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Fred Siegel
Progressives Against Progress « Back to Story
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Hey,

What happened to your follow up article?

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Check out my Health article on Healthcare
( http://community.emc.com/people/johnlibberman )
Hello Mr. Expert,

When are going to write up a follow up article on this post... is it going to be anytime soon? :)


_______
"We run an Auto Parts directory about Nissan Parts" ...
( http://www.247-Parts.com )
Very comprehensive. Author entirely missed the CFC / Ozone scare and the DDT scare though.
I think it's progressives natural evolution. Progressives, being a white washed word for Liberals, where at the cutting edge of humanities progress since the enlightenment. As science's influence grew, the idea that progress was always good became ingrained. But what the liberals of the enlightenment where really doing was pulling ideas that made sense from any sector of society, ie, not just the church and state. Therefore the freedom to analize any idea as good or bad doesn't necessarily mean they are anit-progressive any more than a woman who decides to stay home with her children isn't a femenist. The glow of science has faded, and anything humans can force on nature thru science isn't always in our best interests as used to be the case. So no irony if you are willing to allow a little grey in to the argument, a quintesential progressive/liberal trait.
Dear Mr. Siegel,
I'd like your permission to translate this article in Italian, and post it on a blog,(which actually does not exist yet). Thank you very much,
best,
Leonard Pavese
While Fred Siegel gives a lucid account of the nuclear winter controversy, he doesn't seem to realize how profoundly its rhetoric of motives prefigured the present Climate Wars. Like all too many erstwhile conservatives, he seems reluctant to take K-Street publicists to task for deliberately distorting popular visions of climate science.

As someone in the scientific trenches, I can testify that he has been sold a bill of goods on the real hockey stick controversy - as opposed to the one political operatives have manufactured. Over a decade ago, Mann et al tried to minimize the 'medieval warm period' in a paper appearing in Nature. Their statistical wheeze was soon noticed and the editors very properly forced them to publish a corrigendum.

This episode had nothing to do with modern climate change, As a matter of plain vanilla physics, the stick's sharp blade reflects the continuing rise in temperatures attending accelerated fossil fuel use.

Efforts to wallpaper over this mere instrumental fact have reached slapstick levels, but the sad fact is that Sagan and Ehrlich have been displaced as the doyens of disinformation by poor souls with mortgages to pay.

The antics of Fred Singer and Marc Morano bear witness that, having know sin at Hiroshima , science was bound to run into advertising sooner or later.

The devolution of "Nuclear Winter News" into factoid dispensaries like like "Climate Depot" reflects the division of my republican brethren into two factions- one religiously indifferent to science while actively welcoming creationists and other cranks, and another waging a virtual War on Republican Scientists who won't kowtow to the oil patch agenda. Sagan must be laughing in his grave.
Most of the folks I know that care about the health of the world and hope to preserve and foster a vibrant environment are not elite or privileged. They are middle class, like to be outdoors, and enjoy the beauty of the world. They enjoy fishing and hunting, hiking and camping.

Regarding climate change, mentioned in the article and a few of the comments, though the media plays up the extreme ends of the issue, mainstream business is concerned about the changing climate. Working with business, I haven't met an executive that thinks the climate is cooling. They are paying attention to warming trends, and how it will impact business directly, and indirectly, as it impacts the consumer. Moving beyond the rhetoric of left and right, business is building a base in the pragmatic middle.

When Walmart CEO Lee Scott first articulated a sustainable vision for Walmart in 2005 he said “We must operate in a world that is healthy.“ A healthy world = healthy consumer = healthy business. For an example of how the biggest business in the world is partnering with one of the greenest, see:
http://8020vision.com/2010/07/01/walmart-partnering-with-patagonia-on-sustainable-business-practices/

A diverse bunch of CEOs from Lockheed, GE, Cummins, Bank of America, Kleiner Perkins, Xerox and Microsoft layout their concerns on climate change, and a need for rapid transition to renewable energy, and their plan on how to get there at:
http://8020vision.com/2010/09/10/top-business-leaders-deliver-clean-energy-plan/

Also, as the world warms, insurers are trying to cover their exposure. See Lloyds view of climate and energy security at:
http://8020vision.com/2010/07/12/sustainable-energy-security-strategic-risks-and-opportunities-for-business/

And finally, for insight into the impact on agribusiness, see the Department of Agricultures excellent paper at:
http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap4-3/final-report/default.htm
http://8020vision.com/2010/09/10/top-business-leaders-deliver-clean-energy-plan/

And on the investment side, Jeremy Grantham, savvy money manager sums up his investment perspective at:
http://8020vision.com/2010/08/02/jeremy-grantham-everything-you-need-to-know-about-global-warming-in-5-minutes/
Being a college instructor in biology with an earned MS in ecology, received in 1973, I have lived through all of this and can attest to it's truthfulness.
Would it be OK if I corrected several mistakes in the article above. I will start with the statement, " As it turned out, temperatures were essentially flat, and the entire global-warming argument came under increasing scrutiny". Can I bring you up to date with some new relevent data.
Wow, I have lectured a simular thesis in class but this put a lot of red meat on the bones of anything I might have said. Thanks for bringing something I have thougt for some time into such a insightful light.
Bravo! Mr. Siegel, you have succinctly stated the ironic narrative which so describes one of the most puerile dilemmas of the current real-life "working class" in America.

For so many years, I have prickled with barely contained rage at the incessant whining of the privileged, sublimely ignorant and blissfully unaware environmentalists who comprise so much of our current "progressive" and politically active elites and upper middle classes. Their every gesture, campaigning for an end to all practical economic development while feigning unalloyed solidarity with their favored flora and fauna, the poor and so-called minorities - even minorities which, added up together, outnumber any conceivable kind of "majority" - marks them as rapacious protectors of their own exalted status and so like European Royalists and aristocrats of the nineteenth century as to deserve unwavering ridicule and condemnation.

Jetting from one posh destination after another, in yachts and private planes, to attend one conference of doom and apocalypse after another, in a style reminiscent of the British Raj, with iPads in place of elephant guns, they stand in their tailored suits and polo-inspired leisure outfits, lecturing us outliers as to our profligate and ultimately disastrous use of precious natural resources. It is so very hard to take, much less take seriously.

To end this diatribe, let me say one more thing, something which perfectly synchronizes the faux royalists with the real McCoy, in perfect doomsaying self-interested hypocrisy: Prince Charles.
Good grief the Liberals and the Conservative are talking past each other again. As a Pennsylvania resident and retired energy company employee, I like the clean water and the rural ambiance we paid for when we bought the house.

Progress is good, but let us define progress. Strip Malls? Half built developments that can't be sold? Gas drilling that dumps calcium chloride in our exceptional value streams? We have no severance tax and we are still cleaning up from the coal industry.

Progress would include not spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on a war based on lies. Progress would have someone help me lookout for my IRA against the thieves of Wall Street. Progress would include the FDA to lookout for those drugs being imported from China, India and Canada (they are being manufactured there now but we don't get the price break.) Progress would let me have the same tax breaks for my IRA dividends that Sanford I Wield and Lee Raymond gets. Progress would be our getting competition in my ISP and telephone service.
So Deese you have "resigned"...again from our little conversation.

