July 9, 2017

2017

Free Market of Ideas





September

Posts George W Bush: Faith Based Intelligence
Dick Cheney: The Slide Into Barbarism
Ministry of Peace: The Sum of All Fears
Links Michael Mann: Climate Change Denial in the Age of Trump
The Money: Australia's great game of mates
Naomi Oreskes: Harvard study on ExxonMobil's climate change communication

August

Posts Jane Mayer: North Carolina — A Model Libertarian State
CSIRO: Australian Climate Variability and Change
Julia Beard: Wives, submit to your husbands
Gillian Triggs: A well founded fear of persecution
Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot
Voyager: To Infinity and Beyond!
Links Katherine Eban: The Torture Psychologists
ABC News: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God
ABC News: Domestic violence and Islam
All In The Mind: First impressions—the face bias
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: Everybody lies
Autralian Academy of Science: Funding and direction of Australian climate science research needs an overhaul
Dan Gilbert: When Do We Become The Final Version of Ourselves?
Laura Carstensen: Why Should We Look Forward To Getting Older?

July

Posts Greg Bear: All Flesh is Grass
Anthony Grayling: God is the name of our ignorance
Trump's America: A House Divided
CSIRO: State of the Climate 2016
PBS American Experience: Slavery is Freedom
Mark Blyth: Milton's Great Vacation
Links Naomi Oreskes: The scientist as sentinel
Matthieu Ricard: Contemplating Happiness
The Documentary: The Origins of the American Dream
Tim Jackson: Can economies thrive without growth?
Kate Pickett: Inequality is bad for everyone, why isn't it getting better?
The Documentary: America’s Story — President Trump
The Documentary: America’s Story — My 100 Days
The Documentary: The Battle for Raqqa

June

Posts Brendan O'Neill: The Freedom to Hate
Peace And Long Life: On Tolerance
John Howard: The Master of Race Politics
John Howard: A Generous Open-Hearted People
Franklin Roosevelt: Economic Slavery
Herbert Spencer: The Survival of the Fittest
Donald Trump: The Most Powerful Man in the Universe
Robert Manne: Culture War — Historical Denialism and the Stolen Generations
Vannevar Bush: As We May Think
Links Brahma Challaney: Saudi Arabia — State Sponsor of Terrorism
Jane Mayer: In the Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the Koch Brothers’ Campaign Becomes Overt
Peter Singer: How Can We Be More Effective Altruists?
Abigail Marsh: Are We Wired To Be Altruistic?
Joseph Carens: The moral maze of refugees and migration
Alain de Botton: What's A Kinder Way To Frame Success?

May

Posts Yuval Harari: Homo Deus — Divine Man
Yuval Harari: Homo Sapiens — Wise Man
Michel de Montaigne: My local witches
Michel de Montaigne: On being
Michel de Montaigne: Death is a scene with one character
Les Murray: An Ode to Pauline Hanson
Simon Marginson: The New Gilded Age
Rear Vision: Perfecting the White Race
Links Pauline Hanson: The Perfect Liberal
Robert Manne: Breeding out the colour
Matt Bevan: Trump gives himself an 80% tax cut
Matt Bevan: Trump and Putin
Science Friction: The Global War on Science
The Money: Populate and Perish
Yuval Harari: Why Did Humans Become The Most Successful Species On Earth?
Elizabeth Lesser: Why Is It So Hard To Ask For — And Offer — Forgiveness?
Anne Manne: Rape among the lamingtons
Nick Hanauer: Beyond the dreams of avarice

April

Posts Ronald Reagan: Creeping Socialism
Edward Gibbon: Of Jews and Christians
John Galbraith: The Next Bubble
Cultural Total War: The Global War on Political Correctness
Waleed Aly: The Enemy Within
Rosalie Crestani: Rise Up Australia!
James McPhersen: Freedom is not possible without slavery
Peace and Long Life: Cosmological Fine Tuning
High Mackay: The state of the nation starts in your street
Cosmos: Carbon Capture and Storage
Four Corners: Please Explain
John van Tiggelen: After Sorry
Links Bob Inglis: Political climate changing?
Ann Pettifor: How to Break the Power of the Banks
Svend Brinkmann: How to Resist the Self-Improvement Craze
Rutger Bregman: Utopia for Realists

March

Posts John Rasko: Trump's Pharmaceutical Plan
Love is a Warm Gun: Sandy Hook
Malcolm Turnbull: Coal is King
Thomas Piketty: A Recipe for Right Wing Revolt
Thomas Piketty: How Much Does the Richest Woman in History Pay in Taxes?
William Gibson: Idoru
Dylan Thomas: Under Milkwood
Michel de Montaigne: On fleeing from pleasures at the cost of one's life
Bertrand Russell: Contempt for Happiness
Four Corners: Alternative Medicine
Peace and Long Life: Freedom (of Action) Without (Freedom of) Will
Live Long and Prosper: Society Versus Community
Links Naomi Oreskes: Why Should We Believe In Science?
Maz Jobrani: Can Comedy Break Stereotypes?
Paul Bloom: Why Do We Create Stereotypes?
Satyajit Das: Consuming our future
Tim Berners-Lee: How Did The World Wide Web Start?
Clay Shirky: Can Open Source Be Traced To The 17th-Century?
Clay Shirky: How cognitive surplus will change the world

February

Posts Alistair Cooke: Saving Capitalism
Martin King: Free at Last
John Quiggin: An Epidemic of Laziness
George Orwell: The Lion and the Unicorn
David Biello: China leads the way on climate change
Tom Switzer: Against Public Broadcasting
Links Dorothy Roberts: What's Race Got to Do with Medicine?
Laurence Cockroft & Anne-Christine Wegener: On Corruption
Mark Blyth: Global Trumpism
Thomas Frank: Why Hillary Lost
William Perry: Nuclear Insecurity in the 21st Century
BBC World Service: Eugenics in America

January

Posts Tom Switzer: The Wrong Side of History
John Kennedy: The Common Enemies of Mankind
Martin Luther: On the Jews and Their Lies
Donald Trump: Ignorance is Strength
Links Scientific American: Trump's 5 Most “Anti-Science” Moves
Discovery: The Future of the Paris Climate Deal under Donald Trump
Suzanne Barakat: After A Horrible Hate Crime, How Do You Not Hate Back?
Earshot: The Seven Ages of Woman
Andrew Solomon: Is There A Healthy Way To Think About Depression?

Milton Friedman

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

On few matters over the centuries has the human conscience been more amenable and the human brain more resourceful than in finding reasons why the rich and the fortunate should live in comfortable coexistence with the poor.

John Galbraith (1908 – 2006), The Affluent Society, 4th Edition, Penguin, 1984, p xxiv.



