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Heeding Cardinal Wuerl

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 September 2014

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-09-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Ocean Acidification, or “Panic! We’re destroying the biosphere (part 2,105)”

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 September 2014

CO2 in the atmosphere is causing the globe to warm according to this nince little chart in our report, and all the relevant scientists have signed on to it and agree.

Oh, that’s not actually happening. Never mind, look over here at these cute polar bears who are all dying because of CO2.

Darn, that’s no happening either, so forget about polar bears and look at the Arctic sea ice, which is retreating to dangerous levels.

Daggone it, that’s not happening either. So … uh, wait, there’s this. Ocean Acidification. All of life is doomed! Again.

If the modern environmentalist movement doesn’t remind you of Chicken Little, you’re not paying attention. In fact, I suspect that environmentalists are going to push for removing Chicken Little from grade school reading lists.

This is not to say that I’m in favor of dumping CO2 into the atmosphere, or that there aren’t (or won’t be) consequences for doing that. Of course there are and will be consequences, and if it were a simple question of “dump CO2 into the atmosphere, yes or no?” I’d pick no — all other things being equal.

But “all other things” are never equal, and the question is not a simple one. A modern lifestyle does amazing, extraordinary things for human health and thriving, and a modern lifestyle requires energy. We have to get it from somewhere, and right now that means fossil fuels. Whatever gains we might get from curbing CO2 would be offset in spades by the harm it would cause — which is why China and India are pushing ahead with fossil fuels. The net gain to their societies is worth the risk.

There aren’t other options right now, and despite what liberals like to say, there is no magic energy to replace fossil fuels on the scale we need.

Every choice has consequences, and in my experience the problem with environmentalists is that they don’t see that. They don’t tend towards the practical, engineering side of science. They tend towards the dogmatic, big theory side, mixed with a heavy dose of anti-human bias, distrust and suspicion of the people who actually do things, and a penchant for catastrophe stories.

I don’t pretend that my experience is a perfect picture of the environmentalist movement or of its besetting sins, but it’s what I have to go on and it’s the lens through which I see these issues. And here’s what I’ve seen.

I worked with environmentalists for years, back when I covered energy and environmental issues for a publishing company. I’ve been to conferences where I’ve heard the environmentalists square off with regulators and industry representatives. I’ve read their comments on regulatory proposals. I’ve read their white papers and listened to their positions.

They are, generally speaking, self-righteous jerks who care about their agenda more than they care about facts or people.

My favorite example of this (sorry if you’re heard this before) was a session at a conference on regulating smokestack emissions where the environmentalists wanted 24-7 monitoring with no more than a 10 minute break in data. They said they expected the utilities to cheat, and a strict, “no exceptions” data regime was necessary.

I covered utility issues for years. I spoke with utility workers on the phone on a regular basis. I met them at conferences. I visited them in their offices. I worked with them on data collection and writing articles about energy issues. They were, as far as I could tell, decent, hard-working family people who considered their job a public service and wanted to do the right thing.

When the self-righteous jerk said that he wanted 24-7 / 10 minute monitoring, the utility guy explained what that would mean in the real world. It meant he’d have to send somebody up a slippery ladder in the freezing rain to fix the box so the EPA could have its precious data, and he wasn’t going to do that.

The environmentalist didn’t care about the risk to that guy and wasn’t prepared to make an exception even in such cases.

That was a key moment for me. All I’d heard and read and experienced for years came together into a clear picture of self-righteous, arrogant, anti-human jerks who always think the world is falling apart unless people do exactly as they say, in their infinite wisdom. That is my general impression of environmentalists. They’re necessary, I suppose, you just can’t take them too seriously.

So when I read the latest scare about ocean acidification, I read it with that as the background.

