Day: January 21, 2018

Shallow Reality in America


If there is a single problem with our lives today, it is the breathtaking shallowness of modern life.  We seem infatuated with grade-school gossip and a breathless yearning for “stuff,” as if the latest gadgetry or a fatter bank account could make anything real in our lives better.  We seem to believe in nothing but this gossip and these gadgets.  This infantile fixation stretches across political party and ideology.

This is a reflection of godlessness, shattered families, and the wicked drumbeat in education and media of indoctrination instead of learning or amusement.  It is astounding how little most people know of history and religion.  It is frightening how illogical and anti-historical the vast majority of us have become. 

As one example, one of the comments on my American Thinker article, “The Pox of Materialism,” expresses the absurd idea that the Founding Fathers began the American Revolution to improve their economic position.  This “interpretation” of the Founding Fathers’ intention was maliciously and deliberately introduced into academia by Marxist professors in the 1930s and was condemned by honest academicians at the time.  The Founding Fathers, of course, risked the loss of everything they possessed, and a number of them suffered just that loss. 

As another example, Christianity is routinely portrayed as the mortal enemy of science when, in fact, virtually all the early scientists – Bacon, Buridan, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, Kelvin and others were devout Christians, more religiously serious than ordinary Europeans of their times.  The de-Christianization of America, which does not mean unimportant things like saying “Merry Christmas” or professing a notional belief in God, shows how far we have declined.  America, without Christianity, is just a few decades behind the de-Christianized and impotent Europe. 

The flurry of “news” these days is nothing more than rhetorical spitballs and name-calling.  Most news outlets anymore are almost unwatchable, with hosts who luxuriate in banality.  Most of these nebbishes say the same things all the time and demonstrate little more than nice legs, pretty faces, and ample breasts. 

Our system of statist institutional education parrots what fits into the cesspool of social conformity, producing graduates who know less than before they entered college.  Our public school students are programmed to feed corrupt and stupid academia and to crank out like sausages lobotomized and neutered creatures, as incapable of challenging the vast network of illogic and lies that governs society as the tormented subjects of Oceania in Orwell’s 1984.

No one seems to care, or rather, no one seems to have the gumption to directly confront the shadowy horror of modern life in America.  We kid ourselves that more “stuff” can replace what we have lost.  We trick ourselves into believing that a political victory here or there will make things better.  The Democratic Party, of course, is the party of souls on their way to perdition, but the Republican Party is scarcely better.  Everyone in politics is in politics for himself, not for higher values or noble aims.

Can anything be done?  The decay of Europe and its descent into moral chaos and cognitive duplicity suggest that our time is short and our condition desperate.  It will take intellectual courage, which seems lacking everywhere.  That means telling the truth instead of saying what one is expected to say. 

As one example, some brave heart needs to shout that women are not oppressed in America and never have been and that feminism is simply Nazism with a different form of Aryans and Jews.  One might also note that the problems of black America are not the consequence of prejudice or some tired old “legacy of slavery,” but are instead self-inflicted wounds like unwed motherhood (the mother, not the unknown father, is the villain in these cases) or endless whining that reduces even the most pliable white folks to listening with quiet indifference.

Most vitally – in fact, indispensably – America must turn to God and cling to faith in our Creator as the ultimate cure for all things in life.  This faith inspires men to do things that transcend their own personal needs and wants.  This faith brings a profound seriousness to life coupled with the joy of real purpose and worth that towers above our petty lives. 

The time is short, and the need is great.  The cause may seem hopeless, but with God, nothing is hopeless.  Without God, on the other hand, everything is hopeless – hopeless, shallow, and empty.

If there is a single problem with our lives today, it is the breathtaking shallowness of modern life.  We seem infatuated with grade-school gossip and a breathless yearning for “stuff,” as if the latest gadgetry or a fatter bank account could make anything real in our lives better.  We seem to believe in nothing but this gossip and these gadgets.  This infantile fixation stretches across political party and ideology.

This is a reflection of godlessness, shattered families, and the wicked drumbeat in education and media of indoctrination instead of learning or amusement.  It is astounding how little most people know of history and religion.  It is frightening how illogical and anti-historical the vast majority of us have become. 

As one example, one of the comments on my American Thinker article, “The Pox of Materialism,” expresses the absurd idea that the Founding Fathers began the American Revolution to improve their economic position.  This “interpretation” of the Founding Fathers’ intention was maliciously and deliberately introduced into academia by Marxist professors in the 1930s and was condemned by honest academicians at the time.  The Founding Fathers, of course, risked the loss of everything they possessed, and a number of them suffered just that loss. 

As another example, Christianity is routinely portrayed as the mortal enemy of science when, in fact, virtually all the early scientists – Bacon, Buridan, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, Kelvin and others were devout Christians, more religiously serious than ordinary Europeans of their times.  The de-Christianization of America, which does not mean unimportant things like saying “Merry Christmas” or professing a notional belief in God, shows how far we have declined.  America, without Christianity, is just a few decades behind the de-Christianized and impotent Europe. 

The flurry of “news” these days is nothing more than rhetorical spitballs and name-calling.  Most news outlets anymore are almost unwatchable, with hosts who luxuriate in banality.  Most of these nebbishes say the same things all the time and demonstrate little more than nice legs, pretty faces, and ample breasts. 

Our system of statist institutional education parrots what fits into the cesspool of social conformity, producing graduates who know less than before they entered college.  Our public school students are programmed to feed corrupt and stupid academia and to crank out like sausages lobotomized and neutered creatures, as incapable of challenging the vast network of illogic and lies that governs society as the tormented subjects of Oceania in Orwell’s 1984.

No one seems to care, or rather, no one seems to have the gumption to directly confront the shadowy horror of modern life in America.  We kid ourselves that more “stuff” can replace what we have lost.  We trick ourselves into believing that a political victory here or there will make things better.  The Democratic Party, of course, is the party of souls on their way to perdition, but the Republican Party is scarcely better.  Everyone in politics is in politics for himself, not for higher values or noble aims.

Can anything be done?  The decay of Europe and its descent into moral chaos and cognitive duplicity suggest that our time is short and our condition desperate.  It will take intellectual courage, which seems lacking everywhere.  That means telling the truth instead of saying what one is expected to say. 

As one example, some brave heart needs to shout that women are not oppressed in America and never have been and that feminism is simply Nazism with a different form of Aryans and Jews.  One might also note that the problems of black America are not the consequence of prejudice or some tired old “legacy of slavery,” but are instead self-inflicted wounds like unwed motherhood (the mother, not the unknown father, is the villain in these cases) or endless whining that reduces even the most pliable white folks to listening with quiet indifference.

Most vitally – in fact, indispensably – America must turn to God and cling to faith in our Creator as the ultimate cure for all things in life.  This faith inspires men to do things that transcend their own personal needs and wants.  This faith brings a profound seriousness to life coupled with the joy of real purpose and worth that towers above our petty lives. 

The time is short, and the need is great.  The cause may seem hopeless, but with God, nothing is hopeless.  Without God, on the other hand, everything is hopeless – hopeless, shallow, and empty.



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Social Security's Death Knell Is Ringing. Can You Hear It?


Social Security is, barring an immediate and massive overhaul in how benefits are paid to the back-end of the Baby Boomer generation and beyond, on its deathbed.  There can be no mistaking that fact.