Much as I hate to admit even though we are approx 160 degrees apart I enjoyed our minor clashing of swords, as you are a very articulate opponent and not prone to throwing around the same old mindless epithets beloved by many Libs and Cons. My use of Libtard is reserved only for the types just described so I will call you a "Progressive".

My last post was to try to get your goat to see the reaction and I was mildly surprised and pleased by it's moderation.

One thing though....I qualified the Enviro types in my crosshairs with the adjective "modern".

I attended a primary school in Seattle named "John Muir" and as you can surmise I grew up studying the early conservation movements. That is why I refer to the older founders as "Conservationists" as a term of respect.

What I grew to dislike (with a growing intensity)are the inheritors who I refer to as "Enviros" as a perjorative. Using false science as Stalking Horses, and friendly, ignorant Federal Judges (think Dwyer who locked down the Fed Forests in 1992 using the "Science" of declaring the Spotted Owl an Endangered Specie) the radicals had many early successes.

But when they tried to take over the world with their Utopian visions in one roll of the "Scientific" dice, they overreached and set their movement back 30 years.

And yes they tried to use the same strategy that had served them so well since Rachel Carson's (who I consider the founder of the "Modern Enviro" movement) "Silent Spring". The fallout from this book alone has doomed millions to death by Malaria and other diseases. But those victims live in Africa and other far away places so they just tune them out.
JLK
George Carlin also provided a critique on the subject.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjmtSkl53h4
Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger provided a similar critique in their book Break Through. In contrast to Dr. Siegel, however, they also provide suggestions on how the trend could be reversed.

See: http://thebreakthrough.org/breakthroughbook.shtml for more info.
While I agree overall, Mr. Siegel gets one thing irretrievably wrong, and he gets it wrong from the same whiggish-gentry perspective he projects (probably rightly) onto many professional environmentalists.

There HAS been environmental apocalypse in many communities and regions of the US and the world. I grew up in a former industrial town, still a refinery town, whose natural world and systems were obliterated by 19th and 20th century industrial technology.

In the decades I have been an environmental activist, it was never to "make hair shirts for others to wear." It was out of the direct, lived knowledge of the hell that industrialization and globalization made for my family, my neighbors, and my city. Where I am against progress, it is because its benefits are concentrated upwards while its depredations are broadly scattered. To deny this is to partake similarly in this elitism, so drunk on globalization.

This is the same trend as the financialization that over the past 30 years has resulted in the ultra rich getting richer while middle and working class Americans have had nothing but plastic simulacra of wealth, bought with debt.
Gotta call it quits now. It's been fun, sort of. My favorite post here was from Dennis Tuchler, though Boyer's post about needing a nap was also dead-on.

One last quote on progress, from a progressive:

"Optimism is a good characteristic, but if carried to an excess, it becomes foolishness. We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so."

Theodore Roosevelt
Seventh Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1907


It's nice to be missed.

To your question:

"Now you Libs tell me...do these quotes reflect the true feelings of your party as a whole? Or are they just a few individuals venting?"

Here's my answer:

People from both major political parties in the U.S. (and in other countries we can be sure) often say silly, regrettable, or even hateful things. When a person says a silly, regrettable, or hateful thing this is not the only piece of evidence by which to judge his or her character or his or her party affiliation. Words matter, but actions matter much more.

RE: Republicans and Democrats, I would say that neither "party as a whole" has a set of "true feelings" that can be revealed by a quote or anything else. Instead, they have policies that can be discerned from their party platforms, legislation, and record of executive action (when the party in question holds the Presidency). For example, I estimate that the record of the second Bush administration (2001-2009) offers more solid evidence RE: the likely policies of the next Republican president than any gaffes or off the cuff remarks one might hear these days from the House or Senate.

Any political party is a collection of individuals and a coalition of groups with dovetailing economic and social agendas. It is not a single sentient being w/ thoughts and feelings, true or otherwise.

To return to the history of environmentalism, it's worth remembering that the EPA was established by Nixon and that Russell Train, who headed the EPA under Nixon and Ford, was a Republican who had a long career with the World Wildlife Fund. If you go back further in time, Teddy Roosevelt---our first conservationist president---and Gifford Pinchot---who established the US Forest Service---were both Republicans.
I'll leave to you to decide whether these individuals were "Luddites".
Consider the source (the Manhattan Inst is a creation of the Koch bros):

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Koch_Industries

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/04/02/18643626.php

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer






Deese:
I forgot to mention one other Lib strategy. When you are losing the argument glaze the eyes over and stop listening.

Noticed how Deese and some othe Lib, after umpteen entries, all of a sudden "need a nap". If you are so sleepy why tell us?

Your transparent and childish bit of dismissal is there to show us how above-it-all you are.

If that is the case why don't you turn into Rip Van Winkle and when you awake head back to your cubicle and leave the conversation to the wordy semi-retireds like Vangelis and me.
JLK
To learn more about Gaylord Nelson and the history of Earth Day, check out this website:

http://nelsonearthday.net
"DS Reese,"

You say, "Many thanks to Garrett Grainger for pointing out some fundamental principles of common decency that seem to have been forgotten on this thread."

Falsely claiming that people are out to kill you such that you paint them as an extremist is a "fundamental principle of common decency?"

"Garret Granger," You say, "@Vangelis- WOW.. you really are an ideologue."

Thank you.

You go on to say, "Throughout your postings, you have managed to dehumanize a large proportion of the US..."

"Large proportion" by what measure? If you're referring to those pulling the strings of the Regressive movement, I don't believe they constitute a "large proportion of the US."

(They also don't qualify as human, so it's a difficult thing to "dehumanize" them)

You go on to say, "...and pervert classical liberalism into a religion."

I'm well aware of the difference between how Liberalism is defined, classically, as opposed to the way the term is used in modern-day American political jargon.

If we're referring the cult of global warming (more accurately, the cult of looming manmade environmental catastrophe), the sacraments of race-hustling, race-baiting, falsely called "feminisim" and abortion, the dumbing down of political discourse (and indeed the dumbing down of people in general), modern-day American "liberalism" IS, in the minds of so many of its adherents, a religion.

You say, "Not only are your rants completely ridiculous, they overlook the facts. For example, "NOWHERE ON EARTH have Communism, Socialism, Marxism, or any of their associated Big Bully Government cousins created wealth, social harmony, justice or happiness." This is ludicrous. Simply look to Canada and Western Europe for contradictions to this statement."

You're offering up Canada and degenerate Europe as models of the virtues of the Big Bully-isms?

Such a ludicrous suggestion is laughable on its face. Degenerate Europe's flirtation with both socialism and fascism - to say nothing of the failure of other Regressive sacraments such as moral relativism and appeasement of dictators - are directly responsible for, by some accounts, as many as eighty-million deaths in WWII and the near fifty year waste of lives, time and energy called the cold war. (This disregards the Regressive roots of WWI, which also led to WWI, but we won't talk about how your ideology is responsible for almost an entire century's waste which we're still dealing with the effects of TODAY).

