November 26, 2012

Sunday Extra

ABC Radio National

Budget of the Century

John Hewson: Coalition Opposition Leader, 1990-4; Professor and Chair, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, Australian National University

[The] inequity of the process!
To argue that everyone is sharing the burden, when obviously they are not, because, people at the bottom end of the income scale are losing between 12-15% of their disposable income and people at the top are losing less than 1%.
The inequity just screams at you …

I think [Abbott and Hockey] actually did believe they had brought down the 'budget of the century' — [one] that actually will be remembered as probably one of the worst; because, it was so ill conceived, so many incoherent messages, so many partial attempts to solve problems, with massive inequity overriding the lot.
A lot a pain for very little gain.
What do they do now?
If the revenue continues to be weaker than predicted, which is … a pretty high probability, and the deficit will start to blow out and they can't go back an try and fix it again.

(The rise of anti-establishment political parties, 25 May 2014)


Budget of the Century

Choosing Inequality

Betting against the climate

Effective Governance

A Cranky Tory

The Fate of Removed Asylum Seekers

The Richest Country in the World

November 24, 2012

American Experience

Public Broadcasting Service

(Sarah Colt, God in America: A Nation Reborn, American Experience & Frontline, 2010)

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895):
Now, the brightest and steadiest of all the shining hosts of our moral sky has silently and peacefully descended below the distant horizon.
He moved not with the tide, but against it.
He rose not by the power of the Church or the State, but in bold, inflexible and defiant opposition to the mighty power of both.
It was the glory of this man that he could stand alone with the truth, and calmly await the result.

Now that this man has filled up the measure of his years.
Now that the leaf has fallen to the ground as all leaves must fall.
Let us guard his memory.
Let us try to imitate his virtues, and endeavor, as he did, to leave the world freer, nobler, and better than we found it.
(Eulogy to William Lloyd Garrison, 1805–1879)

(Rob Rapley, Part 3, The Abolitionists, 2013)

Angelina Grimk√© (1805–1879):
I stand before you as a Southerner, exiled from the land of my birth by the sound of the lash, and the piteous cry of the slave.
I stand before you as a repentant slaveholder.
I feel that I owe it to the suffering slave, and the deluded master, to do all that I can to overturn a system built up upon the bodies of my countrymen, and cemented by the blood and sweat and tears of my sisters in bonds.
(The Abolitionists: From Courage to Freedom, 2013)

Robert Bartlett:
You men of "learning", you lawyers will take control of this federal government.
Ordinary people with good sense will never be able to get elected.
And after you grab all the power and the money, you'll swallow up all us little folk.
This will be a government run by and for a tyrannical aristocracy.

Alexander Hamilton (1756–1804):
And whom would you have representing us in government?
Not the rich, not the wise, not the learned?
Would you go to some ditch by the highway and pick up the thieves, the poor, and the lame to lead us?
Yes, we need an aristocracy to be running our government — an aristocracy of intelligence, integrity and experience.

John Adams (1735–1826):
The decree is gone forth, and cannot be recalled, that a more equal liberty, than has prevailed in other parts of the earth must be established in America. …
May heaven prosper the newborn republic and make it more glorious than any former republic has been.

Abigail Adams (1744–1818):
[In] the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors have been.
Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.
Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could.

David Bradley [Writer]:
[Grant] was a very honourable man.
He was a principled human being.
He was a reasonable man in any unreasonable time.

Ulysses Grant (1822–1885):
The fact is, I think I am a verb rather than a personal pronoun.
A verb is anything that signifies 'to be', 'to do' or 'to suffer'.
I signify all three.
(July 1885)

(Elizabeth Deanne, Ulysses S Grant: The President, 2002)

Douglas Brinkley [Historian]:
It was in stark contrast to kind of the so called greed decade of the 80s to see somebody not looking to make big speaking fees, not looking to sit on corporate boards.
[There's] just something about an ex-president … in blue jeans, with a hammer, sleeping in cots and building houses for the poor.
It's an image seared on our imaginations.

(Adriana Bosch, Jimmy Carter, 2002)

(Barak Goodman, Clinton, 2012)

(Mohammed Naqvi & Hemal Trivedi, Among the Believers, 2015)

(Matthew Cooke, How To Make Money Selling Drugs, 2012)

Richard Nixon (1913-1994):
Homosexuality, dope, immorality in general — these are the enemies of strong societies.
That's why the communists and the left wingers are pushing this stuff.
They're trying to destroy us.
Every one of the bastards that're out there for legalizing marihuana is Jewish.
What the Christ is the matter with the Jews? …
What is the matter with them?

