Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

You want consensus, here's consensus

AGW true believers are forever claiming they've got a huge "scientific consensus" in their favour.

Well, if they think consensus is so important Marginalized Action Dinosaur has assembled one for them to ponder, starting with:

“Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest Scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus…“- Michael Crichton, A.B. Anthropology, M.D. Harvard

19,000 Scientists declare that “man-made” global warming is a lie with no scientific basis whatsoever (OISM)
4000 Scientists sign ‘The Heidelberg Appeal’ (Science & Environmental Policy Project)
500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares (Heartland Institute)...

...Long list follows...

'Earth Hour' poll - no dissension allowed

Clearly the pollster didn't want to hear from those of us who marked the hour by turning on all our lights.

Even so, the number of AGW lemmings was gratifyingly small.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Environmental shakedown racket?

Peter Foster fills us in on an interesting "partnership" between the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and cement giant Lafarge:

I came across an example of the WWF's earning power at the recent Globe conference on business and the environment in Vancouver. The Cement Association of Canada had just produced its second "Sustainability Report."

... In the interests of transparency, I decided to ask three questions: What was the cost to Lafarge of meeting the WWF's demands? How much was Lafarge paying the WWF? And, since the freedom to criticize was such an important part of the partnership, what criticism did Lafarge have of the WWF's approach?

The Lafarge executive on the dais suddenly looked like a deer in headlights. He didn't have a clue what meeting the WWF's demands was costing. Moreover, he would presumably rather have chewed off his own arm than criticize the WWF.

Subsequently ... I discovered [from the WWF chief executive]...that the figure [paid to WWF] was ... $2.4-million, annually over three years ... [but he] didn't have a figure for the cost of meeting the WWF's demands (beyond what Lafarge would have done anyway).

The WWF thus seems to have found a very profitable and powerful niche for itself, both as business and political consultant, while at the same time somehow retaining its posture as guardian of the planet.

The whole thing comes across as a kind of protection shakedown --- with links to that notorious international man of mystery:

This ... reminded me of the modus operandi of Maurice Strong, the den father of radical environmentalism. It is surely not a coincidence that Mr. Strong ...was one of the earliest and most influential members of the WWF. Meanwhile, the Cement Association's Sustainability Report came about as a result of the "Cement Sustainability Initiative" of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The WBCSD was started by? Go on, have a guess!

And finally, remember to mark Earth Hour:
So if you love freedom, and possess the slightest trace of ability to think independently, don't forget to keep those lights burning brightly between 8 and 9 P.M. on Saturday night.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The “declinist” left’s pathological pessimism

Everyone is pessimistic now and again. Like when the home team is on a losing streak or the stock market is tanking there’s good reason to feel trepidation about the future. It’s natural and reasonable. But when you are perpetually pessimistic, even in the face of good news all around, when you make a career out of, and take glee in predicting doom and gloom, then that would be a pathological condition.

On the right, we’re all aware at some level that the left’s worldview tends to the pathological. Socialists are forever reminding their ‘constituencies’ about how badly off they are. They try to define conditions such as poverty in a way that increases the numbers of ‘poor’ voters. The worse they can make things appear the better. Their glass isn’t just half empty, it’s cracked and leaking rapidly. Yipeee!

Andrew Potter, in his article, ‘A convenient untruth’ in today’s ‘Post’ does a masterful job of capturing this kind of pessimism:

One of the most disturbing aspects of the growing concern over climate change is the giddy delight with which some members of the left await the coming global catastrophe.

Let us call these people "declinists," and their animating philosophy "declinism." What motivates declinism is an attitude so pessimistic that it is almost theological: not only are things worse than they used to be, but they're getting worse with every passing year.

... climate change is the ultimate declinist wet dream. .... declinism gathers up everything the left dislikes about contemporary society and puts it all in the dock facing the same charge: it is causing the planet to heat up.

... There is no point in arguing with declinism, because it is not a set of empirical propositions but an ideology.

Over the past 100 years, life got steadily better by almost any conceivable measure. Life expectancy rose while infant mortality dropped; the air quality of our cities improved, our food got cheaper and more nutritious, and the workplace became safer as wages steadily climbed. If you have any question as to the arrow of progress, ask yourself one question: Given a choice, when would you rather have been born, 1900 or 2000?

