A climate alarmist confesses: we lied 9

The earth is NOT warming dangerously, says the “climate activist” Michael Shellenberger.

Thrilling news – not that the earth is not warming dangerously, which we already knew, but that a former alarmist is admitting that the earth is not warming dangerously.

It is thrilling too that Michael Shellenberger’s confession will no doubt infuriate all climate alarmists everywhere.

Here’s the full text of Michael Shellenberger’s apologetic confession:

The following is the full text of an opinion piece written by climate activist and energy expert Michael Shellenberger which was originally published by Forbes but pulled a few hours laterShellenberger, a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment” and Green Book Award Winner, told The Daily Wire in a statement hours after Forbes deactivated the piece, “I am grateful that Forbes has been so committed to publishing a range of viewpoints, including ones that challenge the conventional wisdom, and was thus disappointed my editors removed my piece from the web site. I believe Forbes is an important outlet for broadening environmental journalism beyond the overwhelmingly  alarmist approach taken by most reporters, and look forward to contributing heterodoxical pieces on energy and the environment in the future.” 

***

On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.

I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.

But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as Expert Reviewer of its next Assessment Report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.

Here are some facts few people know:

    • Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”
    • The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”
    • Climate change is not making natural disasters worse
    • Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003
    • The amount of land we use for meat — humankind’s biggest use of land — has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska
    • The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California
    • Carbon emissions have been declining in rich nations including Britain, Germany and France since the mid-seventies
    • Adapting to life below sea level made the Netherlands rich not poor
    • We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter
    • Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change
    • Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels
    • Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture

I know that the above facts will sound like “climate denialism” to many people. But that just shows the power of climate alarmism.

In reality, the above facts come from the best-available scientific studies, including those conducted by or accepted by the IPCC, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other leading scientific bodies.

Some people will, when they read this imagine that I’m some right-wing anti-environmentalist. I’m not. At 17, I lived in Nicaragua to show solidarity with the Sandinista socialist revolution. At 23 I raised money for Guatemalan women’s cooperatives. In my early 20s I lived in the semi-Amazon doing research with small farmers fighting land invasions. At 26 I helped expose poor conditions at Nike factories in Asia.

I became an environmentalist at 16 when I threw a fundraiser for Rainforest Action Network. At 27 I helped save the last unprotected ancient redwoods in California.

In my 30s I advocated renewables and successfully helped persuade the Obama administration to invest $90 billion into them. Over the last few years I helped save enough nuclear plants from being replaced by fossil fuels to prevent a sharp increase in emissions.

Until last year, I mostly avoided speaking out against the climate scare. Partly that’s because I was embarrassed. After all, I am as guilty of alarmism as any other environmentalist. For years, I referred to climate change as an “existential” threat to human civilization, and called it a “crisis”.

But mostly I was scared. I remained quiet about the climate disinformation campaign because I was afraid of losing friends and funding. The few times I summoned the courage to defend climate science from those who misrepresent it I suffered harsh consequences. And so I mostly stood by and did next to nothing as my fellow environmentalists terrified the public.

I even stood by as people in the White House and many in the news media tried to destroy the reputation and career of an outstanding scientist, good man, and friend of mine, Roger Pielke, Jr., a lifelong progressive Democrat and environmentalist who testified in favor of carbon regulations. Why did they do that? Because his research proves natural disasters aren’t getting worse.

But then, last year, things spiraled out of control.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said “The world is going to end in twelve years if we don’t address climate change.” Britain’s most high-profile environmental group claimed “Climate Change Kills Children.”

The world’s most influential green journalist, Bill McKibben, called climate change the “greatest challenge humans have ever faced” and said it would “wipe out civilizations”.

Mainstream journalists reported, repeatedly, that the Amazon was “the lungs of the world”, and that deforestation was like a nuclear bomb going off.

As a result, half of the people surveyed around the world last year said they thought climate change would make humanity extinct. And in January, one out of five British children told pollsters they were having nightmares about climate change.

Whether or not you have children you must see how wrong this is. I admit I may be sensitive because I have a teenage daughter. After we talked about the science she was reassured. But her friends are deeply misinformed and thus, understandably, frightened.

I thus decided I had to speak out. I knew that writing a few articles wouldn’t be enough. I needed a book to properly lay out all of the evidence.

And so my formal apology for our fear-mongering comes in the form of my new book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.

It is based on two decades of research and three decades of environmental activism. At 400 pages, with 100 of them endnotes, Apocalypse Never covers climate change, deforestation, plastic waste, species extinction, industrialization, meat, nuclear energy, and renewables.

Some highlights from the book:

    • Factories and modern farming are the keys to human liberation and environmental progress
    • The most important thing for saving the environment is producing more food, particularly meat, on less land
    • The most important thing for reducing air pollution and carbon emissions is moving from wood to coal to petroleum to natural gas to uranium
    • 100% renewables would require increasing the land used for energy from today’s 0.5% to 50%
    • We should want cities, farms, and power plants to have higher, not lower, power densities
    • Vegetarianism reduces one’s emissions by less than 4%
    • Greenpeace didn’t save the whales, switching from whale oil to petroleum and palm oil did
    • “Free-range” beef would require 20 times more land and produce 300% more emissions
    • Greenpeace dogmatism worsened forest fragmentation of the Amazon
    • The colonialist approach to gorilla conservation in the Congo produced a backlash that may have resulted in the killing of 250 elephants

Why were we all so misled?

