google.  Here's some help:

http://www.exxonmobil.com/Corporate/Files/Corporate/tomorrows_energy.pdf; http://www.edf.org/article.cfm?contentid=5691

TT:  Your faith in the market is so overwhelming! I bet you don't have the slightest clue of firms voluntary efforts, transactions or investments.

You:  Firms are profit oriented. They may engage in charity if that helps them with public relations, that's all. On the other hand, are you saying you don't know that 'green' regulations are tools used by corporations to stiffle competition ?

Of course I know that established firms are happy to use 'green' regulations as barriers to entry and to stifle competition - but such an obvious point wasn't what I was trying to say.  I am talking about changes that are driven by preferences, climate changes and perceptions of costs, risks and opportunities.  Your dismissiveness is not consistent with Austrian principles.  Many firms are actively responding to climate change risks, are untertaking GHG reduction commitments (even engaging in carbon trades on the CCX), and are investing millions in carbon sequestration and carbon-reduction technologies. 

TT:  The solutions are being proposed by a MUCH wider swath than those "enviros" whom you hate so much.

 You:  Hm. So this is not about truth, but about numbers ?

Don't be deliberately obtuse.  The point is that you dismiss all others by simply focussing on a strawman - the evil enviros, who aren't in charge of anything, anyway.

TT:  You might think that "GW" is and will continue to be a "no-problem", but it is already a fact, that is affecting millions. It can be seen in the multi-degree warming of the high latitudes, changing in climate zones/seasons/planting & harvest times, growth in fire seasons, change in glacier/snow melt and stream levels, rise in sea levels and rise in ocean acidity.

You:  The planet is a complex system and always changing...I agree that's fact. I'll add it's been probably changing for million and million of years ?

So what's your argument?  That puny, insignificant man couldn't possibly ever affect the Earth in any meaningful way?  Who makes this argument, but those who think that man can do anything, except control his own behavior?  I love all of the arrogant contradictions in that self-deprecating hubris!

TT:  It is the very lack of private property rights relating to open-access resources like the atmosphere that is the source of the problem.  

You:  That would be true if the 'problem' existed.

Name me a situation where the lack of property rights - or the effective means of creating them - doesn't lead to problems.

TT:  As Mises himself points out (see look for the Mises tag on my page), private property rights were developed - using governments - precisely to deal with similar problems relating to "common property" or unowned property.

You:  Well, yes. Yet a sizeable amount of libertarians would disagree with Mises 'utilitarianism'...But isn't that beside the point ?

Mises wasn't a utilitarian - what do you think the Mises site is all about?  He was just explaining why property rights were developed, and his explantion is relevant to my point.

TT: Your faith in the market is so overwhelming! I bet you don't have the slightest clue of firms voluntary efforts, transactions or investments.

You:  Firms are profit oriented. They may engage in charity if that helps them with public relations, that's all. On the other hand, are you saying you don't know that 'green' regulations are tools used by corporations to stiffle competition ?

Of course I know firms use regulations as barriers to entry and to stifle competition, so that wasn't my point.  It was that rather, profit-oriented firms are already starting to do alot about climate change, and the related costs, risks and opportunity, and to express their preferences.  Maybe you should tell them they're all idiots.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

-- Richard Feynman

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hjmaiere replied on Fri, Apr 11 2008 9:22 AM

Some minor points. I'll let everything else stand.

TokyoTom:

[...] Those most interested in stopping the war obviously aren't in power. [...]

Yet those who would put together an inter-governmental panel on climate change are.

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars consume 3.5 million gallons of oil a day. The U.S. Department of Defense as a whole consumes more oil than the entire country of Sweden. Yet it's somehow possible to make genuine political progress in the fight against incandescent light bulbs.

TokyoTom:

[...] The impact of volcanoes on climate is well-studied. [...]

The concern is not with the volcano itself. The concern is with the unimaginable amounts of glacial ice that will be dumped into the ocean in a matter of minutes. And I didn't say that this would warm the climate specifically, only that it will affect the weather.

 

 

 

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Juan replied on Fri, Apr 11 2008 11:48 AM
Tom:
Juan:
I'd love to see all subsidies ended.
Good; me too. By why am I the only one who makes that argument?
You are not making it. I did make it. You're only concerned with the non-problem of GW. And here's something from your bio wich I wish would end this discussion, but of course I know it never will.

