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]

Blue remembered hills, 2022 version

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

– Blue Remembered Hills by A.E. Housman, from the collection A Shropshire Lad, published in 1896.

We do blue hills so much better in 2022:

18 comments to Blue remembered hills, 2022 version

  • bobby b

    I need to wipe down my solar panels every other week or so or the dirt film degrades performance. I’d hate to have that job at this site.

  • Paul Marks

    Michael Shellenberger is not a conservative – many of his opinions are on the “liberal” left, but he understands basic evidence and logic – and that allows him to see that an energy policy based on solar cells and wind turbines (“bird choppers” as they are correctly called) will-not-work. Basic engineering shows this policy will-not-work (“but Pericles said…” – Pericles was a wild spending tosspot whose polices led to the rumination of Athens, so goodbye Mr Johnson).

    In the recent Californian Primary election Michael Shellenberger got about 4% of the vote – and Governor Newsom (a person who is wrong about everything) got over 60% of the vote. Mr Newsom will defeat his Republican opponent (a small businessman who had to take a job in a lumber mill in his youth) in November – because most voters in California are brainwashed by the “education” system and the media, the Democrats do not need to rig (“fortify the election”) California – because most voters have ceased to have functioning minds of their own (Thomas Hobbes and David Hume would be delighted – they always argued that humans were not beings, not free will moral agents, – and there is a lot of evidence for their point of view in California).

    In Pennsylvania the Democrats may also not need to rig the vote (although they will try to anyway – out of habit) – as people may actually vote for an “environmentalist”, John Fetterman, who lived off his wealthy parents all his life, but pretends to be a “working man” (Mr Fetterman has never had a private economy job) complete with a “hoodie” and tattoos – which is how leftists think “working men” are. If you want to see how the Gentleman governs – then look at the town of Braddock where he used to be Mayor, he failed utterly (but the media do not care).

    Relying on solar cells and wind turbines will work even less well in Pennsylvania than it does in California – but the “education” system and media do not care about facts or reason (in fact they detest facts and reason).

    Governor Newsom “argues his case” with platitudes and evasions.

    Soon to be United States Senator John Fetterman cannot even do that – as the Gentleman unfortunately had a major stroke in May that left him cognitively impaired.

    “How can a brain damaged person be a United States Senator?” – why not? After all Joseph Biden, a cognitively impaired person, is “President of the United States”, due to Mr Mark Zuckerberg and other people who spent vast sums of money “fortifying” the voting process and the counting of votes – to get the election result they paid for.

    Remember the great philosophers Thomas Hobbes and David Hume argued that the human mind does not really exist (even J.S. Mill called this explaining-away of human personhood the “light of Hume”), so if a human loses their mind – it does not matter, as the mind did not “really” exist in the first place.

    The United States, and the rest of the Western world, may end up populated by “zombies” (or “NPCs” – like the “hive-mind” one finds on Twitter and elsewhere) – but without any need for a “zombie virus”, due to the intense work of the “education” (indoctrination) system, and the “mainstream” media, including the entertainment media.

  • Martin

    As I’ve said before I would class myself as a kind of environmentalist.

    But it’s pretty obvious the ‘Green’ movement and their allies are being completely insincere with their push for ‘green’ energy and tech. You hear so much about how the costs of fossil fuels and nuclear to the environment. It is very rare that the rare earth metals issue regarding so-called green tech is mentioned. Neither their environmental costs nor the fact that the supply is dominated by PR China. You see plenty of articles on the latter with regards to how that supply may affect computing/digital and defence industries. Much less likely to say how reliant EVs, solar energy etc are on the Chinese.

  • Paul Marks

    When the people of California, or any other part of the Western world, in future are without electrical power and their Polity is bankrupt (economically and culturally), that will be, in large part, because they voted for these outcomes – voted for such outcomes repeatedly.

    So, either they are indeed brainwashed zombies – or they, at least the majority of them, wish to suffer (have made a choice to do so). But there is a third possibility..

    I believe that, at some level, most people know that the education system and the media are lying to them – but it would just be too difficult to challenge the lies (it would attract punishment to say “you are not telling the truth” to teachers, college professors, political leaders, corporate managers and-so-on), so people “go with the flow” in order to “get along”.

    In the end such an attitude leads to death – the death of individuals and of the society that is made up of individuals.

    This is about a lot more than energy policy – it is about just about everything.

