Nicolas Chatfort foresees the coming Holy Inquisition… albeit a rather innumerate Inquisition it must be said
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its long awaited pronouncement last Friday in Paris and I am informed by the media that this most definitive of all documents closes the debate on anthropogenic climate change. Now is the time for action, no more discussion will be allowed. I have read the document, and most assuredly it does use uncompromising language ascribing recent global warming to human activity. The science in the document, which I am told was reviewed by 300 eminent scientists, at first sight appears to be impeccable, but I must admit that was a little perturbed to find on page 5 that 0.16 + 0.077 + 0.21 + 0.21 = 0.28 rather than 0.657. I must not fully understand that esoteric form of mathematics known as addition. This level of ignorance on my part clearly shows that I am incapable of judging the merits of the science on my own and I give thanks to the IPCC for taking this burden off my shoulders.
With the debate now settled, what are we to do with those scientific heretics (deniers is a much too mild a term for these dangerous individuals) who continue in their error and refuse to accept the teachings of the UN’s ecumenical council of scientists. David Roberts has already called for climate change heretics to be put on trial, but he goes too far as he appears to want to punish people for heretical statements they made prior to the issuance of the latest UN writ. After all, as the earlier pronouncements from the UN’s ecumenical council were not as definitive as the current one and the debate not yet closed, these unfortunate souls must be given a chance to repent from their errors before they are punished.
Following enlightened historical precedence (see Galileo), I humbly suggest that the UN create an office to be known as the Permanent Tribunal of Universal Inquiry to investigate into the views of scientists on climate change. Those who publicly repent from their errors would be given leniency, but those who maintain their heretical positions should be handed over to civil authorities for proper punishment. In times past the penalty for the crime of heresy was burning at the stake but, regretfully, this would release too many greenhouse gases, so another form of punishment must be found.
Lord Monckton should be one of the first of the heretics to be brought in front of the tribunal of inquiry. I cite his recent critique of the IPCC report only as evidence with which he condemns himself. He has had the audacity to continue to publish his heretical views even after he was duly informed that the debate was officially over. His critique of the IPCC report is comprehensive and it could cause weaker minds to question the infallibility of the IPCC.
As for other scientists whose views remain suspect, helpfully Canada’s National Post has recently provided a survey of some of the more prominent scientists who have veered from the true path in the past. These individuals are particularly dangerous as they all have reached such high levels of respectability in their professions that they will most certainly pollute the minds of the impressionable if they are allowed to continue to publish their heretical views. I will cite just a few of these scientists to show how much damage these individuals can do.
The first of these is Dr. Edward Wegman, professor at the Centre for Computational Statistics at George Mason University and chairman of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. Dr. Wegman’s crime is that he verified the McIntyre and McKitrick critique of Michael Mann’s famous “hockey stick” graph, and has also complained that climate change scientists have routinely made basic statistical errors and insists that climate scientists actually consult with professional statisticians when using statistics in their work. I do note that the IPCC, quietly and without comment, has dropped the use of Dr. Mann’s graph from its latest report. The IPCC’s current global temperature graph, which only starts in 1850, will hopefully stop all the embarrassing distractions on the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.
Then there is Dr. Henrik Svensmark, director of the Centre for Sun-Climate Research at the Danish Space Research Institute. Dr. Svensmark presents an alternate theory on climate change that involves the sun’s magnetic field, cosmic rays and cloud formation. Dr. Svensmark has even conducted experimentation to support his theory. As the IPCC report concedes that cloud formation and feedback remains a major source of uncertainty and its discussion of the role of the sun is limited to solar irradiance, it is clear that an alternative theory that attacks the weakest parts of the IPCC dogma must be silenced.
An what are we to do about Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the Russian Academies of Sciences’ Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg and head of the International Space Station’s Astrometry project? He comes to the puzzling conclusion that the simultaneous global warming on Mars, where there are no man-made (or martian-made) greenhouse gases, shows shows that the sun rather than man’s industrial activity, is the main cause of warming on the Earth. The very fact that the IPCC report did not address Mars warming shows how irrelevant this argument is for global warming on the Earth. Another of his heresies is that the IPCC has the cause and effect backwards, that it is the Earth’s warming that causing the release of CO2 from the world’s oceans, rather than rising CO2 causing the warming. He also points out the surface layers of the world’s oceans are actually cooling. Allowing the dissemination of such information will only cause confusion.
