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Matt Ridley (and Ayn Rand) on technological progress and on those who oppose it

Incoming from the IEA, alerting me to a short IEATV performance by Matt Ridley, in favour of fracking.

In Britain fracking will be easy, cheap, safe, and it will mostly to be done in the North. It will create just the sort of wealth we now most want, in just the sort of places we now most want it. Not even our current crop of environmentally deluded politicians will be able to resist this entirely benign process for very long.

I am anything but an uncritical admirer of Ayn Rand, but one of many things that she got very right was her characterisation of the opponents of liberty as being anti-industrial. These people just do not like ingenious and complicated and clever and ever-improving technology, however much humans might benefit from its implementation, in fact the more it helps humans the more the anti-industrialists hate it. They prefer economic primitivism and damn the body count. Rand first started saying this at a time when many collectivists were still claiming, in all sincerity, to know, even better than free marketeers, how to get the world’s economy motoring along. But as that latter claim has faded, the anti-industrialism that Rand already saw has become more and more obvious and obstructive to human progress.

Remember that Rand had emerged from the USSR, which once upon a time worshipped technology, until the kopek began to drop that it knew frack all about how to do it and to how make it better. Remember all those posters with belching factory chimneys. Remember all the lies about steel and tractor production. Time was when collectivists claimed to be able to make all this stuff happen even better.

Not any more, as listening to Matt Ridley talk about fracking, and the myths and falsehoods upon which opposition to it is now based, reminds us.

32 comments to Matt Ridley (and Ayn Rand) on technological progress and on those who oppose it

  • bob sykes

    Environmentalists are Romantics, i.e., they reject the Enlightenment and all its products, like reason, science and engineering. No amount of evidence and reasoning will convince them because they categorically reject such things.They are committed to intuition and emotion in all things. Their normal products are violence, destruction and superstition.

  • Jose Vatican

    Environmentalists are Romantics, i.e., they reject the Enlightenment and all its products, like reason, science and engineering. No amount of evidence and reasoning will convince them because they categorically reject such things.They are committed to intuition and emotion in all things. Their normal products are violence, destruction and superstition.

    And you fucking hate them don’t you.

  • CaptDMO

    Sure enough, there’s ALWAYS that one (or two) radical lemming that just stops and says “Hey, wait a minute!”

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Jose Vatican
    April 27, 2014 at 12:12 pm
    And you fucking hate them don’t you.

    Like Indiana Jones hated Nazis, who were thereby the innocent victims of his unreasoning prejudice.

  • AKM

    “And you fucking hate them don’t you.”

    Not really. Speaking only for myself, I hate the fact that they have so much influence, but I don’t really hate them in particular. In person they tend to be a bit dim and rather pathetic; they care so much and understand so little.

  • And you fucking hate them don’t you?

    I love that. That’s really funny.

  • Well I do fucking hate them with a passsion beyond anything I have ever felt for “people”. There ring-leaders ought to be offered exactly what they want. Reservations ought to be set-up and the colonists supplied with basic tools and then fenced off. We can get microdrones filming the fun and games. I envisage it being paid for by a syndicated TV show presented by Ant & Dec. I would be over-joyed when they enter the “kiddie-munching” phase. These cunts desrve nothing but a slow and painful death and when the long-pig they are eating raw is Shamen monbiot I will laugh my tits off.

  • Jerry

    ‘And you ……. hate them don’t you?’

    Not really. simply view them as something of a curiosity – as in
    ‘how in the hell can you go through life like this when history and EVERYTHING around you says you’re WRONG !!??

  • Jerry

    Oh, and on the fracking issue –
    Brace yourselves for the howls of ‘harming mother earth.
    Over here, on the western side of the puddle it’s
    ‘fracking is causing earthquakes’ ( and the mountains are going to crumble, the sky will fall and horror of horrors, the last remaining
    yellow-eyed-blue-footed-green-livered-flying-rat-zapper will be endangered ( never mind that since there’s only one left, it will be extinct next month anyway – that’s irrelevant !! )
    Maybe it causes earthquakes, maybe not but the ONE I felt was NOTHING and if fracking brings more energy I couldn’t care less if my sofa occasionally feels like it wiggles for about a second !!

  • And you fucking hate them don’t you?

    With a wild passion.

  • Mike Giles

    “Over here, on the western side of the puddle it’s ‘fracking is causing earthquakes’ “.
    About that; I’m fascinated that those clowns – who claim to be so scientific – don’t understand that lots of little earthquakes, are much better than one really large one.

  • Paul Marks

    I judge people on policy (not on whether they are pleasant or whatever). As for abstract philosophy one can argue about that for 24 hours straight (I have), but one gets nowhere (one is not convinced by the arguments of the other person – and they are not convinced by one’s own arguments), with POLICY one can make progress(be convinced by the arguments of someone else, or convince them).

    What Matt Ridley says about “Fracking” is quite right – Al Jazerra and Russia Today hate Fracking (and for the very reasons that we should support it).

    Ayn Rand was right on every policy issue I have heard of (in some of the big philosophical issues, the objective nature of the universe, the existence of the human “I” personhood, and the ability of humans WITH EFFORT to choose between good and evil, these being real things, – well the lady was correct also).

    If the lady was also short tempered and intolerant – who am I to condemn anyone for those things?

  • RAB

    My grandfather was a colliery manager in Bedwas South Wales. He told me that plain old coal mining caused earthquakes all the time. Well I’ve never felt one gramp… well you wouldn’t, they are so minor as to be of no consequence, they are just part of the process.

