Category Archives: climate

We Know Better, Part 5: Clarity in our Communication

In this era of inversion and perversion of knowledge and morality, we are watching the triumph of solipsism (I invent my own world) and subjectivism (everything is relative – except my right to feel good) over empirical observation and rational reflection. One moment we are told to “follow the science” and the next we are informed that the science is flawed (when it digresses from our chosen narrative or opinion).  Whether it is COVID policies, gender anarchy, political ideology, or moral reflection, we have chaos in the public square and cancellation of women and men deviating from particular elites’ norms.

A key reason for this confusion is alteration of the meaning of particular words and concepts. What was “understood” just a decade or two ago is now, “triggering” to some newly identified oppressed group.

The meaning of particular terms can change over time and common understandings do evolve. For example, “liberal(ism)” in the 18th and 19th centuries meant little government interference and affirmation of free markets. By the mod-20th century, new meanings were attached to this idea, with more government intervention a hallmark of this term. I am not being negative about this term, just making a point that words can change. Another example today is “democracy.” America is a constitutional republic with representative governance and democratic elements. We are not a pure democracy where a current 51% can run roughshod over the minority. Local and state governments still matter. Saying that the latest SCOTUS decision sending abortion back to the states is a, “threat to democracy” is a deceptive and ignorant word salad of monumental proportions. What happened was a decentralizing of authority and pro-choice adherents must now make their arguments in many locales. We actually have more democracy, not less here.

In today’s public square we now have insane new phrases such as “pregnant people” and “birthing people” in an attempt to normalize biological females that want to identify as men and still birth a child. Any disagreement with these manufactured terms is “violence” against the ½ of 1% trans community. Friends, the science is clear: with rare exceptions, all humans are born with XX or XY chromosomes…and no hormones or surgeries will change this. We should help everyone become whole and comfortable in their given bodies, not encourage confusion and mutilation.

Racial tensions are real and we still have work to do so all have access and opportunity to flourish. Progress is hindered by elites depriving underserved families of school choice and economic opportunities. Proponents of charter schools and vouchers, and entrepreneurial efforts are labeled racist even thought their work serves the neediest communities. There are a million African American families waiting for charter school opportunities. This perversion of language is also seen when Black conservatives are declared, “the Black face(s) of White Supremacy.” Such labeling prevents serious debates over principles and policies that actually lift people out of poverty and lead to racial reconciliation. “You ain’t Black” if you do not vote for one party is a perfect example of nonsense overcoming critical reflection. This convoluted thinking is now ruining education as words like, “objective truth” and “agency” and even answers in mathematics are labeled racist!

Climate change policies are destroying our economy and oppressing the poor and working classes – by design. The global elites are using a false apocalypse to gain more power and wealth and control everyday life. As mentioned in an essay above, we can continue improving our ecology without impoverishing hard working people. These policies also accelerate inflation and restrict real scientific creativity. Notice that “global warming” (which has been cooling off and on for two decades) is now “climate change” and the data is tightly controlled. Why? Because there is no imminent threat to our planet, and, without the cooperation of China, India and Russia, no progress is possible. American emissions are down considerably and our oil refining is 46% cleaner than anything from Russia. The cries for electric cars are hypocritical due to the lack of infrastructure, high price, use of slave labor in procuring rare earth minerals, and disdain for the working class.

Abortion in rare circumstances can be healthcare when a mother’s life in danger. Apart from this unusual moment, abortion is killing a human person and the vocabulary anarchy here is stunning. When asked about any limits to abortion (gestational age), pro-choice advocates revert to the doctor-patient relationship, even though Roe v. Wade was rooted in viability. These confused folks are advocating that crisis pregnancy centers be shuttered in the name of “real” healthcare. The inversion here is horrendous – there is much better healthcare offered by these centers than the abortion mills of Planned Parenthood that keep preventing any legislation demanding serious medical accountability. “Access” for pro-choice means abortions all the way to birth and allowing a live baby who survives this horror to die if not wanted.

Words matter. Humans are male or female. Democracy is good – and representative governance that is local is better that the Washington, D.C. Leviathan. “Birthing persons and “pregnant people” are adult biological females. “Cisgendered” means a normal man or woman. “Green” policies are an excuse for bureaucrats accumulating power. It is time for clarity and ending the intentional confusion of Orwellian elites. “African American” and “Hispanic-Latino” identities are not confined to one political ideology.

Let’s restore sanity and true debate.

We Know Better, Part 3: A Sustainable Energy Future

Humankind is wildly and wonderfully inventive. From harnessing fire to cook our proteins to replacing foraging with farming, we historically keep developing ways to enhance our lives. From indoor plumbing to access to transportation, from electricity to the internet, we continually elevate our access to goods and services. In the last seven decades, abject poverty in our world has declined from 40% to 15% of the global population.

In the area of energy, the last three centuries have been amazing. From steam to coal to oil and gas, from geothermal and natural gas to nuclear and solar power, we keep inventing new ways to give more people access to affordable energy.

Development has its price, and we have had to work hard to clean up the ecosystems we damage with our progress. We all know about environmental disasters, from Three Mile Island to Love Canal, Chernobyl to Great Lakes pollution. For many sensitive to environmental concerns, these and other moments are a call for drastic action and the immediate end to fossil fuels. Add to this the apocalyptic language of climate change advocates and the stage is set for increased coercive national and international power to regulate energy and compel change.