I will stop my indictment of prominent climate change heretics at this point, the reader can follow the link to the National Post if more information is desired. Furthermore, I do not want to leave the reader with the mis-impression that these are the only heretics within the scientific community, there are many more. Although the media is doing their best to keep these unsound views from the public, they can not do the job alone. Now that the debate is over, I urge the UN take immediate steps to set up the tribunal of inquiry so we can rest easy at night and not worry that we may have to weigh the merits of these arguments for ourselves, knowing that superior minds are taking on this awesome responsibility on our behalf.
We cannot but be astonished at the ease with which men resign themselves to ignorance about what is most important for them to know; and we may be certain that they are determined to remain invincibly ignorant if they once come to consider it as axiomatic that there are no absolute principles
- Frédéric Bastiat
Taylor Dinerman is a professional journalist and one of our long time readers. He has an ability to spur a lively dinner time discussion amongst visitors to North by Northwest in the upper west of Manhattan where he is often to be found. As you read on you will soon discover why!
For many years now I have subscribed to First Things, a monthly magazine put out by Institute for religion and Public Life whose purpose is to ‘advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society’. Obviously not a very libertarian endeavour, but the magazine does, on occasion support limited or small government ideas and stands firmly against the totalitarian monsters of our age. The editor Father John Neuhaus is a Catholic, but a very American one and the magazine is full of great stuff that for a non Catholic and Non Christian like myself (I am a not very pious Reform Jew.) is a window into a culture that is an important part of the world around me.
For readers of Samizdata the December 2006 issue has an article on ‘The Witness of Dietrich von Hildebrand’ by John Crosby, that they may find interesting. Hildebrand, a philosopher and theologian, was an early and unyielding opponent of Hitler’s who did ‘battle with the Nazi ideology at the level of philosophical and theological first principals.’
He said ‘the signature of the age’ was a certain anti-personalism. One expression of this anti-personalism was collectivism, the philosophy that takes human beings as mere parts in some collectivity. Hildebrand held that each human being as a person called by God and answerable to God is always more than a part in a social whole; as a person each exists before God as his own whole and thus refuses to be completely contained in any social whole. Each is a person at a far deeper level of himself than he is a member of the German State or of the English people, to say nothing of some political party.
There is a lot more like this and despite it being densely argued it tends to enlighten some of our current dilemmas. With a German theologian and philosopher as Pope these kinds of arguments and ideas may get more and more circulation. The Regensburg speech which pissed off the Muslims so much is another example of these kinds of ideas.
Libertarians and small government conservatives may find that on some issues they have a fellow traveler in the Vatican. Of course, the Pope is always going to be Pope first , any comfort he may give to us free market types will always be secondary to that role, but if he moves the Church away from the statist and collectivist doctrines that have occasionally been promoted by the Church over the last couple of centuries or more it will be a monumental change.
If it is done it will be done in language that will be difficult for laymen or non theologians to follow. The good effects (if any) may take years or decades to trickle down, but we all should be aware of the possibilities. This may be overly optimistic, but who knows ‘God’?
There is a link if anyone is interested.
Alan K. Henderson has some seasonal musing to share on this day, the fifth of November. Warning… contains critique and therefore spoilers for ‘V for Vendetta’
This graphic novel V for Vendetta was first published as a comic book series which began in 1982. Many readers will laugh at author Alan Moore’s second-guessing of future history. In the story, the Thatcher government’s loss in the 1993 elections sets up a Labour government whose unilateral disarmament measures somehow keep Britain on the sidelines during a US-USSR nuclear confrontation. The war is triggered by an un-detailed situation analogous to the Cuban Missile Crisis – and there’s even a Kennedy in the White House (which Kennedy we are not told). Why a non-nuclear Africa gets wasted and a non-nuclear Britain survives is not explained.
The likelihood of the next major event – the rise of the Norsefire party into power – is debatable. Post-holocaust Britain would still have a strong domestic military presence. It would have to be weakened significantly for an insurrection to succeed. The story mentions that there were several insurgent factions; perhaps Norsefire sat back while these multiple rebellions sapped the military of its strength. It is also possible that some of these insurgents drew their membership in part from the military.
The story does accurately portray the function of a Fascist state. The church is nationalized but powerless, serving a mere ceremonial function. Surveillance cameras are everywhere (hey wait a minute, some social democracies are like that…) The government also conducts audio in addition to video espionage against its citizens. Separation of powers between executive, legislators, and judiciary is vastly diminished or non-existent. The economy is planned. Propaganda is pervasive. Citizens are forcibly resettled, and some like Evey are forcibly sent to work in certain industries. Undesirables are deported or incarcerated (and sometimes experimented upon). Policemen are granted latitude to allow certain criminals to ‘disappear’, as in Evey’s case. To formally prosecute her for prostitution makes it a matter of public record that the State is not meeting her economic needs as government propaganda promises.
