Childlessness 22

Environmentalists – adherents of the religion of Gaia – want the population of the world to shrink. Some of them want the human race to become extinct. (See our post Earth Day: ideally celebrated with human sacrifice, April 22, 2012.)

In many countries – all of Europe, Russia, and Japan being notable examples – indigenous populations are shrinking rapidly.

In the United States, the birth rate keeps the population stable and immigration increases it. But there is here, as elsewhere in the developed world, a high abortion rate, and advocacy for infanticide among the leftist self-appointed elite. (See our post The Nazi ethics of the left, March 5, 2012.)

People who have no children save themselves a large expense. They are less tied down. Through their active years they are freer to please themselves.

But what happens to them when they grow old?

This is from an essay by Nicholas Eberstadt, in the Spring issue of the Wilson Quarterly, titled Japan Shrinks:

In 2006, Japan reached a demographic and social turning point. According to Tokyo’s official statistics, deaths that year very slightly outnumbered births.. … Japan is now a “net mortality society.” Death rates today are routinely higher than birthrates, and the imbalance is growing. The nation is set to commence a prolonged period of depopulation. …

Japan’s historically robust (if perhaps at times stifling) family relations, a pillar of society in all earlier generations, stand to be severely and perhaps decisively eroded in the coming decades. Traditional “Asian family values” — the ideals of universal marriage and parenthood — are already largely a curiosity of the past in Japan. Their decay has set in motion a variety of powerful trends which virtually ensure that the Japan of 2040 will be a country with far greater numbers of aged isolates, divorced individuals, and adults whose family lines come to an end with them.

At its heart, marriage in traditional Japan was a matter of duty, not just love. … Unshackled from the obligations of the old family order, Japan’s young men and women have plunged into a previously unknown territory of interpersonal options. … Even as young Japanese increasingly avoid marriage, divorce is further undermining the country’s family structure. Just as being unmarried at prime child-rearing age is no longer a situation requiring explanation, divorce now bears no stigma. Between 1970 and 2009, the annual tally of divorces nearly tripled. The number of new marriages, meanwhile, slumped by nearly a third. …

As the flight from marriage and the normalization of divorce has recast living arrangements in Japan, the cohort of married fertile adults has plummeted in size. … Nowadays, the odds of being married are barely even within this key demographic group. And marriage is the only real path to parenthood. Unwed motherhood remains, so to speak, inconceivable because of the enduring disgrace conferred by out-of-wedlock births.

In effect, the Japanese have embraced voluntary mass childlessness. …

Rates of childlessness have been generally rising throughout the industrialized world since 1945, but Japan’s levels were high to begin with. …

Though it can be represented in cold statistics, the human flavor of Japan’s new demographic order may be better captured in anecdote:

• Rental “relatives” are now readily available throughout the country for celebrations when a groom or bride lacks requisite kin.

• “Babyloids” — small, furry, robotic dolls that can mimic some of the sounds and gestures of real babies — are being marketed to help older Japanese cope with loneliness and depression.

• Robot pets and rental pets are also available for those who seek the affection of an animal but cannot cope with having one to look after.

• In a recent government survey, one-third of boys ages 16 to 19 described themselves as uninterested in or positively averse to sexual intimacy.

• Young Japanese men are, however, clearly very interested in video games and the Internet: In 2009, a 27-year-old Japanese man made history by “marrying” a female video game character’s avatar while thousands watched online.

• Japanese researchers are pioneering the development of attractive, lifelike androids. Earlier this year, a persuasively realistic humanoid called Geminoid F was displayed in a department store window, appearing to wait for a friend.

These random facts may not reflect the full spectrum of everyday life in modern Japan, but like anecdotes about any country, they reveal things that are genuine, distinctive, and arguably meaningful about it today—and perhaps tomorrow as well.

What will all of these unfolding demographic and familial changes mean for the Japan of 2040?

Generally and probably, a poorer, harder, lonelier, drearier life for a perishing nation is the answer. For details read the whole article here.

“If I wanted America to fail …” 5

Fire or ice 22

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

- Robert Frost

*

This is from Canada Free Press by Robert Felix:

Satellite data show that glaciers in part of the Karakoram range on the China-Pakistan border are putting on mass, defying the general trend toward glacier shrinkage. In an article entitled “Slight mass gain of Karakoram glaciers in the early twenty-first century,” Researchers from the National Centre for Scientific Research and the University of Grenoble admit to “an anomalous gain of mass” for the Karakoram glaciers.

