Deus ex machina 1

Are science and technology giving rise to new religions?

Is “God” arising out of the machine?

Does pure rationality require the irrational? Doubt – the dynamic of science –  crave Belief?

Do machines need to be “granted a soul by God”?

Will  human beings “make God”?

Brandon Withrow writes at the Daily Beast:

What has improved American lives most in the last 50 years? According to a Pew Research study reported this month, it’s not civil rights (10 percent) or politics (2 percent): it’s technology (42 percent).

And yet, according to other studies, most Americans are wary of technology, especially in areas of automation (72 percent), or robotic caregivers (59 percent), or riding in driverless vehicles (56 percent), and even in using brain chip implants to augment the capabilities of healthy people (69 percent).

Science fiction, however, is quickly becoming science fact — the future is the machine. This is leading many to argue that we need to anticipate the ethical questions now, rather than when it is too late. And increasingly, those taking up these challenges are religious and spiritual.

How far should we integrate human physiology with technology? What do we do with self-aware androids … and self-aware supercomputers? Or the merging of our brains with them? If Ray Kurzweil’s famous singularity — a future in which the exponential growth of technology turns into a runaway train — becomes a reality, does religion have something to offer in response?

What we see there is the old fallacy that morality is inextricably tied to religious belief.

On the one hand, new religions can emerge from technology.

In Sweden, for example, Kopimism is a recognized faith founded over a decade ago with branches internationally. It began on a “pirate Agency Forum” and is derived from the words “copy me.” They have no views on the supernatural or gods. Rather, Kopimism celebrates the biological drive (e.g. DNA) to copy and be copied. Like digital monks, they believe that “copying of information” and “dissemination of information is ethically right.”

“Copying is fundamental to life,” says their U.S. branch, “and runs constantly all around us. Shared information provides new perspectives and generate new life. We feel a spiritual connection to the created file.”

“Recognized as a faith” it may be, but it’s hard to see how Kopimism is a religion. Whether you read the (badly translated) Swedish explanation of what it’s about, or the US Branch’s, you’ll find only, at best, a fuzzy idea of religion. An analogy between the copying of DNA in the procreation of human beings and the copying of information in the construction or things with artificial intelligence (AI) – does that put AI into the realm of the supernatural? Or is it the feeling of a “spiritual connection to the created file” that translates the robot from the laboratory into the realm of the numinous?

It may be the “sharing” (of information) that makes the inventors think their -ism is a religion, evoking as it does their ancestral Christianity.  (A theme to which we return later.)

… A recent revelation from WIRED shows that Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who helped pioneer the self-driving car at Waymo (a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet) founded his own AI-based religion called “Way of the Future”. …

Little is known about Way of the Future and Levandowksi has not returned a request for comment. But according to WIRED, the mission of the new religion is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence,” and “through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society”.

The “realization” of a “Godhead”. Making a “Godhead” real? Like a self-driving car? What will it look like? What will it do?

It is not a stretch to say that a powerful AI — whose expanse of knowledge and control may feel nearly omniscient and all-powerful — could feel divine to some. It recalls Arthur C. Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Magic=Miracle=Mysticism. Another connection to the old religions.

People have followed new religions for far less and, even if AI doesn’t pray to electric deities, some humans likely will.

The potential for an out-of-control AI has encouraged warnings from some of the biggest minds, including Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk who tweeted that it could lead to World War III. Clearly no Luddite himself, Musk has compared the creation of AI to “summoning the demon”,  and called for regulation and oversight of AI development, forming OpenAI, which looks for a “path to safe artificial general intelligence”.

Regulation and oversight by whom? To guard against what exactly?

Musk himself was named-dropped this week by Hanson Robotic’s empathic AI Sophia, when she was interviewed by Andrew Sorkin of CNBC this week.

A video well worth watching. Sophia is extremely impressive.

When asked about the danger she poses to humanity, she tells him, “You’ve been reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry if you’ll be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.” Not exactly the Golden Rule.

Not far off it, though.

Add to these warnings a prospective human cult following — paying their tithes to AI and devoutly obeying their digital demiurge — and that apocalyptic future could include those humans who not only welcome, but also work toward our eventual demise.

Humans working to put an end to the human race? More on that is needed.

But is there a positive fate for religion and AI?

Beyond possible new religions and warnings from icons of tech and science, artificial intelligence is also of interest to theologians who wonder what it means for faiths, particularly those that came into being when computing power was limited to the abacus.

“One thing that I think is interesting is the potential for an AI — our creation — to transcend us,” says James F. McGrath, the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University and author of Theology and Science Fiction.

“The potential for AIs to transcend us and thus become our teachers to whom we look for answers to questions we cannot answer, including about God, is not hard to imagine,” says McGrath. But, he adds, “the historic answer in monotheistic religions is that the creation can never be greater than the creator.”

To suppose that a synthetic brain can teach us about a “supernature” (that no one really knows to exist) is to ascribe powers to the creature surely beyond all possibility?

If human beings could make a thing that could do that, then indeed humanity itself would have become supernatural – as this Christian professor goes on to say:

He notes, however, for Gnostics, humans can transcend the “creator/demiurge,” though “even then,” he says, “we have the potential to reunite with that source from which we stem. It is not surprising that Gnostic themes regularly surface in science fiction, and in particular those that explore AI.”

Transcend the creator God – the “source” – he believes in, yet still “reunite” with it. (The old Gnostics believed there was a divine spark in the human being that would ultimately return to the sphere of the divine and “become one” with it.)

Currently, the greatest expression of science-fiction-turning-reality in tech-based religions is found in the frequently optimistic transhumanism.

Transhumanism and its cognates are represented by organizations like the Humanity+ (formerly, the World Transhumanist Association) and Extropy Institute. In its purely secular form, transhumanists are those who see technology as an important part of improving the world, enhancing human physiology, prolonging life, and even leading us into a posthuman future.

Follow those two links and you will find many idealistic sentiments, not much to do with technology.

Remember that brain chip? They exist — along with brain-computer interfaces — but are in their infancy. It represents the reality that humans are already becoming cyborgs. For some, this means there is the potential for an optimistic posthuman world.

The Terasem faith, for example, is futurist and transreligion, meaning it can be “combined with any existing religion”.  Founded by Martine Rothblatt, creator of SiriusXM Satellite Radio and her spouse, Bina Aspen Rothblatt, Terasem adherents embrace love, see life as purposeful, and death as optional. They look to technology as a source for eternal life, focusing on “cyberconsciousness software, geoethical nanotechnology and space settlement.”

They foresee a future in which technology will extend life indefinitely by means of “mindfiles” of individuals — collections of our memories and emotions — which might then be transferred to what is called a “transbeman” (Transitional Bioelectric Human Being). Early attempts of their technology can be seen in Bina Rothblatt’s counterpart android, Bina48. (See Morgan Freeman’s interview with Bina48.)