In the final three chapters of Apocalypse Never I expose the financial, political, and ideological motivations. Environmental groups have accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from fossil fuel interests. Groups motivated by anti-humanist beliefs forced the World Bank to stop trying to end poverty and instead make poverty “sustainable”.  And status anxiety, depression, and hostility to modern civilization are behind much of the alarmism.

Once you realize just how badly misinformed we have been, often by people with plainly unsavory or unhealthy motivations, it is hard not to feel duped.

Will Apocalypse Never make any difference? There are certainly reasons to doubt it.

The news media have been making apocalyptic pronouncements about climate change since the late 1980s, and do not seem disposed to stop.

The ideology behind environmental alarmism — Malthusianism — has been repeatedly debunked for 200 years and yet is more powerful than ever.

But there are also reasons to believe that environmental alarmism will, if not come to an end, have diminishing cultural power.

The coronavirus pandemic is an actual crisis that puts the climate “crisis” into perspective. Even if you think we have overreacted, Covid-19 has killed nearly 500,000 people and shattered economies around the globe.

Scientific institutions including WHO and IPCC have undermined their credibility through the repeated politicization of science. Their future existence and relevance depends on new leadership and serious reform.

Facts still matter, and social media is allowing for a wider range of new and independent voices to outcompete alarmist environmental journalists at legacy publications.

Nations are reorienting toward the national interest and away from Malthusianism and neoliberalism, which is good for nuclear and bad for renewables.

The evidence is overwhelming that our high-energy civilization is better for people and nature than the low-energy civilization that climate alarmists would return us to.

And the invitations I received from IPCC and Congress late last year, after I published a series of criticisms of climate alarmism, are signs of a growing openness to new thinking about climate change and the environment.

Another sign is the response to my book from climate scientists, conservationists, and environmental scholars. “Apocalypse Never is an extremely important book,” writes Richard Rhodes, the Pulitzer-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb. “This may be the most important book on the environment ever written,” says one of the fathers of modern climate science Tom Wigley.

“We environmentalists condemn those with antithetical views of being ignorant of science and susceptible to confirmation bias,” wrote the former head of The Nature Conservancy, Steve McCormick. “But too often we are guilty of the same. Shellenberger offers ‘tough love’: a challenge to entrenched orthodoxies and rigid, self-defeating mindsets. Apocalypse Never serves up occasionally stinging, but always well-crafted, evidence-based points of view that will help develop the ‘mental muscle’ we need to envision and design not only a hopeful, but an attainable, future.”

That is all I that I had hoped for in writing it. If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ll agree that it’s perhaps not as strange as it seems that a lifelong environmentalist, progressive, and climate activist felt the need to speak out against the alarmism.

I further hope that you’ll accept my apology.

No, Michael Shellenberger, happy though we are to have your confession, we do not accept your apology. We will not forgive you. But we might if you confess that all the rest of your Leftist views are also wrong.

Buying the jihad 2

In this video – issued April 5, 2020, by the Middle East Forum – the leading expert on “Islamism”, Sam Westrop, explains how the citizens of the West are paying with their taxes to be the victims of Islamic aggression.

And how the Left-biased media help the aggressors.

He describes the mistakes European and British governments have made in dealing with their Muslim populations. At the 14 minute mark he starts speaking of America, how US governments are making the same mistakes. His most shocking revelation is that “Islamists are getting more money under the Trump administration than under the Obama administration”.

That, of course, is The Swamp in action. If the revelation reaches the President, we expect and hope that government funding of radical Muslim groups will stop.

Brexit accomplished at last 6

Brexit today, January 31, 2020. A great day for Britain.

Nigel Farage says good-bye to the useless parliament of the corrupt EU:

 

 

Posted under Britain, Europe, nationalism, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 31, 2020

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A huge electoral victory 25

The Times (UK) reports:

Boris Johnson has pledged to lead a “people’s government” and spread opportunity to every corner of the country after securing an emphatic election win.

Conservative victories in a string of former Labour heartland seats meant that the party secured a majority of 76, the biggest at a general election since Margaret Thatcher’s in 1987.

Jeremy Corbyn conceded defeat at 3.20am.

Hugely important question:

Is the Conservative pro-Brexit victory a symptom of a popular swing away from socialism and globalism in the West generally?

May it be so!

Posted under Britain, Conservatism, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Friday, December 13, 2019

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Diversity, disparity, fatuity 1

There are NO benefits to Europe (or America, or Canada, or anywhere) from mass Muslim immigration.

Mass Muslim immigration brings terrorism, death, destruction, decay, injustice and despair.

“Diversity is our strength” is a  fatuous slogan.

Paul Joseph Watson dares to say so:

 

Posted under Austria, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, immigration, Islam, jihad, Multiculturalism, Muslims, Poland, Terrorism by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Veterans Day 2019 1

The First World War, which ended 101 years ago today, was an utterly unnecessary war. It was started for no better reason than to satisfy the vanity of kings.

According to War History Online:

There were around 8 million Frenchmen fighting, 13 million Germans, 9 million Austro-Hungarian men, 9 million British soldiers, 18 million Russians, 6 million Italians and 4 million from the United States.

Here’s the “official” break down [of dead and injured in the engaged armies]:

France: 1.4 million dead, 4.2 million injured.

Germany: 1.8 million dead, 4.2 million injured.

Austria-Hungary: 1.4 million dead, 3.6 million injured.

Russia: 1.8 million dead, 5 million injured.

Britain and British Empire: 900,000 dead, 2 million injured.

Italy: 600,000 dead, 1 million injured.

Serbia suffered the greatest losses [proportionately] to their military. Nearly three quarters of their soldiers were either killed (130,000) or wounded (135,000).