Veronique de Rugy explains at Reason:

Since 2010, [Social Security] has been running at a cash-flow deficit – meaning that the Social Security payroll taxes the government collects aren’t enough to cover the benefits it’s obliged to pay out.  That should have been a signal that the time had come to look at reform.


Instead, we’ve spent the last seven years ignoring the problem.  To get by, the program started tapping into assets set aside beginning in the 1980s for rainy days.  Prior to 2010, the program collected more in payroll taxes than was needed to collect benefits at the time.  The leftovers were “invested” in Treasury bonds through the Old-Age Trust Fund, which is now being drawn down.

The 2010 mark for this cash-flow deficit didn’t occur willy-nilly.  It could be argued that our government hastened, or at the very least exacerbated, this cash-flow deficit with its “payroll tax holiday,” a bipartisan effort instituted in late 2009 that persisted until 2013.  This political maneuver slashed payroll taxes by roughly one third, from 6.2% to 4.2%.  The uncollected 2% (not peanuts in a country the size of ours) happens to coincide with the moment in time in which the government’s payroll tax receipts couldn’t cover its Social Security liabilities.  The cost of this “payroll tax holiday” is estimated to be $240 billion in tax revenue, some of which, at least, would have otherwise gone to pay out Social Security’s beneficiaries.  Much of this $240 billion in uncollected revenue necessarily became issued federal debt.

I wrote in 2013, and I still maintain, that ending the payroll tax holiday was a sober and responsible measure to correct an irresponsible and stupid attempt at economic stimulus.  But it didn’t really matter after the fact.  That 2% was reinstated in 2013, and in 2014, Social Security still suffered a $39-billion deficit in its annual balance sheet when you consider receipts versus liabilities.

The circumstances appear dire when framed this way, to be sure.  But advocates of Social Security argue that the manner in which I and Veronique de Rugy describe the “deficit” between receipts and liabilities is not entirely accurate, because the federal government’s interest payments to Social Security currently cover that discrepancy, and amount to trillions in “reserves.”

And interestingly, despite the intent, the circumstances appear just as dire when framed that way. 

For example, Matthew Frankel argues at USA Today that “there are several trillion dollars in Social Security’s reserves,” but he admits freely that those reserves are not “just a pile of cash sitting in a warehouse somewhere.”  The Social Security Administration “invests the money it has in special U.S. government bonds.  This is a win-win for the government and for Social Security.  The government gets to use Social Security’s excess cash to fund its operations, and Social Security generates “extra income” via interest paid by the Treasury.

In other words, the U.S. Treasury “owes” the Social Security Administration interest on its purchased debt, as well as the principal that it “lent” to the Treasury throughout the years.  These – the principal and the interest – are the “trillions” of reserves that Frankel cites.  But the U.S. Treasury is currently running at a massive deficit and is over $20 trillion in debt, so, for it to repay the principal of the debt and the interest owed to the Social Security Administration when payroll tax receipts fail to meet Social Security’s obligations, the Treasury has to borrow more money to pay those obligations.

And how do they do that?  By issuing more federal debt, of course.  Billions upon billions of debt.

This is what Veronique de Rugy means when citing that the unused annual receipts from payroll taxes were “invested” in Treasury bonds over the years.  The quotation marks are sarcastic emphasis meant to highlight that this is not “investment,” but rather the perpetual issuance of government debt to pay for other government debt.

Excess payments to Social Security have never been placed in an “investment.”  It is the financial equivalent of opening a second credit account to pay off a longstanding debt for a credit account that had been building for decades.  It’s simply more debt, with a curiously devised bookkeeping mechanism hiding the fact that the creditor and the debtor are one in the same.

The government cannot, and could never, “invest” excess payroll taxes, and to suggest that the government does so is only clever semantics.  The Social Security Administration can, by law, only buy new debt from the Treasury with any excess revenue.  As of today, the Treasury has long since used the money it has borrowed from the excess collection of taxes for Social Security payments over the years and is now relegated to borrowing more money in order to pay its obligations when payroll tax collection falls short of Social Security liability. 

In the plainest terms, the government has borrowed money from itself for decades while promising interest payments and principal repayment to itself.  It spent the money it has borrowed for its own separate purposes, and is now borrowing more money in order to pay itself back the principal and interest it owes.

Government was fine with this arrangement in decades past.  In fact, government couldn’t have been happier about it.  It was free money in exchange for IOUs that some other schmucks (i.e., me, my kids, and my grandkids) will have to pay for.  But now the reckoning for Social Security is nigh.  The debt is coming due, and the fiscal irresponsibility of the past is becoming ever more exposed.

No one has a perfect answer about what to do to fix Social Security.  When something is so fundamentally broken, so fiscally incomprehensible, so distant from the intended form of governance among a free people, and when such a thing has existed for so long, how might one seek to fix it?

Perhaps the only answer is to undo its wrongs to the greatest extent possible.  Veronique de Rugy has a fairly simple suggestion:

Congress should make it easier for all Americans to save.  One way to do that is through the creation of Universal Savings Accounts, or vehicles that allow people to invest money without all the complicated rules that now apply to IRAs and 401(k)s.  In addition, Congress should boost the maximum contributions people can make to Health Savings Accounts, so that more Americans can afford the medical expenses most of us inevitably incur in our old age.


More broadly, Congress should shift away from Social Security into a “funded” system based on real savings, much as Australia and others have done.  The libertarian economist Daniel J. Mitchell notes that, starting in the ’80s and ’90s, that country has required workers to put 9.5 percent of their income into a personal retirement account.  As a safety net – but not as a default – Australians with limited savings are guaranteed a basic pension.


That program has generated big increases in wealth.  Meanwhile, Social Security has generated big deficits and discouraged private saving.  Who would you have emulate the other?

Who, indeed?

We should do all we can reasonably do, while respectfully considering the contributions of and obligations toward existing beneficiaries, to allow working Americans the means to invest as they would have their own money be invested, rather than force them to continually and increasingly provide life support to this dying government slush fund.  That’s as simple a start as we might find.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver, and can be followed on Twitter.

Social Security is, barring an immediate and massive overhaul in how benefits are paid to the back-end of the Baby Boomer generation and beyond, on its deathbed.  There can be no mistaking that fact.

Veronique de Rugy explains at Reason:

Since 2010, [Social Security] has been running at a cash-flow deficit – meaning that the Social Security payroll taxes the government collects aren’t enough to cover the benefits it’s obliged to pay out.  That should have been a signal that the time had come to look at reform.


Instead, we’ve spent the last seven years ignoring the problem.  To get by, the program started tapping into assets set aside beginning in the 1980s for rainy days.  Prior to 2010, the program collected more in payroll taxes than was needed to collect benefits at the time.  The leftovers were “invested” in Treasury bonds through the Old-Age Trust Fund, which is now being drawn down.

The 2010 mark for this cash-flow deficit didn’t occur willy-nilly.  It could be argued that our government hastened, or at the very least exacerbated, this cash-flow deficit with its “payroll tax holiday,” a bipartisan effort instituted in late 2009 that persisted until 2013.  This political maneuver slashed payroll taxes by roughly one third, from 6.2% to 4.2%.  The uncollected 2% (not peanuts in a country the size of ours) happens to coincide with the moment in time in which the government’s payroll tax receipts couldn’t cover its Social Security liabilities.  The cost of this “payroll tax holiday” is estimated to be $240 billion in tax revenue, some of which, at least, would have otherwise gone to pay out Social Security’s beneficiaries.  Much of this $240 billion in uncollected revenue necessarily became issued federal debt.