(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)

John Galbraith (1908 – 2006):
[Monetary] policy is a blunt, unreliable, discriminatory and somewhat dangerous instrument of economic control.
No other course of action in economics has ever rivaled monetary policy in its capacity to survive failure.
(The Affluent Society, 4th Edition, Penguin, 1984, p 179)

Labor and labor unions are no longer the primary enemies of the business enterprise …
The enemy … is government. …
[And for] the defense of private enterprise against the state the commitment to the classical market is of vital importance.
(A History of Economics, Penguin, 1987, p 285)

John Kennedy (1917 – 1963):
[My] fellow Americans:
  • ask not what your country can do for you;
  • ask what you can do for your country.
(Inaugural Address, 20 January 1961)

Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006):
The free man will ask neither:
  • what his country can do for him; nor,
  • what he can do for his country.
(Capitalism and Freedom, 1962, emphasis added)

The strongest argument for free enterprise is that it prevents anybody from having too much power …
[The workers of 19th century Britain] were not exploited.
The studies that have been done recently have shown over and over again that the 19th century was a period in which the ordinary English worker experienced a very rapid and very substantial rise in his standard of life.
(The Tyranny of Control, Episode 2)

{[That system] of unregulated rapacious capitalism} did a far better job of expressing … compassion than the governmental welfare programs are today.
[It saw] the greatest outpouring of … charitable activity the world has ever known.
And one of the things I hold against the welfare system most seriously, is that it has destroyed private charitable arrangements that are far more effective [in helping people] in disadvantaged situations.
(From Cradle to Grave, Episode 4)

[Look] at the way the welfare system has been corrupting the very fabric of our society. …
[We] are inducing [welfare recipients] to become dependants — to become children …
(How to Stay Free, Free to Choose, Episode 9, PBS, 1980)

Mary Kissel (1976) [Editorial Board Member, Wall Street Journal]:
[By expanding] the entitlement state [Barack Obama has] hooked a lot of lower income Americans on welfare programs — 1 in 7 Americans on food stamps, for instance.
(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)

Donald Regan (1918 – 2003) [Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, 1981 – 1985]:
I've read an awful lot about how we're really going to hurt the poor … with our cuts.
That is absolutely not what we're going to do.
(The Reagan Revolution, The Eighties, Episode 5, 2016)

John Galbraith (1908 – 2006):
[Under Ronald Reagan, along with tax cuts for the rich,] there was the attack … on economic support to the poorest of the population — on welfare payments, food stamps and aid to families with dependent children.
(p xvii)

There is … the by no means remote chance that management of the modern economy by the affluent for the affluent will fail.
It involves a basic contradiction between,
  • on the one hand, the conservative commitment to free enterprise, the monetarist illusion and taxation especially tailored to the affluent, and,
  • on the other, the hard fact that depression and recession are only avoided by comprehensive, socially concerned measures, notably by the required fiscal and prices and incomes policies …
Failure could easily put enough people in jeopardy so that the economic contentment arising from affluence would be threatened and political attitudes thus changed.
This was the effect of the Great Depression …
(The Affluent Society, 4th Edition, Penguin, 1984, p xxxi)

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)
William Wood, 9 years old, was 7 years and 10 months when he began to work …
He came to work every day in the week at 6 am, and left off about 9 pm …
Mary Anne Walkley had worked without pause 26½ hours, together with sixty other girls, thirty of them in one room …
[She] died of apoplexy, but there is reason to fear that her death had been accelerated by overwork in an overcrowded workroom.
(Capital, Vol 1 Ch 8, 1867)

The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class …
During its rule of scarce one hundred years, [capitalism] has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. …
[It] has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life …
(Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848)

Terry Hillman:
In the eighteenth century, factory owners chained children to the machines.
They fought the government's attempt to [make the] shackling children illegal.

The Mills and Factory Act (1833):
  • No child workers under nine years of age.
  • Children of 9 to 13 years to work no more than 9 hours a day.
  • Children of 13 to 18 years to work no more than 12 hours a day.
  • Children are not to work at night.
  • Two hours of schooling each day for children.
(The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics, 2014, pp 20 & 23)

William Sumner (1840 – 1910):
[Millionaires] are a product of natural selection … the naturally selected agents of society for certain work.
They get high wages and live in luxury, but the bargain is a good one for society.
(The Challenge of Facts and Other Essays, Albert Keller, Editor, Yale University Press, 1914, p 90)

The law of the survival of the fittest was not made by man.
We can only by interfering with it produce the survival of the unfittest.
(Essays in Political and Social Science, Henry Holt, 1885, p 85)

Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797):
The laws of commerce are the laws of nature, and therefore the laws of God.
(Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, 1800)

John Rockefeller, Jr (1874 – 1960):
The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest …
The American Beauty rose can be produced in the splendor and fragrance which bring cheer to its beholder only by sacrificing the early buds which grow around it.
This is not an evil tendency in business.
It is merely the working out of a law of nature and a law of God.

Milton & Rose Friedman:
Life is not fair.
It is tempting to believe that government can rectify what nature has spawned.
(Free to Choose, 1980)

David Ricardo (1772 – 1823):
The natural price of labour is that price which is necessary to enable the labourers … to subsist and to perpetuate their race, without either increase or diminution.
(Chapter V, The Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 3rd Edition, 1821, p 52)

Like all other contracts, wages should be left to the fair and free competition of the market, and should never be controlled by the interference of the legislature.
(Letter to Malthus, Vol I, The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, Piero Sraffa, Editor, Cambridge University Press, 1951, p 105)

John Galbraith (1908 – 2006):
Thomas Robert Malthus [1766 – 1834], a British clergyman of aristocratic instinct … provided a powerful case against public or private charity and a greatly serviceable support to those who found it publicly convenient or personally economical to forgo help to the unfortunate. …
[Among] the many who sought to put the poverty of the poor on the shoulders of the poor — or remove it from those of the more affluent — none did so more completely than Malthus.
(A History of Economics, Penguin, 1987, pp 77 & 79)

John Locke (1632 – 1704):
The great and chief end of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property …
[Men] have agreed to a disproportionate and unequal possession of the earth …
[By] voluntary consent [they have] found out a way how a man may fairly possess more land than he can fairly use the product of, by receiving … the overplus of gold and silver, which may be hoarded up without injury to anyone.
(Second Treatise on Civil Government, 1689)

Adam Smith (1723 – 1790):
For every rich man, you must have 500 poor.
And that rich man must live every time in fear because of the jealousy of others.
And if it is not for the firm hand of the magistrate … he would not be able to keep his capital safe. …

[Civil government,] in so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense
  • of the rich against the poor, or
  • of those who have some property against those who have none at all. …
(The Wealth of Nations, 1779)

