Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Diary of a Wasted Month – Part 1 – Introduction and Background

 (Neil’s Note: Four months ago, in July, I spent very nearly a whole month writing a 58-page response to a UK government consultation on “de-carbonizing transport.” As I suspected at the time, and has since become obvious, all the effort I put in was entirely futile. The so called “consultation” was never meant to be what it purported to be; it was merely a rubber-stamping exercise, and gave the politicians an excuse to bring forward yet further the timescale for banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars in the UK. This is typical of the politicians and bureaucrats, that have no interest at all in what the people they are supposed to be “serving” either think or want.

While I did publish the paper as a PDF on another site, I haven’t yet put it on my own blog in the more accessible HTML form. So, I have selected some of the most important chapters and sections, and will now publish them here, so readers can begin to grasp something of the magnitude of the fraud that is being committed against all good people in the UK. This is the first instalment).

1.    Introduction and Background

In this chapter, I will outline my case against the “zero carbon” agenda and policies derived from it. I’ll begin at the foundation, with the question “what are we here for?” My answer to that question is: to build and to spread civilization. Next, I’ll ask: what are reasonable expectations for us to have about how a modern, democratic government will behave towards us? Then, I’ll look at our enemies, that want to stop us doing what is natural to us. And specifically, at the green wreckers that want to force us back to a pre-industrial age. Finally, I’ll ask: How well is government, and the UK government in particular, living up to our reasonable expectations?

Building civilization

What are we here for? An age-old question. The traditional answer, often given by the religious, is that we are custodians of planet Earth. I can see where they’re coming from; but I think we’re far more than that. As I see this matter, the Earth’s resources – whether animal, vegetable, mineral, or of other kinds – are not there merely to be conserved. They are there for us to use wisely, in order to fulfil our potential; our human potential.

When I look back through history, I see an often-repeated pattern of human progress: the building of civilization. I look back to ancient Athens. I look back to Rome. I look back to the time, shortly after the first millennium, when – partly, perhaps, because of warmer weather due to what we now call the Mediaeval Warm Period – commerce started to grow across southern Europe. I look back to the Renaissance, to its re-discovery of the legacy of Greece and Rome, and to the voyages of discovery it set off. I look back to the Enlightenment, and to the new values it brought; I’ll discuss those in more detail in the next section. I look back to the civilized countries which were founded explicitly on those values, and in particular to the success of the American revolution.

I think of the Industrial Revolution, and the entrepreneurial spirit and great improvement in living standards which it brought. I think of the energy revolution, which has enabled us to keep warm in winter, and cool in summer. I think of the transport revolution, which has enabled us to travel, globally and locally, in comfort and at reasonable cost, where and when we want or need to. I think of the technology and computer revolution. I think of the communications revolution and the Internet. All these things have made us able to live in a more civilized way. So much so, that they have brought us close to the threshold of world-wide human civilization.

Thus, my answer to “What are we here for?” is: To build and to spread civilization. As individuals, living in just, honest civilization can enable each of us to develop our particular talents and creativity, to be the best we can be. And as a species, it can enable us to fulfil our human potential.

Reasonable expectations of government

Government is a necessary evil, wrote Tom Paine in his famous 1776 pamphlet “Common Sense.” I agree with him on both points. Governance is necessary in any civilized community. But if not constrained to behave within reasonable bounds, it becomes an evil; a drain on us, and a danger to us. So, I’ll ask: What standards of behaviour ought people in a modern democracy, such as the UK, reasonably be able to expect from those who govern them?

The modern idea of democracy has its roots in the Enlightenment of the late 17th and 18th centuries. What has since become the UK was the birthplace of the Enlightenment. Englishman John Locke, and his scientist friends such as Anglo-Irishman Robert Boyle, were followed by Scottish thinkers like David Hume and Adam Smith. As a result, Enlightenment ideas spread to the rest of Europe, and eventually to almost all of the world.

There are differing viewpoints on what the Enlightenment was, and what it did. But here is a list of some of its key values: The use of human reason, and the pursuit of science. Greater tolerance in religion. Freedom of thought and action. Natural rights, natural equality of all human beings, and human dignity. The idea that society exists for the individual, not the individual for society. Government for the benefit of, and with the consent of, the governed. The rule of law and justice. A desire for human progress, and a rational optimism for the future.

In any system based on these ideas, I think, you should expect government always to be reasonable towards the people it governs. You should expect it to be respectful of the facts in any matter. And you should expect government always to seek and to present the facts truthfully, accurately and honestly. And it should never present mere theories or hypotheses as if they were facts.

Moreover, you should expect government to serve the people, not to rule over them. You should expect it to act for the benefit of the governed, not for the benefit of particular vested interests or political factions. And you should expect it to act for the benefit of all the governed, that is every individual among them – real criminals excepted, of course. You should expect it to respect your rights and your dignity as a human being; provided, of course, that you behave as a human being. You should expect it to allow maximum freedom of action, thought and choice (economic, personal and social) for everyone, consistent with living in a civilized community. You should expect it to apply the same rules to everyone, including itself. You should expect it to refrain from picking winners and losers, except on the basis of how individuals behave. And you should expect it to look kindly on activities which improve human capabilities, convenience, comfort and happiness.

