Indistinguishable from malice

I believe it was the historian Robert Conquest who said that every organization eventually behaves as though it is run by a secret cabal of its enemies. I have seldom seen any more convincing evidence of this than the “No Pressure” video released by the anti-global-warming activist campaign 10:10.

Watch it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. You might have to Google for “no pressure video”, as there seems to have been a concerted attempt by 10:10 and its allies to scrub this thing off the public Internet when they realized what a colossal blunder it was. It’s not pleasant viewing – children being blown up and rivulets of gore spattering in all directions – but you have to actually see it to grasp how callous, awful, and anti-humane it actually is.

The reaction from AGW skeptics was no surprise; many fulminated that the mask had slipped, and this video is the agenda of environmental fascism writ large. Thoughtcrime brings death! Conform! Obey! Or die…and the survivors get pieces of their friends spattered all over them as a warning. I think we open a more interesting inquiry by taking the 10:10 campaign at their word. They thought they were being funny.

The question this video really poses is: what kind of person thinks it’s funny to show schoolchildren being blown into bloody gobbets for any reason at all, let alone for merely disagreeing with a teacher’s chirpy sermonizing? And another, which I haven’t seen anyone else articulate: what kind of idiot could fail to foresee what a gift this bit of grand guignol would be to 10:10′s opponents?

There’s a mind-boggling disconnect from the feelings of ordinary human beings implied here, a kind of moral and emotional incompetence. It’s as though the 10:10 campaigners were so anesthetized by the secretions of their own zealotry that they became incapable of understanding how anyone not living deep inside their reality-tunnel would react.

In its own way, I think this is actually a more frightening possibility than the obvious hypothesis that these people are conscious eco-Stalinists who let the mask slip. C.S. Lewis has an apposite thing to say about idealistic tyrants: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

To update Lewis, your garden-variety power-mad monster might commit the atrocities in this video, but only because they are not funny – because they spread fear or demonstrate power and ruthlessness. The kind of idealism that aims to be “tormenting us for our own good” may be what is required before you think blowing up schoolchildren with the push of a button is funny.

Ultimately I don’t think it matters. There’s an adage known in some circles as Clark’s Law that reads “Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.” There is no interpretation hinging on either malice or incompetence under which the 10:10 campaign is, after this, qualified to tell anyone how to live. It has self-destructed any moral authority it ever pretended to.

From now on, this video should be Exhibit A whenever the global-warming alarmists pretend to moral or intellectual superiority over the rest of us. All we have to say to them is this: Your kind thought this was funny.

290 thoughts on “Indistinguishable from malice

  1. The most disturbing thing about this video is that tens (maybe hundreds) of people worked on this, and it never occurred to any of them that this might not be a good idea. No, I am not the first to observe this.

  2. Hm. Are people on both sides of the global warming debate responsible for everyone who agrees with them? I only ask because, you know, Stormfront.

  3. >I only ask because, you know, Stormfront.

    Stormfront is only accidentally associated with AGW skeptics because it has common enemies with them. 10:10 is essentially associated with other AGW alarmists by common doctrines. These cases aren’t parallel, and it’s either major logic fail or rhetorical dishonesty to claim they are.

    The analogue you need would be for an organization centered on AGW skepticism to release a video as morally atrocious as this one. I recommend against holding your breath until this happens.

  4. Bryant,

    I’ll see you stormfront and raise you osama bin laden.

    Nice attempt at deny, distract and derail.

    One other thing. Might want to review the list of 10:10 partners (which includes the guardian and sony among others) before making more lame comparisons.

  5. The most disturbing thing about this video is that tens (maybe hundreds) of people worked on this, and it never occurred to any of them that this might not be a good idea.

    Good idea… bad idea…whatever. I’m sure the majority did it for the same reason most people do. For the paycheck.

  6. The question this video really poses is: what kind of person thinks it’s funny to show schoolchildren being blown into bloody gobbets for any reason at all, let alone for merely disagreeing with a teacher’s chirpy sermonizing?

    British people. Are you unfamiliar with Monty Python?

  7. “Are people on both sides of the global warming debate responsible for everyone who agrees with them?”

    You seem to be trolling, but that’s actually an important question. And the answer is no, directly. But you *are* responsible for the way you act when someone who agrees with you on a given issue says or does something horrible- in fact, what you do in that situation says nearly everything that needs to be said about your character and your principles.

    We’ll see who genuinely condemns this, and who tries to make it disappear, pretend it never happened, or desperately try to change the subject.

  8. How long till this sets a precedent for Islamists to make overt threats without fear of prosecution?

  9. I think it may be wise to start practising some sous-veillance techniques when it becomes known that such people are planning an ‘event’ in our midst.

    See who they are, see who they attract – with digital video evidence – and perhaps consolidate such information online.

    For those that are able, I would personally recommend being armed. I have witnessed this kinda crap enough to promote such wisdom. The college-monkeys they attract are not a problem, but the hardcore believers can be troublesome…which can sometimes lead to a herd effect…and I don’t usually carry sufficient ammo to deal with that.

    You may be scratching your head in bewilderment at this video, but this is an entirely predictable artefact of such mania.

  10. For an alternate take, see this.

    Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy and art. It’s amazing how variable it all is.

    I have no idea whether there’s a qualitative difference between the 1010 video and the Monty Python “how not to be seen” sketch. Would the effect of the 1010 video have been hugely different if only adults had been blown up?

    I’m betting that how people feel about the 1010 video tracks closely with what they believe about AGW– more than their general preferences in how much fictional violence is funny.

    It’s interesting how much people mention describe the video as being about belief, when it’s actually about compliance.

  11. >I have no idea whether there’s a qualitative difference between the 1010 video and the Monty Python “how not to be seen” sketch.

    Well, for starters, the “how not to be seen” sketch wasn’t written to advocate a political position – that, is, a position about the legitimate use of force. The fact that we know this was written as political propaganda fundamentally changes the meaning of what we see.

    It also matters that members of the green movement have called for large portions of the human population of Earth to die in order to reduce the load on the “natural” ecosphere without being strenuously disavowed by the supposedly respectable mainstream of the movement. So “No Pressure”, unlike any Monty Python sketch, has to be interpreted in context as a statement from a coalition that includes people who are at least theoretically pro-genocide.

  12. Nancy, even one of the most incorrigibly nasty leftist trolls at Vox Day’s blog admits he was disturbed when the video turned out not to be satire.

  13. It also matters that members of the green movement have called for large portions of the human population of Earth to die in order to reduce the load on the “natural” ecosphere without being strenuously disavowed by the supposedly respectable mainstream of the movement. So “No Pressure”, unlike any Monty Python sketch, has to be interpreted in context as a statement from a coalition that includes people who are at least theoretically pro-genocide.

    Really? Are these radical green movement members volunteering to die? Because I’m sure we could find some people who are willing to abide that wish. :-P

  14. > Stormfront is only accidentally associated with AGW skeptics because it has common enemies with them.

    Nah, Stormfront doesn’t believe in AGW. I mean, it’s an active doctrinal point for them. That said, I would have said that Stormfront should not be associated with AGW skeptics because they’re neo-Nazi idiots and sane people don’t assume that you have to apologize for clearly insane people who happen to share one belief, myself. YMMV.

  15. Oh, if the accusation’s going to come up — if I were a troll, I’d be adopting viewpoints much like the bulk of the commenters, I’d work it until I was accepted as a regular, and then I’d start slanting it more and more extreme to see how many people I could suck along with me. Seriously, I’m from Usenet. If you think someone’s a troll because they disagree with you, your standards are seriously low.

  16. >Really? Are these radical green movement members volunteering to die? Because I’m sure we could find some people who are willing to abide that wish. :-P

    They have an image in their heads of everyone living in Peace and Harmony and At One With Nature. The more intellectually honest of them note that this is not compatible with a population of 7+ billion, and so they admit in public that their dream scenario would require large portions of the population of Earth to die. However, their cute little image does not include any dead bodies. I don’t think that they imagine themselves or anyone they know dying. It’s somewhat like S. M. Stirling’s Emberverse–the (post-technological) life he describes seems kind of idyllic at times, until he rubs your nose in the fact that only one in 200 of Earth’s population survived.

    I sincerely hope this is the case, anyway. I can imagine a world in which some of the radical Greens are in fact sociopaths (or whatever the correct term is) who want drastic population drop for the deaths, but I haven’t seen any evidence that would distinguish that world from the more reasonable scenario above.

  17. >I haven’t seen any evidence that would distinguish that world from the more reasonable scenario above.

    I have. Various greens have speculated publicly about engineering plagues to eradicate most of the existing population. One (who happens to be the Duke of Edinburgh) has said he wants to be reincarnated as the killer virus that wipes out most humans.

  18. > I only ask because, you know, Stormfront.

    Are prominent anti-AGW folks defending Stormfront? How about supporting Stormfront?

    I only ask because, you know, 10:10′s supporter list and the folks who have popped up to defend 10:10.

    However, it is nice of Bryant to tell us that we should treat him the way that he thinks that supporters of Stormfront should be treated.

  19. I would like to note that this should in no way be considered to represent the opinions of a majority of AGW believers. I am generally skeptical myself, but most of my immediate family believe it, and I know for a fact that they would be as horrified by this as I was. I agree that this has at least seriously hindered any claim by anyone that people who cut their CO2 emissions are morally superior thereby, but it should not read as a reflection on the moral state of people unrelated to its production who believe in AGW.

  20. >I have. Various greens have speculated publicly about engineering plagues to eradicate most of the existing population. One (who happens to be the Duke of Edinburgh) has said he wants to be reincarnated as the killer virus that wipes out most humans.

    OK, there’s that question answered.

  21. Searching for reactions to this, I found all sorts of links to quotes by AGWers calling for skeptics to be tried, jailed and executed, strangled in their beds, etc. Given the politics of many of the sources I see no reason to assume that they presented the issue in a particularly complete way. Has anyone here seen any quotes by AGW skeptics against believers that might even possibly be interpreted the same way? The issue of “who’s being the most awful” seems quite one-sided, which makes me suspicious.

  22. # pete Says:
    October 3rd, 2010 at 10:21 pm
    “Are you unfamiliar with Monty Python?”

    The narrator in “How not to be seen” was an actor pretending to be a malicious power mad evil lunatic. The guys who produced “No pressure” were not pretending.

  23. One (who happens to be the Duke of Edinburgh) has said he wants to be reincarnated as the killer virus that wipes out most humans.

    Duke of Edinburgh says something crazy … film at eleven.

  24. All we have to say to them is this: Your kind thought this was funny.

    That sounds like a kafkatrap to me — specifically a model P with a bit of model S thrown in.

  25. I’ve seen the Python Defense. It fails, because the Black Knight wasn’t merely guilty of thoughtcrime; he refused to let Arthur pass and insisted on fighting with him over the matter. Mr. Creosote’s ghastly explosion was caused by his own gluttony, not by someone deliberately killing him.

    The only thing I found at all amusing was Gillian Anderson’s part at the end, where she demonstrates the rank hypocrisy of entertainers “raising awareness” while their actions betray their own words. Al Gore’s carbon footprint comes to mid.

  26. For what it’s worth:
    1) I think global warming is real. (Having gone through the summer in southern Israel it’s hard to think otherwise).
    2) I also think this video is absolutly disgusting and not funny. and ESr, you didn’t point out that another difference between Monty Python and this is the ‘Random’ nature of the killing there as opposed to the ‘Moral’ nature of the killing here.
    3) I also think that cutting our emisions by only 10% is just bogus, or in other words it just does not cut it.
    4) Which leads me to the conclusion that, sadly, Global warming will get A LOT worse before it gets any better.

  27. @Tom

    “I agree that this has at least seriously hindered any claim by anyone that people who cut their CO2 emissions are morally superior thereby, but it should not read as a reflection on the moral state of people unrelated to its production who believe in AGW.”

    One of the critical subtleties that usually gets glossed over, even here, is that in the debate over carbon emissions and such, there are actually three claims being made, each of which must be (but usually isn’t) supported by its own evidence.

    “Believing in AGW”, as you put it, means accepting the claims that (1) average global temperatures are in fact rising and that (2) human activity is the cause in whose absence the temperature rise would not have occurred. Both of these points are debatable, but let’s accept them for this comment.

    The massive leap that pundits and politicians tend to make is ignoring the successively stronger claims: (3) if AGW, then the outcome is bad, and (4) if bad outcome, then we must Do Something (i.e., Doing Something is less harmful than not Doing Something).

    As a plausible claim can be made that in the past, warmer average temperatures have helped humanity as a whole (by, for example, making more land available for agriculture), or that, even if the doomsday predictions of AGW hard-liners are unequivocally true, the harm inherent in their “correction” schemes outweighs the damage that would be done by the effects of global warming (by, for example, intentionally killing off most of humanity, or even crippling the globe economically, which would eventually amount to the same thing), the two following claims should be debated publicly. However, (3) and (4) tend to be assumed given (1), and even (1) is supported by evidence which is suspect at best.

  28. I had to make a strenuous conscious effort just to consider the hypothesis that this video was intended to *support* the AGW faction. Decontextualized pattern-matching says that this means that the hypothesis is false.

    There is simply no way this was supposed to be pro-green propaganda. I disbelieve.

  29. I had to make a strenuous conscious effort just to consider the hypothesis that this video was intended to *support* the AGW faction. Decontextualized pattern-matching says that this means that the hypothesis is false.

    There is simply no way this was supposed to be pro-green propaganda. I disbelieve.

    Don’t assume malice when stupidity will suffice.

    I clicked on the link before I’d read esr’s comments and I wasn’t sure which side the video was supposed to be advocating for until the very end. The operative word being ‘supposed’. They aren’t shooting themselves in the foot, they’re blowing themselves up.

    As others have commented, it’s remarkable how high the production values in that thing are. It must have cost some serious money to make. I suppose the crew and actors and extras do what they’re told in a situation like that, even if they think that the script is bad. You certainly see this in Hollywood films all the time. It’s still amazing that that script got any further than the producer’s inbox.

  30. Whoops, I just read on the 10:10 site that the piece was made for free and the actors and filmmakers donated their time. The script was written by Richard Curtis, no less, also for free. If often been less than entertained by his films, but still, this is a pretty impressive miss by his standards. I guess the big name explains why the script wasn’t rejected outright.

  31. What I don’t get is how 10:10 have completely misunderstood the format of public information scare adverts. You’re supposed to show someone doing the “wrong” thing, and then punish them with the actual consequences of their actions, as in this road safety advert, or this one. In the case of global warming, this would be done by showing the kids 50 years in the future living in a desert or up to their necks in a flood. Or perhaps a professional ad-maker could have come up with something more ironic, like having them immediately die of heat exhaustion, or finding themselves being followed around by a small patch of unpleasant weather. It’s not that hard.

    But you can’t show the protagonist being punished in a completely irrelevant way. That divorces the cause from the consequences and thus misses the point entirely. It’s shocking for no rational purpose, and even if you did believe in AGW, you’d have to agree that this film has about as much persuasiveness as the Monty Python sketch.

  32. rgove: Your comment is the most significant. Let’s ignore “offence”, which is a silly and trifling reason to reject this campaign. The ludicrous notion of a teacher’s nonchalantly blowing up her charges is horrifically funny, and Gillian Anderon’s comeuppance at the end was as well. What fails, though, is that the “circuitry” of this propaganda is utterly misrouted.

    In any cultural artefact, the free-thinker or the quietly sceptic has a modicum of sympathy by default. This increases when he stands against an entrenched authority (however benign that authority might usually be).

    So when you depict the violent destruction of the free thinker, you evince sympathy.

    Milton knew this in Paradise Lost (where the Devil is basically a sympathetic character because of the above!), as has pretty much every propagandist since then. Curtis, however, seems to have hacked himself.

    It’s hilarious.

  33. syskill:

    That sounds like a kafkatrap to me — specifically a model P with a bit of model S thrown in.

    It’s a rhetorical trap called the Will-You-Condemn-A-Thon.

    “You’ve got the science wrong.” “But … but your side released a silly video!” Intellectual high ground indeed.

  34. > Your kind thought this was funny.

    Nice but of lazy stereotyping there, Eric.

  35. # pete Says:

    It’s a rhetorical trap called the Will-You-Condemn-A-Thon.

    “You’ve got the science wrong.” “But … but your side released a silly video!” Intellectual high ground indeed.

    This argument would be valid if esr used it in avoidance of actual debate on the science involved. However, if I read him correctly, he is leveling this particular article at the PR wing of the AGW-promotion debate, not the scientific thought underneath it.

  36. One other point about the Monty Python “How Not to be Seen” sketch: it shows explosions in the distance, with no flying body parts. We have only the narrator’s word that someone is getting blown up.

