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

“The veneration of St Greta is an extraordinary, yet unsurprising, phenomenon. Our comfortable lifestyles, and the decline of religion in the West, have created a spiritual void. But this new religiosity carries few redemptive qualities, such as hope or forgiveness. Questioning any aspect of its message is to be labelled a “denier” – the ultimate form of heresy. Yet Thunberg’s affiliation with Extinction Rebellion’s extreme, anti-capitalist aims should prompt questions – especially because Left-wingers have routinely used the threat of global panic to herd populations towards socialism. During the Cold War, the anti-nuclear movement was infiltrated by hard-Leftists, keen for the West to drop its opposition to the Soviets.”

Madeline Grant.

By the way, this essay, by George Reisman, is one of the best demolitions of the anti-human aspects of environmentalism, in my view. And this by Robert Zubrin is also excellent.

By the way, I was in New York last week on business. Much of the traffic was in chaos because of the UN General Assembly, which Greta Thunberg, along with others, addressed. I fail to see how any of that helps Planet Earth.

25 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • staghounds

    “Infiltrated”, that’s funny.

  • Eric

    I don’t understand the buzz around Scoldilocks. She has no particular expertise, experience, or even talent that would make her worth listening to on this subject or any other.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I don’t understand the buzz around Scoldilocks. She has no particular expertise, experience, or even talent that would make her worth listening to on this subject or any other.”

    Do you think Al Gore did?

    She’s the public ‘face’ for a campaign being run by a variety of political groups on the hard left. (Apparently, they didn’t think anyone not in-the-know would notice the T-shirts…) Her primary qualification for the job is that anyone who criticises her can be attacked as a heartless monster.

    What worries me more (but only slightly) is that they believe they can revive this campaign. It would appear they believe that memories of the last time round have faded sufficiently (10 years since Climategate), and there is a new generation of young, brainwashed voters who don’t remember the inconvenient history. However, the political and economic facts are still the same vis-a-vis their original plan of UN-led international treaties. They’re still dead. So I guess they have something else in mind. They’re making a show of having her make speeches demanding action, so they can show the world how her message is being ignored. Presumably the next stage is to argue that since the elected politicians aren’t acting, they’ll have to be bypassed. Hence all the business with kids getting time off school to go on anti-capitalist protest marches. ‘Political Activism’ is now on the curriculum.

    I think that in the long run this is bound to fail, too. Propelling it back into the news just gives us the excuse to start talking about it again. We’ve still got our stockpiles of evidential ammunition, and we’re facing a new generation of inexperienced children with none. Nothing new has been added on their side. And ten years on, we’ve got ten years more data to work with. They can’t possibly win this argument on the merits, not now. But then again, maybe a reasoned debate wasn’t what they had in mind?

  • Stonyground

    There are some video clips circulating of Greta doing press conferences without a pre prepared script. It appears that she really does know nothing about anything. It has been mentioned elsewhere that the majority of people have never heard of her. This was the case when I mentioned her in an office at work where the half dozen or so people present all had no clue who I was referring to.

  • bobby b

    Most all of the 13-24-year-olds with whom I speak know exactly who she is. (Joan of Arc, according to them.) That’s really a Children’s Crusade.

    (ETA: Almost every 1st-12th grade teacher in the USA has been strongly progressive for at least the last 15 years. It’s paying off.)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Nullius: They can’t possibly win this argument on the merits, not now. But then again, maybe a reasoned debate wasn’t what they had in mind?

    I hear you, brother. To give you a flavour of the kind of conversations going on these days, my boss (I won’t name him since I could use my salary) works in the world of financial media and events and he totally buys into the Malthusian idea that the Earth cannot survive without reducing its population to about a quarter of its current size, if that. And rather than argue with him (we were in a crummy bar in JFK Airport last Friday) I listened to him flesh out how this splendid plan would work. One idea (he was totally sober, by the way – he’s teetotal, a worrying sign) is to give people of a certain age (50, 60, whatever) the option of assisted suicide. When I pointed out that the vast majority of people today in their older years would tell him ever so gently to fuck off, he then changed the subject. We then got a rant about how “they” and various “powerful people” want Artificial Intelligence and want to grab all the wealth to themselves and that the rest of us will be useless.