"While I prefer where possible to strengthen property rights and tort law protections against pollution, rather than trying to have federal regulation for everything, I also realize that for certain cases our shared tool of government may serve productive or even essential purposes"

So, you are a libertarian who believes that government is essential to protect the enviroment...

As for Exxon...They are green now ? Good for them. Eco-fascism may be a good survival strategy...in the jungle.

With respect to science I think that my view of it is humble, while yours is indeed full of hubris. You think that state funded 'scientitsts' have figured out how the world works using some debatable facts and a bunch of math formulae as premises - I'd call that naive, if it weren't wholly politically motivated, wich, of course, it is.

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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macsnafu replied on Fri, Apr 11 2008 8:33 PM

TokyoTom:

"Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the Earth"

- Archimedes

 

The trouble with that is that there IS no place to stand that's not on the Earth so that his lever can move the Earth.  I'm not sure how that relates to global warming.

 

 

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TokyoTom replied on Sat, Apr 12 2008 6:13 AM

 hjmaiere:  thanks for the engagement.  Sorry you`re leaving so soon.

Look, I`m strongly opposed to the war, too.  But those who started it and are burning through ferocious sums off-budget are the same ones who turned K street into a pork orgy feast while distracting us with loud claims that we need to be really, REALLY afraid of Islamofascists, gays, unmarried mothers who want abortions, enviros, liberals and immigrants.  They are NOT the ones who are saying we should do anything about climate change other than study it.  Given the Luntz memo and the Bush administration`s famous closeness to oil and coal interests, it`s a wonder you don`t think that the reason why they`ve been stonewalling (and wailing about lefty enviros - even while ignoring the scientific, corporate, investor, foreign, defense, intelligence, religious and other concern) is because they`ve been paid good money to do so (and have their own money at stake).

In any cas, an argument against he way is not an argument for denying climate change.  Even Ron Paul has said that he thinks we should be actively discussing this issue with other countries.

By the way, it was Bush`s father who, after much foot-dragging, signed the Framework Climate Convention that led to the IPCC - certainly not Dweeb Bush or Cheney.  This administration approved the IPCC`s reports only because it had no scientific grounds for refusing, after doing its best to water them down.  FWIW, Exxon`s scientists are also active participants in the IPCC and has approved the reports.

The concern is not with the volcano itself. The concern is with the unimaginable amounts of glacial ice that will be dumped into the ocean in a matter of minutes.

It`s hard to know wher you`re coming from.  It seems like you`re saying that because we never know when our car might be hit by a meteor or lightning, fall into an unknown sinkhole or enter a patch of blinding fog that we shouldn`t worry about how many drinks we have after we get in the car.  Why exercise any control over ourselves, ever?

Further, as a scientific matter, it`s been known for decades that Antarctica has active volcanoes and new ones are still being discovered.  But we have no evidence from seismic tracks etc. that any of this is new; in fact the one more recently discovered beneath an ice sheet appears to have been active for around 2000 years, so whatever effect it`s now having isn`t new - and Antarctic melting is accelerating:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080120160720.htm

http://www.antarcticconnection.com/antarctic/science/mterebus.shtml

http://www.usatoday.com/weather/resources/coldscience/avolcano.htm

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2008-010

 

Juan: 

I`m happy you want to see subsidies eliminated, and good for you on saying it here before me - you win the race!  Now I challenge you to keep finding ways to make common cause with those hateful enviros to make the world a better place.  It might be a more successful stragegy than simply hating enviros.  But if you choose not to, you`re certainly in good company here, with folks who only want to argue with strawmen and those they can most easily demonize.

(In that connection, you might consider looking at my many posts on my blog about guys like Yandle, Callahan, Richman, Adler and others who are in favor of decentralization on climate change and elimination of subsidies, etc.)

TT:  "While I prefer where possible to strengthen property rights and tort law protections against pollution, rather than trying to have federal regulation for everything, I also realize that for certain cases our shared tool of government may serve productive or even essential purposes"

You:  So, you are a libertarian who believes that government is essential to protect the enviroment...