    It’s the difference between Tex Avery and John Kricfalusi: Avery used extreme expressions and ugly design sparingly for comedic effect, while Kricfalusi (the guy who inflicted Ren and Stimpy on us, and claims to have been directly inspired by Avery) used the same elements as the entire basis of his work. Avery’s work was funny. Kricfalusi’s was just ugly.

    I’m sure someone thought the 10:10 video was funny, but it was just way, way over the line.

  37. “You’ve got the science wrong.” “But … but your side released a silly video!”

    But skeptics haven’t released a silly video? I don’t get your point.

  38. Just the other day I was quietly working up my own thoughts about the state or rather, the stage that the AGW crowd are in right now. While on one hand, you have the Royal Society coming out with its own begrudging admission that AGW theory is not all that it was cracked up to be and on the other hand you have outfits like 10.10 putting out the most desperate and zealot like death propaganda. This means that the entire AGW process has entered into its rapidly accelerating downhill slide. Another year or two and it will have devolved into the pure zealots that see AGW as a belief system that *must* be followed. While the great majority of former believers will have been excommunicated and will begrudgingly admit (quietly in most cases) that they were horribly wrong and will move on to the next pseudo-scientific fad. AGW adherents are rapidly approaching their moment of truth, that point where the cognitive dissonance becomes so painful and stressful that they are forced out of their stupor or otherwise they go down the rabbit hole and remain their forever. It’s actually rather painful to watch, train wreck like. It’s like wondering if your great grandfather is just a little quirky or is he really slipping into dementia?

  39. I really want to be able to see the other side of this, but I’m probably less qualified to do so than most people. I’ve never been much good at understanding sick humor. I don’t get Perry Bible Fellowship at all, and I was a little bit disturbed by “How not to Be Seen” even though I’m generally a Python fan. I hope that someone who “gets” this video will show up in the comments here and explain the joke.

  40. Considering that 10:10:10 (10 Oct 2010) is upon us, this seems to me to be a case of viral and/or shock marketing. The video has accomplished it’s intended purpose, people are talking. I’m guessing that 10:10 will brush off the response and tell us that “the ends justified the means”. Their goal is to force us to change our ways and their subliminal message is “If you DON’T do what we ask now, this is what COULD happen”. They are doing this for our own good… Kafkatrap indeed!

    We are exposed to more and more information each day. As receivers, we adapt in the short term by applying a simple squelch filter (ignore) and in the long term by using band-pass filters (allow). In order to get our attention, a campaign must find it’s way through an acceptable band or rise above the squelch threshold. This video takes the cheap and easy way by literally swamping our receiver. Our attention was gained, but at the cost of the content of the message.

    It is so disturbing that I don’t even feel compelled to share it. I hold the producers (not to be confused with 10:10 or the sponsors) responsible. They seem to have created their own version of ‘Springtime for Hi…’ (not going to invoke Godwin’s Law at this time). If it bombs, they still get paid and live another day. If it succeeds, they make a name for themselves. There’s no losing for them, unless they alienate absolutely EVERYONE. They are not committed to the cause, the audience or their client. Those who would make such a thing are amoral, asocial or both.

  41. I fear nothing will satiate the monster that the AGW movement has created.

    Not electric vehicles, not solar panels, not even molecular assemblers.

    The eco-Stalinists are here to stay.

    Thanks, guys. Hope the demonization and hysteria were worth it.

  42. > They seem to have created their own version of ‘Springtime for Hi…’ (not going to invoke Godwin’s Law at this time).

    I might have to propose Haugh’s Corollary; the number of online discussions invoking Hitler may be rising because it is increasingly an actually appropriate analogy.

  43. >This argument would be valid if esr used it in avoidance of actual debate on the science involved. However, if I read him correctly, he is leveling this particular article at the PR wing of the AGW-promotion debate, not the scientific thought underneath it.

    Not quite. Reread what I said: “whenever the global-warming alarmists pretend to moral or intellectual superiority over the rest of us”

  44. My main gripes with environmentalism:

    1) It is very “far”, and thus nebulous. I am very interested in “near” things such as permaculture, modern survivalism (check out The Survival Podcast), animal conservation, resilient communities (read the blogs Global Guerillas and Open Source Ecology) and renewable energy because I think those things make sense. http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/09/green-is-mostly-pink-and-far.html
    2) If you want to be an abstract Gaia worshipper that is fine but just do it via the proper context (ie pagan religion or whatever) instead of jamming it into the politicosphere. The dualism of religion is Sacred/Profane (Eliade) whereas the dualism of politics is Friend/Enemy (Schmitt). The greens mix these domains up. If you want to get political then be more “near”, otherwise you are just a surrogate-preacher riling up the masses.
    3) There seems to be two kind of environmentalisms and too much equivocation of the two going on: one is the Arne Näss or Pentti Linkola “nature is intrinsically valuable” line and the other is the anthropocentric one of “we are screwing up our future by raping the environment” . It annoys me that environmentalists routinely conflate the two. Should we save Mother Nature for instrumental or intrinsic reasons? The fact that people do not understand the difference is ghey as fuck.
    4) A lot of it is just hipster/uppermiddleclass/SWPL status-signalling.
    5) It serves as a safety valve to let off steam. Give the masses some crusade to believe and sweep the real issues under the rug.
    6) A lot of it seems to stem from resentment toward progress. True, there are a few paleocons who want to reject technology so we can go back to the Middle Ages and be chivalrous knights and I kind of respect their D&D LARPing daydreams, but most of the greens seem to be neurotics with no belief in their own ability to get shit done, which screws up their worldview. Give me Tony Robbins and some high technology any day and we can solve all problems :p

    That being said, I am not exactly anti-environmentalist, but I would like to unpack and re-frame the concept of environmentalism, otherwise I cannot buy into it.

  45. Morgan:

    Are these radical green movement members volunteering to die? Because I’m sure we could find some people who are willing to abide that wish.

    Of course not. They know better than us rubes, they have to stick around to make sure WE die like good little sacrifices for Mother Gaia, and then they will inherit paradise.

    No, this was definitely the mask slipping. We’ve seen much of this since the ascension of The One. They no longer feel that they have to hide their true feelings, and so we get them calling everyone “racist” at the drop of a hat, and so on.

    The more radical greens have been advocating for genocide for quite some time. It goes back to Ehrlich and Seeger, possibly farther.

    Bryant:

    Are people on both sides of the global warming debate responsible for everyone who agrees with them? I only ask because, you know, Stormfront.

    To give you an idea of why this is a useless comparison – I’m rather up on the right-hand side of the debate, and I was unaware that Stormfront had even taken a position. It’s not a terribly useful comparison. You’re taking a group that is the fringe of the fringe, and trying to use their own remora-like attachment to some larger groups agenda to increase their visibility (and failing at it) to mean something. It does not.

    It would be like saying Chris Matthews supports the message of this video and asking Democrats to disavow it. He’s too irrelevant and insane to matter.

  46. @A.H.A. –

    I can summarize your comment if you like.

    “My main gripe[s] with environmentalism: it’s all New-Age bullshit wearing a magical cloak and calling itself science.”

    This can be concluded by the response most true believers will give if you express a lack of support for one or another of their “solutions”: “So you support letting corporations pollute as much as they want?”

    To them, it’s binary – either pollution or no pollution. To real people, it’s a matter of reducing pollution incrementally and continuously as science and economics allow. To an engineer, pollution is waste is inefficiency – and therefore bad. We seek to optimize it out of the system. Greens seek to eliminate the system instead.

  47. Maybe environmentalism can be reduced to “should humans live?”

    Cause if we are going to live, then we are going to alter our environment one way or another.

  48. Ok, I just took the time and saw the video:

    First, it’s a shame, because the good ideas that are clearly presented are so undermined by the gorefest. I mean, you might not agree with the suggestions, but being less wasteful and the particular methods presented look ok to me (I’d have to recheck the status on energy-saving light bulbs and the carbon footprint of trains, sure). But insulating better my home means less bucks spent, directly.

    Second, I wasn’t horrified, because I’m already desensitized. I don’t find it funny, either, just pointless. You have to remember this is a web that also carries a goatsex, two girls and one cup, shock videos, etc. In that context, this is par for the course, just not funny.

    Which brings me to: “but lots of people were appalled”, so perhaps Curtis severely misjudged his audience? Was he trying to educate chavs, and thought that the balance between sensible points and gorn would balance out and appeal to them?

    And finally, yes, Eric, your last statement looks like a kafkatrap. You are associating everyone who thinks that global warming or climate change are happening, with this bunch of crap. Since you don’t take care of collecting the dissociations, you can argue that we’re all filthy dregs that plan genocide. Just as I could associate you with creationists and white supremacists, just because you’re an American (yes, my point is stupid. Just a little bit more stupid than I find yours).

    If I start digging, I can find an example of anything where a member of a profession or group did something stupid, immoral, or both. First things that come to mind (and I’m not equating them in significance with the video, just pointing out stupid examples): Feynman was a frequent visitor to nudie/topless bars, Turing was homosexual in a time where that was a terrible sin or disease, and was terribly stupid about concealing it. And please spare me the “but society was wrong in Turing’s case.” You might also be wrong in judging this video by the mores of 50 years from now. Shall we dismiss Feynman’s quantum electrodynamics and parallel computing because at the time he was a moral dissolute? Or computing at all, because Turing was, for his time, a mental case?

    Finally, I refuse to be associated with this idiocy. The video is profoundly stupid. The responsible people have retracted it and apologised. You manage to turn this action into yet another part of the conspiracy. “there seems to have been a concerted attempt by 10:10 and its allies to scrub this thing off the public Internet”
    So, if they had left it there, it’d be stupid, gory and appalling, but when they remove it and apologise it’s a sign of the cabal? There’s no pleasing you.

    Or perhaps I’m wrong.

  49. >And finally, yes, Eric, your last statement looks like a kafkatrap.

    No, this is wrong. A kafkatrap has to be unfalsifiable.

  50. @Adriano I am aware of Towel Day, but there’s only one chance for a 10/10/10 for the next 100 years. Let’s not miss it (and it works with both US and UK dates).

  51. “No, this is wrong. A kafkatrap has to be unfalsifiable.”

    I reread the original kafkatrap article. Your claims that an argument must be unfalsifiable to qualify aren’t explicit in the text, only in the comments (and you had to repeat yourself on the matter, so I’m not the only one with the same impression). You might want to update that.

    If you won’t accept any falsification of your statement, how is it falsifiable? Pardon me, but your language, choice of links, rhetoric and imagery leave little margin to attempts at falsification. You don’t come off as level-headed, sorry.

    If your affirmation of “your kind thought it was funny” is falsifiable, it is false right now. What is this “kind” you speak of? Who are these “the global-warming alarmists” and where do you draw the line? Why do you conveniently lump all people who think anything in favor of AGW with this stuff? You take the most comprehensive words to describe us, and then I’m supposed to fend off your accusations, but it’s not your within the fallacy you created because “it’s not falsifiable”, meaning effectively “I’m convinced of the evidence against.” When scientists redefine the problem, you accuse them of bait-and-switch: “Oh first it was global warming, now it’s global climate change”, when the first thing a scientist is supposed to do after an experiment doesn’t match his hypothesis is redefine the latter.

    Coming from a guy who missed almost every prediction he made about the latest elections, and now pins it on “voter fraud, msm and intelligentsia” (as if handling the MSM wasn’t a known prerequisite of winning a campaign), I find it hard to believe that you’d accept any GW justification. You have a great track record on tech predictions, but not so great on politics.

  52. Sorry, I meant “the last elections” (Obama – McCain) and not “the latest elections”, though it should be clear in context. Also, I mixed and matched:
    “it’s not your within the fallacy you created because “it’s not falsifiable”, meaning effectively “I’m convinced of the evidence against.”” should read
    “it’s not within the fallacy system you created because “it’s falsifiable” while you’re effectively convinced of the counter-evidence, so making it apparently unfalsifiable by any means that aren’t direct observation of the planet going to the dogs”.

    Sorry for being unclear.

  53. >If you won’t accept any falsification of your statement, how is it falsifiable?

    Huh? What makes you believe this is my attitude?

    >When scientists redefine the problem, you accuse them of bait-and-switch: “Oh first it was global warming, now it’s global climate change”,

    Well, I guess that explains it. You have me confused with someone else. I never said this.

  54. >Sorry for being unclear.

    You’re not just unclear, you are desperately confused about what I have actually asserted.

  55. >especially because I don’t remember you coming out to correct them.

    People assert lots of things I don’t agree with in my comments. If I called out every single instance I’d never get anything else done.

  56. Ok, let’s be clear. You said “From now on, this video should be Exhibit A whenever the global-warming alarmists pretend to moral or intellectual superiority over the rest of us. All we have to say to them is this: Your kind thought this was funny.”

    Possibly you don’t intend “pretend to have moral or intellectual superiority” to mean “Whatever AGW proponents might say”. Possibly you don’t intend “Your kind” to mean “I’m lumping any semi-reasonable proponents with the idiots who dreamed up this video, and let God sort his own”. It is just damn easy to read that way, is all, after all your posts on the matter. If you want to be taken as impartial, start by being impartial, not by giggling every time the side you don’t agree with blunders. If you don’t, don’t be surprised that I misunderstand.

    Finally, it might also be me the one that’s assuming based on my POV and the reading I’ve made of your blog. We’ll see. About your latest comment, if people say things about you that aren’t obviously absurd, referencing you directly, and you don’t correct them, am I to blame for taking them at face value? It’s a bit different than pointing out every thing you don’t agree with in anyone else’s comments.

  57. >About your latest comment, if people say things about you that aren’t obviously absurd, referencing you directly, and you don’t correct them, am I to blame for taking them at face value?

    Given that I’m a public figure who (as usual for a public figure) attracts a lot of wackiness – even wackiness from people I might nominally be considered to agree with on some things – yes, you are to blame. That is, you’re applying a standard of evidence that is not appropriate, and should pay less attention to what other people say or imply about my positions.

    >Possibly you don’t intend “Your kind” to mean “I’m lumping any semi-reasonable proponents with the idiots who dreamed up this video, and let God sort his own”.

    No, I meant this: Because AGW alarmists made this video, you don’t get to argue from a position of superior morality unless you show your work. You can no longer pretend to be saving the children simply because you are uttering eco-pieties; I need to see evidence of specific, individual capacity to reason from humane premises to your conclusions.

  58. I cannot get past similar rhetoric from “environmentalist” who have bombed and destroyed in the name of saving the planet. This movement is so left wing so radical they are clearly going over the edge. Do you honestly believe that if they were in power they would NOT kill those who disagreed? It is the Mein Kampf of the radical left.

  59. @GoneWithTheWind: I cannot get past similar rhetoric from “anarchists” who have bombed and destroyed in the name of their political position either. Should I lump Eric with them? Do you think you gain anything by reductio hitlerum?

  60. @Christopher Smith: “The massive leap that pundits and politicians tend to make is ignoring the successively stronger claims: (3) if AGW, then the outcome is bad, and (4) if bad outcome, then we must Do Something (i.e., Doing Something is less harmful than not Doing Something).”

    Right. And (5) the only solution is to radically reduce energy consumption. Nuclear power, geoengineering, or simply adapting to a warmer climate are unacceptable. There’s a pseudo-religious undertone; we have Sinned against Gaia, and must suffer for our misdeeds.

  61. Recently there was a Lady Gaga video called “Telephone”. I saw it in its entirety only a few days ago, and it contains disturbing scenes of Gaga and Beyoncé dancing around the dead bodies of the restaurant full of people they’d just killed in a spur-of-the-moment killing spree. Bad taste, even by her standards. As far as I’m concerned, at this point she could have musical skill to rival Mozart and it would still be overshadowed by her nastiness.

    “No Pressure” is the same way: just profoundly, unspeakably bad taste. I get what they are doing here: this is a response to concerns from the conservative/libertarian camp about AGW nanny-state-ism. “We’re not trying to tell you how to live. You’re still free to make your own choices. Just remember… choices have consequences.” They screwed the pooch by packaging this message in a format that no amount of narratization can make look not like a gore orgy and a veiled threat — as Eric said, completely undermining their position and handing rhetorical victory over to the deniers on a silver platter. Any good points that they might have been trying to make are utterly lost.

    As for fantasies about wiping out much of humanity, I think we have much more to fear from the neocons who have begun putting their thanaturgical agenda into action than from ecoterrorists who are still at the wishful-thinking phase. And I’ve become more of a practical Malthusian as of late: I believe that a mass die-off is inevitable, and see environmentalism as a way for what remains of humanity to ensure its survival over the long term.

  62. Oh, and by the way, 10:10 have stated they make no effort to remove the copies of “No Pressure” floating around the ‘tubes. Conspiratorializing about a concerted effort to squelch it is unwarranted. They’re pretty ballsy by owning up to the PR clusterfuck they’ve perpetrated. Not that that excuses them of course.

