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Ed Driscoll

The Assault On Reason

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. In the wake of the January 2011 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and over a dozen others, which the MSM immediately and erroneously blamed on Sarah Palin’s clip art, the MSM rushed in lockstep to condemn violent rhetoric, and demanded that both politicians and the media censor themselves. One contributor to the left-leaning publication National Journal insisted that violent rhetoric should be treated in the same fashion “that we’ve stopped using certain epithets like the ‘n’-word public forums:”

National Journal’s Michael Hirsh wants to raise the bar on decorum to an entirely new level. On Thursday’s MSNBC airing of “Hardball,” Hirsh told host Chris Matthews certain “gun” terms should be stricken from political discourse…His proposal? Make such language inappropriate in the same racial slurs are inappropriate.

“That’s the kind of language I think we got to have a hard think about now,” Hirsh said. “Do we really want to continue to use that kind of language at these levels? Or, should there be kind of a social sanction, not a legal one, but a moral sanction in the way that we’ve stopped using certain epithets like the ‘n’-word public forums. Stop using that kind of language, those kinds of metaphors.”

Certainly, many would view comparing someone to a Holocaust denier a slur that’s in the same league with violent, eliminationist rhetoric. Which makes this passage in a new National Journal article written by a young socialist justice warrior posing as a journalist highly problematic, in a piece titled “Scientists Tell Smithsonian to Ditch Koch Money.” (Link safe, goes to Twitchy):

The push arrives amid revelations that Smithsonian scientist and climate-denier Wei-Hock Soon raked in roughly $1.2 million dollars from the fossil-fuel industry while failing to disclose a conflict of interest. One of the founders of Soon’s research was the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

Does Mr. Soon deny that the climate exists? Now that would be news! In the interim, we await the layers and layers of editors and fact checkers at National Journal to condemn the use of a metaphor freighted with such a violent subtext. But we won’t hold our breath:

Related: “Reporters Explain Why Balance Isn’t Needed On Global Warming.”

Since the MSM long ago exited the profession of journalism in order to be Democrat operatives with bylines, are there any topics still left in which the MSM wishes to be fair and balanced (to coin a slogan) when discussing?

Ted Cruz today? No, try Bobby Kennedy in 1968.

That’s how old the left’s doomsday rhetoric is; the actual causes come and go — pollution, acid rain, global cooling, global warming, generic climate change, whatever. The end result is that the world will soon come to end — unless we elect socialist politicians who pretend to be a cross between scientists, mystical clerics and slide rule technocrats. Or as I wrote a couple of years ago, linking to Bobby’s speech in ’68, Carter’s malaise speech a decade later, and Obama’s Dr. Strangelove-esque “science” “czar” John Holdren, “Welcome Back My Friends to the Malaise that Never Ends.”

Regarding Cruz, as Allahpundit writes at Hot Air, “Today’s top story: Three-year-old hears Ted Cruz say that the world is on fire:”

To cleanse the palate, I’m not joking with that headline. Thanks to lefty boredom on a slow news day, the fake outrage over this has propelled it to the toppermost of the poppermost on Memeorandum. (Sample hed via Dave Weigel: “Ted Cruz Shouts Insane Rhetoric At Terrified Little Girl In New Hampshire.”) Which is funny, because the only thing distinguishing Cruz’s line from something you or your three-year-old might hear in a stock Democratic speech about climate change is the hopeful note Cruz sounds at the end. Hopenchange will come and go but melting glaciers are forever. Put away the jumprope and start thinking about boat designs, Janie.

Someday the left will realize that it scaremongers as much as the right does, frequently about much sillier things, but today is not that day.

When does that reckoning ever arrive? With Al Gore muttering lunatics pronouncements such his goal to “Punish Climate-Change Deniers,” while pocketing $100 mil from Big Oil, a little reflection is long overdue.

Mr. Obama really was the ultimate troll in 2008, wasn’t he?

Insert the Professor’s reminder that he doesn’t want to hear another g*dd*mn word about his carbon footprint here.

The Undersea World of Wernher Von Braun

March 13th, 2015 - 10:50 am

“Y2Kyoto: Great Moments In Rocket Surgery,” as spotted by Kate of Small Dead Animals:

“In your judgment, what is the core mission of NASA?” Cruz asked.

“Our core mission from the very beginning has been to investigate, explore space and the Earth environment, and to help us make this place a better place,” Bolden said. NASA studies everything from the depths of the oceans to the solar energy coming into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Cruz pushed back against the “Earth” part of NASA’s mission. “Almost any American would agree that the core function of NASA is to explore space,” he said. “That’s what inspires little boys and little girls across this country.”

“I am concerned that NASA in the current environment has lost its full focus on that core mission.”

Bolden defended spending more money on Earth science activities, saying he is “proud” of it since it’s led to a greater understanding of the planet.

“We can’t go anywhere if the Kennedy Space Center goes underwater and we don’t know it — and that’s understanding our environment,” Bolden said, in a clear reference to global warming-related sea level rise.

