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Samizdata quote of the day

You don’t have to be a fan of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, and spiked certainly isn’t, to feel deeply uncomfortable with the Western outrage over his policy on the rainforest. Observers claim the Amazon is experiencing its highest number of fires since records began. That those records only began in 2013 should give the Western hysterics pause for thought – this isn’t the historically unprecedented End of Days event they claim it is. There are always fires in the Amazon, some started by nature, others by human beings logging or clearing land for farming. Some of the current fires were started by people who need wood or land – how dare they! – while others are just part of the natural cycle.

Brendan O’Neill

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • George Atkisson

    The fires were more numerous in 2014. No one noticed or cared. It’s only become a media ‘cause celebre ‘ because it was a way to attack President Bolsonaro. Suddenly all the usual suspects chimed in on environmental fear, climate change, evil right wing policies, etc. The full court press from the righteous Media of Europe and America. 🙄

    The fires in Brazil today have no more impact than the fires that occurred in the past.

  • Bruce

    It’s the planet’s “lungs” dontcha know.

    “That lot has been getting a lot of air-time in this cycle.

    “Lungs of the Earth”? Crap and corruption, indeed. The top two feet of the world’s oceans are a much bigger O2 provider. Furthermore, when it’s night time in the rain forest, the trees go into reverse cycle, consuming oxygen and emitting CO2. Even bigger CO2 emitter is the huge amount of decaying bio-mass on the forest floor. Much of that is broken down via anaerobic process and generates a lot of the other “evil” gas, methane.

    The totalitarians are not known as sticklers for facts.

    If, as seems likely, these fires were deliberately lit, it was probably part of somebody’s “slash and burn”, low-grade agriculture project. The “evidence” shown on the “news” was certainly NOT some continent-wide inferno. If a large area is stripped of trees, sadly, any subsequent tropical downpours simply scour away the topsoil. Because of the rainfall, the soil in a rain forest is often marginal. The nutrient cycle relies largely on decaying bio-mass, not nutrients sequestered deep in the soil.

    Finally, it is approaching the tail of the dry season there, about the ONLY window for a bit of creative burning. There is also not much point in clearing large swathes of the Amazon forests because a lot of it goes underwater every year in the spectacular wet season.

    The eco-nazis and the presstitutes are now bundling all this into their “take it or else” climate-change package. Just another bully-pulpit declaration of their “authority”.

  • Fred Z

    Re “Western hysterics”, the internet seems to have a large and possibly perverse incentive in that a lot of loud mouthed offensive jerks have almost no chance of a punch in the face.

    That may be good, but it will take some getting used to.

  • This is just a stick with which to beat Jair Bolsonaro because he is a “populist” (i.e. does what the Brazilian voters want rather than the narrow interests of the International Libtard elites).

    The problems that they’re saying is “outrageous” have been problems for decades and endemic corruption / abuse or nothing new.

    The only “news” here is that previous administrations were ignored / given a pass on the issue.

    To put this in a Western context, the US equivalent is like castigating Trump when Obama did exactly the same (or worse).

  • Mr Ed

    First out of the box to attack Brazil, out of nowhere, Macron and Valaraukar, both with ‘farming votes’ in mind I would venture to suggest, and a pending trade deal that would help Brazilian farmers and EU shoppers immensely.

    Worryingly, Mr Johnson jumped straight on the bandwagon.

    Also, PanAm news reported that in Bolivia, a similar acreage of jungle (that’s what it is) had been burned to Brazil, but not a squeak. Morales is ‘one of them’.

    But for Brazil, the former Empire of Brazil to moan about colonialism is wearing very thin. They’ve been independent long enough, damn it, the problem lies within their borders, in their heads, and they need to snap out of it.

  • Lemmi

    Bolivia has lost 800,000 hectares of forest to burning between 18th August to 23rd August.
    The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, is a Socialist, so that’s ok then.

  • Julie near Chicago

    John, thanks very much for the link! Do you think if I show the article (w/photos) to my housemates, it will lead them to pause and reflect at the next torrent of hideous-things-we-are-doing-to-our-planet? Or, come to that, the next hysteria over the-hideous-things-we-are-doing, PERIOD?

  • John

    Hi Julie,

    Absolutely you should. They are bound to thank you for educating them, after all if it’s in the NYT it must be true.

    Good luck.

  • Julie near Chicago


  • Dr Evil

    The rain forest isn’t on fire. It’s a RAIN forest It’s wet. It’s the scrubland that is on fire. I understand that there are 7% more fires this year than since records began. It’s just farmers clearing scrub via the cheapest method they know. I don’t condone it but I think I understand it. The broadcasters and MSM are having hysterics. Also rain forest produces loads of oxygen during the day and consumes loads of oxygen during the night. I think these unscientific morons writing for the media need an idiots guide to basic biology and plant physiology. If I read one more time that the Amazon is the ‘lungs of the planet’ I will scream. It is not. The phytoplankton in the oceans is many thousands of times greater in mass than all the rainforests clumped together!

  • Mr Ed

    Anyone over 35 in the UK might remember stubble-burning, banned on dubious grounds by the UK government in 1993. Around this time of year, it was quite common to come across fields ablaze, all pretty harmless in the overall scheme of things.

    Just because the practice has been banned doesn’t mean that it is bad, and in Brazil, it would help if farmers owned land securely, and had a reason to maintain it. Yes there’s lots of space, but private ownership is the best way forward.


    Actually records go back to 1999. Piggot has a summary:


    In recent years, the number of fires is down somewhat.