I wrote in 2013, and I still maintain, that ending the payroll tax holiday was a sober and responsible measure to correct an irresponsible and stupid attempt at economic stimulus.  But it didn’t really matter after the fact.  That 2% was reinstated in 2013, and in 2014, Social Security still suffered a $39-billion deficit in its annual balance sheet when you consider receipts versus liabilities.

The circumstances appear dire when framed this way, to be sure.  But advocates of Social Security argue that the manner in which I and Veronique de Rugy describe the “deficit” between receipts and liabilities is not entirely accurate, because the federal government’s interest payments to Social Security currently cover that discrepancy, and amount to trillions in “reserves.”

And interestingly, despite the intent, the circumstances appear just as dire when framed that way. 

For example, Matthew Frankel argues at USA Today that “there are several trillion dollars in Social Security’s reserves,” but he admits freely that those reserves are not “just a pile of cash sitting in a warehouse somewhere.”  The Social Security Administration “invests the money it has in special U.S. government bonds.  This is a win-win for the government and for Social Security.  The government gets to use Social Security’s excess cash to fund its operations, and Social Security generates “extra income” via interest paid by the Treasury.

In other words, the U.S. Treasury “owes” the Social Security Administration interest on its purchased debt, as well as the principal that it “lent” to the Treasury throughout the years.  These – the principal and the interest – are the “trillions” of reserves that Frankel cites.  But the U.S. Treasury is currently running at a massive deficit and is over $20 trillion in debt, so, for it to repay the principal of the debt and the interest owed to the Social Security Administration when payroll tax receipts fail to meet Social Security’s obligations, the Treasury has to borrow more money to pay those obligations.

And how do they do that?  By issuing more federal debt, of course.  Billions upon billions of debt.

This is what Veronique de Rugy means when citing that the unused annual receipts from payroll taxes were “invested” in Treasury bonds over the years.  The quotation marks are sarcastic emphasis meant to highlight that this is not “investment,” but rather the perpetual issuance of government debt to pay for other government debt.

Excess payments to Social Security have never been placed in an “investment.”  It is the financial equivalent of opening a second credit account to pay off a longstanding debt for a credit account that had been building for decades.  It’s simply more debt, with a curiously devised bookkeeping mechanism hiding the fact that the creditor and the debtor are one in the same.

The government cannot, and could never, “invest” excess payroll taxes, and to suggest that the government does so is only clever semantics.  The Social Security Administration can, by law, only buy new debt from the Treasury with any excess revenue.  As of today, the Treasury has long since used the money it has borrowed from the excess collection of taxes for Social Security payments over the years and is now relegated to borrowing more money in order to pay its obligations when payroll tax collection falls short of Social Security liability. 

In the plainest terms, the government has borrowed money from itself for decades while promising interest payments and principal repayment to itself.  It spent the money it has borrowed for its own separate purposes, and is now borrowing more money in order to pay itself back the principal and interest it owes.

Government was fine with this arrangement in decades past.  In fact, government couldn’t have been happier about it.  It was free money in exchange for IOUs that some other schmucks (i.e., me, my kids, and my grandkids) will have to pay for.  But now the reckoning for Social Security is nigh.  The debt is coming due, and the fiscal irresponsibility of the past is becoming ever more exposed.

No one has a perfect answer about what to do to fix Social Security.  When something is so fundamentally broken, so fiscally incomprehensible, so distant from the intended form of governance among a free people, and when such a thing has existed for so long, how might one seek to fix it?

Perhaps the only answer is to undo its wrongs to the greatest extent possible.  Veronique de Rugy has a fairly simple suggestion:

Congress should make it easier for all Americans to save.  One way to do that is through the creation of Universal Savings Accounts, or vehicles that allow people to invest money without all the complicated rules that now apply to IRAs and 401(k)s.  In addition, Congress should boost the maximum contributions people can make to Health Savings Accounts, so that more Americans can afford the medical expenses most of us inevitably incur in our old age.


More broadly, Congress should shift away from Social Security into a “funded” system based on real savings, much as Australia and others have done.  The libertarian economist Daniel J. Mitchell notes that, starting in the ’80s and ’90s, that country has required workers to put 9.5 percent of their income into a personal retirement account.  As a safety net – but not as a default – Australians with limited savings are guaranteed a basic pension.


That program has generated big increases in wealth.  Meanwhile, Social Security has generated big deficits and discouraged private saving.  Who would you have emulate the other?

Who, indeed?

We should do all we can reasonably do, while respectfully considering the contributions of and obligations toward existing beneficiaries, to allow working Americans the means to invest as they would have their own money be invested, rather than force them to continually and increasingly provide life support to this dying government slush fund.  That’s as simple a start as we might find.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver, and can be followed on Twitter.



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Godlessness, Leftism, and the World's Holes


One of the least known but most influential characters of early American history is the industrialist Samuel Slater.  One of my significant resources in documenting Slater’s life and work came from author George S. White, who, in 1836, published his book, Memoir of Samuel Slater: The Father of American Manufactures.  I found White’s book a fascinating account of early industrial America.

In the introduction to Slater’s memoir, while singing the praises of the industrious Slater – he’s known today as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution,” – Mr. White also speaks against the “Occupy” fools of the early 19th century:

We envy not those self-styled patriots, whose thirst for office and distinction allows them to deceive and cajole their fellow citizens, by prejudicing them against the talented and enterprising part of society[ – t]hus teaching them discontent, and prejudicing them against the necessary arrangements to promote the general welfare, making them the tools of their sordid selfish policy[.]

Likewise, and no doubt aware of the “bickering caudillos” (military dictators) who plagued 19th-century South America, White contrasts life in the United States with that of South America:


A state of society, not founded the principles of honest industry, must be degraded and low; and like the inhabitants of South America must be wretched miserable.  Mankind must be usefully and hono[]rably employed, in order to be virtuous and happy. In proof of this position, compare the condition of South America with the United States, and more especially with that part of the United States manufacturing establishments have come into being and risen eminence. … South America, particularly that part in the neighbo[]rhood of the La Plata, in the hands of New Englanders, would at once become the paradise of world, did they retain their moral and intellectual habits[.] …


[In South America, t]he finest fields in the world for agriculture are suffered to remain barren and desolate, or to be traveled by wandering herds. Indolence … enfeeble[s] the hands and put[s] out the eyes of the inhabitants. Roaming in poverty, filth, and pollution, they are totally blind to their advantages and privileges: they are tossed about by wind of prejudice and passion. Trained to view labour as a degradation, while trampling the most prolific fields and possessing everything requisite, and of the first qualities, for food and clothing, they would be obliged to go naked and starve, were it not for the industry of other nations.  As it now is, robbers and assassins fill their streets, and thousands are disappearing by the only species of industry for which they have an adaptation, that of destroying each other.


Sounds like much of South America today – or, if you prefer, and as President Trump allegedly put it, an “s-hole” (or “s-house”).  In other words, what makes a society a literal you-know-what-hole hasn’t changed much in nearly two centuries.  If you want to find these holes of the world, you need look no farther than where godlessness or leftism – often found together – dominate.