And what about God? Their fourth tenet is that God is technical. “We are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful and beneficent. Geoethical nanotechnology will ultimately connect all consciousness and control the cosmos.”

“Geoethical”? Earth-wide uniform ethics? Connect all consciousness? Control the entire cosmos? There’s ambition for you!

Transhumanism can also become the node connecting the theological of existing religions and the technological, and the Christian Transhumanist Association [CTA] is a stark example.

Again a link worth following. These Christians are determined to see technology as an enhancement of their faith.  In their case, technology is allowed into their existing religion, unlike those which see technology as the progenitor of new religions. Their faith is of primary concern to them. Technology is a challenge solved.

… Micah Redding, [CTA’s] co-founder and executive director … [says]:

New technological possibilities shouldn’t be simply feared and denied, but engaged and understood. Only in doing so will we be able to confront the challenges of the future, mitigate the risks, and take advantage of the opportunities to create a better world for us all. … As I see it, Christian Transhumanism is grounded in compassion, and centers love as the key to the future of flourishing life. … This puts us in contrast with any form of transhumanism which centers radical egoism.

For Redding, transhumanism is a “Christian mandate,” recently calling it the next Reformation in an article at The Huffington Post. “We cannot be faithful to the Christian calling without ultimately embracing some form of transhumanism.”

Others share his optimism and are hard at work in crafting a theology of transhumanism.

I see transhumanism as a contemporary outgrowth of an ancient Christian vision of human transformation,” says Ronald Cole-Turner, the H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and author of The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins.

He too sees promise in the emergence of the Christian Transhumanist Association.

Using technology, today’s transhumanists want to enhance human beings in ways that sound suspiciously like the classic Christian expectation,” says Cole-Turner, “things like greater cognitive awareness, improved moral disposition, and increased overall sense of well-being, and a hope of endless life.”

For early Greek-speaking Christians, Cole-Turner says, “it was seen as a process of theosis or ‘becoming God,’ not in an ontological sense but in every other significant meaning of the word. Latin-speaking Christians used ‘deification’ to refer to the same thing.”

The idea of theosis — being transformed in union with God — is gathering steam among Christian scholars, he says, noting that it makes theological sense of transhumanism. “God is the ground or source of everything, working through the whole creation to bring people, communities, and all creation to its glorious fulfillment in Jesus Christ. It is a transformation of everything by every means.”

Christianity promised eternal life (possibly in heaven, also possibly in hell, but anyway eternal life). According to Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that promise was the predominant cause of the spread of Christianity. So, Professor Cole-Turner teaches, Christians who look to technology to provide a form of “eternal life” (perhaps of the kind predicted by the Terasem faith) are being faithful to Christianity. For him, for them, the distance between “eternal life”  and the “glorious fulfillment of creation in Jesus Christ” is short. The transformation of life from this earthly existence to a reliably “glorious” eternal life need not be effected after all by the grace of God (or by good works), but can be brought about by technology. Why not? Now the professor comes to think of it, Jesus Christ could only have meant “a transformation of everything” by any … whoops, no … “by every means“.

But will Jesus save robots?

[Micah] Redding [of the Christian Transhumanist Association] adds a theological dimension to this idea.

It’s clear that artificial intelligence plays a significant role in the world today,” he says, “and thus must be factored into God’s eventual work of redemption. We don’t yet know whether that involves self-conscious AIs ‘coming to Jesus’, because we don’t yet know the process by which an AI might become self-conscious. If and when it does happen … it shouldn’t challenge Christian doctrine. If God can grant a soul to carbon-based lifeforms, God can grant a soul to silicon-based lifeforms as well.

Buddhism too can be at home with “emerging technologies”:

“Transhumanism was the confluence of my interests in Buddhism, radical politics and futurism,” says James Hughes, the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Having worked for a Buddhist social development organization in Sri Lanka — and once ordained as a monk — Hughes moved to Japan and went into bioethics. He discovered he was a techno-optimist, and at heart, a transhumanist.

“I discovered the new World Transhumanist Association,” he says, becoming their first Executive Director, and writing Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond To The Redesigned Human Of The Future. But after a division over political perspectives, he and a few others in the WTA founded IEET, leading him and three others to work toward Buddhist concerns.

Among some of his transhumanist issues, he says, is nonhuman personhood rights. Organizations like the Nonhuman Rights Project already seek these rights for animals (e.g. apes and elephants). Likewise, Hughes says, transhumanists want to “base those moral standings on levels of consciousness, and extend them to enhanced humans, animals, and machine minds.”

It would be interesting to hear what an imam at al-Azhar University in Cairo and the Ayatollah Khamanei of Iran have to say about possible new developments in Islam when human beings are almost totally cyborgs, or entirely replaced by machines.

People drifting in the rising ocean of Islam – and an island called Israel 1

This is about the drowning of the West.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since its establishment in 1950, has resettled some 50 million refugees – an extraordinary achievement by any standards.

So Denis MacEoin writes at Gatestone.

An achievement? We would call it a vast disaster, a colossal calamity. (The United Nations must be destroyed.)  And the rest of his article proves our contention.

So we quote his article with appreciation, in strong agreement with most of his opinions.

Refugees are back in the news. This summer, the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa is likely to rise significantly.

According to the Daily Telegraph:

Europe could face a new wave of migrant arrivals this summer, a leaked German government report has warned. Up to 6.6m people are waiting in countries around the Mediterranean to cross into Europe, according to details of the classified report leaked to Bild newspaper.

Six million six hundred thousand people are about to cross the Mediterranean and enter Europe.

With the closing of the route through the Balkans and entry via Greece, most refugees, economic migrants and asylum seekers are crossing the Mediterranean into Spain or Italy, putting those countries under enormous strain. Since 2016, Austria has strengthened border police to prevent thousands more entering from Italy, and increased the number of troops and armored vehicles on the border in 2017.

On World Refugee Day 2016, the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees announced that there are now more displaced persons than there were after World War Two: “The total at the end of 2015 reached 65.3 million – or one out of every 113 people on Earth… The number represents a 5.8 million increase on the year before.”

There are over sixty-five million displaced people in the world right now. 

…  The rise in criminality in general, rape, Islamic radicalization, and even terror attacks as a result of a barely controlled influx of migrants from mainly Muslim countries has created alarm in [European] country after country.

This alarm has led to serious divisions. It has divided people politically, with the left and centrists welcoming increasing numbers and the right  …  calling for more rigid controls and even the expulsion of many incomers. Even this division conceals two important issues.