The battles of Verdun and the Somme in 1916 left 770,000 and 1.2 million (respectively) missing, wounded or dead from both sides.

Some of the most devastating losses were caused in the beginning weeks of the world war. In one day, August 22, 1914, nearly 27,000 French soldiers were killed. That day remains the deadliest day in France’s history in regards to military men killed.

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I: about 40 million.

It was a vast blood-letting that started the ever accelerating decline of Western civilization.

It destroyed a great part of a whole generation of men.

It facilitated the turning of Russia into a Communist torture-chamber and graveyard, and source of sepsis for the whole world, still spreading.

It led causally to the Second World War, which the allies had necessarily to fight, and in which there were even greater numbers of dead and injured.

Yesterday Queen Elizabeth wept as the customary wreaths were laid at the foot of the cenotaph in memory of the men and women killed in the two world wars.

Today in America we honor all those who have served and serve now in the US military.

It was because America came to the aid of Europe twice in the last century, that liberty was preserved for our world. Whether it will survive much longer remains to be seen. Half the voters of America seem to want to live under the tyranny that was militarily defeated in the last century.

We do well to remember, as Europeans mourn their heroes and Americans honor theirs, how precious and rare is the liberty they fought for.

Posted under Austria, Britain, communism, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, liberty, nazism, Russia, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Monday, November 11, 2019

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Islam rules Britain, okay? 16

London, capital of England and Great Britain, and for centuries the hub of the greatest empire in all history, has elected a Muslim named Sadiq Khan to be its mayor.

He advocates tolerance of terrorism. That is to say, Islamic terrorism.

And he will not tolerate criticism of Islam. So he has formed a special police force, under his personal command, to sniff out “Islamophobes”. He calls it his “Hate Crime and Hate Speech”  unit. We call it the Islamic Stasi. It does not confine its operations to London, but goes stalking far afield.

Our British associate, Chauncey Tinker, sent us this account of the London Islamic Stasi going about its oppressive business, by one of its victims. Not surprisingly, a Jewish victim. His website is titled Fahrenheit211.

On Tuesday the 22nd October, at approximately 07:15, whilst I was getting my four year old child ready for school, there was a rather aggressive knock at my front door. I opened the door and found a whole bunch of police officers who wanted me to come out and ‘talk to them’. Knowing what the modern day British police are like in too many cases, which is thuggish and dishonest, I shut the door in their faces. The police do not turn up mob handed merely to have ‘a chat’. Instead I picked up the handset for my entryphone, which is remotely recorded, and spoke to the officers via that method.

I politely requested that they state the reason why they were at my front door and they said ‘we just want to talk’ and ‘you must come outside to speak’. They refused my request that I would speak to them via the window and insisted that I come out. Whilst this was going on I was watching what was happening on CCTV, the footage of which is now secured off site. I could see at least six police officers swarming around my front garden and to my back garden to which they had gained access. There were, I observed, four officers in the front and two in the back.

The officer who appeared to be leading this mob of officers, kept saying ‘we want you to come outside so we can talk to you’. Of course I refused. This is because I know from other cases of a similar nature where the police have said this that this is a ruse to gain entry to a property so that they can later say that the occupier ‘invited’ them in. The lead officer, whom I later found out was PC Choudhury of Sidcup who is attached to Sadiq Khan’s ‘Hate Crime and Hate Speech’ unit, became ever more threatening and aggressive in his tone and refused to state exactly why he and the rest of the officers were there. He and the other officers kept shouting through the door that if I did not open the door then they would break it down. Because I did not want my son exposed to what the police were obviously going to do I sent him upstairs with my wife.

After about five minutes or so of these officers banging on the front door and issuing threats to break it down and officers menacingly patrolling my back garden, an officer brought up what looked like a battering ram. The officers were shouting through the door ‘we are going to break the door down now’.

As the officers said they would, they smashed the lock on my front door causing approximately £100 worth of damage. At least three officers, one of whom was PC Choudhury, rushed into the house and into the kitchen at the back of the house. PC Choudhury then cautioned me, arrested me for ‘malicious communication and racial and religious hatred’ and put me in handcuffs. They guided me out into the front garden where they searched me and then put me in the back of a police van and took me to the local police station. Whilst I was being searched in the front garden my son escaped from his Mum and ran downstairs to the front door, saying his Daddy is being searched and taken away by police. I turned to my son and said to him, ‘Don’t worry, it will be all right, Daddy loves you’. He’s been asking me, ‘Are the policemen going to come back again?’ I will never forgive or forget the trauma that these officers put my child through.

Before I was put in the police van I noticed that a considerable amount of police resources had been put into this arrest and there were at least two police cars present along with the van. I found out later that PC Choudhury and his Met Police civilian assistant had traveled up the night before, distance of 150 miles and had stayed, at the taxpayers expense, in one of my city’s poshest hotels at a roughly estimated cost including meals of at least £150 per night. It’s good to know that Sadiq Khan’s ‘Hate Crime and Hate Speech’ unit is spending Londoners’ money so sensibly isn’t it? Maybe the Met has run out of real crime? Do I need a sarcasm sign here, no I don’t think so.

The police then searched my property and took away all my IT equipment including phones in order to examine them to see if they were related to the ‘offence’ that I had been arrested for. They also took my wife’s computer which is more than little annoying as she needs this machine for her work.