Juan, I`m in favor of rolling back our federal government generally, but I`m not an anarchist.  As for why I believe that a government tole is necessary and how I think the government should play a role, I can lead a horse to water, but I can`t make him drink.  You can read the things I write and argue with me, or you can refuse - you`re in charge of your own reality.  But Mises himself did not argue against a state role in creating/enforcing proerty rights, and there are plenty of libertarians who agree.  You`ll find some of them, and some of my further thoughts, here

http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2007/10/12/draft.aspx

http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2007/10/12/building-property-rights-for-common-resources.aspx

http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2008/04/05/bruce-yandle-on-quot-no-regrets-quot-quot-free-market-environmentalist-quot-approaches-to-climate-change-policy.aspx

http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2008/02/14/edwin-dolan-applying-the-lockean-framework-to-climate-change.aspx

http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2007/10/17/fighting-over-the-wheel-of-government.aspx

http://libertarian-left.blogspot.com/

You:  With respect to science I think that my view of it is humble, while yours is indeed full of hubris. You think that state funded 'scientitsts' have figured out how the world works using some debatable facts and a bunch of math formulae as premises - I'd call that naive, if it weren't wholly politically motivated, wich, of course, it is.

It`s interesting that you, with your "humble" view, do nothing but makes unsupported, dismissive and conclusory statements about science, while I "arrogantly" try to explain my view and provide support for it.  I do not believe that my view is perfect or complete, and I am always willing to test it, in the way Ludwig von Mises said:  

"Man can never become omniscient. He can never be absolutely certain that his inquiries were not misled and that what he considers as certain truth is not error. All that man can do is to submit all his theories again and again to the most critical reexamination." - Human Action

Is your view of the "non-science" of climate change really as "punture-proof" as you make it out to be?  Why do you need to assume that Exxon has ever changed its mind on climate science (as opposed to its political interests)?  It is investing millions in basic research to develop new, carbon-lite technologies.

http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2007/12/04/murdoch-amp-149-other-top-vile-collectivists-capitalists-call-for-global-poverty.aspx

 Regards,

Tom

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

-- Richard Feynman

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Juan replied on Sat, Apr 12 2008 11:04 AM
Tom:
I`m happy you want to see subsidies eliminated, and good for you on saying it here before me - you win the race!
Win the race ? What I think I win is the argument...
It might be a more successful stragegy than simply hating enviros.
Is that more PCness on your part ? Am I a thought criminal ? You see, denying the party line is hate speech, isn't it ?
But if you choose not to, you`re certainly in good company here, with folks who only want to argue with strawmen and those they can most easily demonize.
What's that supposed to mean ? If the 'Bush Administration' says that water is wet, am I expected to deny it ?
Tom:
Juan:
So, you are a libertarian who believes that government is essential to protect the enviroment...
Juan, I`m in favor of rolling back our federal government generally, but I`m not an anarchist.
That's not the point. You don't seem to be a miniarchist either - that is the point. You don't care about the rights of the individual. You're interested in protecting the 'enviroment' by violating individual rights, through government, wich is essential (so you claim)
As for why I believe that a government tool is necessary and how I think the government should play a role, I can lead a horse to water, but I can`t make him drink. You can read the things I write and argue with me, or you can refuse - you`re in charge of your own reality.
I think I'm arguing with you and I think you've not won a single one of these arguments - that is reality, not mine nor yours.
But Mises himself did not argue against a state role in creating/enforcing proerty rights,
Too bad for Mises (but notice that creation and enforcement are different things). Anyway, since you like arguments from authority, take a look at the Austrian quiz.

http://www.mises.org/quiz.asp

So what's the "Mises Institute approved"TM answer ? A, B, C, or D ?
It`s interesting that you, with your "humble" view, do nothing but makes unsupported, dismissive and conclusory statements about science, while I "arrogantly" try to explain my view and provide support for it.
I provided a better view of what is science and what is not. You're not refuting that. The point is not whether GW exists or not, but is a different and more fundamental one. What is GW ? Can 'science' deal in a deterministic way with the weather ? Do you understand that problem ? It's among other things, an information problem.
Mises:
"Man can never become omniscient. He can never be absolutely certain that his inquiries were not misled and that what he considers as certain truth is not error. All that man can do is to submit all his theories again and again to the most critical reexamination."
Right. Do you realize that cuts both ways ?
Is your view of the "non-science" of climate change really as "punture-proof" as you make it out to be?
It's more correct than your view of science - wich is just repeating what the establishment dishes out.
Why do you need to assume that Exxon has ever changed its mind on climate science (as opposed to its political interests)? It is investing millions in basic research to develop new, carbon-lite technologies.
What's that supposed to prove ? To me it proves, and I'll repeat it for the third time, that people do politically correct things when it serves their self-interest. Also, firms do R&D. People at Exxon think that oil won't last forever, so they look for other solutions. Does that prove that GW is a problem ? No. Does that prove that GW even exists ? No. All your arguments are non-sequiturs.