Garrett Hardin (1915 – 2003):
World food banks move food to the people, hastening the exhaustion of the environment of the poor countries.
Unrestricted immigration, on the other hand, moves people to the food, thus speeding up the destruction of the environment of the rich countries. …
We are all the descendants of thieves, and the world's resources are inequitably distributed.
[However, we] cannot remake the past.
We cannot safely divide the wealth equitably among all peoples so long as people reproduce at different rates.
To do so would [only] guarantee that future generations would have … a ruined world to inhabit.
(Lifeboat Ethics: The Case Against Helping the Poor, Psychology Today, 1974)

Robert Putnam (1941):
The dominant public ideology of the Gilded Age [was] social Darwinism.
Its advocates had argued that social progress required the survival of the fittest — with little or no interference by government with the “natural laws of the marketplace.”
In a society so organized, the ablest would succeed, the feckless would fail, and the unhindered process of elimination would ensure social progress.
In important respects this [late 19th century] philosophy foreshadowed the libertarian worship of the unconstrained market that has once again become popular in [late 20th century] America.
(Bowling Alone, 2001, p 378)

Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903):
I am simply carrying out the views of Mr Darwin in their applications to the human race …
Only those who do advance under [the pressure imposed by the system| eventually survive …
[These] must be the select of their generation.
(The Study of Sociology, 1882)

Partly by weeding out those of lowest development, and partly by subjecting those who remain to the never-ceasing discipline of experience, nature secures the growth of a race who shall both understand the conditions of existence, and be able to act up to them.
It is impossible in any degree to suspend this discipline.
(Social Statics, 1878)

The function of Liberalism in the past was that of putting a limit to the powers of kings.
The function of true Liberalism in the future will be that of putting a limit to the powers of Parliaments.
(The Man Versus the State, 1884)

My God is Freedom


Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006)

[The] Great Depression was not a failure of capitalism.
It was not a failure of the private market system …
It was a failure of government.
(Who Protects the Worker?, Episode 8)

Unfortunately that failure did not end with the Great Depression.
Ever since, government has been attempting to fine-tune the economy.
In practice, just as during the Depression, far from promoting stability, the government itself has been the major single source of instability.
(Anatomy of a Crisis, Episode 3)

If you promote freedom … you will end up … with both
  • more freedom,
  • more prosperity, and
  • more equality. …
[But] if I were wrong, if freedom led to wider inequality, I would [still] prefer that to a world in which I got artificial equality at the expense of [natural] freedom.
[My] God … is freedom. …
(Created Equal, Episode 5)

[Government] money always corrupts …
(From Cradle to Grave, Episode 4)

[In America today, in] some areas we have more freedom than we have ever had before.
In some other areas our freedom has been drastically reduced.
  • Our freedom to spend our own money as we want has been cut sharply.
  • Our freedom to go into whatever occupation we want has been reduced sharply.
  • Our freedom to enter various businesses has been reduced sharply.
[These] restrictions on our economic freedoms have carried over to restrictions on [our] freedom of [speech,] the activities we carry on, our attitudes toward governmental officials …

Consider a Professor of Medicine, … he's almost certain to have is research financed by the federal government .
Don't you think he would think two or three times before he gave a lecture on the evils of socialized medicine?
Or consider one of my colleagues at the university who happens to be getting grants of money from the National Science Foundation.
Do you really think he feels free to speak out on the issue of whether government ought to be financing such research? …
There is no businessman in this country today who can speak out … about anything.
Take, for example, the recent attempts by President Carter to impose voluntary wage and price controls. …

There's a natural human drive for freedom which always expresses itself …
The real value of freedom is that it provides diversity. …
The fact that there isn't a monolith conformity imposed on us, that is the source of protection for our freedom and also the fruit of freedom. …
[It's] the fact that have all these expressions of people's individuality that produces the great achievements of civilization and that provides the great hope and protection of our freedom. …
We have been moving away from freedom.
Our freedom is in jeopardy. …
[Nevertheless,] I believe that there is a strong enough component of freedom in our society … that we're going to turn this trend back, that we are going to cut government down to size.
We going to lay the groundwork for a resurgence … of that diversity which has been the real product of our free society. …

[Government] should be limited to its basic functions:
  • defending the nation against its foreign enemies,
  • preserving order at home, [and]
  • mediating our disputes …
[I would] reform social security in such a way that would end in its ultimate elimination. …
[Admittedly, it] would be intolerable to throw the millions of people now depending on welfare on to the streets.
We've got to go gradually from here to there.
That's why I proposed a negative income tax as a transitional device, that it would enable us to give help to people who really need help, [rather than] the mess we have now where most of the benefits go to people who [don't.]
How to Stay Free, Episode 9)

(Free to Choose, PBS, 1980)

April 2, 2017

Donald Trump

Blue Army: Persons of Interest

I Am Your Voice

Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept …
[Dissimulation has become] one of the most striking characteristics of our age. …
Our understanding is conducted solely by means of the word: anyone who falsifies it betrays public society.
It is the only tool by which we communicate our wishes and our thoughts; it is our soul's interpreter: if we lack that, we can no longer hold together; we can no longer know each other.
When words deceive us, it breaks all intercourse and loosens the bonds of our polity.


Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 92), On giving the lie, Essais, Chapter 18, Book II, 1580.



(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, PBS Frontline, Episode 2, WGBH, 2017)


Hillary's Margin per 10,000 votersDonald's Margin per 10,000 voters
RaceNon-white1590RaceWhite1470
ReligionNon-Christian or No Religion1035ReligionChristian1149
ResidenceUrban816ResidenceSuburban or Rural721
Marital StatusUnmarried714Marital StatusMarried580
GenderFemale624GenderMale576
Age18-44528Age45 and older504
EducationCollege Degree450NativismAmerican Born Citizen455
Military ServiceNon-veteran435EducationNo College Degree400
IncomeUnder $50,000396Military ServiceVeteran351
Orientation Queer390Income$50,000 or more128
NativismOverseas Born Citizen297OrientationStraight95





(Barak Goodman, Clinton, PBS American Experience, WGBH, 2012)




(Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election, ODNI Statement on Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 6 January 2017, p 11)


Richard Nixon (1913 – 94), 8 August 1971:
[As] president, I must put the interests of America first.
Therefore, I shall resign the presidency, effective noon tomorrow.
(The United States Vs Nixon, The Seventies, Episode 2, 2015)

Arthur Goldwag:
Paleoconservatives like the former Nixon speechwriter … Pat Buchanan hearken back to the anti-New Deal, America First Ideologues of the 1920s and 1930s, such as the aviation hero and Nazi sympathizer Charles Lindbergh (1902 – 74) and the radio priest Father Charles Coughlin (1891 – 1979).
(pp 49-20)

George Wallace's presidential campaigns of the late 1960s and early 1970s and Pat Bucanan's in in the 1990s all incorporated tropes from the America Firsters of the 1930s, inveighing as they did against elite academics and the media, globally minded Wall Streeters and multinational corporations, homosexuals, immigrants, and, implicitly, international Jewry.
(p 51)

