Friday, May 06, 2011

Bleeding Brain Conservatism and the Human Margin

I much prefer "bleeding brain" to "compassionate" conservatism, the reason being that conservatism is already the height of compassion, at least if we examine results (which are objective and measurable) and not just good intentions (which are entirely subjective). Just look at India and China, where a billion or so people have been lifted out of poverty as a result of putting a brake on socialist compassion and inching toward the free market.

It is always possible to have boundless compassion, but only if one is a liberal. The moment we are dealing with the real world, compassion is not only bounded -- because scarce resources with alternative uses is a price of existence -- but fraught with unintended consequences.

To be a man means to have an envy-haunted imagination, which means that there is never enough stuff for anyone. This is proved by the fact that two-thirds of Americans go to bed hungry and fat. Or that half of them insist that the state isn't big enough. Or that my child is bored by Christmas afternoon.

If we consider only intent, then quite naturally pretty much everything is compassionate, from socialized medicine to the Islamic Jihad to purchasing another toy with which my son will be bored in five minutes.

I will stipulate that the majority of people who wish to impose state controlled healthcare believe they have my best interests at heart. But so too do the Islamic barbarians who wish to impose on us a Caliphate worse than death.

So everyone -- liberal and conservative alike -- should be able to agree that compassion as such, unleavened by deep and sophisticated thought, is a childish thing. Which doesn't necessarily make it a bad thing -- indeed, it is clearly a good -- if limited to the micro realm in which it evolved, i.e., to family and friends.

But if we try to systematically translate it to the macro realm, then trouble is in store (there are exceptions of course, eg. large scale and unforeseeable disasters).

"Love thy neighbor" is one thing. But to imagine it is possible to love 300 million strangers if only we can extract sufficient taxes is lunacy. The philosophists behind the French Revolution loved everyone, as did Marx and Lenin. America's founders, not so much.

Besides, the government doesn't love. Rather, as our Founders recognized, governments have powers and that is all. That being the case, they decided to create a government with clearly defined and strictly limited powers. This means that there are certain things it is forbidden to do, no matter how "compassionate" its vulgar representatives.

Conversely, a monarch -- or religious leader, for that matter -- can be guided by malevolence, or compassion, or any other emotion. There is no limit to feelings.

This preramble has been brought to you by our sponsor, Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, which I read last weekend. There's not much in it that a libertarian or (classical liberal) conservative won't already know, but there is quite a bit that the religious believer might not.

As a result, a religious conservative might well have some residue of cognitive dissonance in enthusiastically embracing capitalism, since we are often told that there is something incompatible between the two. The purpose of this book is to disabuse us of any such notion, and to demonstrate that free markets are the only cosmically correct economic arrangement for the thinking Christian.

A key principle is evolution. All of the major religions were born and developed in static and unevolving cultures. Thus, certain doctrines will apply only to this specific type of culture.

Put it this way: limiting our discussion to Christianty, it has certain core principles that of course transcend history and culture. But certain other aspects are worked out at what Schuon calls the "human margin," and are not necessarily eternal. They are inspired and "sanctified," but cannot be applied universally when conditions undergo a fundamental change.

This is just common sense. We all know that lying is bad, but not if you lie to the Nazi who wants to know where Ms. Frank is hiding. Is this hypocrisy or inconsistency? Hardly.

"Divine influence is total only for the Scriptures and for the essential consequences of the Revelation"; but this "always leaves a 'human margin,'" where the revelation "exerts no more than an indirect action, letting ethnic or cultural factors speak" (Schuon).

It is generally the transitional area where certain exoteric pieties and practices emerge and crystalize, but again, these conventions can be counterproductive when terrestrial conditions change. A most obvious example is envy, which served a purpose under conditions of band-level organization, but is extremely counter-productive in the contemporary world.

The human margin is what allows the universal revelation to be tailored to this or that group. Most people are not esoterists, and therefore require the human margin as a point of entry into the divine.

As Schuon explains, if this were not the case, then "there would be no theological elaborations, nor would there be any divergences in orthodoxy, and the first Father of the Church would have written one single theological treatise which would have been exhaustive and definitive." There would have been no need for an Eckhart, an Aquinas, a Balthasar, and a host of other religious geniuses.

Schuon makes the subtle point that there are "men who are inspired by the Holy Spirit because and to the extent that they are Saints," but "others who are Saints because and to the extent that they are inspired by the Holy Spirit."

To put it another way, these two may be visualized as:


and



But in the overall scheme of cosmic recycling, these two movements break out into time and person and back into God and eternity in one deuscontinuous mattercycle ride (according to metaphysicians as diverse as Aquinas, Eckhart, and Maximus the Confessor).

In my opinion, nearly all of the traditional objections to capitalism were and are at the human margin. A quintessential example is the injunction against the charging of interest, which Richards deals with in chapter six.