Declinism is both a sin and a betrayal. It is a sin because it displays an utter lack of faith in humanity, believing that we will inevitably abuse the gifts of freedom, knowledge and power and become the agents of our own destruction. It is a betrayal of modernity and of the liberal ideals that have breathed life and hope into human progress for the past four hundred years.

And speaking of pathological:

In its resentment of modernity, the declinist left finds itself in agreement with a broad spectrum of Islamofascists, evangelical nuts and tin-foil-hat anarchists, who equally fear the globalized future and pray for a return to a glorious but thoroughly imaginary past.

It’s a highly recommended read.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Earth Hour - cranking up the AGW hysterics

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter and the global warming hysterics have been toned down in the MSM. But now that Earth Hour is approaching we’re starting to see more alarmist bullcrap stories like this (more here). And it will get worse as Earth Day gets closer.

In today’s ‘Post’ Peter Foster identifies the soft fascism underlying the Earth Hour idea:
The cause, masterminded by the World Wildlife Fund, WWF, is allegedly to raise awareness of climate change. But what needs raising is not so much awareness as knowledge. .... WWF has no interest in discussing or debating the issue. According to them, we should "stop talking and start acting." Check your brains at the door.
If you love civilization, freedom and the use of reason, keep on all the lights you need on Saturday. Take Back the Night.
I’m on board, Peter. To celebrate I’ll be turning on ALL my lights and cranking up the furnace.

Update: Lorrie Goldstein makes some good points vis a vis the new Ontario budget. [via Blue Like You]

Monday, March 24, 2008

Free speech in America (revisited)

About three months ago I posted an item about the troubles of Joey Vento, a Philadelphia cheesesteak vendor who ran afoul of the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission.

Well, Jonah Goldberg reports that Joey has prevailed:

...finally won the right to keep his sign: "This is America: When Ordering, Please Speak English." It took him two years, much abuse and hundreds of hours of work by paid and volunteer lawyers, but a local regulatory body finally ruled his sign wasn't discriminatory or offensive.

Via Mark Steyn, who commented:
Jonah, Philadelphia's "Commission on Human Relations" should remind Americans that every malign Canadian novelty eventually works its way south of the border (multiculturalism, socialized health care, me).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Barack Obama sold out his grandmother

By now just about everyone has seen the video of Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s "spiritual advisor" and mentor of 20 years, preaching his loony-toons black liberation theology of racial hatred.

Here’s Mark Steyn’s recent take on Obama’s attempts to ‘explain’:

"I’m sure," said Barack Obama in that sonorous baritone that makes his drive-thru order for a Big Mac, fries, and strawberry shake sound profound, "many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed."

Well, yes. But not many of us have heard remarks from our pastors, priests, or rabbis that are stark, staring, out-of-his-tree flown-the-coop nuts.

Nonetheless, last week, Barack Obama told America: "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community."

...Instead of distancing himself from his pastor, he attempted to close the gap between Wright and the rest of the country, arguing, in effect, that the guy is not just his crazy uncle but America’s, too.

"I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother," [Obama] continued. "A woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street."

Asked about the sin of racism beating within Gran’ma’s breast, Obama said on TV that "she’s a typical white person." [...] Which doesn’t sound like the sort of thing the supposed "post-racial" candidate ought to be saying ...

And here is Christopher Hitchens on Obama’s reference to his grandmother:

I don’t know if you noticed it or not, or whether you were young, as I was, there was a saying about politicians, they’d sell their own grandmother?

Well, he just did. I’ve never seen it done before, actually. You say these things. if yes, well okay, this big mouth rock and roll idiot, Jeremiah Wright, may have said some ghastly things, but so did my now-dead grandmother, who isn’t here to defend herself.

CBC’s lamebrain ‘reality’-TV

CBC’s reality-TV competition, "Canada's Next Great Prime Minister", has been advertised all week and today it’s covered by two newspaper articles.

Rick Mercer is host and the panel of judges consists of three former prime ministerial losers John Turner, Kim Campbell and Paul Martin plus Premier Danny ‘Bigmouth’ Williams.