  63. >Should I lump Eric with them? Do you think you gain anything by reductio hitlerum?

    This isn’t a good analogy. It would take someone unusually dimwitted or ignorant of history and libertarian ideas to confuse me with the kind of Bakuninite black-powder anarchist you’re doubtless thinking of. On the other hand, supposedly “moderate” environmental organizations have interlocking directorates with the foaming nutcases in their movement (well, had last time I checked). There are even organizations that seem to specialize in serving as deniable conduits to the ecoterrorist fringe – Earth First! and PETA come to mind.

    You can falsify this argument, if you want to try, by finding a person or organization that bridges from the Libertarian Party (not that I’m any too pleased with them these days) to Ruckus or any of the other black-mask “anarchists” who show up at WTO conclaves. But you won’t; the differences in ideology and style are too great.

  64. Funny you should mention “reductio ad hilterum” because progressives are always going on about how what conservatives do is “just like Hitler” or some such. And when you consider that literally everything progressives say is projection, well, there you are.

    In this case, it’s not a fallacy, it’s simply the truth.

  65. There was a time when environmentalism was a movement with reasonable goals, but since the Marxists lost the cold war, they’ve desperately needed a new pretext for power-grabbing, and AGW was very well suited to that purpose. It’s rather like the way the Whigs took over the Republican party, and morphed it from an anti-slavery party into a “federal supremacy at all costs” party.

  66. Recently there was a Lady Gaga video called “Telephone”. I saw it in its entirety only a few days ago, and it contains disturbing scenes of Gaga and Beyoncé dancing around the dead bodies of the restaurant full of people they’d just killed in a spur-of-the-moment killing spree. Bad taste, even by her standards. As far as I’m concerned, at this point she could have musical skill to rival Mozart and it would still be overshadowed by her nastiness.

    In the video, she just got out of jail. They stylized the whole video like “Kill Bill”. At some point you’re supposed to understand that she’s playing a really bad girl who has no problems poisoning a diner filled with strangers.

    Watching a man die slowly of poison should be disturbing, let alone a whole diner.

  67. I long ago came to the conclusion that the environmental movement is an amalgam of religious belief and political ideology, containing a fair number of sociopaths utilizing it to their own ends.

    I find the militant coffee shop crowd rather amusing.

    When it comes to the nut cutting….my money is on the rednecks.

  68. @Brian “because progressives are always going on about how what conservatives do is “just like Hitler” or some such.”
    Google “glenn beck has nazi tourettes”, and let’s talk again. Both sides are responsible of this.

  69. “There was a time when environmentalism was a movement with reasonable goals, but since the Marxists lost the cold war, they’ve desperately needed a new pretext for power-grabbing, and AGW was very well suited to that purpose.”

    While I agree with this, I also think there’s good evidence for AGW. An awkward position. Though even that is largely the fault of socialists, albeit indirectly. They’ve poisoned society to think the only possible solution to such problems is totalitarian world government, rather than more simple and effective prescription of property rights.

  70. >Both sides are responsible of this.

    There’s an important difference, though. Nazi = NSDAP = “National Socialist Party”. The Italian Fascists were a left-wing movement that co-opted right-wing blood-and-soil nationalism; the Nazis, likewise. I know you’ve been taught otherwise, but the notion that the Nazis were “right wing” is a Soviet propaganda meme. Nazi rhetoric and policy remained anti-capitalist until the end of the regime; the enmity between Nazis and Communists was a fraternal squabble between branches of Leninism.

    (There were versions of fascism that were genuinely right-wing; Francoite Spain is the clearest example. The Phalangist tendency among Maronite Christians in Lebanon is a more contemporary one. A good discriminator between the two types is their attitude towards the dominant religion of the time and place; where Francoite fascism treated Catholicism as a badge of national identity, the Nazis were hostile to Christianity.)

    Thus, when right-wingers like Beck compare lefties to Hitler, they’re on firmer ground than lefties doing the reverse.

  71. @esr and @Adriano:

    You can falsify this argument, if you want to try, by finding a person or organization that bridges from the Libertarian Party (not that I’m any too pleased with them these days) to Ruckus or any of the other black-mask “anarchists” who show up at WTO conclaves. But you won’t; the differences in ideology and style are too great.

    Kind of a shaky bridge, but some people consider the ideals represented in The Spiral Dance to be libertarian; although, if you read Starhawk’s[1] political writings, it seems pretty clear that her worldview is more Bakuninite (anarcho-collectivist) than anarcho-capitalist. (She styles herself a ‘progressive,’ which is a very loaded and vague term.)

    If anyone wanted to start looking, that’s probably as good a place as any. ;)

    [1] Starhawk is the author of The Spiral Dance for those that have never heard of it. For those of you who don’t know, Starhawk has been among the Ruckus organizers and other protesters at the WTO meetings.

  72. I wrote: “The Italian Fascists were a left-wing movement that co-opted right-wing blood-and-soil nationalism”

    In fairness, I should note that it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. The original Fascisti, Gabriele D’Annunzio’s romantic national-greatness movement, weren’t Leninists and didn’t fit the left/right taxonomy very well – you could describe them pretty accurately as conservative collectivists, but you could also describe them as a live-action fantasy role-playing game for disgruntled WWI vets and be about as close.

    What happened, historically, is that a Leninist – Benito Mussolini – read Georges Sorel’s irrationalist critique of Leninism and decided to implement it. He and a bunch of former Communists took over the Fascisti and turned it into a Leninist organization with a nationalist paint job. This was the national-socialist model the Nazis imitated.

  73. >If anyone wanted to start looking, that’s probably as good a place as any. ;)

    You’re right – which is why it’s indicative that you had to strain so hard to invent some tenuous thread of a connection. ;-)

  74. > I know you’ve been taught otherwise
    I haven’t, and you don’t. You must be speaking of someone else.

    > Thus, when right-wingers like Beck compare lefties to Hitler, they’re on firmer ground than lefties doing the reverse.
    I had written a somewhat rantish post about Beck that I’m not seeing here. Good, for it wasn’t the correct reply. The correct reply is “No, they aren’t. When you compare politics as usual and equate your opponent to Hitler, the SS, the final solution, the T4, Goebbels and the like, you lose, no matter your justification.”

  75. Nazi rhetoric and policy remained anti-capitalist until the end of the regime; the enmity between Nazis and Communists was a fraternal squabble between branches of Leninism.

    Hmmm I don’t know if I quite agree. From my understanding there were many different national socialisms, with internecine rivalries, from Völkish types to “red brown” strasserites to orthodox hitlerites who were mostly pragmatic about economics and in active collaboration with the Junkers. To call all Nazis basically commies in different uniforms is a libertarian oversimplification IMHO. Yes, they were both against laissez-faire capitalism but that is only ONE axis. I would say the essence of German NS = German desire to restore “national honor” after treaty of 1919 (Dolchstoßlegende) + Great Depression + failure of liberal democracy (Weimar Republic) to create stability + Bolshevism, which was perceived as a Jewish conspiracy at the time + 19th century White supremacy ideology (HS Chamberland) + German romanticism. But I do agree that there seems to have been a split between the more leftist-inspired NSDAP and more old school traditionalists such as Jünger or Stauffenberg.

    But I am open to other interpretations, of course :)

  76. you could describe them pretty accurately as conservative collectivists, but you could also describe them as a live-action fantasy role-playing game for disgruntled WWI vets and be about as close.

    Haha, what a fun way to put it. For more LARPy arch-rightists, check out Japanese author Yukio Mishima, who committed ritual suicide with a sword after failing to restore traditional rule to Japan in 1970. I’ve spoken to some Japanese; he’s actually quite renowned as an author there.

  77. >When you compare politics as usual and equate your opponent to Hitler, the SS, the final solution, the T4, Goebbels and the like, you lose, no matter your justification.

    Agreed, with a qualified exception for Goebbels – comparisons of modern political propaganda to the Nazi variety are often apt, since the Nazis pioneered many modern techniques.

    However, it’s not clear to me that this is what Beck and other conservatives are doing. This is a point on which I have no real first-hand knowledge; I’ve never listened to Beck and don’t pay any attention to talk radio in general. But, as a matter of principle, it is perfectly legitimate to compare Nazi ideology to the ideologies of modern political factions, and to argue that similar ideologies will lead to similarly horrific ends. Are you sure that’s not what they’re doing?

    After seeing “No Pressure”, for example, it would still be crazy to assert that AGW alarmism is morally equivalent to a real existing Dachau or Auschwitz. It is now, on the other hand, justified to say that the 10:10 campaign displays a Nazi-like attitude to imagining the deaths of schoolchildren for passive thoughtcrime, treating it as humor or possibly even a desirable outcome.

  78. >But I do agree that there seems to have been a split between the more leftist-inspired NSDAP and more old school traditionalists such as Jünger or Stauffenberg.

    Right, and that’s an important clue. The most dangerous opposition the Nazis faced, from the 1920s to the exposure of the von Stauffenberg plot, was from conservative monarchists – I came within a hair of mentioning this in my previous post, because the disdain of the Junkers for Hitler’s socialist thugs was an important source of tension and conflict between the Nazis and the military.

    >To call all Nazis basically commies in different uniforms is a libertarian oversimplification IMHO.

    Not if you look at how the Nazis ran economic policy while in power or the anti-capitalist things Hitler routinely said in his speeches clear up to his death. Hostility to free markets and the profit motive survived the suppression of the more explicit socialists like the Strasser brothers and remained a consistent theme of regime propaganda, associated with “Jewish greed”.

    My views on this topic used to be more similar to yours. Then I found out how much of the socialist stuff got edited out of postwar accounts of Naziism. It amounts almost to selective blindness on the part of later historians, really.

  79. My views on this topic used to be more similar to yours. Then I found out how much of the socialist stuff got edited out of postwar accounts of Naziism. It amounts almost to selective blindness on the part of later historians, really.

    Oh OK. Guess I need to do check this out then, feel free to give me some reading tips.

  80. Way to paint everyone with the same brush there, Eric.

    FWIW I had nothing to do with this video and find it bizarre. I have never even heard of 10:10 before. But I’m not interested in sitting around doing nothing about how we treat the environment.

  81. >But I’m not interested in sitting around doing nothing about how we treat the environment.

    I’m not either. Just be careful not to let green zealotry con you into doing counterproductive things, like opposing fission power or over-focusing on CO2 emissions when there are much more pressing issues like loss of habitat diversity and deforestation that you could be doing something about.

    The urge to do something to demonstrate your virtue is a traditional target of religious hucksters.

  82. One of the things Beck has done is point out in our own history, when organizations like the German-American Bund had actual Nazi rallies in the US; how the intellectuals here were rather cozy with the Fascisti and NSDAP until Adolph turned on Uncle Joe.

    He’s also reminded us of when Germans were persecuted during WWI (a jury actually acquitted a guy of beating a pastor to death for praying in German with a terminally ill parishoner, based on the anti-German prejudice whipped up by the propagandists) and Germans, Italians, and Japanese interned for no reason other than their ethnicity.

    [Disclaimer: I am of mostly German heritage myself, so I don't pretend to be completely unbiased when discussing these matters.]

  83. You know, I find my memory going back to the opening scenes of Joss Whedon’s Serenity, with little River Tam sitting in class and questioning her teacher’s optimistic account of the central planets’ military conquest of the outer colonies as “meddling.” Only in this version River’s head would explode in red ruin, and the film would be very short.

    What’s striking about this, to me, is not so much the environmentalism, or even the murderousness, but the sheer intolerance of dissent or doubt.

  84. Eric, if you wanted to make a charitable contribution to an environmental cause without supporting any anti-capitalist nutjobbery by doing so,where would you donate?

  85. Eric, if you wanted to make a charitable contribution to an environmental cause without supporting any anti-capitalist nutjobbery by doing so,where would you donate?

    I’ll just hijack this with an interesting notion that I got from Eliezer Yudkowski: when you donate to charity you want to accomplish 3 goals: feel good, increase your status among peers, and actually get some good done. Eliezer’s idea was to unpack these three types of “currencies” which he called hedons, utilons, and I forget the one that was tied to social status, and pick 3 charities instead of only 1 which would suboptimally allocate these three goals. A cool idea I think.

  86. >Eric, if you wanted to make a charitable contribution to an environmental cause without supporting any anti-capitalist nutjobbery by doing so,where would you donate?

    I’d find an environmental land trust and donate to that. You have to be careful, though, some of these outfits have succumbed to MADD-like mission creep and now lobby for coercive laws.

  87. @ William H. Stoddard

    >What’s striking about this, to me, is not so much the environmentalism, or even the murderousness, but the sheer intolerance of dissent or doubt.

    Typical of any faith based ideology. There can be no tolerance of dissent, otherwise the world view falls apart. We now have a secular equivalent of the church of old, complete with original sin, priests, hair shirts, indulgences, messiahs, and some obviously would like to add the inquisition.

    Do you really think humanity changed much in the last 500 years?

    The true believers will still burn you at the stake for questioning them.

  88. “D’Annunzio (…) you could also describe them as a live-action fantasy role-playing game for disgruntled WWI vets and be about as close”

    Close enough – D’Annunzio was neither a politician nor an ideologue in the usual senses of these words, but a poet who treat the whole thing as a sort of an art-in-action, an actualization of aesthetical-romantic ideas. This might be something very difficult to understand.

    Most commenters here and probably yourself are used to the idea that politics is either about ideology/doctrines or about interests. Politics as essentially something of an aesthetic ideal, of a certain ideal expressed in style, impressions and feelings instead of actual ideas and programs and values might sound crazy to you – because, of course, it IS crazy, it is completely irrational, or rather is not even irrational, rather “not even wrong”, a kind of hyperreal simulation instead of being something irrational in the sense a lie or a falsehood is irrational. Such politics has less connection to reality than lies or falsehoods have, because those have a direct connection to reality as a distortion of it, while this sort of thing is simply a whole world of imagination which just does not connect to reality in any way.

    This is one of the reasons I am kind of fascinated by American & British politics because its general nature is that both sides tend to be rooted in reality one way or another, at least to that level a good lie or a believable falsehood is, while the politics of my homeland, Hungary, and partially also Italy, France, and even Germany 1914-1918 are basically rooted in poetry, with statements neither right nor wrong but simply part of an aesthetical, poetical, romantic ideal that has not relationship to reality whatsoever. Stuff that would be easier to paint on canvas than to actually debate about. This of course I find extremely confusing, I just can’t make head or tails of it, and therefore I’m attracted to debates that are more reality-based.

    Anyway. The point is that D’Annunzio’s politics was basically an extreme example of a more general trend here – politics not as interests nor as ideology or doctrine, but as the fake-actualization of a romantic poetical-aesthetical ideal.

  89. I also think there’s good evidence for AGW.

    I found it plausible at one time, but once I read a far bit of the material leaked from the CRU, and found out how much effort they’d put into perverting the peer-review process, I flat-out don’t trust any of the AGW claims.

  90. >Anyway. The point is that D’Annunzio’s politics was basically an extreme example of a more general trend here – politics not as interests nor as ideology or doctrine, but as the fake-actualization of a romantic poetical-aesthetical ideal.

    Yeah. Continental European philosophy is mostly like that too – very little of it is worth the powder to blow it out of the water. While I’m not and have never been a Randite, I understood Ayn Rand’s strident rationalism a lot better once I understood what she was reacting against.

  91. Shenpen: that is very observant of you actually. I think this dreamy romantic aestheticism of Fascism, combined with a quite rational disgust for mainstream politics, is what drives many smart people to flirt with the far right. The realpolitik of such movement is of course always a different animal. I were cleverer I would write something on the concept of Weltanschauung, Heidegger, and the Medieval notion of ratio and intellectus. But I’ll just throw those out and someone else can do it…

    http://medievalmind.blogspot.com/2009/02/ratio-and-intellectus.html

    The word Weltanschaaung itself implies “intellectus” I think.

    “The middle Ages drew a distinction between the understanding as ratio and the understanding as intellectus. Ratio is the power of discursive, logical thought, of searching and of examination, of abstraction, of definition and drawing conclusions. Intellectus, on the other hand, is the name for the understanding insofar as it is the capacity of simplex intuitus, of that simple vision to which truth offers itself like a landscape to the eye. ”

    Maybe we could add the axis of ratio-driven vs intellectus-driven to political charts?

  92. >Shenpen: that is very observant of you actually. I think this dreamy romantic aestheticism of Fascism, combined with a quite rational disgust for mainstream politics, is what drives many smart people to flirt with the far right.

    I completely agree. This is what Georges Sorel was arguing when he suggested that a successful form of socialism needed to be “irrationalist” – that is, incorporate romance and spectacle and the urges of the id as well as (or even instead of) rational argument.