The besetting sin of the environmentalists, ISTM, is their failure to get the larger context. Coal is evil, so shut down the plants. Never mind what it will do to the families that live in coal country. The U.S. has to cut CO2 emissions drastically, never mind what it will do to the economy or whether the cuts will have any practical effect in any event. Temperatures are rising (in this tiny sliver of reliable data that we have), never mind how that fits with a broader look at the climate of the planet.

It’s a very short-sighted attitude spun to create panic and a sense of urgency and, most importantly, to get everybody else to give them the reins. Because they know best. They say so.

So, my conclusion is this. By all means let’s get off coal and oil, but let’s do it in a practical way that doesn’t do more harm than good. Let’s investigate other sources of energy, including wind and solar (in the narrow spaces where they make sense), but we should spend most of our time and money on safe nuclear options.

I absolutely don’t trust the environmentalists to think that way, or to think practically at all.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-09-01  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Those Puritanical Lefties

by Greg Krehbiel on 29 August 2014

Expecting two people to be married before they have sex is so backwards, Puritanical and (yuck!) religious. Not to mention patriarchal and oppressive of women, who should be able to do whatever they want with their own bodies with no stigma or consequences of any kind.

Instead we should require people to give affirmative consent to every escalation of intimacy. (HT, AG.)

Of course practically speaking this means that the man needs to obtain affirmative consent in a way that the woman can’t change her mind about the next day. It’s completely stupid and unworkable.

If we keep going in this direction then pretty soon the law will require us to film every sexual encounter and submit it to a review board to ensure that everything passed legal muster.

There’s nothing surprising about all this stupidity. When you take a moral / social system that was worked out over hundreds of years to generally deal with these sorts of problems and then turn it all on its head and try to change all the rules at once, you’re going to get this kind of confusion.

(Before Root asks, I’m pinning this on the lefties because the bill is from California.)

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-29  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Who could possibly have predicted that same-sex marriage will lead to bigamy?

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 August 2014

Federal judge effectively decriminalizes polygamy in Utah

I am more and more convinced that the idea of a pluralistic, secular society is an intellectually bankrupt concept.

-- 44 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The Evils of Facebook

by Greg Krehbiel on 28 August 2014

Yet another of the evils of Facebook — I’m becoming more and more certain that Facebook encourages the “but none of my friends voted for Nixon” view of the world.

Part of it is the feeling (not always true) that you are only talking to your friends (who have to be reasonable and agree with you on things), part of it is normal confirmation bias (only paying attention to things that you like), and all that is reinforced by the Facebook algorithm that only shows you things you have liked in the past.

I have noticed that people are far more ready to post outrageous, partisan, highly opinionated things to Facebook that they would never say in actual company. (Or maybe I’m giving them more kudos for people civilized people in real life than they deserve.)

It seems to me that Facebook is contributing to the polarization of society.

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-28  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Richard Dawkins, moral fool

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 August 2014

I’ve said this many times before, but while Richard Dawkins may be a genius when it comes to biology, like most atheists he doesn’t have a very good understanding of ethics.

To some extent it’s simply a matter of practice. When a person gets serious about religion — say, after a conversion experience — it’s very common for that person to get seriously discouraged and say something like, “I feel like I was more moral before I became a Christian!”

The new convert is now re-evaluating his life — all his thoughts and behaviors — against a very strict moral standard. He simply wasn’t doing that before, and he’s finding all kinds of things about himself that he didn’t know.

The religious life is a life spent scrutinizing moral questions. That’s clearly no guarantee that the person will come to the right conclusions, or that his behavior will match his newfound convictions, but it does have a profound effect on a person’s psychology, how attuned he is to moral questions, and how able he is to make appropriate moral distinctions. I’m often shocked at how otherwise intelligent atheists can be so dull in that regard.

All this is by way of introduction to this article: The Nasty, Brutish World of Richard Dawkins, which mentions his latest screw-up on Twitter where he said parents who choose not to abort a Down Syndrome baby are committing an immoral act.

The man is a moral idiot.

-- 14 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel

What is Hagel preparing us for?