Only the CBC and its audience of twelve could think this lame idea wasn’t a giant waste of taxpayers’ money.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Conrad Black adapting to life in the slammer

Conrad reports:

"I am doing fine. This is a safe and civilized place and I don't anticipate any difficulty,'' Black said in an e-mail to The Canadian Press from his Florida prison.

... he helped his lawyers draft their appeal motion, which was filed with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on March 14.

... Black's appeal is expected to go before the court in June, and prosecutors are due to file their reply next month.

Good luck Conrad!

Cuba and the eco-socialists

Peter Foster comments:

On Raul Castro’s promise of consumer goods for enslaved Cubans;

... prompted my thoughts of the White Queen, who famously said to Alice "The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday -- but never jam to-day." In Cuba, yesterday is 1959.

... They will be available to the average Cuban pretty much to the same degree as a Lamborghini is available to yours truly.

On the threat of climate hysteria to the free-market economy;

In the past 20 years, central planning has fallen almost entirely out of fashion ... However, anti-capitalism remains at heart based on the endless urge to moralize. Its leading edge has moved on. Specifically, socialism has gone retail within a context of enviro-mania.

... no purchase is now to be made without fretting about its related "carbon footprint," or the location and costs of its recycling and/or disposal. .... No form of corporate activity in the resource sector can take place without appropriate "licensing" by the NGO-cracy.

The Invisible Hand is everywhere being shackled by the new Lords of indefinable -- but infinitely-meddlesome -- "Sustainability."

And on the eco-socialists’ admiration for the Cuban example;

In this context, criticizing Raul Castro for mere thuggish oppression is a little old hat. After all, David Suzuki, one of the High Priests of environmentalism, regards Cuba’s poverty-stricken, oxcart-and-bicycle economy as entirely admirable.

President Raul will almost certainly ... preside cluelessly over [Cuba’s] collapse. But the passing of the old Cuban regime will be mourned by neo-socialists not because they see a world without air conditioning as a problem, but as a model.

The whole thing is an excellent read.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Brenda Martin - media exploiting her stupidity

This post pretty much nails how I feel about her situation. Any sympathy I once felt is waning rapidly.

The media is milking it shamelessly to bash Harper's government efforts to help. It has a bit of an eau-de-Cadman smell to it.

Update: Joanne at 'Blue Like You' has provided outstanding coverage of this situation here, here and here.

HRC hearing opened to press/public

Since this was breaking good news yesterday, anyone who cares likely knows by now. So this is for my record. Human Rights Commission hearings, formerly ruled closed, have now been ruled open to the press and public. Mark Steyn will be reporting live next Tuesday!

Iraq war - a reminder to Dem supporters

Many have very short memories about the bi-partisan Congressional and State Dept support for the Iraq war. Here's a good reminder.

[h/t: Vinney Di]

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Free to be idiots

The town of New Denver, BC has apparently voted to ban all cell phones. Now they are perfectly free to do so - there's no law against being an idiot. Though, to be fair, the vote was close - only about half the town are idiots.

Weird Lotto outcome

What a bummer of a Lotto 6/49 outcome! Nobody won the big prize which isn't unusual. But the next biggest prize (ordinarily) for 5 out of 6 matches plus a matching bonus number had a whopping 240 winning tickets (120 in Ontario alone) each receiving a measly $1200 (typically 2 or 3 players win around $100,000 each). Adding insult to injury, players who had 5 out of 6 matching numbers with no matching bonus number won nearly twice as much ($2200 each).
Now you really can't feel sorry for anyone who plays a lottery and wins $1200 on a $2 bet but winning a prize that's about 1/100th of the typical payout would be just a little irksome.
Update (21 Mar): A Lotto retailer informs me that the reason for this outcome is that many players pick consecutive number sequences as a 'strategy' for winning. For example they'll pick a set of numbers in the 1 - 10 range and/or the 20 to 29 range, and so on. In this case players across the country bought 240 tickets (out of more than 5 million) in the 40 to 45 range which matched 5 of the 6 (plus bonus) numbers drawn. The odds of this happening were about 1 in 2.3 million. This seems like a reasonable explanation for an otherwise bizarre outcome.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Fascist HRCs

Some more excellent points from Mike Brock:

I consider it quite fascist to have Human Rights Commissions with the power to judge the palatability of my political speech, and take action against me if they find it not so.