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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hjmaiere replied on Sat, Apr 12 2008 11:55 AM

TokyoTom:

 

Look, I`m strongly opposed to the war, too.  But those who started it and are burning through ferocious sums off-budget are the same ones who turned K street into a pork orgy feast while distracting us with loud claims that we need to be really, REALLY afraid of Islamofascists, gays, unmarried mothers who want abortions, enviros, liberals and immigrants.  They are NOT the ones who are saying we should do anything about climate change other than study it. [...]

You are wrong. The Iraq Liberation Act was signed by Clinton. This was when the war really started. Clinton has killed as many innocent Iraqis as Bush 43, only his weapons of choice were disease and starvation by way of trade sanctions. Bill Clintion was also the one who signed the law requiring the phone companies to build their digital equipment in a way that allows the government to wiretap it in real-time. This is what made Bush's illegal wiretapping possible in the first place. The destruction/invasion/occupation of Iraq was never about oil as such.

http://blog.mises.org/archives/008011.asp

Hillary or Obama might be likely to pay more lip service to diplomacy than McCain, but they will never willingly abandon the embassy and millitary bases being built there. The democratic politicians have accomplished nothing with regard to policy toward Iraq (or Iran) because they are just as much harlots in the employ of the plutocracy as the neocons. To maintain the illusion of political conflict, they happen to use a different set of lies. And one of those lies is that in order to save the planet from ecological destruction, they need political authority over the entire world.

 

TokyoTom:

[...] Further, as a scientific matter, it`s been known for decades that Antarctica has active volcanoes and new ones are still being discovered.  But we have no evidence from seismic tracks etc. that any of this is new; [...]

That this is nothing new was exactly my point. Humans have long had a peculiar tendency to fill the cracks in our knowledge of the world around us with boogeymen. Those boogeymen get the blame for the bad things that happen to us when they happen for reasons we don't otherwise understand. Throughout history, the predatory classes have used those cracks in our knowledge as systems of control by dictating which boogeymen live in which cracks. The weather has changed, and will change, sometimes catastrophically, for reasons that have nothing to do with humans. But this fact is useless as system of control and therefore receives no attention. It's only the fact that the weather also changes for reasons we don't understand that allows it to serve as a system of control.

 

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Why is it that the debate over climate change on a message board about philosophy and economics is focused on science?  Like it or not, you are not scientists.  As far as I can tell, you don't even understand the science.  So why not deal with the question that is within your abilities: What would be the libertarian response to anthropogenic climate change if we knew that it were occurring?

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Juan replied on Sat, Apr 12 2008 1:39 PM
Danny, This forum is, I hope, devoted to philosophy and economics, not to pseudo - science - fiction. If you're interested in cheesy sci-fi, fine, but don't confuse it with philosophy. Now, from a philosophical POV it is quite legitimate to ask what the pseudo-scientific establishment is talking about, and it is quite legitimate to critize their flawed methods.

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What I do not like is that this forum is full of nazi quotations.. I am not sure, if von Mises liked a forum with this content under his name..

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Juan, from our past conversations you've made it clear that you don't have an intimate enough understanding of the mainstream position to criticize it from a methodological standpoint.  Your position is made even shakier by the fact that the mainstream position is a synthesis of a number of lines of evidence coming from multiple scientific disciplines, which means that a methodological objection needs to address the methodologies of a collection of fundamentally different branches of science.  I'm comfortable saying that you aren't qualified to offer that kind of objection.

I'm not saying that the mainstream position is correct.  I'm only saying that the members of this forum have shown an almost embarrassing inability to critique the mainstream position with anything even resembling effectiveness.  You guys simply don't know what you're talking about.  So I'm suggesting that you might find your time better spent answering questions like the following:

If we knew that climate change were being caused by humans, what would the proper libertarian response be?  What rights, if any, would be violated?

How should scientific uncertainty be dealt with in light of the fact that we might not resolve that uncertainty for a long time?

Can people legitimately be held accountable for damage that has not occurred yet?  If so, how would this be done?

There are a whole lot of issues that need to be dealt with, and libertarians are dragging their feet.  As political philosophers, we need to stop focusing on science and start focusing on political philosophy.