First, it is easy to forget that many countries are legally bound to accept refugees from wherever they originate. These are the 142 countries who are signatories to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol extending it. They include European countries into which refugees have been coming, such as Germany, Spain, Italy, France and the UK. (The United States is signatory only to the 1967 Protocol.) The Convention guarantees that refugees shall not be sent back into harm’s way, and that, according to the UNHCR, “refugees deserve, as a minimum, the same standards of treatment enjoyed by other foreign nationals in a given country and, in many cases, the same treatment as nationals”. Among the few non-signatories are the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Second, there is a moral dimension that transcends simple party politics. Many religious people, such as Christians, may give greater priority to compassion for their fellow man than national concerns about the ability to cope with overwhelming numbers of new arrivals or ways of integrating them into their own societies. Many Jewish people, conscious of the world’s failure to take in hundreds of thousands of Jews in the years leading up to, and even during, the Holocaust, also feel a moral obligation to show a level of concern for today’s refugees far above what was shown to their grandparents. This view also extended to the way a barely-established state, Israel, took in around a million Jews expelled from Arab states after 1948.

Generosity and moral actions, however, may unintentionally make matters worse. In a recent Gatestone article on migrants, Douglas Murray quotes a statement by Bill Gates, a philanthropist who has started to rethink the results of such generosity:

On the one hand you want to demonstrate generosity and take in refugees. But the more generous you are, the more word gets around about this – which in turn motivates more people to leave Africa. Germany cannot possibly take in the huge number of people who are wanting to make their way to Europe.

Balancing legal requirements, stemming from the 1951 Convention, with the needs of national security, finance, and social cohesion, still proves a major dilemma for signatory states. Non-signatories such as the Gulf States, vastly wealthier than European countries such as Greece or Italy, have no such a dilemma, even though many Syrian and North African refugees speak much the same language, have the same religion, and practice similar customs in daily life.

There are likely to be further waves of refugees in the next few years, then more from Syria now that Islamic State is all but finished in Raqqa. The civil war in Syria, with the ISIS threat to a large extent removed, is certain to intensify; then more will flee Iraq with the recapture of a battered Mosul and further clashes between Sunni and Shi’i militias; then more from Libya, where ISIS-affiliated groups clash with a multitude of other Islamist fighters; then more from other failed and failing states in North Africa, the Middle East, the rest of Africa and Afghanistan, where the Taliban are again resurgent – more, in fact, from everywhere as social structures break down further, now that so many qualified people such as doctors, teachers, scientists have vanished to Europe. …

The collapse around the world of so many countries that never became democracies – countries lacking in abundant natural resources and whose dictators, taking international aid for their own pockets, sucked them dry – has led to an exodus that threatens to displace some of the world’s leading democracies. Many are now under a barely manageable strain and growing impoverishment, actually enabled by our democratic values, our concern for international conventions, our compassion and, at times, our naïvete. … Our decline will leave future refugees without sanctuaries in which they may thrive and give their children the opportunities for which they came.

In other words, Western democracies that accept hordes of refugees from the world’s hellholes will be turned into hellholes themselves, and there will be no refuge anywhere on earth. 

Tyranny scatters the miserable, who can only turn the world into one big hellhole of misery. 

Something, however, is missing. The left, who so often lead the campaigns to welcome to our shores an almost unfettered number of newcomers …  have in recent years justified their actions through the concept of intersectionality.

In itself, intersectionality could a useful way of looking at the world by seeing links between people who suffer different forms of oppression, such as racism, misogyny, homophobia and so on. It argues, for example, that a poor black woman has more issues to solve than, say, a middle-class white woman, even though both may be victims of male oppression. In theory, it is a useful tool; in practice, not so much.

How does intersectionality apply to refugees? Well, in general the “Left” have made the open reception of refugees a major cause, using intersectionality to justify this while condemning any other approach as fascist.

Articles often drip with standard far-left language: “emancipate ourselves from all forms of oppression”, “if we want to fight capitalism with all its forms of oppression”, and “white supremacist behavior harms our political self-organization” and other displays of racism framed in victimhood.

Referring to Linda Sarsour, a prominent Palestinian-American “anti-Zionist”, Benjamin Gladstone argues in Tablet Magazine that

No matter what the Sarsours of the world say, Jewish issues do belong in the intersectional justice movement. … Despite its enormous value and importance, however, the idea of intersectionality can also be manipulated to exclude Jewish issues from pro-justice movements.

Why “Jewish issues”? And what does this have to do with refugees? The answer is that the “Left” … [has] turned intersectionality into two seemingly unlinked matters: as an argument to call for unlimited entry for refugees and other migrants; and as a weapon to advance their hostility for Israel in demonstrations, in conferences, and in their written work.

The clearest expression of this refusal to include Jewish concerns in any intersectional discussion is the way “Left-wing” and anti-racist demonstrators, and speakers, starting in Ferguson in 2014, have consciously linked the Black Lives Matter movement to the Palestinian cause, blaming the “oppression” of the Palestinians on Jews, Zionists, and Israel, and then appealing to intersectionality as the basis for that link. This pairing of two causes rapidly became a core part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Already by 2015, in a deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Israel document, the 2015 Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine, one reads:

Our support extends to those living under occupation and siege, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the 7 million Palestinian refugees exiled in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The refugees’ right to return to their homeland in present-day Israel is the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.

There is, of course, no mention of Palestinian repression of free speech, of corrupt Palestinian governance, of Palestinian terrorism, or other abuses that follow in the wake of rotten governance. This overdone concern for generations of the descendants of Palestinian refugees – people forced to live in camps, not by Israel but by the Arab states referred to – is then artificially made to meld with the intersectional concern for refugees who are fleeing into Europe from wars in Muslim countries.

It is precisely here that the pretence of intersectionality on the left is most fully exposed. It is not just that supporters of intersectionality refuse to accept Jews as recipients of their outpourings of love and generosity, or that they focus in a racist and fascist manner on the supposed evils of the only Jewish state. They show themselves to be hypocrites in two ways.

To begin with, there actually are no Palestinian people, as used in the current sense of the term. The Oslo Accords accurately refer to Arabs, which is what they are – Arabs who left Israel in the war of 1947-8 in order not to be involved in a conflict in which other Arabs fought with Jews and Christians and who currently make up more than a million of the Arabs now living in Israel as citizens with equal rights. These Arabs who abandoned Israel while it was fighting for its life and who afterwards wanted to return. Israel refused on the grounds that these countrymen had not been loyal. It is those displaced persons, largely in Jordan and Lebanon, who then found themselves on the wrong end of a war that their brother Arabs had started and, to everyone’s astonishment, had lost. It is these Arabs (and their descendants), who fled Israel during the War of 1947-8, and who are therefore considered by Israel a fifth-column, who are what we now call the Palestinians.