Of course, the world’s holes are often riddled with poverty.  According to Business Insider – and as I alluded to years ago – most of the world’s poorest nations are “under authoritarian regimes where corruption is rampant.”  Few things are more synonymous with modern leftism than corruption and authoritarianism.


Note as well how many of the poorest and most authoritarian nations are run by Islamists.  The godless false religion of Islam is an enforced religion with a violent founder, a violent founding, and a violent past and present.  Islam is generally repressive to women and to those of other faiths.  Islam is typically financially devastating and technologically backward and thus has produced many of the world’s holes.


Naturally, the world’s holes are filled with filth.  Along with garbage, human waste, and nasty water, and no matter what list you use, the world’s dirtiest cities are typically also filled with some form of leftism and spiritual darkness.  The same goes for the world’s most dangerous countries.  Note again that those plagued by Islam dominate the list.


Often accompanying danger and filth is death.  Unsurprisingly, the nations with the lowest life expectancy are the same ones showing up on the other s-hole lists.


Two hole-producing products of leftist ideology that, in spite of numerous and horrific failures, still plague the world today are socialism and communism.  No matter the specifics of the “ism” or the frequency or the scale of the devastation, modern leftists continue to seek to put so much power in the hands of so few.


If you think I’m being unfair to the rest of the world, fret not.  Tragically amazing – given our vast amount of rich natural and human resources – the United States has more than its fair share of s-holes.  Almost always, these are municipalities where democrats have ruled for decades and where godlessness – typically accompanied by a good dose of hedonism – and leftism – usually called “liberalism” in America – dominate the landscape.


It’s not the skin color of the people, but rather rotten political and religious ideologies that produce toilet-like living conditions.  Also, the vast majority of people living in the holes of the world are there through little to no fault of their own (except for those who continue to elect Democrats) and, in most cases, need the help of others to escape or improve their conditions.  The United States can’t import all of those suffering in the world’s holes, but we can certainly play a role in exporting what they really need.


The surest way to keep people from living in an s-hole is to provide them with liberty, but not liberty alone.  As the great Edmund Burke put it when observing the French revolution, “[t]he effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please: [w]e ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.”


Liberty should always be accompanied by the “moral chains” provided by Christianity.  Otherwise, you end up with Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, and Baltimore.


Trevor Grant Thomas: At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com

Trevor is the author of
The Miracle and Magnificence of America.
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

One of the least known but most influential characters of early American history is the industrialist Samuel Slater.  One of my significant resources in documenting Slater’s life and work came from author George S. White, who, in 1836, published his book, Memoir of Samuel Slater: The Father of American Manufactures.  I found White’s book a fascinating account of early industrial America.

In the introduction to Slater’s memoir, while singing the praises of the industrious Slater – he’s known today as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution,” – Mr. White also speaks against the “Occupy” fools of the early 19th century:

We envy not those self-styled patriots, whose thirst for office and distinction allows them to deceive and cajole their fellow citizens, by prejudicing them against the talented and enterprising part of society[ – t]hus teaching them discontent, and prejudicing them against the necessary arrangements to promote the general welfare, making them the tools of their sordid selfish policy[.]

Likewise, and no doubt aware of the “bickering caudillos” (military dictators) who plagued 19th-century South America, White contrasts life in the United States with that of South America:

A state of society, not founded the principles of honest industry, must be degraded and low; and like the inhabitants of South America must be wretched miserable.  Mankind must be usefully and hono[]rably employed, in order to be virtuous and happy. In proof of this position, compare the condition of South America with the United States, and more especially with that part of the United States manufacturing establishments have come into being and risen eminence. … South America, particularly that part in the neighbo[]rhood of the La Plata, in the hands of New Englanders, would at once become the paradise of world, did they retain their moral and intellectual habits[.] …


[In South America, t]he finest fields in the world for agriculture are suffered to remain barren and desolate, or to be traveled by wandering herds. Indolence … enfeeble[s] the hands and put[s] out the eyes of the inhabitants. Roaming in poverty, filth, and pollution, they are totally blind to their advantages and privileges: they are tossed about by wind of prejudice and passion. Trained to view labour as a degradation, while trampling the most prolific fields and possessing everything requisite, and of the first qualities, for food and clothing, they would be obliged to go naked and starve, were it not for the industry of other nations.  As it now is, robbers and assassins fill their streets, and thousands are disappearing by the only species of industry for which they have an adaptation, that of destroying each other.

Sounds like much of South America today – or, if you prefer, and as President Trump allegedly put it, an “s-hole” (or “s-house”).  In other words, what makes a society a literal you-know-what-hole hasn’t changed much in nearly two centuries.  If you want to find these holes of the world, you need look no farther than where godlessness or leftism – often found together – dominate.

Of course, the world’s holes are often riddled with poverty.  According to Business Insider – and as I alluded to years ago – most of the world’s poorest nations are “under authoritarian regimes where corruption is rampant.”  Few things are more synonymous with modern leftism than corruption and authoritarianism.

Note as well how many of the poorest and most authoritarian nations are run by Islamists.  The godless false religion of Islam is an enforced religion with a violent founder, a violent founding, and a violent past and present.  Islam is generally repressive to women and to those of other faiths.  Islam is typically financially devastating and technologically backward and thus has produced many of the world’s holes.

Naturally, the world’s holes are filled with filth.  Along with garbage, human waste, and nasty water, and no matter what list you use, the world’s dirtiest cities are typically also filled with some form of leftism and spiritual darkness.  The same goes for the world’s most dangerous countries.  Note again that those plagued by Islam dominate the list.

Often accompanying danger and filth is death.  Unsurprisingly, the nations with the lowest life expectancy are the same ones showing up on the other s-hole lists.

Two hole-producing products of leftist ideology that, in spite of numerous and horrific failures, still plague the world today are socialism and communism.  No matter the specifics of the “ism” or the frequency or the scale of the devastation, modern leftists continue to seek to put so much power in the hands of so few.

If you think I’m being unfair to the rest of the world, fret not.  Tragically amazing – given our vast amount of rich natural and human resources – the United States has more than its fair share of s-holes.  Almost always, these are municipalities where democrats have ruled for decades and where godlessness – typically accompanied by a good dose of hedonism – and leftism – usually called “liberalism” in America – dominate the landscape.

It’s not the skin color of the people, but rather rotten political and religious ideologies that produce toilet-like living conditions.  Also, the vast majority of people living in the holes of the world are there through little to no fault of their own (except for those who continue to elect Democrats) and, in most cases, need the help of others to escape or improve their conditions.  The United States can’t import all of those suffering in the world’s holes, but we can certainly play a role in exporting what they really need.

The surest way to keep people from living in an s-hole is to provide them with liberty, but not liberty alone.  As the great Edmund Burke put it when observing the French revolution, “[t]he effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please: [w]e ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations.”

Liberty should always be accompanied by the “moral chains” provided by Christianity.  Otherwise, you end up with Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, and Baltimore.

Trevor Grant Thomas: At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
www.trevorgrantthomas.com

Trevor is the author of
The Miracle and Magnificence of America.
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com



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1940: American Inaction and the Tragedy of European Jewry


Many fewer people are aware today of Jabotinsky than of Weizmann or Ben Gurion. Richman provides an illuminating portrait of this exceptional Jewish leader and his work, which will serve as an introduction for many. Nearly 40 years after Jabotinsky’s death, Menachem Begin became the first Israeli Prime Minister whose politics were rooted in his vision.