The very concept of "interest" meant something entirely different in a static agrarian culture in which a handful of oligarchs ruled over a vast majority of subsistence farmers, who mostly bartered with neighbors and kin. No one had the slightest notion of a fluid and dynamic economy in which money is abstract, immaterial, fertile, and a key to unleashing human creativity, growth, and efficient allocation of resources.

In order to understand something at the human margin, we must try to apprehend the principle it embodies. Just as you wouldn't loan money to your wife or child at usurious rates of interest, it would have been wrong for, say, a wealthy nobleman in medieval times to trap peasants into a cycle of debt they could never repay.

This is still wrong today, which is why it was wrong for Jimmy Carter to ever sign the Community Reinvestment Act into law, and why it was wrong for private actors to exploit reckless or irresponsible borrowers through subprime loans. But we cannot generalize from this to say that "interest is bad." One can never condemn anything on the basis of consequences that flow from its misuse.

As Richards writes, "What's interesting about the Christian West is not that it once condemned all charging of interest, but that it eventually learned to make careful distinctions and develop vibrant, wealth-creating capitalist economies with sophisticated banking systems."

He quotes another scholar, who writes that "The scholastic theory of usury is an embryonic theory of economics. Indeed, it is the first attempt at a science of economics known to the West."

In other words, Christians began using their heads and not just their hearts to think economically.

Just as we shouldn't look to scripture to tell us about the laws of physics, nor should we expect it to reveal the laws of economics. But it reveals much about the purpose of physics and of economics. Which, oddly enough, converge upon the same Attractor.

104 Comments:

Blogger ge said...

0 C

5/06/2011 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Isn't moral relativism a form of the application of the human margin to *everything*?

5/06/2011 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Bob says:

"Just as we shouldn't look to scripture to tell us about the laws of physics, nor should we expect it to reveal the laws of economics."

Gary North tried this with respect to economics.

See his massive economic commentary on the Bible.

5/06/2011 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm sure it's an epic fail. To imagine that Economics is purely deductive is the error of the left.

5/06/2011 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Also, as a side note, there are real problems when you get into the world of modern medicine and economics.

Price fixing in medicine world has gone on for decades. We've got a truly bizarre private/socilaist system here in the United States.

Lots and lots of weird distortions.

I don't think we *have* a good economic theory for health care.

5/06/2011 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I disagree. The problem is that with government interference and other distortions, it is impossible to know the actual price of anything. In the absence of prices, the economy degenerates into irrationality,

5/06/2011 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

There's just the issue that healthcare isn't a commodity in the same way that iron ore is a commodity.

For example, you have issues of public health because of the nature of pathogens.

You have the entire guild system protecting the financial interests of medical practitioners on one end and someone gets billed $100,000 for emergency care on the other end, care to which they could never have consented, because they were unconsious.

However, what we have now is quite unstable.

The government interfernece will either become basically total or we will go back to pay for play.

5/06/2011 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Important post (again) which is to say, GreatTM!

Bob said,
"A quintessential example is the injunction against the charging of interest, which Richards deals with in chapter six."

Haven't read Richard's book but, if we're thinking of the same scriptural reference, then I agree with this as well:

"The very concept of "interest" meant something entirely different..."

As usual I can't remember where I read it, maybe "The Parables of Our Lord", but the take-away was that interest was bad "when" it was demanded in exchange for no added value (doing nothing) and knowing it.

5/06/2011 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Rick says:

""The Parables of Our Lord", but the take-away was that interest was bad "when" it was demanded in exchange for no added value (doing nothing) and knowing it."

I lend to banks and corporations in exchange for no added value and I know it.

I'm just throwing money at them in hopes I get more money.

This is how 401(k) systems work.

5/06/2011 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You wouldn't feel that way if you had Real values.

5/06/2011 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

My stunning 0% return for the past five years means that I'm not getting Real returns, either.

5/06/2011 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The problem with the cost of health care started with Medicare and Medicaid. I used to supply data to a bureaucracy known as the "state health planning and development agency" whose job it was to limit the cost of Medicare and Medicaid by limiting the number of hospital beds and medical equipment available to a given population. That's worked out really well.

5/06/2011 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In my opinion, nearly all of the traditional objections to capitalism were and are at the human margin.

I'm also reminded of those believers who refuse all medical care, and whose response to every problem whether a scrape on the knee or life-threatening illness is to anoint the afflicted's forehead with olive oil. As I understand it, their method is about as effective as one would think, but presumably they're okay with that because everything is in God's hands.

There is a part of me that wants to admire that level of absolute and necessarily childlike faith. Mostly, though, I can only look at the advances in medical care and acknowledge that they are a good thing; rejecting them as they do is rejecting a great many blessings.