Damn budget cutbacks; I remember when NASA used to receive better telemetry from their rockets. I’d like to think in the old days, if a Saturn V or Space Shuttle suddenly went underwater, NASA would know about it. Perhaps it’s finally time to disband the sclerotic, elderly agency and put it out of its misery and ours. Wouldn’t that also help reduce global warming?

Besides, isn’t all of NASA’s “global warming” “research” all for naught these days, anyhow? As Steve Goddard noted on January 10, 2013:

On January 17, 2009 – NASA’s James Hansen told us that Obama had only four years to save the planet. The clock is ticking, as Obama only has seven days remaining to rescue the Earth.

Of course, Goddard made his observation the same week that Al Gore declared Mission Accomplished on the decades old global warming project anyhow, by cashing in his chips to the oil rich, terrorist-funding state of Qatar.

We’ll get to the above 1972 video of Walter Cronkite in just a moment, but first, let’s set the stage. Return with us now to the end of the 1960s and the dawning of the craptacular ’70s. As Power Line’s Steve Hayward wrote in the first volume of The Age of Reagan, environmentalism — then simply called “ecology” — became an obsession of the left shortly after President Nixon took office, eclipsing both anti-Vietnam war and pro-civil rights protests:

Writing in Science magazine, Amitai Etzioni of Columbia University dismissed ecology as a “fad,” and thought that “the newly found environmental dangers are being vastly exaggerated.” Even if not exaggerated, Etzioni thought the environment was the wrong priority: “Fighting hunger, malnutrition, and rats should be given priority over saving wildlife, and improving our schools over constructing waste disposal systems.”

This criticism was mild compared to the blasts that came from black civil rights leaders. The most bitter attack came from Richard Hatcher, the black mayor of Gary, Indiana: “The nation’s concern for the environment has done what George Wallace was unable to do—distract the nation from the human problems of black and brown Americans.” Whitney Young of the National Urban League was equally distressed: “The war on pollution is one that should be waged after the war on poverty is won. Common sense calls for reasonable national priorities and not for inventing new causes whose main appeal seems to be in their potential for copping out and ignoring the most dangerous and pressing of our problems.”

And being a good doctrinaire liberal, CBS’s Walter Cronkite was quick to move with the times and ride the fad. As left-leaning historian Douglas Brinkley noted in his 2012 biography of Cronkite:

A CBS Reports segment in September 1962 had Eric Sevareid famously interviewing the literary biologist Rachel Carson about the perils of the insecticide DDT at her home in Silver Spring, Maryland. Cronkite, at the time, had been focused on the Earth-orbiting flight of the second Mercury launch. But now that Neil Armstrong had walked on the Moon, Cronkite sensed that ecology would soon replace space exploration as the national obsession. CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight. “ It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘God damn it, we’ve got to get on this environmental story,’ ” Bonn recalled. “When Walter said ‘God damn it,’ things happened.”

What could go wrong?

Cronkite pulled Bonn from nearly all other CBS duties for eight weeks so he could investigate environmental degradation. He wanted a whole new regular series on the CBS Evening News—inspired by Silent Spring, the philosophy of René Dubos, and those amazing photos of Earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts. The CBS Evening News segments were to be called “Can the World Be Saved?” “We wanted to grapple first with air pollution, the unbreathable air,” Bonn recalled. “But then we wanted to deal with the primary underlying problem, which was overpopulation.”

So, eugenics, then. And then a quick detour into global cooling. As Julia Seymour writes today at NewsBusters, “And That’s the Way It Was: In 1972, Cronkite Warned of ‘New Ice Age:’”

The late Cronkite is considered a “legendary journalist” and a pioneer in the field, which is why Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, said this footage was so important. Morano is a former staff member of U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and producer of the upcoming global warming documentary Climate Hustle, set for release later in 2015.

“Global warming activists have claimed for years that the 1970s global cooling scare never existed. They have tried to erase the inconvenient history which ironically blamed extreme weather like tornadoes, droughts, record cold and blizzards on global cooling,” said Morano.

Morano told MRC Business, “But now — unearthed from bowels of media archives — comes none other than Walter Cronkite reporting on fears of a coming ice age in 1972. Having Cronkite’s image and face discussing global cooling fears reveals the fickleness of the climate change claims.”

“Climate fear promoters switched effortlessly from global cooling fears in the 1970s to global warming fears in the 1980s. In the present day, the phrase ‘global warming’ has lost favor in favor of ‘climate change’ or ‘global climate disruption’ or even ‘global weirding,’ Morano added. “’Settled science’ has never seemed so unsettled.”

By the way, let’s end with this inadvertently telling paragraph from Brinkley (his book, meant to celebrate Cronkite, raised many questions about the man who spent much of his career posing as Mr. Objective):

In January 1970, the promise of a new environmentalism brought about the end of [Cronkite’s future-themed series] The Twenty-First Century (which had succeeded The Twentieth Century in June 1967). No longer would Cronkite tolerate Union Carbide (a major polluter) as a sponsor. The Texas-based Fortune 500 company was the enemy of “Earthrise,” he told Bonn. At Cronkite’s insistence, CBS canceled The Twenty-First Century to coincide with the debut of the “Can the World Be Saved?” segments.