    The man is a trained accountant, businessman and is in his mid-50s, going bald, two divorces and lives alone with a dog. He is an ardent Remainer, thinks the Supreme Court did the right thing in frustrating Boris, and subscribes to this toxic mix of Transnational Progressivism, climate change alarmism, snobbery about America, etc, etc.

    So why go on about this man? Because he is highly representative of much of the media/chattering class and among some who work in the City. It is not just cliched lefty teachers who think like this.

    Of course, he is probably having a mid-life crisis.

  • “I don’t understand the buzz around Scoldilocks. She has no particular expertise, experience, or even talent that would make her worth listening to on this subject or any other.” (Eric)

    Do you think Al Gore did? (Nullius in Verba, September 29, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    I never did but I can see why Eric is nevertheless implying a distinction. Al Gore was a vice-president and then presidential candidate. To us on this blog, that is not a recommendation but to many it is assumed that some weeding out occurs, and that a man learns something when vice-president for 8 years. By contrast, Greta is not even your standard innocent child. She is known to have a diagnosed mental condition and her environmental enthusiasms first presented as an alternative to suicide.

    While she has a child’s claim of being too young (too ignorant) to be calculatingly corrupt in an adult professional politician manner, even Gore might compete in all other areas – and her crossing the Atlantic with a crew kept up via air flights competes somewhat with Gore’s purchase of ‘soon-to-be-flooded’ beachfront property

  • Jacob

    Greta is a front for her activist parents and teachers. They send her to fight their fight.
    I would call it child-abuse, I think it’s criminal.

    Frightening children to death is also criminal. We usually try to shield children and protect then from outward threats and even hide those threats from them (“see, everything will turn out ok”). Now they frighten children to death with made-up (climate) threats.
    This is totally crazy, and even, maybe, criminal.

    There is, for example, a convention that you don’t use children in political campaigns. You don’t bring your children into the campaign, you don’t expose them to it, and your opponents don’t attack them.
    Here is a clear case of parents using their troubled child for a political campaign. I think it’s illegal, or should be illegal. It an abuse of a minor.

  • Most all of the 13-24-year-olds with whom I speak know exactly who she is. (Joan of Arc, according to them.) That’s really a Children’s Crusade.

    I agree…and look how the Children’s Crusade of 1212 actually ended up.

    Many children were tricked by merchants and sailed over to what they thought were the holy lands but, in reality, were slave markets.

    Personally, I realise that this poor girl suffers from numerous mental and developmental problems, largely brought on by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (thanks mum!) and as such appears a lot younger than her 16 years of age.

    She hasn’t been educated so much as programmed and propagandised by both her parents and the socialist Swedish educational establishment. I’m not sure they were intending for her to be used as a sock puppet for the Climate Catastrophists of the Extinction Rebellion crowd, but they’ve certainly exploited every opportunity with her.

    The reality though is that she’s a teenager with more than her fair share of problems, not the least of which is irrational anger at meeting her “Climate Enemy” Donald Trump.

    Getting tired of seeing her in the news to be quite honest. She’s had her 15 minutes of fame. Time she went home to Sweden and finished her schooling.

  • Snorri Godhi

    The proper way to deal with Greta’s fans is verbal ju-jitsu: tell them that, far from speaking truth to power as they think, she is a tool of the ruling class. (You knew that i was going to bring up the ruling class, didn’t you?)

    She goes to the UN and pretends to scold her audience, but actually she is telling them exactly what they want to hear: that they should make a grab for more power.

