Archive for the ‘Energy’ Tag

The Amazing Arrogance of the Paris Climate Agreement | Jeffrey A. Tucker   1 comment

It was December 12, 2015, when headlines in the world’s leading newspapers, in implausibly bold type, celebrated the “historic” agreement in Paris between all nations of the world to curb carbon emissions and thereby stop climate change: or so they said, as if elites get to say what is and is not historic.

Source: The Amazing Arrogance of the Paris Climate Agreement | Jeffrey A. Tucker


The spin, like the agreement itself, was crammed down our throats.

Image result for image of paris climate change agreementEnergy stocks weren’t affected in the slightest by the diplomatic agreement.

I read the stories that day, and the next and the next, and the continuing coverage for weeks that nearly every reader – apart from a few dedicated activists and permanent regime bureaucrats – ignored. The stories appeared on the international pages and didn’t touch the business pages. Energy stocks weren’t affected in the slightest.

The stories had all the signs of dutiful public service announcements – “fake news,” as they say today – and they contained not a single quote from a single dissenting voice, because, of course, no respectable news outlet would give voice to “climate deniers.”


Let me pause to protest this “denial” language. It attempts to appropriate the widely shared disgust toward “Holocaust denial,” a bizarre and bedraggled movement that belittles or even dismisses the actual history of one of the 20th century’s most egregious mass crimes against human rights and dignity. Using that language to silence questions about an attempt to centrally plan the energy sector is a moral low that debases the language of denial.

This rhetorical trick reveals all you need to know about the desperate manipulation the climate planners are willing to engage in to realize their plot regardless of popular and justified skepticism concerning their regulatory and redistributionist policies.

And you wonder why many people have doubts about it.

And what are the specifics of that agenda? The Paris Agreement is a “voluntary” agreement because its architects knew it would never pass the US Senate as a treaty. Why? Because the idea of the agreement is that the US government’s regulatory agencies would impose extreme mandates on its energy sector: how it should work, what kinds of emissions it should produce, the best ways to power our lives (read: not fossil fuels), and hand over to developing world regimes billions and even trillions of dollars in aid, a direct and ongoing forcible transfer of wealth from American taxpayers to regimes all over the world, at the expense of American freedom and prosperity.

And you wonder why many people have doubts about it.

The Trumpist Reaction

Consider what else was going on December 12, 2015. Donald Trump was in the midst of a big battle for the Republican nomination. He started with 16 challengers to beat. He was widely considered to be a clownish candidate, a guy in it just to get press attention to build his business brand. Surely the American system of electoral politics, largely but imperfectly managed by responsible elites, would resist such demagogues. Besides, the media that trumpeted the Paris Agreement would be on hand to shame anyone who supported him. He couldn’t win.

The press mostly pretended that he wasn’t happening. The Huffington Post put coverage of his campaign in the humor section.

Obama would be our master and commander, ruling on our behalf, fresh off cocktail parties in Paris with the best and brightest.

And so President Obama came home from the Paris meetings to the acclaim of all the right people. He alone had made the responsible choice on behalf of the entire country: every business, every worker, every consumer, every single person living within these borders who uses some measure of this thing we call energy. He would be our master and commander, ruling on our behalf, fresh off cocktail parties in Paris where the best and brightest – armed with briefcases full of government-funded science – decided to give the Industrial Revolution its final comeuppance.

The exuberant spokespeople talked about how “the United States” had “agreed” to “curb its emissions” and “fund” the building of fossil-free sectors all over the world. It was strange because the “United States” had not in fact agreed to anything: not a single voter, worker, owner, or citizen. Not even the House or Senate were involved. This was entirely an elite undertaking to manage property they did not own and lives that were not theirs to control.

The Backlash

And then Trump spoke. He said that this Paris bit was a bad deal for Americans. We are already in a slow-growth economy. Now these global elites, without a vote from Congress, are presuming to mandate massive controls over the economy, hampering its productive sector which benefits everyone and transferring countless billions of dollars out of the country, with the acquiescence of the party in power.

Globalism and nativism are two sides of the same statist coin.

