This post is going to have to cover the latter half of Tuesday’s episode as well as all of Wednesday’s. The reason is, he discussed a paper put out by Bernie Sanders on climate change. I found the paper online here. Usually Jason gets it right and all that is left for me to do is a bit of elaboration. I don’t know what the weather is in Kansas, but down here in western Oklahoma we get hail. Great big hail at least once or twice a year. So, unless they’re going to give away solar panels, I won’t be getting one. Wind power might be a little better, but economically it’s the same as what Jason said, it doesn’t make sense. Maybe the day will come when it will only take 2 years to break even, at which point home owners will buy these alternative energy technologies, but right now it just doesn’t work.
My question for Jason is, if you are a climate change denier, where does this stuff come from? Is it something these people genuinely believe or is it just a ruse to wreck the economy and gain more control? The answer is obvious in regards to the college age tree hugger. I think they really believe there is a threat. But what about the people at the U.N.?
I’m not one for conspiracy theories that get into the CFR and the Knights of the Golden Circle and all of that, but it seems highly convenient that a threat like global warming would present itself so as to necessitate the government managing the economy on such a grand scale. Yes, I do believe we landed on the moon. No, I don’t believe that the Government blew up the World Trade Center. However, this one sort of has me thinking. If you’re wondering where this is coming from, it’s The Creature from Jekyll Island. I know enough about the Federal Reserve I can trust everything he says about it. But, when he goes into climate change, it seems like too big of a lie to try to sell to people all over the world. Then again there’s some saying, “The bigger the lie the easier it is to believe.” And, they are able to consolidate power now; they won’t be around to be called liars latter.
Here, we are at a point where the debate is closed on our side, and we’re just trying to figure out what they’re up to…
I’ll re-open the debate. 3/4 of the Earth’s surface never encounters the air. Of the 1/4 that does, only something like 3-5% is covered by human settlement. How can what is put into the air, which only touches 1/4 of the surface, affect the climate? I would be more concerned about changes in temperatures of the earth’s oceans, but I’ve never heard this mentioned at all. I do believe that forests need to be conserved, and whales and rhinos shouldn’t be hunted to extinction. It probably isn’t a good thing to leave your car running at the drive-in movies, and no, you shouldn’t litter (although Walter Block does defend it in his book that I mentioned yesterday). But, are any of these things going to kill the planet? I just don’t see how. I look at things skeptically and critically like Jason, but I’m also open-minded (not to say he isn’t, my guess is he’s researched it more than I have).
Then there are some comments about Trump and shutting down the internet, and about Google working on integrating software that will seek out and block hate speech. I appreciate Jason pointing out they have a right to do that, but we should still raise hell. This is one of those societal issues where, yes, they have a legal right to do it because it doesn’t aggress against others, but it’s not something that is demanded in the market in a free society. I can see it being a niche sort of thing; even then, there should be outrage.
This is where I would recommend a book to everyone who is literate in any language. It isn’t just one of the foundational works of libertarian thought and thus a must read, it is a book that’s been read by every important writer in the field of government, liberty, and economics since it was published nearly 150 years ago. It is, of course, “On Liberty” by J.S. Mill. You can read it free here. Now, I don’t want anyone to think they have to agree with it all, I don’t even think I agree with all of it, and J.S. Mill got a lot of stuff wrong, especially in his later life. But, if a person goes through life without reading this, it can safely be assumed he was a barbarian and probably a savage. On the other hand, maybe just lived under a rock or in a dictatorship where the book was banned.
It isn’t long, and in it he not only argues against government censorship, but also in favor of a liberal attitude towards all ideas, regardless of how moronic, false, or offensive they might be (actually I’m not sure literature being offensive was a big concern back then the way it is now, I haven’t read the book in years). Basically, he sees competing ideas as combatants. If your ideas are right, and they are stronger, they will eventually win out. That it is a sign of weakness to resort to censorship, or from a societal perspective to evade debate. Not to say you have to argue with every fool you meet, but they should have their forum and be able to get their ideas out there, after which they can be smashed. Mill was also a utilitarian and so his argument didn’t simply rest on standard libertarian principles. He said by engaging in debate, if he is wrong he may learn to be right. If he is silenced, or if no one will hear him, how can his mind be changed? Thus the more important the category of ideas, the more important it is to have a free exchange of ideas. A racist shouldn’t be silenced and ridiculed, he should be heard and then his arguments exploded. When people are unable to express their ideas with words, what other course does that leave them? Small children and babies can’t express their thoughts with words and they throw fits and break things. Adults turn to violence too.
Mill also raises the point that maybe, just maybe, you’re the one who is wrong and might learn a thing or two. Not in the case of racial superiority to be sure, but what about the death penalty, the NSA spy program, or the causes and ramifications of the Civil War?
Maybe we’re doubling back to Tuesday’s show a bit, but it seems like people on both sides act like they are the only ones who have thought about the issue and anyone on the other side is a stupid beast. The fact is they are mostly thoughtful people and have perhaps not seen the full scope of the issue, or have made a misstep in their line of reasoning from premises to conclusion. In any case, the answer is not to ban hate speech, shut down the internet, or yell at a professor.
Besides all that, when it comes to racists and sexists, wouldn’t you rather know who they are than not? The fact people can’t say it doesn’t mean they don’t think it. By the way, censorship doesn’t work, people still talk. The same way people still brewed beer under prohibition. The difference is, when there is censorship, either at the hands of government or at the hands of society, people talk in secret and the hearer doesn’t hear the counter argument. All he knows is what he hears is forbidden, so he isn’t able to talk over the idea with other people, and as he hears more from this thought criminal, he absorbs the idea for himself.
As a post-script, I finally got around to listening to the Tom Woods show from Tuesday, and he had a guest on. He talked about the Yale incident, and a few others at college campuses around the country. Really good stuff. I’ve also thought more about what I wrote, and I recoil from the conclusions that could be drawn, that men and women should have separate universities (though I never said that). But, I am absolutely convinced if a group of 20-year-old men went to their university president or administrator, which they would never do, and complained about their feelings being hurt, the university would not accommodate them, and would remind them that they are men and send them on their way. I also find it highly unlikely that women would act in such a way without men around, though I’m unable to articulate exactly why.