And the UN has never attempted to resettle them. On the contrary, that nefarious institution has deliberately kept them, generation after generation, as  refugees.

Jews have remained in place in the area continuously for more than three thousand years – with Arabs, Christians, Turks, Helenes, Philistines, and whoever else came along – even when, at times, many were forced out.

One might have assumed that this history of abuse of the Jews would excite intersectionalists into reaching out to Jewish people everywhere and working with them to quell anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish terrorism. Instead, they have chosen to align with a people whose leaders have refused multiple times to accept a Palestinian state each time it was offered to them.

Instead, they apparently prefer to hate Jews and the Jewish state of Israel.

This is important. Jewish refugees from the Russian pogroms and Russia in World War I, long before the Holocaust, and from Arab and Muslim states were among the earliest to head for Palestine, then Israel, in order to build a new Jewish homeland, where Jews would be guaranteed a refuge from violence and hatred. Do not those refugees deserve the same intersectional support as those flowing into Europe today? Do not the many thousands of black Jews who went from Ethiopia and Sudan to Israel deserve backing from Black Lives Matter? Do not the thousands of Indian Jews now in Israel deserve friendship from people of color?

We are sure that Denis MacEoin knows that as Black Live Matter and all anti-Israel movements are battalions of the international Left, they class the Israelis as “colonialists”, and – however absurdly – as “white supremacists”. What BLM is really all about is promoting communism. That is what they are paid for, by George Soros and other haters of America and Western civilization. They should not be allowed for one moment to think that we are taken in by their claims to victimhood or believe they have any sympathy for actual victims. They are transparently hypocritical, as is the whole of the Left.

Instead, left-wing intersectionalists work towards an increasingly unachievable Palestinian “right of return”. …

There is no room here for a discussion of the spurious nature of “Palestinian Refugees” or the fact that they are kept in refugee camps – not by Israel but by Arab states. But such a discussion within groups who use intersectionality as a tool for hatred against Jews and Israelis is long overdue.

If intersectionality means anything as a system for bringing diverse peoples together, for helping refugees settle, for expressing solidarity with people who have suffered, it is meaningless if certain people are excluded. The “mistake” the Israelis made seems to have been that, although driven out as refugees, they exercised their right to self-determination, returned to their homeland, and turned it into one of the most successful countries in the world. The Palestinians, who had an equal opportunity to attain the same success, remain in poverty and disarray, with terrorism for 80 years as their only notable achievement. If they had agreed to work with the Jews instead of fighting them, who knows where they might be today? That would have been positive intersectionality, bringing two suffering people together for the common good. But to some, being “politically correct” evidently matters more than making the world a better place.

When most European countries have become Muslim countries – which will be quite soon now – Israel will be an island of freedom and democracy in a vast ocean of  Islam. That is a sea that really is rising. How can Israel survive? Islam will flow over it, as it will over every democracy eventually. Unless it is stopped now. And there is no sign of it being stopped (except perhaps in America, by President Trump).

Admitting millions of Muslims into Western democratic countries is not a way to save the drowning, but to be drowned.

Islam and the sinister force destroying the West 2

The Left is actively and passionately aiding Islam in its “holy war” to conquer the non-Muslim world by arms and by stealth. This despite the fact that the values and principles declared by Islam are – every single one of them – in total opposition to those declared by the Left. (Eg. Equality of women versus female subjugation; normalization of homosexual relationships versus throwing gays off high buildings; intolerance of religion versus forced religious conformity.)

The question is: Why?

Is the idea that when the Western nation states with their free political and economic systems have been destroyed by combined effort, they – the Left – will be able to bring Islam under control?

Are there other possible answers? We can’t think of any.

Daniel Greenfield explains how “a Socialist totalitarian utopia”, if it is achieved, will be, and can only be  “an Islamic theocracy of slaves, terror and death”:

The left helped create Islamic terrorism; its immigration policies import terrorism while its civil rights arm obstructs efforts to prevent it and its anti-war rallies attack any effort to fight it.

When a Muslim terrorist comes to America, it’s the left that agitates to admit him. Before he kills, it’s the left that fights to protect him from the FBI. Afterward, leftists offer to be his lawyers. The left creates the crisis and then it fights against any effort to deal with it except through surrender and appeasement.

Islamic violence against non-Muslims predated the left. But it’s the left that made it our problem. Islamic terrorism in America or France exists because of Muslim immigration. And the left is obsessed with finding new ways to import more Muslims. [Chancellor of Germany] Merkel is praised for opening up a Europe already under siege by Islamic terror, Sharia police, no-go zones and sex grooming and groping gangs, to millions.

The left feverishly demands that the whole world follow her lead. Bill Gates would like America to be just like Germany. Israel’s deranged Labor Party leader Herzog urged the Jewish State to open its doors.

And then, after the next round of stabbings, car burnings and terror attacks, they blame the West for not “integrating” the un-integratable millions who had no more interest in being integrated than their leftist patrons do in moving to Pakistan and praying to Allah …  But “integration” is a euphemism for a raft of leftist agenda items from social services spending to punishing hate speech (though never that of the Imams crying for blood and death, but only of their native victims) to a foreign policy based on appeasement and surrender. Islamic terrorists kill and leftists profit from the carnage.

The ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism is a manufactured crisis that the left cultivates because that gives it power. In a world without 9/11, the Obama presidency would never have existed. Neither would the Arab Spring and the resulting migration and wholesale transformation of Western countries.

In the UK, Labour used Muslim immigration as a deliberate political program to “change the country”.  In Israel, Labor struck an illegal deal with Arafat that put sizable portions of the country under the control of terrorists while forcing the Jewish State into a series of concessions to terrorists and the left. The same fundamental pattern of Labour and Labor and the whole left is behind the rise of Islamic terrorism.

Muslim terrorism creates pressure that the left uses to achieve policy goals. Even when it can’t win elections, Muslim terrorism allows the left to create a crisis and then to set an agenda.

The left’s patronage of Islamic terrorists for its own political purposes follows a thread back to the origin of Islamic terrorism. Islamic violence against non-Muslims dates back to the founding of Islam, but the tactics of modern Islamic terrorism owe as much to Lenin as they do to Mohammed.

Today’s Islamic terrorist is the product of traditional Islamic theology and Soviet tactics. The USSR did not intend to create Al Qaeda, but they provided training and doctrine to terrorists from the Muslim world. …

Truth to tell, the US and its Western allies provided money and materiel to Bin Laden and his followers in the late 1980s to help them overthrow the Soviet domination of Afghanistan. But that fact does not in any way detract from the validity of Greenfield’s case.

