Fire in the minds of men 5

Where did this madness come from, this idea that the earth is burning up, and that we human beings, as a species, are to blame for it?

Who initiated it? Why do millions believe it? How have otherwise sane men and women become obsessed with it?

James Delingpole writes at Breitbart (12 July, 2019):

The Prince of Wales has warned global leaders that if we don’t tackle climate change in 18 months the human race will go extinct.

Eighteen months to the end of us! And this from the probable next monarch of the United Kingdom and its vast Commonwealth!

No, really. Here are his actual words, in a speech in London yesterday to foreign ministers from the Commonwealth:

I am firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels and to restore nature to the equilibrium we need for our survival.

For our survival! He raves. Look at the madness in his eyes:

Delingpole soberly considers the crazy prophecy as if it could be grounded in reality – which well he might, since it is widely believed all over the world:

So assuming, for a moment, that the Prince of Wales isn’t just spouting gibberish, what kind of measures might we need to adopt in the next 18 months to “keep climate change to survivable levels”?

Happily, we have a good idea courtesy of Lord Deben, chairman of the government’s Climate Change Committee. Writing in the Prince of Wales’s favourite magazine Country Life, he says:

It simply demands that we live more sustainably – that we stop wasting water, become really energy efficient, cut food waste, eat 20 percent less meat, take all our energy from renewable sources and ensure our homes are properly insulated and ventilated.

That word “simply” is doing a lot of work there.

If you’re a carnivore like me, for example, you might not take too kindly to the notion that some dodgy peer who has made at least part of his fortune by promulgating green hysteria has the right to issue directives on how many bacon sarnies or burgers you can reasonably consume per week.

But I have an even bigger red flag waving over that glib suggestion that we should “take all our energy from renewable sources”.

All of it? Really??

The late Professor David Mackay, a Cambridge engineer and chief scientist at the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change once looked at what decarbonizing the economy by going 100 per cent renewable might look like for the British landscape. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.

It would involve:

Building 61,000 wind turbines.

Covering 5 per cent of the UK landmass — the equivalent of Cambridgeshire,    Gloucestershire, Lancashire, and Staffordshire combined — with solar arrays. (That would be 100 x  more solar PV than his been installed in the whole world to date.)

Damming most of the rivers in the West Highlands of Scotland to generate hydropower.

Building huge barrages across rivers such as the Severn, destroying intertidal mud flats and devastating bird and fish species.

Using the entirety of Britain’s agricultural land to grow biofuels.

David Mackay was by no means a climate change sceptic. But he was honest enough a scientist to be able to tell his government employers what they didn’t want to hear: that the idea that the UK could power itself by 100 per cent renewable energy was an “appalling delusion”.

Though it’s claimed that 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, this is misleading. The majority of this — three quarters — comes from burning what is euphemistically called ‘biomass” — most of it what you and I call wood.

In other words the environmental movement is claiming as a triumph something that actually is a disaster: millions of people in the Third World are still reliant on the same inefficient, environmentally destructive, health-damaging energy technology that was used by cavemen.

As for wind turbines — ugly and seemingly ubiquitous a nuisance though they are — these currently provide less than one per cent of global energy.

Global energy demand, meanwhile, has been growing at about two per cent per year for the last 40 years. So, just to provide sufficient wind power to cover that increase in demand, how many wind turbines would need to be built?

Matt Ridley answers that question here:

If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000s.

At a density of, very roughly, 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area [half the size of] the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year. If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area [half] the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfil the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels, which currently supply 80 per cent of global energy needs.

Apart from the obvious visual blight, the environmental cost of building so many wind turbines would be enormous.

[N]othing damages the environment quite like a wind farm….

By coincidence, yesterday I found myself driving past the Prince of Wales’s country house near Tetbury in the Cotswolds, a strong competitor for the most beautiful area of England.

I drove through valley after valley of idyllic, unspoiled countryside, interrupted only by the occasional chocolate box village of honey-coloured stone with ducks and moorhens being photographed by Chinese tourists who clearly couldn’t believe somewhere quite so perfect-looking could actually exist.

