We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

So the mitigation deal has become this: Accept enormous inconvenience, placing authoritarian control into the hands of global agencies, at huge costs that in some cases exceed 17 times the benefits even on the Government’s own evaluation criteria, a global cost of 2 per cent of GDP at the low end and the risk that the cost will be vastly greater, and do all of this for an entire century, and then maybe – just maybe – we might save between one and ten months of global GDP growth. Can anyone seriously claim, with a straight face, that that should be regarded as an attractive deal or that the public is suffering from a psychological disorder if it resists mitigation policies?

Andrew Lilico.

16 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    See, here’s the problem.
    I don’t see the benefit in paying “a little extra” for my heating oil, to finance more “studies”, as to why the current winter is demanding more heating oil than usual.
    I don’t see the benefit in paying for foreign made solar panels, that will be useless when they’re covered with snow.
    I CERTAINLY don’t see the benefit it giving resources to “international” gub’mint folks, that they may increase the current percentage of “regular” national corruption/extortion to “international” magnitude.
    Because UNICEF (& al.) has worked out so well…”for the children”.
    But maybe that’s just me.

  • Julie near Chicago

    And me. :-

  • Paul Marks

    The policies that are being followed make no sense.

    Nuclear power (not just in Germany – but most places) being regulated to bits – so that people depend on oil and gas from Mr Putin and from the Islamists.

    And endless regulations that drive manufacturing to China (where there may now be serious trouble about to hit) – which actually INCREASES C02 emissions.

    The world is ruled by lunatics.

    Or something worse…..

  • Peter Whale

    It is about money and power nothing to do with global warming. This is now so obvious that we should take them at their word the debate is over, global warming is a dead concept and just talk about the money, where does it go? Who gains from it? Will it mitigate global warming? Cancel the IPCC it is no longer needed. Cancel the Met office and just give computer forecasts,the models are perfect. Make redundant all climate change employees. No more junkets or seminars or meetings or research it is over. This would in part mitigate some of the cost.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “…placing authoritarian control into the hands of global agencies…”

    There, right there, is the thing they’re really aiming for.

    Global warming is just a means to an end, and if it turns out – as it is turning out – to be chimera, that simply doesn’t matter at all: it has advanced the agenda.

  • veryretired

    Peter and Andrew have said what I was going to say.

    Isn’t it odd that every problem of every kind, and every emergency of any type, and every crisis, real or imagined, always seems to require the same set of collectivist solutions.

    Why, it could lead a person to suspect some ulterior motive behind it all, doncha’ know…

  • “a global cost of 2 per cent of GDP”

    Can we put that number in terms of additional dead people 10 years from now?

  • Wait. I read “GDP growth” when it says “GDP”. Never mind.

  • Jacob

    Paul Marks:
    “The world is ruled by lunatics.

    Or something worse…..”

    The world has always been ruled by lunatics.
    Who said people were rational ?

  • Paul Marks

    Most people are rational Jacob (at least some of the time) rationality (or at least the capacity for rationality) is part of the definition of personhood (of agency). If people are not agents (at least potentially) then it matters little if they are shot or burned.

    As for this case “or something worse” is my real position.

    I believe that people such as Barack “Cloward and Piven” Obama know exactly what they are doing (inflicting harm).

    They believe that they evil they do in the short run is justified by the wonderful new society that will emerge from the ashes.

    There are two errors here.

    Firstly “the end justifies the means” – it does not, the Marxist tradition (Saul Alinsky, Cloward and Francis Fox Piven, Obama and so on) is mistaken.

    And the idea that a wonderful new collectivist system would emerge from the ashes of “capitalism”.

    Collectivism just does not work – not because the wrong people are in charge, it can-not work.

    It is in the clinging to the collectivist dream, in the teeth of all logical argument and empirical evidence, that Barack Obama (and others) may be considered “irrational” (but only in certain ways).

    The rulers of places such as Minnesota (under all the cynical politics) are idealists.

    But they are profoundly mistaken idealists.

  • Paul Marks

    An example of something that looks insane but was not insane – although it was both wrong and evil.

    In 1974 the newly elected socialist government in Norway abolished the 80% limit on income tax.

    Several people in Norway faced tax demands of more than 100% – one man (a shipping company owner) faced a tax demand of more than 400%.

    Was the new government made up of insane people? Irrational people?

    Strictly speaking – NO.

    Because they had a logical (although wrong and evil) aim – and the means they choose were in accordance with this aim.

    They wanted to use the income tax as a form of WEALTH TAX – forcing people to dip into their wealth (even if they had stored the money overseas) in order to pay their income tax bill.

    Evil? Yes.

    Harmful to the economy? Yes.

    “Irrational”? – strictly speaking NO.

    By the way the top income tax rate in Norway is now about 48% – still absurdly high.

    Why is it 48%? A lower rate of income tax would actually raise more revenue for the government over a period of years.

    Also Norway is an oil rich country – it has the largest budget SURPLUS in the Western World (about 12% of GDP).

    So why is income tax so high?

    Because it is “unfair” for rich people to have vastly more money than poor people – in Rawlsian (John Rawls) it undermines the “self esteem” of the poor (which is not ENVY because Rawls just declares it is not ENVY – and John Rawls was a revered philosopher, some “libertarians” support him also).

    If one’s aim is just to hurt rich people (out of a desire for “fairness”) then a top rate of income tax of 48% (or higher) is perfectly rational – it makes sense.