(Matthew Cooke, How To Make Money Selling Drugs, 2012)

Nancy Reagan (1921–2016):
For the sake of our children, I implore each of you to be unyielding and inflexible in your opposition to drugs.
Say "yes" to your life.
When it comes to drugs, just say "no".
(White House Special Address, 1986)

Harry Anslinger (1892–1975) [Drug Czar]:
There are 100,000 marijuana smokers in the US.
Most are negroes, hispanics, filipinos and entertainers.
Their satanic music (jazz and swing) result from marihuana use.
It causes white women to seek sexual relations with negroes, entertainers and others.

Carlton Turners [Drug Czar, Reagan Administration]:
Marihuana leads to homosexuality and therefore to AIDS.

Ronald Reagan:
[The Contras] are the moral equal of our founding fathers.

Drug Wars

Peter Watt: Lecturer in Hispanic Studies, University of Sheffield

When Ronald Reagan becomes President of the United States he announces this accelerated drug war.
The drug war is already in place by that time and has been imposed by President Nixon and the creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration, but Reagan takes it to a whole new level. …
[He] starts this crack-down in Florida and in the Caribbean against Colombian traffickers.
And so the Colombian traffickers realise that they need to move their routes westward, and of course the obvious place via which to traffic their goods is through Mexico. …

In 1979 … there is a revolution in Nicaragua, and the regime of Somoza is overthrown by the Sandinista revolution.
Nicaragua becomes the new enemy of the United States, and [this] provides the pretext for a proxy war in Nicaragua.
And so the US government funds the Contra army.

But when the US Congress finds out what the Contras are actually doing in Nicaragua there's quite a scandal because of the human rights abuses that the Contras have been committing.
So the US Congress reduces the funds.
[To circumvent these restrictions, the executive used] Mexican drug cartels to ship arms and funds to the Contras, who are mostly based in Honduras …

In return for those services, the CIA and the US government essentially tell cartels, like the Guadalajara cartel …
[We] won't bother you when you ship crack cocaine into cities in the US south-west, so long as you do your part of the bargain.
All of that has the effect of [transforming] what were, in the 1970s … incipient organisations into … the biggest trafficking organisations in Latin America.

(Mexico — failed state, narco-state or merely a weak state?, Rear Vision, ABN Radio National, 7 December 2014)

Dreaming of Star Wars

In October 1986 Reagan met Gorbachev [at a summit in] Reykjavik, Iceland [and was offered a chance to] realize his dream of reducing the nuclear threat.

Gorbachev offered Reagan everything he had wanted: they would both destroy half their long range bombers and missiles.
Eliminate all the missiles threatening Europe.
And he made a major concession on human rights.
[In return, he asked that SDI research be confined] to the laboratory. …
Alexander Bessmertnykh [Foreign Ministry, USSR]:
Reagan responded with the idea of having the complete elimination of strategic ballistic missiles.
And Gorbachev said,
How about eliminating all the nuclear weapons instead of just going part by part?
They … actually moved each other to the direction of the discussion of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. …

Richard Perle [Assistant Secretary of Defense]:
When asked, I expressed the categorical view that there was no way you could see the program through to a successful conclusion if we accepted the constraints that Gorbachev had in mind.
Upon hearing that, he turned to Don Regan and said,
If we agree to this, won't we be doing that simply so we can leave here with an agreement?
And it was a rhetorical question, of course, and you knew the moment he put it that he'd made his decision.
And within seconds, it was over.
Presidents grasp at treaties because they convey an image of Presidents as statesmen and peacemakers, and they're sometimes not bothered about the details.
It took tremendous discipline for Ronald Reagan to leave that little room without an agreement. …

Donald T Regan [Chief of Staff]:
[Reagan] said,
Don we were that close …
[Holding up his left hand, just finger and thumb.]
We were that close to getting rid of all missiles …
[But Gorbachev] kept insisting that we had to do away with SDI and I couldn't do that. …
I promised the American people I would not give in on that.
I cannot do it. …
(Adriana Bosch & Austin Hoyt, Reagan, 1998)

Earth Days

Rachel Carson

[We,] in this generation, must come to terms with Nature.
[We're] challenged — as Mankind has never been challenged before — to prove our maturity and our mastery.
Not of nature — but of ourselves.