This is the kind of place where you choose to live if, like the Prince of Wales, you are very, very rich. His net worth has been estimated at around $400 million — not unusual for a climate change alarmist.

Here are the Lords of Ruin – he names them, or some of them. They are in the grip of a shared delusion, but where did they get it from?

From multimillionaire Leo Di Caprio to multimillionaire Al Gore, multimillionaire Sir David Attenborough to multimillionaire Tom Steyer, from multimillionaire Sir Richard Branson to multimillionaire Emma Thompson, environmentalism is a hugely attractive religion which enables you to achieve two perfectly wonderful things simultaneously.

First, it enables you to parade your moral virtue by showing that even though you are disgustingly rich you are still in fact an incredibly caring person.

Second, it means you can lecture the revolting lower orders on how they should live their lives and you can campaign to make everything more expensive and miserable for them, as Sir David Attenborough did earlier this week when he urged that air tickets should be hiked up. Obviously, people like Attenborough will go on flying regardless because they’ll still be able to afford it whatever environmental levies are imposed. But stopping other people from doing it will mean that airports and holiday destinations will be less crowded, just as Mother Gaia intended.

Anyway, as I drove through Prince of Wales country, marvelling at the deliciousness of the views, I wondered how many of the people living on the gorgeous private estates in which the Cotswolds abounds share Prince Charles’s views on the environment. Quite a few I suspect. I know of one super-rich hedge fund manager who has donated to Extinction Rebellion, for example, which strikes me as a classic example of the cognitive dissonance to which the super-rich seem prey. On the one hand they are clever enough and, presumably, capable of sufficient due diligence to have been able to have made vast fortunes; on the other, all their powers of discernment, intelligence and research appear to have left them when it comes to the issue of climate change.

How are we going to get it into their thick, overprivileged heads that the Net Zero carbon dioxide by 2050 targets for which they are so passionately advocating will destroy everything they hold dear?

They’ll only learn, I think, when they finally get what it is they’ve been asking for:

Piles of shredded raptors landing with a thud on the estates around Balmoral, sliced and diced by wind turbines.

Solar farms and wind farms obliterating every last stretch of the Cotswolds.

Wading birds driven forever out of the Severn Estuary by a tidal barrier.

Their cleaning ladies, gardeners, and grooms turning up to work in tears because their parents have just frozen to death in fuel poverty.

They won’t like it. But by then it will be far too late.

These Lords of the Earth are plainly deluded. They have been gulled. But who has gulled them, and why?

Is there a clue to be found here in the US?

The Washington Examiner reports:

In Europe, you will often hear politically savvy people refer to Green Party politicians as “watermelons.” The reason is that although they might be environmentalist “green” on the outside, these leftists are secretly communist red if you look beneath the surface.

They typically resort to such subterfuge because environmentalism is more popular than Marxism. A former East German communist is bound to be unpopular, but perhaps not so much if he rehabilitates himself as a renewable energy enthusiast.

The case of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, is different in that she openly advertised herself as a socialist in a country with a well-grounded historical aversion to such alien ideologies. But her grand policy initiative, the $93 trillion Green New Deal, was still billed as if it were a legitimate environmentalist idea. We were supposedly trying to save the world from imminent destruction. As Ocasio-Cortez herself put it, “We’re, like, the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

Twelve years. Should we be grateful? That’s ten and a half more years than the Prince of Wales allows us.

She would have us think, then, that this is a conversation about science. We need the Green New Deal, or else humanity is doomed. But now we know a lot more about this proposal, and it appears that that isn’t what the Green New Deal is about at all.

Her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti (the brains and the money behind her political operation ever since her 2018 primary victory) divulged in an unintentionally blunt comment in the Washington Post that the Green New Deal was not only not based in the science of climate change, but in fact not even designed with climate change in mind. “It wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” he is quoted as saying.

In other words, it’s not that they looked for a way to save the world, and just happened to find a way that involved full employment pledges, the retrofitting of millions of buildings, income for those unwilling to work, high-speed passenger rail, and the curtailment of plane travel and carnivorousness. That’s precisely backwards. The Green New Deal came about because Chakrabarti wanted to transform the U.S. economy into something more primitive, and environmentalism struck him as the best excuse for doing so.