  • llamas

    Snorri Godhi +1 – that’s the story here, that nobody is reporting

    Listen to her tearful snarling at the UN, and then to the reporting of it – she is reported as ‘scolding’ and ‘upbraiding’ the UN. Then listen to the wild applause at every pause in her speech – a large part of her audience violently agrees with her – at least, the parts about restricting economic growth.

    Other countries’ economic growth, of course. Preferably the US.

    She is, of course, a useful idiot, who will be cast aside to deal with her mental-health problems by herself, as soon as her 15 minutes are exhausted. I wonder how her condition(s) will be impacted when the phone stops ringing and people stop telling her she is some kind of prophet. Hopefully, not for the worse. It’s a shame. I thought that the Swedes cared more about the health of their children than this.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Snorri Godhi

    Thank you llamas for the moral support!
    I think that we should be fair to the Swedes, though: they are, by an apparently sensible measure, even less likely to believe in AGW than the Americans. (Similar results have been found in other Nordic nations.)

    A couple of qualifications are in order.
    First, the difference between Sweden and the US is probably within the measurement error.
    Second, and more important, this is a survey of Swedish people: the Swedish ruling class can be assumed to hold a different view.

    Still, i did not expect the Swedes to be so skeptical about the message from their ruling class.

  • Nemesis

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9Jpk8Ix1CCg&list=WL&index=16&t=0s

    Well worth 45mins of your time. (Swedish perspective of Greta)

  • Stonyground

    Is the focus on children due to the fact that adults are becoming less and less likely to believe in CAGW? Being an old git, I can remember back when we got at least a little bit of snow most winters. So in my experience winters are now a tiny bit milder. The summers are just as crappy as they ever were and the occasional hot ones are no hotter than they were in the past. I’m old enough to remember the predictions that were made by climate scientists thirty years ago, non of which came to pass. The fact that the alarmists have now predicted a total climate meltdown in eleven years is surely going to prove to be their last desperate gamble before reality sends them packing.

  • Stonyground

    It appears to me that environmentalists take every single one of the comforts and conveniences of the modern world completely for granted. They are constantly demanding “action” to avert climate change but what this action should consist of is never actually defined. Non of them show any willingness to sacrifice one single aspect of their comfortable modern lifestyle in order to save the world. Some of them are quite keen that everyone else should.

  • Jim

    “I think that in the long run this is bound to fail, too. Propelling it back into the news just gives us the excuse to start talking about it again. We’ve still got our stockpiles of evidential ammunition, and we’re facing a new generation of inexperienced children with none. Nothing new has been added on their side. And ten years on, we’ve got ten years more data to work with. They can’t possibly win this argument on the merits, not now. But then again, maybe a reasoned debate wasn’t what they had in mind?”

    What will end the Greta Bandwagon is the reality of what politicians would have to do to make their demands happen. Which basically means taking away the bread and circuses from the masses. No you can’t have a warm house. Yes your weekly shopping trolley will cost you lost more and be mostly turnips and lentils. No you can’t go on holiday somewhere warm, you can have a wet weekend in Rhyl. No you can’t have a car that you can get in and drive to Scotland and back in. Yes you will get fined for having the temerity to not recycle your rubbish. Etc etc.

    Up to now the eco-virtue signalling has largely passed people’s lives by. Yes energy is more expensive that it should be, but people haven’t realised why. Other than that its tinkering around the edges that is largely words. What St Greta’s handlers want is full on ‘Thou Shalt Not’ plastered over large parts of people’s day to day lives. And people won’t like it, and they will revolt. And the young will be especially hard hit, because they know nothing different. They didn’t grow up in houses that had howling draughts and maybe one room with heating, and one TV and no other electronic playthings. They’re used to jetting off to wherever at the drop of a hat, and going to Glasto and throwing away the tent because who can be arsed to carry it home again? They didn’t grow up in a society that darned its socks, or grew their own veg, or rode a bike to work because a car was an unimaginable luxury. And when their current ‘normal’ luxuries are removed they will have something to say about it, probably more so than the oldies for whom it’ll be a trip down nostalgia lane. Shut that door, you’ll let the heat out!