Jimmy Carter

The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us.
But it will — if we do not act quickly.
It's a problem that we will not be able to solve in the next few years.
And is likely to get progressively worse through the rest of this century.
We must not be selfish or timid, if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grand-children.
We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources.
By acting now, we can control our future, rather than letting the future control us.

Ronald Reagan

They tell us we must learn to live with less.
And teach our children that their lives will be less full and prosperous than ours have been.
That the America of the coming years, will be a place — because of our past excesses — it will be impossible to dream and make those dreams come true.
I don't believe that. …

I cannot, and will not, stand by and see this great country destroy itself.
Our leaders attempt to blame their failures on circumstances beyond their control.
On false estimates by unknown, unidentifiable experts who re-write modern history in an attempt to convince us our standard of living — a result of thrift and hard work — is somehow selfish extravagance which we must renounce as we join in sharing scarcity. …

We must and will be sensitive to the delicate balance of our ecosystems, the preservation of endangered species, and the protection of our wilderness lands. …

Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, it's common sense.

(Robert Stone, Earth Days, 2010)

John Adams (1735–1826)

The power Adams feared most was that of an American aristocracy.
John Ferling [Historian]:
[In the constitution of Massachusetts, he] was attempting to devise a structure of government that would prevent the wealthiest, the most elite in American society, from gaining control. …

Thomas Jefferson, the vice president of the United States, had concealed from Adams the fact that his own cabinet had repeatedly betrayed him, dangerously weakening his presidency. …
David McCullough [Historian]:
Jefferson was paying a professional scandal monger named Callender to attack Adams. …

[In 1798] John had sent a peace mission to France but urged building up the military as a precaution. He was attacked from all sides.
Many in his own Federalist party wanted a declaration of war and called Adams a traitor. …
The French had coldly rebuffed his offer of peace, and the pressure to go to war was relentless.
On February 18 1799, John Adams … dispatched a courier with a message for the Senate announcing he would send a second peace mission to France.
Joseph Ellis [Historian]:
Adams is essentially and self-consciously committing political suicide. …
The newspapers boiled with venomous attacks. …
Had he declared war on France, his popularity would likely have skyrocketed; his election to a second term would have been all but assured. …

John had confidential reports that the new talks in France were going well, but he felt he could say nothing until a treaty was signed.
If official word of peace came in time, his critics would be silenced.

News from Paris took months to reach America.
A treaty had been signed weeks before, but no one on the other side of the Atlantic knew it.

In the most venomous election in American history, the winner was Thomas Jefferson.
Voters had gone to the polls unaware that Adams had succeeded in his bold quest for peace.
Joanne Freeman [Historian]:
He was the person who stood up under enormous pressure to go to war, and said no, and it cost him a second term.
(Peter Jones, John & Abigail Adams, 2006)


The Valley of the Shadow of Death

Victory in the Pacific

My Lai

The Presidents
God in America

November 18, 2012

Scientific American: 2011

Scientific American

Radioactive Smoke

[The WHO estimates that over a million people a year die from smoking related lung cancers.]
If polonium had been reduced through methods [long] known to the [tobacco] industry, many thousands of those deaths could have been avoided.

(January 2011, p 67)

The Last Great Global Warming

Cretaceous HothousePaleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)[Anthropocene]
Speed of WarmingSlowModerateFast
Rate of Carbon Release
(petagrams per year)

< 2 [1]9 to 25 [2]
Rate of Temperature Rise
(degrees Celsius per 100 years)
0.0000250.0251 to 4
Absolute Temperature Rise
(degrees Celsius)
(Over 20 million years)
5 [to 9]
(Over 20 thousand years)
2 to 10
(Projected over the next 200 to 300 years)
Duration (years) Millions Thousands [3] Tens to Hundreds
Main underlying causeVolcanic eruptionsVolcanoes
Methane bubbling up from the ocean bottom
Peat and coal fires
Thawing permafrost
Fossil-fuel burning
Environmental changeOceans absorbed carbon dioxide slowly so did not acidifyDeep sea acidificationAcidifying oceans
More extreme weather
Glacier melting
Sea-level rise
Life's responseNearly all creatures had time to adapt or migratePoleward movement of many species
Habitat loss
Coral bleaching

  1. [The] rate of [atmospheric carbon] injection during the PETM was less than two petagrams a year … (p 44)
  2. [We] are now pumping nine petagrams of carbon into the atmosphere every year … (p 45)
    [Consequently,] C02 concentrations are rising [around] 10 times faster now than they did during the PETM. (p 44)
    Projections that account for population growth and increased industrialization of developing nations indicate that rate may reach 25 petagrams a year before all fossil-fuel reserves are exhausted. (p 45)
  3. It took nearly 200,000 years for the earth's natural buffers to bring the fever down. (p 42)
(Adapted from "Implications: Lessons from Past Warmings", July 2011, pp 44-45)


Sacred Salubriousness

Is Morality Relative?