Think of the Green New Deal as an updated (and we hope less lethal) version of the “Year Zero” concept. Americans will be reassigned under a new socialist order to environmentally friendly tasks. The saving of the planet is not the goal of the Green New Deal but rather the excuse for it: the common purpose around which we all unite to pursue the deindustrialized, Utopian America of tomorrow.

And we need that Utopian socialist society because … wait, why exactly? Because of the despotic cruelty of our tsar and the grinding poverty of his recently enslaved subjects? Because none of the peasants own any land in our impoverished feudal society?

That doesn’t seem right, does it?

Perhaps the problem is that workers’ wages are at all-time highs and unemployment is at all-time lows. Or perhaps it’s that our nation is so poor and bereft of opportunity that everyone who can walk or even crawl is literally risking life and limb and crossing deserts to get here.

The sarcasm is justified. What is that envisioned Utopia really like? What is the Cause for which nothing less than all must be sacrificed?

The Lords of Ruin – those multibillionaires, the likes of Prince Charles, Al Gore, Tom Steyer – are ingenuous, you could even say innocent, gulls who would lay civilization waste with the best of intentions.

But the Chakrabartis of the movement are not innocent. They are cynically exploiting many people’s naivety, or urge to be good, or personal despair.

The naive, the would-be-good, the desperate are such as are exploited by an evil manipulator in Dostoyevsky’s great novel The Possessed (also titled The Devils or The Demons). Their Saikat Chakrabarti, one Pyotr Stepanovich Verhovensky, would set the world on fire out of sheer spite, and actually persuades a pathetic bunch of five foolish idealists to burn down half a town and commit murder for the Cause. He makes them believe there is a plan, that they are one cell of hundreds all working for the Cause; that there are, at some vague “center”, anonymous Controllers who know exactly what must be done to fulfill the Vision, and all that the five have to do – all that the believers, the dreamers, the visionaries, the desperate have to do – is obey. The distraught Governor of the district, watching the town burn, diagnoses the madness driving the terrible events. “The fire is in the minds of men and not in the roofs of houses,” he says.

The story explains what Russia had become in the late 19th century that made the Communist Revolution of 1917 possible.

Of course there is not just one Saikat Chakrabarti or Pyotr Stepanovich Verhovensky. There is a whole sub-race of them, not idealists but cynics. Out of their spite emerges the Rumor, the great Lie that ignites the minds of multitudes, including every sort from every class and nation, among them young women in New York, billionaires in California, crocodiles at the United Nations, Kings in Europe.

What about the workers? 1

The Democratic Party has become the Party of Wall Street billionaires, Hollywood stars, Silicon Valley whizz-kids, and the ruthless Utopians of the Ivory Tower.

Its “progressivism” harks back to the last century. Its concerns are mystical like those of all religions: the earth burning up; the end of days; the humbling of humankind; the profound spiritual need for the Holy Family Clinton and its angels to reign over the whole earth.

Its high priests are richly dressed and housed, driven in stately carriages, flown on the wings of Boeings.

Still, it claims to have a bleeding heart. Ask not for whom it bleeds. Obviously, dull-witted Underdog, it bleeds for thee!

James Pinkerton writes at Breitbart:

The Democrats, once the party of working people, are now a party dominated by environmentalists and multiculturalists. And I can prove it.

As we shall see, when Democrats must choose between … providing jobs for workers, and … favoring politically-correct constituency groups — they choose the PC groups.

Indeed, the old assumptions about the Democrats as the party of labor are nowadays so tangled and conflicted that the unions themselves are divided. Some unions are sticking with their blue-collar heritage, but more are aligning themselves with the new forces of political correctness — and oh, by the way, big money.

The proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, running through four states — from western North Dakota to southern Illinois — would create an estimated 4,500 unionized jobs.  That is to say, good jobs at good wages: The median entry-level salary for a pipeline worker in North Dakota is $38,924.