When we got to the police station I was booked in under the catch all and increasingly misused ‘Malicious Communication and Racial and Religious Hatred’ acts, searched again and put in a cell. The custody sergeant, who incidentally said that I was one of the most polite detainees he had had in a long time, furnished me with paper copies of my rights whilst detained and a requested copy of the Bible, which I used in the cell to meditate upon Psalm 35, a psalm that was appropriate for this situation. I was removed from the cell, photographed, fingerprinted and had DNA taken. I was put back in the cell to await questioning and the arrival of the duty solicitor.

Before questioning by PC Choudhury I consulted with the duty solicitor, who luckily turned out to be far better than many who perform this function, and I told him that I was not going to answer any questions that the police put to me, as is my right. I also gave the police a written statement that I was merely exercising my right to speak freely. I was offered food but I refused on the grounds that the food is unlikely to be Kosher but I was offered and accepted hot drinks as there’s not much you can do to instant coffee that would make this item not Kosher or Treyf.

Eventually I was brought, along with my solicitor, to an interview room for questioning under caution. I gave the officer my pre-prepared statement about speaking freely and the interview commenced. Of course I answered nearly all questions with ‘no comment’ and refused also to identify the vast majority of the items that the police alleged that they had removed from my home. The police also claimed that they had in possession written correspondence that they believed was between me and others who have challenged both Islam and ‘hate speech’ laws and certain organizations.

Although I did not answer any questions, the questions themselves gave me an inkling into what the arrest was all about. From what I could gather both Mr Mughal, who is the founder of the Tell Mama organisation and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan had complained about memes mocking them that the police allege they saw on the Fahrenheit211 website. They also asked me about an allegation made by Mr Mughal that I questioned the narrative surrounding the ‘punish a Muslim day’ case in which doubt was cast on the idea that this was the work of an organised group and rather, as it turned out, the work of a lone and deranged nutcase. The police asked me if I was an ‘Islamophobe’ to which I replied ‘no comment’. They also asked me to disclose my passcodes for the machines that they claimed they had seized to which I replied ‘no comment’.

Incidentally, if you want further information about some of the criticisms that have been levelled against the Tell Mama organisation and those involved in it along with the sad state of freedom of speech in the UK, then I can highly recommend that you read Nick Monroe’s article Escape from Big Mother” It is an article that makes for illuminating and indeed frightening reading, especially for those who live in nations that, unlike the UK, have a greater respect for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It should encourage those in places like the USA to hold on tight to their First Amendment, because without it the average citizen may suddenly find that a whole load of subjects that they may wish to discuss are now ‘forbidden’.

I got the distinct impression that the police were trying to get me to make their job of prosecuting me for ‘hate speech’ easy by having me answer questions. This, knowing the parlous state of UK police forces, was not something that I was prepared to do. Basically, the Met are trying to prosecute me for memes and for criticism of those groups who are in receipt of vast amounts of public money, resources to which I and others do not consider them entitled.

After discovering that I was not going to answer any of the police’s questions, I was released without charge on unconditional bail pending investigation. I suspect that this case will go the way of many other similar cases of ‘malicious communication’ and ‘hate speech’ where the long drawn out process of investigation is the punishment or part of the punishment and also a way of intimidating those who engage in ‘wrongthink’.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the many people who have contacted me both privately and publicly to offer their support and those associates who have contacted various online ‘influencers’ in order to gain publicity not just for my case but also to support the cause of free speech in general. I have been truly heartened by those who have voiced their support and especially to those in the United States who are encouraging a letter writing campaign aimed at the British Embassy in Washington DC. I would also like to thank those (you know who you are) who have given me facilities to work ‘off site’ which is why I’m able to continue writing.

This case is likely to run and run, a bit like the West End play The Mousetrap, although hopefully not as long as that particular production. I have also been questioned by another government entity that has the misfortune to share initials with a security organisation that was operating in Germany between 1933 and 1945. This I believe is standard practice when a person who is arrested has children. But I have told this organisation the truth. That is that I am a centre rightist Jewish conservative who believes in equality between races, equality between men and women between different sexualities, along with civic nationalism, British values and who is not a member of any extreme party or political grouping. The last party that I was a member of was the Conservative Party who in no way could be called ‘extreme’ by any reasonable person.

This incident will not discourage me from standing up for the idea of freedom of speech, which includes freedom of speech for those with whom I vehemently disagree. I am also not discouraged in my view that ‘hate speech’ legislation has no place in a society that considers itself to be free as not only do ‘hate speech’ laws have a chilling effect on a citizen or subject’s speech, but also because they create a two tier system where one group is given virtually carte blanche to say what they want but others do not have this right. If I’m not fighting here, I will be fighting this fight elsewhere and I would encourage others to peacefully and politely protest against both the removal of free speech rights for Britons, but also the damaging and all too easily abused categories of ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crime’ legislation. In these matters we should be treated as equals no matter what our skin colour or belief system, something that the plethora of ‘hate crime’ legislation does not do. I’m going to fight this case as hard as I possibly can as it’s not just my fight but the same fight as everyone who wants freedom of speech and the repeal of the increasingly hated ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crime’ laws.

So though the battle is lost and the capital of the country has fallen, some fight on.

The struggle is heroic, but is there any chance it can succeed?

Posted under Britain, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Terrorism, tyranny, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 10, 2019

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The pursuit of happiness 57

Gentlefolk in the 18th. century thought that to try to live happily was a reasonable aim, to judge by the statement of the great authors of the US Declaration of Independence. To them it appeared “self-evident” that every person had a “right” (“endowed by their Creator”, or, in other words, a natural right) to his life and his choice how to live it, which surely meant that he would live it as nearly to his heart’s desire as he could.