You say, "If conservatives like yourself are going to paint liberals as "Regressives," then you ought to avoid condemning theorists (such as Marx) for pointing out the contradictions/shortcomings of Adam Smith."

The shortcomings of Capitalism and the few things Marx may have been right about make up only a small portion of the criticisms there are to be made against your ideology.

At no point did I argue that Capitalism (or the American Republican system which is an outgrowth of the economic freedom generated by Capitalism) were "perfect."

What I have argued, and which is a FACT, is that the freedom offered by Capitalism - as practiced within the framework of the American Republican political system - has offered us something unprecedented in the history of the world. In no nation in the history of this planet (as far as we know) have any people been the beneficiaries of the protection of their inalienable HUMAN rights, upward mobility, economic opportunity and freedom.

Do show me a society where the ruling ideology is one of the Big Bully-isms where people have such wonderful prospects.

You say, "In other words, stop HATING people who question 'orthodoxy.'"

Orthodoxy is your word.

Again, I would ask, by what measure?

Stop "hating?"

I'll stop hating the destructive Regressive ideology when Regressives like you stop hating the concept of American Exceptionalism. I'll stop hating the destructive Regressive ideology when Regressives like you stop hating the political/economic system that has resulted in the most free and upwardly mobile society in the known history of humanity (and, conversely, bowing before the pedestals of the most despicable historical tyrants and their modern-day wannabes).

You say, "Moreover, ideologues, such as yourself, who advocate the murder of dissidents..."

I did not advocate, nor in any way suggest, that people be murdered. Such a claim is ludicrous. But it speaks to your Regressive paranoia - and the overall darkness of your thinking wherein you actually believe anyone who equates your sick ideology with a cancer is actually out to kill you.

"...ought to rethink their understanding/commitment of/to American values (i.e. free speech, free thought, , negative liberty, and the like)."

Who, aside from Regressives, are arguing against free speech and free thought?

I'm not arguing against the right of you or your fellow Regressives to believe in your sick ideology. If you believe, as you purport to, in said values, then respect my freedom of thought and my freedom of speech to say that I think your ideology is a cancer that needs to be eradicated.

Notice, I said, your ideology - not you as a person.

Curb your paranoia.

You say, "I think individuals, such as yourself, do our "founding fathers" a disservice in that you turn their theoretical perspectives into dogma."

Dogma is your word.

Variations of the word "theory" keep coming up in your condemnation of me for exercising my freedom of thought and speech.

If the ideas of Smith, Marx and the Founders are, in your mind, no more than theories, I would suggest you re-examine the results of these various theories and see what the result of these "theories" has been in the free world as opposed to the world as it exists under the bootheels of the Big Bully-isms.

They imagined what they were doing was "progressive" too.

You say, "Any philosopher would be sickened by your position b/c it stops the ongoing dialectic (PROGRESSION/ADVANCEMENT OF HUMAN THOUGHT!)..."

Your interpretation of my position - an extreme one which takes that I think you should be killed for not agreeing with me, which I DON'T believe - perhaps, but not my actual position.

You call it "progression of human thought" to further perpetuate systems of governance and economies that have failed the world over to advance our inalienable HUMAN rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And not just failed, failed MISERABLY?

There is nothing "progressive" about such thinking.

"...by turning one's position into the 'Truth.'"

I hate to invoke pop-culture, but I think you should go watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. There is a world of difference between FACT and subjective "truth."

You conclude, "In fact, a true philosopher is humbled by their own ignorance and open to the other's criticism to become more enlightened."

I'm missing where I argued against your right to criticize me or anyone else.

In fact, your response to me has been very enlightening. I'm fascinated at the capacity of people who espouse your beliefs to believe those who disagree are out to literally kill them - even though I said nothing that would indicate that.

You say, "Your arrogance makes it impossible to examine your own shortcomings and thereby progress beyond your own limitations."

Translation: You can't actually furnish a reasoned rebuttal, so you'll launch a "dehumanizing," cowardly, illogical ad hominem attack against me.

That says to me that you're afraid. You know the failings of your own ideology. Rather than own up to them and respond from a position that takes me to task for something I've supposedly said "wrong" about Regressiveism, you'll simply attack the man in hopes that you can paint me in a negative light. In doing so you reveal a huge failing of your ideology - you think people are idiots. I mentioned the way your ideology seeks to dumb down political discourse earlier; that's all you're doing with this ridiculous suggestion that I want to kill you. Paint me as an extremist who wants to kill people, hoping that people you look down on as ignorant won't seek to make a reasoned defense of their beliefs (or, GASP, debate me on some supposed "wrong" thing I've said).

You say, "By promoting a stance such as this, you turn classical liberalism into a religion..."

Why do you speak of "classical" liberalism?

I'm speaking of your perversion of classical liberalism.

AGAIN, "religion" is your word. I haven't made your psychosis out to be a religion, though it's pretty clear that you have huge issues if you believe people who disagree with your ideology literally want to kill you.

"...that will prevent us from adequately dealing w/ the shortcomings of capitalism and the liberal state. Way to go!"

I've just pointed out - as I did last week - plenty of shortcomings of your Regressive ideology.

From your response, it's clear that you don't want to discuss those shortcomings. If you had, you'd have actually attempted to launch a defense of your beliefs rather than offering up nothing but straw men and a despicable ad hominem.

As you say, WAY TO GO!
"pyeatte," You say, "Vangelis, ye protest too much - must have hit a raw nerve... too bad you are grossly mistaken in your windy analysis."

That's it?

I'm grossly mistaken?

I would say that's an interesting analysis, but as you don't actually offer an analysis, a factual rebuttal or even a single issue for discussion, I just have to say that your comment reeks of ignorance.

BUT, you're more than welcome to point out exactly what bit of my commentary was "grossly mistaken."
You are talking about differences in assigning interest rates to the likelihood of harm resulting from gains in living standards. The same complaints may be made of so-called progressives and of conservatives. Once you make those interest rates a matter of politics, they always get exaggerated. Sadly, there are interests, economic (usually discounting harms too high) and ideological (split between libertarians who overdiscount in the name of liberty, and progressives who underdiscount in the name of virtue and survival).
Love the comment about needing a nap. Me too!
I would like a nap.
Deese
Did not answer my question. I now know why since you are one of our beloved Bureacrats.

Believe it or not I believe many 'Crats do a great job. The problem is that they live in the middle of a forest where they can only see a few dozen trees. Consequently they a blinded to the size of the forest.

If you don't understand the metaphor....even a country like ours has limited resources. We cannot build a bureaucracy for EVERY problem we see. Therefore choices have to be made. But when you are sitting in the middle you tend to believe your part of the forest is of overweening importance so you cannot understand why the govt does not give you more money for the good work you do.
People from my POV, the privatre sector, look at the forest. We see trillions being spent on a massive bureaucracy and don't see individual workings. So we expect our EMPLOYEES (the bureaucrats and politicians) to make good choices as to where our resources go. When we see bad choices being made over and over again we tend to react with "throw the bums out".
Unfortunately nowadays 95% of DC politicos fall under that category so it will be an interesting election.
I myself left the Dems and became a Reagan Republican then an Independent after the Hastert Congress.