5/06/2011 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

But back to the main point, the best thing we could do for the practice of medicine in this country is keep the government out of it as much as possible.

5/06/2011 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

An odd coincidence that combines the last two posts. Two people just appeared on my doorstep inviting me to a lecture that promises to tell me whether the Bible has answers to the Problems of Today.

5/06/2011 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Who is compassionate, the mother who only gives the kids snacks on Saturday, or the grandmother who gives them chocolate and soda every day?

(This seems to be a problem here in Norway, from a recent report.)

I have no doubt about who the kids think is the compassionate one. I suspect religion is frequently a lot like this too.

5/06/2011 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Just to be clear,
"or I breaka you legs" is also not "added value".

5/06/2011 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Wait a minute, now, Magnus. As a grandparent it is my sworn duty to fill the grandkids full of chocolate and soda.

5/06/2011 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

End-state multicultism. England is doomed.

5/06/2011 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Osama = Obama
Bi[n La]den = Biden

= not wierd at all

5/06/2011 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"I much prefer "bleeding brain" to "compassionate" conservatism, the reason being that conservatism is already the quintessence of compassion, at least if we examine results (which are objective and measurable) and not just good intentions (which are obviously not only subjective but located in the agent of compassion, not its recipient)."

So well put, especially the last, it's all about the dooer, not the dooee

5/06/2011 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

... Which leaves a lot of doo-doo all over the place

5/06/2011 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of questionable compassion, Nepalese UN Peacekeepers accidentally caused the death of 5,000 Haitians from cholera.

I'm picturing Cher from Clueless, sideswiping a bicyclist while taking her driver's test and obliviously squeaking "Oops! My bad..."

5/06/2011 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

As an aside, is anyone else having problems getting comments in their email? Sometimes they get through, sometimes they get through hours later, and sometimes they don't seem to come through at all.

5/06/2011 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said "There's just the issue that healthcare isn't a commodity in the same way that iron ore is a commodity."

Hmmm.

"There's just the issue that legalservice isn't a commodity in the same way that iron ore is a commodity."

I eagerly await your spotting the difference in economic terms.

"I lend to banks and corporations in exchange for no added value and I know it."

That you don't know the value of what you do is of no particular surprise, but like the child that closes and opens its eyes thinking he's turned the world on and off... just because you clearly and distinctly imagine it to be, doesn't make it so.

5/06/2011 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous njcommuter said...

Gee, I want to go off-topic ... but first something on-topic.

There are at least two serious challenges to market economics in modern medicine. The first isn't the market itself but our intellectual property laws that create a sharp discontinuity between the proprietary drug, which has to be priced to recover costs and pay investors in a very short time and the generic drug, which does neither, and does not reward innovation. I would like to see discussion of some intermediate realm in which the proprietary rights would be extended in exchange for licensing production to multiple manufacturers. The manufacturer would take a fixed (but decreasing) share of the wholesale price.

The second is the production of antibiotics which must be conserved--not used--except when older ones fail, until there are even newer replacements. Again the problem is intellectual property and recovery of investment, but the cause of the problem is rooted in nature.

Now, off-topic. Here's the teaser: Bio-digital JAZZ man!. This is from Tron Legacy which, I think, would offer B'ob some topics for discussion: earth-mother/sky-father (does Quorra have a navel) as well as individual vs. collective, the marvellous placement of the line You're messing with my Zen Thing, man and the presence of the numinous even in the realm of the merely artificial.

5/06/2011 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Consumer of Frangible Light said...

To be compassionate is to give people what they need (not want they want).

Knowing the difference is crucial.

Only the raccoon can be accurately compassionate, as this manimal can grok past appearances and spot the spiritual need at hand.

Peoples' problems are usually gifts given to them for solving so thay can advance. Most of the time you do not want to solve problems for people. Sometimes you need to give them a problem.

The default compassion position, if you don't know for sure what someone needs spiritually, is to do or say nothing, but send non-specific good vibes via silent prayer. One may take this position to all entities up to entire nations.

Organized compassion via government programs requires a raccoon authority leading them or they may go astray and give people what they want, not what they need, and that is bad.

As for economics I do not know. I have no opinion in that sphere.

5/06/2011 03:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Old Fart said...

If only you had no opinion in any other sphere...

5/06/2011 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

NJCommuter,
I would like to see discussion of some intermediate realm in which the proprietary rights would be extended in exchange for licensing production to multiple manufacturers. The manufacturer would take a fixed (but decreasing) share of the wholesale price.

I like that idea. Kind of like a copyright issue where the innovators can grant others the opportunity to use their ideas - they still get a reward for their innovations, but others can do the work of mass production.