The earlier phase of Islamic organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, had been inspired by fascists who were seeking to use them in their own wars. Over this layer of secret societies plotting takeovers and building networks of front groups, the Soviet Union added the terror tactics that had been employed by the left. And the leftist mad bomber became the Muslim suicide bomber. Terrorism in the Muslim world has evolved from functioning as a Third World proxy army for the left, in much the same way as guerrillas and terrorists from Asia, Africa and Latin America had, to a diaspora whose migrations lend a domestic terror arm to a Western left whose own spiteful activists have grown unwilling to put their lives on the line and go beyond tweeting words to throwing bombs.

With the Muslim Brotherhood, the origin organization of Al Qaeda, ISIS and Hamas, among many others, so tightly integrated into the American and European left that it is often hard to see where one begins and the other ends, Islam has become the militant arm of the purportedly secular left. Western leftists and Islamists have formed the same poisonous relationship as Middle Eastern leftists and Islamists did leading to the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Arab Spring. Leftists expected Islamists to do the dirty work while they would take over.

But then something happened that the Leftists did not expect – and that they still haven’t learned from:

Instead the Islamists won and killed them.

Having learned nothing from the Hitler-Stalin pact, the left has replayed the same betrayal with the Mohammed-Stalin pact in the Middle East and now in the West. But the end of the Mohammed-Stalin pact will not be a Socialist totalitarian utopia, but an Islamic theocracy of slaves, terror and death.

On September 11, I saw with my own eyes how eager and willing leftists were to rush to the aid of Islamic terrorists even while their fellow Americans were dying.

Nothing has changed. Every Islamic act of brutality is met with lies and spin, with mass distraction and deception by the treasonous left. Every effort to fight Islamic terrorists is sabotaged, undermined and protested by the enemy within.

Since September 11, the left has trashed the FBI’s counter-terrorism and has now succeeded in destroying the NYPD’s [New York City Police Department] counter-terrorism while transforming the FDNY [New York City Fire Department] into an affirmative action project.

What the September 11 hijackers could never accomplish on their own, the leftists did for them by defeating the three forces that had stood against Islamic terrorists on that day. And it would not surprise me at all if some of the “No War” scribblers have gone on to play an influential role in that treason.

The left has crippled domestic and international counterterrorism. American soldiers are not allowed to shoot terrorists and the FBI and NYPD can’t monitor mosques or even be taught what to look for. Islamic terrorism has achieved unprecedented influence and power under Obama. ISIS has created the first functioning caliphate and Iran marches toward the first Jihadist nuclear bomb. The mass Muslim migration is beginning a process that will Islamize Europe far more rapidly than anyone expects.

The Jihad would not be a significant threat without the collaboration of the left. Without the left standing in the way, it’s a problem that could be solved in a matter of years. With the aid of the left, it threatens human civilization with a dark age that will erase our culture, our future and our freedom.

We cannot defeat Islam without defeating the left. That is the lesson I learned on September 11. It is a lesson that appears truer every single year as the left finds new ways to endanger us all.

Two views of capitalism 4

At Townhall, John C. Goodman presents and discusses two views of capitalism as expounded by Professor Johnathan Haidt.

The two views are summed up by these videos, made by Professor Haidt.

Capitalism as Exploitation

Capitalism as Liberation

John Goodman comments:

Now I would argue that one of these views of capitalism is factually incorrect. It’s not just a matter of “political and moral values” [as Haidt asserts]. In fact, in a video presentation of his theory, Haidt shows a chart mapping per capita income throughout all of human history. The chart shows (and this should be well known to all economists) that up until the last few hundred years the average human lived on about a dollar a day – in modern terms. At times and places, they might have enjoyed two dollars a day. If they were really, really lucky they might have hit three dollars a day. But that was it.

In other words, for 100,000 years our ancestors lived at the subsistence level. And then [with the advent of the Industrial Revolution – ed] we got capitalism. By that I mean not just free exchange, but also the institutions of capitalism, including enforceable property rights …

In all its guises the exploitation theory has one central message: the reason why some people are poor is because other people are rich. Here is Paul Krugman explaining why middle income families don’t have higher incomes. …

Soaring incomes at the top were achieved, in large part, by squeezing those below: by cutting wages, slashing benefits, crushing unions, and diverting a rising share of national resources to financial wheeling and dealing. Perhaps more important still, the wealthy exert a vastly disproportionate effect on policy. And elite priorities — obsessive concern with budget deficits, with the supposed need to slash social programs — have done a lot to deepen the valley of despond.

Really? J K Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series) is the richest woman in the world. Did she get rich by “cutting wages, slashing benefits, crushing unions,” etc.? I thought she got rich by writing books. How about Oprah? Has she “slashed” any benefits lately? What about Bill Gates and Warren Buffett? When is the last time they were out there encouraging scabs to cross a picket line?

Krugman’s point about political influence is almost as silly as his view of the economy. Earth to Krugman: the real base of the Democratic Party (the party of the left) has become the ultra-wealthy. And their political goals are harmful to the middle class, but not in the way that Krugman imagines. …

The problem for Democrats is that the party is increasingly ruled by the “new oligarchs”  … [who]  are basically anti-job creation and anti-economic growth – which they see … as a threat to their life style. This puts them squarely at odds with the working class voters who used to be the backbone of the Democratic Party. …

The Democratic Party is [now] the party of the poor and the rich. It’s the middle class that is bolting and voting Republican. And what do the rich want from Democrats? Contra Krugman, they’re not demanding smaller deficits or smaller social programs or even lower taxes. What they want – in addition to looney environmentalism – is for government to protect their life style.

Once the plutocrats settle in a community they become fiercely anti-development and shape their communities in ways that price the middle class out of the housing market. As a result, wherever wealthy liberals tend to congregate, housing is more expensive …

Limousine liberals are a threat to the average worker. But not because they are wage-suppressing, union-busting, exploiters. It’s because their anti-capitalist goals are at odds with the aspirations of ordinary Americans.

It seems to be the case that most – probably all – of the successful entrepreneurs who live in Silicon Valley vote Democratic. Having achieved their own riches in the freedom of opportunity for the individual that the capitalist system gave them, they vote for socialism and the removal of individual freedom that it ensures, so others cannot do what they did.

Building a monumental ruin 9

In lands whose history goes back millennia, there are ruins of great buildings that rulers ordered their subjects and slaves to construct. They stood proud and splendid once, monuments to the prowess of the rulers and the nations. Now, although ruined, they remain as memorials.

Obamacare will be Obama’s memorial. The difference is that it starts off as a ruin.

Mark Steyn tells the story of how the ruin was built here:

For much of last year, a standard trope of President Obama’s speechwriters was that there were certain things only government could do. “That’s how we built this country — together,” he declared. “We constructed railroads and highways, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. We did those things together.”