Can We Feed World?

The Last Great Global Warming

Casualties of Climate Change

No Commercial Advantage

November 14, 2012

Renewable Energy and Mitigation

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Climate Council

Despite pledging in 2009 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, all G20 countries continue to subsidise fossil fuels, collectively spending an estimated US$ 452 billion annually on fossil fuels.
The amount spent by G20 countries subsidising fossil fuels is nearly four times the amount spent to encourage the uptake of renewable energy. …
(p 14)

Despite global growth in renewable energy for power generation, fossil fuels continue to make up 77% of global electricity production, with coal contributing the largest share (40%). …
In 2014, coal plant closures in OECD countries were offset by capacity increases in the rest of the world, leading to a net increase of 66 GW in coal power capacity …
(p 18)

(Andrew Stock, Petra Stock and Martin Rice, A Whole New World: Tracking the renewables boom from Copenhagen to Paris, 2015)

The 6°C Scenario

International Energy Agency

The 6°C Scenario (6DS) is largely an extension of current trends.
By 2050, primary energy use grows by almost two-thirds (compared with 2012) and total GHG emissions rise even more.
In the absence of efforts to stabilise atmospheric concentration of GHGs, average global temperature rise above preindustrial levels is projected to reach almost 5.5°C in the long term (by 2500) and almost 4°C by the end of this century.
Already, a 4°C increase within this century is likely to stimulate severe impacts, such as sea level rise, reduced crop yields, stressed water resources or diseases outbreaks in new areas.
The 6DS is broadly consistent with the World Energy Outlook Current Policy Scenario through 2040.

The 4°C Scenario (4DS) takes into account recent pledges made by countries to limit emissions and step up efforts to improve energy efficiency, which helps limit long-term temperature rise to 4°C (by 2500).
The 4DS is, in many respects, already an ambitious scenario that requires significant changes in policy and technologies compared with the 6DS.
This long-term target also requires significant additional cuts in emissions in the period after 2050; yet with average temperature likely to rise by almost 3°C by 2100, it still carries the significant hazard of bringing forth drastic climate impacts.
(p 17)

[For] the first time since the IEA started monitoring clean energy progress, not one of the [clean energy technology fields (ie renewable power and heat, nuclear power, gas-fired power, coal-fired power, CCS, industry, iron and steel, cement, transport, fuel economy, electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, buildings, building envelopes, appliances and equipment, co-generation and district heating and cooling, smart grids, energy storage or hydrogen) was on track to meet its objectives under the 2°C Scenario.]
(p 4, emphasis added)

[Within the renewable power field, solar] PV is the only technology on track to meet its 2DS power generation target by 2025.
Its capacity is forecast to grow by 18% annually between 2014 and 2020. …
If these medium-term trends continue, solar PV could even surpass its 2025 target.

Improvement Needed
(p 24)

Low-priced coal was the fastest-growing fossil fuel in 2013, and coal-fired generation increased in all regions. …
Natural gas-fired power, a cleaner and more flexible generation fuel than coal, slowed markedly on global markets in 2013-14, unable to compete against low coal prices. …

Total electricity generation in 2012:
  • 40% coal-fired
  • 21% renewable [— wind and solar 2.8%]
  • 11% nuclear …
(p 8)

[The] first commercial-scale coal-fired power plant (CFPP) with CO2 capture [was opened] in October 2014.
(p 9)

… 90% of CO2 emissions from the unit … will be captured and stored underground through enhanced oil recovery … without storage-focused monitoring. …
To meet the 2DS, the rate of CO2 being stored per year will need to increase by an order of magnitude.
(p 32)

[Enhanced oil recovery currently] remains the only commercial driver for carbon capture projects.
(p 12)

In 2014, global renewable electricity generation rose by an estimated 7% (350 TWh) …
OECD non-member economies continued to dominate global renewable generation, with their share increasing to around 55%.
China remained the largest market, accounting for an estimated 23% of overall renewable electricity generation in 2014.