Yes, the crank science of the 1970s brought an end to the heroic phase of Kennedy and Johnson’s space program and its dalliance with embracing the 21st century a few decades early. And along with the collapse of the Great Society, which disillusioned the left when it tried to be all things to all voters, the optimism of the postwar 1950s and the first half of the 1960s would fade away, replaced by a grim nihilistic permanent malaise.

Exit question: Scott Pelley, the current incarnation of Cronkite on CBS has publicly likened those who question the “settled science” of global warming to Holocaust deniers, asking, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”

What would he say if he ran into the 1972 iteration of Walter Cronkite?

mother_jones_food_racist_3-4-15-1

But then, isn’t everything? First up, Mother Jones declares your mother’s advice that you eat three healthy meals a day to be totally racist, you guys. As Tom Blumer writes at NewsBusters, “Leave it to a writer at Mother Jones to dispense condescending healthy eating advice while serving up a side dish of alleged historical racism with a tincture of capitalism bashing”:

Kiera Butler, a senior editor there, didn’t have to engage in either exercise to make her nutritional points, which may have some validity. She must have felt that her primary headline (“Why You Should Stop Eating Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner”) was too boring, and that she needed to provide an attention-grabbing subheadline to get people to start reading her piece.

“Dogmatic adherence to mealtimes is anti-science, racist, and might actually be making you sick,” Butler’s article screams in its subhead. “Here is her reasoning,” Katherine Timpf responds at National Review:

When the Europeans came over to the United States, they ate three meals a day whereas the Native Americans ate in a less restricted fashion — a practice which Butler claims the Europeans considered to be unrefined. Butler offered excerpts of an email interview with Abigail Carroll, author of the book Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal, as proof of this point.

“The eating schedule of the native tribes was less rigid … the Europeans took this as ‘evidence that natives were uncivilized,’ Carroll explained to me in an email,” Butler wrote.

There may have been other clues as well, of course.

Meanwhile, in her own efforts at reprimitivization, a Social Justice Warrior asks “Cui bono?” when it comes to employing that quaint form of communication formerly known as the English language. Or as Patricia L. Dickson quips at the American Thinker in response, “Proper English Grammar Is Now Racist”:

It seems like not a day goes by without my reading about some new absurdity. I ran across an article written by some left-wing lunatic who purports to be an English teacher and who is part of what she calls the “social justice movement”. She writes for a blog called Everyday Feminist. She claims that demanding that everyone speak proper English grammar is “grammar snobbery” and is oppressive and racist. Why is it oppressive and racist? Because the dictionary was written by a white supremacist, heteropatriarchal system:

“As educated (and – okay – snarky) activists, we’re quick to respond to “According to the dictionary” arguments with “Who wrote the dictionary, though?”

“We understand that a reference guide created by a white supremacist, heteropatriarchal system does nothing but uphold that status quo.”

“Similarly, we have to use that line of thinking when talking about the English language: Who created the rules? And who benefits from them?”

You won’t be surprised to learn that “grammar snobbery comes down to an intersection of multiple privileges,” which include, “Educational Privilege, Class Privilege, Race Privilege, Native Language Privilege, and Ability Privilege.” All of which boils down to — of course! — raaaaaacism.

Al Gore long ago declared global warming to be racist (when he wasn’t comparing it to the Nazis); Australia’s Tim Blair stands ready to assist you through the difficult and painful “Climate Grieving Process”:

Celeste Young – “a sustainability/climate change professional who works as a communication and operational specialist with a particular interest in innovation and the use of creative and business processes” – asks:

How can we help people and communities work through the climate grieving process?

One of Celeste’s excellent grief-coping suggestions:

Another way to help people accept these changes is through cultural activities that support the expression of grief. In Australia, local government, community, and the arts sector have led in this area. Storytelling is often used as it provides a structured and often empowering way of expressing difficult emotions.

Storytelling? And possibly even sharing of meals as well? Check your multiple privileges!

(Since everything is now racist and causes global warming, someone really should do a mash-up of these two great Websites.)

Update: Backwards ran the “Progressives” until reeled the mind. Where it all ends knows ISIS:

Snowfalls Are Now Just a Thing of the Past

March 2nd, 2015 - 10:37 am


Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

Good Morning America anchors and reporters effusively lauded Al Gore on Friday after he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming. Diane Sawyer opened the program by breathlessly declaring, “Former Vice President Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping awaken the world to global warming. Now is it time to run for president again?” In her introduction to a piece on the subject, Sawyer gushed that the ex-VP is receiving the award for “for educating the world.”

“ABC Gushes Over Al Gore Nobel Win; He’s ‘Educating the World,’” the Media Research Center, October 15, 2007.

Good Morning America news reader Amy Robach on Friday mocked Republican James Inhofe as “bizarre” for a global warming speech he gave on the Senate floor. Robach described, “And a bizarre scene in Washington. One senator used the recent snow to bolster his argument about climate change.”

Inhofe held up a snowball to note the unusually cold February that the east cost has suffered through. Tossing the snowball, he joked, “Here, Mr. President. Catch this.” ABC has a history with condescending coverage on this issue. On April 23, 2012, reporter Bill Blakemore derided climate change skeptics as “denialists” and called for more alarmist advocacy.