    The same people who wailed to high heaven at the dreadful sin Maggie Thatcher committed in closing down a lot of mines (but a lot less than Harold Wilson) because they were uneconomic,supposedly destroying their smug socialist communities, are the first to wail about the very thought of fracking, because it causes the same very minor earthquakes.

    You just can’t win with socialists. There’s jobs in those fissures, new communities to be built, and cheaper energy and prosperity for us all. That’s what Socialism used to say it was about, didn’t it?

  • Sceptical Antagonist

    and it will mostly to be done in the North

    So that makes it OK, then; it’s only the poor Northerners, after all.

    Bloody Southerners!

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    SA

    And it will turn them into richer Northerners. That doesn’t just make it okay, it makes it great. You seem to be the one who hates the poor Northerners, not me, because you want the poor Northerners to stay poor.

    Did you actually read the rest of it, or just that bit?

  • “And you fucking hate them don’t you.”

    Not anymore. I now simply recognize them as mortal hazards.

  • Nick (Blame the French!) Gray

    How far north is this? Could this be the reason that the Scots want independence- because they want all the profits from fracking? (Those fracking Scots!)

  • Mr Ed

    Nick,

    The main gas field identifiedis in the Forest of Bowland, basically, Lancashire and Preston, Blackpool and Lancaster up to the Lake Districtr The political Scots would hate it as their gas and oil fields offshore might become expensive to maintain and with gas, not viable.

    And then the middle-class welfare scheme of State employment in Scotland might be in peril.

  • Mr Ed

    Here’s some technological nostalgia, or retro, that I support. Recreating heritage is progress in my book.

    http://peoplesmosquito.wordpress.com/fundraising/

  • Nick (Blame The French) Gray

    I read in an Australian paper today that if Scotland decides it wants to secede in the poll later this year, then Cameron would be compelled to resign, as it would be, essentially, a home goal. Is that the feeling in the U.K.? (I suppose the arrangement could still be called the United Kingdom- the Queen is head of the many Commonwealth nations, after all.)
    If cameron feels honour-bound to resign, who would replace him? And would this ultimately be better or worse for liberty?

  • Stuck-record

    I’d love to be able to write an article for CIF pretending to be a Thermageddonist praising Margaret Thatcher for helping to save Gaia by closing down the pits. Love to see how that went down.

  • Sceptical Antagonist

    Brian,

    How is the average Joe Soap in the North going to become wealthier by this process?

    The country as a whole may benefit, the landowners might, the councils probably will, and the politicians getting backhanders for making decisions will.

    I may have missed your point, but I don’t see how the average Northerner will be any better off?

  • Mr Ed

    SA,

    Cheaper gas, cheaper energy, higher demand for labour, new opportunities arising, e.g. more chemical processes becoming economic, all could help the average Northerner who is ready and willing to work or open a business to be better off. The caps might be flat, but maybe not real wages.

  • Brian Micklethwait (London)

    SA

    Getting a job. Getting a better job. Stuff like that. In other words what the previous comment (which I only just read) just said.

  • Ian Bennett

    I don’t see how the average Northerner will be any better off?

    He may get a job, assuming he wants one. (An economic cost, overall, but a gain for the individual in question.)

  • Laird

    “An economic cost, overall”

    ??? Nonsense on stilts. No one hires someone else unless he expects to profit from the arrangement. Every new job created (excluding, obviously, government drones) is an economic gain for everyone involved, as well as for the economy as a whole (if you believe in that sort of aggregation) as it creates wealth.

  • Stuck-Record

    I confess, this is the aspect of modern leftism that I just cannot get my head round.

    Reading Francis Spufford’s excellent book, Red Plenty, about the Soviet dream and its subsequent failure, it’s obvious that a great many of the Communists in the East and West sincerely believed that communism was a way to make the world a better place. In short, they believed it was the way to give people more ‘stuff’; time, possessions and opportunities.

    Obviously they failed.

    But nobody in the modern left shares that goal anymore. Indeed, any self-respecting leftist saying that their aim was to give people more ‘stuff’ today would run the risk of being labelled a neoliberal.

    When and why did this change? If somebody has a link to a book or website explaining this I would be eternally grateful.

  • SC

    >When and why did this change?

    Did you miss the 60′s?

  • SC

    >Cameron would be compelled to resign, as it would be, essentially, a home goal. Is that the feeling in the U.K.?

    There’s no chance that Cameron will resign if Scotland votes for independence. Maybe he should, maybe he shouldn’t. But he won’t (and he won’t be forced to either).

  • Roue le Jour

    Nick (Blame The French) Gray

    I can’t recall the last time a minister resigned as a matter of honor, not since Thatcher’s time. I don’t believe any PM has in my lifetime. (i.e. since ’51.)

    In the unlikely event Scotland did leave, Cameron would be down to his last few months by then anyway, might as well stay on and give us all a good laugh in the polls.

    I presume Her Maj will be a bit miffed about Balmoral, though.

    “And you fucking hate them don’t you.”

    More than you could possibly imagine.

  • Ian Bennett

    Nonsense on stilts

    Imagine you could achieve a specific end by one of two means; one of them involved employing ten men, the other involved employing two men. Which would you choose?

  • Laird

    A nonsensical question, Ian. Am I to assume that everything else is exactly equal (i.e., that I get precisely the same result with no additional capital cost or material time delay if using only two men)? Then of course I would hire only the two; the other eight are by definition redundant. But that is precisely my point: if I hire someone it’s only because I expect to receive more benefit than I would from not hiring him. And the net result is an overall increase in wealth.