  • Jacob

    The goal of enviros, enshrined in law in many countries, among them UK, is “carbon neutral” or “zero emissions” by 2050. Since the world gets about 85% of it’s energy from fossil fuels (carbon), zero emissions would mean using only maybe 15-30% of energy we use now, for a population greater by 25% – by 2050.

    Renewables are totally useless and won’t fill the gap in energy demand.

    Reducing energy use by 75% means – reducing the population by about 75% – or a die-off of 75% of humanity.This is an outcome that enviros are not deterred by, they even love it. They would not openly admit this but this is the outcome of policies they endorse and even got to be adopted officially.
    So, in order to prevent a possible climate catastrophe in several hundreds years time, they wish to exterminate 75% of the people alive now, within 30 years. Given the great majority that these nuts enjoy in, at least, Western countries you cannot but conclude that mankind has lost it’s mind.
    They lament the die-off of birds, but would be happy to cause the die-off of the human species.

    We hope it won’t happen, that people aren’t really that crazy, that somewhere in the future, public opinion will change, this madness will go away, and life will continue as usual. It’s just a hope….

  • Duncan S

    At the weekend, I had a spot of DIY to do and reached for my portable drill. Because it hadn’t been used for a while, the battery was flat. So, rather than wait to charge a battery, I dug out my corded drill, plugged it in, and got the job done.

    Which pretty well sums up my view on electric cars v proper cars with a fuel tank, particularly if, like me, you don’t use the car every day.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “And rather than argue with him (we were in a crummy bar in JFK Airport last Friday) I listened to him flesh out how this splendid plan would work.”

    I used to know people who would, in such a situation, entertain themselves by competing to lead the person into making ever more outrageous statements. A dangerous game to play with your boss, though. (Although a recording of the conversation can make an excellent mood-setter for your next salary negotiation…)

    “Al Gore was a vice-president and then presidential candidate. To us on this blog, that is not a recommendation but to many it is assumed that some weeding out occurs, and that a man learns something when vice-president for 8 years.”

    Ah, but it’s not about weeding. We’re not listening to them as “experts” – they are only saying what “everyone already knows”. For authority, they always refer to “the science” or “scientists”.

    With Al Gore, I think it was mainly about the celebrity, about being a “world leader”. And to some degree, every successful politician has had plenty of practice writing and presenting speeches and at the rhetorical art of public persuasion. Greta is playing instead the innocent child declaring that the Emperor has no clothes. The child in the story was not telling anyone anything they could not see for themselves with their own eyes – but was simply breaking through the social convention preventing anyone acknowledging it.

    Neither was about convincing the enemy – they were both about rallying the troops.

    But to do what? That’s the question.

    “Being an old git, I can remember back when we got at least a little bit of snow most winters. So in my experience winters are now a tiny bit milder.”

    “A change in our climate, however, is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me, the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits. From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighborhood of Monticello. An intense cold, produced by constant snows, kept the buds locked up till the sun could obtain, in the spring of the year, so fixed an ascendency as to dissolve those snows, and protect the buds, during their development, from every danger of returning cold.”

    Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1799.

    “The fact that the alarmists have now predicted a total climate meltdown in eleven years is surely going to prove to be their last desperate gamble before reality sends them packing.”

    It hasn’t yet.

    https://cei.org/blog/wrong-again-50-years-failed-eco-pocalyptic-predictions

    When the forecast apocalyse fails to appear, all that happens is the dates shift, and they’ll all be back again next Tuesday.

    “They are constantly demanding “action” to avert climate change but what this action should consist of is never actually defined.”

    If you’re interested, they’re defined here.