What this history is lacking is the positive contributions of free markets and scientific progress to a cleaner future without massive transfers of wealth impoverishing the working and middle classes. All the policies of the UN, Davos, and a variety of non-binding agreements call for massive bureaucracies and wealth transfers that have no guarantee of any improvements in global temperatures. The price tag and Leviathan controls keep increasing. Several UN officials have admitted that even if all nations signed on to the Paris Accords and take drastic action, that the impact would be negligible. All officials affirm the real goal – wealth concentration and transfer that impoverished the middle class in the West as well as developing economies globally.

The current Administration has deliberately moved the USA from energy independence to skyrocketing prices and programs costing trillions in inefficient green technologies. What is never highlighted in most media are the tremendous quantum leaps in lowering emissions, increasing efficiency, and the research into true alternatives to fossil fuels. European nations have refired coal plants to power electric cars. Nuclear energy sustains much of Western Europe. The rare minerals and slave labor employed for batteries is not part of the narrative. We CAN recycle plastics better, make current fuels cleaner, AND develop new technologies.

The same people telling us to drive expensive electric vehicles buy their organic produce in local markets, with their arugula transported from family farms in diesel trucks. Line-caught salmon and tuna come to our shores in boats using regular fuel. Celebrities take private jets to lecture the masses about conforming to global governance. We can do better.

The way forward is not the “Good old days” of gas guzzlers and no environmental standards. We have come too far for that. We must refine current energy sources while we develop cost-effective new ones. Free markets must lead the way, not inefficient federal agencies. We need new oil and gas leases properly administrated. We need to commend Israel’s ability to supply energy to Europe without hindrance and favoritism to an aggressive Russian empire. Reasonable incentives for cleanliness and efficiency are helpful, but current draconian laws in California and elsewhere will only continue shrinking the working and middle classes.

This both/and prudential approach is what most people favor, except for the political and technological elites that believe they are the smart ones and should tell “the people” what they really need. We must shrink federal and global bureaucracies, and have more local and regional governance. We can improve our ecosystems while expanding economic opportunity, if we have courage and wisdom empowering creativity and innovation through free markets.

The Path Forward, Part One: Seeking and Telling the Truth

“Everything is political.” “Knowledge is merely a power struggle.” ‘My job as a journalist is to tell my truth.” “Objectivity and seeing things from both sides are overrated notions.” “Hate speech is anything we hate.” These are just a few of the observations of that reveal our current crisis of knowledge and further deepen cultural and political divisions across the globe and in the USA.

In our data-saturated and wisdom-deficient age, the very notion of objective truth is questioned, with particular “narratives” gaining prominence over exploration of evidence, critical thinking, and continual modification of understanding. Humility demands that we are tentative about final conclusions of many matters, but this does not mean utter agnosticism or an absence of relative certainty.

Along with profound public contention, this subjective view of truth leads to devastating personal and social consequences. First, we are paralyzed by self-deception and unable to tell the truth to ourselves, lest our carefully-crafted, protective “safe space” be shattered by the laser-light of reality. We adopt (even unconsciously) feigned humility and smug confidence utterly unjustified by any empirical facts or rational reflection. “My opinion is just as good as yours!” is the petulant cry of infantile thinking, not an invitation to debate as maturing adults.

A second consequence of this subjectivity and solipsistic mindset is that we no longer voice our ideas to each other, with a view toward civil debate and growing in wisdom. We are quick to cancel, slow to listen, and hastily place people in categories that allow us to avoid hearing their thoughts. We assume way too much, instead of looking for common ground, nuance, and potential refinement of our own ideas. For example, in the (often simplistic) debates between capitalism and socialism, caricatures abound and reality is tossed out the window. Most thoughtful women and men do not want a return to Maoism or Stalinism (though it is surprising how many will exchange freedom for security!). Free-market thinkers do understand that personal and social ethics are at the heart of the confidence and trust needed for free exchange and opportunity. The Scandinavian nations are capitalistic with a large safety net (and rather small, homogenous populations), and have been cutting back on the size of government for a decade or more. We need economic debates – without the labeling and libeling.

A third consequence is building public policy on insufficient information. Partisan loyalty is prized over careful stewardship of public resources, and immediate power gains take priority over long-term fiscal and social consequences. For example, better stewardship of the environment is the right direction, but the apocalyptic rhetoric is leading to policies devasting to the working classes and enriching to high-tech firms that will parrot the party line. The progress of the last several decades and the resistance of non-Western empires to any change is ignored in favor of “climate catastrophe.” Anyone not emotionally engaged in this crisis is deemed a “denier” – placing their views parallel to Holocaust denial! Research? It only matters if it furthers the narrative of massive wealth transfer. Criticism? You are destroying the earth. We can do better than this.

Looking forward, there are three positive dispositions and disciplines that are helpful. First, we can choose humility, courage, and love as our foundations for fruitful learning and discourse. If our motives are right, our minds are open, and we desire for all others the opportunities and wisdom we enjoy, the world is a better place. Second, we must – with kindness and patience – refuse all attempts at intimidation and state our convictions and ideas and allow them to germinate, be refined, and be either discarded or improved. Finally, we can consciously and consistently dialogue with women and men who see the world quite differently. Minds may not immediately change, but friendships can form, arenas of cooperation be discovered, and exemplary civil discourse can help set the tone for coming generations.

Let’s tell the truth to ourselves and others.