This is in direct contradiction to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which claimed that ice from most of the region could disappear by 2035.

Often considered a part of the Himalayas, the Karakoram range, which runs through Pakistan, India and China, is technically a separate chain that includes K2, the world’s second-highest peak. …

We’re talking about the greatest chain of ice-capped peaks in the world — from the Himalayas to Tian Shan on the border of China and Kyrgyzstan — and satellite measurements show that they have lost NO ice in the past 10 years.

Not only have they lost no ice, in a defiant act of political incorrectness, some 230 glaciers in the western Himalayas – including Mount Everest, K2 and Nanga Parbat – are actually growing.

“These are the biggest mid-latitude glaciers in the world,” says John Shroder of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. “And all of them are either holding still, or advancing.”

And get this. Eighty seven of those glaciers have surged forward since the 1960s.

But we don’t need to look to the Himalayas for growing glaciers. Glaciers are also growing in the United States. Yes, in the United States.

Look at California. All seven glaciers on California’s Mount Shasta are growing, including three-mile-long Whitney glacier, the state’s largest.

Farther north in Washington State, the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. The Emmons Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. Glaciers on Glacier Peak in northern Washington are growing. And Crater Glacier on Mt. Saint Helens is now larger than it was before the 1980 eruption.

Even farther north, the Juneau Icefield, which covers 1,505 square miles (3,900 sq km) and is the fifth-largest ice field in the Western Hemisphere, is also growing.

Are these growing glaciers also just “an anomalous gain of mass”? Well, let’s look at a few other countries.

• Perito Moreno Glacier, the largest glacier in Argentina, is growing.

• Pio XI Glacier, the largest glacier in Chile, is growing.

• Glaciers are growing on Mt. Logan, the tallest mountain in Canada.

• Glaciers are growing on Mt. Blanc, the tallest mountain in France.

• Glaciers are growing in Norway, says the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE).

• And the last time I checked, all 50 glaciers in New Zealand were growing. (The Franz Josef glacier is advancing at the rate of 4 to 7 feet per day!)

But these glaciers are babies when you look at our planet’s largest ice mass, namely, the Antarctic ice sheet.

Contrary to what you may have heard, this huge ice sheet is growing.

In 2007, Antarctica set a new record for most ice extent since 1979, says meteorologist Joe D’Aleo.

Antarctic sea ice has also been increasing, on average, since 1980.

Think about that.

The Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is almost twice as big as the contiguous United States, is about 90 times bigger than all of the rest of the world’s glaciers combined.

Close to 90 percent of the world’s glaciers are growing, in other words, and all we hear about are the ones that are shrinking.

Welcome to the new ice age.

Are the warmists embarrassed? Well, yes:

“Our measurements…indicate that the contribution of Karakoram glaciers to sea-level rise was -0.01 mm yr for the period from 1999 to 2008,” write the French researchers [Julie Gardelle, Etienne Berthier, Yves Arnaud].

Huh? What does that mean? “The contribution to sea-level rise was MINUS 0.01 mm per year”? …

“Why this should be is not clear,” writes BBC News environment correspondent Richard Black. “Though it is well known from studies in other parts of the world that climate change can cause extra precipitation into cold regions which, if they are cold enough, gets added to the existing mass of ice.”

Get that? Global warming adds to the existing mass of ice (“climate change” being the replacement phrase for “global warming” since global warming paused in the last ten years).

Uh huh. First we’re told that global warming will melt all of the world’s glaciers and sea levels will rise catastrophically. Now, we’re being told that global warming will make the glaciers grow and contribute – in a minus sort of way – to sea level rise. Does that mean that sea levels will fall?

If it does mean that, you won’t hear the warmists say so. They believe that sea levels will rise, so rise they must.

Seems, one way or another, the earth has only about 5 billion more years before Carl Sagan’s promised “last perfect day” and then …

Cruel but not unusual in the Arab world 4

The authenticity of this horrific video of a man being buried alive in Syria is being questioned.