Re. antibiotics, I'd like to see a lot fewer products on the market that contain triclosan, especially for things where plain old soap and water is just as effective. By adding it to everything, it's just going to be rendered useless or worse than useless that much faster. I'd also love to see more development with alternative products. For instance, there's an enzymatic solution I used for my dog's recurring ear problems. Insanely effective, over-the-counter, vastly superior to any prescription we tried (the anti-fungals were a complete waste of time); why isn't something this useful available for people? I'm guessing the approval process for human use is just too complicated for a small company to even bother.

5/06/2011 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

You're messing with my Zen Thing, man

Ha - please tell me Jeff bridges says that - it's so Dude!

5/06/2011 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous njcommuter said...

It is indeed Jeff Bridges, and it's got an angry (but restrained) tone. Most delightful is that the next thing he says is "Okay, we do it your way."

My review on Amazon is here. I botched one of the radio buttons, so it's listed as a kid's review, but I don't think you'll find many kids who could babble as coherently as I can.

5/06/2011 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Njcommuter said "I would like to see discussion of some intermediate realm in which the proprietary rights would be extended in exchange for licensing production to multiple manufacturers."

Is there anything which prevents those with the intellectual rights to the product from doing that now?

No (apart from more than a few regulations which would cast that as 'collusion', etc).

Is there anything which prevents you, govt, whatever, from forcing them to make what YOU find to be a 'reasonable' bargain?

Yes. Property Rights.

IOW, you prefer Might over Right, in favor of what you want others to be forced to do.

You can guess my opinion of that. I'm sure your intentions are good... but that well trodden path still leads to the same destination.

5/06/2011 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "...why isn't something this useful available for people? I'm guessing the approval process for human use is just too complicated for a small company to even bother."

You could say that. And a lot more,

"The FDA adds billions of dollars to the cost of developing new drugs and delays their use for years. Yet it is so obsessed with predicting exactly how each drug will perform for any patient--with any condition, in any dosage, for any length of time and in any combination with any other drug or combination of drugs in any dosage--that it often loses sight of safety. So a few years ago the FDA proposed the creation of a new "Drug Safety Board" to provide for drug safety. One would have thought that was the purpose of the whole agency."

5/06/2011 06:53:00 PM  
Anonymous njcommuter said...

Van, there is a good reason NOT to engage in that kind of licensing. The company that invented the drug would not get anything back.

My proposal is to double the term of the remaining patent in exchange for putting production in the hands of competing producers. The owner of the patent would get (say) 80% of the wholesale price in the first year, and 20% in the last year, with that fraction decreasing year by year in equal amounts.

This would slowly reduce the price, broadening the base of possible users of the drug, easing it from the patent regime into the generic regime. If you require, say, at least three producers, there will be enough competition to drive the production cost down and thus drive down the wholesale price--incrementally.

5/06/2011 07:46:00 PM  
Anonymous njcommuter said...

Oh, and if it wasn't clear, this bargain would NOT be forced on anyone. It would be an option for the patent owner.

5/06/2011 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Njcommuter said "... this bargain would NOT be forced on anyone. It would be an option for the patent owner. "

Ah, no, I didn't realize that, and of course that makes all the difference; if the parties involved think it makes sense, fantastic.

I think though, if you look into all the agencies and regulations involved, direct and implied, many of them far beyond the apparent involvement in the 'healthcare' biz, you'll find that the R&D & production costs are only a fraction of the variables which make up the pricing of drugs in our market.

5/06/2011 08:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Xcrambled Eggs said...

Here in our city MJ is now sold in about 120 little shops, causing a price war to erupt.

Still and all I see pricing of $250 per oz. and I can't believe it costs anywhere near that to grow the herb.

So what gives? Why cannot these shops meet or beat the illicit market prices for MJ?

Something doesn't add up. Isn't our system supposed to lower prices through competition?

5/07/2011 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh.

5/07/2011 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger SippicanCottage said...

Compassion requires judgment. Using judgment is not allowed in the public sphere, as it interferes with "fairness."

So compassion just becomes a rancid gravy you ladle all over everything, paid for by robbing other's ricebowls, and spoiling even the most meager gruel it was supposedly going to spice. And then you run out of it anyway.

Then you name an elementary school after the chef, if you can borrow enough money for the plaque.

5/07/2011 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Bleeding Brain said...

Bleeding Brain?? Wow a post about my blog How cool is that?

5/07/2011 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

We are seeing in American political thought, psychological and physical evolution of the brain.

One side is clearly able to handle change and adapt, one is predisposed to fixed and persistent behavior.

5/08/2011 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Agreed. This explains the liberal's ubiquitous fear of the perpetual change of the free market, the stultifying uniformity of the tenured, and the unwillingness to relinquish discredited ideas and institutions such as state-mandated racial discrimination, bilingual education, public employee unions, and AGW.

