Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
What’s a “Political?”
Sunday, 23 September 2012
Review by Seneca at
Na hun opleiding en diverse bezoekjes aan de meest merkwaardige creaturen als 6 meter lange slangen, kerstbomen en eekhoorns wordt de oude Aarde gerevitaliseerd. Via een push & pull systeem worden mensen verplaatst naar een trainingfaciliteit (beam me up Scotty !), opgeleid en weer teruggestraald. Dan worden de bad guys opgepakt als dictators, oorloghitsers, machthebbers en bureaucraten. De wereld koerst naar meer vrijheid, welvaart, recht en vrede.
Going Galactic valt op door de vlotte stijl en positieve aanpak. Al wordt er hier en daar wat veel vergaderd en blijkt hiërarchie helaas ook galactisch te zijn. Het boek heeft ook een Nederlandse touch. In het team treffen we Cees uit Amsterdam die de projectgroep onder andere voorziet van bier en dames uit het Red Light district.
Er wordt teruggegrepen op religie, mythes en sagen in een moderne setting. Het rapturethema doemt bijvoorbeeld op bij het laten verdwijnen van mensen. De situatiebeschrijvingen doen af en toe denken aan Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code) maar grondig is het wel.
Al met al een prettig leesbaar, humorvolle en creatieve toekomstroman waarin dit keer – voor de verandering – het Goede het Kwade overwint !
Going Galactic is verkrijgbaar in het Engels via o.a. Amazon en Blackwell’s.
After their preparation, and encounters with notable creatures – such as 6 metre long snakes, Christmas trees and squirrels – the Earth is re-vitalized. Via Pushing and Pulling (beam me up, Scotty!), people are brought to a place of education, trained and sent back. Then the bad guys – like dictators, warmongers, rulers and bureaucrats – are arrested. The world moves towards more freedom, wealth, justice and peace.
Going Galactic, in a smooth style, takes a positive approach. Though here and there, unfortunately, there do appear to be hierarchies in the Galaxy. The book also has Dutch interest. In the team we find Cees from Amsterdam, who, among much else, brings to the project beer and ladies from the red-light district.
There are backward looks to religion, myths and sagas in a modern setting. The “rapture” theme is present, for example in the disappearance of people who are Pulled. The narrative now and then makes you think of Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code); but this book is radical.
All in all, a pleasant read, and a humorous and creative first novel, in which – for a change! – good wins over evil.
Sunday, 16 September 2012
Look, warmists, you’ve put yourselves – and everyone else, too - in a pretty pickle.
You have made accusations against human civilization – and, by implication, against all of us in it. You accuse us of causing, through emissions of greenhouse gases and in particular carbon dioxide, a catastrophic, irreversible change in the global climate, both presently and in the future. You make out that our civilization and our economy are not sustainable. And, presuming us guilty without trial, you promote harsh political action to stop our use of fossil fuels, and to curb our freedoms both personal and economic.
We realists, on the other hand, look at the facts. That is what realists do. We do not see anything out of the ordinary in recent global climate. We do not know of any hard evidence that raising carbon dioxide to even, say, twice its present level would, overall, damage the planet – in fact, we suspect the opposite may be true. But we do see evidence that if honest, productive people everywhere in the world are to have the chance to lift themselves out of poverty and up to the standard of living they deserve, wise use of fossil fuels will be essential.
The way you warmists have behaved also irks us realists. “Scientists” on your side have been dishonest. You have told us “the science is settled,” when it wasn’t and it isn’t. You have spouted propaganda and scares for over 20 years – yet the scares haven’t actually come to pass. You have called us nasty names like “deniers,” and have suggested that we are mentally ill. You have perverted the true precautionary principle – “look before you leap” – into bureaucratic gobbledygook, whose effect is completely the opposite. You have presumed us and our civilization guilty, without allowing us a fair and public trial. You have done your best to suppress the voices of those experts who are able to speak up for us.
You are hypocrites, too. Al Gore warns of huge sea level rises, but buys beachfront property. You tell us that driving in cars and flying in planes are bad for the planet; but you don’t stop doing these things yourselves. Indeed, warmist politicians, bureaucrats and academics fly, at our expense, to places like Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban, where they enjoy jolly gabfests about “saving the planet.”
The dispute between warmists and realists seems to be at an impasse. So, in the same spirit as Jonathan Swift, I offer this modest proposal to help resolve the problem. I propose that we do some science – some real science. I propose that we do an experiment.
My experiment aims to answer two key questions in the global warming dispute:
(1) Does more carbon dioxide actually cause significant global warming – not in theory, not in models, but in the real world?
(2) Is a green economy without fossil fuels, as touted by the warmists, actually sustainable?