“ABC Hits Senator Inhofe’s Climate Speech as ‘Bizarre,’” NewsBusters, February 27, 2015.

(Headline via the London Independent in 2000. The New York Times was running similar headlines as recently as last year; anti-vaccine crank Bobby Kennedy Jr. was specifically warning of no more snow in DC in 2008.)

Update: “Continue to Remind the Alarmists that It’s Cold Out. They Deserve It,” Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon writes, in-between digging his car out from seven degree weather. We’re doing our part!

Gaia and Man at the UN

February 24th, 2015 - 4:11 pm

Shot:

Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute tells a story about Julian Simon, the late and great economist.He was at some environmental forum, and he said, “How many people here believe that the earth is increasingly polluted and that our natural resources are being exhausted?” Naturally, every hand shot up. He said, “Is there any evidence that could dissuade you?” Nothing. Again: “Is there any evidence I could give you — anything at all — that would lead you to reconsider these assumptions?” Not a stir. Simon then said, “Well, excuse me, I’m not dressed for church.”

I love that story, for what it says about the fixity of these beliefs, immune to evidence, reason, or anything else.

—Jay Nordlinger, National Review Online, 2002, as quoted here in 2011, in a post titled “Episcopal Church Replaces God with Gaia on Good Friday.”

Chaser:

The head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change panel Rajendra Pachauri, 74, has resigned amid charges that he sexually harassed a 29-year-old woman working in his office in Delhi. In his resignation letter to UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, Pachauri wrote,

“For me, the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems, is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

I know nothing of the charges against Pachauri, whose tenure has not been without controversy. In 2007 he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and other IPCC scientists. In 2010, he withstood criticism after the IPCC had to change its fourth climate assessment’s over-hyped findings about glacial melt in the Himalayas.

“Top climate scientist says global warming is his religion,” Debra Saunders, the San Francisco Chronicle, today.

Much more from Mark Steyn on Pachauri and his allegedly “Wandering Hockey Stick.”

And Speaking of Obama and Religion!

February 10th, 2015 - 1:57 pm

“Earnest: Not sure if Jews are terror targets, and climate change is a bigger threat anyway,” writes Noah Rothman at (appropriately enough for this topic) Hot Air: 

When asked by Karl if Obama really, truly believed that climate change is a greater threat to life and liberty than terrorism, Earnest remained composed. “I think, Jon, that the point that the president was making,” Earnest began, “was that there are many more people on an annual basis who have to confront the impact – the direct impact on their lives – of climate change, or of the spread of a disease than on terrorism.”

Probed as to whether he would definitively assert that Obama thinks terrorism is not as great a cause for alarm as is the weather, Earnest did not disappoint. In a rambling response about the struggles climate change imposes on Americans, “particularly Americans living in this country,” Earnest confirmed in not so many words that the president views global warming as a valid national security challenge on par with, if not more significant than, climate change.

Further proof that belief in global warming really is an alternative religion, one with its own alternative bible.

Ride the Michael Moore Mobius Loop!

February 3rd, 2015 - 1:23 pm

The “American ISIS” — that’s what NewsBusters spots Michael Moore dubbing his critics in a lengthy interview in Vice magazine:

This past week or so of hysterical attacks on me only proves that the American lovers of violence and the issuers of fatwas in OUR society haven’t gone away. They are our American Isis — “Criticize or mock those whom we deify, like our sainted sniper, and we will harm you most assuredly.”

But a decade ago, Michael was pretty darn keen on ISIS’ forerunners in Iraq, likening them to America’s Minutemen:

Could it simply be that Moore changes his position when it comes to terrorists in Iraq based on who is in office in the White House at the time? He’s very large* so I’m sure he contains multiples of opinions to suit the moment:

Related: At Townhall, Katie Pavlich spots “Good News: American Eco-Fascists Now Praising Saudis As Their “Best Ally” in Fight Against Keystone.”

Not at all surprising, since Al Gore kissed off his environmentalist obsessions at the beginning of 2013 by getting into bed with petroleum-rich Qatar, only three years after the Washington Post noted that “Osama bin Laden embraces his inner Al Gore,” shortly before OBL’s death by a massive overdose of lead poisoning. (Speaking of Mobius Loops.)

* Though not career-wise for over a decade, hence Moore’s current efforts to grab Eastwood’s coattails and hang on for another 15 minutes of fame.

Yeah. You know how else it looks? Very much like this:

And the giant Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban in early 2001. But then, the religious zealotry of radical Islam, radical socialism, and radical environmentalism do tend to echo other very strongly. Just ask Mohamed Atta, Socialist Critic of Capitalism, or this pair of fervent environmentalists, whose doom-laden ideas for the future of mankind intersect surprisingly well:

osama_gore_post_10-1-10-1

On the other hand, at least Greenpeace has raised awareness that they’re still around, so they’ve got that going for them, as Sonny Bunch writes in the Washington Free Beacon:

The best—and by best, I mean absolutely the worst—part of this story? Greenpeace’s “apology.” Here’s Reuters:

The group said it was sorry if the protest at the historical site on Monday caused any “moral offense” to the people of Peru.