5/08/2011 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And in any event, only a tenured fool would affirm that truth is subordinate to neurology. Talk about fear of reality!

5/08/2011 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Wait until that foolish professor finds out that Michelangelo was Catholic -- and that it is postmodern leftists who see a penis and argue that the man who sculpted it must therefore have been homosexual. Which is inevitable when one's neurology is closed to the reality of the transcendent.

5/08/2011 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

AGW. Great example. It's a conspiracy from Obama through the scientists right down to the US Military

5/08/2011 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Not so strange. Some trolls look at One Cosmos and see homoerotic porn.

5/08/2011 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Conspiracy?

5/08/2011 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another fine example of how liberals do not deal with our arguments but impute malevolent motivations to us in order to maintain a closed mind.

5/08/2011 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

Science denial is very unflattering.

5/08/2011 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

We agree.

5/08/2011 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Hey, William - it's Mother's Day. Have you thanked your evolutionarily inferior female predecessor yet?

Interesting how some people will swallow anything so long as it's labeled "science," no matter how crappy or questionable the research is.

5/08/2011 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

But what is odd is that science denial can be neither "good" nor "bad" for a materialist.

5/08/2011 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

Evidence doesn't matter for the dogmatic.

5/08/2011 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The irony is that the materialist doesn't realize that his own metaphysic is a kind of gross science denial, since it applies the scientific method to realms that are entirely inappropriate to it. This morning I read some idiocy about how art appreciation is located in a particular part of the brain. Again the closed-ness to reality is stunning.

5/08/2011 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Notice how the opinion of a navy admiral (on matters outside navy admiralty, no less) qualifies for "scientific evidence" these days. Talk about confirmation bias!

5/08/2011 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

But what is odd is that science denial can be neither "good" nor "bad" for a materialist.

Indeed - all behavior is necessarily adaptive behavior, from the materialist standpoint. As it so happens, religious believers actually seem to be better adapted to long life and reproduction; if they're denying "science," the end result is that they are still more likely to produce scientists of the future.

Meanwhile, I get the impression that William, for all his evolutionary superiority, has probably failed to pass his awesome genes on to a future generation. Isn't that some kind of Darwinian fail?

5/08/2011 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting too that the confidence interval for Saddam having WMD was higher than for the fevered nightmares of the AGW hysterics. As always, liberals appeal to science only when it comports with their policy preferences. When it doesn't, they either introduce pseudo-science or stand on some perverse "principle."

5/08/2011 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

This morning I read some idiocy about how art appreciation is located in a particular part of the brain. Again the closed-ness to reality is stunning.

Beauty exists only in the neurological excitement of the beholder...

Along those lines, there was an article earlier this week, too, about some scientist who is convinced that there's no such thing as evil, just a lack of empathy. Ergo, if we can just tinker with the brains of the insufficiently empathetic, there will be no evil. Which of course does nothing to address all the evil committed by those endlessly empathetic souls who feel your pain so much that they want to take it away, especially if it's caused by an excessively heavy wallet...

5/08/2011 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

Yes Bob. Science doen't apply to ouija board and other games rooted in the metaphysical - immune from empirical testing and therefore, worthless except to those that glean some emotional benefit.

5/08/2011 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Charles D. said...

Julie: Yes, William is an abject failure. My sense is that he failed to pass along his genes due to an extended neoteny that afflicts him even now. What he self-flatteringly calls "openness to experience," we call "failure to grow up." Indeed, is there anything that renders one more painfully open than having a child?

5/08/2011 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Al G. said...

Duh, even I know that speculative computer models of the climate 100 years hence are not empirical.

5/08/2011 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

It's not just some Navy Admiral.

From the report... note the adjective "observational":

"A preponderance of global observational evidence shows the Arctic Ocean is losing sea ice, global temperatures are warming, sea level is rising, large landfast ice sheets (Greenland and Antarctic) are losing ice mass, and precipitation patterns are changing.

Climate change is affecting, and will continue to affect, U.S. military installations world- wide. Melting permafrost is degrading roads, foundations, and structures on DoD and USCG installations in Alaska. Droughts in the southeast and southwest U.S. are challenging water resource management. Sea level rise and storm surge will lead to an increased likelihood of inundation of coastal infrastructure, and may limit the availability of overseas bases."

5/08/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As Professor Seinfeld says, if we can predict weather five days ahead of time, why do we need a new report every day?

Reminds me of the climate science religionists who warned us that if we failed to do anything about the climate by 2010, it would be too late. But it's 2011 and they're still saying we need to do something!

5/08/2011 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Burning of fossil fuels causes global warming. I therefore conclude that man was burning fossil fuels during the period of Medieval warming.

5/08/2011 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dude, there is no meaningful observation unless it is compared against a norm.

5/08/2011 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

Hate to break this to you Bob, but weather and climate are completely different and involve completely different parameters, data, and measurement periods.