Sparse as the information surrounding it is, it seems to us extremely unlikely that anyone would voluntarily undergo what we see this man suffering merely to help create a propaganda hoax.

As it is not made clear who the perpetrators are, for whom would the propaganda be useful? They are assumed to be Syrian soldiers, but do Syrian soldiers wear sneakers? And if most of them are soldiers, why is the man in jeans working with them?

What we do know is that such atrocities are carried out in the Arab world. The language spoken here is Arabic. It is generally agreed that the video has come from Syria. It seems certain enough that Arabs are doing it.

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Syria, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, April 27, 2012

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Now call it treason 6

Recent events and disclosures at the highest levels of our government demonstrate that our own rulers … have through folly and dishonesty exposed themselves as “useful idiots” or worse, liars and functionaries whose loyalties may well be to other than the United States.

This is from an article by David Meir-Levi at Front Page:

On April 10, Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, stated that “religion is not driving extremist violence” in Nigeria. This pronouncement was made one day after Boko Haram, the uber-violent Muslim jihadist Nigerian terrorists, bombed a church killing 39 Christians.

Carson told us an unconscionable and transparent lie …  given the Boko Haram’s overt and unabashed self-definition as a brutally violent Muslim terrorist organization which condemns all things non-Muslim as “Haram” (prohibited) …

What impelled Mr. Carson to lie such that anyone anywhere who does not live under a rock can see that he is lying? …

The Saudi royal family has over the past decades insinuated itself into our State Department by promising State Department officials serving in the Arab world generous sinecures when they have retired from their official duties, as long as they represent Saudi interests to the US government while serving in the State Department. These Saudi long-range bribes render our officials servants of the Saudi government, representing Saudi interests to our government instead of the other way around.

How many Americans ostensibly serving US interests, and paid by American tax-payers to serve US interests, are in fact working for the Saudis? Who could know, since each traitor must try to keep his secret?  It is bad that any are, it is appalling that many probably are.

One thing is apparent, since Johnnie Carson is able openly to tell his blatant lie: the head of the State Department is allowing it to happen.

But the problem runs deeper than one State Department functionary whose integrity may have been compromised by Muslim forces that want him to lie on behalf of Islamic jihadist terrorists. His boss is Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, our Secretary of State. She has been silent regarding his transparent lie. Is Saudi penetration so deep that even the Secretary of State cannot publicly correct the errors of a State Department employee; and is it only the Saudis?

Both deeper and higher the rot reaches:

Very distressingly, it may be more than the State Department alone that is in question here. President Obama and the State Department have been unwilling to rule out aid to Hamas despite the fact that that very same State Department has classified Hamas as a terrorist organization, and American law prohibits US financial aid to terrorist organizations.

As Trudy Rubin observed last year in a Washington Post article: “The most ominous interpretation of the mush coming from the State Department (regarding aid to Hamas) is that the administration is so rudderless, unprincipled and desperate to avoid a clear defeat in its efforts to foist a “peace agreement” on the parties that it would go so far as to continue to do business with the PA, despite (the PA’s) taking on a partner that has killed Americans, seeks Israel’s destruction and, from behind the skirts of women and the cribs of children, has conducted a missile bombardment of Israel.”

The State Department’s rudderless, unprincipled pronouncements contradict its own policy denying aid to any terrorist organization. …

Obama and Hillary Clinton plainly do not recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization. It’s writ large in their record of the past three years that their sympathies lie strongly with Hamas and strongly  against Israel.

Significant percentages of Gazan Arabs … really want Hamas and other terror groups to just keep on bombing Israel, just keep on killing Jews. Yet the State Department and our President are unclear as to whether or not it is a good idea for the USA to continue to provide Hamas with hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars …

Then there is Madame Secretary’s comments on TV to a young and activist Tunisian audience on April 17. When asked why American Presidential candidates on both sides support Israel and Zionism, she said:

“Well, first, let me say you will learn as your democracy develops that a lot of things are said in political campaigns that should not bear a lot of attention. There are comments made that certainly don’t reflect the United States, don’t reflect our foreign policy, don’t reflect who we are as a people.”

In plainer words: “We  lie a lot, but the truth is we do not support Israel.” 