In 1947, Gerald L K Smith (1898 – 1976) … founder of the America First Party, launched the Christian Nationalist Crusade, which called for the deportation of Zionists and blacks, and the dismantling of the United Nations.
(Isms and Ologies, Quercus, 2007, p 210)



(Michael Kirk, Trump's Divided States of America, PBS Frontline, Episode 2, WGBH, 2017)

Ronald Reagan (1911 – 2004) [1 September 1980]:
This country needs a new administration with a renewed dedication to the [American] dream …
An administration that will give that dream new life, and make America great again.
(The State of the Union Is Not Good, The Seventies, Episode 5, 2015)

Michael Kirk:
[The Taj Mahal casino was] the biggest deal of his lifetime …
[Trump] spent a billion dollars on the Taj. …
Burdened by debt, [it] would not turn a profit [and closed in October 2016.]
The Plaza Hotel — a financial disaster; the airline, Trump Shuttle, was bleeding money. …
Trump and his companies owed more the $3 billion, much of it to the banks …
[But as the bankers] stared into the Trump Organization's abyss, [they] came to believe that Trump's assets … were worth more with his name on them than in foreclosure. …
They sold the yacht and the airline; and they put Trump on a $450,000 allowance.
In exchange he would continue to promote the business.

Donald Trump had survived but his casinos were deeply in debt.
He was looking for a way out.
He found one: Wall Street. …
Trump paid himself $44 million for services … even as the stock price began to fall.
The company filed for bankruptcy 3 times, investors lost billions. …
Trump characteristically described his time in Atlantic City as a success.

For Trump — real estate was increasingly a side business — marketing his name, a full time job. …
For 14 seasons [of The Apprentice,] millions of Americans watched a carefully crafted Donald Trump. …
And for his political guru … the TV audience could become Trump voters.
Roger Stone (1952):
Now, I understand that the elites say:
Oh that's reality TV!
Voters don't see it that way.
Television news and television entertainment — it's all television.
Now he saw an issue he could turn into headlines … the birther issue …
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)




Omarosa Manigault (1974) [Director of Communications for Donald Trump, September 2016]:
[If he wins, every] critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump.
[Everyone] who's ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him.
It [would be] the ultimate revenge [for him] to become the most powerful man in the universe.
(Michael Kirk, President Trump, PBS Frontline, WGBH, 2017)

On May 1, 1989, [Donald Trump spent an estimated $85,000 on] full-page advertisements in all four of the [New York] city's major newspapers [calling for the return of the death penalty for the Central Park five. …]
In 2002, [Metias] Reyes declared that he [had] assaulted and raped the jogger. …
The city [subsequently reached] a settlement of more than $40 million in the civil suit brought by the five defendants.
In June 2014, Trump wrote an opinion article for the New York Daily News in which he called the settlement "a disgrace" and said that the group's guilt was still likely:
Donald Trump:
Settling doesn't mean innocence. …
Speak to the detectives on the case and try listening to the facts.
These young men do not exactly have the pasts of angels. …
[In] October 2016 [he again] refused to acknowledge the Central Park Five's innocence and stated that their convictions should never have been vacated.
(Central Park jogger case, Wikipedia, 6 July 2017)


Tom Switzer (1971):
We are into the sixth month of the Trump presidency [and, according to the Wall Street Journal,] of the 558 key positions requiring senate confirmation 427 have no nominee. …

Jake Sullivan (1976):
[Trump] is not actually interested in doing the job of president.
He's just interested in being the president.
( American policymaker Jake Sullivan on US foreign policy, Between the Lines, 15 June 2017)

Nicolas de Caritat (1743 – 1794) [Marquis de Condorcet]:
If we cannot find voters who are sufficiently enlightened, we must avoid making a bad choice by accepting as candidates, only those men in whose competence we can trust.
(1785)

William King (1874 – 1950) [Prime Minister of Canada, 1921-26, 1926-30, 1935-48):
The extreme man is always more or less dangerous, but nowhere more so than in politics.
(Margaret MacMillan, History's People, Text, 2015, p 51)

George Orwell (1903 – 50):
The energy that actually shapes the world springs from emotions —
  • racial pride,
  • leader-worship,
  • religious belief,
  • love of war
— which liberal intellectuals mechanically write off as anachronism, and which they have usually destroyed so completely in themselves as to have lost all power of action.
(Wells, Hitler and the World State, Horizon, August 1941)

Totalitarianism has abolished freedom of thought to an extent unheard of in any previous age. …
The totalitarian state tries to control the thoughts and emotions of its subjects at least as completely as it controls their actions. …
It sets up unquestionable dogmas, and it alters them from day to day.
It needs the dogmas, because it needs absolute obedience from its subjects, but it cannot avoid changes, which are dictated by the needs of power politics.
It declares itself infallible, and at the same time it attacks the very concept of objective truth.
(Listener, 19 June 1941)

Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945):
I know perfectly well … that in a scientific sense there is [no] such thing as race …
[But] as a politician [I] need a concept which enables the order which has hitherto existed on historic bases to be abolished and an entirely new and antihistoric order enforced and given and intellectual basis …
[For] this purpose the concept of races serves me well …
With the concept of race, [we will] recast the world.
(Anthony Grayling, The Meaning of Things, Phoenix, 2001, p 51)

Don Watson (1949):
Noble and creative as it has often been, provider of an essential thread in the best of the American ideal and source of a rare grace one encounters only in the United States, American Christianity also disguises fear and feeds ignorance, paranoia and prejudice, along with a readiness to smite enemies with weapons of unspeakable destructive force.
(Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump, Quarterly Essay, Issue 63, 2016, p 23)

Alice Miranda Ollstein [Political Reporter]:
According to a book written by [Argentinian President] Macri’s father Franco, Trump threw a tantrum after losing a round of golf to Mauricio Macri and broke his friend’s golf clubs — one by one.
(There is a lot more to the Trump Argentina story, ThinkProgress, 23 November 2016)

Ying Ma [Deputy Director of a Trump Super PAC, The Committee for American Sovereignty]:
[We] know that in state-craft, every now and then, to be unpredictable is not such a bad thing in negotiations. …
One of the reasons Donald Trump won is that … he is able to simplify a lot of issues that the GOP have not been able to simplify for voters …
(The Trump victory, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 10 November 2016)

John Ashton (1956):
Our mainstream politics is less connected to the base of society than [it has been] for generations.
Into that gap scurry opportunists, attention-seekers, populists, pied pipers and demagogues, always good entertainers, peddling the illusion of simple solutions in a complex world.
We don’t feel close to our politicians, or trust them. …
We yearn for a real conversation about who were are and where we are going as a country, a vision for the future.
(Lifting the Lid on the Politics of Climate Change, RSA, 16 May 2013)