“Moral offense.” As if they were only guilty of hurting the feelings of the Peruvian people. And didn’t, you know, tromp all over a giant, incredibly fragile piece of art.

Amazing. Just amazing. But hey: At least now we know that the future is renewables, or some such. Greenpeace for the win!

As I’ve joked before, the vengeful Goracle didn’t title one of his tomes “The Assault on Reason” for nothing.

“How it is that we once again find ourselves rooting out sin, shunning heretics, and heralding the end times,” asks Joseph Bottum in the Weekly Standard, exploring “The Spiritual Shape of Political Ideas:”

Just as, for Paul in Romans, “the law entered, that the offence might abound,” so our awareness of our own racism massively increases when we realize that we are utterly formed as racists in America. And just as, for Paul, “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound,” so it is that only from this overwhelming awareness of racism can we hope to escape racism.

The doctrine of original sin is probably incoherent, and certainly gloomy, in the absence of its pairing with the concept of a divine savior—and so Paul concludes Romans 5 with a turn to the Redeemer and the possibility of hope: “As sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Think of it as a car’s engine or transmission scattered in pieces around a junkyard: The individual bits of Christian theology don’t actually work all that well when they’re broken apart from one another.

Which is why it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that an infinite sadness often haunts expressions of the white-privilege notion that we must become more aware of race in order to end the inherited sin of being aware of race. If we cannot escape it, then how can we escape it? When Prof. Jensen cries out in his chiliastic pain, “I will carry this privilege with me until the day white supremacy is erased,” he’s speaking in tones once reserved for the moral solution that only the Second Coming could provide. The strangeness of the isolated concept can be discerned in its unendingness, its never-satisfied ratchet. Discerned as well, I would suggest, in some of the disturbingly salvific terms with which President Obama’s campaign and election were first greeted.

Of course, however Christian the idea of white privilege may have been in origin, it emerged in contemporary America stripped of Christ and his church, making it available even for post- and non-Christians. For that matter, an explicit anti-Christianity is often heard alongside rejections of white privilege. At Radersma’s race conference, a fellow presenter named Paul Kivel defined white privilege as “the everyday pervasive, deep-seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites.”

But that, too, is typical of much post-mainline moral discussion in America: the Church of Christ Without Christ, as Flannery O’Connor might have called it (to use a phrase from her 1952 novel Wise Blood). The mainline congregations may be gone as significant factors in the nation’s public life, but their collapse released a religious logic and set of spiritual anxieties that are still with us—still demanding that we see our nation and ourselves in the patterns cast by their old theological lights.

As Umberto Eco wrote in 2005, “God Isn’t Big Enough For Some People:”

It is the role of religion to provide that justification. Religions are systems of belief that enable human beings to justify their existence and which reconcile us to death. We in Europe have faced a fading of organised religion in recent years. Faith in the Christian churches has been declining.

The ideologies such as communism that promised to supplant religion have failed in spectacular and very public fashion. So we’re all still looking for something that will reconcile each of us to the inevitability of our own death.

G K Chesterton is often credited* with observing: “When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn’t believe in nothing. He believes in anything.” Whoever said it – he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

And finally, as Kate quips today at Small Dead Animals, “You Clever Matchmaker, Gaia!”, spotting someone who really red-lines the phrase “outrageous credulity:”

Afton Burton left her parents’ home in Illinois at age 19 to move to California, where she could be closer to Manson, Burton said.

It was Manson’s work as an environmentalist that drew her daughter into him, according to Burton.

“He’s an environmentalist, and she’s involved in his environmentalist program,” Burton said.

Say what you will about Charles Manson, but he took the “warrior” aspect of the phrase “Social Justice Warrior,” not to mention the quasi-religious doomsday implications of that strange mindset, seriously.

* The Chesterton Society traced the complex history of this brilliant aphorism, and concluded, “we must point out the irony that critics have chastised Chesterton for misquoting other writers, while he is the most misquoted writer of all. No one would be more pleased than G.K. Chesterton.”

Related: “Professor says she can no longer give common-sense advice for fear of being accused of victim-blaming.”

More: “Funniest Paragraph of the Day, Courtesy of the NY Times:”

“Unitarian Universalism is not a theologically grounded religion,” Ms. Brock said. “If we mess up our principles and values, we don’t have a theology to fall back on. We’re not Catholic — we can’t just keep giving communion until we figure it out. If we don’t have our values figured out, our institutions become pointless bureaucracies.”

And finally, William Voegeli writes that “MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think:”

Convinced that no intelligent, decent person could take conservatism seriously, liberals believe it is not necessary or even possible, when engaging conservative ideas, to go beyond diagnosing the psychological, moral or mental defects that cause people to espouse them. Liberals claim to understand conservatives better than they understand themselves on the basis of seeing through the cynical self-interest of conservative leaders (and funders), and the fanaticism or stupid docility of conservative followers. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, scourge of the Koch brothers, went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show in 2010 to deny that the Tea Party movement was “a spontaneous uprising that came from nowhere.” In fact, Maddow explained, many of those attending its demonstrations “were essentially instructed to rally against things like climate change by billionaire oil tycoons.”