The heart of the problem: Libs have a tendency toward Utopianism. That means they can reamke the world into what THEY want it to be ignoring the fact that their ideas are in conflict with the way the world IS.

As a result (back to the article) they go after the "big ideas" that will save the world with the waving of a magic wand.

Unfortunately that means throwing limited resources in the wrong direction like fighting AGW. Of the trillions spent (that would include all kinds of hidden lost opportunity costs and sleezy Cap & Trade markets here and in Europe) we could have spent our dollars cleaning up water, REAL air pollution, battling disease in Africa etc. All beloved Lib causes but are not being addressed because of the massive roadblock created by the "BIG IDEA"

JLK

PS Libtard is an expression I use sparingly for thiose that deserve it.
"Libtards"? Kind of feeling out of my depth here.

Anyhow, you asked for a more recent example of flat-earther anti-environmentalism than James G. Watt. How about Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. Unlike those "hippies and bureaucrats" that inhabit Fred Siegel's vision of environmentalism, Blankenship is real American (look at his shirt), a climate change denialist, and self-professed friend to the working man. Too bad so many people die in his mines.

We also endure a Mine Safety and Health Administration that seeks power over coal miners versus improving their safety and their health. As someone who has overseen the mining of more coal than anyone else in the history of central Appalachia, I know that the safety and health of coal miners is my most important job. I don’t need Washington politicians to tell me that, and neither do you. But I also know — I also know Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miner safety. The very idea that they care more about coal miner safety than we do is as silly as global warming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geAsdtZkJpg

I love guys like Deese that use one quote from a distant past to show how all conservatives wish to rape the landscape while pillaging the poor. (or is it vice versa?)

Why don't we try a few others:

"He is clean, dresses well and speaks English like a white person"
Joe Biden referring to his future boss.

Or how about "I'd like to cut his balls off"
Jesse Jackson mistakenly speaking to an open mike and referring to Obama

Or my personal favorite

"We have lost the war in Iraq"
Harry Reid speaking to an empty Senate floor several weeks before the "Surge" showed success in Iraq.

It is breathtaking to hear even a Libtard like Reid who holds a very high office declaring American defeat on the Senate floor for purely political purposes.

Now you Libs tell me...do these quotes reflect the true feelings of your party as a whole? Or are they just a few individuals venting?

BTW If anyone does not believe the Surge was a success why did Obama mimic the same strategy (after months of hand wringing) in Afghanistan. And why is the murder rate in Baghdad lower than Detroit?
JLK

PS And I wish you would stop using the risible euphemism "Progressive" when your actual political philosophy has a stronger similarity to Luddism (think Environmentalism as an example)than Progressivism; in the dictionary's definition of the word anyway.
The source for the Rene Dubos quote that Siegel uses in this piece is Reason Awake (Columbia, 1970). Contrary to Siegel's argument, the position Dubos takes in here is not opposed to science at all. Instead, Dubos is describing a popular sentiment before offering his own critique:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ewkYUQp_KvkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=rene+dubos+reason+awake&source=bl&ots=8JBs0-msDi&sig=6cUUq4JXvVkqbWWMIL5Lk7Hu_cI&hl=en&ei=G7h5TOm6JIGB8gbpr4W-Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=most%20would%20agree&f=false
Here are a few sourced quotes from Reagan's Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt. I challenge anyone here to find sourced quotations from a major environmentalist that exhibit the same level of contempt for science, democracy, and the rule of law:

"My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns."

The Washington Post, May 24, 1981

"That is the delicate balance the Secretary of the Interior must have: to be steward for the natural resources for this generation as well as future generations. I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."

Testimony before the House Interior Committee, February 1981

"If the troubles from environmentalists cannot be solved in the jury box or at the ballot box, perhaps the cartridge box should be used."

The Earth's Storm Troopers Phoenix New Times August 7, 1991
This is a great article. It explains exactly how we got from point a to the mess we're in. But more importantly it is about control and freedom. We lose. We become serfs to the political class
An atheist? Well, that clears everything up.

Deese, this article is simply a statement of historical fact.

Drop the Christian fundamentalist bogeyman - I am atheist; you are hiding behind a straw man and your pants are on fire.
This says it all. I have been apart of this development; I have also seen it. Congrats to Mr. Siegel for putting it all into a comprehense, yet succinct, narative.
Great article. Not meant cover every issue in the human experience as some respondents complain about but great just the same.

Deese and Grainger should only have to read Mulp's silly rehash of the same arguments that they claim are not part of their Liberal philosophy.
Liberals remind me of the (in many ways true) current European version of the "Ugly American". That would be the guy that screams into his mobile phone while in an airport, hotel lobby or other public place because the person on the other end doesn't speak super-fluent English and the obvious answer to the language barrier is to talk louder. This version of the average American usually includes a red face, obesity, goatee etc.

For the more obtuse, my similitude, borne of personal experience, would be that if they (pick any Liberal) are losing an argument, change the language a bit and scream loudly that they are right and you as a knuckle-dragging neo con are wrong.

I also find that it has become de regeur among "polite circles" to turn up your collective enlightened Liberal noses at any guest at a dinner party who has the temerity to defend a conservative viewpoint. Never mind that the same guest is forced to listen to the tiresome "echo chamber" Lib talking points (all Bush's fault, Republicans are morons etc.) for hours on end.

Well guess what my Lib friends. You are now in full retreat even if you don't know it. And the non-strategies that you have used successfully through 2008 no longer wash. The naked Emperor is finally revealed and the wizard's curtain is pulled. Good luck in Nov 2010.
JLK
The chief reason this thread is so devoid of real debate is the article itself is so tendentious. Ad hominem attacks are bad enough in any debate, but en masse ad hominem attacks against "them" (in this case environmentalists and progressives) poison the well. Siegel starts with an obvious fact---that many environmentalists of the 1970s attacked the idea of economic and social progress the the New Deal generation had celebrated---and builds it into a broader historical claim about American environmentalism since 1970 that makes very little sense.

His most dubious claim is that environmentalists turned against science in the 1970s. While some on the cultural left turned against science to embrace an epistemic relativism that would late would later metastasize into the fashionable postmodernism of the 80s and 90s, the far larger turn against science took place on the right---in the explosion of religious fundamentalism. For their part, the vast majority of environmentalists still grounded their public policy arguments in science and still embraced a vision of technological progress. Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, for instance, spent the 70s and 80s advocating alternative energy research & continued space exploration, promoting civilian use of the Internet, and helping to draw up an alternative energy policy for California that Republican Governor Schwarzenegger is still working to expand today. Contrast Brand to Reagan's Sec. of the Interior James Watt, who argued that protecting the environment might not be necessary in light of the impending return of Christ, and please tell me which figure was more scientifically informed and forward looking in his outlook?