In 2014 … over 45 gigawatts (GW) of new [onshore wind, and 40 GW of new solar photovoltaic] capacity was installed globally …
(p 17)

Renewable Power Generation By Technology — 2°C Scenario
(Adapted from Figure 1.7)
On TrackImprovement NeededNot On Track
Solar PVHydropowerSolar Thermal Electricity

Onshore windOffshore Wind




(p 25)

At the beginning of 2014, 72 [nuclear] reactors were under construction, the highest number for more than 25 years. …
[Gross installed capacity is] currently at 396 GW [and] is projected to reach 438 GW to 593 GW by 2025 …
[Under the 2°C Scenario] global nuclear capacity would need to reach 585 GW by that time.
(p 26)

Last year China overtook the United States in annual investment in smart grid technologies.
(p 56)

By 2020 the average lifetime emissions intensity of all new-build plants in China, India and the United States will need to fall to levels near half that of current gas-fired plants …
(p 64)

The average CO2 intensity of electricity generation has fallen since 2000 in [China, the United States and the European Union. …]
Policies to phase out inefficient coal plants and wider deployment of wind and solar power helped to cut emissions intensity by 17% in China between 2000 and 2012.
The development of cheap shale gas in the United States triggered a switch from coal to gas-fired generation that lowered average emissions intensity by 19%.
In the European Union, reductions in emissions intensity have been more modest as policies to phase out nuclear power, combined with ongoing use of coal, have partially offset rapid expansion of renewable generation.
[By contrast,] the emissions intensity of electricity generation in India has risen slightly (by 2%) because rapid growth in electricity demand has been mainly satisfied by subcritical coal plants and because existing coal capacity is ageing and poorly maintained.
(p 69)

Each 1% reduction in electricity consumption in the buildings sector … can help to reduce emissions from power generation by 60 MtCO2, equivalent to an installed capacity of 45 GW of wind power (15,000 turbines) or 23 GW of coal-fired power (46 plants).
(p 75)

(Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2015)

Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (2011)


Figure SPM.2
Shares of energy sources in total global primary energy supply in 2008 (492 EJ).
Modern biomass contributes 38% of the total biomass share. …
(p 6)



Climate Change

Technologies and Markets

Integration into Present and Future Energy Systems

Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development

Mitigation Potentials and Costs

Policy, Implementation and Financing

Advancing Knowledge About Renewable Energy

November 10, 2012

Acid Rain

Naomi Oreskes: Merchants of Doubt

[There is evidence] that a straight-out command and control approach might [be more efficient than] cap and trade …
It is well established that the lack of immediate financial benefits leads companies to underinvest in R & D …
[This is because the benefits of] pollution prevention [are poorly] reflected in the market price of goods and services … the incentives for private investment are weak.
Competitive forces just don't provide enough justification for the long-term investment required …
[When] government establishes a regulation, it creates demand [and companies respond with innovation.]
[There] may even be cost savings … as obsolete technologies are replaced with state-of-the art ones [— something companies would not have done] had they not been forced to.
(p 105, emphasis added)

The empirical evidence shows that … regulation provides a strong and continuous stimulus for invention.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and regulatory compliance is a powerful form of necessity.
(p 106)






Sceptics Corrupt Peer Review

November 7, 2012


Bertrand Russell

[In ancient times a] man who took no interest in politics was frowned upon, and was called an 'idiot', which is Greek for 'given over to private interests'.
(Wisdom of the West, 1959, p 11)

It is not ultimately by violence that men are ruled, but by the wisdom of those who appeal to the common desires of mankind,
  • for happiness,
  • for inward and outward peace, and
  • for the understanding of the world in which, by no choice of our own, we [all] have to live.
(Power, 1938, p 185)

The Taming of Power

[It] must be evident that democracy … is an essential part of the solution [to the problem of the taming of power.]
[However, the] complete solution is not to be found by confining ourselves to political conditions …
[We] must take account also of economics, of propaganda, and of psychology as affected by circumstances and education.
(p 187)

[There] should be toleration of all propaganda not involving incitement to break the law …
[And] the law, should be as tolerant as is compatible with technical efficiency and the maintenance of order.
(p 189)