This condescension has always been part of the liberal outlook. In 1972, eight weeks after George McGovern suffered a historically massive defeat against Richard Nixon, film critic Pauline Kael told the professors at a Modern Language Association conference, “I know only one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

The evil sinners are out there, I can feel them! Don’t get too close or their demonic ideas and/or cooties will rub off on you, too!

Earth in the Grubering

November 18th, 2014 - 1:40 pm

“New term: ‘Grubering’ and how it applies to Climate Alarmism,” as spotted by the Watts Up With That climate Blog:

I think that no other word describes what we have seen in the climate debate quite as well as Grubering.  The Climategate emails are full of discussions about how to “sell” the public on CAGW through a campaign of lies and exaggerations.  There are many discussion about how the public could not possibly understand such a complex subject.

The late Stephen Schneider puts it succinctly:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

You can see Schneider in full Grubering action by comparing his doomsday rhetoric over a three decade period in this clip:

As the Watts Up With That blog notes:

Our critics sometimes dismiss skeptics as “conspiracy theorists” noting how unlikely it would be that thousands of  scientists would collude.   They miss the point.  We now know that Grubering takes place — we see it laid bare in the Obamacare campaign.  It was not strictly a “conspiracy”.  Rather it was an arrogant belief that lying was necessary to persuade a “stupid” public to adopt the policy preferences of the politicians and the academics in their employ.  Its Noble Cause Corruption, not conspiracy, that is at the root of this behavior.

Grubering also helps to define the relatively recent trend on the left not just to lie — that’s always been a component of the left — but to openly admit to lying as an unalloyed good to advance the Noble Cause.

Huh; I don’t recall people wearing sandwich boards promising the end of the world* ever advising people to “stay calm” during the apocalypse until now.

But then, “Science” works in mysterious, mystical, talismanic ways, as Mollie Hemingway writes in the Federalist today.

In recent news coverage of the Ebola virus, I noticed that reporters tended to use the word “science” the way some people refer to Jesus. I myself am a fan of both Jesus and science, but I’m referring to the way some people use the terms more as jargon or verbal talisman than as anything meaningful or instructive.

Take this Frank Bruni column. (Please!) OK, let’s all go through it together. It’s headlined “Sinners, Meet Jesus,” no, wait, it’s “Republicans, Meet Science.”

It begins with his frustration that yet another passionate warning from the UN about climate weirding failed to yield a worldwide turn toward progressive policies. The phrase “science” is used 11 times in the typically painful-to-read column. What I notice about the uses is how well they could be switched out with Jesus with little or no changes to the surrounding words.

He writes, “Come January, they will take control of the Senate. However else they use it, I fervently hope that they start to show more respect for science.” Do you not have an Uncle Frank or someone else in your life who would utter that same phrase except he might say people need to start showing more respect for Jesus?

Bruni trusts the claims that global weirding will yield food shortages and climate so drastically altered that people won’t be able to work or play outside. It’s almost like a vision of Hades that you would hear from an enthusiastic Sunday School teacher.

As Cab Calloway told Jake and Elwood, “You boys could use a little churching up.” The Church of…Science!

Incidentally, NDT may need to remind his flock to “stay calm” many times over the next two years. Many times.

* Start here and just keep scrolling for some of global warming / cooling / climate change’s greatest “final countdowns.”

The Rise of the John Birch Left

November 6th, 2014 - 3:23 pm

The John Birch Society was founded in 1958 by businessman Robert Welch, and named after a Christian missionary shot by Communist forces in China in 1945, whom Welch named as the first casualty of the Cold War. The Birchers’ core principles, that Communism is evil, its expansion needed to be stopped, and that communists had infiltrated American government (see also: Hiss, Alger) were laudable. But the group’s zeal to defend them drove them to paranoid levels, to the point where the Birchers were accusing President Eisenhower of being a crypto-commie, leading to Russell Kirk’s hilarious rejoinder to the Birchers, “Ike’s not a communist, he’s a golfer!”

Not to mention all that business about fluoride in the water, which Dr. Stanley Kubrick and Terry Southern had loads of fun satirizing in Dr. Strangelove. All of which led William F. Buckley to banish the Birchers from the postwar conservative movement he was building, leaving them a marginalized fringe group. (They’re still around, and still coming up with zany conspiracy theories.)

The modern left is built around a trio of laudable principles: protecting the environment is good, racism is bad, and so is demonizing a person over his or her sexual preferences. (In the chapter of his book Intellectuals titled “The Flight from Reason,” Paul Johnson wrote that “At the end of the Second World War, there was a significant change in the predominant aim of secular intellectuals, a shift of emphasis from utopianism to hedonism.” ) But just as the Bircher right began to see communists everywhere, the new Bircher left sees racism, sexism, homophobia, and Koch Brothers everywhere.

They’re lurking around more corners than Gen. Ripper imagined there were commies lurking inside Burpelson Air Force Base. They’re inside your video games! They own NFL teams! They’ll steal your condoms! Disagree with President Obama? Racist! (That goes for you too, Bill, Hillary, and your Democratic supporters.) Not onboard for gender-neutral bathrooms? Not too thrilled with abortion-obsessed candidates like Wendy Davis and “Mark Uterus”? Sexist! Disagree with using global warming as a cudgel to usher in the brave new world of bankrupt coal companies and $10 a gallon gasoline? Climate denier!