Evidence doesn't matter for the faithful.

5/08/2011 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Reminds me of the climate science religionists who warned us that if we failed to do anything about the climate by 2010, it would be too late.

Ha - that reminds me of a made-for-TV movie I watched with my family way back in 1988 or thereabouts, all about how in the year 2000 all the trees were going to be gone and the world would be literally burning thanks to the hole in the ozone layer. Lots of people flopping around gasping for air, dirty brown smog (they must have been thinking of Mexico City), and wide-eyed kiddies asking their mommies what trees looked like and why the grownups let this happen.

Even as a kid, I remember thinking it was wholly ridiculous.

5/08/2011 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Weather is irrelevant unless the climate religionists need it to scare people into accepting their climate theories. When there's a heatwave? Global warming! Cold weather? Aberration!

5/08/2011 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Liberals simply do not understand complex systems at any level of reality. This is why linear Marxist theories of historical change appealed to them, why they tout simplistic Keynesian economic theories, and why they reduce the infinite complexity of the human mind to an MRI. Same with climate. Hayek was correct about the Fatal Conceit of the left.

5/08/2011 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Re Hayek and nonlinear complexity, everyone should watch this entertaining video.

5/08/2011 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

And again, there's the whole tacit implication that the climate is somehow supposed to be static - as though there's some sort of global ideal temperature, and any diversion from that ideal means disaster is about to strike.

Given the fact that most periods of the planet's history have been ice ages, I propose we keep things toasty as long as we can. It's only a matter of time before glaciers cover most of the planet, and the only liveable space will be close to the equator.

Makes me glad I'll be living in Southerly climes for the foreseeable future...

5/08/2011 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Admiral Greenert said...

If I find the sonofabitch who tried to hide the decline from me, I'll gouge out his eyes and skullfuck the bastard!

5/08/2011 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Liberals just cannot accept the fact that intelligent people of good will can disagree with them. I know this because I once was a liberal, and understand exactly how that whole cognitive world operates. Until you're out of it, you cannot see it.

Which, by the way, is the opposite of areas such as psychology and theology, which cannot be seen from the outside.

5/08/2011 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

William, I fear you are wasting your time. These people have a hermetically sealed belief system that cannot be penetrated by facts or logic, or even the testimony of the US Military. You can see the defenses at work, they aren't subtle, it's generally mockery of the most juvenile sort.

I'm no theologian, but this kind of closed-off-ness seems to me a symptom of evil -- not the murderous kind, perhaps, but the kind that furiously denies reality because acknowledging it would be inconvenient.

5/08/2011 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Only a liberal would equate evil and inconvenience.

5/08/2011 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of unscientific person doesn't take instruction from an anonymous troll?

5/08/2011 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

On to more interesting diversions, so what's the deal with Oliver Davies? Worth the time?

5/08/2011 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Do not know, but from my very superficial thumb-through, the book on creation could be quite good. No time to read because Leslie has a virus, so parental duty calls.

5/08/2011 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, wretched! That's no way to spend Mother's Day - I hope she feels better soon!

5/08/2011 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous She sits nude at the monitor said...

Anonymous, I roger that. There is juvenile mockery here. A very prominent feature.

I kind of like it, but its not for everyone probably.

The mature caucasians that accumulate here to congratulate the head psycho are a wierd bunch but they grow on you.

5/08/2011 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Julie,
I agree. I love a warm climate and live far enough above sea level where I can't be affected. Conservatives nearly universally walk in lock step on this AGW issue.

The basic thing to acknowledge is yes, the climate ALWAYS changes because of natural forces. But industrialized humanity has built it's stake on this planet in a blink of an eye ont the geologic timescale and in a relatively stable climate period. Even a slight change of a few degrees could have a significant affect on humanity and world species.

Yes, there have been ice ages and climate changes in human history, but nothing like the warming event that occurred 55 million years ago that resulted in the melting of the arctic and mass impacts on species evolution. This event, called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), was the result of a 5 to 8°C sea surface temperature rise over a few thousand years, likely caused by massive volcanic activity. The present trend would clearly indicate an event like the PETM is a likely possibility, and despite what ignorant pundits say, a one degree global temperature rise over 100 years IS a big deal. We are already seeing global climate change impacts far more quickly than the models have predicted. I cited the Navy because what other entity is in a position to observe climate change over a few hundred years in places where it happens first, the arctic.

Because I do not walk in lock step as conservatives do, I recognize man's conrtibution to climate change but I don't personally think we can do anything substanitive about it, especially in our lifetime. I don't subscribe to cap and trade and the like.

In our very stable climate, just one serious volcanic event like a super volcano could make man's contribution to global climate change seem miniscule. However, you see an automatic persistent reaction based more on political conditioning and denial rather than intellect from the right.