  • Jacob

    That people who were totally crazy, certifiably crazy, ruled most of the countries in the 20th century is an indisputable historical fact.
    They were also “worse”, i.e. evil, murderous lunatics, but lunatics they were – that is for sure.

    It is disputable whether Napoleon himself was a lunatic too, a very able one, but driven by a lunatic urge of grandeur.

    “Most people are rational” – well, in theory, maybe. Maybe most common people are somewhat, at least, rational.
    Is “the capacity for rationality” part of the definition of personhood? We believe so, maybe people have the theoretical capacity for rationality. But, mostly, they behave in irrational ways, not always extremely irrational, not always evil and murderous ways, but still, irrational.

    I wouldn’t call Obama crazy, and am not sure about “evil” – he is just a dumb doctrinaire lefty (mostly dumb, but that’s no crime).

    Angela Merkel, in embracing the Utopian plan of “energiewende” (being herself an engineer(chemical) by training) is much more deserving of the “crazy” name. There is no rational explanation for her act.

  • Mr Ed

    There is no rational explanation for her act.

    Jacob, surely that statement only holds true if your premise is along the lines that Merkel wishes Germany to have as affordable energy as it is ‘reasonably’ practicable to obtain within current technological constraints, economics and pollution laws?

    What if the reality is that she does not care if Germany suffers power cuts etc., so long as ‘the environment’ is ‘protected’ as a priority? That is a rational explanation.

    von Mises pointed out that a historical Aboriginal Australian ‘pointing the bone’ at someone to kill them is acting rationally, if he believes that pointing the bone will kill, whereas if he knows that pointing the bone does not kill, then he is adopting an irrational means to an end. The bone pointer is not irrational simply because his technology is defective. If he has a spear and a bone, and a dingo attacks him, he may be irrational if he knows the spear produces the quicker and safe kill and goes on to try the bone instead.

    If I try to fly by jumping out the window, with my weight, shape, knowledge and the prevailing wind, that would be irrational. If I go to the Birdman of Bognor contest with a new-fangled glider, and I get my calculations wrong, I may think, rationally, that I am going to fly, but I may simply make a small splash in a big sea, but I would have acted rationally even if my calculations were wrong, as I believed that I was working towards an end with the appropriate means at my disposal.

    We cannot rule out a rational explanation, Merkel knows what will happen and regards that as a price worth paying, perhaps later, in Keynes’ long run.

  • veryretired

    It is a mistake to give any collectivist, or their proposals, the benefit of the doubt as regards rationality.

    There is none.

    The collectivist religious movement is based on feelings and desires.

    The only thinking involved is the magical thinking that allows the collectivist mentality to firmly believe that if they desire something hard enough, it will come true, just as if they had wished upon a star.

    The last century, and more, has been a global experiment in the feasibility of constructing a functioning collectivist state.

    By any rational standard, the only experience of the human race that even comes close to the collectivist century were the repeated waves of the Black Plague the killed a significant part of humanity a few hundred years ago.

    If you observed someone who had seen, and even experienced, a full-blown outbreak of Bubonic Plague respond by proposing that the germ responsible be injected into another, uninfected culture, would there be any doubt in your mind that such a person was deranged, and had passed from the company of rational beings into some other, far distant twilight zone of existence?

    There are no soothing words, no semblance of lucidity, no warm fuzzies of caring and compassion that can disguise the intentions of someone who is willing to turn their society into an abattoir.

    Until ordinary people can be educated about the dangers of the poison that collectivism is, and will always be, they will still fail to realize that the deadly prison camp that is North Korea is not an aberration, but the inevitable end result of the magical thinking that believes the state can be the alpha and omega, and still be a compassionate, caring entity, like a kindly, old uncle who gives nice presents for Christmas.

    The book speaks of those parts of life that are disguised, as whited sepulchers, appearing clean and pure on the outside, but inside filled with all manner of filth and corruption.

    Collectivism is an utterly irrational rejection of the very nature of reality itself. It is the choice of death over life, starvation over sustenance, failure over achievement, magic over reason.

    Anyone who exalts such a travesty has forfeited any claim to be regarded as a rational person, and should be treated as one would treat any rabid dog that has wandered into one’s community.

  • Paul Marks

    There is a rational explanation Jacob.

    The German voters are (mostly) pro Green ideology (thanks to the education system [state education is, historically, the supreme problem] and the media).

    The German Chancellor wished to win (not lose) the election – therefore she went anti nuclear.

    So the political leadership is not irrational – and even the voters are not. After all they were taught (from a very young age) that “sun and wind good – nuclear bad”.


    Yes indeed.

    And I suspect that one is more likely to find resistance to collectivist brainwashing(from the education system and the media) in places such as eastern Tennessee (towns such as Athens Tennessee) and the forests of Finland, than one is likely to find it in “clever” places.

  • Jacob

    “The only thinking involved is the magical thinking that allows the collectivist mentality to firmly believe that if they desire something hard enough, it will come true, just as if they had wished upon a star.”

    Yes, Angela Merkel has adopted “magical thinking”. I don’t believe she consciously wishes to destroy Germany. I don’t believe, as Paul says, that she acts out of political opportunism. She does really believe in the big great green future. She is messianic.
    Therefore I cannot imagine that she is rational.
    Neither do I believe Obama consciously wishes to destroy America.
    So, crazyness is the normal state of human behavior. Are people rational ? Sometimes… Rarely.