Horny handed sons of toil, even if as free under the law, were not expected, either by themselves or their betters, to achieve the same forms of happiness. Enough for them if they could earn their daily bread. For that they lived and strove. Their life was the striving. It occupied their hours, their days, their years, their bodies and their thoughts. Success was survival. Survival was for most of them the only reasonable attainable happiness. If some strove for more – excess, property, leisure – and attained it, then happiness abounded. (Happiness, that is to say, as contentment. Other forms of gratification – thrills, excitement, delights of the senses, scoring triumphs – are not our subject. They are experienced episodically and enjoyed to the degree the individual is capable of.)

The welfare state relieved the workers of the need to strive for survival. Now all could be philosophers. The joy of exploring the limitless sphere of the mind was open to all. Universal happiness would reign.

But doesn’t.

The reasons why people commit suicide are many and various, but what they all have in common is that they find life unbearable. So suicide rates might be taken as a gauge of happiness and the lack of it in a population.

The figures for those rates from the last few years (according to Wikipedia – and perhaps not entirely trustworthy) provide some surprises. (Worth noticing in passing – far more males kill themselves than do females everywhere.)

Highest suicide rate in the world: Greenland. Average 82.8 per 100,000 per annum. It is a welfare state.

Google reveals:

As part of Denmark, Greenlanders have access to one of the most extensive social welfare systems in Europe, including universal, nationalized medical care and free state education, including college.

(President Trump has asked Denmark if it would sell Greenland to the USA. Rhetorical question: Would life in Greenland be better, more bearable, happier if it became the 51st. state of the USA, which provides much less welfare? USA suicide average per 100,000 per annum, 14.5.)

Big drop to the next highest. Guyana 30.2, Lithuania 28.27, South Korea 26.6

The average for most European countries is between 12.57 (Germany) and 17 (Belgium).

Britain? Only 7.23!

China? 9.8

Iran 4.8   The state does most of the killing there.

Venezuela 3.2  Nature does it there, because the people are starving and have no medicines. Venezuela is – way beyond a welfare state – a socialist state.

Syria 0.1  Constant civil war rages there.

Pakistan 1.1   People are happy in Pakistan?

Haiti  – a truly miserable place of hunger and disease. Average suicide?  0.0

But back to the pursuit of happiness in the civilized West.

What went wrong? Is it possible that the strivers enjoyed the striving and its meager rewards?

Or did philosophizing bring the newly leisured to ask, “What is it all for anyway?“. And find no answer?

There are thousands of counselors – even millions, we would guess – telling unhappy people how to be happy. There are hundreds of thousands of books giving readers rules for living –  from obedience to which, happiness might be expected.

And there is religion. Religion is supposed to “give meaning to life”.

Does it answer the question “what is it all for anyway?”

Let’s look at an individual case of unhappiness. In America.

At the American Conservative, we found this letter, reproduced by Rod Dreher, to whom it was sent as if to an agony aunt:

Mr. Dreher,

The things you have been writing lately about alienated young men and mass shootings prompt me to reach out to you. I am not a young man anymore, but I am dealing with things that I did not imagine I would be when I was young and newly married. Back then, everything made sense. I feel like I need to tell my story.

My background is that I am a successful businessman (a kind of consultant) living in a well-to-do suburb of a Southern city. My wife and I married relatively early, and had two kids. The boys are in good colleges in other states. They are getting ready to head back to school next week. It has been a real pleasure having them here this summer. Our house becomes a tomb when they are not around.

Four years ago, my wife told me that she didn’t want to be married to me anymore. After almost 30 years, she had had enough. I did not see that coming. We almost never fought. We used to go to dinner together, take family vacations, do things together, etc etc. She just said that she thought she had hitched herself to a man too young, and now that the boys were older and out of the house, she was reconsidering her life. I asked her if there was another man. She said no, and eventually I believed her. I asked her if she wanted a divorce. She said probably so, but she wanted to wait until the boys got out of school. She is a reasonable person with a finance background, and knows that a divorce would cost us a lot at a time when we are supporting two kids in college.

She has a job she loves. I work from a home office. I was so glad when my company gave me the chance to do this. I miss the friendships in the office, but when you talk on your blog about wokeness in the workplace, I always find myself nodding along. A few years back, my company started getting engaged with “diversity and inclusivity” in the workplace. I noticed that every time they would run us all through one of those seminars, we would all come out of it more suspicious of each other. It was crazy. It was as if our bosses were trying to poison the office environment. I got to the point where as a white male, I saw my co-workers as potentially the people who would try to get me fired if I said one wrong thing by mistake. They might have seen me that way too. It was crazy. The more management pushed “diversity and inclusivity”, the more anxious things felt in the office. When the company was restructuring and offered people in my division the chance to work at home, I jumped at it, just to get out of that tense environment.

It was a blessing at first, but nowadays I wonder if that was the right thing to do. The idea of working from home seems great, until you realize that you don’t see people at all. I have a nice home office where I put in my 9 to 5, which is really more like 8 to 7, but everybody does that. If I’m being truthful, I stay in my office longer than I have to on most days, because there is nothing for me outside of it. My wife used to be my best friend. Now we just share a house and a bed. She has friends from her office, and goes out with them a lot. When all this started, I honestly thought she was seeing some guy. I’m not going into the details, but I’m truly convinced that she’s not. She’s just hanging out with other middle-aged women who are sick of their husbands too.

