Paging Miss Moneypenny

OR “WE ARE ALL CORPORATISTS NOW

Somewhere along the line, I think we have all forgotten what the meaning of “Free Market” is.

The Americans Haven’t had one for almost one hundred years – contrary to what is portrayed in the MSM

That is – one that is free from government intervention.

To quote George Reisman, with regards to the statements of the Political Class that “Laissez Faire” was to blame for the latest recession/depression

The mentality displayed in these statements is so completely and utterly at odds with the actual meaning of laissez faire that it would be capable of describing the economic policy of the old Soviet Union as one of laissez faire in its last decades. By its logic, that is how it would have to describe the policy of Brezhnev and his successors of allowing workers on collective farms to cultivate plots of land of up to one acre in size on their own account and sell the produce in farmers’ markets in Soviet cities. According to the logic of the media, that too would be “laissez faire” — at least compared to the time of Stalin.

The suggestions listed at this website – A newspaper that claims to be the financial voice of the Canada, would create an entirely fictional market – it would be a market, by and for the American Taxpayer – National Socialism on a massive scale, but with the veneer of “private” ownership.

These suggestions would be laughable, if they weren’t in a paper that claims to support free markets.

I might also add that Japan has suffered under 20 years of stagnation, because of policies such as these.

I have rebutted each point below.

Intervene in the stock market directly

Effectively you would socialize the stock market – Prop up stock prices by issuing government debt – so TARP was not enough? Now the stock “market” is the troubled asset?

Why would anyone believe that the stock price was valid, if it is based on a government subsidised inflation? Maybe the Government could buy up all the stocks, and then simply distribut them to average Americans – buy out the “wealthy” classes, who could then flee the country – leaving pepole to “high frequency” trade as a method of online entertainment.

Max Kaiser calls it the “Casino Gulag”

With the “money” you made, you could purchase food from the government run grocery store

Enough government debt, and the entire USA will be the troubled asset – who will relieve it?

We could call it TARP 2 – Troubled American Relief Program

The Chinese have been doing their part for the last 10 years – Maybe the UN can bail out the USA.

Buy up homes directly

So all of these homes would now become the property of the federal government? How would that prop up home prices? Instead of “private” banks holding unused houses that no-one could afford, the government would own them.

It would be only a matter of time before the government began giving them away. In order to Stimulate the Aggregate Demand of course – I have noticed that demand goes up infinitely when something is free – especially something as “valuable” as a house

Maybe the government could lend directly to potential homeowners in order to buy houses that the government owns – eliminate the middle man as it were(those banks wont lend anyways – how unpatriotic). With any luck they could score a government job – since the government seems to be he only one hiring these days.

So the homeowners could work for the government, live in a house owned by the government, pay down a mortgage owed to the government, and maybe get some help paying for the artificially inflated food by getting government foodstamps – that would be redeemed by retailers with the government.

And the Government would then be collecting taxes from itself! So in essence, the workers would own the means of production!

“The Government pretends to pay us and we pretend to work” Would be the new motto of the American Worker.

Did Marx know it would be this easy?

Promise to not raise rates for 10 years

When was the last time a government kept a promise? And everyone knows that this is an artificial stimulant – why would people take on more debt?

Give small businesses access to the discount window

Is it that small businesses are dying for loans? Or that small businesses have already accumulated too much debt and are not applying for any more loans?

I have got another plan for small businesses that want to expand – save your earnings and re-invest in your company – don’t go into debt.

As for the “Zombie” banks that are holding onto their money tightly – they followed the Feds lead for the last 8 years – look where it got them.

Create a negative interest rate that only applies to the savings of large businesses

So steal money from companies? Because they don’t want to go bankrupt? Who is writing this? A member of the radical left? Why wouldn’t a company just up and leave America?

I am sure the Chinese don’t steal from private companies!

You are welcome to move to Canada.

Buy gold

That is the surest way to devalue your dollar, and make everything you import from China that much more expensive – an inflationary recession – just what the doctor ordered.

So with the US dollar the world reserve currency, you suggest the Federal Reserve do the one thing that signals mistrust of fiat currency.

Buy Gold.

And that would create an inflationary depression.

Buy other stuff directly

What? That is the surest way to starve the American public. Right now Americans are getting poorer – prices coming down would be a relief to them.

But I guess the Government could offset the higher prices by printing more food stamps – 40 million Americans on food stamps… So the Feds could raise the cost of food and then subsidize the expensive food – what is the point? Fight the “Obesity” epidemic?

Artificially raising food prices is one of the craziest things I have ever heard – it is the one sure thing that would lead to a rebellion.

Lend money directly to Greece, Spain, and Hungary

Why? Let them fail! So now the taxpaying Americans are expected to become the International Nanny state? Propping up unproductive Countries like they do unproductive Corporations? What next? Bail out the whole world?

Here is an idea of what it is like in Greece.

In 2001 the government still controlled many sectors of the economy through state-owned banks and industries, and its public sector accounted for approximately half of Greece’s gross domestic product

I haven’t found the source yet, but it is said that 22% of Greeks work for the government.

As for Spain, their massive overinvestment in inneficient “green” technologies is now biting them in the ass.

Let them enjoy their eco-friendly and ultimately poorer lifestyle – it is what the environmental activists want in any case isn’t it?

Buy up auto and student loans

Since the US Federal Government already owns GM and Chrysler, why don’t you just go one further – give cars away for free! That will stimulate aggregate demand! In fact I will move to the USA just to get a free car – you could give cars away to the whole world!

As for student Loans, you could nationalize all schools, make education free as well, and pay the teachers with food stamps.