And as with the original Birchers, don’t get ‘em started on fluoride.

The original Birchers weren’t bad people, but their Cold War paranoia got the better of them. Similarly, as Charles Krauthammer famously said, “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” which illustrates how a John Birch-style worldview can cause the modern leftists to take an equally cracked view of his fellow countrymen, to the point of writing off entire states and genders:

And historic racial progress:

Modern Bircherism perfectly defined.

The John Birch left? I think it’s a phrase whose time has come; let me know your take in the comments. I’ll be back after I have a drink of grain alcohol and rainwater, help yourself to whatever you’d like.

Exit Quote:

Hypocrisy Never Sleeps

October 14th, 2014 - 7:23 pm

“Neil Young: Forget ISIS, Fight Climate Change Instead,” as spotted by  Joel Pollak at Big Hollywood:

YOUNG: The things that we don’t know, you know, we can do little things to fight climate change. And yet our army and our armed forces are the biggest CO2 providers into the world, they just…it’s amazing. And yet we are fighting what? ISIS…

HOWARD STERN: What do you think about that?

YOUNG: …al-Qaeda. And we are fighting these wars against these organizations and their carbon footprint has got to be like 1% of our huge army and our navy and all of this stuff that have with all our big machines. We’re doing more damage to the earth with our wars.

If “we can do little things to fight climate change,” here’s a great place to start:

Neil has his own private P.A and a Yamaha mixer. He has a separate microphone that’s not connected to the house for each amp, and he can mix these to any level he wants. He mainly hears Deluxe, a lot of Baldwin, and very little Magnatone. Out front and on record, you can hear mostly Deluxe and Magnatone. Inside the big speaker cabinet to the audience’s right are 2 two-way Maryland Sound P.A. cabinets with 2 15s and a horn apiece. These cabinets have 2000 watts of biamped power, and gets turned excruciatingly loud. It just kills me to go out there-I just about get knocked over. And that’s what Neils hearing. This produces the feedback, and if we didn’t have that on, the sound wouldn’t be the same.

If the situation is so dire that it’s necessary to fight the weather rather than Islamofascist headchoppers, doesn’t Neil need to set the pace, retire from touring and shrink his own carbon footprint down to the smallest number possible? Perhaps order his record company to voluntarily stop printing his CDs, and withdrawing his mp3s from Amazon.com and iTunes? I would be more inclined to believe global warming is a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves, to coin an Insta-phrase.

Besides, didn’t we all see this movie before, a decade ago? “It’s a peculiar thing that as the threat of global terrorism reaches a crescendo, so apparently does the threat of global warming — at least that’s what some would have us believe…”

Space: The Totalitarian Frontier

October 13th, 2014 - 9:01 pm

Shot:

1. Star Trek (1966-1969). The original Star Trek takes place in a future where humanity has transcended all forms of warfare and cash transactions. The Starship Enterprise’s adventures throughout the galaxy are supposedly by the Federation’s “prime directive,” which forbids humans from intervening in the domestic affairs of the planets they visit.

And yet when he’s not engaging in zero-gravity sex with an endless procession of comely space aliens, Captain James T. Kirk is mucking around with every civilization from here to the Romulan Neutral Zone like LBJ on Viagra.

And let’s face it: The sequel series are just as rotten from a libertarian perspective.

“The 5 Most Anti-Libertarian TV Shows Ever!”, Meredith Bragg & Nick Gillespie, Reason.com, October 10, 2014.

Chaser:

Volkswagen wants people to think of its electric cars as futuristic, so it hired William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy to appear in this German language commercial. It shows a young and hardcore Trekkie getting the thrill of his life when William Shatner moves into his neighborhood.

“William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy Reunite in a Funny Volkswagen Commercial,” Neatorama.com, October 10, 2014.

Watching the Goalposts Being Moved

October 7th, 2014 - 6:50 pm

Shot:

Chaser:

Bay Area radio evangelist Harold Camping was properly excoriated throughout both the legacy media and the Blogosphere for his prediction that the world would end on May 21st, 2011. How many not-so-final countdowns are the gnostic high priests of climate allowed to issue before being similarly called out as false prophets?

Two MSNBCs In One!

October 7th, 2014 - 2:18 pm

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

“English miners celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death, while U.S. conservatives mourn.”

—Headline, MSNBC.com, September 13, 2013.

“Chris Hayes Envisions A World Where No One Has A Job Mining Coal.”

—Headline, the Washington Free Beacon, last night.

And given that Thatcher’s goal was to break the stranglehold that British Unions had (as Mark Steyn has noted) over the rest of the UK’s citizens, note who Hayes had his conversation with:

Hayes told United Mine Workers of America president Cecil Roberts that “in 50 years, no one should have a job mining coal, in the world.”

Roberts, who also serves as Vice President of The AFL-CIO, pushed back on Hayes’s comments, telling him to “accept science” just as Hayes wants him to “accept science” supporting climate change.