Superb, insightful article displaying the kind of calm objectivity sadly lacking in so much of today's eco-dialogue. Thanks.
Original sin will manifest itself! Zeke
For over 25 years I was a member of a Garden Club, part of a nationwide organization that was very selective in its membership, choosing only the wealthiest and most exclusive groups to represent it. Conservation advocacy became a large part of our activities, beyond flower arranging and vegetable gardening and tea parties (the old fashioned kind!). Lobbying Congress on behalf of conservation legislation (ie regulations for the rest of us) was accomplished every year.

Reading this article made me realize that feminism is also part of this movement, that the grande dames with enormous trust funds that run the garden club organization are very powerful and see the world a certain way, disdainful of the little people, especially the middle class, whom they seek to edify with lectures on how precious nature is etc. The dead giveaway is to look at their beautifully printed monthly newsletters which 7 months out of 12 features a colorful group of inner city children frolicking in some "urban garden" sponsored by said garden club. This has been going on for some time and not a lot of "progress" has been made to really improve the situation, although I am certain it makes some people feel good.
I'm gonna save this article. It articulates my secular worldview to a T. Thank you, Fred Siegel.
Many thanks to Garrett Grainger for pointing out some fundamental principles of common decency that seem to have been forgotten on this thread.

Good read. Political history is always interesting by showing the changes and the not-so-changes. I call progressives 'intellectual aristocracy' or sometimes 'acedemic aristocracy' because of how infectous they are in the education system.

GREAT READ HERE by William Voegeli http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/243543/why-liberalism-dangerous-william-voegeli
dislike.. terrible article.. full of erroneous attacks, misinformation, and fallacies..
It's funny! Each generation of liberals thinks they thought of it first!
@Vangelis- WOW.. you really are an ideologue. Throughout your postings, you have managed to dehumanize a large proportion of the US and pervert classical liberalism into a religion. Not only are your rants completely ridiculous, they overlook the facts. For example, "NOWHERE ON EARTH have Communism, Socialism, Marxism, or any of their associated Big Bully Government cousins created wealth, social harmony, justice or happiness." This is ludicrous. Simply look to Canada and Western Europe for contradictions to this statement. If conservatives like yourself are going to paint liberals as "Regressives," then you ought to avoid condemning theorists (such as Marx) for pointing out the contradictions/shortcomings of Adam Smith. In other words, stop HATING people who question "orthodoxy." Moreover, ideologues, such as yourself, who advocate the murder of dissidents ought to rethink their understanding/commitment of/to American values (i.e. free speech, free thought, , negative liberty, and the like). I think individuals, such as yourself, do our "founding fathers" a disservice in that you turn their theoretical perspectives into dogma. Any philosopher would be sickened by your position b/c it stops the ongoing dialectic (PROGRESSION/ADVANCEMENT OF HUMAN THOUGHT!) by turning one's position into the "Truth." In fact, a true philosopher is humbled by their own ignorance and open to the other's criticism to become more enlightened. Your arrogance makes it impossible to examine your own shortcomings and thereby progress beyond your own limitations. By promoting a stance such as this, you turn classical liberalism into a religion that will prevent us from adequately dealing w/ the shortcomings of capitalism and the liberal state. Way to go!
Unfortunately, people such as Mr. Siegel hope to convolute important issues to make any theory seem possible. Sadly, wikipedia offers a more balanced perspective on the "Climategate scandal." You can find that link here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy)

Lastly, why is it that conservatives ONLY have a problem when academia hosts liberal activists? Their support of individuals such as Fred indicates that activism is not the issue, but personal bias.
Very insightful article. I've noticed that all three waves you discuss (four if you count the global cooling scare of the 70's) place virtually all the blame for environmental destruction on capitalism. That's funny since the worst environmental records are found in communist countries. I believe all of these episodes have been canards used by Marxists to dupe average people or "useful idiots" into accepting their communist presccriptions for the world economy. They couldn't convince large majorities, especially in the capitalist west, if they were above board about their intentions so they've resorted to scaring people and presenting the cure for the problem as global redistribution of wealth under the guise of curing our imminent environmental destruction. The end of the world environmental scenarios have worked pretty well for Marxists. I still find it hard to believe that so many educated people are duped time and again by these slight variations on the same theme. The young can be excused for their ignorance of the prior schemes but what about those who've lived through every scare tactic and forgotten them.
First of all, it should be noted that 'Climategate' never happened. Three separate independent reviews determined that there was no such collusion or falsification of data. There was also no evidence found that the projections made by the green sciences community were inaccurate or not based on credible evidence. In point of fact, Climategate is one of the many conservative witch hunts - where no real witches were found - we can thank Fox News for.

Aside from that; I know many progressives for whom global warming isn't remotely their primary concern right now, though I'm sure some scientists wish it were otherwise. The primary progressive agenda right now involves education reform, judicial reform, job creation, civil liberties, financial accountability in the banking/financial industry and a budget which removes corporate welfare (i.e. the Bush Tax Cuts) and furthers necessary social programs. And the people most affected by many of those programs; the disintegrating middle class and the flat-out poor. In fact, of the many progressives I talk to regularly, most of them are part of the former middle class; those left behind well before the bubble even burst.

Global warming wasn't even the primary topic of progressives 10 years ago, let alone today. This article paints a picture of one little piece of the progressive movement, misapplying the real shift of its primary goal; progress that furthers equal opportunities for all people. That is the primary agenda for the progressive movement, and has been for some time. Where as the conservative movement seems to be about equal opportunities for some. They treat the poor and middle class as dead beats who blew their allowance and are now asking for an advance, in the form of unemployment benefits and food stamps, but of which they've funded their entire lives and probably never used before.

And touting Al Gore as the head of the progressive movement is also disingenuous. Particularly when they like to blame those of us who voted Green Party (a far more progressive party) with his presidential loss. Gore was/is an environmental lobby leader. He was no more a progressive leader than Clinton was, unless you imagine the words democrat and progressive are interchangeable. They aren't.

Progressive leaders are individuals like Al Franken and Barney Frank. And the last thing they are is gentry liberals.
Absolutely amazing insights. Liberals make me ill.
Steven E. Michael August 27, 2010 at 7:03 PM
Vangelis: I want you to be my attorney - even if you're not a lawyer.

Your entry illustrates a poignant fact about the Regressive belief system: facts are inconvenient. Straw men, red herrings, obsfucations, and misdirections are the tool kit they use for argument. Great job!
Vangelis, ye protest too much - must have hit a raw nerve... too bad you are grossly mistaken in your windy analysis.
Steven E. Michael August 27, 2010 at 6:40 PM
Liberals (read Progressives) rely on a very human weakness to convince people of their cause. It's called cognitive dissonance. For example, no one of rational mind wants to see the earth "burn up" via the canard of global warming. However, because the assumptions are skewed, and the message advertised cleverly, most people reconcile their dissonance between (1) saving the planet, and (2) what will it cost?, by deciding whatever the cost, it's worth it. It's an emotional response to a disconnect between belief or behavior, and attitude. Don't be fooled. The 70's also had the ice age scare which said the earth would cool to the point of perpetual winter. Progressives prey on us through fear and guilt - don't buy it.
Too bad all these anti-progress types couldn't just move to North Korea to experience the thrill of living raw in nature. This would also reduce the stench due to no-bathers.
I was interested to read Saul Alinsky's evaluation of the 'progressive' achievements of the past, such as the TVA and other hydroelectric projects. His dissatisfaction seemed to be behind his declaration that radicals need to promote a continuous state of revolution.