That burdensome student loan only hurts the economy.

Welcome to the USASR.

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Al Gores Unabomber Manifesto

This quiz was originally created by Ken Crossman. The site that hosted it no longer exists, so I have posted it here in an effort to help keep it alive.

Unfortunately I can’t get the quiz portion of this post to function, so if you would lke to be graded, please go to the following site.

Since I have begun writing on this subject, I have had many people say to me “you are only focussed on the fringes of the movement – it is unfair to target mainstream Environmentalists for their beliefs.”

But as this quiz shows quite clearly, one of the most “Mainstream” Environmenalists has views that are closely in line with what many would consider to be the ultimate in “Fringe”.

For those readers to young to remember the Unabomber, here is a link to his wiki page.

Did Al Gore say it? Or was it the Unabomber?

It may be more difficult to decide than you think.


Each quote below is either from Al Gore’s Book Earth in the Balance or from the Unabomber’s Manifesto.

To be fair, I should point out that while Al and the Unabomber identify the “problems” similarly, they part on the solution. Al wants a “Global Marshall Plan” with enforcement across national boundaries while the Unabomber prefers the idea of revolution.


There may or may not be an equal number of quotes from both thinkers.


“The twentieth century has not been kind to the constant human striving for a sense of purpose in life. Two world wars, the Holocaust, the invention of nuclear weapons, and now the global environmental crises have led many of us to wonder if survival – much less enlightened, joyous, and hopeful living – is possible. We retreat into the seductive tools and technologies of industrial civilization, but that only creates new problems as we become increasingly isolated from one another and disconnected from our roots.”

1 – Gore — Unabomber


“Again, we must not forget the lessons of World War II. The Resistance slowed the advance of fascism and scored important victories, but fascism continued its relentless march to domination until the rest of the world finally awoke and made the difference and made the defeat of fascism its central organizing principle from 1941 through 1945.”

2 – Gore — Unabomber


“It is not necessary for the sake of nature to set up some chimerical utopia or any new kind of social order. Nature takes care of itself: It was a spontaneous creation that existed long before any human society, and for countless centuries, many different kinds of human societies coexisted with nature without doing it an excessive amount of damage. Only with the Industrial Revolution did the effect of human society on nature become really devastating.”

3 – Gore —  Unabomber


“Modern industrial civilization, as presently organized, is colliding violently with our planet’s ecological system. The ferocity of its assault on the earth is breathtaking, and the horrific consequences are occurring so quickly as to defy our capacity to recognize them, comprehend their global implications, and organize an appropriate and timely response. Isolated pockets of resistance fighters who have experienced this juggernaut at first hand have begun to fight back in inspiring but, in the final analysis, woefully inadequate ways.”

4 – Gore — Unabomber


“Among the abnormal conditions present in modern industrial society are excessive density of population, isolation of man from nature, excessive rapidity of social change and the breakdown of natural small-scale communities such as the extended family, the village or the tribe.”

5 – Gore — Unabomber


” All pre-industrial societies were predominantly rural. The Industrial Revolution vastly increased the size of cities and the proportion of the population that lives in them, and modern agricultural technology has made it possible for the Earth to support a far denser population than it ever did before.”

6 – Gore — Unabomber


“The positive ideal that is proposed is Nature. That is, wild nature: those aspects of the functioning of the Earth and its living things that are independent of human management and free of human interference and control.”

7 – Gore — Unabomber


“Any child born into the hugely consumptionist way of life so common in the industrial world will have an impact that is, on average, many times more destructive than that of a child born in the developing world.”

8 – Gore —  Unabomber


“And tragically, since the onset of the scientific and technological revolution, it has become all too easy for ultrarational minds to create an elaborate edifice of clockwork efficiency capable of nightmarish cruelty on an industrial scale. The atrocities of Hitler and Stalin, and the mechanical sins of all who helped them, might have been inconceivable except for the separation of facts from values and knowledge from morality.”

9 – Gore —  Unabomber


“The modern individual on the other hand is threatened by many things against which he is helpless: nuclear accidents, carcinogens in food, environmental pollution, war, increasing taxes, invasion of his privacy by large organizations, and nationwide social or economic phenomena that may disrupt his way of life.”

10 – Gore —  Unabomber


“Industrial society seems likely to be entering a period of severe stress, due in part to problems of human behavior and in part to economic and environmental problems.”

11 – Gore — Unabomber


“What does it say about our culture that personality is now considered a technology, a tool of the trade, not only in politics but in business and the professions? Has everyone been forced to become an actor? In sixteenth century England, actors were not allowed to be buried in the same cemeteries as ‘God-fearing folk,’ because anyone willing to manipulate his personality for the sake of artifice, even to entertain, was considered spiritually suspect.”

12 – Gore —  Unabomber




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Rebuttal to Micheal Francis

I found this post, and decided to compose a rebuttal – since his blog only allows comments 250 words in length, I decided to post it here.

You can find the full text of his commentary here.

Global Warming, More than a Heated Debate

Below please find my rebuttal.

Hello Micheal – I have read your article, and I think you have some misconceptions – I will address your comments point by point.

I do find it remarkable the number of people who deny the existence of global warming. And these are not credible scientists, but laypeople who would defer to an electrician or plumber where appropriate but commit to an ideological position that will damn the globe with views contrary to the experts.

Very few credible skeptical scientists deny the existence of global warming – I have been in touch with Dick Lindzen, one of the worlds foremost atmospheric physicists – he certainly does not deny that the globe has warmed – he is merely skeptical of the role of CO2 in the matter. You should try emailing him and asking him why he feels this way. I am sure he would be happy to respond.