I consider it fascist that the Canadian Jewish Congress has fought so hard to clamp down on free speech rights...

I consider it fascist that Richard Warman has sought to have the HRC mandate the CRTC to setup a Great Firewall of Canada on the internet...

...Anybody who wants to abridge my basic right to "free speech" is going to earn the label fascist in my book....

Yup, I'll second that!

Stop the HRC

The “anti-war” radical left are commies

Mike Brock has some very interesting insights into the supposedly "anti-war" radical leftists who are behind most protest rallies:

Yesterday, Jack Layton took to the streets of Toronto ... a protest organized by the far-left, radical Toronto Coalition to Stop the War.

I've had some face-to-face conversations with the organizers of the TCSW, last year, when I went to a conference called Marxism 2007: A Festival of Resistance on the University of Toronto campus.

I spoke to quite a few individuals there, and most of my conversations are still recorded on minidisc, as the purpose of my trip was material for my show. So I can tell people, first hand, that the main people behind are principally communists.

...these people are so far to the left, in their support with the Communist Party of Canada, and the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), that they see the NDP as only a lesser-evil at best.

...are not necessarily against militarism. No, they are against militarism in the form of liberal hegemony. And by liberal, they mean capitalist. They have no problem with organizations like the FARC, or other communist paramilitaries.

Remember, communists are anti-liberal. Not anti-war.

I'm also pointing this out to show the kind of company that Jack Layton, Linda McQuaig, Judy Rebick, and others keep. They stand side-by-side at rallies.

I’ve long thought the anti-war crowd was closely linked to radical anti-liberal, anti-democratic organizations. Mike Brock’s first hand exposure to the people involved confirms and clarifies the situation. It’s a must read post.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy-face fascism

The smiley faces in the above-left photo accompanying George Jonas’ column in today’s ‘Post reminded me of the cover of Jonah Goldberg’s new book. In the photo Ontario Premier McGuinty is announcing his new law banning smoking in cars carrying children.

Everywhere you look these days are examples of Goldberg’s assertion that modern liberalism embraces a well-meaning, smiley-face version of fascism. The example George Jonas picks is second-hand smoke:
I have nothing against the ... agenda; I only dislike coercion and lies. I'm not in favour of environmental smoke, only opposed to environmental hysteria. And I marvel that we don't even blink anymore as government metastasizes into such private spaces as our cars.

Unhealthy as smoking is, it's not half as unhealthy as politicized science. When the Czech President raised the alarm this week about the cause-driven state "that transcends the individual in the name of the common good," he was only reminding us that in order to survive cancer or global warming, it's unnecessary to succumb to tyranny.
It certainly is unnecessary to succumb to tyranny. But we’re gradually and apparently happily succumbing anyway. Eventually, when we’ve given up all of our freedoms, all that is not forbidden will be compulsory. Then we’ll have achieved the ultimate progressive, collectivist utopian dream, The Borg Hive.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cow farts, Chairman Mo and the “tiny perfect Minister”

Peter Foster is blogging from the Globe Conference in Vancouver. As might be expected his reports are chock-a-block with great insights and hilarious lines:

Well, here I am, possibly the only climate change skeptic and sustainability naysayer at the huge Globe Biennial Trade Fair and Conference in beautiful downtown Vancouver.

I ... plan to keep my eye out for humour, hoping that something may crop up to equal TransAlta’s purchase a couple of conferences ago of emissions credits based on restraining Ugandan cows’ farts. You can’t make stuff like that up. Which is one of the reasons why I’m here.

.... noted the absence of one of this conference’s greatest supporters, Maurice Strong, who is apparently confined, for health reasons, to his home in Beijing. Since Beijing is one of the smoggiest cities on earth, and Mr. Strong is a severe asthmatic, this is a somewhat strange hidey hole for Chairman Mo. Presumably it is the bracing air of Communist rule in which his lungs rejoice ...

... one of my favourite analogies for the non-likelihood of governments being able to promote new technologies is that of the drunk looking under the lamppost for his car keys..... You can imagine my surprise and delight, therefore, when I came across Canada’s tiny perfect Minister of Natural Resources, Gary Lunn, standing Thursday under a solar lamppost!