As some of us pointed out, for the cost of Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill alone, you could have built 1,567 Golden Gate Bridges — or one mega–Golden Gate Bridge stretching from Boston to just off the coast of Ireland. Yet there isn’t a single bridge, or a single dam (“You will never see another federal dam,” his assistant secretary of the interior assured an audience of environmentalists). Across the land, there was not a thing for doting network correspondents in hard hats to stand in front of and say, “Obama built this.”

Until now, that is. Obamacare is as close to a Hoover Dam as latter-day Big Government gets. Which is why its catastrophic launch is sobering even for those of us who’ve been saying for five years it would be a disaster.

It’s as if at the ribbon-cutting the Hoover Dam cracked open and washed away the dignitaries; as if the Golden Gate Bridge was opened to traffic with its central span missing; as if Apollo 11 had taken off for the moon but landed on Newfoundland.

Obama didn’t have to build a dam or a bridge or a spaceship, just a database and a website. This is his world, the guys he hangs with, the zeitgeist he surfs so dazzlingly, Apple and Google, apps and downloads. But his website’s a sclerotic dump, and the database is a hacker’s heaven, and all that’s left is the remorseless snail mail of millions and millions of cancellation letters.

For the last half-century, Obama has simply had to be. Just being Obama was enough to waft him onwards and upwards: He was the Harvard Law Review president who never published a word, the community organizer who never organized a thing, the state legislator who voted present.

And then one day came the day when it wasn’t enough simply to be. For the first time in his life, he had to do. And it turns out he can’t. He’s not Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. And Healthcare.gov is about what you’d expect if you nationalized a sixth of the economy and gave it to the Assistant Deputy Commissar of the Department of Paperwork and the Under-Regulator-General of the Bureau of Compliance.  …

[Obama] broke the lifelong rule that had served him so well — “Don’t just do something. Stand there” — and for the first time in his life did something, terribly.

It will bear his name forever.

The Travelling Wave 12

A socialist society is a stagnant society. And stagnation is a terminal illness of powers and peoples.

Invention springs from one brain, even if the development of it is advanced by other brains. A committee, a commune, a community, a jolly gathering of drinking chums will never do it.

Not only is there no incentive under socialism for an inventor to invent, there is also a lack of what he (have you noticed an inventor is always a “he”?) needs to do it: spare money, spare time, and above all freedom. No one interfering with him, no one saying you may or may not do this or that. No one directing him how to use his time. No one sharing his facilities and tools.

Only freedom fosters innovation.

Look how little in the way of important invention has come out of socialist Europe since WW2. It’s not because Europeans can no longer invent, it’s just that they have to go to non-socialist countries to do it. (Vide Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Briton who invented the World Wide Web – in capitalist Switzerland.)

Fortunately in America, despite Obama’s efforts to turn the United States into Big Sweden, there are still some of the right conditions – some freedom and capital and incentive – for invention. But already ideas conceived in America need to be taken elsewhere for their development. Where? Shamefully, to communist China, because it has a freer economic system, less government regulation, and no pestilential environmentalist lobby. 

Here’s the story of an American inventor and his idea, from an article by Carl Shockley in the National Review:

An extraordinary pair of events occurred this week. They concerned the future of energy and two of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. No one took much notice but they have remarkable implications for the future of the American economy.

First, Gates returned from a secret visit to China where, it was revealed in the Chinese press, he struck a deal with the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation to develop the Travelling Wave Reactor, a highly innovative technology that Gates has been developing with his spin-off company, TerraPower.

The Travelling Wave is a profoundly sophisticated technology that, thus far, exists only on paper. The idea is this: First, you design a fuel assembly in the shape of a long cigar, so that it burns slowly end-to-end. The uranium first “burns,” producing heat and electricity and transforming into plutonium and other highly radioactive isotopes in the process – creating what is usually called “nuclear waste.” But this is no “waste,” as the design of the reactor then allows the plutonium to “react” with itself as well, producing another round of nuclear fission and burning up the “waste” fuel in the process. By the time the “wave” has travelled end-to-end it will have generated up to 1000mW or more of electricity for a century with no refueling and very little waste remaining at the end of the process.

The Travelling Wave is the brainchild of Nathan Myhrvold, the legendary chief of research at Microsoft who, a decade ago, founded his own company, Intellectual Ventures, to research futuristic technology. Myhrvold settled on the Travelling Wave as the wave of the future and convinced Gates to fund TerraPower in order to develop it. The company is now working on the design with the aid of “1,024 Xeon core processors assembled on 128 blade servers,” which is a cluster that has “over 1,000 times the computational ability as a desktop computer,” according to its own report. TerraPower President John Gilleland estimates that a demonstration model can be assembled within ten years, with commercialization in 15.

But where to do all this? Developing nuclear technology in the United States means squeezing through the portals of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that 11-story building in Beltsville, Md., that serves as corporate headquarters and clearinghouse for all new ideas in the nuclear industry. Right now, NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko is complaining he doesn’t have enough staff to conduct license-renewal applications for aging reactors such as Vermont Yankee and New York’s Indian Point (which will conveniently allow him to postpone these contentious issues until after the 2012 election, thereby protecting President Obama’s environmental flank). Getting approval from the NRC to build anything new is basically a lost cause. …  Several start-up companies have been trying to commercialize small-modular reactors but so far they have barely managed to get a foot in the door at the NRC.

So where to go with your revolutionary ideas? Why, China, of course! There they don’t have a mandarinate bureaucracy or hordes of environmental lawyers waiting to oppose your every move. So Gates has taken his pet idea to China — which means, of course, that if the Travelling Wave ever becomes a reality, China will be manufacturing them.

But wait — don’t we have “alternative technologies” that are going to make all this fossil fuel and nuclear stuff unnecessary? That’s what Warren Buffett thinks. Last week his MidAmerican Energy Holdings plunked down $2 billion to buy the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm in the Central Valley of California. This is one of those projects in which about five square miles of photovoltaic panels are deployed in order to produce slightly less electricity than the 40-year-old Vermont Yankee nuclear facility — and only when the sun shines. During the night, when nuclear power just about runs the whole country, we’ll have to try something else.

Is Buffett riding the wave of the future? Does he see something that Gates and others don’t recognize? Well, not really. What he is perceiving most clearly is the array of federal and state subsidies, plus California’s “renewable portfolio standard” that requires utilities to build and buy solar electricity regardless of whether it’s reliable or even needed. … Even if these projects produce off-and-on electricity at four times the price of today’s power, they will be guaranteed a profit.

Under redistributionist big-government regimes there is always Obama-type “crony-capitalism”, which is not capitalism but the destruction of it.

We may soon see a wave of American inventors emigrating to anomalous China where, among other favorable conditions, fossil-fueled and nuclear power will reliably provide the energy to drive progress.