So I do have an understanding of science as a process and how it is constructed. I also know “real” scientists and I know how consensus is created in the natural sciences.

I also know “real” scientists, and they also know that consensus is not science – there was once a consensus view on the scientific facts about eugenics.

All the media hype about “Climategate” and other denialist positions are premised off of a solid base of ignorance. A small group of scientists fudged some data, but this does not throw global warming into doubt as it is represented.

I think you should take climategate more seriously – here is what I consider to be the most damning email from the climategate event – and it has nothing to do with fudging data. But a side point before you read this email – do the “real” scientists you know hide and destroy data, lie, and generally have little regard for the scientific method? You should ask them sometime.

Hi Tom
How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter.  We are not close to balancing the energy budget.  The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not!  It is a travesty!
Kevin

Dr. Trenberth clearly states that:

“The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not!”

So Dr. Trenberth is convinced that any attempt to “cool” the planet is doomed to failure as we would not be able to understand what would happen, and if it would be effective.

Since those who lend credence to the proposition of AGW, or CAGW for the “acolytes of the church of Gore”, feel that the “excesive” amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere is a kind of unintentional Geoengineering, and Dr. Trenberth obviously is of the opinion that we as a species currently have no ability to understand what the effects of this geoengineering would be, it follows that this particular theory should not be used to drive our decisions with regards to the releasing of CO2 into the atmosphere and all of the associated anti-gwroth policies that emerge from it, as

“we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not!”

If you would care to refute this line of reasoning, please fell free.

That is media misrepresentation and spin-doctoring of a rather blatant kind. Please do not supply links to random non-peer-reviewed websites at this point as “proof”. And definitely do not supply YouTube videos as even more proof.

I will only one peer reviewed paper – Richard S. Lindzen, and Yong-Sang Choi – On the observational determination of climate sensitivity and its implications

Lindzen_Choi_ERBE_JGR_v4

Please give it a read.

I also find it really strange that my experience with denialists of global warming always seem to be rather right wing of some sort or at least rabid individualists.

I would really appreciate it if you would stop using the word “denialist” it is an ad-hominem, and is used only to dismiss out of hand the views of serious people.

How would you like it if I called you a warmist?

Global warming needs to be treated with urgency. Global warming is happening and faster than we expect. And we are not doing enough.

You should ask Dr. Phil Jones – deposed former head of the CRU – what he thinks of that statement.

I’ll post his comments below.

B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

JONES – Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

C – Do you agree that from January 2002 to the present there has been statistically significant global cooling?

JONES – No. This period is even shorter than 1995-2009. The trend this time is negative (-0.12C per decade), but this trend is not statistically significant.

So what do you think of those statements?

We have massive amounts of water and it is really *%$#ing cold so a few degrees will not damn us in the way it will the Sahel regions of Africa that will become full deserts.

Please provide a reference for this prediction – is it based on GCMs?

And we really do treat each other badly. I was watching a documentary and in the film there were whole villages of people living off of a garbage dump in India. They were paid a pittance to recycle plastic, tin and steel. I still feel like crying when I think of it. Little children were digging through the dump looking for little bits that they could eat, sell or use.

In North America people used to do this as well – but then we became rich enough that our poor did not have to engage in this behavior merely to survive – I saw that with the help of inexpensive fossil fuels, we make the poor rich, so they won’t have to do this just to survive – as well maybe we should stop send them our “recycling”to sift through.

http://wastedenergy.net/2010/03/10/the-age-of-plastic/

But again I digress from what I was saying about global warming being a strange topic online. I am really puzzled why global warming denialists always seem so right wing. Videos abound that link ideas on global warming to global governance. As if a global will to fight a global problem will lead to global government based on socialism.

I don’t know, maybe I am spending too much online and get exposed to stupid views far too often.

I agree – you are.

You should visit http://wattsupwiththat.com/ – no conspiracy theories – just scientific analysis.

As for Africa and the rest of the global south there seems to be a strong view that because of poverty in the south pollution and industrial standards do not matter. Issue of rampant population growth are downplayed as the poor have a small carbon footprint. The real problem with this view, no matter how accurate, is that to maintain this level of population requires the world to maintain the current levels of inequality.

Actually many people such as Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, Henry Kissinger, Ted Turner, Mikhail Gorbachev, and many many others do not downplay the issue of rampant population growth – you should see what they say on the subject – mostly it has to do with radical depopulation of the earth.

A low fertility rate is strongly correlated with wealth – with the exception of the USA, the entire western world has a replacement rate of below 2.

The lack of environmental controls is also dismissed due to the level of industrialisation. It is argued that a factory in the south can be allowed to emit more pollution because of the small number, yet these plants and factories poison the people that work on them and live near them.

Who says this? Can you provide some quotes?

China is building a coal fired power plant a day, not because they don’t care about the environment – but you could argue that they don’t especially if you are a “deep green”- they care more about raising a billion people out of poverty. They also have negative population growth

Global strategies to combat global warming must be global in scope without compromises over past inequalities or we will continue to destroy the only earth we have.

Please read “The Skeptical Environmentalist” by Bjorn Lomborg – let me know what you think of his arguments.

Best Regards

E.A. Blair

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I, Pencil

I read this a little while ago, and decided the I needed to share it with all of my readers. Posted, but not necessarily with permission.

If you would like to read an excellent analysis of this literary masterpiece, please head over to read Ray Harvey’s latest post.

And anyone interested in the fascinating history of the pencil itself is well advised to read

The pencil, a history of design and circumstance

by Henry Petroski

__________________________________

I, Pencil
My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read

I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.*

Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery—more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.

Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye—there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser.

Innumerable Antecedents

Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my background.
My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are among my antecedents.

Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation.

Once in the pencil factory—$4,000,000 in machinery and building, all capital accumulated by thrifty and saving parents of mine—each slat is given eight grooves by a complex machine, after which another machine lays leads in every other slat, applies glue, and places another slat atop—a lead sandwich, so to speak. Seven brothers and I are mechanically carved from this “wood-clinched” sandwich.

My “lead” itself—it contains no lead at all—is complex. The graphite is mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in my birth—and the harbor pilots.

The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated tallow—animal fats chemically reacted with sulfuric acid. After passing through numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions—as from a sausage grinder-cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and hydrogenated natural fats.

My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all the ingredients of lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the lacquer is made a beautiful yellow involve the skills of more persons than one can enumerate!

Observe the labeling. That’s a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black?

My bit of metal—the ferrule—is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the center of my ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.

Then there’s my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as “the plug,” the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient called “factice” is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by reacting rape-seed oil from the Dutch East Indies with sulfur chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes. Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice comes from Italy; and the pigment which gives “the plug” its color is cadmium sulfide.

No One Knows

Does anyone wish to challenge my earlier assertion that no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me?

Actually, millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of whom even knows more than a very few of the others. Now, you may say that I go too far in relating the picker of a coffee berry in far off Brazil and food growers elsewhere to my creation; that this is an extreme position. I shall stand by my claim. There isn’t a single person in all these millions, including the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny, infinitesimal bit of know-how. From the standpoint of know-how the only difference between the miner of graphite in Ceylon and the logger in Oregon is in the type of know-how. Neither the miner nor the logger can be dispensed with, any more than can the chemist at the factory or the worker in the oil field—paraffin being a by-product of petroleum.

Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit of metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be among these items.

No Master Mind

There is a fact still more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred.

It has been said that “only God can make a tree.” Why do we agree with this? Isn’t it because we realize that we ourselves could not make one? Indeed, can we even describe a tree? We cannot, except in superficial terms. We can say, for instance, that a certain molecular configuration manifests itself as a tree. But what mind is there among men that could even record, let alone direct, the constant changes in molecules that transpire in the life span of a tree? Such a feat is utterly unthinkable!

I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand—that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding—then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.

Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “master-minding.”

Testimony Galore

If I, Pencil, were the only item that could offer testimony on what men and women can accomplish when free to try, then those with little faith would have a fair case. However, there is testimony galore; it’s all about us and on every hand. Mail delivery is exceedingly simple when compared, for instance, to the making of an automobile or a calculating machine or a grain combine or a milling machine or to tens of thousands of other things. Delivery? Why, in this area where men have been left free to try, they deliver the human voice around the world in less than one second; they deliver an event visually and in motion to any person’s home when it is happening; they deliver 150 passengers from Seattle to Baltimore in less than four hours; they deliver gas from Texas to one’s range or furnace in New York at unbelievably low rates and without subsidy; they deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern Seaboard—halfway around the world—for less money than the government charges for delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!

The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am, offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.

Leonard E. Read (1898-1983) founded FEE in 1946 and served as its president until his death.

“I, Pencil,” his most famous essay, was first published in the December 1958 issue of The Freeman. Although a few of the manufacturing details and place names have changed over the past forty years, the principles are unchanged.


* My official name is “Mongol 482.” My many ingredients are assembled, fabricated, and finished by Eberhard Faber Pencil Company.

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CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

Being Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982

[Enacted by the Canada Act 1982 [U.K.] c.11; proclaimed in force April 17, 1982. Amended by the Constitution Amendment Proclamation, 1983, SI/84-102, effective June 21, 1984. Amended by the Constitution Amendment, 1993 [New Brunswick], SI/93-54, Can. Gaz. Part II, April 7, 1993, effective March 12, 1993.]

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:


Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms


RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS IN CANADA.

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.


Fundamental Freedoms


FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS.

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.


Democratic Rights


DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS OF CITIZENS.

3. Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.


MAXIMUM DURATION OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES / Continuation in special circumstances.

4. (1) No House of Commons and no legislative assembly shall continue for longer than five years from the date fixed for the return of the writs at a general election of its members.

(2) In time of real or apprehended war, invasion or insurrection, a House of Commons may be continued by Parliament and a legislative assembly may be continued by the legislature beyond five years if such continuation is not opposed by the votes of more than one-third of the members of the House of Commons or the legislative assembly, as the case may be.


ANNUAL SITTING OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES.

5. There shall be a sitting of Parliament and of each legislature at least once every twelve months.


Mobility Rights


MOBILITY RIGHTS OF CITIZENS / Right to move and gain livelihood / Limitation / Affirmative action programs.

6. (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.

(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right

(a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and
(b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.

(3) The rights specified in subsection (2) are subject to

(a) any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons primarily on the basis of province of present or previous residence; and
(b) any laws providing for reasonable residency requirements as a qualification for the receipt of publicly provided social services.

(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration in a province of conditions of individuals in that province who were socially or economically disadvantaged if the rate of employment in that province is below the rate of employment in Canada.


Legal Rights


LIFE, LIBERTY AND SECURITY OF PERSON.

7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.


SEARCH OR SEIZURE.

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.


DETENTION OR IMPRISONMENT.

9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.


ARREST OR DETENTION.

10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention

(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.


PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL AND PENAL MATTERS.

11. Any person charged with an offence has the right

(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
(c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
(f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
(g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
(h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
(i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment.


TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT.

12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.


SELF-INCRIMINATION.

13. A witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings, except in a prosecution for perjury or for the giving of contradictory evidence.


INTERPRETER.

14. A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.


Equality Rights


EQUALITY BEFORE AND UNDER LAW AND EQUAL PROTECTION AND BENEFIT OF LAW / Affirmative action programs.

15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.


Official Languages of Canada


OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF CANADA / Official languages of New Brunswick / Advancement of status and use.

16. (1) English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada.

(2) English and French are the official languages of New Brunswick and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the legislature and government of New Brunswick.

(3) Nothing in this Charter limits the authority of Parliament or a legislature to advance the equality of status or use of English and French.


ENGLISH AND FRENCH LINGUISTIC COMMUNITES IN NEW BRUNSWICK / Role of the legislature and government of New Brunswick.

16.1 (1) The English linguistic community and the French linguistic community in New Brunswick have equality of status and equal rights and privileges, including the right to distinct educational institutions and such distinct cultural institutions as are necessary for the preservation and promotion of those communities.

(2) The role of the legislature and government of New Brunswick to preserve and promote the status, rights and privileges referred to in subsection (1) is affirmed.


PROCEEDINGS IN PARLIAMENT / Proceedings of New Brunswick legislature.

17. (1) Everyone has the right to use English or French in any debates and other proceedings of Parliament.

(2) Everyone has the right to use English or French in any debates and other proceedings of the legislature of New Brunswick.


PARLIAMENTARY STATUTES AND RECORDS / New Brunswick statutes and records.

18. (1) The statutes, records and journals of Parliament shall be printed and published in English and French and both language versions are equally authoritative.

(2) The statutes, records and journals of the legislature of New Brunswick shall be printed and published in English and French and both language versions are equally authoritative.


PROCEEDINGS IN COURTS ESTABLISHED BY PARLIAMENT / Proceedings in New Brunswick courts.

19. (1) Either English or French may be used by any person in, or any pleading in or process issuing from, any court established by Parliament.

(2) Either English or French may be used by any person in, or any pleading in or process issuing from, any court of New Brunswick.


COMMUNICATIONS BY PUBLIC WITH FEDERAL INSTITUTIONS / Communications by public with New Brunswick institutions.

20. (1) Any member of the public in Canada has the right to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any head or central office of an institution of the Parliament or government of Canada in English or French, and has the same right with respect to any other office of any such institution where

(a) there is a significant demand for communications with and services from that office in such language; or
(b) due to the nature of the office, it is reasonable that communications with and services from that office be available in both English and French.

(2) Any member of the public in New Brunswick has the right to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any office of an institution of the legislature or government of New Brunswick in English or French.


CONTINUATION OF EXISTING CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS.

21. Nothing in sections 16 to 20 abrogates or derogates from any right, privilege or obligation with respect to the English and French languages, or either of them, that exists or is continued by virtue of any other provision of the Constitution of Canada.


RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES PRESERVED.

22. Nothing in sections 16 to 20 abrogates or derogates from any legal or customary right or privilege acquired or enjoyed either before or after the coming into force of this Charter with respect to any language that is not English or French.


Minority Language Educational Rights


LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION / Continuity of language instruction / Application where numbers warrant.

23. (1) Citizens of Canada

(a) whose first language learned and still understood is that of the English or French linguistic minority of the province in which they reside, or
(b) who have received their primary school instruction in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where the language in which they received that instruction is the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province,

have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in that language in that province.

(2) Citizens of Canada of whom any child has received or is receiving primary or secondary school instruction in English or French in Canada, have the right to have all their children receive primary and secondary language instruction in the same language.

(3) The right of citizens of Canada under subsections (1) and (2) to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of a province

(a) applies wherever in the province the number of children of citizens who have such a right is sufficient to warrant the provision to them out of public funds of minority language instruction; and
(b) includes, where the number of those children so warrants, the right to have them receive that instruction in minority language educational facilities provided out of public funds.

Enforcement


ENFORCEMENT OF GUARANTEED RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS / Exclusion of evidence bringing administration of justice into disrepute.

24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.

(2) Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), a court concludes that evidence was obtained in a manner that infringed or denied any rights or freedoms guaranteed by this Charter, the evidence shall be excluded if it is established that, having regard to all the circumstances, the admission of it in the proceedings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.


General


ABORIGINAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS NOT AFFECTED BY CHARTER.

25. The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal people of Canada including

(a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and
(b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.


OTHER RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS NOT AFFECTED BY CHARTER.

26. The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada.


MULTICULTURAL HERITAGE.

27. This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.


RIGHTS GUARANTEED EQUALLY TO SEXES.

28. Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.


RIGHTS RESPECTING CERTAIN SCHOOLS PRESERVED.

29. Nothing in this Charter abrogates or derogates from any rights or privileges guaranteed by or under the Constitution of Canada in respect of denominational, separate or dissentient schools.


APPLICATION TO TERRITORIES AND TERRITORIAL AUTHORITIES.

30. A reference in this Charter to a province or to the legislative assembly or legislature of a province shall be deemed to include a reference to the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories, or to the appropriate legislative authority thereof, as the case may be.


LEGISLATIVE POWERS NOT EXTENDED.

31. Nothing in this Charter extends the legislative powers of any body or authority.


Application of Charter


APPLICATION OF THE CHARTER / Exception.

32. (1) This Charter applies

(a) to the Parliament and government of Canada in respect of all matters within the authority of Parliament including all matters relating to the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories; and
(b) to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), section 15 shall not have effect until three years after this section comes into force. [Section 32 came into force on April 17, 1982; therefore, section 15 had effect on April 17, 1985.]