Yet the advancement of what was once called the “labor movement” is no longer a Democratic priority.  The new priorities are heeding the goals of “progressive” groups — in this instance, Native Americans and the greens. Indeed, this new progressive movement is so strong that even many unions are climbing aboard the bandwagon, even if that means breaking labor’s united front. To illustrate this recent rupture, here’s a headline from the The Huffington Post: “Dakota Access Pipeline Exposes Rift In Organized Labor.” Let’s let Huffpo labor reporter Dave Jamieson set the scene:

The nation’s largest federation of labor unions upset some of its own members last week by endorsing the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota. Some labor activists, sympathetic to Native American tribes and environmentalists, called upon the AFL-CIO to retract its support for the controversial project.

In response to the criticism, Sean McGarvey, head of the AFL-CIO’s building-trades unions, fired right back; speaking of pipeline opponents, McGarvey declared that they have …

… once again seen fit to demean and call for the termination of thousands of union construction jobs in the Heartland.  I fear that this has once again hastened a very real split within the labor movement.

Yes, it’s become quite a fracas within the House of Labor: so much for the old slogan, “Solidarity Forever!” We can note that typically, it’s the old-style construction unions — joined, perhaps, by other industrial workers, if not the union leadership — who support construction projects, while the new-style public-employee unions side with the anti-construction activists.

In the meantime, for its part, the Democratic Party has made a choice: It now firmly sides with the new progressives.

To cite just one ‘frinstance, we can examine the July 2016 Democratic national platform, released at the Philadelphia convention. That document includes a full 16 paragraphs on “climate change”, as well as 14 paragraphs on the rights and needs of “indigenous tribal nations”. Here’s one of those paragraphs; as we can readily see, Democrats are striving mightily to synthesize the demands of both groups, green and red:

We are committed to principles of environmental justice in Indian Country and we recognize that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain, and regenerate its vital cycles. We call for a climate change policy that protects tribal resources, protects tribal health, and provides accountability through accessible, culturally appropriate participation and strong enforcement. Our climate change policy will cut carbon emission, address poverty, invest in disadvantaged communities, and improve both air quality and public health. We support the tribal nations efforts to develop wind, solar, and other clean energy jobs.

By contrast, the Democratic platform included a mere two skimpy paragraphs on workers and wages.

Some Democrats are troubled by this shift in priorities, away from New Deal-ish lunch-bucket concerns — because, as a matter of fact, it’s a shift away from the very idea of economic growth. For example, William Galston, a top White House domestic-policy aide to Bill Clinton in the 90s, had this to say about the Democrats’ latest platform:

The draft is truly remarkable — for example, its near-silence on economic growth. . . . Rather, the platform draft’s core narrative is inequality, the injustice that inequality entails, and the need to rectify it through redistribution.

… Perhaps it seems strange that a political party would lose interest in such an obvious political staple as economic growth. And yet if we look more closely, we can see, from the perspective of the new Democrats, that this economic neglect makes a kind of sense: We can note, for example, that the financial heart of the green movement is made up of billionaires; they have all the money they need — and, thanks to their donations, they have a disproportionate voice.

One of these noisy green fat cats is San Francisco’s Tom Steyer, who contributed $50 million to Democratic campaigns in 2014 and has been spending heavily ever since. We can further point out: If Steyer chooses to assign a higher value to his eco-conscience than to jobs for ordinary Americans, well, who in his rarified Bay Area social stratum is likely to argue with him?

Admittedly, billionaires are few in number — even in the Democratic Party. Yet at the same time, many other groups of Democratic voters aren’t necessarily concerned about the vagaries of the economy, because they, too, in their own way, are insulated from its ups and downs. That is, they get their check, no matter what.

The most obvious of these groups, of course, are government employees.  … Public-sector workers have an obvious class-interest in voting Democratic, and they know it — lots of Lois Lerners in this group.

Then there are the recipients of government benefits. … Welfare recipients, for example, are overwhelmingly Democratic. And Democratic politicians, of course, know this electoral calculus full well. Indeed, in this era of slow economic growth, nearly 95 million Americans over the age of 16 are not in the labor force; not all of them are receiving a check from the government, but most are. And that has political consequences.