    Even now it is not too late – people could say “no” and vote accordingly.

    They can still save themselves and their families – if they have moral courage.

  • Steven R

    California being without power isn’t just because of bad policies from Sacramento. It wasn’t all that long ago that the entire state had rolling blackouts because ENRON figured out they can raise rates by turning off plants just to line their own corporate pockets, while the traders were taped laughing at normal people’s suffering.

    Deregulation of industries seems to unleash a lot of evils. We just trade governmental overlords for corporate ones and the results rarely seem to be for the better.

  • Bloke in California

    ENRON figured out they can raise rates by turning off plants just to line their own corporate pockets

    Surely this is the result of bad policies in either Sacramento or Washington DC?

  • Steven R

    The only bad policy either Sacramento or DC had in that case was going along with the energy lobbyists who said “deregulate and it will mean cheaper energy and better service, just let us handle it, now here’s a check for the state coffers.”

    I don’t know what the solution is, but we can’t have it both ways. We can’t say “let the Free Market do it and keep Government out” and “the Free Market is clearly doing some really bad things and the only way to get them to stop is to demand Government to regulate them.”

    I’ve said it before, but the one fundamental flaw in Capitalism is it requires moral men to have their hand on the invisible tiller. Sadly, far too many at that level are not moral men and care nothing of the destruction they leave in their wake so long as they win. Then the people demand government step in and make the changes those men wouldn’t do on their own. Like every other -ism, Capitalism suffers from having human beings in the equation.

  • Alex (human apologist)

    Like every other -ism, Capitalism suffers from having human beings in the equation.

    This sort of misanthropy is tiresome.

    Human beings are the only moral creatures. While some people do horrible things the rest of us recognise those things as horrible. Human beings are generous to other animals, other people, while we have created pollution and other ills we have also greatly improved the natural environment in many places. We clean up messes and create clean water. We have created a lot of food. Our moving plants across the planet has created some problems but it has also increased the available food for many species.

    Misanthropy has become the default response for many people, perhaps even a majority of people, but it is really rather stupid. The world needs more intelligent human intervention not less.

  • Steven R

    I don’t think it’s misanthropy to point out that Rockefeller and Carnegie stomped on a lot of necks and caused a lot of unnecessary suffering to amass their great fortunes that enabled them to become such great philanthropists.

  • Alex

    I don’t think it’s misanthropy to point out that Rockefeller and Carnegie stomped on a lot of necks and caused a lot of unnecessary suffering to amass their great fortunes that enabled them to become such great philanthropists.

    That may have been your subtext, but it wasn’t your text.

    The energy market has suffered from a lot of statist intervention. I can’t speak to the Enron situation, or North America in general, but in the UK we’ve spent two decades pushing the electricity generation companies to decarbonise. We also have a domestic energy market that is rather oddly structured. As a consumer you pick from several retail energy companies who then adopt your meter(s) (meters plural in the case of dual supply, e.g. natural gas and electricity) and then they have a responsibility to generally procure your metered energy from the wholesale market. The problem is that this is really not free market at all: the retail energy companies are licensed and highly regulated, they have a universal service obligation (a retail energy company effectively has to accept any customer regardless of the difficulties), there’s a very weak link between the price the customer pays and the price the supplier pays which means a lot of the pricing signal is lost to the actual producers. Then there’s the weak links between the production and who is paid for the production, due to interference in the market that means that a certain amount must be bought from renewable energy vendors even though in reality that energy may be produced by a gas turbine.

    That’s oversimplified but the point is that the retail energy market is hardly a free market. There’s a preponderance of “Corporatists” making a buck from providing unicorn tails and fairy dust, but real capitalism is not really present. As Paul Marks likes to draw to people’s attention the capital at risk in much of modern business is make believe, not people’s savings but loans backed by yet more fairy dust with the ultimate cost of failure landing on the tax payer rather than the loss of real capital by savers and investors.

  • bobby b

    “But it’s pretty obvious the ‘Green’ movement and their allies are being completely insincere with their push for ‘green’ energy and tech.”

    Was Lysenko sincere? Were his adherents?

    Seems to me that, once his ideas hit a critical mass of acceptance, it didn’t matter. People laboring under a popular mass delusion can indeed be sincere and still be wrong. The argument stops being about the merits and becomes about accepting belief. To fail to accept becomes evil. Which is where we are today.

  • Bruce

    The “green” movement is just another hideous political monster.