"Progress" it seems is an unsteady and wasteful guide to what most of us consider real progress, an improvement in our lives.
"And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
I wonder if Ms. Mitchell even grasps the Biblical weight of her lyrics.
Jay's first sentence is utter bullshit. Please read this arcticle in its entirety.
I hope this column is widely circulated. I was on campus in the early seventies and saw the blind faith rhat students put in the ecologists. Catastrophe has always been minutes away. And the hypocrisy of those who fly their private jets to symposiums while they tell the rest of us to peddle our bikes is still with us late and soon.
Pellucid analysis; revealing the brazen hypocrisy and unerringly hits the target of Liberal elitism.
And, a stark expose - identifying their (the Liberal elite's) arrogant "we know better attitude."

Who will rid us of these troublesome profits of doom?
To today's "progressives", "progress" means progress towards socialism, as a government controlled society. It has become a antithesis to liberty and freedom, and a cancer on American society.

Today's "progressivism" must be decisively rejected and repudiated if we are to preserve our heritage and way of life.
GREAT ARTICLE!
In response to "mulp," you say: "Pretty amazing to see the conservative position that opposes all progress by claiming that the only form of progress is drill baby drill and mountain top removal and filling in the valleys leaving behind wasteland."

I'm curious, where in the article did you see the author say that, "the only form of progress is drill baby drill,"?

Because I'm sure that didn't appear in the article.

I'm also sure that didn't appear in any comment that followed it.

I'm also sure that no "conservative" politician ANYWHERE has suggested that, "the only form of progress is drill baby drill."

So your argument is, in fact, a straw man.

You go on to say, "After all, decapitalism is the conservative's idea of progress, for to a conservative, nothing should be left once they are gone."

Do, please, offer up your reference for this comment, because I would like to be introduced to the "conservative" who believes as you think they do.

In fact, this is another Regressive straw man.

You go on to say, "And after all, the government should simply keep the oil and coal industry going by providing unlimited public land for them to destroy, because the alternative, capitalism, is totally unacceptable."

In the first, "the government" has not given the oil and coal industries "unlimited" "public" land to "destroy."

They've not "given" them "unlimited land." The land belongs to the people collectively, not to "the government" or a political party. And the land that has been explored for natural resources is, by and large, land that has already been revealed to not contain those resources. The Regressive vampires whom you are so obviously a cheerleader for have done their best to keep the productive areas from being explored - to our great detriment, with the result being a transfer of wealth to people who, by and large, don't like us and whose way of life is the most disrespectful of human rights to be found on this planet.

Also, this land has not been "destroyed."

Again, you seem to have little in your arsenal but straw men.

You go on to say, "It is totally unacceptable to invest in productive capital that produces electric power from wind and solar power."

Says who?

There is no one who believes it unacceptable to invest in either wind or solar or other "green" technologies.

What the Regressives seek is to force us to use ONLY "green" technology - which is largely unproven and still in the developmental stages and which cannot generate electricity on a sufficient scale so as to replace more traditional methods of energy generation - and regulating/legislating/litigating fossil fuel and nuclear generators out of business to all of our collective peril.

The pollution nightmare your kind predicted (and which never happened) and so desperately want to happen was a lie, as are your proclamations of doom if we don't immediately switch to "green" technology.

Your lies of manmade global warming destruction "...in 10 years..." were lies when they were first uttered in the 80s (against a backdrop of lies about destruction by "global cooling"), they continued to be lies when they were repeated 10 years later in the 90s, and they continued to be lies when recently repeated in this decade. And in 100 years, when your Regressive masters are STILL screaming that we'll all be dead "...in 10 years..." if we don't immediately end all fossil fuel use and become a "green" civilization under with the crushing boot of the UN one world government on our necks, they will STILL be lies.

You go on to ask, "It is totally unacceptable to change the way our society operates..."

If that change is forced on society from the top-down by the handful of miseducated, lying elitists such as those who are pulling the strings of the Regressive cult - or ANY group of people operating under flawed premises and supported by junk science - YES.

"...so that people are more important than corporate profit."

You reveal that you're little more than a puppet with nothing else to offer than talking points with this nonsensical statement.

Corporations are nothing more than groups of people employing other groups of people to make a product for the benefit of people. "Profit" results when people are engaged in useful activities because other people want/need a product.

"Profit" is all about "people." Profit is the natural result of people innovating and creating something other people want. If there is no profit that means that a person either didn't truly come up with something innovative or that other people didn't want it. Profit means that a person was successful in creating something, that they employed other people to create more of that thing and that many other people wanted that thing.

You can't separate people from profit.

You go on to say, "But after all, changing to a better life..."

"Better" by what measure?

Because you or your miseducated, elitist masters say so?

The American Regressive cult has, right now, more power than it has EVER had.

What is the result?

Whose life is "better" because of what's happened due to the disastrous polities of "Not Smack" and the Liberal Congress?

Is their more employment?

Is their more wealth?

Is their more happiness?

No.

There's more despair.

There's more dependency.

There's more poverty.

It's understood that you and your handlers believe that the masses below them wallowing in despair, dependency and poverty is "better."

By the common definition, there is nothing "better" about your Regressive policies than anything - other than, perhaps, death.

"...for people by smart engineering of sustainable technology..."

Again, "smart" and "sustainable" by what measure?

"Green" technology cannot, at this point, replace traditional technology for energy generation. Suggesting we should legislate/regulate/litigate traditional technology out of business and "replace" it with something that cannot "replace" it is not smart.

And, since it cannot replace it, it cannot be called "sustainable."

"...and making profits from all the new technology that will be beneficial to everyone without going to war..."

What does war have to do with it?

You make yourself out to be a fool by mashing all this moonbattery together in one rant by tying all sorts of issues together that have NOTHING to do with one another.

I understand that you're used to such paranoid fear-mongering and demonizing of "profit" by your handlers.

I suggest you find some common sense and your innate thinking ability, which has clearly been stunted by gorging yourself on Regressive nonsense.

You conclude, "To the author, progress is progressively marching across the land and pillaging and plundering it until the land is gone."

Do, please, cite where the author said this, because I'm sure that was not in what he actually wrote.

You're projecting.

That's understandable, though; Regressive policies have led to the vast majority of the wars of the past 150-200 years.

You go on to say, "The author is a defender of industries than can't adapt to progress."

Says the person who believes it is "smart" and "sustainable" to replace traditional, proven sources of energy with technology that either doesn't yet exist or that has been proven to be unreliable for large scale generation.

You rant, "If one looks at the Dow DJIA's component stocks over the past century, you see that progress has destroy all but two of the firms that were in the 30 corporations six decades ago."