EXCEPTION WHERE EXPRESS DECLARATION / Operation of exception / Five year limitation / Re-enactment / Five year limitation.

33. (1) Parliament or the legislature of a province may expressly declare in an Act of Parliament or of the legislature, as the case may be, that the Act or a provision thereof shall operate notwithstanding a provision included in section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of this Charter.

(2) An Act or a provision of an Act in respect of which a declaration made under this section is in effect shall have such operation as it would have but for the provision of this Charter referred to in the declaration.

(3) A declaration made under subsection (1) shall cease to have effect five years after it comes into force or on such earlier date as may be specified in the declaration.

(4) Parliament or the legislature of a province may re-enact a declaration made under subsection (1).

(5) Subsection (3) applies in respect of a re-enactment made under subsection (4).


Citation


CITATION.

34. This Part may be cited as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


EFC

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Try it, you’ll like it

Hello Kind Readers

Regular commentator Bedazzled Crone, made these comments on my previous Post “Jungles of the Mind”

I thought my response warranted its own Post.

Here are Bedazzled Crones comments

Rwanda would have happened anyway. The Hutu just would have slaughtered Tutsi with guns rather than machetes. It was a deliberate attempt at ethnic cleansing by the Hutu. Soldiers, government officials and business leaders organised the killings and were joined by a Hutu militia, the Interahamwe.

Progress has brought about the end of hunger? Where? There are plenty of people in western countries – particularly in the U.S. – who go to sleep hungry.

I have a few questions about this corporatism versus capitalism debate. Didn’t the corporations evolve (adapt) out of capitalism? Has there ever been “pure capitalism”? Just what is “pure capitalism”? How will pure capitalism end poverty, for example? How will it deal with those who “can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps” for any number of reasons? Adam Smith believed that there was a role for government, for example, he believed that tariffs were necessary, at times, although he was against monopolies and mercantilism. His influence has lasted; you can see it in both John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman – two very different economists.

Actually these are questions that I should put on Ray’s blog about capitalism.

AND HERE IS MY REPLY

Hello Bedazzled Crone, thanks for commenting.

But I don’t think you are reading closely enough.

If every Tutsi village had had an armed and trained local militia, they would have been able to stand up for themselves, instead of being led like lambs to the slaughter, hiding in churches, praying to god it wouldn’t be them who was next to fall under the blade.

In fact the Tutsi didn’t even have machetes to defend themselves with.

On a separate and ominous note, certain groups in the UK are currently attempting to ban kitchen knives.

Governments have been the largest killers of their own citizens in the 20th century. We in Canada are very lucky to have such a benevolent one. The monopoly (as with any monopoly) on the use of force is a very dangerous thing, and can quickly be used against the citizens it is meant to protect.

“Progress” has brought the end of hunger all over the world. You have read “the skeptical environmentalist” maybe you should get your own copy for reference.

From page 61 of the 2005 edition:

According to the UN’s definition, a person is starving if he or she does not get sufficient food to perform light physical activity… Globally the proportion of starving has fallen from 35 percent to 18 percent… This should be compared to an estimated 45 percent of developing country people starving in 1949.

Lomborg is not saying that hunger has ended, or that inequality has ended. He is merely stating that we have made “progress” – ooooh that word again, so loaded –  The thing that Marxism has done to poison economic debate has been to inject the fantastical notion that equality of outcomes is a thing to strive for, and would ever be possible. Look at the total failure of every Marxist based economy to provide the for the basic needs of it’s citizens. In the long run almost all of them revert to becoming subsistence economies. All in the name of “equality”. In the case of North Korea, it seems like the country is committing a form of national suicide.

Some will always be more equal than others.

So many people, especially in the social welfare states of the west feel they are “owed” something. At whose expense?

Point by point responses on the rest of your comments

I have a few questions about this corporatism versus capitalism debate. Didn’t the corporations evolve (adapt) out of capitalism?

No – corporations – that is, large economic entities made up of groups of individuals whose energies are harnessed for a common goal – in various forms have always existed – in fact Adam Smith argued against monopolistic mercantilist entities such as the British East India company. Capitalism – a term coined by Marx – was a way of describing the functioning of the economic system as he saw it. You need to read this article on “What is Corporatist America”. Then we can discuss some more.

It is worthy to note, that without corporations, almost all of our modern world would disappear in an instant. Our art, our culture, our cars etc. etc. Please see chapter 9 of Ray Harvey’s book “Leave Us Alone; A Capitalist Credo”

I will also be posting next, the literary piece “I, pencil” that gets to heart of this matter.

You say:
Has there ever been “pure capitalism”? Just what is “pure capitalism”? How will pure capitalism end poverty, for example? How will it deal with those who “can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps” for any number of reasons?

Capitalism offers people opportunity to improve their lives through freedom

To turn your question around, has there ever been “pure socialism”? Just what is “pure socialism”? How will pure “socialism” end poverty, for example? How will it deal with those who “can’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps” for any number of reasons?

Socialism offers people forced redistribution to attempt to equalize perceived inequalities.

If anyone was paying attention, that is exactly what the UN was trying to achieve with the Copenhagen Climate Accord in the name of global equality of outcomes – forced redistribution of 45 trillion dollars. In the interest of promoting the “green” economy.

You can read about it here in their own document.

UN-greeneconomy

It is interesting to note that for every “green” job in created in Spain – 2.2 other jobs were lost through forced redistribution of wealth into “green” boondoggles such as windmill manufacturing.