... a stunning $3.6-billion that the .... government is “investing” in so-called ecoENERGY projects. These are designed both to teach dim-bulb Canadians how to save their money, and to promote technologies that seem, by definition, to be economically”unsustainable,” since they can’t hack it without subsidies.

It’s too bad Peter doesn’t have a speaking part at the conference.

Update: Sustainability - it's for the children:
Do you love your children? Then you must be for sustainable development.
... Could anything be more bizarre than the concept of destroying the jobs of present parents so that those jobs might somehow, magically, be teleported to their great-grandchildren? Is there a more obvious and objectionable strategy for writing off your intellectual opponents than implying that they lack the love for their children that you have for yours?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Enabling addicts

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) just revealed that it has agreed to shell out $2 million for a building to house a new needle "exchange". VIHA is doing this, in part, to solve a problem resulting from the existing Victoria needle exchange’s eviction due to the filthy, noisy and criminal behaviour of its 1500 "clients". The location of proposed new facility came as a surprise to the neighbourhood:

St. Andrew's elementary schoolchildren in their blue tartan uniforms will pass by drug addicts and pushers on their way to the playground after Victoria's needle exchange moves into the neighbourhood this summer.

"We're very concerned we've received no information before this went public," Pollard [the principal] said. "The safety of the children is our primary concern."

The needle exchange will be adjacent to the newly constructed Our Place homeless drop-in centre, near the Victoria Conservatory of Music, across from a busy McDonald's restaurant and kitty-corner to the private Catholic school.

VIHA is involved because the prevailing orthodoxy on how to deal with dope addicts is "harm reduction" and treating addiction primarily as a health issue. For now this mostly means ensuring that addicts get all the clean drug paraphernalia they need. Though the problems and concerns noted above hardly represent harm reduction for the neighbourhood. And the next step is, of course (though VIHA denies it), safe injection sites where users can shoot up in comfort under the supervision of medical staff.

Overall, the ‘strategy’ effectively makes it easier for addicts to remain addicted. Clean needles, nice facilities and friendly service amount to tacit approval and enabling of drug use. This is somehow supposed to solve the problem of addiction; but, as might reasonably be expected, the number of addicts continues to grow. One supposes the dope suppliers and pushers are very happy with the approach.

The "authorities" have clearly bought into the concept. How do the little people feel?

Canadian collectivist lemmings (Part II)

This post was about the widespread approval of Ontario Superior Court Judge James Blacklock’s decision to reject a Sikh’s attempt to seek an exemption from the Ontario mandatory motorcylce helmet law. Many if not most felt that cost savings to the healthcare system justified the law. Very few argued against it based on the right of adult citizens’ to make their own decisions. The National Post takes up the issue in today’s editorial Liberty - hostage to medicare:

Few stepped forward to defend the idea that an adult in a free society should be able to wear what he wants and take the risks he wants where only his own body is concerned.

Taken to its logical limits, the Blacklock Principle is a licence for totalitarianism of a novel form: where unlimited governments of the past controlled behaviour on the grounds of class warfare or racial hygiene, the one being constructed here takes health, as measured by cost-avoidance, as the measure of all conduct.

And if you are a so-called liberal, and you consider yourself satisfied that Mr. Badesha has lost nothing that society is obliged to regard as important, you had better be sure you can win the same argument when it comes to the goring of your own prized oxen..... Do you want a full risk accounting made of your next weekend ski trip to Whistler?

The problem is, almost no one is willing to stand up for his neighbour's. And that suggests that something has gone badly awry in our society.

Couldn’t agree more.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Greenhouse equations "totally wrong"

John Reynolds at Grey Canada alerts us to new results in climate science. A NASA atmospheric physicist re-derived the equations governing the greenhouse effect and came up with a new result showing that the runaway warming previously predicted is impossible. Full story here:

The theory was developed by ... Hungarian scientist, Ferenc Miskolczi, an atmospheric physicist with 30 years of experience and a former researcher with NASA's Ames Research Center.

... his theory sets an upper limit on the greenhouse effect, a limit which prevents it from warming the Earth more than a certain amount.