In World War 1, the British had allowed the creation of a Jewish legion, 15,000 strong, that had fought on their side in various places, with Jabotinsky having a leadership military role. Weizmann, a highly respected British chemist with many British government contacts, parlayed the Jewish help for Britain in the war to gain support for creation of a Jewish homeland in historic Palestine, laid out in the Balfour Declaration, and eventually leading to the British mandate for Palestine between the wars.

The visits to America in 1940 were designed in part to get American help to change British policy in Palestine, which had shut the door on Jewish migration, in defiance of their mandate to allow Jewish settlement of the land in Palestine. This was an urgent goal given the enormous and growing number of Jewish refugees in Europe following the invasion of Poland in September,1939 by the Germans and the Soviet Union, and the collapse in the spring of 1940 of a number of Western European countries with sizable Jewish populations of their own – the Netherlands, and France, among them. Already, the Jewish communities of Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia were dealing with severe discrimination and worse following the Nazis taking control, each in the 1930s. The Zionist leaders hoped that after the war, the Jewish contribution to the war effort would enhance the chances for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, as promised in the Balfour Declaration.

The United States was on the sidelines of World War 2 throughout the year 1940, with minimal support provided to Great Britain, the last of the democratic holdouts after the French capitulation in June 1940. Most Americans, most Jewish Americans, and an overwhelmingly majority in the Congress, were wary of getting involved in the war in Europe. In the case of many Jewish Americans, they were reluctant to appear as warmongers, making special pleas for their beleaguered religious brothers and sisters abroad, thereby risking American lives and treasure in another conflict. While the supply of war material to Britain grew in 1941, it took the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 to awaken Americans to the catastrophe already underway across the oceans.

The visits to America by the three Jewish leaders were uncoordinated, and never overlapped. In retrospect, they were a failure, though they did create much more interest in Zionism in America. Jabotinsky held public rallies with large enthusiastic crowds, and was by far the most direct about the enormous threat to the world’s second largest Jewish community in Poland. The dislocation was particularly severe in the German zone of occupation, where the brutal anti- Semitism of the Nazis was on full display. The Russians treated everyone badly, but Jews were not a target in quite the same way. Jabotinsky had warned of the severe danger for Jews in Eastern Europe before the war started. As Hitler built his power, his expansionist desires became obvious, and other Eastern European countries adopted similar fascist leadership. Jabotinsky talked of the need for more than a million or even several million Jews to be absorbed in Palestine. While the threat to the Jews grew, Britain, catering to the Arabs, adopted new restrictions on Jewish emigration to Palestine with its issuance of a white paper, which Weizmann fought to no avail.

The Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg estimated that by the end of 1940, fewer than 100,000 of Europe’s Jews (out of a population of 9 million), had already perished. In the next two years, the toll would be horrific – about 4 million murdered, over two thirds of that number in 1942, the first year in which the United States was fully engaged in the war. The German invasion of Russia in June 1941 led to the most intense period of Jew killing, utilizing both einsatzgruppen gunmen and various means of slaughter in the death camps, from gas to starvation. 

Could the visits of the Zionist leaders to America have led to actions which prevented or minimized the enormity of the destruction of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis? This seems highly unlikely in one sense, given that most of the murdered Jews were located deep in Eastern Europe, where neither the British nor Americans had much chance to influence events on the ground in 1941 and 1942. However, had the British been more welcoming of Jews to Palestine, or America to Jewish immigration in 1940 and the 1930s, there is no real argument that many more could have been saved among those willing to leave.

The failure of the Zionist leaders to influence either American or British policy is not surprising. The three leaders were at odds with each other. Ben Gurion, the leader of the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine, and a committed socialist, headed the Labor Zionist movement. He and Jabotinsky had not communicated with each other for years. The Zionist Organization of America, was a rival of Jabotinsky’s New Zionist Organization. The ZOA largely boycotted Jabotinsky’s New York City rallies. Jabotinsky’s more public calls for actions contrasted with Weizmann’s quiet diplomacy.

Weizmann, who was the first of the leaders to visit the United States, and had little expectation that America or American Jews would be able to do much to influence the British.

Jabotinsky sounded the loudest alarm about the fate of European Jews and created the greatest stir, but his sudden death from a heart attack in upstate New York in early August 1940, in the middle of his American trip, seemed to sap the energy of the movement he was creating.

Ben Gurion seemed to alienate most American Jews he met with on his trip, the final of the three visits.

Jabotinsky thought Zionism’s quest for the establishment of a Jewish state, was a singular goal, not a socialist paradise in Palestine, a goal Ben Gurion supported.

In 1940, FDR was planning to run for a third term, something no former President had ever done before. The eventual Republican nominee, Wendell Willkie, a businessman, warned that Roosevelt would take the nation to war if re-elected. The race was expected to be much closer than the first two Roosevelt victories, and FDR, a consummate and cautious candidate, was reluctant to allow Willkie to establish much space from Roosevelt as the peace candidate. Jewish Americans were overwhelmingly Democrats, and big fans of Roosevelt, and many in the Jewish leadership, were hesitant about putting Roosevelt in a difficult position by lobbying for anything connected to the war effort. As for Jewish immigration to America, that door had been largely shut in 1924 with the immigration act passed that year, five years before the Great Depression. Now with millions of Americans out of work, and widespread poverty, there was little sympathy among Americans for reopening the immigration door to anyone and creating more competition for the few jobs to be had.. There was also open and broad based public anti-Semitism on radio and in newspapers, in the corporate world, and in the Roosevelt administration itself and among members of Congress.

Roosevelt proved himself generally uninterested in the plight of European Jews until the last year of the war, when assistance was provided to the remains of the Hungarian Jewish community, one of Europe’s largest. His successor as President, Harry Truman, took decisive action, recognizing Israel in 1948, the day it declared itself a new nation. That action was to a large extent due to the efforts of Chaim Weizmann to convince Truman to support the Jewish state, after a long time Jewish friend of Truman’s from Missouri, Eddie Jacobson, had facilitated a meeting between the two.

In the end, Jabotinsky was the most prescient about the threat to the Jews of Europe, the most clearheaded about a Jewish army and the most inspiring of the three. Weizmann had a major role in two of the key formative moments in the creation of a Jewish state: getting the Balfour Declaration and gaining American recognition of the new state of Israel. Ben Gurion led the Jews of Palestine single-mindedly on the path to nationhood and in the war of independence and for years after.

In 1940, Jews were almost 5 million in number in America, about 4% of the population, double their share today. But their political influence was not great; there were only a handful of Jewish members of Congress and Zionism was not a cause for many. And Jews were divided and at each other’s throats, fighting over policy and power in the community. It was not a surprise, given the lack of coordination among the three visitors to America accompanied by the divided state of the American Jewish community, that an America reluctant to enter the European war would show much interest in a Jewish army to fight overseas, no matter how it was organized and staffed. 

Today, the Jewish community and the state of Israel face different threats, but some things remain the same. Most Jews in America are still on the left politically and will rally behind Democrats, whether or not their policies are supportive of Israel and a close relationship between the two countries, or other Jewish causes. Different issues than Israel matter more to most Jews, just as in 1940.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the leader of the Reform movement, the largest denomination among American Jews, recently criticized President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital for nearly 70 years , even though Congress had overwhelmingly passed legislation in 1995 on a bipartisan basis directing such a move. Jacobs apparently could only support such a move if it were undertaken by a Democrat.