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 65):
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new Nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. …
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us,
  • that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion,
  • that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,
  • that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and
  • that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
(Soldiers' National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 19 November 1863)

October 31, 2016

2016

Free Market of Ideas

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Green Army: Research and Development



Caroline Ash, Elizabeth Culotta, Julia Fahrenkamp-Uppenbrink, David Malakoff, Jesse Smith, Andrew Sugden and Sacha Vignieri:
Anthropogenic climate change is now a part of our reality.
Even the most optimistic estimates of the effects of contemporary fossil fuel use suggest that mean global temperature will rise by a minimum of 2°C before the end of this century and that CO2 emissions will affect climate for tens of thousands of years. …
[Terrestrial ecosystems] will face rates of change unprecedented in the past 65 million years.
(Science, Vol 314, AAAS, 2 August 2013, p 473)

IPCC AR5 Working Group I:
The globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature data as calculated by a linear trend, show a warming of 0.85 [0.65 to 1.06] °C [3], over the period 1880–2012, when multiple independently produced datasets exist.
(Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis — Summary for Policymakers, 27 September 2013, p 4)

Alan Austin:
In [the fourth biennual] Global Green Economy Index released yesterday [by Dual Citizen, Australia fell 27 places to] 37th out of 60 countries on clean energy performance [and ranked] last on global leadership.
(Abbott takes Australia to last place on global climate change leadership, Independent Australia, 21 October 2014, emphasis added)

Dangerous Interference With The Climate System


Rachel Warren: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Based on peer-reviewed literature, climate change impacts on the earth system, human systems and ecosystems are summarised for different amounts of annual global mean temperature change (ΔT) relative to pre-industrial times. …
  • At ΔT = 1°C world oceans and Arctic ecosystems are damaged.
  • At ΔT = 1.5°C [irreversible] Greenland Ice Sheet melting begins.
  • At ΔT = 2°C agricultural yields fall,
    • billions experience increased water stress,
    • additional hundreds of millions may go hungry,
    • sea level rise displaces millions from coasts,
    • malaria risks spread,
    • Arctic ecosystems collapse and
    • extinctions take off as regional ecosystems disappear.
    Serious human implications exist in Peru and Mahgreb.
  • At ΔT = 2–3°C the Amazon and other forests and grasslands collapse.
    • At ΔT = 3°C millions [are] at risk [of] water stress,
    • flood, hunger and dengue and malaria increase and
    • few ecosystems can adapt.
The thermohaline circulation could collapse in the range ΔT = 1–5°C, whilst the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may commence melting and Antarctic ecosystems may collapse.
Increases in extreme weather are expected.

("Impacts Of Global Climate Change At Different Annual Mean Global Temperature Increases" in Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change; Editor in Chief Hans Joachim Schellnhuber; Co-editors Wolfgang Cramer, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Tom Wigley, Gary Yohe; Cambridge University Press, 2006, p 92)


State of the Climate 2015: Record Heat and Weather Extremes


World Meteorological Organization

The [combined] global average [land and sea] near-surface temperature for 2015 was the warmest on record by a clear margin …
The global average temperature for the year was … approximately 1 °C above the 1850–1900 average.


Figure 1.
Global annual average temperature anomalies (relative to 1961–1990) for 1850–2015.
The black line and grey shading are from the HadCRUT4 analysis produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre in collaboration with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
The grey shading indicates the 95% confidence interval of the estimates.
The orange line is the NOAAGlobalTemp dataset produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA NCEI).
The blue line is the GISTEMP dataset produced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS).
(Source: Met Office Hadley Centre, United Kingdom, and Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom)
(p 5)


Figure 6
Global annual average temperature anomalies (difference from the 1961–1990 average) based on an average of the three global temperature datasets.
Coloured bars indicate years that were influenced by El Niño (red) and La Niña (blue), and the years without a strong influence (grey).
The pale red bar indicates 2015.
(Source: Met Office Hadley Centre, United Kingdom, and Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom)
(p 8)


Australia had its warmest October on record.
The anomaly for October was also the highest anomaly for any month since records began. …
[For Australia, it] was the fifth-warmest year on record as a whole.
(p 17)

(WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2015, WMO-No 1167, 2016)


Rising Global Mean Temperature


World Bank

[Observational data corrected for sources of short-term variability (El Nino/Southern Oscillation, volcanic aerosols and solar variability) reveals the underlying trend.]




(Foster & Rahmstorf, Global temperature evolution 1979–2010, Environmental Research Letters, 6(4), 2011)


CSIRO: State of the Climate 2016


Monitoring Greenhouse Gases at Cape Grim


Background hourly clean-air CO2 as measured at Cape Grim.
The blue hourly data represent thousands of individual measurements.
To obtain clean air measurements, the data are filtered for only times when weather systems have come across the Southern Ocean, and thus the air is not influenced by local sources of pollution.
(p 18)

Carbon Sources and Sinks


Annual fluxes of CO2 and their changing sources (eg fossil fuels) and sinks (eg the ocean absorbing CO2).
About 30% of the anthropogenic (caused by human activity) CO2 emissions have been taken up by the ocean and about 30% by land.
The remaining 40% of emissions have led to an increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
(p 21)

Business As Usual


Climate Action Tracker

In a world first for climate policy, the Australian Government repealed core elements of Clean Energy Future Plan, effectively abolishing the carbon pricing mechanism, sought to reduce the Australian renewable target, and block other clean energy and climate policy measures in Australia.
The carbon pricing mechanism introduced had been working effectively, with emissions from the electricity and other covered sectors reducing by about 7% per annum.

Up until the time of repeal, the implemented climate policy was effective and was projected to have been sufficient to meet Australia’s unconditional Copenhagen pledge for a 5% reduction from 2000 levels by 2020.
Our new, post-repeal assessment shows, however, that this target is no longer in reach and the currently proposed new legislation will result in emissions increasing by 49-57% above 1990 levels.

(11 December 2014)


Climate Equity Reference Calculator




Given a Strong 2℃ pathway target, the global mitigation requirement in 2020 is 19.8 gigatonnes.

Australia’s fair share of this 2020 global mitigation requirement is 1.7%, which is 342 million tonnes.
Australia’s 2020 unconditional mitigation pledge (150 tonnes) falls short of its fair share of the global effort by 192 million tonnes.

In per-capita terms, Australia’s fair share of the 2020 global mitigation requirement comes to 13.5 tonnes.
Its reduction pledge, however, is only 5.9 tonnes per person, which falls short of its fair share by 7.6 tonnes per person.
Its score is therefore −7.6. …

Australia’s fair share can be expressed as … 34% reduction below national 1990 emissions. …
A country’s fair share is a function of both its capacity and its responsibility.
Australia is projected in 2020 to have 1.9% of global capacity and 1.5% of global responsibility.