You can read about that here.

090327-employment-public-aid-renewable

For more on why windpower is an expensive plaything for the rich nations of the west who wish to appear “green”, please go to this website – MasterResource.org

Windpower Is Not an Infant Industry!

Here is an excerpt

Windpower is another case of bad economics and bad quality. Wind is actually worse than solar because micro wind for off the grid is not a niche market. Ever seen a wind turbine in the middle of nowhere powering something? I haven’t. But I have seen solar panels in the middle of nowhere doing the work of electricity.

Capitalism, and the freedom it entails, does the most to improve peoples lives through giving them opportunity, and creating the greatest amount of economic growth. Which is in fact what most people want – a chance to better their lives, improve their lot.

Some people will never “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, no matter how much government intervention occurs in the name of “equality of outcomes”. The way that the social welfare state has chosen to deal with such people is permanent welfare and subsidized housing, with the implicit agreement that they won’t rob the upper classes.

When I was a bike courier, I had an Inuit friend who, due to his ethnic heritage had the opourtunity for a completely free education. He stated that he would rather go back up north to live because you didn’t need much of an education. Of course it may be that his own goals in life did not include higher education. And that is fine. How to you measure the equality of outcomes between him and myself?

I desired a “higher” standard of living for myself and my at the time theoretical offspring, therefore I was willing to go into debt to the tune of almost $18 000 dollars. I now use the education and skills I recieved in my daily life, and have a decent job in part because if it.

I have a friend who is now a banker in NYC. He went into $250 000 of debt in order to have the opportunity to compete in the world of high finance. Of course he also works 12-14 hour days, so how do you measure that equality of outcomes? As well let’s just say he was very lucky to keep his job in the last year, even though he is very intelligent and talented, and it hasn’t done wonders for his pay, as most of his base salary is taken up by the basic living costs of residing in Manhattan, and being the sole breadwinner because his wife doesn’t have a green card. The rest of his pay is made up in bonuses of which there weren’t many to go around due to the global economic crisis

There is a person at my work, who when I was talking about capitalism, said that’s all fine and good, but is it fair that someone makes 12 million dollars at a corporation. Of course there are issues with perverse incentives for non performance in the corporate world(and in government) but at the same time he is perfectly free and able in our country to get a student loan, go back to school for economics, or business admin, and get a job in the world of banking, and have the same opportunity. He is a smart guy.

My wife’s uncle started out with nothing more than a basic degree from Carleton university and ended up the number 2 at Royal Bank. How is that for equality of outcomes?

And who decides what is equal? How do we measure? Better to give everyone the maximum amount if freedom to pursue their own goals.

Adam Smith believed that there was a role for government

Agreed. I also feel there is a need for a limited role for government in our societies.

for example, he believed that tariffs were necessary, at times,

Agreed. I never said they weren’t.

although he was against monopolies and mercantilism.

Agreed and stated above.

His influence has lasted; you can see it in both John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman – two very different economists.

Your point? Good ideas stand the test of time. The marketplace of ideas if you will.

May I also point out that Keynsianism, coupled with our global fiat currency system is now crushing many of the western socialized welfare states(I am including the USA in that description) under mountains of debt that they will never pay off, without hyperinflation of their currencies. I can see the EU-SDR – “European Union of Social Democratic Republics” beginning to burst at the seams. And even some US states are considering greater autonomy from their corrupt and bloated federal government.

The Grasping Hand

The problem is that you continue to view “capitalism” and “competition” through your lens of Marxist critique, I am guessing it was ingrained in you in the 60’s by some professors who were apologists for Stalinism and you haven’t been able to shake it since.

The socialist superstate that was the USSR collapsed under it’s own weight. It was predestined to fail. But the bankrupt ideas that it spawned continue to hold credibility in the west, probably because we didn’t have to suffer under it’s horrible yoke. Ask anyone who grew up behind the iron curtain if they are better off now that they aren’t forced to be “equal”.

Competition is good. I won’t go so far as to pull a “Gordon Gecko”, but he is a caricature in any case.

Monopolistic Corporations don’t like it because it means they may lose their market share. Socialists of all creeds and colours – Red, Green, don’t like it because it means their elite technocrats don’t get to run the world, as the common man or woman knows best how to fulfill their own desires, and make themselves happy. Large bureaucracies(public or private) of any kind full of self-interested and entitled people don’t like it.

I like it.

“Communist” China likes it so much that they have harnessed elements of it to raise millions upon millions of people out of abject poverty.

Maybe you should try it – you might like it too.

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Jungles of the Mind

Posted by E.A. Blair

I sent this article through to my friend, Doctor Martin

It is worth a read – and here is a short excerpt.

JUNGLES OF THE MIND

THE INVENTION OF THE ‘TROPICAL RAIN FOREST’

Philip Stott unravels the emergence of myths about the tropical rain forests.

ONE OF THE EARLIEST European accounts of the tropical is found in the famous letter, dated February 1493, of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) describing his first voyage of 1492-93. This was published in Spanish in Barcelona in April 1493 by Pedro Posa, with a Latin version appearing a little later. His account helped to establish a number of European myths about the tropics that still flourish today.
In any case, it spawned a discussion that I will reproduce here.

E.A Blair

You gotta read this, and read my. Latest post at wittenbergchurchdoor.wordpress.com to see where I am going with the whole cutting down trees doesn’t matter.

Doctor Martin

Next time we have beers I will tell you about a visual arts presentation I saw
where the presenter discussed images about irrationality, the jungle, atavism
and juxtaposed it with the modernist position about bringing light to the
savages and all that from the perspective of the Colombian state. Of course the
method of modernization is armed conquest – modernize or disappear!