Naturally, Jacobs and many reform members, and most Jewish members of the Senate and House of Representatives, supported President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, and are reluctant to criticize it today. Some have also been passive in showing support for Iranian demonstrators on the streets, though it is obvious that the nuclear deal did not improve conditions for Iranians, but merely funded more extensive international aggression by Iran and its proxy armies, and greater theft by the Iranian leadership and its Revolutionary Guard.

It is clear that the Zionist leaders in 1940 understood correctly that the Jewish future depended on having one’s own state. Had Israel existed before World War 2, many European Jews would have been saved. Israel now has a larger Jewish community than the United States, with the highest birth rate among the Western democracies. The nation has a strong economy, has become a technology powerhouse, and maintains a respected military capability.

The push for a Jewish army to fight the Nazis did not succeed, except for a very small operation in 1944 by one 5,000-member brigade which fought with the British in Italy. It was certainly not that effort that led to the creation of Israel, and even a much larger operation, such as Jabotinsky envisioned: an over 100,000-member Jewish army. Even that would still have been only a tiny percentage of the total combat forces on the allied side in the war.

The news about the nature and extent of the Holocaust and the large displaced Jewish population in Europe at the end of the war made more people and governments sympathetic to a Jewish state. That, plus the low level war between Jews and Arabs in Palestine and between each group and the British, finally led to the partition resolution, and Britain’s abandonment of Palestine in 1948. It was only then that a Jewish army could fight for Palestine, which they did successfully, to create a new State of Israel.

 

During 1940, three of the most significant Zionist leaders in the world – Chaim Weizmann, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and David Ben Gurion , all visited the United States , hoping to gain a measure of American Jewish support or US government support for the creation of a Jewish army to help fight the Nazis. Rick Richman’s new book, Racing Against History, provides an interesting and very carefully researched history of these visits, the leaders’ goals, what they accomplished, and what prevented greater success. Richman’s book is a fascinating look at a moment in time, different seemingly from our own, but with some of the same issues.

Many fewer people are aware today of Jabotinsky than of Weizmann or Ben Gurion. Richman provides an illuminating portrait of this exceptional Jewish leader and his work, which will serve as an introduction for many. Nearly 40 years after Jabotinsky’s death, Menachem Begin became the first Israeli Prime Minister whose politics were rooted in his vision.

In World War 1, the British had allowed the creation of a Jewish legion, 15,000 strong, that had fought on their side in various places, with Jabotinsky having a leadership military role. Weizmann, a highly respected British chemist with many British government contacts, parlayed the Jewish help for Britain in the war to gain support for creation of a Jewish homeland in historic Palestine, laid out in the Balfour Declaration, and eventually leading to the British mandate for Palestine between the wars.

The visits to America in 1940 were designed in part to get American help to change British policy in Palestine, which had shut the door on Jewish migration, in defiance of their mandate to allow Jewish settlement of the land in Palestine. This was an urgent goal given the enormous and growing number of Jewish refugees in Europe following the invasion of Poland in September,1939 by the Germans and the Soviet Union, and the collapse in the spring of 1940 of a number of Western European countries with sizable Jewish populations of their own – the Netherlands, and France, among them. Already, the Jewish communities of Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia were dealing with severe discrimination and worse following the Nazis taking control, each in the 1930s. The Zionist leaders hoped that after the war, the Jewish contribution to the war effort would enhance the chances for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, as promised in the Balfour Declaration.

The United States was on the sidelines of World War 2 throughout the year 1940, with minimal support provided to Great Britain, the last of the democratic holdouts after the French capitulation in June 1940. Most Americans, most Jewish Americans, and an overwhelmingly majority in the Congress, were wary of getting involved in the war in Europe. In the case of many Jewish Americans, they were reluctant to appear as warmongers, making special pleas for their beleaguered religious brothers and sisters abroad, thereby risking American lives and treasure in another conflict. While the supply of war material to Britain grew in 1941, it took the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 to awaken Americans to the catastrophe already underway across the oceans.

The visits to America by the three Jewish leaders were uncoordinated, and never overlapped. In retrospect, they were a failure, though they did create much more interest in Zionism in America. Jabotinsky held public rallies with large enthusiastic crowds, and was by far the most direct about the enormous threat to the world’s second largest Jewish community in Poland. The dislocation was particularly severe in the German zone of occupation, where the brutal anti- Semitism of the Nazis was on full display. The Russians treated everyone badly, but Jews were not a target in quite the same way. Jabotinsky had warned of the severe danger for Jews in Eastern Europe before the war started. As Hitler built his power, his expansionist desires became obvious, and other Eastern European countries adopted similar fascist leadership. Jabotinsky talked of the need for more than a million or even several million Jews to be absorbed in Palestine. While the threat to the Jews grew, Britain, catering to the Arabs, adopted new restrictions on Jewish emigration to Palestine with its issuance of a white paper, which Weizmann fought to no avail.

The Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg estimated that by the end of 1940, fewer than 100,000 of Europe’s Jews (out of a population of 9 million), had already perished. In the next two years, the toll would be horrific – about 4 million murdered, over two thirds of that number in 1942, the first year in which the United States was fully engaged in the war. The German invasion of Russia in June 1941 led to the most intense period of Jew killing, utilizing both einsatzgruppen gunmen and various means of slaughter in the death camps, from gas to starvation. 

Could the visits of the Zionist leaders to America have led to actions which prevented or minimized the enormity of the destruction of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis? This seems highly unlikely in one sense, given that most of the murdered Jews were located deep in Eastern Europe, where neither the British nor Americans had much chance to influence events on the ground in 1941 and 1942. However, had the British been more welcoming of Jews to Palestine, or America to Jewish immigration in 1940 and the 1930s, there is no real argument that many more could have been saved among those willing to leave.

The failure of the Zionist leaders to influence either American or British policy is not surprising. The three leaders were at odds with each other. Ben Gurion, the leader of the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine, and a committed socialist, headed the Labor Zionist movement. He and Jabotinsky had not communicated with each other for years. The Zionist Organization of America, was a rival of Jabotinsky’s New Zionist Organization. The ZOA largely boycotted Jabotinsky’s New York City rallies. Jabotinsky’s more public calls for actions contrasted with Weizmann’s quiet diplomacy.

Weizmann, who was the first of the leaders to visit the United States, and had little expectation that America or American Jews would be able to do much to influence the British.

Jabotinsky sounded the loudest alarm about the fate of European Jews and created the greatest stir, but his sudden death from a heart attack in upstate New York in early August 1940, in the middle of his American trip, seemed to sap the energy of the movement he was creating.

Ben Gurion seemed to alienate most American Jews he met with on his trip, the final of the three visits.

Jabotinsky thought Zionism’s quest for the establishment of a Jewish state, was a singular goal, not a socialist paradise in Palestine, a goal Ben Gurion supported.