Enter V… His identity unknown, he is one of the last four survivors of the Larkhill Resettlement Camp, where he was subjected to medical experiments involving hormone injections. having escaped, he now dons a Guy Fawkes costume and is orchestrating a vendetta against the Fascist government.
While Alan Moore himself allows the reader to determine whether or not V’s actions are warranted, many have described V as a morally ambiguous character. Such people are wrong; the direction of his moral compass is crystal clear. → Continue reading: Vendetta vs. Just War
Tom Wright of wrightwing.net wrote the following as a comment but it is simply too splendid to languish in the comment section…
I have said this before and in other venues:
I will support public [CCTV] cameras only if they are first placed in those areas where the worst and most egregious crimes occur:
In every room and every hallway of every police station in every nation.
In every room and every hallway of every legislative body in every nation.
In every room and every hallway of every executive and judicial branch of every nation.
And, as a condition of employment, upon taking the oath of office, permanently bolted to the head of every elected official, every appointed official, and every official authorized to carry arms in the course of duty.
Turned on, broadcasting, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in a manner I, and every one else, can monitor and record.
Then I will support cameras on me.
Mark Edwards lays out some arguments against the Panopticon State
Yesterday I spent rather more time than I should have reading and commenting on the BBC ‘Have Your Say’ discussion about the surveillance society. Faced with the predictable response from the obedient serfs that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” I tried to make three main points.
The first was that you have nothing to fear only if the authorities are perfect, all the time and every time. Imperfections could be mistaken identity, linking you with some criminal activity; if the bloke who asked me for the time as I bought my paper this morning went on to rob the newsagent after I left, might I be an accomplice? There is also the risk of blatant corruption, where a government employee abuses the data they collect as part of their job to identify you as being worth burgling, or to watch through your teenage daughters’ bedroom windows.
My second point was that all of this surveillance does not make us any safer; the least implausible case for it suggests that evidence may be obtained that makes conviction of those committing crimes easier. This however is not proven beyond doubt. What is well established is that the constant surveillance creates an atmosphere of paranoia, in which we are convinced there is a greater threat to each of us than is actually the case. I have found no evidence that crime has fallen where cameras have been installed (I have seen reference to situations where crime fell when cameras were installed and police activity on the ground increased, but that is by no means the same thing).
Thirdly, I tried to explain that the level of surveillance in Britain had radically changed the relationship between government and governed, and between people and the law. There is no longer any presumption of innocence, because we are all suspects. Worse than that, we are suspected of crimes that we may not have committed yet. I feel we have moved from having a Civil Service that was motivated to serve the public (even if they were often misguided), to government employees who now see themselves as ‘the authorities’.
Later in the evening I thought back over the day and realised that I had tried to justify, on purely utilitarian grounds, something that should need no justification; why should I have to justify my desire to protect my privacy? And why are so many people so careless of theirs?
You may be asking why I would want to spend my time posting to what is actually an authoritarian left wing site (the BBC), when I regard myself as libertarian right wing. My reason is simple, and, frankly, arrogant. I kid myself that my arguments may be so persuasive that someone will read my comment, and understand it enough for me to have sown a seed of doubt. I suspect this is so unlikely as be a delusion, but I keep trying. I fear I am not even nearly as persuasive as I like to think I am, and my arguments are doomed to failure, so I am wasting my time but I continue anyway.
To end on a positive note, I counted the most recommended comments at 16:00, and found the first pro camera comment was number 70. None of my contributions were in the preceding 69 but at least the forces of common sense seemed to be carrying the argument.
Brian Scurfield brings some interesting developments in New Zealand to our attention
You might like to keep an eye on New Zealand politics, where a classic shit fight is taking place. And it was all started by Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton, who is suing the NZ government for misappropriation of taxpayer money during election campaigning of 2005. For some background information check out Darnton vs. Clark, Not PC & David Farrar
Having misappropriated taxpayer money and facing a lawsuit, the New Zealand government now wants to ram through legislation validating their thievery. To divert attention, they threatened to dish the dirt on opposition MPs, resulting in the exposure of an affair by the opposition leader. The dirt has come right back at them, however, with allegations that the PM’s husband is gay and that her marriage is one of convenience. Entering into the equation, also, are Exclusive Brethren who may have been snooping on the Prime Minister and tales of the government hiring private investigators to snoop on the opposition.
While I do not give a damn about either the Prime Minister’s or the Leader of the Opposition’s personal lives, the amount of dirt being dished is an indication that the New Zealand government is in serious trouble.
In Hungary, when governments lie, people riot. In Thailand, the tanks roll in. What will happen in New Zealand? For the government has not only lied, it has also stolen taxpayer money to win an election.