NASA refused to release the results. Miskolczi believes their motivation is simple. "Money" ... funding for climate research tops $5 billion per year.

Miskolczi resigned in protest, [...] His theory was eventually published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in his home country of Hungary.

The conclusions are supported by research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research last year from Steven Schwartz of Brookhaven National Labs...

... used his theory to model not only Earth, but the Martian atmosphere as well, showing what he claims is an extremely good fit with observational results.
It will be interesting to see how well the new theory stands up in the longer run. But this is how science is supposed to proceed. Nothing is ever "settled" for all time. With issues like "global warming", however, politics makes it much more difficult for theories at odds with the prevailing political and scientific orthodoxy to be seriously considered much less accepted.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Collectively, Canadians are collectivist lemmings

God save us from all the collectivist, buttinsky, nosy-parker, safety and health Nazis out there. The way things are going only an act of God will reverse the remorseless slide down the slippery slope. The indoctrination of the masses by socialist subversives must be nearly complete. This is borne out by the reaction to the recent decision by an Ontario judge upholding province’s helmet law in a case involving a Sikh. These reader comments were typical:

Helmet laws were put in place not only to protect riders, but perhaps more importantly, to protect the rest of us (society) from incurring the ever growing financial costs of maintaining our health care system. The serious injuries, frequently including head tramau, which invariably results from motorcycle accidents are a burden society should not have to carry...thus the helmet laws. This is an attempt to use religious freedoms to pervert the state's rightful role in assuring our collective safety. We need to balance respect for religion and ethnic differences against the collective good, and Justice Blacklock has done this. Bravo!

You want to ride a bike, you were [sic] a helmet, case closed. It's a privillege not a right, just like a license.

Wow! Nice to see everyone in agreement. I add my voice to others. The law is the law. If he were granted an exemption and had an accident, do you think he'd accept to pay his own medical bills or other related costs?!

It was almost inevitable - a nanny judge brought down a nanny decision to uphold a nanny law; and, though a rare few commenters saw the situation as another illustration of overbearing nanny statism, the vast majority were happy to have the state enforcing ‘what’s good for them’. They’re more than happy to have their personal behaviour dictated. I guess Jonah Goldberg had it right in his book "Liberal Fascism’ when he said "We’re all fascists now".

Medicare, as usual, is invoked to justify the intrusion. After all, society, must pay the medical bills if some thoughtless, risk-taking idiot rides without a helmet and suffers a head injury. Absolutely true. But rather than a good argument for a nanny-statist helmet law this is really one more strike against socialized medicine which is being invoked more and more frequently to justify state intrusion into what should be citizens’ free personal choices. Everything from seat belts to smoking, drinking and eating habits are considered legitimate areas for state control - because it’s for our collective good and society pays the bills. This is all good argument for abolishing medicare.

Society’ should butt out, mind its own goddam business and let free, adult citizens freely decide if they want to take risks or to be stupidly foolish and take the consequences. And if we ever needed a new law it would be a law abolishing socialized medicine.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The neo-liberal mind

Lorne Gunter examines, again, the futility of banning guns. In doing so he reiterates some basic insights into the neo-liberal mindset:

So why do liberal-left politicians expend so much energy trying to restrict gun ownership or even ban guns outright?

The principal reason, of course, is that modern liberalism is the victory of symbolism over substance. A public policy or law is seldom designed mostly to solve an identified problem. Its primary purpose is to reflect well on the good intentions of the person or group proposing it.

So what if laws and social programs produce no tangible benefits? They remain on the statute books and retain full funding -- complete with massive bureaucracies -- because they enable liberals to convince themselves something is being done. Activity is confused with achievement.

The right values action based on principle and practical results. The left values action based on emotion and narcissistic feel-goodism.

Eco-terrorism in Seattle

When Jonah Goldberg painted the current version of "liberal fascism" as a do-good, feel-good, 'happy-face' form of fascism, he included environmentalism.

Well, the not-so ‘happy-face’ of environmentalism has apparently reared it’s ugly head near Seattle, WA:

Fire engulfed five luxury homes Monday morning at a subdivision north of Seattle in what could be a case of ecoterrorism, officials said.