(Accessed 1 January 2015)

Would you like to know more?

October 15, 2016

Robert Putnam

Green Army: Persons of Interest

Lucius Seneca (~4 BCE – 65 CE):
Poverty amongst riches is the most grievous form of want.
(Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, LXXIV, 4, adapted)

Adam Smith (1723 – 90):
No society can be flourishing and happy, of which the greater part of members are poor and miserable.

John Kennedy (1917 – 63):
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
(Chris Matthews, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, Simon & Schuster, 2011, Reader's Digest, 2013, p 129)

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 65):
Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history. …
The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. …
The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. …
In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free. …
We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
(Message to Congress, 1 December 1892)

Clement Vallandigham ( 1820 – 71) [Leader, Peace Democrats, 14 January 1863]:
I see more of barbarism and sin, a thousand times, in the continuance of this war … and the enslavement of the white race by debt and taxes and arbitrary power [than in Negro slavery.]
In considering terms of settlement [with the South, we should] look only to welfare, peace, and safety of the white race, without reference to the effect that settlement may have on the African.
(James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2003, p 513)

Amartya Sen (1933) [Swedish National Bank's Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, 1998]:
Black men between the ages of 35 and 54 are 1.8 times more likely to die than are white men of the same age.
And black women in this group are almost three times more likely to die than are white women of the same age. …
The survival chances of the average African-American are … unfavorable when compared with … those of the citizens of China and Kerala, who have much lower incomes.
(The Economics of Life and Death, Scientific American, May 1993, p 44-5)

George Gilder (1939):
In order to succeed … the poor need, most of all, the spur of their poverty. …
(Wealth and Poverty, 1981)

Mark Blyth (1967):
72% of the working population [in the US live from] paycheck to paycheck, have few if any savings, and would have trouble raising $2000 on short notice.
(Austerity, Oxford University Press, 2013, p 48)

Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826):
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man.
The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs; nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.
(Letter to Roger C Weightman, 24 June 1826)

Kim Robinson (1952):
There were of course very powerful forces on Earth adamantly opposed to … creating full employment …
Full employment, if enacted, would remove “wage pressure” — which phrase had always meant fear struck into the hearts of the poor, also into the hearts of anyone who feared becoming poor, which meant almost everyone on Earth.
This fear was a major tool of social control, indeed the prop that held up the current order despite its obvious failures.
Even though it was a system so bad that everyone in it lived in fear, either of starvation or the guillotine, still they clutched to it harder than ever.
(2312, Orbit, 2012, p 373-4)

Ridley Scott (1937):
Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it?
That's what it is to be a slave.
(Blade Runner, 1982)

American Political Science Association Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy:
Today, the voices of American citizens are raised and heard unequally.
The privileged participate more than others and are increasingly well organized to press their demands on government.
Public officials, in turn, are much more responsive to the privileged than to average citizens and the least affluent.
Citizens with lower or moderate incomes speak with a whisper that is lost on the ears of inattentive government officials, while the advantaged roar with a clarity and consistency that policy-makers readily hear and routinely follow.
(American Democracy in an Age of Rising Inequality, Perspectives on Politics, December 2004, p 651)

Don Watson (1949):
[The US minimum wage has fallen by a third since 1968.]
More than 20% of children in the United States live in poverty, more than twice the rate of any European country.
[The Australian child poverty rate is 17.4%.]
With a quarter of totalitarian China's population, democratic America has about the same number of people in jail.
(Enemy Within: American Politics in the Time of Trump, Issue 63, 2016, p 34)

Julie Willems Van Dijk [Population Health Institute, University of Wisconsin]:
Research is now showing that many health effects once attribute to racial differences are actually tied to educational and economic disparities.
(Deborah Franklin, Scientific American, January 2012, p 18)

Sean Reardon [Sociologist, Stanford University]:
The achievement gap [in education] between children from high- and low- income families is roughly 30–40% larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier.
(The Widening Academic Achievement Gap Between the Rich and the Poor: New Evidence and Possible Explanations, in Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances, Greg J Duncan and Richard M Murnane (Eds), Russell Sage Foundation, 2011)

Andrew Cherlin:
The wages of men without college degrees have fallen since the early 1970s, and the wages of women without college degrees have failed to grow.
(Demographic Trends in the United States: A Review of Research in the 2000s, Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, June 2010, p 404)

Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006):
[In] a free choice [educational] system, you would have more heterogeneous schools [and] far less segregation by social and economic class than you now have. …
I went to a state school, Rutger's university.
I went on a state scholarship.
The poor suckers in the state of New Jersey paid for my going to college.
I personally think that was a good thing. ….
[And] I don't see any reason whatsoever, why I shouldn't have been required to pay back that money.
(What's Wrong With Our Schools, Free to Choose, Episode 6, PBS, 1980)

Robert Putnam (1941)


A World Without Trust


I've told you about my granddaughter, Miriam …
Mary Sue and Miriam are exactly the same age.
They are both granddaughters of Port Clinton [Ohio] in the 1950s. …
I'm just going to read to you, the field notes from [our meeting with Mary Sue:]
Mary Sue tells a harrowing tale of loneliness, distrust and isolation.
Her parents split up when she was 5.
And her mother turned to stripping and left her alone and hungry for days.
Her dad hooked up with another woman who hit her, refused to feed her, and confined her to room with baby-gates.
Caught trafficking marihuana at 16, Mary Sue … spent several months in a juvenile detention center, failed out of high school and got a "diploma" online.

[Mary Sue's] experiences have left her with a deep seated mistrust of anyone and everyone embodied in the scars on her arms (which we saw) where her boyfriend had burned her in the middle of the night, just a few days earlier.
Mary Sue wistfully recalls her stillborn baby, born when she was 13.
Since breaking up with the baby's dad, who left her for someone else, and with a second fiance who cheated on her after his release from prison, Mary Sue is currently dating an older man with two infants born two months apart to two other women.
And to Mary Sue this feels like the best that she can hope for. …

Mary Sue posted on facebook, not long ago, that she'd figured out her problems.
Her problem, she said, is that no one in the world loves her — which is probably true …
And, she's figured out how to solve that problem.
Mary Sue's going to have baby, because the baby will love her.
And if you think Mary Sue is in a pickle, imagine Mary Sue's baby …

[The] most important feature of the life of a poor kid in America today, bar none, is that poor kids are isolated and alone.
And they don't trust anyone.
They don't trust their parents …
They don't trust schools.
They don't trust anybody.

Mary Sue recently posted on facebook:
Love hurts.
Trust kills.
Think what it means to grow up in a society in which you cannot trust anyone.