If one looks at the DJIA's component stocks over the past century, you see that those people who collectively made up corporations - that attempted to innovate to the betterment of themselves and everyone else - which failed to actually produce something PEOPLE wanted fell by the wayside and were replaced by other collective groups of PEOPLE who successfully innovated to the betterment of themselves and everyone else.

Your pie in the sky "green" technology firms have, to a large degree, failed to innovate and offer up something PEOPLE want. They've also had some success. Renewable Energy is a growth industry but, still, largely in its infancy. This isn't because of an imaginary conspiracy to keep "green" technology down, but because the technology has been difficult and slow to develop and the market - again, another function of PEOPLE driving demand for something other PEOPLE want - has not called for it.

That is changing, and the technology is taking off. One day it will be a much larger component of our energy mix.

That's because PEOPLE have begun to successfully innovate, employed other PEOPLE to make their product and sell it to PEOPLE who want it - the components of profit, which you believe can somehow be separated from PEOPLE.

"And that will continue to happen; at some point, Exxon will be irrelevant to the US economy..."

You started your rant out with such fervor, only for it to degenerate into a harangue against Exxon and the larger oil industry?

And here I thought you actually had an ideological point to make.

"...because it will fail to adapt to progress..."

Do you have some crystal ball that's helping you make this prediction or is it just hateful Regressive wishful thinking?

"...and it will go bankrupt..."

Not anytime soon.

"My career was in the computer industry, and I know progress..."

Your rant, up to this point, would suggest otherwise.

"...and the author is condemning everything that I and my peers did..."

The author is condemning destructive ideologies and the needless misery they inevitably generate.

"...which was effectively total destruction of most of the way businesses operated when I was born 60 years ago."

Things tend to change over the course of multiple generations. Nowhere in the author's commentary did he condemn change in and of itself.

Innovation in the microchip field, for instance, resulted from PEOPLE innovating, employing others to help them create a product other PEOPLE wanted.

It didn't occur because Regressive Big Bully Government regulators, greedy litigants and tax cheating Congressmen looking for votes came along and pushed policies which underminded traditional industries which were eventually supplanted by the modern PC. A superior technology EVOLVED through innovation over several decades and eventually changed the world because the market demanded it.

"And I am confident, that they same thing will happen in the next 60 years."

You mean with "green" technology for energy generation?

The greenest "green" technology - nuclear energy - would be providing most of our fixed energy generation needs right now had your Regressive masters not done all they could to undermine that industry 40 years ago.

"When my dad was born nine decades ago, few people had cars, and few of them ran on petroleum, but in 50 years, the number of cars running on gasoline will be about the same number as there were 90 years ago."

Your reference?
Fabulous article - thanks.
I think you are being unfair to the 19th century Tories. After all, industrialization and urbanization in England at that time produced a nightmare of epic proportions: millions of people leaving the land for filthy and degrading work and living conditions in London and other big cities. The Tory vision of the landed squire taking excellent care of his cottagers and dependents was MUCH more compelling.
There is nothing "progressive" about the Progressive (Marxist/Socialist/Communist/Fascist/Liberal(Social) Democrat - all the terms that collectively and interchangeably make up "Big Bully Government) cult. It is not about "progress," and it never was. It is about regression. The "progressives" are truly the Regressives. They are the embodiment of elitism, arrogance and entitlement. They believe that they, and ONLY they, have any sort of intelligence, that they have an inherent right to rule over their fellow man, that if not for them - despite the fact that the world survived for thousands (or possibly many more) years without them - human civilization would disappear. In fact, THEY are the ones looking to destroy human civilization as we know it. Their mentality, truly their mental disease, is equivalent to a cancer. Cancer is a parasite; it develops within you and destroys you from the inside, typically slowly and painfully. You don't negotiate with cancer, nor do you engage in bipartisan debate with it; you ERADICATE it, because to do anything less will surely result in your destruction. The Regressives actively seek the destruction of human civilization and need to be eradicated like the cancer they are before their mental disease brings forth more suffering to humanity than it already has. One need look no further than the human despair wrought by the sickness of Regressivism in the societies where it has been allowed to flourish. NOWHERE ON EARTH have Communism, Socialism, Marxism, or any of their associated Big Bully Government cousins created wealth, social harmony, justice or happiness. In fact EVERYWHERE these things have been allowed they've resulted in starvation, poverty, misery and death. The ideologies that collectively make up Regressivism must not just be rejected, those of us who treasure our true human rights - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - and who believe in the principles of the founding of the American Republic need to fight, tooth and nail, to ensure that the superiority of our ideology is not only put on display as the light that's led the world for over two-hundred years, but that it shines so bright that the vampires that call themselves "progressives" are consumed and destroyed by it.
Progressivism is the American brand of Fascism. Other forms are national socialism (nazism), marxism, communism, stalinism, maoism, and other totalitarian ideologies.

Fascism is a form of tyranny.

Fascism conjures crises to instill fear and amalgamate dictatorial and even totalitarian power, eg. the global warming hoax (40 years ago it was global cooling).

As a side note, by a combination of regulation, intimidation (eg the current regime's demonization of health insurers, oil companies, etc.)as well as favoritism, Fascism enlists large business entities, eg General Electric, to support its drive for power. Not surprisingly, the culture of such corporations becomes compliant to the controlling political regime and its various agencies, from the WH administration to the EPA. The company , seeking to capitalize, becomes the enthusiastic propaganda wing of the regime(eg the environmental drivel from GE and BP).

This is modern liberalism at work.


what a great spot on article!!!
it is easy to see why

Progressivism = Totalitarianism

The trite saying: "The more things change, the more they stay the same", comes to mind.

The liberal/progressive political movements seem to bare out the philosophy that it's leaders have no memory and no concept of a tomorrow, just the urgency of today.

It's probably why I dated liberal women in college. They could be talked into anything and had no memories.
Brilliant writing and nails down the progressive ferver.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I lived through the 70s, hated them thoroughly, but never really understood why I had good reasons to do so. Siegel nails it.
The progressive movement has one goal but has used many arguments to execute their lunacy.

They want to collapse the economic system of the western world.
As Lincoln said in his reply to Stephen Douglas in 1858 "What are these arguments? They are the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden. That is their argument ... that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it. "
This is a very excellent article; thanks.

I have always felt that I am a "true" environmentalist. I served on the local planning commission for over 20 years... I planted over 2000 tree seedlings... and I ditched my Sierra Club membership because of its political "hackness".

We need to be good stewards of the earth - but the hyper political left gets in the way.
Great piece. Rings true.
Excellent and informative article reminding me what is at stake.
Pretty amazing to see the conservative position that opposes all progress by claiming that the only form of progress is drill baby drill and mountain top removal and filling in the valleys leaving behind wasteland.

After all, decapitalism is the conservative's idea of progress, for to a conservative, nothing should be left once they are gone.

And after all, the government should simply keep the oil and coal industry going by providing unlimited public land for them to destroy, because the alternative, capitalism, is totally unacceptable.

It is totally unacceptable to invest in productive capital that produces electric power from wind and solar power. It is totally unacceptable to change the way our society operates so that people are more important than corporate profit.