    The Sorelian argument was critical to the development of fascism. The dark, compelling pageantry of the Nuremberg rallies was perhaps its ultimate expression.

  93. Btw, on philosophy: is the whole field just a scam to keep people teaching in universities, or is there actually something to it that you cannot get from neuroscience, psychology, logic, and self help books*? Philosophy’s job is ostensibly to tell us stuff about epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, politics and aesthetics (Rand’s enumeration) but it seems to me that all of the interesting and actually useful stuff in those areas are being produced by non-philosophic disciplines.

    I’m not the only one inquiring about this: http://www.paulgraham.com/philosophy.html

    * I’m serious about this. Aristotle can teach us about how to live the good life via virtue ethics and we can get college credits for regurgitating this, but why do we not pay equal heed to Tony Robbins or whomever, who is talking about basically the same thing, and with the same level of evidence, but way sexier? It is just because the one dude is 2500 years older give or take and was endorsed by a big organized religion whilst the other is a sleazy salesman who got rich by hawking his wares on TV Shop?

  94. >Btw, on philosophy: is the whole field just a scam to keep people teaching in universities, or is there actually something to it that you cannot get from neuroscience, psychology, logic, and self help books*?

    There is, but it’s buried under about a cubic light-year of of crap. Damn. I need to write a book about this.

  95. why do we not pay equal heed to Tony Robbins or whomever, who is talking about basically the same thing, and with the same level of evidence, but way sexier?

    Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Comes recommended by neither neuroscientists nor linguists, and can probably not be rescued by programmers.

  96. > Eric, if you wanted to make a charitable contribution to an environmental cause without supporting any anti-capitalist nutjobbery by doing so,where would you donate?

    I’m not Eric, but I’d suggest looking at the pro-hunting/fishing organizations.

  97. @Jeff Read: “Oh, and by the way, 10:10 have stated they make no effort to remove the copies of “No Pressure” floating around the ‘tubes.”

    That line was added after their unsuccessful attempts to squash it. A copy of their initial statement is archived here:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100056586/eco-fascism-jumps-the-shark-massive-epic-fail/

    The entire message has since been replaced by still another from the Director of 10:10 UK.

  98. Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Comes recommended by neither neuroscientists nor linguists, and can probably not be rescued by programmers.

    Please tell me more about why you dislike NLP? I don’t know a great deal about it, so I am not promising that I can participate with great vigor in this argument. In any case, my mentioning Tony Robbins was not meant as a defense of NLP (or NAC, as he calls it) but rather I mentioned him because he is an iconic self help guru, who most people in America will have heard of.

  99. Well of course NLP isn’t recommended by neuroscientists or linguists; who goes around recommending their superior competition?

    Nor does it need programmers to rescue it; the reverse applies, if anything.

  100. My argument was basically that lifestyle philosophers (ie they try to tell us how we should live) such as Aristotle get a lot of credibility in academia whereas the self help industry, who are basically in the lifestyle philosophy field also, are seen as cheesy and lacking in seriosity. All I know is that cheesy American self help books improved my life a fuck ton whereas philosophy did nothing for me except add to my perplexity. But maybe the good life is sitting around and being confused and miserable. A lot of European intellectuals would probably nod approvingly to that notion :)

  101. TMR: I think it was twenty years ago or so that I started thinking about the prospect that environmentalism would turn into a new religion—specifically, a religion of city people against ignorant and despicable country folk, as Christianity was two thousand years ago (both “pagan” and “heathen” effectively mean “redneck”). I didn’t expect to see it progress so fast. Why, we already have it demanding heresy trials. What next, a Green Inquisition? Or do we have that already?

  102. Btw is it OK to start off topic discussions here? You should have a forum, or at least a fixed “open thread”. I am always getting all kinds ideas that I want to bounce with ESR’s intellect :)

  103. On the subject of philosophy, I learned more useful things in philosophy from Ayn Rand than from any two other thinkers, though Lao Tzu, Aristotle, Spinoza, Reid, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein also had worthwhile things to say. Above everything else, Rand is an “outside in” philosopher who takes the real, physical world, the world we actually live in, as her starting point, instead of starting from the inside of her own head, like Descartes or Kant. On the other hand, some years ago, I ran across Lenin’s “Materialism and Empirio-Criticism,” an attack on the positivist/conventionalist theory of science favored by people like Mach, and was startled to realize that Lenin not only offered arguments a lot like Rand’s but attacked the positions he rejected in very similar language. Nonetheless, anyone who’s in favor of belief in physical reality, biologically founded ethics, happiness as the goal of ethics, individual rights, and the market economy, and against theism and statism, has gotten off to a good start in my book.

  104. Please tell me more about why you dislike NLP?

    I don’t *dislike* it as such, I just think it lacks much scientific basis. The Skeptic’s Dictionary has a reasonable overview. It’s “bizlore” (definition here). Some people just lap it up, but then, that’s what it’s designed for. It’s also a big part of “speed seduction”, which creeps me out a bit.

  105. Ayn Rand always struck me as close to self help literature. I don’t think it is a coincidence that her main “apostle” Nathaniel Branden wrote a bunch of stuff about self-esteem. Rand’s concept of “romantic sense of life” seems very self-helpy (and I mean that as a compliment). In personal development books it would be called “abundance mentality” and/or “having internal locus of control”.

  106. I don’t *dislike* it as such, I just think it lacks much scientific basis. The Skeptic’s Dictionary has a reasonable overview. It’s “bizlore” (definition here). Some people just lap it up, but then, that’s what it’s designed for. It’s also a big part of “speed seduction”, which creeps me out a bit.

    I see. I am actually listening to Speed Seduction 3.0 right now so I may be a bit biased :)

  107. >I am always getting all kinds ideas that I want to bounce with ESR’s intellect :)

    The right way to handle that is to stimulate me into blogging about the topic. We get way too much threadjacking around here as it is.

  108. The right way to handle that is to stimulate me into blogging about the topic. We get way too much threadjacking around here as it is.

    A lot of the time the required granularity is somewhere between private email exchange and dedicated blog post.

  109. > Oh OK. Guess I need to do check this out then, feel free to give me some reading tips.

    Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” is a fairly lightweight treatment of it, but I suspect if you go through his footnotes that will give you the depth you want.

  110. Actually, the Skeptic’s Dictionary entry on NLP is riddled with straw men, selection bias in choices of examples, and numerous other errors. It is unreasonable. Here’s an example:

    “One NLP guru, Dale Kirby, informs us that one of the presuppositions of NLP is ‘No one is wrong or broken.’ So why seek remedial change?”

    Uh, maybe because seeking the acquisition and improvement of current skills etc. does not *necessarily require* a context of wrongness or brokenness in the client ITFP?

    I could go on picking this entry to pieces for literally hours. I’m hardly an expert in NLP, but even I can see examples where Carroll’s criticisms are clearly far more the result of his ignorance about the topic than his knowledge, and his failure to apply skeptical standards to his own presuppositions and biases. About the only thing his assessment is good for is serving as an example of people’s thoughtless knee-jerk rejection of NLP’s structurally built-in tendency to make people take more responsibility for themselves and the consequences of their actions. If you’ve ever seen someone react irrationally in response to being asked how their actions are supposed to help achieve their goals, Carroll’s entry may look familiar.

  111. >Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism” is a fairly lightweight treatment of it, but I suspect if you go through his footnotes that will give you the depth you want.

    Yes. I remember reading summaries of this book when it came out and being dumbfounded. How could anyone study 20th-century political history and not know these things? It had been so long since I began examining the roots of Fascism around age 12 or 13, after reading Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, that I could barely remember my own previous state of ignorance.

  112. The 10:10 video should be viewed within the context of an overall strategy that may be implemented by incipient tyrants. For example, should they gain sufficient power, they will attempt to enforce conformity with their beliefs via a succession of techniques beginning with persuasion, then indoctrination, bribery, coercion, starvation, large scale detention, and finally extermination. This video is intended primarily as a warning to non believers and secondarily to make indoctrination seem preferable to extermination.

    Furthermore, I don’t think they were trying to make a funny video. I think they were celebrating the fantasy of killing non believers.

  113. Furthermore, I don’t think they were trying to make a funny video. I think they were celebrating the fantasy of killing non believers.

    The Nazis were collectivists. Hippies are collectivists. Therefore, hippies are Nazis!

    Not terribly robust if your audience knows about Venn diagrams, but that’s a minority at the best of times.

  114. A. H. A.: Nathaniel Branden indeed was one of the very early people to write about self-esteem, perhaps the first; his The Psychology of Self-Esteem came out not longer after his relationship (personal and professional) with Rand crashed and burned, and was made up mostly of essays he had written for Objectivist periodicals published under her auspices, during the 1960s. But perhaps because of Rand’s emphasis, Branden’s version of “self-esteem” was one that had to be earned through ethical conduct and productive work; it was not something that could be “given” to someone—that approach is an almost perfect example of Rand’s idea of people wanting to reverse cause and effect (give people self-esteem by praising them and it will make them virtuous and productive).

    I don’t think your idea of Rand as being close to self-help literature is an unfitting comparison. Rand’s biggest ethical inspiration was clearly Aristotle, and Aristotle’s ethical principles (eudaimonism, or an ethics aimed at attaining happiness as the highest good; virtue ethics, or ethics aimed at making beneficial modes of conduct ‘second nature’ rather than at following rules) are all about leading a good, happy, fulfilling life, which seems to be the goal of the better self-help literature. The idea that self-help is foreign to ethics reflects cultural assumptions that Aristotle would have found deeply weird.

  115. About the only thing his assessment is good for is serving as an example of people’s thoughtless knee-jerk rejection of NLP’s structurally built-in tendency to make people take more responsibility for themselves and the consequences of their actions.

    Almost like a Kafkatrap, innit. Your kneejerk refusal to acknowledge the truth of NLP proves that you are in need of the truths that only NLP has to offer. But it’s like it says in the conclusion, the techniques may well work in some cases, but without a deeper neurological understanding of what’s going on the claims aren’t falsifiable. Perhaps the aroma of tent-show hucksterism coming off the thing has led some cynics to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but that’s just what cynics do.

  116. >Almost like a Kafkatrap, innit.

    Much closer to being being unfalsifiable than “Your kind thought this was funny”, anyway.

  117. A.H.A.: Your link to the metacontrarianism stuff reminds me, slightly, of a distinction I learnt about from medieval scholasticism, and later found could be traced to Aristotle:

    Demonstration involves reaching conclusions by systematic reasoning (which, for Aristotle, means syllogisms and inductive arguments) from starting points that are definitely known.
    Dialectic involves systematic reasoning based on opinions and probabilities.
    Rhetoric appeals to people who don’t engage in systematic reasoning, through enthymeme (arguments where some of the premises are not explicitly stated or identified, but amount to tacit appeals to “common sense”) and striking examples.

    It seems to me that in the United States, currently, conservatives tend to favor rhetoric; progressives tend to favor dialectic, though they’re not unwilling to engage in rhetoric; public choice theorists and such tend to favor something approaching demonstration, though their ideas are sometimes translated into rhetoric or dialectic by libertarians of various sorts. This doesn’t exactly make public choice theorists metacontrarians, but the other two groups fit the model well enough to make this seem worth thinking about.

  118. If you think the video is offensive then you’re part of a “a concerted attempt by 10:10 and its allies to scrub this thing off the public Internet”.

    If you don’t, then “[y]our kind thought this was funny“.

    More of a Catch-22 than a Kafkatrap; either way it’s a dishonest rhetorical trick.

  119. >More of a Catch-22 than a Kafkatrap; either way it’s a dishonest rhetorical trick.

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

    Ha. Ha. Ha. You know, between the CRU disclosures, the Chinese being willing to scupper the Copenhagen deal, and this video, I’m thinking it’s about over for all the slimy totalitarian scumbags in the warmist camp. They’ll have to find a new con game now. This one is busted.

    You, pete, get to choose where or not you remain their tool.

  120. >More of a Catch-22 than a Kafkatrap; either way it’s a dishonest rhetorical trick.

    Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

    Ha. Ha. Ha. You know, between the CRU disclosures, the Chinese being willing to scupper the Copenhagen deal, and this video, I’m thinking it’s about over for all the slimy totalitarian scumbags in the warmist camp. You’ll have to find a new con game now. This one is busted.

    One of my favourite scenes in Foundation has Salvor Hardin apply some form of mathematico-linguistics to a message (from the Galactic Empire iirc), the result showing that the message contains no actual content.

    While your reply has the ostensible form of a response to my point, it amounts to nothing more than deflection.

  121. > While I agree with this, I also think there’s good evidence for AGW.

    Where? We have no global instrumental data record dating prior to December 1979. All we have is on a global basis is a human-modified set of numbers that can’t be checked against the deleted raw for mistakes or bias. There are no even approximately global temperature proxies that have been calibrated against the last thirty years of (satellite) data instead of the uncheckable human-modified numbers. The result is, there is no data from which one can conclude that 2009 was warmer or colder, on a global basis, than any year, in all of human history, prior to 1980.

    Never mind any other disputes about interpretation or modelling or whatnot. The post-Climategate status of the AGW debate is there is no reliable evidence global warming of any cause exists, and won’t until somebody actually goes and collects the scattered national instrumental temperature records again.

  122. Adriano: I made that comment because it is true. As the AVERAGE temperature around the globe increases, so will the VARIABILITY of the climate. That means that it will be hotter in some places and colder in some other places. And since the AGW movement is based on using hot weather to convince people that outliers mean that the average is increasing, then surely the Anthropic Climate Change movement will sieze *both* hot and cold days as proof that the climate is changing.

    Just like it does every 1500+-500 years for at least 60 cycles.

  123. @Adriano:

    Since Russell chipped in with his comment, I’ll make mine: That comment was specifically related to conflating weather with climate change. Just because some big weather event happens doesn’t mean it’s related to climate change. Blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, and so forth have happened throughout the ages and they aren’t necessarily indicative of any change. You have to look at patterns, not individual events.

  124. If you think the video is offensive then you’re part of a “a concerted attempt by 10:10 and its allies to scrub this thing off the public Internet”.

    If you don’t, then “[y]our kind thought this was funny“.

    More of a Catch-22 than a Kafkatrap; either way it’s a dishonest rhetorical trick.

    Alternatively you can respond the way that Bill McKibben from 350.org did. As Greg said “We’ll see who genuinely condemns this, and who tries to make it disappear, pretend it never happened, or desperately try to change the subject.”

    The problem with your statement is that the two are two separate condemnations that shouldn’t exclude a middle ground.

    The correct solution should never be to censor it. End of story. Thats close enough to a motherhood and apple pie statement that i’m not sure if i’d understand an argument against it.

    At the same time, ESR suggests that anyone facing an AGW evangelist claiming “moral or intellectual superiority” (e.g. “climate change deniers are some of the worst enemies of humanity today”) should be given this video as exhibit A on the way to puncturing their assumed moral authority.

    It’s definately not a kafkatrap (all of the conditions are trivially falsifiable).
    It’s also not a catch-22 because it’s possible to not be an AGW evangelist claiming moral or intellectual superiority (note that AGW evangelist is not the same as an AGW believer) and also not attempt to censor the video. Actually it’s pretty easy.

  125. JonB:

    Alternatively you can respond the way that Bill McKibben from 350.org did. As Greg said “We’ll see who genuinely condemns this, and who tries to make it disappear, pretend it never happened, or desperately try to change the subject.”

    The problem with your statement is that the two are two separate condemnations that shouldn’t exclude a middle ground.

    I (perhaps wrongly) assumed that esr knew about Bill’s condemnation of the video, and would classify it as part of the “scrubbing” attempt. If you’re right, then the response to “[y]our kind thought this was funny” is “actually, no, they didn’t

    The correct solution should never be to censor it. End of story. Thats close enough to a motherhood and apple pie statement that i’m not sure if i’d understand an argument against it.

    I’m not convinced that censoring your own speech is as obviously wrong as you claim (ironically Kafka asked that his unpublished work, including The Trial, be burnt unread).

    In fact, when someone admits their error, it’s pretty dishonest to run around claiming “this is so offensive I’m compelled to share it with as many people as possible”.

  126. >I (perhaps wrongly) assumed that esr knew about Bill’s condemnation of the video, and would classify it as part of the “scrubbing” attempt.

    Neither. I knew of McKibben’s reaction and evaluated it was probably genuine, which is why I laughed at your talk of Catch-22s. You were simply projecting all over me, and I knew it. I had been referring to the initial phase of 10:10′s reaction, when they pulled the video off YouTube and I read it had disappeared without explanation off of a few other places it was hosted. 10:10 changed its spin later, but James Delingpole and others have kept copies of its initial statement.