Our Secretary of State told her Tunisian audience, in front of international TV, that our Presidential candidates lie to get votes, and they are lying about their support for Israel. Then she went on to say:

“…watch what President Obama says and does. He’s our President. He represents all of the United States, and he will be reelected President, so I think that that will be a very clear signal to the entire world as to what our values are and what our President believes.

Yes, watch him. He does make clear his aggression towards Israel. He bows to the Saudis. He wants money to go to Hamas. In this, if only in this, Hillary Clinton is right. The whole world should read the clear signals of his beliefs.

In other words, the President is really on your side, Tunisian youth, and Obama’s pro-Israel statements in the previous campaign and during his current tenure are lies, as is the pro-Israel rhetoric of the Republican candidates.

There is no reason at present to doubt that Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s “rhetoric” about being pro-Israel is merely a convenient lie. The left habitually ascribes its own faults and evil plots to its opponents.

Secretary Clinton subordinated U.S. interests to partisan considerations and told her Muslim audience what she figured they wanted to hear, namely that the USA does not really support Israel, that’s just mendacious campaign rhetoric. In addition to calling her own President and most Republican candidates liars, she also unabashedly contradicted 65 years of the Israel-USA relationship. …

And Obama himself, Mr. “knife in Israel’s back,” has pandered to the Persians, curtseyed to the Caliph (king Abdullah of Saudi Arabia), flip-flopped in representing himself on the Arab-Israel issue, and tried his best during the three years of his presidency, to make a shambles of the traditional US-Israel relationship. …

Our leaders at the highest levels … have revealed to us their naked dishonesty. They are not honest stewards of American society, nor honest brokers in the Israel-Arab conflict, nor even stalwart defenders of our own country, their own country, in Western Civilization’s defensive war against Islamofascist, triumphalist, totalitarian, terrorist jihad. They have been compromised by forces at least one of which is Saudi oil money.

- To which forces they have been not just open but positively welcoming, because their prejudices are in favor of Islam and the Arabs, and profoundly against American exceptionalism and the ideal of individual liberty. 

What will it take before we can end the lies, stop the posturing, and call the complicity of our President and his Department of State with Muslim jihadist terrorism what it really is?

A leap of faith 8

Posted under cartoons, Commentary, Economics, Humor, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 25, 2012

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Restoring freedom 3

We liked these parts of the speech Mitt Romney made after winning five Republican primaries yesterday (full text here):

When it comes to the character of America, President Obama and I have very different visions.

Government is at the center of his vision. It dispenses the benefits, borrows what it cannot take, and consumes a greater and greater share of the economy. With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society.

This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best – and can provide all.

We’ve already seen where this path leads. It erodes freedom. It deadens the entrepreneurial spirit. And it hurts the very people it’s supposed to help. Those who promise to spread the wealth around only ever succeed in spreading poverty. Other nations have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.

I have a very different vision for America, and of our future. It is an America driven by freedom, where free people, pursuing happiness in their own unique ways, create free enterprises that employ more and more Americans. Because there are so many enterprises that are succeeding, the competition for hard-working, educated and skilled employees is intense, and so wages and salaries rise.

I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents – some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.

He goes on to pre-empt Obama’s “fairness” pitch. By “fair” Obama means equal, in the socialist sense. Romney gave it a different, more acceptable meaning:

This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.

In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded. And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.

This is the America that was won for us by the nation’s Founders, and earned for us by the Greatest Generation. It is the America that has produced the most innovative, most productive, and the most powerful economy in the world.

As I look around at the millions of Americans without work, the graduates who can’t get a job, the soldiers who return home to an unemployment line, it breaks my heart. This does not have to be. It is the result of failed leadership and of a faulty vision. We will restore the promise of America only if we restore the principles of freedom and opportunity that made America the greatest nation on earth. …

Wisely no doubt at this stage of his campaign, he concentrated on the economy. But near the end of the speech he said:

We’ll stop the days of apologizing for success at home and never again apologize for America abroad.

It was the only sentence that touched on foreign policy. It’s a good resolution to start with.

We wait to hear more than he has said in debates about how he’ll deal with Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea.

Will he treat Britain and Israel as the allies they are, and the Muslim Brotherhood as the enemy it is? Will he call Islamic terrorism by its name? What will he do to stop Iran becoming a nuclear power?