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 August 2014

Suspicion 1: Statements by administration officials are usually well planned, and highly placed officials like the Secretary of Defense don’t casually say things like “Get Ready” and “They are an imminent threat to every interest we have” unless he’s preparing people for something. (See Islamic State threat ‘beyond anything we’ve seen’: Pentagon.)

Suspicion 2: Hagel has always been a bit of a loose canon and might have been winging it a little too freely.

I’m leaning towards Suspicion 1.

Reality has a rude way of poking holes in our theories, and I hope this apparent change in public posturing means that Obama is finally growing out of his fairyland view of foreign policy. I think he realizes that he faces the prospect of leaving the U.S. far worse off than it was before he took office, and he has reluctantly decided to do something sensible about that.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Obama and the Antideficiency Act

by Greg Krehbiel on 22 August 2014

It doesn’t matter that Obama violated the Antideficiency Act because, after all, he’s the chosen one. He gets a pass because of his exalted and glorious him-ness.

If any Republican had done this the press would be in 24×7 attack mode.

However, this is one of those Obama illegalities that doesn’t bother me too much.

Pentagon officials also told the GAO that the [30-day] notification requirement is unconstitutional. They argued that it “would have interfered with the Executive’s performance of two related functions that the Constitution assigns to the President: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. service members.”

That may be true.

I disagree with the policy decision, but it was Obama’s call to make, and I don’t think it’s wise for Republicans to push this one too much.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-22  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Close your eyes and think about England

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 August 2014

I saw a post on Facebook today that links to a gross cartoon that sorta pokes fun at procreation. Here it is.

It highlights an interesting contrast in the ways people view having kids.

The first view — and I will play arm-chair historian and call this the traditional view — is that having kids is a duty families perform in service of the empire. That empire may be a religion or a country or just humanity in general, but the point is that the empire requires new subjects, so get to it.

That’s why the empire promotes marriage and family in the first place, why it gives married people special rights and benefits, etc.

The second view is that children are just one of life’s pleasures that you choose to have or not have on your own schedule. What’s important is that you live a fulfilling life, do what you want to do, go see interesting places while you still look good in a bikini, etc. And then, when it’s convenient, and if it seems like a good idea and fits in with your life plans, then sure … go ahead and have some kids.

In this view, the empire is supposed to give you special benefits and rights because …. Well, it’s not entirely clear why you get the benefits and rights in this view, but it has some vague connection to celebrating your love, or something like that.

-- 5 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel

What does “cowardly” mean?

by Greg Krehbiel on 21 August 2014

President Obama Says Militants Who Beheaded American Are ‘Cowardly’

What does that mean?

These guys are brutal barbarians who take what they want and kill anybody who gets in their way. In what sense are they “cowardly”?

They’re standing up to the most powerful nation on earth. “You bomb our positions? Then we’ll kill your citizens. Now what are you going to do about it?” And then they claim they’re going to come after Americans wherever they can find them.

They’re beasts. They’re monsters. But by what kind of twisted logic can they be called “cowardly”?

This is a serious question. I think there is a mindset on the left that it’s “cowardly” to resort to force and “brave” to try to talk things over and negotiate. In some situations that’s true. Diplomats are often very brave people who put their lives on the line to find a way to peace.

But there comes a point where Scotty has it right. “The best diplomat I know is a fully armed phaser bank.”

Mr. President, the men in ISIS are horrible, monstrous beasts, but they are not cowards. They need to be hunted down and killed.

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-21  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2014-08-20 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Romney is the favorite
+ 1 comment
2014-08-20 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Having a child is an arrogant thing to do
2014-08-19 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Another reason I support traffic cameras
2014-08-18 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Title change?
2014-08-17 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Conversations about race
2014-08-15 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Ebola, world poverty and culture change
2014-08-14 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
We’re becoming a police state
2014-08-12 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Disgusted by Matt Walsh
2014-08-12 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Men replaced by women in the workplace