(Closing the Opportunity Gap, RSA, 6 October 2015)

July 23, 2016

Ministry of Plenty

Live Long and Prosper

Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856):
Money is the God of our time.
And Rothschild is his prophet.
(March 1841)

Gary Becker (1930 – 2014):
All human behavior can be viewed as involving participants who:

  1. maximize their utility,
  2. form a stable set of preferences, and
  3. accumulate an optimal amount of information and other inputs in a variety of markets.

(Economic Approaches to Human Behavior, University of Chicago Press, 1976, p 14)

Alexander Hamilton (1756 – 1804):
Why has government been instituted at all?
Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.
(Federalist No 15 Papers, 17 September 1787)

Chuang Tzu:
What would become of business without a market of fools?
(4th century BCE)

P W Singer (1974):
For all the claims that “big government” can never match the private sector, [the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency] is the ultimate rebuttal.
The Internet … e-mail, cell phones, computer graphics, weather satellites, fuel cells, lasers, night vision, and the Saturn V rockets [that first took man to the moon] all originated at DARPA. …
DARPA works by investing money in research ideas years before any other agency, university, or venture capitalists on Wall Street think they are fruitful enough to fund.
DARPA doesn’t focus on running its own secret labs, but instead spends 90% of its (official) budget of $3.1 billion on university and industry researchers …
(Wired for War, Penguin, 2009, p 140)

Niall Ferguson (1964):
The first era of financial globalization took at least a generation to achieve.
But it was blown apart in a matter of days.
And it would take more than two generations to repair the damage done by the guns of August 1914.
(The Ascent of Money, Penguin, 2008, p 304)

Andrew Carnegie (1835 – 1919):
  • Individualism,
  • Private Property,
  • the Law of Accumulation of Wealth, and
  • the Law of Competition
[are] the highest results of human experience [—] the best and most valuable of all that humanity has yet accomplished.

Peter Singer:
L Ron Hubbard [(1911 – 1986),] the founder of the Church of Scientology, once wrote that the quickest way to make a million in America is to start a new religion.
(How Are We to Live?, 1993, p 94)

Simone Campbell [Catholic Nun]:
[We were] doing business roundtables [with] some entrepreneur, CEO types. …
A report had just come out that that the average CEO … got $10 million in salary a year, and [that] they were going for $11 million.
I got to ask them:
Is it that you're not getting by on $10 million that you need $11 million?
I don't get it.
And this one guy said: …
Oh, no Sister Simone. …
It's not about the money. …
It's that we want to win.
And money just happens to be the current measure of winning.
(Krista Tippett, Becoming Wise, Corsair, 2016, p 129)

PBS Frontline:
There was a phrase — "ripping someone's face off" — that was used on the trading floor to describe when you sold something to a client who didn't understand it and you were able to extract a massive fee because they didn't understand it.
[This was seen as] a good thing because [you were] making more money for the bank.
[That] sort of spirit, of [acting against the best interests of] your client … took on significant life on Wall Street.
(Money, Power and Wall Street, 2012)

Kid Power Conference, Disney World:
Kids love advertising: it's a gift — it's something they want.
There's something to said … about getting there first, and about branding children and owning them in that way. …
In boy's advertising, it is an aggressive pattern [—] antisocial behavior in pursuit of a product is a good thing.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859):
The people may always be mentally divided into three distinct classes.
  • The first of these classes consists of the wealthy;
  • the second, of those who are in easy circumstances; and
  • the third is composed of those who have little or no property, and who subsist more especially by the work which they perform for the two superior orders.
(Democracy in America, 1835, Bantam, 2011, p 246)


Equality = Fairness = Justice


I know it makes you sick to think of that word ‘fairness.’
[But the American public believe that] it’s right to help the vulnerable.


Arthur Brooks (1964) [President, American Enterprise Institute],
Annual Conservative Political Action Conference, 16 March 2013.





(Alex Gibney, Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, Steps International, 2012)


Breakdown of the Top 1% by Income in the United States (2012)

Percentile# per 100,000 Taxpayers% of Total Income% of Total Income Tax
P99-1001,00021.938.1
  P99.999-10012.43.3
  P99.99-99.99993.18.3
  P99.9-99.99905.510.3
  P99-99.990010.919.5
P50-9949,00067.059.1
P0-5050,00011.12.8


Adrian Dungan


For 2012, the [US Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)] threshold for:
  • [The] top 0.001% of tax returns [was] $62,068,187 or more [≈ $170,000 per day or 1,700 times the median income.]
    These taxpayers accounted for 2.4% of total AGI, and paid 3.3% of total income tax.
  • The top 0.01% of tax returns [was] $12,104,014 or more [≈ $33,000 per day or 330 times the median income.]
    These taxpayers accounted for 5.5% of total AGI, and paid 8.3% of total income tax.
  • [The top 0.1% of tax returns [was] $2,161,175 or more [≈ $6,000 per day or 60 times the median income.]
    These taxpayers accounted for 11% of total AGI, and paid 18.6% of total income tax.]
  • The top 1% of tax returns [was] $434,682 or more [≈ $1,200 per day or 12 times the median income.]
    These taxpayers accounted for 21.9% of total AGI and paid 38.1% of total income tax.
  • [The] top 50% of all tax returns was $36,055 for the year [≈ $100 per day = median income.]
    These taxpayers accounted for 88.9% of total AGI and paid 97.2% of total income tax.

(Individual Income Tax Shares, 2012, IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin, Spring 2015)


peaceandlonglife

  • This is equivalent to the richest individual in a group of 100 being paid twice as much as the poorest 50 combined.
  • The richest 1/100,000 part of the population captured a 1/40 share of aggregate income.
  • Each of the richest 1 in 100,000 accrues the lifetime median income (~50 years) every 11 days.
  • Conversely, a person (and their descendants) on the median income would need to work for 17 centuries, ie 34 working lifetimes, to earn as much as the richest 1 in 100,000 get in a single year.
  • In 2005, 40% the global population (2.6 billion people) were living on less than $2 per day.


John Quiggin (1956)


Professor of Economics, Queensland University

Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution looked at social mobility by looking at the economic life chances of men whose fathers were in the bottom fifth of the income distribution.
In a world of equal opportunity, we might expect that one fifth, or 20%, of those men, would end up in the same group as their fathers. …


Denmark25%
Sweden26%
Finland & Norway28%
United Kingdom30%
United States42%


Even in the Scandinavian countries, starting out poor is a disadvantage.
But in the United States, starting out poor doubles the risk of ending up poor.

(Zombie Economics, Princeton University Press, 2012, p 163)


Ha Joon Chang (1963)


Reader in Political Economy and Development, Cambridge University

[Nineteenth century 'classical' liberals rejected] the conservative view that tradition and social hierarchy should have priority over individual rights.
[On the other hand, they] believed that not everyone was worthy of such rights.
They thought women lacked full mental faculties and thus did not deserve the right to vote.
They also insisted that poor people should not be given the right to vote, since they [feared that] the poor would vote in politicians who would [redistribute wealth. …]

[Twentieth century neo-liberals, by contrast,] do not oppose democracy [in principle.]
[In practice, however, many would be prepared where necessary to] sacrifice democracy [in the defense of] private property and the free market.