I used to think only men behaved like that. Mother and Daddy have both passed away, but they had a good marriage. Some of their friends got divorced when I was a kid, and it was always the man leaving his wife for a younger woman. They were very judgmental of them, but in a way I still think was right. They were Southern people (I think you know what I mean, Mr. Dreher), and that meant that they thought it was dishonorable for a man to do his wife like that. I internalized that honor code, and have always lived by it, and my Catholic faith. If my wife demands a divorce, I will give it to her, but I won’t marry again. How could I go through an annulment? I can’t say truthfully that this was not really a marriage. I meant it when I said my vows, and I believe my wife did too. I am not going to make bastards of my sons because my wife abandoned me and I want to be married again. Besides, there would be no marrying again for me anyway. I look at myself in the mirror — mid to late 50s, half-bald, pot belly, etc etc. What woman would want me even if I was free to marry her?

I was an only child, so I have no close family to speak of. We are Catholics. My faith is just about the only thing that keeps me going through all this, but it’s thin. My wife refuses to see a marriage counselor. I made the first steps to getting an appointment to talk to our priest, but I gave up because that was hopeless. I feel bad for our priest. He’s managing a big suburban parish all on his own. It would have taken forever to get an appointment, and there was no way he was going to be able to give us the time it would take to save our marriage, especially given that my wife doesn’t want to save it. Besides, there is nothing I’ve ever heard our priest say that tells me he is a man who could help us. He talks like one of those life coaches our company used to bring in for team building exercises, a guy who gets all his ideas from Hallmark cards.

She still goes to mass with me, but just out of habit. When I stand there listening to Fr give his cheerful but empty homilies, I think about what’s keeping me from going home and blowing my brains out. I’m not going to do this because I’m scared of pain and I’m scared of going to Hell. Also, I don’t want to hurt the boys, and make them feel like they did something to cause it or give them something to be ashamed of. However, I think a lot about how little I have to live for anymore. I am not even sure that the boys think of me much, except as “Good Old Dad”…

Nobody can see it. I stand there in church, wearing my coat and tie, and people probably think I have it all together. We drive nice cars, we live in a nice house in a good neighborhood, etc, etc. I am grateful to have a good job that has allowed me to provide for my family. By all the world’s standards, I’m doing well. I have “white privilege”. 

What a joke. When I first started working in my home office, I would dress up in a coat, no tie, and dress pants to go to “work.” It felt right to hang on to that habit. Since my marriage fell apart, I notice that some days I don’t even get out of my pajamas. I sit there at my nice desk doing all my work on my laptop, and go right back to bed at the end of the day without even taking a shower. I know this is pathetic, and if the boys were still at home, I would know to keep up appearances. This is my life.

When the boys graduate and don’t have to depend on us, I guess that will mean Decision Time. I will probably move out, though to all rights we ought to sell the house. I remember the day we bought it, and talking with my wife about that big dining room, and how we looked forward to the kids coming home with their wives and children for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh, we sure had big plans for that dining room. We bought a house with a fireplace because we dreamed about sitting around it with the grandchildren. All that is over now, and not because I wanted it to be. I feel so powerless. Maybe I would stay here if either one of the boys moved back, but given the fields they have chosen, I don’t look for that to happen, and even if it did, we would just be keeping up appearances for their sake. Southern people are real good at that, as you know.

What prompted me to write to you is your writings about the loneliness crisis. I am not some white trash 22 y.o. living in a trailer somewhere, playing video games, and living off his Mama, but I am completely isolated in my life. My “video game” is Excel spreadsheets. The friends I had back in the happier days were all “couples friends” through my wife. When she said she didn’t want to be married to me, we stopped having people over, and stopped accepting invitations to other people’s houses. After a few years, those invitations stopped coming. I tried to keep up these friendships with the husbands, but it was awkward. I told a couple of the guys I was closest to about the mess in my marriage, and they seemed sympathetic, but there wasn’t a lot they could do. They all had kids, and their couples friends. Two or three times I went to their dinner parties by myself, but you talk about awkward! I was embarrassed by it all, and just quit going. I miss those guys, and I even miss their wives. We used to be happy all together.

If this is “white privilege”, screw it. I stopped by the shoe repair shop a couple of weeks ago, and there were some black guys my age sitting around talking and laughing with each other. I envied them. I probably make 10 or 15 times more than them, but they are probably rich in ways that I used to be before I went “bankrupt”. I would trade all this so-called “white privilege” for a happy marriage, a strong family, and good friends. Mother and Daddy didn’t have a lot of money, but at least they had that. They also had a small-town church where they felt at home. How can anybody feel at home in a big parish like mine? I was taught to be charitable, especially to the clergy, and I do feel bad for our priest, who is carrying a heavy load. But this ain’t church. I’ve gotten to the point where I sit there during mass and I wonder how many of those men in the pews are just like me: barely holding it together, wondering what the hell we’re living for, ignored by our wives, and starving for friendship. God feels so far away. I have never doubted His existence, but these days, He feels like the Pope — a nice man who lives far away and who doesn’t see us.

I know I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself. I guess I am. But damn it, I didn’t think things were going to work out like this. I did everything I was supposed to do, and it all fell to pieces anyway. I’m racking my brains trying to figure out how I can fix this, but my wife doesn’t want it to be fixed. She just wants out. I recognize that I am privileged economically and socially, but I’m here to tell you that if you were a working man who drove by my house, and saw me out front mowing our big lawn, you would think I had it made. In fact, you would be looking at a dead man, at a man who secretly hopes he falls over from a heart attack so he doesn’t have to keep carrying this weight of loneliness. At this point, my only purpose in life is to do what I have to do so my sons can have a good life or think they have a good life, until they get to my age and it falls to shit, and they end up doing just what their Good Old Dad is doing.