A sign with the letters "ELF" was found at the scene of the fires in the "Street of Dreams" development in Woodinville, Washington".

Built green? Nope black!" the sign reads ... The sign calls the homes "McMansions."

According to the FBI, the Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for burning five townhomes under construction on November 20, 2005, in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Algore’s AGW hysteria mongering is coming home to roost.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr

Here’s Mark Steyn’s tribute to the memory of William F. Buckley Jr, "a first-rate original, who founded the modern conservative movement half a century ago, and saw it through to victory in the 1980 presidential election and then to vindication in the collapse of Communism a decade later."

It’s a fine tribute and in it Steyn provides Mr. Buckley’s answer to the question at the end of my previous post - what can be done about "liberal fascism"?
Forty-nine years ago, he wrote, "We must bring down the thing called liberalism, which is powerful but decadent, and salvage a thing called conservatism, which is weak but viable." It is an unending struggle because, while the facts of life are conservative (as his friend Margaret Thatcher put it), liberalism is eternally seductive.
There’s no silver bullet - keep on truckin’.

“Liberal Fascism” - the book

What do you call a conservative who is winning an argument with a leftist? "A fascist!" Thanks to effective leftist propaganda and plain ignorance, fascism is widely held to be a right-wing ideology. This lie has been so successful that even many right-wingers are prone to believing it. However, the truth of the matter is quite the opposite. Nazism, Fascism and fascism are distinctly left-wing phenomena. Like most variants of socialism, they are totalitarian ideologies.

Most right-wingers can personally relate to the experience of being called a fascist. I recall an Alliance Party rally for newly elected leader Stockwell Day in Victoria. Outside the conference center we were greeted by a mob of young, placard wielding ‘protesters’, many dressed in black leather, chains, and jack-boots, calling us ‘fascists’. They likely had little understanding of what fascism is, but were simply reflexively applying a conventional insult to a group of ‘right-wingers’.

This is how Jonah Goldberg came to write his new book "Liberal Fascism". He says he was tired of being labeled a fascist by "know-nothing" leftists, so wrote his book to counter the lie.

Goldberg’s basic thesis is not new. More than a half century ago Ludwig von Mises, in his classic book ‘Socialism’, clearly identified the socialist roots of Fascism and Nazism (Epilogue, sections 7 and 8). Oddly, Goldberg makes no mention of Mises. Nevertheless, this omission aside, he does a remarkable job of tracing the historical roots of fascist thinking and identifying its clear linkage to the American progressive movement and modern American liberalism. From the introduction:

[there’s] a mistaken belief that fascism and communism are opposites. In reality they are closely related, historical competitors for the same constituents, seeking to dominate the same social space." [...] in terms of their theory and practice, the differences are minimal. fascism drew from the same well-springs as American Progressivism.

... American Progressives who had praised Mussolini and even looked sympathetically at Hitler in the 1920s and 1930s had to distance themselves from the horrors of Nazism [...and] projected their own sins onto conservatives.
Goldberg traces modern fascist thinking back to Rousseau, Robespierre and the French Revolution and then shows in great detail how:

- President Woodrow Wilson (1913 - 21), the first (and last) Ph.D. in the Oval Office, was the twentieth century’s first totalitarian dictator "doing more violence to civil liberties in his last three years in office than Mussolini did in his first twelve".

- the American progressive establishment of the 20's and 30's enthusiastically supported Hitler’s, Mussolini’s and Stalin’s totalitarianism, racism and eugenics.

- fascism was manifested under Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s heavily statist New Deal policies.

- more recently, American fascism has softened and mutated into Hillary Clinton’s "It takes a village" progressive, happy-faced, politically correct world of diversity, multiculturalism, universal health-care and environmentalism.

- modern liberal progressives are ‘nice’ fascists, but fascists none the less.
'Liberal Fascism' is a fascinating, revelational read - one of the few political books I’ve found hard to put down. It’s a must read for every conservative and libertarian. Liberals and other socialists should read it too. Though I suspect that most leftists aren’t keen on having their ideological roots so clearly exposed - and they’ll go out of their way to deny and denounce much of what Goldberg reveals.

Jonah Goldberg has clearly exposed the problem. The question remains - what can be done about it?