If there were ever an international government, it would obviously have to be a federation of national governments, with strictly defined powers.
(p 191)

[As] a result of modern technique, organisations tend to grow and to coalesce and to increase their scope …
[Hence,] the political State must either increasingly take over economic functions, or partially abdicate in favour of vast private enterprises which are sufficiently powerful to defy or control it.
If the State does not acquire supremacy over such enterprises, it becomes their puppet, and they become the real State.
(p 194)

[And, if] concentration of power in a single organisation — the State — is not to produce the evils of despotism in an extreme form, it is essential that power within that organisation should be widely distributed, and that subordinate groups should have a large measure of autonomy.
Without democracy, devolution, and immunity from extra-legal punishment, the coalescence of economic and political power is nothing but a new and appalling instrument of tyranny.
(p 198)

[Fear,] rage, and all kinds of violent collective excitement, tend to make men blindly follow a leader, who, in most cases, takes advantage of their trust to establish himself as a tyrant. …
[And where] a spirit of ferocious dogmatism prevails, any opinion with which men disagree is liable to provoke a breach of the peace.
(p 200)

Revivalist enthusiasm, such as that of the Nazis, rouses admiration in many through the energy and apparent self-abnegation that it generates.
Collective excitement, involving indifference to pain and even to death, is historically not uncommon.
Where it exists, liberty is impossible. …

To admire collective enthusiasm is reckless and irresponsible, for its fruits are fierceness, war, death, and slavery.
War is the chief promoter of despotism …
[If,] once the world were freed from the fear of war, under no matter what form of government or what economic system, it would in time find ways of curbing the ferocity of its rulers.
On the other hand, all war, but especially modern war, promotes dictatorship by causing the timid to seek a leader and by converting the bolder spirits from a society into a pack.

The risk of war causes a certain kind of mass psychology, and reciprocally this kind, where it exists, increases the risk of war, as well as the likelihood of despotism.
(p 201)

The temper required to make a success of democracy is, in the practical life, exactly what the scientific temper is in the intellectual life; it is a half-way house between scepticism and dogmatism.
Truth, it holds, is neither completely attainable nor completely unattainable …
[It] is attainable to a certain degree, and that only with difficulty. …

Wherever there is autocracy, a set of beliefs is instilled into the minds of the young before they are capable of thinking, and these beliefs are taught so constantly and so persistently that it is hoped the pupils will never afterwards be able to escape from the hypnotic effect of their early lessons.
(p 203)

To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy.
Modern propagandists have learnt from advertisers, who led the way in the technique of producing irrational belief.
Education should be designed to counteract the natural credulity and the natural incredulity of the uneducated:
[The] habit
  • of believing an emphatic statement without reasons, and
  • of disbelieving an unemphatic statement even when accompanied by the best of reasons. …
There have been in the past eminent orators and writers who defended, with an appearance of great wisdom, positions which no one now holds: the reality of witchcraft, the beneficence of slavery, and so on.
(p 204)

[Wisdom] is not merely intellectual …
[Intellect] may guide and direct, but [it] does not generate the force that leads to action.
[That] force must be derived from the emotions.
Emotions that have desirable social consequences are not so easily generated as hate and rage and fear.
(p 205)

The Love of Power

The love of power is a part of normal human nature, but power-philosophies are, in a certain precise sense, insane.
The existence of the external world, both that of matter and that of other human beings, is a datum, which may be humiliating to a certain kind of pride, but can only be denied by a madman.
(p 176)

Certified lunatics are shut up because of their proneness to violence when their pretensions are questioned …
[The] uncertified variety are given the control of powerful armies, and can inflict death and disaster upon all sane men within their reach.
The success of insanity, in literature, in philosophy, and in politics, is one of the peculiarities of our age, and the successful form of insanity proceeds almost entirely from impulses towards power.
(p 177)

Would you like to know more?

The Biology of Organisations

[The] sentiments which are the most important psychological sources of power [are:] (p 107)

Would you like to know more?

Forms of Power

Power not based on tradition or assent I call ‘naked’ power. …
[It] is usually military, and may take the form [of internal tyranny or] foreign conquest. …
(p 27, italics added)

Conquest by force of arms has had more to do with the spread of civilisation than any other single agency.
Nevertheless, military power is, in most cases, based upon some other form of power, such as (p 28)

Would you like to know more?