But after all, changing to a better life for people by smart engineering of sustainable technology and making profits from all the new technology that will be beneficial to everyone without going to war is, to the author, not progress, but change.

To the author, progress is progressively marching across the land and pillaging and plundering it until the land is gone.

The author is a defender of industries than can't adapt to progress. If one looks at the Dow DJIA's component stocks over the past century, you see that progress has destroy all but two of the firms that were in the 30 corporations six decades ago. And that will continue to happen; at some point, Exxon will be irrelevant to the US economy because it will fail to adapt to progress and it will go bankrupt or be taken private in an LBO because it will serve a small part of the economy.

My career was in the computer industry, and I know progress, and the author is condemning everything that I and my peers did which was effectively total destruction of most of the way businesses operated when I was born 60 years ago. And I am confident, that they same thing will happen in the next 60 years. When my dad was born nine decades ago, few people had cars, and few of them ran on petroleum, but in 50 years, the number of cars running on gasoline will be about the same number as there were 90 years ago.
A brilliantly articulated argument explaining American elites' new religion of hysterical earth worship and end-of-times fear mongering, and its consequences.

In my state -- California -- a few among the innumberable baleful consequences of this new aristocratic madness is that food that could be grown is not (insufficient water), transportation arteries are choked (no new, or sufficiently enlarged, higways), gasolene is more expensive by 20% than in the rest of the country (no new refineries), and our energy bills have gone through the roof (no new sources of power, particularly the cleanest and cheapest -- nuclear).

We are destroying our civilization, along with its ability to compete with those not similarly tortured by their misconceptions. The average educated member of our governing elites, and the mislead public, have more irrational fears today than a medieval peasant.

We can only hope that leadership will emerge with the courage and ability to begin reeducating the public. But time is short and the task daunting. Virtually the entire population under forty needs to reevaluate its environmental worldview, because it was acquired from my generation, of the sixties, the most benighted in our history.

Jared Peterson
UC Berkeley, 1966
Harvard Law School, 1970

.
It would make for a better country if the Eco-chondriacs would learn a little humility and to mind their own damn business.
The Former Mike Field August 27, 2010 at 1:40 AM
Forgot one thing. Under disparate impact (affirmative action to you) those who followed the environmentalist injunction to reproduce less found themselves bled of the benefits their lower reproductive rate was supposed to provide them. Interesting that no one points this out, ever.

In the end, all roads lead through the same nexus -- the rise of the new left and radical feminism, disparate impact and environmentalism.
Nicely written.
Having witnessed the recurrent hysterias of the greenies for a half century, I wish they'd take their cue from medieval doomsayers, and join the nearest monastic order (preferably one that requires silence).
Well done, Mr. Siegel! Your reference to the British Tory Radicals is reminiscent of the old accusation that: "Scratch the skin of a socialist and they will bleed blue. Aristocratic blue. Socialists are merely landless and title-less aristocrats desperately in need of the control of money and politics, now that money and politics have replaced land and feudalism as the source of upper class distinctions" (source unknown). Since WWII it is obvious that energy is another form of wealth and power, especially to those who are prone to aristocratic narcissisms, and so they desire to be in control energy's sources and uses. Not unlike the old "Tories" of Britain.
But. . . but. . . but the progress was the problem! You can't expect them to go back to a humdrum life, especially since in that life they would have to be good by doing ordinary quotidian good stuff like being nice to their neighbors and raising their children right and all that, which is dull and not as impressive as crusades to improve humanity.

(It's been reproduced in the lab. Give people a chance to buy "green" products and they will be more likely to lie and cheat (for money!) on an experiment.)
Ya, well you can make all your nice historical comparisons all you like. But never in the history of mankind have we faced our extermination from the world ... not just one place in the world.

It's amazing to me how you can be so adept at historical arguments and comparisons some of which I personally find very interesting, yet not express any alarm at the hole we have dug for ourselves.

We have based our modern economy on the availability of cheap fossil fuels. The economy needs this cheap energy so much to carry on that we emit 30,000,000,000 tones of externalities (CO2) a year in order to keep it running. This is 100 times as much as emitted by all the volcanoes in the world in a year (source USGS).

So what, you may ask.

From our investigations as to how the world works in the past. And specifically trying to answer the questions around accounting for why the earth just has not frozen over or burned up, we have found that CO2 is the controller for the earth's temperature.

And more specifically, when the earth was in its snowball phases where ice caps grew well into the 30s in Latitude, CO2 emitted by volcanoes during this time for 10s of thousands of years drove the CO2 concentrations up to 1000s of ppm. There was literally no place for the CO2 to go so it just kept building up until the atmosphere, cold and dry at the time, began to warm up. The amount of water vapor (the most powerful greenhouse gas) increased by 4% for every degree F of warming. Once the air started re-hydrating the warming cycle took off.

The fundamental thing to remember today is that the physics working a billion years ago is the same physics working today. Nothing has changed except where the CO2 is coming from.

We are in a War on CO2 right now, today. It will require an effort shared across all of humanity.

If we are not sophisticated enough to understand this as a species, our days are numbered because physics does not care what politics we favor, where we live or the color of our skin. Physics does what physics does and if we get in the way of physics, we die.

We are the new volcanoes and as long as we spew the heat will increase and it will increase long after we reduce our CO2 emissions to near zero.
Not to worry. Opposition to progress among liberals is only skin deep. They were concerned about population growth only until it became clear that population growth in the US was due entirely to Third World immigration and the high birth rates of Hispanic immigrants. Link progress to diversity and you're home free.
Any context for the Rene Dubos quote?

The quote itself is not a categorical repudiation of science (or even technology), and to frame an accomplished microbiologist like Rene Dubos as anti-science strikes me as a serious distortion of both his work and his views on environmental issues.

Olé! Great article. Seems as though all three panic buttons (overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, and global warming) have been pushed again in the past year. The absence of logical debate in the public square makes this issue difficult to address. Events like the Sierra Club's "No Impact Week" next month, continue to capture people's emotion and imagination. It is a dastardly movement, fueled by the insertion of fear and the removal of freedoms.
Fred, I love you. So well written and reflects my own experience even here in western Pa. If ever you go west on 80, drop by the Emlenton exit, I'll buy lunch and throw in a canoe ride on the still, and evermore beautiful Allegheny.They certainly are the same Tories they would profess to dislike.
Was it the Sea of Azov that Stalin dried up, siphoning off rivers that fed it, to grow cotton on strile soil? Wild-eyed, cunning bureaucrats thrive on self-justifying crusades, tilting at wind generators of electricity for the birds they kill, condemning both coal and nuclear-generated electricity. Let's all go back to boots and saddles, hay and horse manure.
One of the most amazing ironies is that the first Earth Day was celebrated to protest "global cooling".

And guess who came up with the theory of global cooling? You got it: political activist and NASA employee James Hanson, the brains behind Al Gore. He's the man in charge of NASA surface temperature records, and his agency (NASA GISS) regularly manipulates them to create the appearance of a warming trend (he decreases historical temperatures and increases recent ones).

Amazing.