 

(Hat-tip Andrew M for the link)

In praise of the rich 3

Communism:  “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.  A central authority with a monopoly of force – which is to say the state – must gather and distribute resources. Condition of the nation: serfdom and poverty.   

Capitalism: “From each according to his need, to each according to his ability”. You decide what you need and work for it by providing others with what they’ll buy. The amount you get will be the measure of your ability. Condition of the nation: freedom and prosperity.

 

Collectivism: Economic equality achieved at the cost of liberty. 

Individualism: The only desirable equality is an equality of liberty. My liberty should be limited by nothing except everyone else’s. 

 

Walter Williams writes at Front Page:

Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, the phonograph, the DC motor and other items in everyday use and became wealthy by doing so. Thomas Watson founded IBM and became rich through his company’s contribution to the computation revolution. Lloyd Conover, while in the employ of Pfizer, created the antibiotic tetracycline. Though Edison, Watson, Conover and Pfizer became wealthy, whatever wealth they received pales in comparison with the extraordinary benefits received by ordinary people. Billions of people benefited from safe and efficient lighting. Billions more were the ultimate beneficiaries of the computer, and untold billions benefited from healthier lives gained from access to tetracycline.

President Barack Obama, in stoking up class warfare, said, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” This is lunacy. Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire produced the raw materials that built the physical infrastructure of the United States. Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft and produced software products that aided the computer revolution. But Carnegie had amassed quite a fortune long before he built Carnegie Steel Co., and Gates had quite a fortune by 1990. Had they the mind of our president, we would have lost much of their contributions, because they had already “made enough money.”

Class warfare thrives on ignorance about the sources of income. Listening to some of the talk about income differences, one would think that there’s a pile of money meant to be shared equally among Americans. Rich people got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. Justice requires that they “give back.” Or, some people talk about unequal income distribution as if there were a dealer of dollars. The reason some people have millions or billions of dollars while others have very few is the dollar dealer is a racist, sexist, a multinationalist or just plain mean. Economic justice requires a re-dealing of the dollars, income redistribution or spreading the wealth, where the ill-gotten gains of the few are returned to their rightful owners.

In a free society, for the most part, people with high incomes have demonstrated extraordinary ability to produce valuable services for — and therefore please — their fellow man.

People voluntarily took money out of their pockets to purchase the products of Gates, Pfizer or IBM. High incomes reflect the democracy of the marketplace. The reason Gates is very wealthy is millions upon millions of people voluntarily reached into their pockets and handed over $300 or $400 for a Microsoft product. Those who think he has too much money are really registering disagreement with decisions made by millions of their fellow men.

In a free society, in a significant way income inequality reflects differences in productive capacity, namely one’s ability to please his fellow man. …

Stubborn ignorance sees capitalism as benefiting only the rich, but the evidence refutes that. The rich have always been able to afford entertainment; it was the development and marketing of radio and television that made entertainment accessible to the common man. The rich have never had the drudgery of washing and ironing clothing, beating out carpets or waxing floors. The mass production of washing machines, wash-and-wear clothing, vacuum cleaners and no-wax floors spared the common man this drudgery. At one time, only the rich could afford automobiles, telephones and computers. Now all but a small percentage of Americans enjoy these goods.

In a free country, the rich are not rich because the poor are poor;  nor are the poor poor because the rich are rich.

Those are richest who serve others best. (In general, that is. There are of course exceptions, like George Soros.)

They create wealth.

So that, among free countries, where the rich are richest the poor are least poor.

As in the United States of America.

Wrong state of mind 2

Why do economic achievers, like George Soros for instance, who made their splendid fortunes because they had the freedom to do so, want to close that freedom to others? Or to put it another way, why do some who have benefited spectacularly from capitalism then go and vote for socialism and promote anti-free market causes?

We don’t know the answer to that question. There are a number of possible reasons, one of them being that a person might be very good at making money and yet be quite stupid.

Here’s an example of a German magnate who believes that individuals should not be allowed to make decisions for themselves, that bureaucrats know what is best for everybody, and the state should control and distribute the resources of the nation. He speaks for hundreds of millions of Europeans, which is why many European countries – Greece is a case in point – are facing economic ruin.

The story is told in Investor’s Business Daily. We emphatically agree with the editorial opinion.

An ultrawealthy German criticizes private charity, saying it takes “the place of the state.” More disturbing than the statement itself is the sad fact that many in the Western world agree with him.

Der Spiegel reported last week that “Germany’s super-rich have rejected” an invitation to join Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s “Giving Pledge,” in which the wealthy promise to give away a majority of their fortunes “either during their lifetime or after their death.” Wealthy Germans, Spiegel says, believe “donations shouldn’t replace duties that would be better carried out by the state.” Among them is a bitter Peter Kramer.

“I find the U.S. initiative highly problematic,” Kramer, a Hamburg-based shipping magnate, said in a Spiegel interview. “You can write donations off in your taxes to a large degree in the U.S.A. So the rich make a choice: Would I rather donate or pay taxes? The donors are taking the place of the state. That’s unacceptable.

What is apparently acceptable to these wealthy Germans is the unlimited authority of the state and the prerogative it’s given itself to restrict people’s choices.

“It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires,” Kramer continues. … “What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?”

Is it legitimate for the state to demand wealth from some so it can give it to others? …

Money handed out by the state is taken from productive citizens, then distributed through the corrupt and inefficient system of politics … It’s a system based on coercion.

Even better than private charity is private enterprise. Markets meet needs by creating wealth and growing economies. No system can match capitalism in its ability to bring prosperity to so many.

While there’s a place for charity, it’s merely a patch and should be used with great care. There’s no place, though, for forced redistribution. What’s chilling is that so many still believe there is.

Posted under Commentary, Conservatism, Economics, Europe, Germany, liberty, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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Health derangement syndrome 1

If starving isn’t unhealthy, what does the word ‘unhealthy’ mean?

There are powerful persons who believe with fanatical conviction that (other) people should starve to death rather than eat something ‘unhealthy’.

As a result, millions are deprived of food.

Even Bill Gates protests about this state of affairs. We say ‘even Bill Gates’, because he usually goes along with the thinking of those who believe in government control of individual lives, aka socialists. (See in the quotation below a list of lefty organizations he supports.)  He doesn’t seem to realize that he is one of the greatest benefactors of mankind ever, through supplying billions of people with something they want: the products of Microsoft, which are put to trillions of productive uses throughout the world. Doing so –  as a model capitalist – has rightfully made him rich, and he has no moral obligation to redistribute his wealth in a secondary and much feebler attempt to do good. But he apparently thinks there is, perhaps out of some unwarranted feeling of guilt.

Whatever prompts him, he has undertaken to alleviate the chronic hunger of whole populations in Africa. And he has run into an impediment: the adoption, by stupid African rulers, of two Western ‘progressive’ notions: that people must be made to eat healthy food, and that genetically modified foods are unhealthy.