Here's my proposed experiment. We will divide the world into two zones, the Realist Zone and the Warmist Zone. The zones will be sealed off from each other with borders which no-one can cross, to ensure that the two economies are independent.
In the Realist Zone, there will be no restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions. In the Warmist Zone, there will be zero-net-emissions restrictions. The experiment will measure temperatures over - say - forty years. It will also measure the economic success of each zone.
Once we know the boundaries of each zone, we will be able, before the experiment begins, to predict its climatic outcome. For if – say – half the world population were in each zone, that would mean an immediate, sizeable reduction in emissions when the experiment begins. Then, if climate scientists actually know how the climate works, they can estimate how much cooling (or warming) should take place, both (a) if more carbon dioxide actually does cause significant warming in the real world, and (b) if it doesn’t. With luck, they might even reach “consensus” on the two estimates.
We will also, of course, be able to predict the economic outcome of the experiment. And it could be amusing, too. For all their talk about sustainability, one thing the warmists haven't proved is that a green economy actually is sustainable in the real world. In other words, that an economy restricted by bureaucratic and anti-fossil-fuel regulations doesn't inexorably slide down into poverty and starvation. Well, this is their chance!
How could we divide the world into these two zones, without violating the rights of innocent people? That, I think, is easy. Let the inhabitants of each country decide, in their own way, which zone they want to be part of. In democratic countries, that will be by referendum. In absolute monarchies and dictatorships, by edict of the king or dictator. In each place, by whatever means they find appropriate. Then, for a period of - say – five years, open all borders. Let those in countries which go Warmist, who don't believe the warmist hype, leave for the Realist Zone. And let those in realist countries, who support the global warming agenda, move to the Warmist Zone.
In fact, we must go further than that. If any promoter, supporter or enforcer of the global warming agenda refuses to go to the Warmist Zone, that means they wanted to impose on others policies which they aren't willing to have imposed on themselves. Such hypocrites cannot be tolerated in civilized society. “Scientists” that faked data or methodology to try to promote warmism; warmist propagandists and campaigners; politicians that bought into the warmist agenda (and, in Europe at least, that is almost all of them); bureaucrats that wanted to use the agenda to increase their power. If they won't go voluntarily, all must be expelled from the Realist Zone.
The warmists, of course, will have the same right, to expel from their zone those who don't support the global warming agenda. But I don't think there will be many – honest, productive human beings won't want to be trapped in the Warmist Zone, so they will have left already.
Then we seal the borders of the Warmist enclaves, and start the experiment. It will run for forty years. But if one molecule more of carbon dioxide comes out of the Warmist Zone than goes in, the forty-year period re-starts right there.
It's fun to speculate which parts of the world might actually go Warmist. I can't imagine the Canadians or the Russians, both of whom would benefit significantly from a warmer world if it did happen, going anything but Realist. Nor the Indians nor the Chinese, neither. Nor can I imagine the Middle Eastern oil producers wanting to give up selling their black gold. Nor most Americans wanting to give up their cars and their air-conditioning. In fact, I don't think there are too many honest people, even in Europe, who if they found themselves actually having to decide between Realist and Warmist zones, would pick the Warmist.
It’s even possible that not a single country in the world would go Warmist. I do like to think, however, that North Korea might go Warmist, particularly if we grease their palms to do so. Wouldn’t it be fun, packing off the politicians to Pyongyang? Failing that, our best bet would probably be to move the Greenlanders – there are less than 60,000 of them – and let the warmists have Greenland. They like cold, don’t they?
It's also fun to speculate about the economy in the Warmist Zone. I personally doubt that a warmist economy could last five years, let alone forty. An economy composed of politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and other politicized no-goods won't be very dynamic or productive, will it? Not having affordable energy won’t help them, either.
And where will the entrepreneurs be? The engineers? The creative, productive brain-workers? The honest, non-subsidy-craving farmers? The dynamic, honest working people? You've guessed it - all these people will be plying their trades in the Realist Zone.
And we in the Realist Zone won't do anything to help the warmists. It's entirely their own fault. If they wanted us to feel any concern for them, they shouldn't have supported political policies designed to harm us.
Of course, if the warmists do survive their forty years in the wilderness, or if bad things befall the planet in the meantime, we may need to re-integrate them. Well, that’s something I’m happy to leave to future generations.
There is an additional benefit to my proposal. The five years without borders will, I hope, help to counter nationalism and all the stupid politics and wars that flow from it. As well as encouraging peaceful contact between people of different races, cultures and religions. Once liberated from borders and politics, I don’t think people in the Realist Zone will want to go back to them.
And unlike Jonathan Swift, I don’t propose to harm Irish children. Unless, of course, the Irish go Warmist! But judging by the Irish people I have known, I think that unlikely.
Well, there’s my modest, realist proposal. Is it a deal, warmists?