Hurray! Atheists shout down Muslims 13

Happy atheists shout down grim, hate-spewing Muslims at 2012 Atheist Convention in Australia.

“Where are the women?” the Atheists ask the Muslims – loudly, in chorus.

Good fun, and a victory for our side.

An expression of triumph, a spontaneous burst of sympathetic exultation, is perfectly in order.

Our man-made universe 13

We enjoy Andrew Klavan‘s columns. We often concur with his opinions. And with the column we quote today we come close to agreeing entirely.

What we cannot agree with him about today is that life came to our planet because – he implies – God put it here, and if God had not, it could not and would not have arisen.

The really strange thing about this fine and amusing article is that everything else he says argues well that the mind of man, not God, is the creative faculty in our universe and of our universe.

Here is his article at PJ Media:

Sunday was Earth Day, and in honor of the occasion, I’d like to say that as far as I’m concerned the Earth can go to hell.

The Earth — for those of you who may have fallen behind on your reading — is a piece of rock trapped in a slow death spiral into a cauldron of exploding plasma which, for lack of a better word, we’ll call the sun. Because that’s its name. There is exactly one interesting or worthwhile thing about this hunk of doomed space debris, and that is: it happens to maintain the conditions necessary for supporting life. (The odds against this would be ridiculously impossible, by the way, if there were no God — so impossible that scientists have been forced to invent all kinds of silly multi-universe scenarios solely for the purpose of convincing themselves that there is no God. But that’s their problem, and neither here nor there.)

(Let’s politely overlook that superfluous and self-contradicting interpolation.)

So the earth supports life. Whoopee. And there is exactly one interesting or worthwhile thing about life — only one — and that is the mind of man.

“Holy cannoli, Klavan on the Culture,” you may be saying to yourself, or even out loud — because, let’s face it, you’re kind of an odd person — I mean, just look at you. Anyway, “Holy cannoli or even moley,” you may be saying, “how can you say the mind of man is the only interesting or worthwhile thing about life? What about the beauty of the running gazelle? The nobility of the flying eagle? The awesome awesomeness of the spacious skies above the amber waves running to the purple mountains above the fruited plains? And how about those glazed donuts with the yellow creme inside? I love those!”

First of all, stop talking so much, this is my blog. And b, there is no beauty, no nobility, no awesome awesomeness — not even the taste of a glazed donut — outside the human mind.

Yes, yes,yes. Because there is no other mind. No mind divine beyond nature.

The science is not yet settled, but reality itself may be in part a production of the human mind as there are some aspects of the world that don’t seem to resolve themselves until we observe them. But in any case, the gazelle would be fleet for nothing, the eagle would be a winged eating machine, the skies and the waves and the mountains would be dreams without the dreamer if man were not here to know them.

Once you realize this, everything changes. You no longer worry about the earth running out of energy resources, because you realize there are no energy resources — there never were — there are only various forms of matter that our minds, the mind of man, transformed into energy resources for our pleasure and convenience. These will never run out as long as we’re here because the mind is limitless and will invent more.

You no longer worry about pollution, because you know that once free people become annoyed by it, other free people will fix it with cleaner fuel-burning methods and filters. Where are the pea soups of London? Where are the smogs of Los Angeles? Where are the snows of yesteryear? All right, I was just curious about that last one.

You no longer worry about the earth, because the earth is here for us, not the other way around. The earth is just our living space — for now. We should keep it reasonably clean and pleasant. But a carping obsession with spotless housekeeping turns you into a scolding fishwife — or an environmentalist — and makes life less comfortable for man, not more. …

The earth is not warming catastrophically. Fracking does not cause earthquakes. We should find and use every drop of oil we’ve got — there’s enough there for centuries, by which time we’ll be living on Alpha Centauri powering our flying cars with toilet paper or old pages of Barack Obama’s autobiography… but I repeat myself.

So screw Earth Day. I would like to declare today — and every day — the Mind of Man Day. Celebrate that — nurture that — glorify that — and the earth, believe me, will take care of itself.

Standing ovation.

Atheist conservatism going mainstream? 14

At our readers’ behest, we are proud to unveil the first official Atheist Conservative t-shirt! Pick it up on the Republican gear superstore Pax Republicana. Show you have the courage of your convictions. Wear this shirt.

If you think it, flaunt it!

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 23, 2012

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