Of course, this is falling on deaf ears but maybe someone out there might find it in themselves to look deeper before spewing insults and denials.

5/08/2011 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous William said said...

blah blah blah... something about being smarter and more mentally flexible than everybody else... blah blah blah... maybe someone out there might find it in themselves to look deeper before spewing insults and denials.

5/08/2011 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ya know, at least when the fundies come a knockin' at the door they have a genuine concern for saving my soul literally from a fate worse than death.

When William proselytizes, it seems like the only thing he wants us to worship is his superior intelligence. And all we'd get in return is a patronizing pat on the head and a fate worse than death.

Funny, that just doesn't strike me as much of a bargain...

5/08/2011 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

When William proselytizes, it seems like the only thing he wants us to worship is his superior intelligence.

Says Julie who eats daily from the pseudo intellectual trough of Gagdad.

Like I said... I guess just too much information. Sorry for wasting your time.

5/08/2011 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Says Julie who eats daily from the pseudo intellectual trough of Gagdad.

Granted, but at least he's usually entertaining.

5/08/2011 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And for that matter, if you know that it could only be because you do the same.

Oh, you poor thing...

5/08/2011 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

A Retrofuturistic Neo-Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum! Add one more to the list of things caused by global warming.

5/08/2011 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I really do wonder what William's malfunction is.

He jumps into a conversation with a complete non-sequiter meant to insult the people conversing, then follows up with a bunch of links meant to demonstrate further how dumb we are.

But really the insults are just kind of funny, because even though he apparently reads here with regularity, he thinks that we're anti-science creationists or ouija-board wielding mystics or who knows what else. He can't stay on topic, can't counter a reasonable argument, and can't make up his mind about whether we should worry about AGW (because apparently he was for it before he was against it, and that was all just around 3:20).

What's the point? Why does he care so much what we think?

5/08/2011 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

There are so many reasons to be skeptical of the warmists, not the least of which being the poor judgment revealed by their politics, priorities, and values.

Even more basically, it would be foolish to put one's faith in the self-appointed intellectual vanguard of an immature science that is perpetually trolling for more funds by propagating and endorsing demonstrably misleading information and hysterical speculation, such as Al Gore's crockumentary.

No one needs to prove the existence of gravity by distorting the evidence against it, or by telling us that WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE if we don't heed its lessons.

5/08/2011 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I agree that the planet is getting a little bit warmer -- depending, of course, on where one draws the before-after line -- and that human activity may well contribute to it. Where I depart from the weather worshipers is over whether the warming is a net negative, whether the policies advocated would make a difference, whether they would be so costly as to cause a worldwide depression, whether the "solutions" would kill more people than the problem, whether the market will naturally solve the problem as energy prices increase, and whether preventing third world countries from exploiting fossil fuels is a cruel way to keep them mired in backward economies.

5/08/2011 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Put the line far enough back and approximately 9,100 of the past 10,500 years were warmer than 2010.

5/08/2011 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And make no mistake: environmental hysteria kills.

5/08/2011 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Not only that, but so often the proposed solutions do not involve utilizing effective technological advances such as nuclear power, but rather they want us to "simplify" - i.e. live more like prehistoric people. The problem is, fossil fuels and the way we use them now are a vast improvement over anything men have used in the past for heat, work and transportation. Modernized human population centers are, in general, orders of magnitude cleaner than they were a hundred years ago. And the more we allow for technological innovation, generally speaking, the better the environment gets even as it supports greater numbers of people than ever before. But it's never good enough for some people. They want everyone else to live like noble savages.

5/08/2011 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

wilian said "Because I do not walk in lock step as conservatives do"

Uh-huh.

Proregressive science finds that, based on the new science of phrenology, botched and inferior peoples are imperiling civilization, because it's such a dire threat, there's no time to wait for more information, action must be taken immediately, therefore govt must be given sweeping powers to limit and control it's peoples, so as to save civilization.

Proregressive science finds that, based on the new science of population studies, the birth rate is too high, populations are growing too quickly and soon all the world will be plunged into famine imperiling civilization, because it's such a dire threat, there's no time to wait for more information, action must be taken immediately, therefore govt must be given sweeping powers to limit and control it's peoples, so as to save civilization.

Proregressive science finds that, based on the new science of climatology, the climate is cooling, a new ice age is coming imperiling civilization, because it's such a dire threat, there's no time to wait for more information, action must be taken immediately, therefore govt must be given sweeping powers to limit and control it's peoples, so as to save civilization.

Proregressive science finds that based on the new science of environmental studies, industries are killing the waters and producing acid rain imperiling civilization, because it's such a dire threat, there's no time to wait for more information, action must be taken immediately, therefore govt must be given sweeping powers to limit and control it's peoples, so as to save civilization.