(Economics: The User's Guide: A Pelican Introduction, 2014, emphasis added)


July 13, 2016

Tom Switzer

Blue Army: Persons of Interest


Dwight Eisenhower (1890 – 1969) [6 October 1952]:
Neither a wise man or a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.
(Adriana Bosch, Eisenhower, PBS American Experience, WGBH, 1993)

Friedrich von Schiller (1759 – 1805):
Against stupidity
The Gods themselves
Contend in vain

Tom Switzer (1971):
[Malcolm Turnbull] needs a new model of governance that sidesteps an obstructionist and riff-raff Senate.
The side that picks the issues dominates the political debate, and the advantage lies with the Bully Pulpit if the Prime Minister will use it.
Why not call on the states to ditch the politically correct Safe Schools [anti-bullying] program?
Or encourage Muslim leaders to assimilate to Western cultural norms?
The culture-war list is endless, and it would resonate with what [John Howard] once called:
The decent conservative mainstream of Australia.
(PM must play the Right card, The Age, 11 July 2016, p 16)

The Wrong Side History


Tom Switzer:
I'm joined by [Nigel Lawson] the chairman of The Global Warming Policy Foundation
[Nigel, do] you think there will come a time when historians will look back at the past decade or so and say that this climate hysteria reached its peak and rational debate was at its most restricted and politicians at their most gullible?

Nigel Lawson:
Yes, I think that this will be seen … as one of these outbreaks of collective madness which happen from time to time …
(New climate deal faces hurdles, Between The Lines, ABC Radio National, 21 May 2015)

Tom Switzer:
[Patricia Adams is the author of a recent report from] The Global Warming Policy Foundation in London. …
[Patricia, there are those that] insist that climate change represents such a grave threat to humanity … that the world has no choice but to … end fossil fuels entirely.
Is history on their side?

Patricia Adams:
No, it's not on their side.
Countries that have developed in the last 200 to 300 years have done so because of the use of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels have empowered our economies:
  • to raise standards of living, [and]
  • to provide jobs for people.
The key … is to use fossil fuels cleanly. …
And when I say cleanly, I mean to get rid of the emissions that come out of them that kill people …
CO2 is not a killer. …
I don't think CO2 is as dangerous as some of the other forms of energy.
It may be a problem, we have to keep a watch on it, but I don't think that it solves any problem by saying we've got to eliminate fossil fuels:
  • [firstly, it's not] going to happen … certainly not in [the] foreseeable future [and]
  • [secondly,] what about the alternatives that are being proposed?
    They also cause environmental problems …
[The Paris climate change agreement is just] a cash-grab … by the developing countries. …
(Is China really showing 'leadership' on tackling climate change?, Counterpoint, 31 October 2016)

Freeman Dyson [Academic Advisor, Global Warming Policy Foundation]:
[The problems caused by global warming] are being grossly exaggerated.
They take away money and attention from other problems that are much more urgent and important.
Poverty, infectious diseases, public education and public health.
Not to mention the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans.
(Commencement Address, University of Michigan, Winter 2005)

[The] environmental movement [has been] hijacked by a bunch of climate fanatics, who have captured the attention of the public with scare stories. …
China and India have a simple choice to make.
Either they get rich [by burning prodigious quantities of coal and causing] a major increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide, or they stay poor.
I hope they choose to get rich. …
The good news is that the main effect of carbon dioxide … on the planet is to make [it] greener, [by] feeding the growth of green plants of all kinds [and] increasing the fertility of farms and fields and forests.
(Misunderstandings, questionable beliefs mar Paris climate talks, Boston Globe, 3 December 2015)

Miranda Devine:
Environmentalism is the powerful new secular religion and politically correct scientists are its high priests …
It used to be men in purple robes who controlled us; soon it will be men in white lab coats.
The geeks shall inherit the earth.
(John Quiggan, Innovation: the test is yet to come, Inside Story, 10 December 2015)

Peter Van Onselen [Associate Professor in Politics and Government, Edith Cowan University; Contributing Editor, The Australian]:
[According to Miranda Devine, the Delcons (Delusional Conservatives) believe] the Liberals should lose the election.
[That] it's better for the Liberals to lose to Labor.
And there is a candle being held to the possibility of a Tony Abbott comeback. …
Andrew Bolt decided he was one …
Nick Cater from the Menzies Research Centre …
[Tom Switzer's] definitely a Delcon.
(Gambling on Turnbull, Late Night Live, ABC Radio National, 7 September 2016)


Against Public Broadcasting


David Marr (1947):
Over the last twenty years, the impact on public debate of cuts and the fear of further cuts at the ABC is incalculable.
  • The politicians mask their revenge behind a barrage of abuse about bias;
  • the Howard government stacks the board with angry ideologues; and
  • [its] commercial news rivals print near-lunatic attacks.
(His Master's Voice, Quarterly Essay, Issue 26, 2007, p 52)


Tom Switzer (1971)


[Privatisation] would say to the ABC management:
You can put on as much Left wing ideological, tainted, journalism as you like — be frank about it — but just not at tax-payers expense. …
[And,] you'd be saving taxpayers up to more than million dollars every year …
Some programs, clearly, would not sell.
And others would continue to aggravate people like me.
But the point is, at least taxpayers would not be forced to pay for it. …

[Then] of course you've got this digital evolution … that's costing jobs … it's threatening the very viability of newspapers …
And let's be frank, when Rupert Murdoch goes, its highly unlikely that good quality flagship papers like the Australian will prevail.
In that environment, why should a tax-payer funded, free-to-the-consumer competitor, be allowed to expand on their turf?
There's something fundamentally unfair about that. …

My point is, that with the bias there and the changing media landscape, I don't think the ABC can be a public service broadcaster …

All things considered, the ABC News is more professional and it covers the big issues of the day in more detail than the commercial networks.
But my point is: [there's] a plethora of [digital] news and media [out there …]
[These] days, people … can read the New York Times or the Guardian newspaper online — we're well informed.
Do we need a publicly funded broadcaster to fill us in on those issues? …

[If, as the polls indicate, public broadcasting has 89% support in the community, why] would the marketplace let [such a] valuable franchise die?
If it were a commercially viable entity … how would privatising lead to diminishing the quality of it's product?

(Should the ABC be privatised?, Counterpoint, ABC Radio National, 10 June 2013)


Contents


Climate Hysteria

Against Public Broadcasting

Bring on the Culture Wars

In Trump We Trust