“You know and I know that’s not going to happen,” Roberts said. “Let’s talk about reality…do you really believe that in your lifetime, you’re a young man, that you’re going to see the day that China stops using coal or even cuts back on using? No, you’re going to be 85 years old, heading into 90 years old looking to be on that Smucker’s jar and China is going to be burning more coal than they are right now, and India is going to be burning huge amounts of coal.”

Hayes said if that happens “everyone’s screwed,” but offered no alternative to help combat climate change.

To bring this post full-circle, exit quote and video:

Related:Video: Top Grimes Donor: ‘She’s going to f**k ‘em when she gets elected.’” “He’s referring to coal workers and the coal industry,” Glenn Reynolds adds. Sounds like good news from Chris Hayes’ perspective — shouldn’t he be putting this clip into heavy rotation on his show?

More: Watching the Goalposts Being Moved.

In his take on the latest dissemblings by Neil deGrasse Tyson after being caught promulgating a quote never uttered by President Bush in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (when Bush was in full-on PC “Islam is peace” mode), Samuel James of the Patheos Website writes:

It’s difficult to understand why Tyson didn’t simply diffuse the situation via retraction and apology. I agree with The Washington Post’s Jonathan Adler that Tyson’s behavior puts his integrity on the line.

It’s frustrating to note the shortage of real public pressure on Tyson. [Left-leaning journalist--Ed] John Aziz, for example, grants that Tyson should correct the record, but then suspects that close attention on Tyson’s discrepancies is motivated by global warming denial. “[I]t should be said that none of Tyson’s errors amount to methodological or factual errors in published scientific papers,” Aziz writes. This may be true but it’s also completely irrelevant. Sean Davis’s investigation suggests that Tyson may have a considerable history of public fabulisms. Saying false things–and then doubling down on  your own brilliance when evidence of your mistake is raised–is an issue that affects the credibility of any person, scientist or no.

Aziz exemplifies here a troubling attitude that some, particularly on the Left, have towards scientific research. The notion that a fudged quotation here or a false statistic there don’t add up to a credibility problem for an accomplished scientist is valid only if one believes that scientific work is a completely closed realm of self-referential authority. That is, unfortunately, how some scientists have postured their discipline (consider Tyson’s extreme dismissiveness towards those studying philosophy). In a recent cover story for National Review, Charles Cooke noted that scientists seem of all professionals most encouraged to dispense authoritative knowledge on issues well outside their academic training. This bespeaks a change in the way society perceives what “scientist” means. Rather than a fallible observer who utilizes the scientific method to test hypotheses, the word now drums up images of a priest of culture dispensing quasi-religious wisdom to the ignorant masses. “It’s science” has become the new “it’s Gospel.”

“Dispensing authoritative knowledge on issues well outside their academic training,” you say? As Tom Wolfe has noted on numerous occasions, such as this interview 2006 interview with Bruce Cole of the National Endowment for the Humanities, that’s the very definition of being an intellectual:

Wolfe: I make a distinction between intellectuals and people of intellectual achievement.

Cole: Who are intellectuals?

Wolfe: An intellectual feeds on indignation and really can’t get by without it. The perfect example is Noam Chomsky. When Chomsky was merely the most exciting and most looked-to and in many ways, the most profound linguist in this country if not the world, he was never spoken of as an American intellectual. Here was a man of intellectual achievement. He was not considered an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, which he knew nothing about. Then he became one of America’s leading intellectuals. He remains one until this day, which finally has led to my definition of an intellectual: An intellectual is a person who is knowledgeable in one field but speaks out only in others.

This whole business was started unintentionally by my great idol, Émile Zola, in the Dreyfus case. Zola was an extremely popular novelist. A popular writer writing fiction had never been considered a person of any intellectual importance before, but in the Dreyfus case he and Anatole France and others who were trying to defend Dreyfus were singled out by Clemenceau as “the intellectuals.” The term had never been used that way before-meaning people who live by intellectual labor. That was Clemenceau’s term.

When Zola wrote his great manifesto, J’accuse . . .!, it appeared on the front page of a daily newspaper. All 300,000 copies of the newspaper were sold out by afternoon. Suddenly the world of writers and teachers and all of these intellectual laborers realized that it was possible for a mere scrivener to be called an intellectual and be considered an important person.

Zola, incidentally, was very knowledgeable about the Dreyfus case. He knew it as well as anybody, as well as any law clerk did. That part was lost later on; it was considered not necessary to go that deeply into anything. All that was required was indignation.

Marshall McLuhan once said that moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity. I think that’s quite true these days.

It also meant–the Zola example–that the intellectual is really above the government. It doesn’t mean he hates his country or even hates his government. It just means he looks down upon it from a great height, and he’s been raised to this height by indignation. Without it, it’s impossible to be an intellectual or to be taken seriously.

It caught hold here in the twenties and thirties, this idea of the intellectual who is above all the dim bulbs who actually govern.

Back off man, I’m an intellectual.

Update: Richard Feynman on “Cargo Cult Science.”

More: “I like Neil deGrasse Tyson. I’m sure he’s a nice, smart, interesting guy. His most ardent followers, however, are not. And, if his behavior over the past month is any indication, he’s been captured by them.”