Proregressive science finds that based on the new science of atmospheric studies, the ozone hole is being caused by aerosols imperiling civilization, because it's such a dire threat, there's no time to wait for more information, action must be taken immediately, therefore govt must be given sweeping powers to limit and control it's peoples, so as to save civilization.

Proregressive science finds that based on the newly improved science of climatology, the climate is warming, the oceans are rising imperiling civilization, because it's such a dire threat, there's no time to wait for more information, action must be taken immediately, therefore govt must be given sweeping powers to limit and control it's peoples, so as to save civilization.

Lockstep. Conservatives. Right.

Conservatives say 2+2=4. Leftists complain Conservatives walk in lockstep.

Right.

5/08/2011 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Bob,
Your assertion "9,100 of the past 10,500 years were warmer than 2010." is based on pure bullshit and the dishonesty of one wingnut denialist who has been thoroghly debunked, but you'll cite him anyway.

The funny thing is though that we're in agreement. You acknowledged AGW, and you, like me, doubt human remedies to mitigate it.

This is all very confusing for Julie... " (because apparently he was for it before he was against it, and that was all just around 3:20)."

She illustrates my point exactly. Wingnuts can not separate the science from what they've been conditioned to believe politically. It is confusing to them when they see someone like me who acknowledges the scienctific fact of AGW yet believes there is no significant and timely man made solution. Do you see what I mean here?

You Bob apparently acknowledge AGW but downplay it's affect, as well you should, because you will likely die within 30 yrs and will not likely be affected to any great extent. But mitigation factors aside, the reality exists. AGW is real. And yes, cap and trade could very well be BS, particularly if in fact a tipping point has been reached as I think is the case.

Glad we agree on this.

PS... stay away HotAir and those BS sites, it's not good for your credibility to cite their dishonesty. They, like nearly all conservatives, have an agenda driven by polluters who who see climate science as a threat. Again, they can not separate science from politics. That is their persistent conditioned response mechanism. They can't help it.

5/08/2011 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

OT, Vanderleun links to a good article at the WSJ about Navy SEALS. I like this part:

"Almost all the men who survived [Hell Week] possessed one common quality. Even in great pain, faced with the test of their lives, they had the ability to step outside of their own pain, put aside their own fear and ask: How can I help the guy next to me? They had more than the "fist" of courage and physical strength. They also had a heart large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher purpose."

5/08/2011 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

William:


You are so full of shit. I'll bet you folding money that more conservatives agree with you and me than with Al Gore. And if you think Al is open to truth, you're even more full of shit.

5/09/2011 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Bummer. I failed to dazzle his appreciation for brilliance with my lowbrow snarkasm.

Seems like he has a real hardon for you, though Bob. Why do I get the impression that if this were all going down in person, he'd be that guy who just has to prove something by picking a fight with the biggest guy in the room? Or in his case, demanding a race? Maybe he should dial down the roids...

5/09/2011 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Why all the continued homoerotic references Julie? Why are we all such haters?! Obviously there are a set of environmental stimuli out there which cause our reactionary positions... including some that continue to make me think that I'm thinking these thoughts on my own (... and there must be some that make me think my faux thinking is real thinking... and Ah! I'm doing it again!... )can't these environmental hazards just be removed? Hasn't there been a study?!
It's unfair that our leftie superiors, who are obviously just a creation of haphazard chance, reap the benefits of their unfair accidental mental benefits! Why can't they share their mental performance enhancing environmental mental stimuli?!
They're just Haters?!
And greedy!
And you can't possibly get past the fact that David's marble is hard... Oh!!!!! The references! Holy Pin Ball Ba'atman!
Flip the stimuli flipper!!!!!!!!!!
SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5/09/2011 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

(I hit a hundred!)

5/09/2011 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Conservatives are all homoerotic polluters. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

5/09/2011 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "Conservatives are all homoerotic polluters. Not that there's anything wrong with it."

(blink)



(That's sooo hot)

5/09/2011 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Okay, you both almost owed me a new keyboard just then. And now the baby is looking at me funny...

:D

5/09/2011 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Apropos said...

“I doubt he’s even very interesting,” Ambrose observed. “I mean, to the extent that the devil has any personality to speak of at all—even if the story is true and he was once an archangel or something of that sort—he must by now be a pretty sordid, unimaginative, and dreary little fellow. He would have to be so monstrously self-absorbed: not a brilliant conversationalist, not a philosopher and wit, not a bon-vivant or perverted aesthete, but just some tedious little troll, full of spite and resentment. He’s probably a monomaniac who talks about nothing but his personal grievances and aims, and in the bluntest, most unrefined language imaginable—the sort of person you try your best to get away from at a party.”

Apparently, this guy has been cornered by William...

5/09/2011 10:33:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home