  • Flubber

    To put this in a Western context, the US equivalent is like castigating Trump when Obama did exactly the same (or worse)

    Obvious example: kids in cages.

    They even kicked off the whinge fest with a photo from 2014.

  • Paul Marks

    The Amazon rainforest is “publically owned” which means that no one owns it.

    Private ownership is the key – but do not expect the “mainstream media” to say that. After all the “mainstream” media even blame the crises of Venezuela on “corruption” and incompetence, NOT on the collectivist policies of the government. And Brazil? The wild spending policies of the leftist government (which considered subsidising Cuba, yes Cuba, to be one of its highest priorities) were firmly supported by the mainstream media.

    At the election Bolsonaro won the Western media supported his opponents – including the Vice Presidential candidate of his opponents, who was a member of the Communist Party.

    “But Big Business owns the mainstream media” – that did not stop the media supporting Barack Obama, who used water (if you had water on your property the Obama regime claimed jurisdiction) to push de facto LAND NATIONALISATION.

    If international Corporate Big Business is opposed to Bolsonaro and supports Obama (“he has no Communist Party card so he is not a Marxist” according to dim wit “logic” of the Economist magazine, at least one cretin there I tried to reason with) and the Brazilian Communist Party (whose Vice Presidential candidate the Economist magazine supported – in spite of her having “a Communist Party Card”(, then international Corporate Big Business has no charm for me. More fool me for defending them for so many years.

    They do not support the private ownership of the rainforest in Brazil – and they are willing to go along with the de facto nationalisation of land in the United States and other nations.

  • Mr Ed

    Presidente Bolsonaro has reportedly mocked Macron as someone who couldn’t even save Notre Dame from burning, I like the good Capitäo, viver o Brasil!

  • bobby b

    ” . . . Barack Obama, who used water (if you had water on your property the Obama regime claimed jurisdiction) to push de facto LAND NATIONALISATION.”

    You’ll be happy to know that EPA Admin Pruitt just last week announced that EPA will be revoking Obama’s rule that defines Waters Of The USA as anything bigger than a coffee spill.

    So, there is some progress, and hope.

  • Myno

    Slightly OT, but relevant to the underlying GAIA-enchantment of the media…

    The GAIA Hypothesis, that nature forms vast networks of cooperation, has long entranced the public and scientists alike. That popularity leaks into culture and politics where we humans are exorted to behave more like the cooperative ecologies of tree roots and fungi that manifestly demonstrate the superiority of stable collectivist network structures over the chaotic market forces that libertarians support. But political analogies from “settled science” are as fragile as the science on which they are based.

    A Quanta survey article presents a battle over the basic research that underpins the GAIA presumption. The new data bears striking resemblance to the interplay of free market forces, even the role of information in setting prices. Some language from the article…

    “Through innovative and groundbreaking studies, Kiers and her collaborators have gathered evidence that plants and their fungal conspirators are not just cooperating with each other but also engaging in a raucous and often cutthroat marketplace ruled by supply and demand, where everyone is out to get the best deal for themselves and their kind.”

    “…fungi might not be just nutrient traders but also sophisticated information processors.”

    “…a world ordered by individual interests, where potential cheaters lurked everywhere and species needed complex strategies to keep their trading partners in line.”

    “I had this realization & that I’m less interested in cooperation and I’m actually much more interested in the tension,” Kiers said. “I think there’s an underappreciation of how tension drives innovation. Cooperation to me suggests a stasis.”

    “It seemed the relationship between the bacteria and the soybeans, far from being a happy friendship, was an uneasy detente, with the plant imposing crippling sanctions on any bacterial partners that failed to earn their keep.”

    Many of these concepts will, I think, be familiar to denizens of this parish. I found it to be a breath of fresh air.

    On the down side, the researchers chose to use Piketty as an example of a theory of economics that might support the data. Doubtless they’re much more sophisticated in their microbiology than they are at picking books off a shelf, but then if they cited von Mises they probably would lose their funding.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Let’s see. Amazonian Rain Forest fires –> destruction of the rain forest + CO2 “pollution” –> Gaia –> Now This, moving even farther away from the Amazon:

    “Solar Power is Increasing Pollution in North Carolina, According to Utility Data”


    Hard to believe for sure, but sometimes those Unexpected Consequences do come around to bite us in the backside….

    So what is the “American Experiment”? I daresay our friend bobby b knows all about, but apparently it’s a rabble-rousing radical-redneck think-tank up in Minnesota (you know, where a certain group has had the unmitigated gall to name itself in mockery of Gorbal Worming or whatever it’s called). They’re interested in things like conservative and “free market” ideas, and were founded awhile ago by a “Reagan appointee.”

    Naturally this quick profile is off-putting to the sensible souls around here, and (to be serious) I don’t vouch for anything the article says, but I think it’s pretty interesting.

  • neonsnake

    The GAIA Hypothesis, that nature forms vast networks of cooperation, has long entranced the public and scientists alike.

    How very interesting!

    I read Lovelock’s ideas maybe 25 years ago, and took a completely different stance – essentially, everything you said below the statement I’ve quoted.

    I took Lovelock to be saying that “from afar” it looks like a cooperative system, but at ground level, it’s “red in tooth and claw”. I always understood Gaia to mean that each individual component was looking out for itself, and sometimes found itself in cooperation with others, but only in its own self interest.

    From that observation comes the idea of “spontaneous self order” that we’re all presumably familiar with.

    It’s been a while, and I probably applied my own prejudice to it, so am open to being told that I misunderstood.