In 1940, FDR was planning to run for a third term, something no former President had ever done before. The eventual Republican nominee, Wendell Willkie, a businessman, warned that Roosevelt would take the nation to war if re-elected. The race was expected to be much closer than the first two Roosevelt victories, and FDR, a consummate and cautious candidate, was reluctant to allow Willkie to establish much space from Roosevelt as the peace candidate. Jewish Americans were overwhelmingly Democrats, and big fans of Roosevelt, and many in the Jewish leadership, were hesitant about putting Roosevelt in a difficult position by lobbying for anything connected to the war effort. As for Jewish immigration to America, that door had been largely shut in 1924 with the immigration act passed that year, five years before the Great Depression. Now with millions of Americans out of work, and widespread poverty, there was little sympathy among Americans for reopening the immigration door to anyone and creating more competition for the few jobs to be had.. There was also open and broad based public anti-Semitism on radio and in newspapers, in the corporate world, and in the Roosevelt administration itself and among members of Congress.

Roosevelt proved himself generally uninterested in the plight of European Jews until the last year of the war, when assistance was provided to the remains of the Hungarian Jewish community, one of Europe’s largest. His successor as President, Harry Truman, took decisive action, recognizing Israel in 1948, the day it declared itself a new nation. That action was to a large extent due to the efforts of Chaim Weizmann to convince Truman to support the Jewish state, after a long time Jewish friend of Truman’s from Missouri, Eddie Jacobson, had facilitated a meeting between the two.

In the end, Jabotinsky was the most prescient about the threat to the Jews of Europe, the most clearheaded about a Jewish army and the most inspiring of the three. Weizmann had a major role in two of the key formative moments in the creation of a Jewish state: getting the Balfour Declaration and gaining American recognition of the new state of Israel. Ben Gurion led the Jews of Palestine single-mindedly on the path to nationhood and in the war of independence and for years after.

In 1940, Jews were almost 5 million in number in America, about 4% of the population, double their share today. But their political influence was not great; there were only a handful of Jewish members of Congress and Zionism was not a cause for many. And Jews were divided and at each other’s throats, fighting over policy and power in the community. It was not a surprise, given the lack of coordination among the three visitors to America accompanied by the divided state of the American Jewish community, that an America reluctant to enter the European war would show much interest in a Jewish army to fight overseas, no matter how it was organized and staffed. 

Today, the Jewish community and the state of Israel face different threats, but some things remain the same. Most Jews in America are still on the left politically and will rally behind Democrats, whether or not their policies are supportive of Israel and a close relationship between the two countries, or other Jewish causes. Different issues than Israel matter more to most Jews, just as in 1940.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the leader of the Reform movement, the largest denomination among American Jews, recently criticized President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital for nearly 70 years , even though Congress had overwhelmingly passed legislation in 1995 on a bipartisan basis directing such a move. Jacobs apparently could only support such a move if it were undertaken by a Democrat.

Naturally, Jacobs and many reform members, and most Jewish members of the Senate and House of Representatives, supported President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, and are reluctant to criticize it today. Some have also been passive in showing support for Iranian demonstrators on the streets, though it is obvious that the nuclear deal did not improve conditions for Iranians, but merely funded more extensive international aggression by Iran and its proxy armies, and greater theft by the Iranian leadership and its Revolutionary Guard.

It is clear that the Zionist leaders in 1940 understood correctly that the Jewish future depended on having one’s own state. Had Israel existed before World War 2, many European Jews would have been saved. Israel now has a larger Jewish community than the United States, with the highest birth rate among the Western democracies. The nation has a strong economy, has become a technology powerhouse, and maintains a respected military capability.

The push for a Jewish army to fight the Nazis did not succeed, except for a very small operation in 1944 by one 5,000-member brigade which fought with the British in Italy. It was certainly not that effort that led to the creation of Israel, and even a much larger operation, such as Jabotinsky envisioned: an over 100,000-member Jewish army. Even that would still have been only a tiny percentage of the total combat forces on the allied side in the war.

The news about the nature and extent of the Holocaust and the large displaced Jewish population in Europe at the end of the war made more people and governments sympathetic to a Jewish state. That, plus the low level war between Jews and Arabs in Palestine and between each group and the British, finally led to the partition resolution, and Britain’s abandonment of Palestine in 1948. It was only then that a Jewish army could fight for Palestine, which they did successfully, to create a new State of Israel.



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Can Anything Good Come from CO2?


First, is the Earth warming?

Second, if it is, what is causing the warming?

Third, assuming that CO2 is causing the Earth to warm, what is the cost of mitigating its impact?

And fourth, if CO2 has little or no impact on the Earth’s temperature, can anything good come from future increases of CO2?

So is the Earth warming?  Yes!  The Earth is warming, and it has been for over 150 years as the world emerges from the Little Ice Age.  Atmospheric CO2 has also been increasing since WWI.

What causes the warming?  That is a matter of intense debate.

In the 1980s, meteorologists observed that the Earth’s temperature was increasing at the same time as atmospheric CO2 concentration was rising.

A group at NASA concluded that CO2 is driving the warming.  They developed a numerical model of the atmosphere that projected an alarming rise in the Earth’s temperature and made public announcements of an impending disaster.  All the alarmist statements from the 1980s until today are based on numerical models.

But beginning in 1998, the Earth’s temperature plateaued (currently referred to as the “pause”) while CO2 levels continued to spiral upward.  This caused a number of scientists outside the “alarmist” community to undertake an in-depth review of what has become a serious controversy.

These “skeptics” are convinced that meteorological data overwhelmingly show that CO2 is not a major factor in the global temperature.  Their belief is based on three primary reasons.

First, the pause has lasted for nearly twenty years, while atmospheric concentration of CO2 continues to rise.  Second, there is a poor correlation between CO2 and the Earth’s temperature, as evidenced by the current pause and the fact that what correlations exist often show that temperature changes before CO2 rather than vice versa.  And third, failure of the numerical models, which predict double and triple the warming seen in real-world observations, suggests that the CO2 terms in the models are wrong.

Nevertheless, assuming that the alarmists are right and CO2 is causing global warming, what would be the cost to mitigate warming driven by CO2?

This brings us to the meeting of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015, when 194 nations agreed to reduce CO2 emissions by unrealistic amounts.

It was recognized that developing nations would need financial help to achieve their goals.  The conference agreed to establish a “Green Climate Fund” that would be distributed to developing nations.  The goal was to have $100 billion in this fund by 2020.  Of the 194 countries, 46 agreed to be donor nations, which means there would be almost 150 receiver nations.

At the meeting, the 46 donor nations made an initial pledge of $10 billion, with 90% coming from six countries: England, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States, with the U.S. carrying the heavy load of $3 billion.  It was agreed that pledges would be paid in two years.  Yet, two years later, only $3.4 billion has been collected, with over one fourth of it from the U.S.

In 2017, however, President Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of the agreement.  If we were to rejoin the Paris agreement, we would have to pay over $2 billion immediately to satisfy our pledge, and that would only be the beginning, because the goal is to have $100 billion in the “Green Climate Fund” by 2020.  Without billions of dollars from the U.S., the Paris Agreement is doomed.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that it will cost the world $7.4 trillion by 2040, and Bjørn Lomborg estimates that it will cost from $70 to $140 trillion by 2100 if all nations comply with the Paris Agreement.

In addition, there have been billions of dollars spent domestically on global warming.  The Capital Research Center estimated the United States spent $166 billion on global warming from 1993–2014, and the budgets for 2015–2017 were around $20 billion per year.