    Born out of Nazi forest legends and refined? by the even-more-murderous statist pigs in Moscow, post WW2, it is a DEATH CULT.

    Like the “religion” of that Sand-Pirate, Green-ism is totally doctrinaire, and parasitic. It is ONLY about POWER and the concentration thereof in the hands of terminal sociopaths.

    As H. L. Mencken put it:

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”

    Not to put too fine a point on it.

  • Stephen W. Houghton II

    Steven R, the reason for the failure of electrisity “deregulation” was that you do not use spot markets for goods that you need a steady supply of, you use long term contracts. If you lived on mars would you buy oxygen to breath on the spot market or would you buy it in six month contracts negotiated well in advance?

  • Fraser Orr

    @Steven R
    I’ve said it before, but the one fundamental flaw in Capitalism is it requires moral men to have their hand on the invisible tiller.

    That is exactly wrong. Government requires moral men to have their hand on the tiller, and expecting even basic decency from politicians is like expecting the scorpion not to sting the fox giving him a ride across the river.

    And I think the mistake comes from the use of the word “Capitalism”, a word I strongly dislike. What we seek are free markets, and by definition, no decency is required on either side. It is two people agreeing to engage in a transaction that they both consider beneficial to themselves. Free markets require people to be self interested, which they inevitably are.

    When it comes to power companies the problem is that they are usually so bound up with the government “free market” isn’t free at all, it is crony capitalism where there is only one choice for consumers and the power company pays off various government people to ensure that they are that choice.

    Every month I get a bill from my electric company that compares my electricity usage to my neighbors in an attempt to guilt me into using less. It tells you a great deal about how screwed up and politicized these markets are that this vendor is actually trying to get me to buy LESS of their product. Which non government regulated industry tries to get you to buy less of their products? Normal businesses spend most of their budget in advertising, marketing and sales trying to get you to buy MORE of their product.

  • Paul Marks

    Stephen R. – I do not know who told you that California has a free market (“deregulated”) energy market, but whoever it was LIED to you Sir.

    In reality the Californian energy market is saturated with taxes and regulations – the government has even shut down some nuclear power stations (so much for their concern with C02 emissions).

    “But deregulation..” it is a lie Sir.

    I am reminded of the “deregulation” of the City of London in the 1980s – what “deregulation”, the “Big Bang”, actually meant was a vast tidal wave of government regulations. Destroying the old City of self-employed stockbrokers and stock “Jobbers” and partnership investment banks, and replacing it with a handful of vast corporations, and thousands of pages of government regulations.

    The government lies Stephen, and the media lies Stephen. And the education system lies as well. They have lied to you Sir – and they have lied to everyone else as well.

    There is no free market in energy in California – the place is saturated with taxes and regulations.

  • Paul Marks

    In case anyone does not know.

    Trading “off exchange” was legal in the United Kingdom – and there were even other stock exchanges (such as that of Liverpool).

    There was no need for the courts or the executive government to involve itself in the private clubs and private companies that made up the City of London, and to call their interventions (with the thousands of pages of regulations they brought with them) “deregulation” was a sickening con-trick.

    The old City of London was far from perfect – after all a fraud in the City (“Slater-Walker” which wrapped itself in the Union Flag) broke my own father, Harry Marks, but the old City of London was vastly better than the creature the government created in its place.

    And to call this creature of the government (with its thousands of paged of government regulations) a “free market” is a lie.

    And even that leaves out the most important thing of all – the endless flow of funny money from the Bank of England and the pet banks, which corrupts everything.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Steven R
    You should look closer at the so-called deregulation and Enron. It was in fact the hidden regulations of that “deregulation” that empowered Enron to do what it did. I am split as to whether this was done deliberately or through stupidity, but to call it market deregulation is flat wrong.

  • Paul Marks

    California is one of the most regulated States in the United States – indeed in some things, such as occupational licensing, it is the most regulated State of all.

    As soon as the media (and academia) start telling you that California (California of all places) had a free-market energy market that should raise a red flag in your mind.

    California did NOT have a free-market energy market. In a free market the producers of energy would sell to the consumers of energy – and the producers of energy would be allowed to produce energy in the most cost-effective way.

    None of that was or is true in California – the “deregulation” was a lie.

    But is a useful lie, useful for the totalitarian collectivist political agenda of the media (and of academia) so they constantly repeat the lie.