“Allegations of corruption are intolerable in a Western liberal democracy.”
- Helen Clark, NZ Prime Minister
No, [Mrs.] Clark. Corruption is intolerable. When allegations of corruption are intolerable, it is no longer a Western liberal democracy
‘Clovis Sangrail’ points out that the ‘dumbing down’ of educational standards is politically and ideologically motivated.
In the most spineless demonstration of inadequate journalism we get the following report from the Times Higher Education Supplement.
“Hefce report questions value of costly initiatives and argues for open entry to university, writes Claire Sanders. Universities would need to scrap entry requirements to make any real headway in admitting students from a broader range of backgrounds, according to a highly controversial report commissioned by funding chiefs.
The review of widening access raises doubts about whether policies to reduce inequality through education can ever work and will fuel the debate over why the participation of disadvantaged groups in higher education has stalled despite billions of pounds being ploughed into the area.
A review team led by Stephen Gorard of York University argues that in the near future discrimination based on school qualification could seem as “unnatural as discrimination by sex, class, ethnicity, sexuality, disability and age do now”. Instead, a “threshold level” could be introduced, equivalent to perhaps two A levels, and places to specific institutions could be allocated according to students’ location, disciplinary specialisation or randomly.
Professor Gorard, who led the team from York, the Higher Education Academy and the Institute for Access Studies, said: “As research indicates that qualifications are largely a proxy for class and income, then why use them as a means of rationing higher education? The Open University has operated an open-access scheme for years that has clearly not damaged standards.”
This is either ignorance so vast that it clearly indicates the man should not be employed by York or else a deliberately misleading set of statements driven by a political agenda. Firstly, as any half-arsed tyro knows, evidence of association is not evidence for causation. Thus, in particular, we do not know that [high] class and income cause qualifications, indeed the reverse causation might hold: qualifications make people rich. Secondly, even if the causative link might be asserted, where does this leave the universities? In order to widen access they should accept those with poor education, because they have been discriminated against. Ignoring issues about positive discrimination this can only be true up to a point-or should they accept the innumerate to do mathematics and the illiterate to study English? “No, no, don’t be ridiculous” Professor Gorard would say, “two A levels rule that out. Look at the Open University”.
Well, I do look at the Open University. Ignoring the fact that in my subject an Open University degree is not taken to be evidence of high ability, the OU (as I am sure Gorard knows) has a requirement for a Foundation Year. And this is intended to make up for the absence of standard academic qualifications at a reasonable level.
Why do I get the feeling that Professor Gorard (a former teacher of maths and computer science who is quoted as saying on his appointment “I want to help build a centre of excellence for research on the effectiveness and equity of education systems.”) views equity as meaning “without regard to proven ability”?
I do not argue that wealth or class (whatever that means these days) does not help a child, I am sure it does. My problem is that opening the Universities to anyone with 2 Es at A level does not redress the balance. This is just another way to hide the rolling avalanche of failure that is (the average of) state education in the UK. It is not the (semi-private) universities’ job to fix the inadequacies of the pre-18 education system. If we attempt to do so, then we do so at the cost of miserably failing to train the top 10%. In a few years we have lost our research base and then we are stuffed. No industry, no educated ‘elite’, nothing to give us an economic edge in anything.
This is the route that the USA has partially gone down, and they only stem the rot by recruiting able PhD students from overseas.
Reposted from ‘Canker’
Roy Bacon seems to have a talent for finding the silver linings in dark clouds.
The panic ban on books and electronic gadgetry aboard transatlantic airliners throws into relief our terror at being deprived of the means to insulate ourselves from other people.
The shock of losing our personal entertainment bubbles should give us pause for thought, and make us wonder if there is a better way of enduring the enforced collectivism of a long-haul flight.
Five hundred people is more individuals than most of us can hope to know intimately in a lifetime. It is the population of a small village. If a packed Jumbo is a community, then aisles are village streets. All right, they are a bit narrow for a full-fledged passeggiata, but there is no reason we should not loiter, chew the fat, shoot the breeze – indulge in those unhurried activities that are so out of kilter with the rush of modern life. With a little lateral thinking the jet airliner, the destroyer of worlds, could be the means of regenerating some homely values.
If you do not like the idea of talking to your neighbour, and in the absence of printed matter, why not get a tattoo to entertain him or her? Depending on your physique you might be limited to a short story or a few haikus, but less – in terms of skin and stanzas – has always been more. Airport novels are not thousand-pagers out of literary necessity.