In a system that claims to be a democracy, I think you should expect government to keep to additional standards of good behaviour. Since those elected into power (whether you voted for them or not) are supposed to be your representatives, they ought to be on your side. They ought always to support the interests of the people they “represent” against encroachment by other political interests. For example, MPs in rural areas ought to champion the car as the best means of transport for people in their areas, even when it is pooh-poohed and threatened by the big-city slickers.

And if you’re an honest person, who always strives to act towards others in good faith, government must always act with integrity and in good faith towards you. You should be able to rely on everyone in government being truthful, honest and transparent towards you, and the rest of the public, at all times. You should expect this to apply also to anyone who is receiving taxpayers’ money. Bad faith towards the people ought to mean end of career for anyone in, or funded by, government. And beyond that, government should have procedures to prevent anyone in it, or funded by it, defrauding the people, or otherwise acting in bad faith towards the people.

Moreover, government and its agents must respect your human rights, and always follow due process of law. In particular, if government makes an accusation against you and threatens actions against your interests, it must allow you full procedural rights. Such as: A clear statement of the accusation. An objective and impartial tribunal to judge it. The right to speak up in your own defence; to call witnesses, including experts; and to have your side of the case heard in public. And the presumption of innocence, until the accusation has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Beyond this, government must never take any action that unjustly harms the governed. To this end, it must do honest, objective, accurate analyses of the costs and benefits of any proposed actions, and make them public. And it must never make costly commitments on behalf of the governed, without rigorous justification.

In particular, if someone’s actions cause an externality, such as pollution, the compensation they must pay to the victims must be fairly and objectively assessed, according to the social cost of the externality. That is, the total cost to all those affected by it. Moreover, their liability must be restricted to their particular proportion of it. And the compensation ought to be routed to the victims, in proportion to the damage each has suffered. Government should take out only as much as is necessary to support the assessment of perpetrators and victims, and the routing of the compensation.

And if it seems that a problem may require some people to make lifestyle sacrifices, then three things must happen first. One: good, true, clear, objective, quantitative reasons must be provided. Two: the need for sacrifice must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. And three: the amount of the sacrifice must be kept to the absolute minimum.

The enemies of civilization

But there are some among us, that don’t want us to advance our human civilization, to make it better and better.

Some of them, usually at the top of the social pyramid, are happy with the system as it is, and want to keep everything that way. These are often called “conservatives.” They fall into two main groups. The less virulent ones are merely selfish. They enjoy the pleasures of being at the top of the heap, but don’t have a strong desire to harm other people. More malign conservatives want to manipulate the system for their own benefit, and don’t care about the consequences to other people. The Tory landowners that schemed to make the Corn Laws in 1815 are an example.

Other enemies of civilization go further, and want to impose, by force if necessary, their particular vision of the world on as many people as they can. History shows that when these extremists get political power, the consequences are appalling. Think of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.

Even more extreme are those that want to reverse our human progress, and force us all back and down to an earlier age. Deep green environmentalists fall into this category. And I’m not surprised that their current targets for repression and eventual suppression are three of the areas where we have made the biggest advances in the last 200 years or so: industry, energy and transport.

Deep green environmentalists have been scheming for more than 50 years now, seeking to force on to the people of the West their tyrannical vision. For those of us who value earned prosperity, honesty, individual justice and freedom of choice, that vision is virulently opposed to our own. They hate the free market economy, and want to destroy our Western industrial societies. And they seek to suppress the individual human being, and his and her freedoms, independence and chances of happiness.

The core of their belief system seems to be that humans are not special; that we are mere animals, no better than any other species. And that the good of something they call the environment takes priority over the good of human beings. Indeed, extremists among them take the view that we should not be having any impact on this environment at all. You can’t get any viewpoint more extreme, or more conservative, than that! Of course, it also invites the reply: If you are mere animals, where do you get the right to tell us human beings what we should do?

They seek to implement their goals through corrupting governments. They worm themselves into positions of power, both direct and advisory. They inject their hateful ideology into what ought to be government for the benefit of the governed. They brook no opposition. They are undemocratic; they do not care about the wishes of the people. And when they achieve one goal, they simply re-group and go for something even more extreme.

Over the last 50 years or so, the environmentalists have become expert at lobbying politicians and governments, and at trumpeting and hyping (mostly untrue) scares and alarms. They have infiltrated government and universities. They permeate virtually all the mainstream political parties in the UK and in other Western democracies. And the mainstream media are, with only a very few exceptions, strongly on the alarmist side. It has become commonplace for those of us skeptical of the alarmist propaganda to be denied a voice, and labelled with nasty names like “flat earther” or “denier.” There are even moves afoot to classify what they call “climate change denialism” as a hate crime.

In many ways, the green movement is like a religion. And an extremely intolerant one, at that. If you disagree with their dogmas, or you don’t want to make any sacrifices for them, you’ll get branded a heretic or worse. If you are succeeding in attracting others to your skeptical views, they will probably try to “de-platform” you. Although they don’t use much physical violence (yet), there is a lot in common between the green extremists and ISIS in the Middle East.

They want to throw away the progress and betterment in our civilization, which we have made over two centuries. And they want to do it gladly. For me, the green wreckers, and the politicians and others that support their schemes, are traitors to human civilization. They deserve to be expelled from our civilization, and denied all its benefits.

How well has government performed?

So, how well have Western governments in general, and the UK government in particular, performed in dealing with environmental issues, and “climate change” in particular? How well have they measured up to our reasonable expectations of how democratic government should behave towards the governed?

My answer is: Atrociously. And in this pamphlet, I’ll give my evidence for that assertion.

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