He spoke about this in a way that bested all his opponents. The entire scenario fed his America First worldview, that the global elites were operating as parasites on American prosperity and sovereignty. His answer was to put up the wall: to immigrants, to trade, to global managerial elites, and reclaim American sovereignty from people who were selling it out. It was another flavor of statism (globalism and nativism are two sides of the same coin), but it tapped into that populist vein of the voting public that looks for a patriotic strongman to save them from a distant ruling class.

Everything about the Paris Agreement seemed structured to play into Trump’s narrative of how the world had gone mad. And then he won the nomination. Then he won the presidency. None of this was supposed to happen. It wasn’t part of the plan. History took a different course from what the power elite demanded and expected to happen. Not for the first time.

How Dare Anyone Dispute Our Plans?

But the “globalists” of the type that tried to make Paris work have a stunning lack of self-awareness. They pretend to be oblivious to the populist resentment they breed. They act as if there is not a single legitimate doubt about the problem, their analysis of cause and effect, the discernment of their selected experts, or their proposed coercive solution. And there certainly isn’t a doubt that their mighty combination of power, resources, and intelligence can cause all the forces in the universe to adapt to their will, including even the climate that King Canute himself said could not be controlled by kings and princes.

These are all attempts to subvert the capacity of society to manage itself on behalf of the deluded dreams of a few people with power and their lust for controlling social and economic outcomes.

As with countless other statist plans over the last hundred years, they figured that it was enough to gather all the right people in one room, agree to a wish list, sign a few documents, and then watch the course of history conform to their wishes.

The Paris Agreement is no different in its epistemological conceit than Obamacare, the war on drugs, nation-building, universal schooling, or socialism itself. They are all attempts to subvert the capacity of society to manage itself on behalf of the deluded dreams of a few people with power and their lust for controlling social and economic outcomes.

Rejecting Elite Politics

How far are the Democrats from recognizing what they have done? Very, very far. John C. Williams, writing in the New York Times, has decried the “The Dumb Politics of Elite Condescension”:

“As a progressive, I am committed to social equality – not just for some groups, but for all groups… Everyone should have access to good housing and good jobs. That’s the point… Too often in otherwise polite society, elites (progressives emphatically included) unselfconsciously belittle working-class whites. Democrats should stop insulting people.”

That would be a good start. But it is not only about rhetoric. Policy preferences have to change. A global agreement that somehow binds entire countries to centrally plan and regulate the whole of a crucial sector of economic life that supports all economic advances of our time – at the very time when the energy sector is innovating its own solutions to carbon emissions in the cheapest possible way –  is certainly going to breed resentment, and for good reason. It is a bad and unworkable idea.

The backlash against globalism can be as dangerous as globalism itself.

Continued reliance on undemocratic, uneconomic, imposed strategies such as the Paris Agreement will only further feed the populist revolt that could end in the worst possible policy combinations of strong-man nationalism, nativism, protectionism, closed borders, and backwards thinking in general. No good can come from this. The backlash against globalism can be as dangerous as globalism itself.

You might think that the election of Trump would offer some lessons. But that is not the way the arrogant minds behind the climate agreement work. They respond by merely doubling down on disdain, intensifying their commitments to each other, heaping more loathing on the workers and peasants who have their doubts about these deals.

Trump and his ilk abroad, backed by voting masses with pitchforks and torches – and not a managed transition from fossil fuels to clean energy – are their creation.

A Treatment for Political Insanity   Leave a comment

Just trust them. Hillary Clinton would like it if you would just trust her to know precisely how much energy each American ought to use, where it should come from, how it should be generated, how we should get from here to there, and the effects that her plan will have on the global climate decades from now.

Image result for image of gary johnson on energyNo, she’s not a scientist and she’s driven around in chauffeured limousines, but she’s an “expert” who knows so much more than you do. If you embrace her energy plan, you will embrace “science,” “reality,” “truth,” and “innovation,” “our children,” and “the future.” If you refuse to comply, you reject all those good things AND you are probably also a “denier,” the catch-all slur for anyone doubtful that Hillary Clinton is actually an expert on this subject or many others or that she and her advisers know better than the rest of mankind how to manage our energy needs into the future.

Listening to her talk reminds me of reading F.A. Hayek. A brilliant economist, Hayek spent wrote many books over a 50-years career. Hayek explained that the greatest danger humanity faced throughout history has been a presumption by intellectuals, politicians, and bureaucrats that they know better than social forces on just about any given topic.