    I expect to have much joy as I watch different bits of the AGW-fraudsters’ coalition thrash at each other about this. With any luck, it will drive away most of the honest dupes as they realize the kind of monstrous inhumanity they’ve been fronting for, leaving only the hard core of the genuinely evil to be dealt with.

  127. esr:

    Neither. I knew of McKibben’s reaction and evaluated it was probably genuine, which is why I laughed at your talk of Catch-22s.

    If you had think that McKibben’s reaction was probably genuine, then how can you continue to claim that “[y]our kind thought this was funny“?

    You were simply projecting all over me, and I knew it.

    Ah, the “projection” Kafkatrap: your criticism of belief X is evidence for your unconscious believe in X.

    I expect to have much joy as I watch different bits of the AGW-fraudsters’ coalition thrash at each other about this.

    The coalition is split between those who think the video was stupid and those who think the video was stupid and offensive. If they were Christians or socialists this would be enough for decades of internecine fighting.

  128. I expect to have much joy

    There should be a word for this lip-smacking anticipatory schadenfreude thing, but I can’t find one.

    …as they realize the kind of monstrous inhumanity they’ve been fronting for, leaving only the hard core of the genuinely evil to be dealt with.

    As far as pushing the envelope of human depravity goes, making ads, even offputtingly gross ones, is kind of small beer IMO.

  129. >If you had think that McKibben’s reaction was probably genuine, then how can you continue to claim that “[y]our kind thought this was funny“?

    Because I didn’t see McKibben’s reaction until after I wrote my post. Some of us have been following this lovely clusterfuck from the period of initial paralysis before 10:10 and its allies started spinning; do try to keep up.

    >If they were Christians or socialists this would be enough for decades of internecine fighting.

    What a bracing and wonderful prospect. Warmists tearing at each other would be something to gloat over, indeed. Leaves ‘em less energy for, er, pressing big red buttons.

  130. Because I didn’t see McKibben’s reaction until after I wrote my post.

    You’ve seen his reaction now. Do you stand by your claim: “Your kind thought this was funny“?

  131. >You’ve seen his reaction now. Do you stand by your claim: “Your kind thought this was funny“?

    Yes, because I believe on evidence that the fanaticism and moral incompetence manifested in “No Pressure” is the norm among warmists rather than the exception. Every movement has outliers; McKibben appears to be one scattered in the direction of sanity and moral proportion, and by himself is not sufficient to falsify general claims about the movement.

    When and if I see a solid majority of warmist organizations and advocates repudiate analogies of skeptics with Holocaust deniers, quasi-religious ranting about sacrilege against Gaia, and the eliminationist ranting of those who call for most of the human race to die to reduce the carbon load, then I will consider the possibility that “your kind” means something different. But I no more expect these things to occur than I expect hyenas to cease eating carrion.

  132. A masterful combination of the No-True-Scotsman fallacy, Goalpost-moving, the Kafkatrap, and the Will-You-Condemn-A-Thon! Alas, I was a conscientious objector during The Usenet Wars and cannot hope to match such rhetorical skill.

    Seriously though, 10:10 have retracted and apologised, 350 have condemned the video — it would be deeply dishonest to pretend that the video represents the views of everyone associated with them.

  133. If you’re right, then the response to “[y]our kind thought this was funny” is “actually, no, they didn’t”

    Stripping a claim of all context, doesn’t make your argument any more sensible.

    If a group tries to claim the moral high ground then it is appropriate to point out that members of the group have done things that would deny them that high ground.

    To reply “actually, no, they didn’t” would mean that you’re arguing that 10:10 isn’t a supporter of AGW. Maybe they’re not a true supporter of AGW.

    Just to summarise :-

    * I’m not trying to say all AGW thought this funny.
    * I’m not saying that AGW is any more or less believable because of this video.
    * I AM saying that there are people inside the AGW movement who thought this video was funny.
    * I AM saying that that damages any claim they may have to inherent moral superiority.

  134. >I expect to have much joy as I watch different bits of the AGW-fraudsters’ coalition thrash at each other about this. With any luck, it will drive away most of the honest dupes as they realize the kind of monstrous inhumanity they’ve been fronting for, leaving only the hard core of the genuinely evil to be dealt with.

    LOL

    Just wow. There is a world of types of dupes involved, since the spin is so pervasive in the science. Everywhere one looks one finds distortions, exaggerations, fraudulent data/conclusions, lies and deceit. Nothing is as it seems and facts are hard to come by.

  135. >Seriously though, 10:10 have retracted and apologised, 350 have condemned the video — it would be deeply dishonest to pretend that the video represents the views of everyone associated with them.

    I put it in the “unintentionally revealing” category. Apologize how they will, the culture and habits of mind that produced that video are sick. Warped. Anti-humane. If it existed in isolation, I might relent – but it is so perfectly continuous with the rest of the totalitarian-minded ranting coming from warmists that I must view attempts to repudiate it as falsehoods in essence.

    The warmists have to heal themselves, repudiate the cant and fraud and eco-fascist tendencies, before my evaluation will change.

  136. Seriously though, 10:10 have retracted and apologised

    Maybe i’m just unforgiving like that, but does ANYONE believe a PR exercise like that anymore?
    It seemed to me like a going through the motions, we-have-to-say-something-so-I-suppose-sorry-will-do style apology. What are they actually apologising for? As best I can tell they’re apologising that they caused a PR nightmare and might have hindered other like minded groups. They haven’t said something along the lines of “In the cool light of morning, the video was over the top and doesn’t really represent the kind of message we wish to convey”.

    Maybe i’m biased, i don’t discount the possibility.

  137. * I’m not trying to say all AGW thought this funny.

    Others are:

    esr: I believe on evidence that the fanaticism and moral incompetence manifested in “No Pressure” is the norm among warmists rather than the exception.

    * I’m not saying that AGW is any more or less believable because of this video.

    esr is not only talking about the moral high ground but also the intellectual high ground.

    * I AM saying that there are people inside the AGW movement who thought this video was funny.

    * I AM saying that that damages any claim they may have to inherent moral superiority.

    esr seems to think that the video somehow damages the intellectual credibility of those who thought the video was stupid.

    The question is, does this video provide evidence that

    (a) a small number of climate activists are incredibly stupid, or

    (b) the majority of climate activists, climate scientists, and their supporters are stupid and evil.

    I think the both of us are closer to (a) than (b).

  138. >esr is not only talking about the moral high ground but also the intellectual high ground.

    Because I don’t think the two are cleanly separable in a case like this. But I’m focusing mainly on the moral issue here.

    The alternative to “Your kind thought this was funny” is “Your kind has fantasies of exploding the heads of children to enforce doctrinal correctness”. Is that the line you would have preferred at the end of my blog entry?

  139. Apologize how they will, the culture and habits of mind that produced that video are sick. Warped. Anti-humane.

    As per my original point, the “culture and habits of mind” that produced the video are British, not anti-AGW.

    totalitarian-minded ranting (http://www.green-agenda.com/)

    You might want to consider getting your impressions of the anti-AGW movement from a less dishonest source than that website. Apparently Lamb’s qualitative sketch of Central England temperatures tells us something useful about Greenland’s climate history?

  140. Others are:

    esr: I believe on evidence that the fanaticism and moral incompetence manifested in “No Pressure” is the norm among warmists rather than the exception.

    Indeed. Doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me. It’s happened before that i’ve been arguing a more moderate(? if thats the right adjective) line than ESR. But i don’t think it harms my overall point.

    esr is not only talking about the moral high ground but also the intellectual high ground.
    [snip]
    esr seems to think that the video somehow damages the intellectual credibility of those who thought the video was stupid.

    Sure. I don’t mind adding that last point again replacing moral with “intellectual”. The great thing about science is that the person doing the science is immaterial so long as they have a solid argument. It doesn’t matter if you’re totally barking crazy so long as your papers are well supported.

    The problem is that many of the public arguments of AGW supporters, the ones that are affecting governmental policy, come down to claims to moral and intellectual authority. (i.e. “trust us we’re climatologists. We’re smart and want to hug the planet.”)
    My argument is that this is a piece of evidence to say “Quit it with the appeals to authority. Pony up with the data to prove your damn case already.”

  141. @JonB:

    I think we’re agreed that the video hurts the intellectual credibility of those involved. I’m saying that it shouldn’t hurt the intellectual credibility of those not involved.

    @esr:

    This video, along with most every other similar atrocity, is the responsibility of those residing in the Northern Hemisphere. May I then safely disregard your views?

  142. What a wonderful quote from C.S. Lewis. True words of wisdom. That being said, I don’t quite get true moral outrage about the skit. I see more shocking things watching anime.

  143. As per my original point, the “culture and habits of mind” that produced the video are British, not anti-AGW.

    Should have been marked “Black Humour: Not For Export”, perhaps.

  144. I sincerely wonder if the apologists who think the after-the-fact apology is sufficient realize the degree of work and exactling effort and craftsmanship it takes to put together something like this.

    A LOT of people had to think this was a great idea before it blew up in their faces, so yes, quite a lot of them *did* think it was funny. When you look at the (relatively fringe) sabotage end of the Earth-First movement, the (growing) numbers of not-quite-fringe ecological proclaimers talking in real terms of humans effectively *not* breeding themselves into near extinction, the malthusan and apocalyptic terms of the debate (“Inconvenient Truth, anyone?), this rapidly becomes less funny.

    As was pointed out elsewhere – skits like the MP “How to remain hidden” are funny because it’s obvious the narrator is a wannabe “evil overlord.” Even the crueler Black Adder stuff is funny because the person *actually* being shown up is the one *inflicting* the cruelty – and the victims are not otherwise innocents chosen for having the wrong thoughts.

  145. correction to above… sufficient to show a different mindset than “I thought this was funny…”

  146. Maybe i’m just unforgiving like that, but does ANYONE believe a PR exercise like that anymore?

    This is exactly right. They pushed out a video that was absolutely disgusting and definitely morally reprehensible, and then when people get upset about it, they so “Oh, I’m sorry.”

    No. “I’m sorry” doesn’t fscking cut it. A video like that requires weeks of effort. There was actual forethought and planning that went it to that. You can’t put out something like that and then come and say “well, that wasn’t what we meant to say.” Yes it clearly is what you meant to say. Yes that clearly does portray your position and beliefs. Now get a life you stupid sociopaths.

  147. How much did that video cost to produce? It never occurred to any of the principals involved to just use the money to buy up some carbon credits, or invest in some ‘green’ industry? It’s all about the activists egos…someone that was really concerned might have considered leading by example.

  148. “How much did that video cost to produce? It never occurred to any of the principals involved to just use the money to buy up some carbon credits, or invest in some ‘green’ industry? It’s all about the activists egos…someone that was really concerned might have considered leading by example.”
    This is silly. By this reasoning, no advertisement should ever be made because “there’s always something better they could have done with the money”. Perhaps they wanted to, I don’t know, reach out and spread the word? If you lead by example, and nobody knows, what example is it? “How will the people of this planet know I’m a good Duke if I don’t tell them?”

    Granted, they did it spectacularly badly, but the reason for doing _an_ ad is clear.

  149. Bennett,

    Jarringly offtopic.

    LS,

    There is considerable benefit to getting the word out. A major contributor to greenhouse gas emission is individual transport and consumption, so the choices of individuals matter and mass media is a great way to influence individual opinions and choices.

    Also the video itself is testament to what you can achieve while remaining conscientious about greenhouse gas emissions: the cast and crew travelled by public rail and hybrid vehicle and there was a strict “no air travel” rule in place.

  150. @ Jeff Read

    >Also the video itself is testament to what you can achieve while remaining conscientious about greenhouse gas emissions: the cast and crew travelled by public rail and hybrid >vehicle and there was a strict “no air travel” rule in place.

    which merely serves to illustrate the hypocrisy of those involved.

  151. @ESR
    > Yes. I remember reading summaries of this book when it came out and being dumbfounded.
    > How could anyone study 20th-century political history and not know these things? It had
    > been so long since I began examining the roots of Fascism around age 12 or 13,
    > after reading Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, that I could barely remember my
    > own previous state of ignorance.

    Most people have *NO* interest in education for it’s own sake. There are an honest few who will evidence this, and will honestly admit it when cornered. Many however seek a very limited education simply to buttress their worldview. See those who repetitively read the same books (Bible, Koran, Shakespeare, CatB, whatever) seeking to rend “new” answers out of them.

    It is a fairly small percentage of people who will not only seek out *new* information, but evaluate that new information and modify their worldview (or significant chunks of it) based on that new information.

    Most people are peasants. Peasants with degrees in Mechanical Engineering, or Teaching, or an MD. Yeah, even Doctors are not immune to this sort of crap.

    If they weren’t told it by Experts during Their Education it’s not part of their worldview, they aren’t interested in learning about it, and they don’t care to hear about it.

  152. @ William O. B’Livion

    >If they weren’t told it by Experts during Their Education it’s not part of their worldview, they aren’t interested in learning about it, and they don’t care to hear about it.

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Mostly over my puzzlement at how people who are “educated” and have been through the same process I have can see things so very differently. A certain mindset is focused on received information. Knowing what is “right”. Let’s say they have a doctorate in X. They have a very narrow range of personal experiential learning surrounding X. It would be hard to buffalo them in that one area. However, if something is structured in the way they are used to seeing received knowledge. It will be accepted. To challenge them on this, post acceptance, threatens the entire system they are a part of. So in a way you are challenging the self worth of that individual and everything they have done. They react accordingly.

    There are many ways the pink primates seek to sooth the anxiety of being quite weak on a cosmic scale. Thus we invent many myths. We might even imagine we are powerful enough to “destroy” the earth. Ourselves I will grant…..the earth is doomed anyway.

  153. A.H.A:

    “Maybe we could add the axis of ratio-driven vs intellectus-driven to political charts?”

    I don’t see Fascism or other sorts of Romanticism as intellectus-driven or in any way Medieval. I think it would be more proper to call it emotion-driven, and the important aspect is that the Medieval or Pre-Modern and very much common-sense distinction between good and bad, reasonal and unreasonal, virtuous and not virtuous emotions is lost – I mean it is not exactly rocket science why it is better in 99,9% of the cases to love someone or something than to hate someone or something, but core attribute of the Romantic vision is exactly that this distinction is lost, it is more like give me love or give me hate or just give me anything, because I want to feel something, anything that’s strong. Medieval thought, like Aquinas, was strongly rationalistic plus fideistic on the side, then you have Luther and his condemnation of reason, then there is a rationalistic revival called Enlightenment, which at this second time lacks the fideistic parts, then the general disillusionment of the politics of Enlightenment (Jacobins, Napoleon etc.) leads to the Romantic disillusionment with reason, but a return to faith is no longer desired nor even possible, therefore, due to the lack of a better alternative, emotion, instinct, impression, feeling, “blood”, and most importantly, *will* gets into the focus, which is the Romantic age, and it culminates into Fascism. (Note that Fascism and Nazism are not the same thing, the later having been a much more coolly calculated psychological manipulation system.)

    Third, fourth, fifths axes to the political compass would be necessary, but not intellectus vs. reason. My first candidate would be small and distributed and driven by experience vs. big and planned and driven by abstractions – small business, NGOs and local governments, town councils on one side and big government AND big business on the other side. My second candidate for an axis would be a relationship to the self – self-expression vs. self-control.

  154. A.H.A: on philosophy: what is taught in universities tends to post-modern and modern philosophy and it IS crap, with some notable exceptions. Such exceptions are Wittgenstein – the whole “private language argument” is something with the potential of being extremely important and this a problem not (yet) addressed by the natural sciences. Science is pure only as long as it is expressed in a formal language, mathemathics, and once translated to everyday language all sorts of difficulties arise because everyday language evolved for everyday life and not for science, and the analytical philosophers of the Wittgenstein type are very good at an analysing such issues, they are kind of linguists on steroids with a depth. Another exception – and this will probably come as a surprise from me – I think the concept of the “the Other” and “othering” and “objectification” which Existentialists and Feminists tend to popularize is also something very important. It is buried under deep layers of left-wing crap, but the core idea at some level rhymes very well with Buddhism, because if object and subject are both the mind, then the more we are able to see others are subjects and not as objects, the better our mind functions.

    Having said that, most moderns and post-moderns from Rawls to Derrida are not worth reading and this is what one usually gets in the universities.

    But IMHO the pre-moderns are important and good. I strongly recommend Plato’s Republic to everybody, it has a bad press because people tend to cite only the worsts parts of it (allegory of the cave, tyranny of philosophers), but if you read the whole thing there are very, very good insights in it, especially the Glaucon-dialoge, which just destroys the social contract view on justice and most of our modern political ideas with it. IMHO the core idea of premodern philosophy, that a good life does not simply equal the satisfaction of desires or urges, and then the implications from it, is very important. But you won’t really get that in a modern university. The Republic, plus Nicomachean Ethics and Politics from Aristotle I consider a very, very recommended reading. Even if you consider everything I wrote crap it is still worthwhile to read them because they had such a huge influence on history that they will help a lot in understanding history.