Organisations and the Individual

Loyalty to the State … is connected with love of home and family [—] reinforced by … love of power and fear of foreign aggression. …
No other organisation rouses anything like the loyalty aroused by the national State.
And the chief activity of the State is preparation for large-scale homicide.
It is loyalty to this organisation for death that causes men to endure the totalitarian State, and to risk the destruction of home and children and our whole civilisation rather than submit to alien rule.

Individual psychology and governmental organisation have effected a tragic synthesis from which we, and our children, must suffer if we continue powerless to find an issue except through disaster.
(p 145)

Would you like to know more?



Traditional Power






Forms of Governments

Organisations and the Individual


Moral Codes

Power Philosophies

The Ethics of Power

The Taming of Power

November 5, 2012

The World 1

George W Bush

Surgical Airstrike

Reza Deghati (1952): Photojournalist

(David Shadrack Smith, Behind The Photo — War Zone, part2 pictures, 2009)

Socrates (c470–399 BCE):
[To] inflict injustice is more disgraceful than to suffer it …
(Plato, Gorgias)

Do not resist one who is evil.
But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
(5: 19)

Do not repay anyone evil for evil …
Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(12: 17-21)

Do not let the injustice of others lead you into injustice …

Georg Hegel (1770–1831):
The state has … to make up its own mind concerning what is to be considered as objective truth.
(Philosophy of Right, 1821)

Karl Rove:
[Those in the] reality-based community … believe that solutions emerge from [the] judicious study of discernible reality. …
That's not the way the world really works anymore.
We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. …
We're history's actors [so all that is left for you to do, is to study] what we do.
(Quoted by Ron Suskind, Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W Bush, The New York Times Magazine, 17 October 2004)

Greg Thielmann [Proliferation Expert, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US State Department]:
This administration has had a faith-based intelligence attitude:
We know the answers …
[Give] us the intelligence to support those answers.
[This] kind of attitude [quashes] the spirit of intellectual inquiry and integrity.
(The President of Good and Evil, 2004, p 119)

Bruce Bartlett:
[George W Bush understands] Al Quaeda and the Islamic fundamentalist enemy … because he's just like them.
He truly believes he's on a mission from God.
The whole thing about faith is to believe things for which there is no empirical evidence.

Ada Louise Huxtable:
Whose afraid of the big bad buildings?
Because there are so many things about gigantism that we just don't know.
The gamble of triumph or tragedy at this scale … demands an extraordinary payoff.
The twin towers could be the start of a new skyscraper age, or the biggest tombstones in the [history of the] world.

(Ric Burns, New York: The Centre of the World, Episode 1, PBS American Experience, WBGH, 2003)

American Justice

George W Bush

More than three thousand suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries.
Many others have met a different fate.
Put it this way: they're no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.

[Standing ovation]

One by one, the terrorists are learning the meaning of American Justice.

[Standing ovation]

(State of the Union Address, US Congress, 28 January 2003)

(Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist, WikiRebels: The Documentary, SVT, 2010)

People we have liberated will not surrender their freedom.
Democracy will succeed because the United States of America will not be intimidated by a bunch of thugs!

(Nick Broomfield, Battle for Haditha, Channel Four Films, 2007)

[The Supreme Court has ruled] that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention.
And that Common Article 3 says that, you know, there will be no 'outrages upon human dignity'.
It's, like, very vague — what does that mean?

Beware of the Dark Side

Dick Cheney (1941): 46th Vice President of the United States

We're going to work the sort of the dark side, if you will.
We're going to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world.
A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies — if we're going to be successful.
That's the world these folks operate in, and so it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.

(Alex Gibney, Taxi to the Dark Side, 2007)

Dragon's Teeth

Waleed Aly

[Resorting to torture and repression] is an erosion of the moral foundations … of Western civilisation. …
It is also [doomed to fail].
[It] proclaims to all a humiliating desperation and the intensity of Western fears.
[It is an admission by those] who reach for [it] that they have exhausted their ideas [and abandoned their values.]
[No] further deterrent [is] available.
[No] further philosophical triumph [is] to be sought.
They have spent their last resort …
These are not the responses of an assured people, upright and certain of victory. …

Revolutionary movements [rely] on the repressive action of those they seek to overthrow.
They cannot be fought on terrain bereft of ethics.
This merely … serves as potent recruitment propaganda [and] provides a steady stream of martyrs to inspire continued revolution.

(People Like Us, 2007, pp 205-6)