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Juan replied on Sat, Apr 12 2008 4:07 PM
Juan, from our past conversations you've made it clear that you don't have an intimate enough understanding of the mainstream position to criticize it from a methodological standpoint.
Danny, I don't know what 'past conversations' you're alluding to. In this conversation it's been shown that GWarmers (is that a word ?) don't know what empirical science is, what kind of problems it can solve and what kind of knowledge it can provide.

You don't understand that either, and seem to instead like to play the central planner game - How should society be 'designed' given the non-problem of GW ? I don't know and I don't care. I don't waste my time solving non-problems wich if existed would be solved 'by the market'. My only comment is, I suggest you don't advocate anything that violates individual rights...I mean, you're a libertarian, right ?
Can people legitimately be held accountable for damage that has not occurred yet?
Right. That kind of question makes clear you're talking about fantasy not about real political problems.

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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Ego replied on Sat, Apr 12 2008 4:08 PM

Donny with an A:

Juan, from our past conversations you've made it clear that you don't have an intimate enough understanding of the mainstream position to criticize it from a methodological standpoint.  Your position is made even shakier by the fact that the mainstream position is a synthesis of a number of lines of evidence coming from multiple scientific disciplines, which means that a methodological objection needs to address the methodologies of a collection of fundamentally different branches of science.  I'm comfortable saying that you aren't qualified to offer that kind of objection.

I'm not saying that the mainstream position is correct.  I'm only saying that the members of this forum have shown an almost embarrassing inability to critique the mainstream position with anything even resembling effectiveness.  You guys simply don't know what you're talking about.  So I'm suggesting that you might find your time better spent answering questions like the following:

If we knew that climate change were being caused by humans, what would the proper libertarian response be?  What rights, if any, would be violated?

How should scientific uncertainty be dealt with in light of the fact that we might not resolve that uncertainty for a long time?

Can people legitimately be held accountable for damage that has not occurred yet?  If so, how would this be done?

There are a whole lot of issues that need to be dealt with, and libertarians are dragging their feet.  As political philosophers, we need to stop focusing on science and start focusing on political philosophy.

A good, consistent first step would be to ban community-members from having more than their fair share of children (two). That would absolutely result in fewer emissions. After ensuring their won't be an excess of people, the community needs to ensure that no one produces more than their fair share of carbon. Whenever a community-member makes a purchase, the carbon-footprint of that item needs to be calculated and added to his/her yearly total. If the yearly total of carbon is exceeded, the community-member needs to buy carbon-credits to offset his/her excessive lifestyle. The cost of each carbon-credit should chosen by the community in direct, democratic elections.

 

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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AndyHoffmann, Mises was a proponent of the free flow of ideas. No one here is advocating Nazi principles, but the OP is quoting ideas which happen to be compiled by a Nazi which he considers good, and which do not have to do with the initiation of force. I doubt Mises would've thought it pertinent to exclude the ideas merely on account of the person putting them forward. I am no fan of  the National Socialists, personally, but it's not as if Hjmaere is calling for us to improve on the Final Solution or something of that sort.

 

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Juan replied on Sat, Apr 12 2008 4:52 PM
I thought it was clear that the allusion to nazism underlined the totalitarian features of 'enviromentalism'.

February 17 - 1600 - Giordano Bruno is burnt alive by the catholic church.
Aquinas : "much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death."

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The quotes provide a good insight into the Nazi mindset, so yes you're right. Either way, the complaint that Mises would have a problem with this is baseless, as he himself had no problem quoting his opponents to demonstrate the fallaciousness of their ideas &c.

 

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Juan, at what point have I said anything about central planning?  In fact, at what point have I ever advocated any policy?  All I've said is that libertarians should confront the question of whether rights would be violated by climate change.  Are you seriously going to evade that by trying to paint me as an alarmist/statist/enviro-fascist?

 

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Stephen replied on Sun, Apr 13 2008 1:14 AM

Donny with an A:

If we knew that climate change were being caused by humans, what would the proper libertarian response be?  What rights, if any, would be violated?

 

Not sure, but here's what I think roughly. This is basically from an earlier post here, http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/1746.aspx?PageIndex=4.

I think the problem of damage caused to property (assuming it exists) by anthropogenic warming is basically the same as that of air or water pollution.

If there is only a small amount of pollution, property owners will not even notice it, and have no right to complain, since any aggression would have to be noticeable. Some of the pollutants are absorbed by the environment as well. No aggression can take place unless the polluter releases more pollutant than can be absorbed and that will make a noticeable negative impact on the victim’s property. We can call the limit below which not aggression takes place, the threshold of aggression.