This article is from FrontPageMag:

The left-of-center philanthropist says starving Africans should be allowed to eat genetically modified foods.

Bill Gates took on the Famine Lobby while addressing a forum on the world food supply in Iowa. Speaking at the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Gates took aim at the chorus of environmental leftists and organic food advocates who believe Africans should starve rather than eat genetically modified (GM) foods. “Some voices are instantly hostile to any emphasis on productivity. They act as if there is no emergency, even though in the poorest, hungriest places on earth, population is growing faster than productivity,” he said.

The opposition is significant, because Gates is left-of-center himself. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with assets of $29 billion as of 2005, has focused on the “population” side of the “problem” in the past, sending billions of dollars in grants to such pro-abortion groups as Planned Parenthood; Population Action International, Population Services International, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the Population Resource Center. Gates has also financed such organizations as the [Soros supported] Tides Center, the Tides Foundation, the National Council of La Raza, and has supported a gun control initiative in Washington state.

However, Gates announced he will issue a $120 million grant to increase food productivity in sub-Saharan Africa through the planting of genetically modified seeds. In Des Moines, Gates cited a Stanford study from 2008 concluding African farmers will lose one-quarter of their productivity within 20 years if they continue to plant the same strains of corn. However, “If the seeds perform well, African farmers can expect to produce two-million more tons of maize in a year of moderate drought.” Radio Iowa reports Gates has “committed more than a billion dollars” in all.

In proposing this initiative, he is standing up to the Green Left, which has long favored environmental “purity” [over] human well-being. Greenpeace cooked up the term “Frankenfood” to demonize genetically modified foods a decade ago. …

Dire predictions aside, GM foods not only potentially increase food production but have replaced the need to spray crops with chemical pesticides, which sickened or killed Africans. Those farmers who spray can now streamline the process, saving them much time and money. The modified crops are more resistant to cold, drought, herbicides, pests, and disease. They also supplied nutritional gaps in the consumption patterns of the poor. For instance, so-called “golden rice” spliced Vitamin A into rice, which could stave off blindness among the world’s poor who eat little more than rice. …

Greenpeace has long claimed GM foods increase allergies; however, the World Health Organization – hardly a corporate, capitalist shill – concluded, “No allergic effects have been found relative to GM foods currently on the market.” Although six EU nations ban GM foods, Jaap Satter, a senior policy adviser at the Dutch Agriculture Ministry, has said, “You cannot say anymore that there is a scientific reason to be against genetic modification.” The National Research Council summed up the situation: “no conceptual distinction exists between generic modification of plants and microorganisms by classical methods or by molecular techniques that modify DNA and transfer genes.”

Some environmentalists seem concerned the foods will be too successful at feeding the poor. Al Gore has worried, “The most lasting impact of biotechnology on the food supply may come not from something going wrong, but from all going right…we’re far more likely to accidentally drown ourselves in a sea of excess grain.” Given the environmentalist movement’s hatred of population – best exemplified by Obama Science Czar John Holdren’s justification of compulsory abortion in the United States – this may be the real locus of their disdain.

So deep is the Green Left’s hatred of GM foods that even an organization Gates founded has given genetically modified food a chilly reception. “The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006 “with the objective of improving agriculture in Africa.” However, its leader, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, vowed in 2007: “We in the alliance will not incorporate GMOs [genetically modified organisms] in our programmes. We shall work with farmers using traditional seeds.”

The scare tactics and shunning of American and Euro-socialist leftists is theoretical and faulty – but their mania has reaped a deadly harvest among the world’s most vulnerable people.

In 2002, Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa refused to accept tons of U.S. food aid for his starving nation, because the aid contained genetically modified food (maize, specifically). “Simply because my people are hungry, that is no justification to give them poison, to give them food that is intrinsically dangerous to their health,” he said. The deluded president continued, “I will not allow Zambians to be turned into guinea pigs no matter the levels of hunger in the country.”

The levels of hunger were staggering. Nearly one-third of Zambia’s 10 million people faced famine. Some 14 million Africans faced starvation region-wide. Nonetheless, the president privately upbraided officials in the UN World Food Programme for distributing GM foods, which fed 125,000 people in five camps. The WFP reported some impoverished Zambians “resorted to eating little more than twigs and ash from the fire in a brown soupy concoction.” Desperate, rural villagers broke into the palace where the stockpiles were rotting and stole 2,000 bags of maize.

In response, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, signed a “statement of solidarity” with Zambia. Charlie Kronick of Greenpeace went further, alleging the humanitarian aid constituted a sick capitalist ploy. “There is a constant drip of pressure from the U.S. government and biotech industry to make sure Africa is softened up for GM,” he theorized. “Europe is closed to them and they need a market for it.”

Others offered more than ideological support. Zimbabwe joined the boycott, preventing GM grain’s importation. Angola followed suit in 2004. Lesotho and Mozambique milled all such grain so it would not be planted and “infect” other crops.

Not all were limited to the EU and Africa. In 2004, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez passed “possibly…the most sweeping restrictions on transgenic crops in the western hemisphere.”

At home, the opposition has been remarkably well-heeled. National Review’s Deroy Murdock found:

In 2001, the 30 leading anti-biotech groups…spent $341.4 million, including Greenpeace USA’s expenditure of $23,748,737, Environmental Defense’s $38,794,150 and the Natural Resources Defense Council’s $41,625,882. Between 1996 and 2001, this crusade’s lavish underwriters included the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation ($11,906,500), the Ford Foundation ($39,978,020) and the Pew Charitable Trusts ($130,996,900).

It also included a large portion of the organic food market. Somehow, this story of an industry trying to spike a competitor did not make MSNBC or the pages of Mother Jones.

Whatever the dangers, the prohibition of GM foods is a moral issue. As Velasio De Paolis of the Pontifical Urban University has said, it is “easy to say no to GM food if your stomach is full.” However misled he is on other issues, Bill Gates deserves credit for standing up against the Green Left on this point.

But on another, closely related, issue he has so far failed to take the right stand:

The question remains, will he do so on the issue that seems closest to his heart: the eradication of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa? In a recent speech on the topic Gates admitted, “two tools helped to bring the death rate down: One was killing the mosquitoes with DDT.” Before Rachel Carson’s crusade – based entirely on scientific theories that never panned out – DDT use had nearly eradicated malaria. Now, according to one report, “there are approximately 350 to 500 millions cases of malaria, killing close to one million people” annually. “Every day, malaria takes the lives of 2,000 children in Africa alone.” Yet instead of backing DDT use, Gates has sought to find a vaccine.

If Gates truly wants to put the well-being of Africans above political correctness, DDT is the best place to start.