What does all this money buy us?  Estimates assuming that CO2’s warming effect is large range to as much as a 1.5-degree centigrade reduction in global average temperature at the end of this century.  But the most credible figure, generously based on the IPCC’s own assumptions of CO2’s warming effect, seems to be under 0.2 degrees centigrade.  That is a lot of money for an insignificant result.

Finally, if the skeptics are right, and CO2 is not a major factor in the Earth’s temperature, warming prevented by the Paris agreement would be even less, though the costs would remain the same.

Meanwhile, can anything good come from expected future increases of CO2?  The answer is a resounding yes!

We have known for years that CO2 enhances plant growth.  Over 1,000 scientific studies on a variety of plants have documented this growth, but only recently has there been an attempt to put a monetary value on the increases.

Dr. Craig Idso, in a fascinating investigation, used the results of these studies to determine the growth rate of 45 plants for the period 1961–2011.  These plants produce 95% of the food for the world’s population.  He then converted this growth into a dollar value.  For the fifty-year period ending in 2011, growth of plants by CO2 resulted in an increase of $3.2 trillion for the world’s agricultural community.

Dr. Idso then projected these results forward to 2050, assuming that CO2 would continue to increase at the current rate.  The world could realize an astounding $9.8-trillion additional bonus!

The great news is that it costs nothing to achieve this goal.  All we have to do is continue using fossil fuels at today’s rate.

In summary, the alarmists’ policies will cost trillions of dollars in a largely ineffectual attempt to mitigate warming, with no proof that mitigation is necessary and with current attempts proven to be utterly dismal.  The skeptics’ solution will result in a return of trillions of dollars in increased agricultural growth and, more important, will allow developing countries to continue using abundant, affordable, and reliable energy sources – namely, fossil fuels – to rise and stay out of poverty and avoid the high rates of disease and premature death that invariably accompany it.

Neil L. Frank, Ph.D. (meteorology), a fellow of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, was director of the National Hurricane Center (1974-1987) and chief meteorologist for KHOU-TV, Houston (1987-2007).  In retirement, he continues studies on hurricanes and climate change.

As much of America remains frigid, media headlines shout far and wide that catastrophic man-made climate change is to blame.  But is it true?

What are the basic facts about climate that people need to know?  Four questions can aid in the understanding of this complicated topic.

First, is the Earth warming?

Second, if it is, what is causing the warming?

Third, assuming that CO2 is causing the Earth to warm, what is the cost of mitigating its impact?

And fourth, if CO2 has little or no impact on the Earth’s temperature, can anything good come from future increases of CO2?

So is the Earth warming?  Yes!  The Earth is warming, and it has been for over 150 years as the world emerges from the Little Ice Age.  Atmospheric CO2 has also been increasing since WWI.

What causes the warming?  That is a matter of intense debate.

In the 1980s, meteorologists observed that the Earth’s temperature was increasing at the same time as atmospheric CO2 concentration was rising.

A group at NASA concluded that CO2 is driving the warming.  They developed a numerical model of the atmosphere that projected an alarming rise in the Earth’s temperature and made public announcements of an impending disaster.  All the alarmist statements from the 1980s until today are based on numerical models.

But beginning in 1998, the Earth’s temperature plateaued (currently referred to as the “pause”) while CO2 levels continued to spiral upward.  This caused a number of scientists outside the “alarmist” community to undertake an in-depth review of what has become a serious controversy.

These “skeptics” are convinced that meteorological data overwhelmingly show that CO2 is not a major factor in the global temperature.  Their belief is based on three primary reasons.

First, the pause has lasted for nearly twenty years, while atmospheric concentration of CO2 continues to rise.  Second, there is a poor correlation between CO2 and the Earth’s temperature, as evidenced by the current pause and the fact that what correlations exist often show that temperature changes before CO2 rather than vice versa.  And third, failure of the numerical models, which predict double and triple the warming seen in real-world observations, suggests that the CO2 terms in the models are wrong.

Nevertheless, assuming that the alarmists are right and CO2 is causing global warming, what would be the cost to mitigate warming driven by CO2?

This brings us to the meeting of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015, when 194 nations agreed to reduce CO2 emissions by unrealistic amounts.

It was recognized that developing nations would need financial help to achieve their goals.  The conference agreed to establish a “Green Climate Fund” that would be distributed to developing nations.  The goal was to have $100 billion in this fund by 2020.  Of the 194 countries, 46 agreed to be donor nations, which means there would be almost 150 receiver nations.

At the meeting, the 46 donor nations made an initial pledge of $10 billion, with 90% coming from six countries: England, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States, with the U.S. carrying the heavy load of $3 billion.  It was agreed that pledges would be paid in two years.  Yet, two years later, only $3.4 billion has been collected, with over one fourth of it from the U.S.

In 2017, however, President Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of the agreement.  If we were to rejoin the Paris agreement, we would have to pay over $2 billion immediately to satisfy our pledge, and that would only be the beginning, because the goal is to have $100 billion in the “Green Climate Fund” by 2020.  Without billions of dollars from the U.S., the Paris Agreement is doomed.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that it will cost the world $7.4 trillion by 2040, and Bjørn Lomborg estimates that it will cost from $70 to $140 trillion by 2100 if all nations comply with the Paris Agreement.

In addition, there have been billions of dollars spent domestically on global warming.  The Capital Research Center estimated the United States spent $166 billion on global warming from 1993–2014, and the budgets for 2015–2017 were around $20 billion per year.

What does all this money buy us?  Estimates assuming that CO2’s warming effect is large range to as much as a 1.5-degree centigrade reduction in global average temperature at the end of this century.  But the most credible figure, generously based on the IPCC’s own assumptions of CO2’s warming effect, seems to be under 0.2 degrees centigrade.  That is a lot of money for an insignificant result.

Finally, if the skeptics are right, and CO2 is not a major factor in the Earth’s temperature, warming prevented by the Paris agreement would be even less, though the costs would remain the same.

Meanwhile, can anything good come from expected future increases of CO2?  The answer is a resounding yes!

We have known for years that CO2 enhances plant growth.  Over 1,000 scientific studies on a variety of plants have documented this growth, but only recently has there been an attempt to put a monetary value on the increases.

Dr. Craig Idso, in a fascinating investigation, used the results of these studies to determine the growth rate of 45 plants for the period 1961–2011.  These plants produce 95% of the food for the world’s population.  He then converted this growth into a dollar value.  For the fifty-year period ending in 2011, growth of plants by CO2 resulted in an increase of $3.2 trillion for the world’s agricultural community.

Dr. Idso then projected these results forward to 2050, assuming that CO2 would continue to increase at the current rate.  The world could realize an astounding $9.8-trillion additional bonus!

The great news is that it costs nothing to achieve this goal.  All we have to do is continue using fossil fuels at today’s rate.

In summary, the alarmists’ policies will cost trillions of dollars in a largely ineffectual attempt to mitigate warming, with no proof that mitigation is necessary and with current attempts proven to be utterly dismal.  The skeptics’ solution will result in a return of trillions of dollars in increased agricultural growth and, more important, will allow developing countries to continue using abundant, affordable, and reliable energy sources – namely, fossil fuels – to rise and stay out of poverty and avoid the high rates of disease and premature death that invariably accompany it.

Neil L. Frank, Ph.D. (meteorology), a fellow of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, was director of the National Hurricane Center (1974-1987) and chief meteorologist for KHOU-TV, Houston (1987-2007).  In retirement, he continues studies on hurricanes and climate change.



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