Monday, 20 August 2012
Thursday, 26 July 2012
This criticism is justified. Re-reading chapter 1 of the book, I find that my coily friend Professor Bart Vorsprong did indeed make himself less clear in this matter than he usually is. He was clear, indeed, about what he meant by the “political model” (p.2):
“The political model involves the acquisition, by a relative few, of power over the many, and its maintenance by means of violence, fear and deceit.”
He also used the terms “political sub-species” and “politicals”. By these, he meant “users of the political model.” But he was not entirely clear which kinds of individuals he included under those terms.
I have pointed out to the good Professor his small omission. And, should there be an electronic edition of my novel, he has undertaken to provide for it an expanded section of his report, which will rectify the fault.
In the meantime, I will try to clarify here just what I mean by “politicals.”
My use of this term has its roots in an idea of the German thinker Franz Oppenheimer. In his book The State, first published in 1908, he said:
“I propose in the following discussion to call one's own labor and the equivalent exchange of one's own labor for the labor of others, the ‘economic means’ for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the ‘political means.’“
I make a similar distinction between politics and economics in my novel (p. 254):
“At a higher level of thinking, people began to see politics for what it was – an outdated way of dealing with others, based on nothing better than violence, dishonesty and intimidation. They came to compare and contrast it with the way of dealing with others, which is natural to human beings – economics. A way based on being a value to others, and trading with them in an environment of peace, honesty and justice.”
So, who (or what) are the politicals? Simply put, they are those that use Oppenheimer’s “political means” in their behaviour towards others, rather than the “economic means.” In other words, they take wealth from people who earn it, without offering anything those people want in return. And many of them use the proceeds to damage the lives of their victims, not just in terms of money, but by damaging rights and freedoms as well.
There’s a very obvious class of politicals, which my former teacher rightly pointed out – the bankers. For decades, the bankers have gambled with our money. As long as they won, they pocketed the profits. But as soon as they lost, they sucked up to the politicians to make us pay to bail them out. I did call the bankers out in my book as being “politically rich” (p. 242), but I think I was unduly kind.
Some other politicals are in it mostly for the money, too. Many bureaucrats, for example. Or the landowners that take subsidies for wind farms, which (as is well known to those who have looked at the practicalities of wind power) can never work as a primary power source.
Any subsidy-craving “business,” indeed, is not a true business, but a political sham. The same applies to “businesses” that go running to the politicians to get themselves lucrative monopolies, or to disadvantage their competitors.
Many politicals, though, want more than just money. They want power. They want to be able to impose their particular world-view (deep environmentalism, for example) on others. To this end, they love to spread fear and false guilt. The media, many academics and some teachers fall into this category.
But some go further yet. They actively want to hurt the people they don’t like. And they want to be able to get away with their crimes. In short, these politicals set themselves up, without any moral justification, as if they were superior to ordinary people.
All that being said, however, the politicians do deserve a lot of the blame. For they are the ones that make the unnecessary and immoral wars, the arbitrary and crippling taxes, the oppressive and unjust laws. They are the ones that publicly and persistently pollute our environment with lies and hypocrisy. They are the visible tip of the political iceberg. It’s true, of course, that not all individual politicians are actively evil; but, considered as a group, they might as well be.
Now, consider the distinction Oppenheimer made. Think about the difference between the political and economic ways of doing things. It should quickly become clear that the politicals are not at all superior to the good, ordinary people who live by the economic means.
Indeed, those that use the political means are morally far inferior to peaceful, honest, productive people. They are worse than mere criminals. They do not deserve any respect or sympathy; rather, what they deserve is contempt and loathing.
I hope that I have now clarified what I mean by “politicals,” and given a sense of why we human beings should reject them. That sense – part of what I call in the novel “the Personal Transition”- is, I think, beginning to spread through the population now, as the politicals find it harder and harder to disguise what they are.
So, I will end with a quote from my novel (p. 255), on how we will deal with the politicals when the tipping point comes:
“And there grew in the minds of good people a demand to bring the politicals to justice. All those that had taken an active part in politics deserved to be thoroughly investigated, scrutinized and judged as individuals. And those – whether politicians, lobbyists, bullying bureaucrats or officials, media, corrupt corporate bosses or other vested interests – that were found to have used political ruses to harm good people, or to profit at the expense of good people, deserved to be made to compensate their victims, and to be treated as the criminals they were. It was now their turn to feel fear and guilt.”
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Wednesday, 9 May 2012
This site is a work in progress. I do plan, eventually, to write a sequel to “Going Galactic” – but don’t hold your breath! And I may also put some of my more “serious” writings online here.
I will try to publish and to respond to all polite and relevant questions or suggestions. But again, please don’t hold your breath, as I only plan to moderate (at most) once a day.