We can take this reality — economic stagnation on the one hand, economic dependence on the other —a  step further: If the Democrats can find the votes they need from the plutocrats and the poor — or near-poor, plus public employees — then they can make a strategic choice: They can ignore the interests of working-class people in the private sector, and they can still win.

So for this cynical reason, the Democrats’ decision to stiff the working stiffs who might have worked on the Dakota pipeline was an easy one.

We can sum up the Democrats’ strategy more concisely: In socioeconomic terms, they will go above the working class, and also below the working class. That is, they will be the party of George Soros and Al Sharpton. So no room, anywhere, for the blue collars. (Of course, if any of those would-be pipeline workers end up on public assistance, well, they’ll have a standing offer to join the Democratic fold.)

We can see this Soros-Sharpton coalition in America’s electoral geography: The Democrats expect to sweep the upper east side of Manhattan, and, at the same time, they expect to sweep the south side of Chicago. Moreover, this high-low pattern appears everywhere: Greenwich and the ghetto, Beverly Hills and the barrio.  

In addition, Democrats can expect to do well in upper-middle class suburban enclaves, as well as college towns. And so if we add all those blocs together, plus the aforementioned public-employee unions, we can see that the Democrats have their coalition …  a 2016 victory coalition.

So now we can see the logic of the Democrats’ policy choices. And we can even add an interesting bit of backstory to the Democrats’ 2016 platform. In June, as a concession to the insurgency of Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s campaign agreed to include a contingent of Sanders supporters on the 15-member platform-drafting committee.

Specifically, the Clinton camp accepted the Palestinian-American activist James Zogby, the Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the environmental activist Bill McKibben, the African-American activist Cornel West, and the Native American activist Deborah Parker. …

The unions got a grand total of one name on that 15-member body. … So we can see: Big Labor isn’t so big anymore; it is now reduced to token status within the party.

Given this new correlation of forces, it’s no surprise that top Democrats oppose the Dakota pipeline. …

In this new era of green-first politics, the anti-pipeline forces must win, and the pro-pipeliners must lose. …

For her part, Hillary Clinton certainly knows where she stands: She’s with the new eco- and multicultural Democrats, not the old unionists — who were, after all, mostly “deplorable.” As she said to a cheering campaign crowd earlier this year, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

To be sure, Clinton has a heart — a taxpayer-funded heart. In fact, she has offered to put all those soon-to-be ex-coal workers on the government dole; she has proposed a $30 billion program for them.

Yet whether or not Congress ever approves that $30 billion, it’s a safe bet that if Clinton wins, more fossil-fuel workers will need to find some new way of earning a living. After all, just last year, the Obama administration pledged that the U.S. would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. And whereas Donald Trump has promised to scrap those growth-flattening CO2 targets, Clinton has promised to maintain them.

Indeed, during Monday night’s debate in New York, she promised to install “half a billion more solar panels” as part of her plan, she said, to create 10 million new jobs.

We can quickly observe that most blue collars don’t seem to trust Clinton with their livelihoods; Trump beats her among non-college-educated men by a whopping 59 points. Yet at the same time, we can add that if Trump leads among blue collars by “only” 59 points, that might not be enough for him to overcome Clinton’s advantage — her huge strength among the Soros-Sharpton coalition.

And here we can note, with some perplexity, that the leadership of the industrial unions is still mostly in lockstep with the Democrats. That residual partisan loyalty to the party of FDR might cost their members their jobs now that the Democrats have found policy goals other than mass employment, but hey, perhaps the union bosses themselves can get jobs at Hillary’s Department of Labor.

So if Clinton wins this November, what will happen to the private-sector blue collars, especially those in the traditional energy sector?

Sadly, we already know the answer to that question; the only unresolved matter is how they might react.

The Party of the American princess, the professor, the fashionable the cool the glamorous, the very rich and the very safe is the Party of the party. Of parties in Manhattan, Nob Hill, Santa Monica, Bel Air.

But its heart bleeds for … Oh, you know, blacks and Hispanics and gays and women and Muslims and …

And the workers?

You gotta believe it.

If you don’t … all you can do is vote Trump for President.