  155. >So in a way you are challenging the self worth of that individual and everything they have done.

    Whereas you can only challenge my self-worth by accusing me of being an insufficiently rigorous rationalist – I have no “received knowledge” tied to my self-image. You’re right, this is a distinction that matters.

    There are times when I think having been exposed to General Semantics when I was still forming my thinking habits was the single happiest accident of my life. Right now is one of them…

  156. @esr

    >There are times when I think having been exposed to General Semantics when I was still forming my thinking habits was the single happiest accident of my life.

    I’m not so fortunate. I have had to hack away at many of my “received” ideas. I did have the advantage of natural curiosity, and a healthy skepticism imparted by my parents. I see it as a lifetime goal to learn as much as possible. Why? I don’t know….just the way I’m wired. Without the internet, it would have been much more difficult for me to do so. Thank you all of hackerdom.

    General Semantics- more bedtime reading.

  157. “If they weren’t told it by Experts during Their Education it’s not part of their worldview”

    Have you ever wondered about the expression used by experts sometimes: “in layman terms”, and its obvious origins? As in – to which extent does the intellectual class see itself as a sort of a modern clergy and has the typical attitudes and reactions of clergies?

  158. @Shenpen

    >Have you ever wondered about the expression used by experts sometimes: “in layman terms”, and its obvious origins? As in – to which extent does the intellectual class see itself as a sort of a modern clergy and has the typical attitudes and reactions of clergies?

    I think many of them fit the description.

    In some respects the internet has done for general knowledge what Gutenberg did for religion. All sorts of informational heresies are emergent here and there. Interestingly, I think some of the more enlightened heretics will out compete the establishment. The old academic societies find themselves in the same place as the religious orders of old. The university in the place of the cathedral. Of course anybody familiar with ESR’s writings will grok this.

    The establishment is of course displeased….now as then. The three legs this whole thing rests on are control of information, energy, and money. Two of these legs are related: money and information. The stool is wobbly. The reaction seems to be to tighten control on energy and to attempt to prop it up with a food leg. I can grow food even if they write down some words that say I can’t. So we have a one legged stool. That leg will probably be gone soon. Any number of synthetic legs are being madly thrust under the tottering edifice…..

  159. Shenpen: In between Aristotle and the linguistic analysis people, there’s Thomas Reid, Hume’s great rival for the leading philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment. His discussion of the senses and the theory of knowledge is worth a look.

  160. In some respects the internet has done for general knowledge what Gutenberg did for religion.

    The Internet is the printing press squared.

    The Internet is the printing press raised to the (printing press) power.

  161. TheMonster:

    The Internet is the printing press raised to the (printing press) power.

    If you start talking about the mathematics of infinities of printing presses, I’m going to have to hurt you.

  162. > If you start talking about the mathematics of infinities of printing presses, I’m going to have to hurt you.

    He’s not a Congressman contemplating how to pay for Obamacare, so no worries.

    Yours,
    Tom

  163. If you start talking about the mathematics of infinities of printing presses

    What about theories involving an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of printing presses?

  164. > What about theories involving an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of printing presses?

    Be careful! Soon Congressmen will be monitoring this thread for economic ideas!

    Yours,
    Tom

  165. If the monkeys are infinitely stupid

    and

    The printing presses are infinite

    Then

    The intersection of infinite money and infinite stupidity = The District of Columbia.

    QED

  166. “General Semantics- more bedtime reading.”

    Whoa! Martin Gardner was not so impressed by that one. (Read “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science” first.)

  167. The Monty Python defence to this video is a real thing? The closest Python similarity I can think of to this video is some of the scenes in Terry Gilliam’s excellent Brazil – scenes which were intended to be disturbing.

  168. The Monty Python defence to this video is a real thing?

    Generally the defense is either the “how not to be seen” skit (which contains no gore and the only indication that someone is getting hurt is screams (and a smoking pair of boots)) or part of Part IV (“It’s wafer thin”) of MP’s Meaning of Life (which does have gore but it’s mostly self inflicted and implausible… one doesn’t literally explode from eating too much).

  169. implausible… one doesn’t literally explode from eating too much

    It might be worth pointing out that environmentalists don’t have (or want) the little red buttons from the No Pressure video.

    Generally the defense is either the “how not to be seen” skit (which contains no gore and the only indication that someone is getting hurt is screams (and a smoking pair of boots))

    Try Salad Days.

  170. >It might be worth pointing out that environmentalists don’t have (or want) the little red buttons from the No Pressure video.

    They don’t have them. Whether they do not want want them is at best not proven. Given that a vocal minority of environmentalists have endorsed the death of billions to bring Earth’s population down to what they consider a sustainable level, the rest of us are entitled to some suspicions on this score.

  171. Given that a vocal minority of environmentalists have endorsed the death of billions to bring Earth’s population down to what they consider a sustainable level, the rest of us are entitled to some suspicions on this score.

    How vocal are they really? If I didn’t read this blog I’d never have heard of deep ecology.

  172. >How vocal are they really? If I didn’t read this blog I’d never have heard of deep ecology.

    Vocal enough that I’ve known about these frightening ghouls since the 1970s. What rock have you been hiding under that you didn’t know the likes of Paul “Population Bomb” Ehrlich and Obama’s own science advisor John Holdren were already calling for massive campaigns of forced sterilization decades ago?

  173. You’ve shifted the goalposts from the death of billions to forced sterilisation.

    You’ve also confused discuss X in a textbook with call for massive campaigns of X.

  174. >You’ve shifted the goalposts from the death of billions to forced sterilisation.

    Yeah? Go read green-agenda.com. You’ll find enough death-of-billions there all right.

  175. >Yeah? Go read green-agenda.com. You’ll find enough death-of-billions there all right

    If I have to go to some obviously dishonest propaganda site to find out about the death-of-billions crowd, that rather proves my point: the only people paying attention to the deep ecologists are the antienvironmentalists.

  176. >If I have to go to some obviously dishonest propaganda site to find out about the death-of-billions crowd, that rather proves my point:

    So you’re telling me you think those eliminationist quotes are fraudulent?

  177. >So you’re telling me you think those eliminationist quotes are fraudulent?

    No, two separate things:

    a) the website’s clearly dishonest; it’s playing with context to encourage misinterpretation of its sources.

    b) the only people listening to the deep ecologists are the kind who run green-agenda.com.

    “Fraudulent” would suggest to me that they were inventing the quotes. They’re dishonest, but not to that extent.

  178. >“Fraudulent” would suggest to me that they were inventing the quotes. They’re dishonest, but not to that extent.

    That those quotes are genuine suffices to establish that there are people with very dangerous intentions lurking in the dark corners of the movement. Some of them, like Earth First!’s Dave Foreman, are believed on good evidence to be in contact with ecoterrorists who have committed actual arsons and bombings. That’s one other group besides your notional “anti-ecologists”, and it’s one with the potential to do harm on megadeath scales. Like, if it gets the bioweapons these eliminationists have already stated they want to deploy.

  179. The existence of the Deep Ecology movement isn’t at issue here.

    So “No Pressure”, unlike any Monty Python sketch, has to be interpreted in context as a statement from a coalition that includes people who are at least theoretically pro-genocide.

    You’re claiming that the No Pressure video is a result of eliminationist tendencies within the green movement.

    I’m saying that it’s a result of sick British humour. Richard Curtis has probably never heard of Deep Ecology.

    People assert lots of things I don’t agree with in my comments. If I called out every single instance I’d never get anything else done.

    This is why the Will-You-Condemn-A-Thon tactic doesn’t advance a debate. Deep Ecology is irrelevant to the debate on global warming. Requiring me to condemn Deep Ecology is as pointless as requiring you to condemn Stormfront.

  180. >This is why the Will-You-Condemn-A-Thon tactic doesn’t advance a debate. Deep Ecology is irrelevant to the debate on global warming. Requiring me to condemn Deep Ecology is as pointless as requiring you to condemn Stormfront.

    I might have agreed that it was nearly irrelevant – before the 10:10 video. That’s anti-human eliminationism straight out of the deep-ecology mass-murder fantasy, right there.

  181. Communism, Fascism and Socialism are all branches of the same school of thought. Hitler was a Socialist who morphed into a Fascist because it worked for him. He broke philosophically with the Russians who were only briefly socialist before they morphed into communism. Socialism, pure Socialism, cannot survive and must morph into something more autocratic, i.e. communism or fascism.

  182. pete – go look up Agenda 21. It’s an official and very real UN document. It calls for the human population of Earth to be stabilized around 2.1 billion. It doesn’t say how to get there. But it implies that the time frame to get there without dire consequences is shorter than the time mere attrition would allow.

    Derive from that what you will.

  183. (I really need to remember to check comment threads more frequently.)

    > Don’t assume malice when stupidity will suffice.

    My point was that stupidity *doesn’t* suffice. The video is too well-made as an anti-AGW-faction propaganda piece to have arrived there accidentally. It shows the distinctive hallmarks of having been deliberately, intelligently designed.

  184. >My point was that stupidity *doesn’t* suffice. The video is too well-made as an anti-AGW-faction propaganda piece to have arrived there accidentally. It shows the distinctive hallmarks of having been deliberately, intelligently designed.

    Alas for your theory, there is no doubt that the AGW-alarmist group 10:10 made this video. Lots of them participated, and it took a significant amount of time, and they give every appearance of having been surprised by the public reaction.

  185. I might have agreed that it was nearly irrelevant – before the 10:10 video. That’s anti-human eliminationism straight out of the deep-ecology mass-murder fantasy, right there.

    The violence is clearly a parody of right-wing paranoia. I didn’t get the joke when I first saw it, but the reaction here has certainly cleared things up.

  186. > You might have to Google for “no pressure video”, as there seems to have been a concerted attempt by 10:10 and its allies to scrub this thing off the public Internet when they realized what a colossal blunder it was.

    The Guardian, which is a sponsor of 10:10, is still linking to a copy of the film. It’s a copy put up by a site that’s not terribly liberal-friendly, although I’m not sure it’s conservative-friendly either. Sigh, 9/11 truthers. But in any case, the Guardian cannot be accused of attempting to control the media. So: what exactly produced the impression that there was a “concerted attempt,” other than 10:10 saying they were removing the video because people were upset by it?

  187. > Alas for your theory, there is no doubt that the AGW-alarmist group 10:10 made this video.

    Then I have to consider that the group’s true affiliations are not what they seem.

    I mean, if I were a depraved politician (or some other such redundant phrase), I would want to set up obvious wingnuts seeming to noncredibly defend the opposition.

  188. >So: what exactly produced the impression that there was a “concerted attempt,” other than 10:10 saying they were removing the video because people were upset by it?’

    In the first few hours after the release I saw two or three reports from commentators that the copies they were linking to had unaccountably vanished.

  189. there seems to have been a concerted attempt by 10:10 and its allies to scrub this thing off the public Internet

    In the first few hours after the release I saw two or three reports from commentators that the copies they were linking to had unaccountably vanished.

    There’s a big difference between trying to scrub something off the internet and deleting your own copies.

    I’ve noticed a pattern in discussions with you: you’ll make some hyperbolic claim, then when pressed you’ll back it up with evidence for a weaker and much narrower claim.

  190. >I’ve noticed a pattern in discussions with you: you’ll make some hyperbolic claim, then when pressed you’ll back it up with evidence for a weaker and much narrower claim

    I could say I’ve noticed a pattern in discussion with you that you make repeated, successively lamer excuses for frauds and thug-minded would-be totalitarians, then retreat into fantasy when pressed. It would be far more true.

  191. Read our last two comments carefully. We have both made claims to have “noticed a pattern”. One of has also provided evidence.

  192. >Read our last two comments carefully. We have both made claims to have “noticed a pattern”. One of has also provided evidence.

    Your entire history on this blog constitutes evidence for my claim. I tolerate you only because I feel some need to understand how the mind of a barking moonbat operates.

  193. And now one of you has provided one data point in defense of a claim of a pattern, and the other has provided a claim of a pattern of data in defense of a claim of a pattern.

  194. pete,

    > Read our last two comments carefully.

    I did. You didn’t.

    > We have both made claims to have “noticed a pattern”.

    Eric was not being serious. Here’s the first hint “I could say I’ve noticed a pattern”. Emphasis mine. Here’s the second hint: “It would be far more true.”

    > One of has also provided evidence.

    A sample of one is not statistically significant. That’s the serious critique of your claim. The not serious critique is: “It would be far more true.” It means Eric thinks he could provide two examples. Two is 100 % bigger than one.

    Yours,
    Tom

  195. Give it up, Tom. pete’s postings on AGW demonstrated long ago that he wouldn’t understand evidence or inference if it bit him in the ass and blew him a raspberry. Trying to argue with him on that level is pointless; I just use him for entertainment instead.

  196. @Tom DeGisi

    Eric was not being serious.

    He was “not being serious” in a very specific way.

    A sample of one is not statistically significant.

    It’s an existence proof.

    @esr:

    Your entire history on this blog constitutes evidence for my claim. I tolerate you only because I feel some need to understand how the mind of a barking moonbat operates.

    Could I borrow a needle? Sure, there’s one over in that haystack…

  197. Promises, promises. If only someone crushed someone else with the load of the evidence promised, sparks would fly, we could chew popcorn from the sidelines, and fun would be had by almost all. Since all you both seem to do is grandstanding, call names and bombast like little children, it gets boring.

    Of course, then the other (and perhaps two or three more people) would deny the evidence by deflecting, concentrating on one small detail which doesn’t fit the evidence, so we’d be at square one. So the best thing would be to just leave it and keep on topic, or in this particular case, just leave it because it’s a highly inflammatory thread.

  198. Eric,

    > Give it up, Tom. … I just use him for entertainment instead.

    Well, I use both of you for entertainment. I do learn more from you, but then you do have the long essays at the beginning of each comment thread….

    Yours,
    Tom

  199. You can’t do existence proofs for a pattern.

    Here’s the form:

    blogger: hyperbole(X)!
    commenter: what’s your evidence for X?
    blogger: evidence for X.

    An existence proof shows that esr has used the form at least once.
    A single instance of the form is evidence for but not proof of the pattern.

    Twice doesn’t quite make a pattern either, but I don’t have time to look beyond this thread right now:

    esr> a vocal minority of environmentalists have endorsed the death of billions to bring Earth’s population down to what they consider a sustainable level

    pete> How vocal are they really? If I didn’t read this blog I’d never have heard of deep ecology.

    esr> What rock have you been hiding under that you didn’t know the likes of Paul “Population Bomb” Ehrlich and Obama’s own science advisor John Holdren were already calling for massive campaigns of forced sterilization decades ago?

  200. JonB Says:

    “Maybe i’m just unforgiving like that, but does ANYONE believe a PR exercise like that anymore?

    “It seemed to me like a going through the motions, we-have-to-say-something-so-I-suppose-sorry-will-do style apology. What are they actually apologising for? As best I can tell they’re apologising that they caused a PR nightmare and might have hindered other like minded groups. They haven’t said something along the lines of ‘In the cool light of morning, the video was over the top and doesn’t really represent the kind of message we wish to convey’.”

    PEARLS BEFORE SWINE nailed that one the other day.

    First panel:

    Rat: I’m gonna start apologizing to all the people I’ve insulted by telling them, “I’m sorry that you were offended.”

    Pig: Is that a real apology?

    Second panel:

    Rat: No. That’s what’s so great. It allows me to retain the impact of the original insult while tacking on the implied _bonus_ insult of “You are an oversensitive ninny.”

    Pig: But that’s kinda rude cause it’s sorta saying the guy is too dumb to realize that.

    Third panel:

    Rat: I’m sorry that you were offended.

    Pig: Apology accepted.

    Gee, they’re _sorry_ we were offended. Bunch of nazi thug wannabes.

  201. pete,

    > esr> a vocal minority of environmentalists have endorsed the death of billions to bring Earth’s population down to what they consider a sustainable level

    This is perfectly correct and not hyperbole at all. That you haven’t heard of it means nothing. Plenty of other people have. It’s pretty much a perfectly logical consequence of utopian environmentalism. I’ve noticed it too. I’ve heard more than one environmentalist endorse this notion myself, as well as reading their writings.

    My brother, who is a fisheries biologist, grumbled to me in his student days that a nuclear war would be really nice to remove excess population and make it easier on the fish.

    So I don’t think it fits your pattern, since I don’t think Eric has backed off on it.

    I think you can’t win this one. It’s not even close. There is a vocal minority and they have endorsed the death of billions. The evidence is plentiful and the logic is sound. Are you playing devil’s advocate?