    It includes such gems as “Reduce global greenhouse gas emissions more than 100 per cent by 2040 by Annex I Parties” and “Developed country Parties shall provide developing country Parties with new and additional finance, inter alia through a percentage of the gross domestic product of developed country Parties” and “Developed country Parties shall not resort to any form of unilateral measures, including tariff, non-tariff, and other fiscal and non-fiscal border trade measures, against goods and services from developing country Parties on any grounds related to climate change, including protection and stabilization of the climate, emissions leakage and/or the cost of environment compliance.” and “The removal of all obstacles, including intellectual property rights and patents on climate-related technologies to ensure the transfer of technology to developing countries.” and “Requests the Conference of the Parties to develop, by its eighteenth session, an International Climate Court of Justice in order to guarantee the compliance of Annex I Parties with all the provisions of this decision, which are essential elements in the obtaining of the global goal;” and “The guarantee that all Parties shall cease destructive activities that contribute to climate change, in particular the activities of warfare, production of materials and services that support warfare, and to divert associated financial resources and investments into the shared global effort to combat a common enemy: climate change.”

    “What will end the Greta Bandwagon is the reality of what politicians would have to do to make their demands happen. Which basically means taking away the bread and circuses from the masses.”

    But that’s the point. There’s no use making feasible demands, because then people would just give them to you and tell you to go away. The point is to make impossible demands, then point to the current regime’s failure to implement them, thus justifying the installation of a new regime granted the power to deal with the crisis. And the deeper the crisis gets, the more power they are justified in seizing.

    That’s why they support wind power, which doesn’t work, but are vehemently opposed to nuclear power, because it would. We could just go out and build ten thousand new nuclear reactors, one in the middle of each big city, and the ‘problem’ would be solved. All they’ve got to do is stop getting in the way with over-the-top safety regulations and public enquiries and bureaucracy.

    But if you instead put in wind turbines, until the grid collapses with the instability and the engineers refuse any more, it will be clear to everyone that Vested Interests are Standing In The Way, and need we Direct Action to make further progress.

    This will include, as listed above, selectively hobbling the economies of the West, handing over all their money and technology to China, disarming them, and making them legally subject to an International Climate Court of Justice that has total centralised control over their economies and run by guess who.

    That was why even the Democrats voted for the Byrd-Hagel resolution, and why every President since, including Obama, has abided by it. There was never very much hope for their scheme, even 20 years ago, and surely they must have realised that by now.

    So why are they once again trying to re-animate this 10-year-dead corpse? Are they just stupid, or what?

  • staghounds

    Our Masters have ascribed magical wisdom to halfwits since they met Charlie Gordon and Boo Radley.

  • But that’s the point. There’s no use making feasible demands, because then people would just give them to you and tell you to go away. The point is to make impossible demands, then point to the current regime’s failure to implement them, thus justifying the installation of a new regime granted the power to deal with the crisis. And the deeper the crisis gets, the more power they are justified in seizing. (Nullius in Verba, September 30, 2019 at 8:35 pm)

    Good point! As one can deduce anything from a contradiction, so one can deduce tyranny from an impossibility.

  • Jim

    “But that’s the point. There’s no use making feasible demands, because then people would just give them to you and tell you to go away. The point is to make impossible demands, then point to the current regime’s failure to implement them, thus justifying the installation of a new regime granted the power to deal with the crisis. And the deeper the crisis gets, the more power they are justified in seizing.”

    But at some point, regardless of who is in power, they are going to have to start taking the bread and circuses away from the masses. Otherwise whats the point of being in power? Thats my point – this is all talk (mostly) at the moment. At some point it has to stop being all talk, at which point it runs into real people’s lives, and there’s a LOT more real people than there are eco virtue signallers. And even the ones who currently are supporting St Greta etc are still living the lives they always have, they aren’t forgoing anything. Their virtue signalling costs them nothing. When it does cost them something then they may experience a bit of a road to Damascus conversion. Especially the young, who have never experienced any great deprivation of their wishes at all.