The thought just occurred to me as I’m writing this that the only real reason we will have to keep our household together after our sons graduate is if one of them can’t find a job, and has to live with us. That’s a sorry state to be in, knowing that the only thing that would keep you and your wife together is an unemployed grown-up child.

I appreciate the opportunity to get this off of my chest. I like reading your blog because even though it’s depressing sometimes, I feel like you talk about the real world, which is more than I get from my priest. I would just ask your readers to keep in mind that when they see people at church, in the store, and at other places, that those people might be suffering in ways that are not obvious. You think folks have it made, but they don’t. You see me getting out of my [luxury car brand] at church, with my wife, and we’re all dressed up and smiling, but from my very jaded perspective, we’re dead people who have no future. At least my wife has the girls from the office.

I’ve thought about asking my manager if I can come back to the office, but I know that’s not a solution. I’m the Great White Male, the source of all evil in the world. Given my run of luck, it would be about right for somebody to falsely accuse me of something, and end up taking away the last I have left from what started out as an American dream. I’d end up jobless and poor, and then the gun to the head might not seem so scary after all.

Sorry. Thanks for listening.

One thing we find particularly interesting about this “confession” is how little the man’s faith does for him. Fear of hell keeps him from suicide. That’s about all.

If he were not a believing Catholic, he might have developed some curiosity about the world he lives in. It has not occurred to him to go exploring in the infinite realm of the mind.

He was happier when his children lived with him. If he had grandchildren living near by he might be happy again. For a while, anyway. Until they grew up. But young men are not quick to marry now and raise a family.

Readers, your comments are needed.

Any old faith? 11

It is indisputable that Christianity was the dominant religion of the West for centuries. What is disputable, though not determinable, is whether Christianity did more good than harm, or even whether it did any good at all. Certain moral rules widely believed still to be right and fine and necessary were theoretically applied all over Christendom, and whether those rules derived from Christian teaching or ancient laws and customs, and those in turn from a commonsensical way of dealing with human nature and its needs, cannot be ascertained. Laws, customs, moral rules, religious teaching, self-interest are all threads inextricably woven together in the woof and warp of history. But it is possible to say that Europe’s greatness began with its slow emergence from the darkness of the Roman Catholic Church’s tyranny, then also from the tyranny of the Protestant churches, to emerge eventually into the  Age of Reason, the Enlightenment, and our continuing age of science.

Sure, religion played its part, perhaps usefully for human progress. If we perceive that some ways of living and surviving contributed to us by – say – Christianity (however they got there) are still useful, there is no reason why we shouldn’t go on trying to live by them.  No reason at all why not. But if, fumbling about clumsily trying to grasp some elusive ill-defined slippery Good that we just know is in there somewhere, and in desperation simply say,”Well let’s just keep hold of the bundle and we’ll have it safe!”, and so cling to the whole package –  the ritual, the taboos, the superstition, the myths, the terror – we would not be making sense.

Even worse if we say, “All those old Moral Religions have those nice rules in them, so let’s keep one or other of them going, it doesn’t matter much which.”

Yet it was along such lines, it seems, the heir to the throne of the United Kingdom, Prince Charles, has been thinking. On his 60th birthday – November 13, 2008 – he announced that when he was crowned king he would not swear to “defend the faith”, as the wording of the traditional coronation oath requires him to, but rather to “defend faith”.

Any old faith? Well, one of the “moral” faiths. The Prince has an obvious fondness for Islam.

Is Islam a “moral religion”? It does not teach the same moral rules as Christianity and Judaism. It has no “golden rule”. It commands enslavement, wife-beating, mass murder, torture, polygamy. It’s defenders say, “Well, so do the Christian and Jewish scriptures.”  To which priests and ministers and rabbis retort, “But we don’t actually do those things. Not any more.”

Still, there is no apparent resolve among churchmen or politicians to keep Britain a Christian country or to stop it becoming an Islamic country.

Pockets of discomfort can be found. A little protest may be heard  – at, for instance, some Christian websites.

One such, Caldron Pool, reported a religious event that took place this month (September 10, 2019) at Westminster Abbey – the cathedral where the monarchs of England are traditionally crowned – and revealed that there is unease among Anglicans about what happened.

Here’s the report:

A Grand Mufti was approved to read from the Quran at Westminster Abbey last Tuesday during a memorial service for a British politician.

According to columnist Rev Dr Jules Gomes, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Husein Kavazović, was invited to read a portion of the Quran from the cathedral lectern during a Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Paddy Ashdown, a diplomat who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 to 1999.

Rev Dr Gavin Ashenden, the former chaplain to the Queen, said the reading repudiates Jesus by validating Islam and asserting the legitimacy of Mohammad:

Reading the Koran in cathedrals is sometimes seen as a sign of civility, hospitality or inclusion. Instead, it validates Islam’s teaching that is predicated on the claim that the resurrection was a fraud and Jesus lied to his followers and the world.

When this happens, it is a sign that the hosts misunderstand the ambition of the Koran and the assertions of Mohammad. In this epistemological conflict between Jesus and Mohammad, the Gospels and the Koran, the core contradiction signified is that one source is authentic and the other is bogus.

By welcoming an uncritical reading of the Koran, Westminster Abbey asserts the legitimacy of Mohammad and in so doing repudiates Jesus. One has to wonder what their claim to be a Christian cathedral rests on at that point?

Rev Dr Ashenden was the Honorary Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II from 2008 until his resignation in 2017 after objecting to a reading of the Quran in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow.