Or have a random word inscribed on your skin: from an authorised British Airways or United Airlines list, of course. Stewards could ask us our syntactical preference as we get on board, and arrange seating in a narrative way. Even with a 500-word vocabulary there would be the chance of dramatic developments as a YES fell into company with a PLEASE, or failed to see eye to eye with the MAYBE two rows back.
We should start thinking about this stuff. The War on Terror is here to stay, and it is only a matter of time before they take things to their logical conclusion and ban us from carrying anything at all onto aircraft beyond ourselves. And would that really be so bad?
It is often observed that a series of power cuts in a developed nation precedes a spike in the birth rate nine months later. A planeload of naked adults flying through the night: surely they could all find something to do!
Roy Bacon has spotted a shocking and indecent source of ‘child pornography’ that our political masters seem to have left us completely unprotected from
The criminal law has apparently caught up with thoughtcrimes associated with digital manipulation of imagery; but if the legislators want real headlines, and more celebrated scalps, perhaps they should look at more traditional means of picture-making.
Today I visited a central London venue in which were publicly displayed dozens – perhaps hundreds – of indecent images of children, ranging in age from a few days old to puberty. One child in particular seemed to have a voyeuristic cult formed around him, frequently appearing with his breast-flaunting unmarried mother in the company of older men and (in the most barbarous scenes) farmyard animals.
Most of the perpetrators of these images were, at least to judge from their surnames, foreign (Angelo, Velazquez, Rubens, etc.), and the vast majority are long dead and presumably burning in hell for their perversions. However, the guardian and curator of this squalid collection is alive and well and living under British jurisdiction. He is, of course, Charles Saumarez Smith, the Director of the National Gallery.
Who is going to inform the authorities?
Try painting this today and see how long you stay out of jail
David Holcberg of the Ayn Rand Institute makes some good points about the FCC’s proposed fines against CBS. If a Danish newspaper can establish that freedom of expression does indeed mean the right to do things that will offend some people, should that notion not also apply in the ‘Land of the Free’?
The $3.6 million in ‘indecency’ fines proposed by the FCC against CBS are an ominous attack on the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.
Just as the government does not fine newspapers that publish cartoons that Muslims deem indecent, it should not fine broadcasters that air shows that viewers deem indecent. Viewers are free to change the channel or turn off their TV set if they do not like what they see. They can not be forced to patronize a station they find indecent.
Moreover, it is the parents – not the government – who should be responsible for determining what their children are allowed to watch on TV.
‘Stoatman’ from ‘Zuid Holland’ writes in with a remarkable bit of hypocrisy from the Human Rights Industry
Amnesty International, as part of its ongoing struggle for universal human rights, is looking to employ a Discrimination and Identity consultant for its Dutch branch.
The Discrimination and Identity team consists of three paid and two volunteer positions and is concerned with influencing government policy and societal views regarding discrimination on grounds of skin colour, ethnicity, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. … In this position you will develop policy and strategy in the field of Discrimination. This includes research into discrimination, and the development and organisation of lobbying regarding the fight against discrimination in the Netherlands. You will also be responsible for the development and implementation of actions and campaigns concerning discrimination worldwide and in the Netherlands
Before you dust off your CV which bulges with non-jobs in local government and crack open the Dutch taped course, there is just one problem before you can claim your £21-26k salary:
Considering the composition of the team, we are seeking someone from an ethnic minority group
Has it reached the stage now that such discrimination has become so mainstream that nobody even bats an eyelid to such brazen hypocrisy?
(hat tip – The Amazing Retecool)
‘Humbug’ wrote an e-mail to Samizdata regarding the Free Expression versus Islamic intolerance issue that takes a more introspective view
I do not know why I am wasting my time waiting for Hollywood or anyone in the music industry to come out and stand up for free speech. Here we have a global conflict that will forever impact our future and these ‘sophisticated elites’ are hiding behind the gates in their upscale neighborhoods. The ‘shocking’ photo of the dull Kanye West or the equally ‘provocative’ photo of Madonna as The Madonna are simply boring.
Of course neither of them would ever dare pose as Mohammed or appear wearing a burqa. Heck no, that would not be the run of the mill, piss off the parents material, that might actually get them a fatwa.
Eminem, likewise would never dare insult the ‘one who must not be seen’. No, he will stick with making fun of groups where the penalty is merely a slap on the wrist, like homosexuals and women. Michael Moore we can all forget about it, just as we can forget about the Dixie Chicks. The problem here is that standing up for free speech in this case, does not involve Bush bashing and it actually takes courage to fight this battle. With icons like these, who needs an invading army?
But then, I am just repeating what many have already said.
Update: however Lil’ Kim shows the correct way to wear a burqa