 

I would claim that everyone has a right to produce as much CO2 as they please so long as they do not cross the threshold of aggression. The first person to dump CO2 into the air homesteads the right to do so at the same rate indefinitely into the future. The pollution right becomes their property, and they can sell it, trade it, or pass it on to their children.

 

The first person to cross the threshold of aggression is a criminal no matter how little he contributed. Everyone who polluted before him is entirely innocent. Anyone who contributes new pollution is beyond the first criminal is guilty of any new damage which is caused. Any new CO2 source producing beyond the threshold of aggression would also have to be match by a carbon sink which absorbs at least an equivalent rate.

 

One of the upshots of this is that insurance and legal firms would have incentives to actually figure out the actual extent of anthropogenic climate change. And they would want to figure it out quickly and accurately. Insurance companies would want to know what the chances are that they would have to pay for their client’s pollution if it should happen to cause a rise in sea levels flooding someone’s home, or making someone’s farm arid and useless. Other insurance firms would want to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that damage to their client’s property was caused by some definite polluter to reduce the amount they would have to pay up. The pricing of risks will allow for economic calculation. The incentive for such firms would be to fund reasearch which would prove a causal relationship beyond a reasonable doubt so they could prove their case in a court of law.

  

This is almost the exact opposite to the way current research is done. The IPCC is an inefficient bureaucracy. Assuming only self-interest, all members of the IPCC have an interest in the growth of their organization. If they were to say that the risks of anthropogenic climate change were small, their organization would receive less funding due to the decrease in perceived importance of their work. If they were to produce conclusive and final research quickly, there would be no more need for their services in the future and they would lose funding. They have no incentive to be fair in their assessment, and every incentive to continue dragging their feet, when it comes to producing indisputable conclusions.

 

The current results produced by the IPCC are completely useless when it comes to matters of justice. They could not prove any aggression in any reasonable court of law.

 

Now there are many secondary arguments and debates surrounding the issue. Will warming be good or bad? Do CO2 concentrations lead or lag behind temperature over the last 400 000 years? Are the oceans warming or cooling? These tend to be fruitless discussions. One guy says one thing. The other guy says, "No, you're wrong." The first guy responds with the same and no one changes their mind.

 

But, I think the main argument from the IPCC runs like this (Correct me if I am wrong): We (the scientists) model the earth by dividing up the planet's surface into a large grid. Each square of the grid approximates the equivilent section of the earth's surface with average values. Then they subsystems for each grid to simulate things like the thermal energy transfer for land surface, oceans, atmosphere, and simulate changes in chemical compositions in systems like the carbon cycle, water cycle, ect. Many of the relationships are governed by physical, thermodynamic, and chemical relationships. Some of the relationships are unknown however, like the radiative forcing of various GH gases. So the scientists use their expert opinion to estimate parameters in the model. When the scientist finish their model a simulation is run. The simulations is recursive. The values for square of the grid are updated depending on the values in adjacent squares. Because these values are only approximate and any error only increases each iteration, simulation tends not to match past observations very well. So, the scientists start playing around with their parameters until the model closely matches past observations.

 

Once the scientists have produced their climate model, they make their forecasts. Based on this estimate of radiative forcing, the earth's temperature will rise such and such an amount. Based on another estimate, it will rise that amount. And by creating a sample of temperature rises based on a range of parameter estimations, we come up with a statistical distribution. From this statistical distribution we conclude that the likelihood of the earth's temperature rising 2 or 3 degrees over the next century is 90%.

 

 

 What are the obvious methodological problems with the method? The method for producing the model isn't really much different in principle than if I where to gather a bunch of past data in the form of points, and interpolate the data points in Excel.

 

 

 

Donny with an A:
How should scientific uncertainty be dealt with in light of the fact that we might not resolve that uncertainty for a long time?

 

While the science (if it should even be considered that) is uncertain it is inadmissible in a court of law. Anthropogenic GW damage (if it can be proven to exist) should not be treated as a regulatory issue. It should be handled by civil courts.

 

Donny with an A:
Can people legitimately be held accountable for damage that has not occurred yet?  If so, how would this be done?

 No. A person is innocent until proven guilty. Obviously, it is impossible to prove that someone will commit a crime in the future.