    Yours,
    Tom

  202. @Tom
    Maybe it’s just me, but using “people who advocate mass sterilization” and “people who advocate for limiting population growth” as an example of “people who advocate mass genocide” does seem like backing off from the initial claim. If there was a better example, why didn’t Eric use it? Reading the Wiki article on Population Bomb, it seems that, While Ehrlich did make some predictions that haven’t come to pass, he wasn’t so much advocating mass murder as predicting mass starvation. (Yes, the wiki says “and proposed solutions that were much more radical than those discussed by Malthus, such as starving whole countries that refused to implement population control measures.[citation needed]“. Emphasis then on “citation needed”).

    A quote from the Paul Holdren wiki page:

    In 1977, Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich, and Holdren co-authored the textbook Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment; they discussed the possible role of a wide variety of solutions to overpopulation, from voluntary family planning to enforced population controls, including forced sterilization for women after they gave birth to a designated number of children, and recommended “the use of milder methods of influencing family size preferences” such as access to birth control and abortion

    Doesn’t look like advocating mass murder. Can you provide citations?

  203. This leads me to ask: what exactly is the difference between people advocating indiscriminate death to terrorist-harboring countries because they feel those countries menace their lifestyle, and people advocating indiscriminate death to people allegedly proposing death by starvation to countries that don’t implement population control measures, because they feel those countries menace their lifestyle?

    I’m not saying two wrongs make a right, but glass houses, people.

  204. argh. Should have read “…and people advocating indiscriminate death by starvation to countries that don’t implement population control measures…”

  205. >If there was a better example, why didn’t Eric use it?

    I did, from green-agenda.com. Do try to keep up.

  206. >This leads me to ask: what exactly is the difference between people advocating indiscriminate death to terrorist-harboring countries because they feel those countries menace their lifestyle, and people advocating indiscriminate death to people allegedly proposing death by starvation to countries that don’t implement population control measures, because they feel those countries menace their lifestyle?

    Note: this is a doubly hypothetical, since AFAIK nobody in the conversation has advocated “indiscriminate death to terrorist-harboring countries”. Waging war is not “indiscriminate death”, not the way most nation-states do it; at minimum, a policy of targeting civilian populations would be required to qualify as “indiscriminate death”.

    But supposing one wanted to defend raining indiscriminate death on terrorist-harboring countries while condemning eco-eliminationists, there’s a moral difference that actually matters. Terrorist-harboring countries are exporting actual violence against others, violence in which the national population is arguably complicit through not having deposed its government. The people eco-eliminationists want to kill aren’t doing anything like that that – they just want to live and breathe and eat and maybe have lives better than miserable peasantry.

    There’s also a difference in scale. Killings on the order of a hundred thousand are certainly bad enough, but we’re lalking a whole ‘nother order of evil when the intent is to eliminate 95% of everyone alive.

  207. > I did, from green-agenda.com. Do try to keep up.

    Which, as pete said, is also using quotes stripped of context or grouping harmless phrases with more loaded ones to make them seem all negative. I did read some of the sources for the quotes. Couldn’t you find anything better?

  208. >Couldn’t you find anything better?

    Not on short notice, no. But, for example, the Dave Foreman quotes are quite damning enough all on their own, in any context.

  209. Adriano,

    My next door neighbor and I were talking about the subject. He had noticed that the end state of current environmentalism was the death of billions as well. This logical consequence happened when environmentalism shifted from being about cleaning up the planet to make it better for people to cleaning up the planet to make it better for the planet.

    People often use the metaphor that humanity is a disease upon Gaia. (I suspect this is not a metaphor for some.) What do you think that means?

    Yours,
    Tom

  210. Tom, I have read this or similar idiocies. In an unrelated matter, friends of mine in Italy are rabidly advocating a stop to all vivisection. I asked “on who would you test, then” with no response.

    I think, though, that you are taking the views of a fringe of eco-terrorists or idiots as ‘the end-state of current environmentalists’, when many environmentalists, and possibly the ones doing the most and best work, do not espouse those views. Hell, I’m worried about the banana monoculture risk, just to say an example, and I don’t go spouting any ‘disease upon Gaia’ bullshit.

  211. > The Dave Foreman quotes are quite damning enough all on their own, in any context.

    Granted. He really sounds and acted like a kook. What I’m arguing is that you’re falling for the same mistake I make sometimes here: Give biased examples, thus discrediting your main, possibly valid, point.

  212. >I think, though, that you are taking the views of a fringe of eco-terrorists or idiots as ‘the end-state of current environmentalists’, when many environmentalists, and possibly the ones doing the most and best work, do not espouse those views.

    You may be right. The problem is that there’s too much history of fringe groups like the eco-eliminationists successfully using moderates to gain power and actually executing genocides, which means that that even if I buy your theory it’s not very reassuring. Especially since I see these would-be genocidaires as the ideological heirs of the Communists, the last bunch to pull this maneuver off successfully.

  213. Eric and Adriano and pete,

    Funny that Eric should mention Communism. China’s One Child Policy was implemented as a result of Ehrlich and the Club of Rome’s work. It is one of the most tyrannical, oppressive and immoral policies around, yet it is widely lauded because of it’s environmental “benefits”. It has resulted in forced sterilization, forced abortion, and infanticide, specially of girls. Infanticide of girls had gone way down in China, but the one child policy brought it back. The minimum estimate given in the article was hundreds of thousands.

    So, not only have environmentalists speculated about killing people for the planet, it’s actually been done.

    Yours,
    Tom

  214. Jay,

    I confused you with Jay Manifold the other day for a few seconds. For some reason the index structure in my brain does not save quite enough bits, although you did get six full bytes. (Only four phonemes, though.) Sometimes people only get one. He and I actually work together, so this was a bit embarrassing. He has a build like yours, although more facial hair. He does not think he would look good in a Tron suit. Me, I’d rather dress up as a drunken old gunslinger, complete with an Army Colt….

    Yours,
    Tom

  215. DeGisi’s Law of Human Behavior: If people can imagine it, and it is possible, someone will have done it in the past, someone is doing it now and someone will be doing it in the future.

    In the flood story, one group of ancient people said the gods sent the flood because people were too noisy and the gods couldn’t sleep. In Genesis, God sent the flood because people were wicked. So we have pollution combined with wrong behavior. Lots of religions posit a final (and rather fatal) judgement for humanity. Since environmentalism is a also a belief system, it is not surprising that some of the believers are considering a final judgement as well.

    So I would say that anthropology would predict the actual result as well. A vocal minority of environmentalists desired and have endorsed the death of billions.

    I do not think this is a narrowly or shallowly supported thesis. The support is broad and deep.

    Yours,
    Tom

  216. >> how the mind of a barking moonbat operates.
    > Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence!

    You only need a little more context.

    > I feel some need to understand how the mind of a barking moonbat operates.

    As this is Eric describing his own motivations, it is sufficient that he believes Pete to be a barking moonbat.

  217. >You only need a little more context.

    You misunderstood Jay, because you don’t have sufficient experience of his sense of humor. He was objecting to the unsupported assertion that the barking moonbat has an operating mind. :-)

  218. esr,

    > He was objecting to the unsupported assertion that the barking moonbat has an operating mind. :-)

    Well, he’s passing the Turing Test, isn’t he?

    Yours,
    Tom

  219. From Jonah Goldberg:

    When Charles Wurster, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was told that banning DDT would probably result in millions of deaths, he replied, “This is as good a way to get rid of them as any.” Finnish environmental guru Pentti Linkola argues that the Earth is a sinking ship, and the greens must head for the lifeboats: “Those who hate life try to pull more people on board and drown everybody. Those who love and respect life use axes to chop off the extra hands hanging on the gunwale.”

    It’s the old omelete / egg thing for those who are quite comfortable using Napoleon as a role model..

    Yours,
    Tom

  220. He had noticed that the end state of current environmentalism was the death of billions as well.

    The problem is, the end state of technological civilization is the death of billions. Despite all the cornucopian nonsense about how technology and competition lead to more efficient solutions, our energy and resource consumption curve has been monotonically increasing for a couple centuries. Especially once all those Chinese start expecting to live like Americans, it will likely only continue to increase in the future. We are close to the point where there are simply not enough energy and resource inputs to sustain the intensive agriculture necessary to feed all those people. (Have you noticed the food prices going up lately?)

  221. > The problem is, the end state of technological civilization is the death of billions.

    Actually it seems to be slow population decline. Have noticed that people, as they get richer, stop having kids? Lots of places (Italy and Japan, for example) are not reproducing at the replacement rate.

    Yours,
    Tom

  222. Jeff: Is there some reason that you suppose that rising market prices for energy and food won’t lead to voluntary reduction in fertility by people who can’t afford the cost of raising large families? In fact, if you want to do curve sketching, take a look at the logistic population curve. It looks like exponential growth for the first part, but as it gets close to the actual resource limit, it turns over and exponentially approaches a maximum, as a result of competition for the limiting resource. Industrialization massively raised the upper limit for sustainability, so initial exponential growth is exactly what would be expected; but if you’re right about resource limits, market forces will work to close off growth, just as ecological forces do in a nonhuman biome. Unless, of course, they’re artificially subsidized by state intervention. But the effectiveness of such subsidy is limited; the state is not a productive organization but a redistributive one, and if resources grow scarce, it won’t have as much to redistribute.

  223. “Is there some reason that you suppose that rising market prices for energy and food won’t lead to voluntary reduction in fertility by people who can’t afford the cost of raising large families?”

    I routinely see very poor families on the streets with scores of kids, both in Argentina and Chile. Also, the favelas of Brazil. These states do redistribute, but not enough for this, and these two aren’t even particularly poor countries. They steal, beg, scrounge for food, but they keep on having kids.

    Or maybe are you talking about a different scarcity of resources? I can tell you, meat is not cheap here, and in any case, most cuts would be out of their price range anyway.

  224. I think you can’t win this one. It’s not even close. There is a vocal minority and they have endorsed the death of billions. The evidence is plentiful and the logic is sound. Are you playing devil’s advocate?

    I disagree with the “vocal” part. Obviously these people exist. But if the only people listening are green-agenda.com then they’re less relevant to the AGW debate than Stormfront.

    So I don’t think it fits your pattern, since I don’t think Eric has backed off on it.

    It fits the pattern, because esr provided evidence for the advocacy of mass sterilisation as evidence for the advocacy of mass murder (the evidence he provided was false, but that’s beside the point).

    Well, he’s passing the Turing Test, isn’t he?

    Thanks.

    Actually it seems to be slow population decline. Have noticed that people, as they get richer, stop having kids? Lots of places (Italy and Japan, for example) are not reproducing at the replacement rate.

    Check this out: Hans Erren at TED.

    When Charles Wurster, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was told that banning DDT would probably result in millions of deaths, he replied, “This is as good a way to get rid of them as any.”

    It’s worth noting that Charles Wurster has denied saying this. It makes no sense that he would say this, since he is no doubt aware that reducing DDT use in agriculture increases its effectiveness in malaria control.

  225. pete,

    > But if the only people listening are green-agenda.com then they’re less relevant to the AGW debate than Stormfront.

    The Chinese government listened to the Club of Rome. China’s one child policy resulted in thousands of cases of infanticide. That beloved policy is utterly unethical. It’s already happened, dude. The evidence is easy to find. You can’t win this one.

    > It makes no sense that he would say this, since he is no doubt aware that reducing DDT use in agriculture increases its effectiveness in malaria control.

    People say things that make sense only to themselves all the time.

    Yours,
    Tom

  226. But if the only people listening are green-agenda.com then they’re less relevant to the AGW debate than Stormfront. -pete

    I’ve heard comments on my LJ account, and I have maybe fifty people on my friends list, tops. In other words, in LJ terms, I’m a backwater, and that meme made it all the way out to me.

    As an academic exercise, my interest in how many confirmed sources of the meme we could cite here is rising. Say, any link to an article, blog post/comment, or other document, dated earlier than today (to eliminate the possibility of someone posting comments to inflate the count). But that’s mostly just stemming from my interest in the spread of some random notion, and I also don’t feel like clogging Eric’s site with my personal version of scientific data.

    DeGisi’s Law of Human Behavior: If people can imagine it, and it is possible, someone will have done it in the past, someone is doing it now and someone will be doing it in the future. -Tom DeGisi

    …so basically, you’ve proven the existence of 24/7 pyronecrophilia. Grats.

  227. If any of you cared about the truth of the matter, then this thread would contain a lot more references to actual research and a lot less hollow condemnation.

  228. Adriano Says:

    In an unrelated matter, friends of mine in Italy are rabidly advocating a stop to all vivisection. I asked “on who would you test, then” with no response.

    That’s interesting– I think American anti-vivisectionists are apt to say that animal experimentation can be given up in favor of computer modeling. They wildly overestimate the ability to do computer models, but it’s still a different attitude.

    Tom DeGisi:

    I’ve heard that the very low birth rates in Italy and Japan are side effects of sexism/feminism– that the men have been so thoroughly catered to by their mothers than women with choices don’t want to many them.

    More generally, I think the drop in birth rates has two major causes– choices for women, and commonly available pension systems. The latter is important because people have less need for children as a way to be taken care of in old age.

  229. “I think American anti-vivisectionists are apt to say that animal experimentation can be given up in favor of computer modeling. They wildly overestimate the ability to do computer models, but it’s still a different attitude.”

    I did say “no response”. These aren’t exactly informed people, just rabid indigned people frothing at the mouth because their fluffy bunnies would suffer. Possibly intelligent people in Italy would actually think of computer modeling too. I don’t trust it would work completely either, which is why I said what I said.

  230. Possibly intelligent people in Italy would actually think of computer modeling too. I don’t trust it would work completely either, which is why I said what I said.

    Of course, there are very good reasons to sometimes use computer models. For one, once you’re done with your subject, you may not be able to reuse it. The model also gives you a way to collaborate with people long distances away, given the prevalence of high-speed networks, VPNs and the Internet. Furthermore, there are costs associated with obtaining, preparing and storing test subjects that don’t exist with computer models.

    OTOH, I doubt, of course, that computer models can ever completely replace traditional methods. Computers, despite all their advances, have never completely replaced anything else they were supposed to be able to replace either: everything from pen-and-paper to snail mail. So, as an expert in computer systems, I can confidently predict that computer models will never completely replace vivisections, just as they have never completely replaced any other traditional methods.

  231. It may eventually be possible to replace traditional animal testing entirely with computer models and cloned-tissue tests, but it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Advocating for the end of animal testing is as valid an altruistic goal as any; the line between sane advocates of same and insane is that the sane look at alternatives and, if they see insufficient quality of alternatives, work towards improving them. The insane simply advocate ceasing no matter what.

  232. In the flood story, one group of ancient people said the gods sent the flood because people were too noisy and the gods couldn’t sleep. In Genesis, God sent the flood because people were wicked. So we have pollution combined with wrong behavior. Lots of religions posit a final (and rather fatal) judgement for humanity. Since environmentalism is a also a belief system, it is not surprising that some of the believers are considering a final judgement as well.

    Hey, here’s a narrative for ya: overshoot, followed by die-off.

    In fact, if you want to do curve sketching, take a look at the logistic population curve. It looks like exponential growth for the first part, but as it gets close to the actual resource limit, it turns over and exponentially approaches a maximum, as a result of competition for the limiting resource.

    And then drops rapidly back well below what it was, as the limiting resource becomes so depleted it’s not able to sustain anything near the prior population levels.

    This happens all the time to yeast colonies under resource pressure. Clive Ponting documents repeated cases in which it happened to colonies of H. sapiens too. Since the world has already become one giant supercolony of us, what do you suppose will happen?

  233. My impression is that so little is known about biology that computer models can’t give useful answers to most interesting questions. This isn’t because there’s something wrong with researchers or computer models, it’s that biology is really complicated.

  234. Jeff: Not in the classic logistic population curve, it doesn’t. The point is that there’s more than one possible curve for this sort of thing. Just saying, “Here’s a curve that includes disaster” doesn’t prove that disaster is going to happen; you have to show why that specific curve is a unique good fit to the data. Obviously overpopulation => resource exhaustion => population collapse doesn’t inevitably happen to Homo sapiens, because we’re still here; when the West took off and started exploring the rest of the world it found any number of small isolated tribal societies that had not destroyed the supply of their limiting resources. And predicting that it will happen in our present case is a wild speculative leap; I can’t call it extrapolation, because the current human situation is quite unprecedented. We don’t know.

  235. Obviously overpopulation => resource exhaustion => population collapse doesn’t inevitably happen to Homo sapiens, because we’re still here; when the West took off and started exploring the rest of the world it found any number of small isolated tribal societies that had not destroyed the supply of their limiting resources.