Sometimes that presumption might be presented as science but that’s really just propaganda. Civilization arises from, is protected by, and advances through the dispersed knowledge of billions of individual decision makers and the institutions that arise from them.

Society needs to know how to use scarce resources, how to navigate a world of uncertainty, how to form rules that turn struggle into peace and the individual’s who compose society can only do this if they are free to make decisions based on on-the-ground circumstances. No ruler, scientist or intellectual can substitute for the evolving process of decentralized decision-making based on trial and error.

That’s not good news for Hillary, who embodies the American version of “liberalism”. This ideology is anything but liberal, because it totally rejects liberty and strives for more top-down control. If you look around at what is good in the world today, it becomes a tough sell to say that government is among the good. Governments are responsible for every failing sector from health to education to foreign wars.

People like Hillary Clinton are stuck in an ideological vortex with no escape. They’ve embraced government planning and refuse to recognize its failures. They keep beating that drum, even when it makes no sense whatsoever, such as the claim that government can know everything necessary to plan the entire energy sector with the aim of managing the world climate.

Why should someone who cannot ensure the proper use of a single private server be trusted with the colossal power necessary to design and to oversee the remaking of a trillion-plus dollar sector of the U.S. economy (a sector, by the way, in which this person has zero experience)? David Bourdreux (economist)

Of course, Clinton is a hypocrite. She (and to be honest, her opponent) travel around in private jets that use more fuel in one hour of flight than you or I use in a year. We could also, in the interest of honesty, recognize that the American military that she wants control over is the single worst polluter on the planet. If we really believed that human-caused climate change is such a danger to the world, we’d start by cutting back US military operations. That isn’t in Hillary’s plan. Government gets to do what it must do. The rest of us are supposed to pay the price, bicycling to work and powering our homes with sunshine and windmills. By the way, wintertime in Fairbanks Alaska – two hours of sunlight a day and average wind speeds of less than 2 mph.

When I first read about her energy plan, I saw images of Mao’s China and remembered Lenin’s first speech after he took control of Russia’s economy. Why would any self-interested politician make the need for reduced living standards a centerpiece of her campaign?

Sure, most people tell pollsters that they favor renewable energy to stop climate change. Nobody wants to be called a “denier”. Clearly very few people really care enough to forgo the benefits of modern life, which is probably what will save civilization itself from plans like hers. It’s encouraging that nobody seems to put much stock in her plan for our future.

Do you ever stop to marvel at how quickly the political class has leapt from simply monitoring the weather (and getting forecasts wrong more often than not) to the absolute certainty that extreme and extremely specific application of government force is the way to deal with it?

“The sacralization of climate is being used as a great loophole in the rule of law, an apology for bad science (and even worse economics), and an excuse to do anything and everything to have and keep power.” Max Borders

Let’s be honest about our history. Everything done as public policy in our lifetimes has yielded little more than unpayable debts and unworkable programs, while creating an apparatus of compulsion and control that robs society of its inherent genius. Try to do anything in the United States that is truly innovative. Come back to me in several years after you’re done filling out the paperwork for the environmental impact study.

As Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” We ought to know by now that it doesn’t work, but the power-hungry elites just move on after every failed attempt, finding a new rationale to sustain a failed model of social and economic organization.

If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible.

He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants.

There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success”, to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will.

The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society — a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.  FA Hayek’s Nobel speech in 1974

Image result for image of gary johnson on energyWe seek to become tyrants because that is something awful in human nature. Call it a product of the Fall, if you like. We are all infected with it, though some of us struggle against it, while others embrace their meglomania. Which is why it is dangerous to give too much power to those who seek to be tyrants and who claim for themselves an ideology that aims for total control over society “for our own good.” We ought to have learn from the past mistakes found in history and recognize that millions or billions of people making individual decisions that balance and counter-balance one another is a much safer method of organization than the will of one person backed by similarly-minded tyrants imposed upon the world.

If I make a bad decision, it affects me and a small circle of my friends and family. If the president of the United States makes a bad decision, it potentially affects the whole world.

Gary Johnson is a libertarian who must live in the world that we have currently. Therefore, he has energy policies, but take a look at what those policies are and see if you can find a big difference between him and his opponents? Yeah, he favors allowing the individual decisions of Americans to power the energy decision rather than forcing people to walk in lockstep over a cliff.

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