    Hence I’m quite sanguine about it all. Its like someone attempting to reform the welfare system – its easy to give people more free stuff, its far harder, politically speaking, to take any free stuff away. And thats what the eco-freaks want ultimately, to take stuff away from hundreds of millions of people. I just don’t fancy their chances.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Closely related to Jim’s comments: Greta and other child prodigies are bringing legal action against 5 countries for allegedly violating the Paris Agreement. The 5 countries include France & Germany.

    On Instapundit, this would come under the heading of “annals of leftist autophagy”.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “But at some point, regardless of who is in power, they are going to have to start taking the bread and circuses away from the masses. Otherwise whats the point of being in power? Thats my point – this is all talk (mostly) at the moment.”

    Yes, of course. But by then they will have the power to do so.

    Just look at the history of every socialist revolution. Do you think that when the Holodomor started, and took away the bread from millions of Ukrainians, that they were not already ready and waiting for those who complained? That they had not already long established precedents and systems of enforcement?

    “At some point it has to stop being all talk, at which point it runs into real people’s lives, and there’s a LOT more real people than there are eco virtue signallers.”

    True, but they’re not stupid enough to take on everyone at once. They start with the people at the unpopular edges, the people nobody is going to stand up for and defend. Remember Niemoller. First they came for the super-rich, but I was not super-rich, so I did nothing. Then they came for the oil companies, but I was not an oil company, so I did nothing. Then they came for the plastic straw manufacturers, … It’s totalitarianism by instalments.

    Most people only care about their own freedom, they have no interest in anyone else’s. They’ll not willingly spend their own blood and money defending the freedom of foreigners and outsiders and outcasts. So they go after our freedoms piecemeal. Each group targeted is a minority, and anyone seen helping them will pay a social penalty for doing so, so everyone else walks by on the other side of the street, heads down, not involved. If it’s a group they don’t like, maybe even in the crowd cheering it on. But everyone is a member of many different minority groups. The system will come for you too, and when they do you’ll find everyone else will do as you did.

    It doesn’t even make any difference to your eventual fate to be one of those wearing the boot. Stalin’s top officials regularly got purged and ‘disappeared’ – power and privilege counts for nothing. Because it’s not really a particular group of people that are the source of the problem, but the social system; the authoritarian worldview itself. Once you accept the principle that society has the right and duty to enforce its norms on its members, which people naturally do when it’s their own norms being enforced, the consequences are logically inescapable. Because while the norms being enforced change constantly, the system enforcing them never does. Because while we may be in the majority on some norms, we will always be in a minority on others. Because we are not as special as we think we are, and nor are our norms and values. Because the system is impersonal and indifferent, and will work equally well for anyone who takes control of it. We all become victims of the system we ourselves built to crush our enemies. By denying our help to others, we ensure that when the time comes that same help will be denied to us. We are the system, even when we think we’re fighting it.

    There is a kind of cosmic justice to it. Do unto others, because the same will be done to you. Judge not, that ye be not judged. Evil carries the seed of its own destruction.

    Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

  • Paul Marks

    I have heard Oxford Professor, pushed by the BBC and the other television stations, openly say “this is not about technology – this is about giving up our comsumerist way of living”.

    Rich “liberals” love lecturing the poor (such as myself) about how we (not them – we, the poor) must give up our “luxuries” – and they, the “liberals”, make it very clear that if energy sources were produced that could produce cheap energy WITHOUT C02 emissions – they would not be interested.

    So J.P. is correct – this is nothing to do with the environment. This is a Puritan moral (religious – religion without God) Crusade. Accept they are hypocritical “Puritans” – they are the ones with the “luxuries” (no one will find luxuries in my home), and they have no intention of giving up anything. They want to make US (the “reactionary” mass of the people, far too prone to vote for BOO-HISS “populists” and “nationalists”) live at an even lower level than we do now.

    They want to reduce us to ecopeasants – whilst they (the “liberals”) lord it over us, as philosopher-rulers. Much like Mr Blair’s “Supreme Court” – elected by no one, and with unlimited powers. And with bottomless (and utterly extreme) hatred for ordinary people.

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