 

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TokyoTom replied on Sun, Apr 13 2008 1:17 AM

hjmaiere:  Thanks for the more in-depth history of the war.  Again, I largely agree with you as to the culpability other others for our imperial behavior - extending a long way back.  But distinctions are still in order.  It is the current crew who are responsible for invasion and ongoing bloodbath, and for stepping all over our Constitution.  Yes, we have spineless Congresscritters and press, and a populace easily distracted by tribal reactions, to thank as well.  SO yes, blame Dems and others for our empire too.  But the current crew is definitely NOT champing at the bit to use climate change as a way to gain further control.  But it`s extremely hard to say that their reticence is fuelled by concern for us, as they both rip us off over Iraq and continue to protect the prileges afforded to fossil fuel interests to use the atmosphere as a free dumping ground.

Humans have long had a peculiar tendency to fill the cracks in our knowledge of the world around us with boogeymen. Those boogeymen get the blame for the bad things that happen to us when they happen for reasons we don't otherwise understand. Throughout history, the predatory classes have used those cracks in our knowledge as systems of control by dictating which boogeymen live in which cracks.

Again, this is astute and I agree with you.  This is a very good reason to be skeptical about what government might actually bring us if we allow it to address climate change in any way.   But of course it tell us NOTHING about whether or not our activities are actually affecting the climate in ways that ought to concern us.

The weather has changed, and will change, sometimes catastrophically, for reasons that have nothing to do with humans.

Okay - this is uncontested, so why do you keep repeating this mantra?  Does the Simple and obvious fact that there are other factors that affect the climate tell us that humans CANNOT affect the climate?  Are you saying that man will never have the ability to terraform Mars (via enhancing atmospheric GHGs), for example, or that we should never even consider geoengineering to prevent any serious warming or cooling of the earth?  That we are helpess and insignificant?

It's only the fact that the weather also changes for reasons we don't understand that allows it to serve as a system of control.

Sorry, but I don`t follow.  It`s true that we cannot easily change our behavior to influence the climate in ways we want, but it is the argument that we DO understand and the possibility that we CAN influence climate that are being trotted out to argue for a system of control.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

-- Richard Feynman

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TokyoTom replied on Sun, Apr 13 2008 1:58 AM

Juan, I`m having difficulty continuing to find motivation to respond further in the face of your obtuseness, hostility and zero-sum approach to discussion.  Even when we agree, you find a reason to crow and to question my good faith.

You appear to not be remotely familiar with Austrian views on "environmental" matters.  Perhaps these posts can serve as an introduction to that, and to my take on it:  http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2008/02/18/cool-rationalists-or-conservatives-and-neocons-on-the-environment.aspx

http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2007/10/12/cordato-humans-cannot-harm-the-environment.aspx; http://mises.com/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2007/10/12/draft.aspx.

I`ll keep testing my reality; you feel free to keep telling me that I`m wrong, without trying to persuade.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

-- Richard Feynman

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Ego replied on Sun, Apr 13 2008 2:02 AM

TokyoTom, here's the problem I have.

Let's assume the following 2 things:

  1. Humans are the main cause of global warming
  2. We can determine the point at which one's "carbon output" is a violation of others' rights (let's assume it's 10 tons per year)

If we were to be consistent in our views (and we must be), we must ban having children. At the very least, we must limit the number of children one can have. If I'm violating your rights by emitting 11 tons of carbon per year as opposed to 10, then I'm certainly violating your rights by emitting 10 tons of carbon and "emitting" 5 children, each of whom emit 10 tons per year, for a total of 50.

I don't like that path at all. In order to maximize rights and liberty, we shouldn't focus on something as nebulous as "global warming". Should we combat "global cooling" for people who plant too many trees? Our environmental efforts should focus on combating carcinogenic emissions instead.

Don't allow leftists to play games with definitions! Some of the libertarian-leaning leftists at this forum will try to redefine "left-wing" back to its original defition (Third Estate, limited government, free-markets, laissez-faire reforms, etc.). Fine! We non-leftists can't stop them from using their own personal definitions; they can use whatever labels they want to describe any concept they want.

However, they have the audacity to then use their personal definition of "left-wing" (remember, the original definition, which is no longer valid) to prove that modern leftists are more libertarian than modern rightists! They will say that libertarianism is "inherently leftist" (again, using the original, no longer valid definition), and use that to insist that we should prefer and side with modern leftists over modern rightists.

Question their motives.

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