We shouldn’t be surprised, really. It was Peter Hitchens, who back in 2016 warned, those who drive Christianity out of society are preparing the way for Islam. …

[He] said: “When they drive Christianity out of Europe, as they’re rapidly succeeding in doing, they will not create an atheist paradise. They will leave a space for Islam.”

Hitchens went on to warn that material prosperity, military force and anti-terror laws are not a reliable or sufficient defence against Islamic take-over. With Christianity out of the picture, the spread of Islam will be near impossible to resist.

“Those people who now campaign for Christianity to be driven, more or less, out of public life, out of education, and out of government, to become a purely private thing may be very unpleasantly surprised when, having succeeded doing that, they simply cleared a space for Islam to take over,” Hitchens said.

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We don’t agree, of course. Our answer is “Neither.” But if enough persons of power and influence believe that having a country that is officially Christian will save it from Islam, what can they do about it? Imams mount the pulpit in Westminster Abbey, Prince Charles prepares to defend the Islamic faith, sharia courts proliferate throughout the land
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And Britain has not been a religious country for a very long time. Thousands of churches have been turned into wallpaper storerooms. Yes, Catholics still go to mass; couples of all denominations get married in churches; parents have their children baptized; the bereaved have doctrinal nonsense read at interments about being sure and certain of resurrection and eternal life; but a pious people the British are not.
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And in America …? True, more people here think (to us inexplicably) that the Trinity is more believable than Allah. But for how much longer?
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We say, keep prosperity going and the military strong, implement all anti-terrorism laws, and be ready to fight Islam to destruction. 

Posted under Britain, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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Nazism and Communism embraced each other 3

… 80 years ago today.

On August 23, 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed. Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were in alliance. Nazism and Communism, twin religions, united with each other.

Victor Davis Hanson writes at The Daily Signal:

Eighty years ago, on Aug. 23, 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, formally known as the “Treaty of nonaggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.”

The world was shocked—and terrified—by the agreement. Western democracies of the 1930s had counted on the huge resources of Communist Russia, and its hostility to the Nazis, to serve as a brake on Adolf Hitler’s Western ambitions.

Great Britain and the other Western European democracies had assumed that the Nazis would never invade them as long as a hostile Soviet Union threatened the German rear.

The incompatibility between communism and Nazism was considered by all to be existential—and permanent. That mutual hatred explained why dictators Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin both despised and feared each other.

Yet all at once, such illusions vanished with signing of the pact. Just seven days later, on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. World War II had begun.

After quickly absorbing most of Eastern Europe by either coercion or alliance, Hitler was convinced that he now had a safe rear. So he turned west in spring 1940 to overrun Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and the Netherlands.

Hitler accomplished all that relatively easily, failing only to conquer Great Britain with an exhaustive bombing campaigning.

During all these Nazi conquests, a compliant Stalin shipped huge supplies of food and fuel for the German war effort against the West. Stalin cynically had hoped that Germany and the Western democracies would wear themselves out in a wasting war—similar to the four horrific years in the trenches of the Western Front during World War I.

Communism then easily would spread to the Atlantic amid the ruins of European capitalism. Unlike Czarist Russia in 1914, this time around the Soviets wanted to stay out of a German war. Instead, Stalin rearmed during the nonaggression pact with Hitler.

Stalin, of course, had no idea he had created a Nazi monster that would quickly devour all of Continental Europe—and turn to its rear to eye a now-isolated Soviet Union.

Much less did Stalin realize that the battle-hardened German war machine would soon overrun his country in a surprise attack beginning on June 22, 1941, a little less than two years after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

The nonaggression pact in a way had also ensured that a European war would soon turn into a global massacre that left roughly 65 million dead.

At the time of deal, imperial Japan was fighting the Soviet Union on the Manchurian-Mongolian border. The Japanese were de facto allies of Nazi Germany. They had assumed that Stalin’s fear of an aggressive Germany meant the Soviet Union would have to worry about a two-front war against both Germany and Japan.

But now, the surprise agreement stunned the Japanese, who saw it as a German betrayal. It left them alone against the superior forces of Russia’s eastern armies.

Japan quickly withdrew from its losing Russian war. In time it signed its own nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union, in April 1941—ironically, just months before Hitler’s planned Operation Barbarossa, the massive invasion of Russia.

Japan correctly concluded by the betrayal that Hitler’s Germany could not be trusted and deserved tit-for-tat duplicity. So Japan never joined Hitler’s surprise invasion of Russia. Instead, the Japanese turned their attention to the Pacific and especially the vulnerable British and American bases at Singapore, Burma, the Philippines—and Pearl Harbor.

In sum, the August 1939 nonaggression pact ensured the German attack against Great Britain and Western Europe. It also convinced Hitler that Russia was vulnerable, gullible and appeasing, and could be overrun in weeks following an invasion.

Finally, the deal ended all Japanese ideas of fighting the Soviet Union on the ground from the East in partnership with Nazi Germany invading from the West. Instead, Japan turned toward the vulnerable British and American eastern forces.

In sophisticated times, we sometimes forget that time-honored concepts like the balance of power and military deterrence—not good intentions and international peace organizations—alone keep the peace. When the pact destroyed fragile alliances and encouraged German adventurism, war was certain.

The final ironies? The Soviet double-cross of the Western democracies eventually ended up almost destroying Russia, which bore the brunt of an empowered Germany.

The redirection of Japanese war strategy to target America finally brought the United States into World War II, which ensured the destruction of Japan and Germany.

Add this all up, and in some sense World War II really started on Aug. 23, 1939, 80 years ago this summer.

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