If some branches of the environmentalist movement aims at non-intervention in “the jungle” which is, if we are talking about specific places real (and not a
post-modern figment of discursive imagination), it is because it is a response
to the modernist movement which looks to combine the jungle and its inhabitants into the furnace of progress. Let us not forget that violence is often done in the name of “progress” and that the violence you attribute to anti-human environmentalists is in fact a reaction (whether progressive or not) to modernism and all its violence. It might well be that Nazism was one response, or reaction, but there could be a host of others, and contemporary
environmentalism, not just in its most elitist anti-human stance as you portray
it, while possibly misguided in displacing the aims of its affection from humans
to “mother earth”, still speaks to a malaise in modernity found among people who are uncomfortable with ideas of progress and capitalism and the resulting
inequality among citizens of different states and within states.

You and Ray might not see it from your hi-tech perches in Canada and the US
(within the capitalist heartland) where you enjoy all the products and
privileges of an integrated world market, but go to a slum on the edge of a
huge “southern city” or to the edge of a vast plantation of tropical products
fenced off from the local inhabitants where people have neither access to land
nor job prospects and ask yourselves what the real cost of cheap desserts is.
This is not an argument in favour of “gaia” but an argument in favour of
fairness, equity and regard for fellow humans. If revealing the noxious roots
of the environmental movement furthers the cause of equity and justice among
human communities then you are, in my view, on the right track, however, if by
blaming environmentalists for the problems of modernity you miss the point that modernity (capitalist expansion, the nation state, forced urbanization,
centralization of control of production in geographic capitalist, uneven
industrialisation) are actually the forces that rely on the intensification of
inequality amongst nations and between human communities, then the source of tyranny and injustice in the contemporary world order can hardly be the
environmentalists.

E.A Blair

You have brought up a lot of good points, but I will have to prepare a longer response.

“furnace of progress” yes progress that has brought individual rights, longer life spans, education, mobility, light, power, medicine, food, the end of hunger, the list is endless.

This is of course what the poorest among us want – a chance to improve their lives.

Remember – you are not seeing capitalism in action – you are seeing vested interests promoting specific agendas that will help them to personally enrich themselves.

You see a disregard for individual rights, and corrupt officials who do not enforce laws, if indeed there are any. Personnaly I think every man woman and child in Africa should be given a gun and 1000 rounds if ammunition, and classes on how to shoot!

Environmentalists also want people in third world countries to stay poor. They are fine with global inequality, they don’t want to have the people of the third world improve their lives, they would be happy to see them die at 35, and watch their children die before the age of 5.

Nature exists for us to use to improve our lot. As with all animals.

The problem is, do you improve peoples lives by empowering them through enforcing their individual rights, or do you do it by trampling of the individual for the sake of the “collective”, guided by an elite class who thinks they know how to run your life, for your own good.

E.A. Blair

Hey man.

One other thing – we need to define our terms of debate.

If by capitalism, you mean large corporations acting on behalf of corrupt governments to enrich a monnied elite, and a trampling of individual rights, then I will have to disagree with you. I would call that corporatism.

I think of capitalism in the classic sense – Adam Smith.

If you wish to call that something else, then let me know what that is.

And in terms of progress, the cats out of the bag. The third world wants a better life. Trade and economic development is natural to the human condition, and it is the way we improve our lives.

What you are talking about is a lack of respect for individuals.

Environmentalists also have a lack of respect for individuals – individual humans that is. They want us to be subjected to the collective of the “ecosphere” or whatever you want to call it.

Are we equal to a tree? Or a bug? Our human lives more important? I say yes. Animals and plants do not occupy the same plane of existence that we do. But that is another conversation.

That is exactly what Ray is talking about. You should read more of his blog.

Well talk more about this in the future

Doctor Martin

I agree on the importance of inalienable individual human rights (not applied to
corporate entities but to actual persons). I also agree that the progress of
modernity, longer lifespans, education, better access to food, housing,
consumer durables and leisure time is not only due to the inherent goodness of
capitalism but because people have fought and struggled for those things
within, with, and sometimes against the “free market”.

Giving every man woman and child a gun and 1000 rounds of ammo is an invitation to anarchy in every sense of the term and I guarantee you would not like to live in such a place (and you would not live long). Go to the poorest
neighbourhoods in Bogota and find out.

E.A. Blair

I hear you about the guns – but again only the state and the gangs have the ability to project force.

How do the innocent herd that is slaughtered daily protect themselves! Rwanda wouldn’t have happened had every village had it’s own armed militia.

There already is anarchy in Africa.

That is why the state wants the exclusive rights to the use of force, so they can do whatever they like.

Every able bodied Swiss citizen is required to own a gun and be proficient with it.

They have never been invaded.

We need to work on what is our definition if a free market.

And I agree that people have had to fight for their rights. And how did they do it? With access to weapons, so they could defend themselves and their rights.

A country such as Columbia is a failed state.

The government shows no intention of protecting it’s citizens. Citizens need to be able to protect themselves.

Mexico, which is about to become a completely failed state, outlaws the private ownership of firearms. And look how well that works out there. These aren’t capitalist states, they are kleptocracies.

Ok I’ll meet you halfway.

In Africa give every woman a gun.

And armed populace is the best defense against tyranny, of any kind.

Doctor Martin

I suppose it is true that the guns themselves are not the problem but the
intentions behind those who use them and you do point to some reasonable
examples of civilian self-organization and self-defense against tyranny.

And there it stands.

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