    Indeed. “Small isolated tribal societies”. Not civilizations.

  236. My impression is that so little is known about biology that computer models can’t give useful answers to most interesting questions. This isn’t because there’s something wrong with researchers or computer models, it’s that biology is really complicated.

    Could be. I don’t really know that much about it. That’s why I spoke as an expert in computer systems, as opposed to as an expert in biology, which I am not.

  237. Jeff: Right. If you want to invalidate inference from the fates of small tribal societies to the fates of civilizations, I’ll agree with you, and I’ll agree all the more strongly if you want to talk specifically about civilizations with scientific knowledge and technology based on it, for which we have a sample size of one. But in that case you yourself have made an argument that your saying “Clive Ponting documents repeated cases in which it happened to colonies of H. sapiens too” is irrelevant to the fate of scientific/technological civilization. If you wish to do so, I will be glad to agree with you.

  238. And predicting that it will happen in our present case is a wild speculative leap

    Placidly assuming that it won’t is possibly a little complacent, given that there are a bunch of resources (things like oil and fish) which do appear to be being depleted on a global scale as we speak. Scientific knowledge and technology, though certainly helping to deplete them faster, have been disappointingly slow about coming up with effective substitutes. But perhaps Ray Kurzweil will pull a mature nanotechnology out of his butt some lazy Sunday afternoon and all will be well.

  239. > But perhaps Ray Kurzweil will pull a mature nanotechnology out of his butt some lazy Sunday afternoon and all will be well.

    Or we will manage fish populations using ownership of fishing rights and the resulting higher price – a well known method to handle resource depletion that is already being implemented through hard work on a lot of weekdays. And we just discovered 6000 years of minerals under the ocean, again through hard work on a lot of weekdays.

    The point is well made, but the Earth is really, really big and our technological civilization seems to be slowing down – and reversing – population growth. If it wasn’t for immigration and Hispanics, the U.S.A. would be reproducing at less than the replacement rate. Birth rates are declining everywhere.

    I’d like people to start living off this dirt ball, just in case, but the people who bet on scarcity keep losing.

    Yours,
    Tom

  240. Plotting resource usage against technological development / economic development we get a ∩ – shaped curve ( /-\ if your browser has issues with Unicode). This is relatively well explained by extensive vs. intensive growth. Same thing for inequality in that subset where it actually matters: consumption, not ownership of paper things, and consumption of the necessities and the comforts, not that of luxuries.

    I would suggest reducing the problem domain to population vs. energy. A lot of people need lots of necessities and comforts. Atoms we have enough, they don’t just disappear from the planet, they can be recycled, and inventive minds can make pretty much anything from atoms as long as they have access to enough energy. Will we have access to enough energy? Sounds like the crucial question to me.

  241. Or we will manage fish populations using ownership of fishing rights and the resulting higher price – a well known method to handle resource depletion that is already being implemented through hard work on a lot of weekdays.

    Where and who by, and is there any reason to think it’ll spread fast enough to mitigate the coming dieoffs? There should still be plenty of jellyfish, apparently. Not super-tasty by most accounts.

    And we just discovered 6000 years of minerals under the ocean, again through hard work on a lot of weekdays.

    “We”, eh? Glad you were in there doing your bit. Energy’s more likely the bottleneck than metals, as Shenpen mentions, though I suppose if there are lanthanides down there it’ll be convenient for the US military at least.

    Birth rates are declining everywhere.

    Still time to do an assload of damage at these population levels unless there are some fairly radical behavioural changes, tho’.

    I’d like people to start living off this dirt ball, just in case,

    Looked at the numbers at all? Charlie Stross has (warning – may contain gratuitous trolling of Heinlein enthusiasts). Better hope ol’ Ray has something mighty impressive up there or we might not be able to get it together in time.

  242. Actually dried and salted jellyfish make a nice snack (potato chip-ish) – and are high protein/low cholesterol. I’ve eaten them and like them.

  243. You know, one the strangest things about environmentalists is that they don’t use exactly those arguments that would be the most efficient and persuasive: that buying oil means financing Islamist regimes and terrorism. I could imagine slogans like “Every time you fill up a car, you bough a milligram of C4 for a terrorist”, or a nice picture of solar cells with the macro “100% Jihad-free.”

  244. You know, one the strangest things about environmentalists is

    That they tend to be on the left and opposed to anti-Islamism? US government support for convenient Saudi absolute monarchism has a lot to answer for there. Have you read this Robert Baer interview?

  245. >US government support for convenient Saudi absolute monarchism has a lot to answer for there.

    Such a convenient but absurd rationalization. The Left’s long fascination with Third-Worlders who do what western lefties only fantasize about seems a rather more likely explanation. I’ve never met a lefty yet who could see a Kalashnikov in a raised fist without spiritually prostrating himself before the romantically violent Other.

  246. Such a convenient but absurd rationalization.

    A link to a post where you’ve previously and comprehensively refuted the notion might not be amiss here.

    The Left’s long fascination with Third-Worlders who do what western lefties only fantasize about seems a rather more likely explanation.

    Violent revolution’s not really appropriate in a democracy, see. Folks are by and large convinced the political choices they’re offered are meaningful ones. But I suspect the cynicism is building up out there.

    I’ve never met a lefty yet who could see a Kalashnikov in a raised fist without spiritually prostrating himself before the romantically violent Other.

    Colourful image.

  247. Also, most lefties are thoroughly conflicted about Islamic revolutionary types on account of issues about treatment of women, etc. South American revolutionaries, you might have a point.

  248. > Also, most lefties are thoroughly conflicted about Islamic revolutionary types on account of issues about treatment of women, etc.

    I generally see little evidence of this conflicted state. Multiculturalism was designed to remove that conflict for lefties and it has been very effective.

    Yours,
    Tom

  249. most lefties are thoroughly conflicted about Islamic revolutionary types on account of issues about treatment of women

    Uhhh.. Yeah. Been to any NOW protests against genital mutilation? Stoning for rape victims? Wives as chattel?

    No. You haven’t. Know why? There haven’t been any.

    American leftists don’t give a damn about any evil that the “other” does, so long as they hate America too. Progressive liberal types are the ones whose children are joining Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

  250. Let’s try not to be too edgy about the Islamism-and-environmentalism topic because it might scare away some folks who might have something new to say. Let’s remember that the only true purpose of an Internet debate can only be to learn something new because the other purposes tend not to work…

    So. What I was trying to say is that if a movement’s purpose is not political in the left-and-right sense, they will always evolve to the point where they publicize both left-leaning and right-leaning arguments – by different people – because they want to win over folks from both sides.

    A good handy example is the free open source software movement. We have left-leaning arguments for it from RMS, we have libertian-leaning arguments for it from ESR, which is good because it wins over people from both sides, and the most important thing is that this is a good evidence that what this movement is mostly interested in is not left-leaning or right-leaning politics but *software*.

    My prediction is that if the environmentalist movement were interested in only the environment or primarily the environment, we would see both kinds of arguments. I have pointed out some examples for the kinds of argument we don’t see and this seems to predict that the environmentalist movement is a Trojan horse, more interested in left-leaning politics than in the environment.

    I will point out another kind of example now, one that has little to do with Islamism and the Saudis.

    British conservative philosopher Roger Scruton laid the groundwork for a right-leaning, conservative-leaning-with-some-libertarian-influences kind of environmentalism, in A Righter Shade of Green: http://amconmag.com/article/2007/jul/16/00006/

    Again these are arguments we don’t see from the typical environmentalists.

    Conclusion 1: they are missing up on some pretty obvious arguments to win over right-leaning people for the environmentalist cause.

    Conclusion 2: they might be more interested in left-leaning politics than in the environment.

  251. No. You haven’t. Know why? There haven’t been any.

    It normally has more effect to protest things that are happening in your own country, or at least in an allied one. FGM, honour killings etc. tend to be more prevalent in traditional country areas where they barely have shoes, let alone pay attention to foreigners protesting somewhere. And I wouldn’t be surprised if in some cases having foreigners make huge amounts of noise could make them even *more* attached to their heinous practices.

    Gotta think about incentives.

    Progressive liberal types are the ones whose children are joining Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

    Non-Muslims (or converts, even) are joining Al-Q and the T in any numbers? This is remarkable news, I thought the shoebomber was an isolated headcase.

  252. >Non-Muslims (or converts, even) are joining Al-Q and the T in any numbers? This is remarkable news, I thought the shoebomber was an isolated headcase.

    Not any more. There haven’t been a lot of such cases, but there have been enough of them to put some point on the religious conservatives’ argument about secular left-liberalism creating a lot of people so desperate for some sort of sacred anything that they’ll hook up even with Salafist, Wahhabi, or Deobandi Islam. On religion I’m far more sympathetic to the secular liberals than to religious conservatism of any kind, so this is not news that makes me happy

  253. “put some point on the religious conservatives’ argument about secular left-liberalism creating a lot of people so desperate for some sort of sacred anything that they’ll hook up even with Salafist, Wahhabi, or Deobandi Islam”

    Are you sure you heard this argument exactly this way? Because it would be nothing but an open admittance from Christians that Muslims are better at creating sacred alternatives to secular liberalism as themselves, and thus sounds a bit of an unlikely position for a believer to take.

  254. American leftists don’t give a damn about any evil that the “other” does, so long as they hate America too. Progressive liberal types are the ones whose children are joining Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

    Let’s look at places like Reddit: uniformly left-leaning, but libertarian in the ways that matter. When the barbarians who run some Islamist backwater blockade the internet, or stone a woman accused of adultery, they roundly condemn the regime involved and the ideology which produced it. For them there is no conflict between despising the profit-driven U.S. scorched-earth foreign policy and precivilized Islamist practices in equal measure.

    Here’s what I think is happening. American leftism used to be a working-class phenomenon, especially in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when abusive and exploitative labor practices were the norm for U.S. companies. These days things are pretty bad for the working class (the “recovery” from the 2008-2009 recession is at best a rising tide that lifts only yachts) but they’re not bad enough to inspire that sort of revolutionary mindset in large numbers. Academic leftists, who have been the ones keeping the fires alive, pine so much for the “hard men of the left” that any hard men — including drug lords and Wahhabist zealots — will do in their stead. They also often have the tendency — as exuded by folks like Noam Chomsky — to give U.S.-opposed regimes the benefit of the doubt, as most of what we know about their evil has been filtered through the inherently unreliable U.S. media.

    ESR says: Who are you and what have you done with Jeff Read? That actually…made sense…

  255. >Are you sure you heard this argument exactly this way? Because it would be nothing but an open admittance from Christians that Muslims are better at creating sacred alternatives to secular liberalism as themselves, and thus sounds a bit of an unlikely position for a believer to take.

    Yes, American religious conservatives do talk like this at times. You are correct in pointing out the logical consequence of this argument, but it never seems to occur to them. Possibly this is because, on the whole, they are blithering idiots with fewer critical-thinking skills than the average garden slug?

  256. Yes, American religious conservatives do talk like this at times. You are correct in pointing out the logical consequence of this argument, but it never seems to occur to them. Possibly this is because, on the whole, they are blithering idiots with fewer critical-thinking skills than the average garden slug?

    I think it has to do with the belief that the truth of their doctrines has nothing whatsoever to do with their persuasive capacity. In fact, such beliefs may bolster the fortress mentality that inheres to religious conservatism. A big portion of this ideology is constituted by the beliefs that the world belongs to Satan and that the elect of God are necessarily few in number. So lack of success from a worldly standpoint (number of followers) of Christianity really has no bearing on its truth or meaning for them: it just proves that Satan really does have his grip on the world (and that the end times are coming, etc.)

    But that just proves what you said. Blithering idiots, no critical thinking skills, etc. :)

  257. “Possibly this is because, on the whole, they are blithering idiots with fewer critical-thinking skills than the average garden slug?”

    This is something that have bothered me for a long time. I do read some American online publications that could roughly called reliigous conservative and they aren’t particularly stupid: http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/ http://distributistreview.com/ and a few similar ones. These publciations generally aren’t particularly bad in the critical thinking field.

    Now, I do know that talk radio, Fox etc. can be much, much worse, but a picture of American religious conservatism as a few thinkers and millions of braindead zombies kind of sounds unusual to me, this not how things usually work. Pretty much every movement ever had a thinker elite, had some zombies on the bottom, and some sort of a mediocre range in between i.e. looked like a rhombus or pyramid. The picture you paint looks rather like that there is a wide and low mouth-breather base, nothing in the middle, and a small blob of conservative intellectuals of the Distributist Review type hovering high above them without any connection to the church-gooing masses. And it sounds strange, this is not the usual shape of political movements. Something is missing from the picture and I am not sure exactly what, but something is amiss, something extraordinary that requires an explanation: I watched some episodes of that old TV show, Firing Line on YouTube, and my impression was that the conservative audience who watched it belonged exactly to that good mediocre middle ranges of intellect, and this is exactly these typest I am missing from your account – where is this audience now, did it just disappear?

  258. >The picture you paint looks rather like that there is a wide and low mouth-breather base, nothing in the middle, and a small blob of conservative intellectuals of the Distributist Review type hovering high above them without any connection to the church-gooing masses.

    That’s quite an accurate summation of what religious conservatism in the U.S. looks like from outside, actually. I think the answer to your question is that the “middle” you point at secularized themselves over the last thirty years; they’re still conservatives, but they no longer identify with the “religious” part.

  259. If the religeous conservatives look like a pyramid, part of that may be due to the spread of mind control technique in Christianity in general.

    All groups do behavior modification on their members. Much of it is for bonding. That feeling of fellowship is induced by other members going out of their way to befriend the new people.

    The fundamentalist Christians have always practiced hard sell and strong groupthink, but at least as recently as the ’70s the Episcopal Church ran ads saying “Christ came into the world to take away your sins, not your mind.” When I moved to north Texas I found the rot had spread.

    esr: your low opinion of Christianity may be at least partially colored by your experience with fundamentalists like the Southern Baptists, Assembly of God, and the like.

  260. Let’s remember that the only true purpose of an Internet debate can only be to learn something new because the other purposes tend not to work…

    You’re such an idealist. One of the other purposes is ENTERTAINMENT.

    My prediction is that if the environmentalist movement were interested in only the environment or primarily the environment, we would see both kinds of arguments. I have pointed out some examples for the kinds of argument we don’t see and this seems to predict that the environmentalist movement is a Trojan horse, more interested in left-leaning politics than in the environment.

    Using rightie-friendly advertising like “100% jihad-free solar cells” or whatever would probably bring up purity issues with a lot of environmentalists, kind of in the way this seems to for some yoga enthusiasts. It would violate their sense of what they’re struggling for, they’d feel like they were sacrificing their core values for questionable benefits.

    The Scrotum (sorry!) piece is interesting, though he seems not to be trying very hard on behalf of Bjørn Lomborg “who may be completely wrong and probably is”. The idea of trusteeship as a fundamental conservative instinct is nice, but when I cast around looking for right-wingers with that attitude I mainly see folks who see the idea of any (presumably collectivist) constraints on their freeeedom to do as they wilt with their “own” property as an outrage. Perhaps you (or someone else) could point me at significant counterexamples.

  261. > You’re such an idealist. One of the other purposes is ENTERTAINMENT.

    We have a winner!

    Although for many, learning something new is ENTERTAINMENT.

    Yours,
    Tom

  262. Well, obviously they don’t want to be mutually exclusive or anything.

  263. My prediction is that if the environmentalist movement were interested in only the environment or primarily the environment, we would see both kinds of arguments.

    Environemntalism is an issue for the left because leftist policies tend to solve environmental problems whereas rightist policies create them.

    Industry and the free market gave us DDT, CFCs, overfishing, and deforestation. Unilateral bans on harmful substances and regaultions on environmentally intensive activitiies have mitigated these problems.

  264. >Environemntalism is an issue for the left because leftist policies tend to solve environmental problems whereas rightist policies create them.

    Utter nonsense. The worst environmental disasters anywhere on the planet are in the old Soviet bloc – the destruction of the entire Aral Sea may not even be the worst example, if any of the dark rumors of nuclear wastelands in Siberia are true. Environmentalism thrives only where the average wealth level is high enough for that particular luxury good to have a market, and only capitalism can produce those conditions.

  265. There is a world of difference between the USSR’s totalitarian nightmare and green social democracy.

    One of the big shockers to come out of Bob Altemeyer’s resesearch was that Soviet Communists had a lot more in common, psychologically speaking, with U.S. Republicans and other conservatives than with Greens, Democrats or other liberals.

  266. @Doc Merlin:

    Your link declares that Evangelicals and Fundamentalists are different. I don’t think it explains those differences.

    I don’t know an overall term for Christian sects which practice mind control. We need one.

  267. Christian sects which practice mind control

    Department of redundancy department. Just like “ATM machine”.

  268. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

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