Category Archives: Social Commentary

The Climate Wars

The first shots are being fired in western Europe:

Who pays for environmental virtue?

The gilets jaune revolt begs the issue: who pays to save the planet? The Paris accords absolved the very countries driving emission increases — China and India — from mandating emissions cuts until 2030, leaving the burden largely on the backs of the West’s own middle and working classes.

Yet many of these people need fossil fuels to get to work or operate their businesses. Tourists may gape at the high-speed trains and the Paris Metro, but the vast majority get to work in cars. More than 80 percent of the Paris metropolitan area population lives in the suburbs and exurbs, in an area nearly the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

Like the revolutionaries of 1789, people are enraged by the hypocrisy of their betters. In pre-revolutionary times, French aristocrats and top clerics preached Christian charity while indulging in gluttony, sexual adventurism and lavish spending. Today they see the well-off and well-connected buying their modern version of indulgences through carbon credits and other virtue-signaling devices. Meanwhile, as many as 30 percent of Germans and as many as half of Greeks are spending 10 percent or more of their income on energy, the definition of “energy poverty.” This is occurring while these policies prove sadly ineffective in reducing emissions while the much disdained US leads the large countries in cuts.

It’s not about saving the planet; it’s about the “elites” (who are elite in name only, not in talent or competence or intelligence) signaling their virtue to their peers, while defecating on the commoners and telling them it’s cotton candy.

[Update a while later]

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost exactly nine years since I wrote this piece about the Precautionary Principle. And nothing has changed.

Bari And Eve

When political adversaries become friends.

The demonization of people with whom you disagree in good faith is one of the more depressing aspects of modern life. I follow a lot of science writers on Twitter (many of them women), but I avoid discussion of politics with them, based on their political tweets. It’s one of the reasons I have separate accounts for space/sci/tech and my general commentary.

Social Psychologists

Are they impeded in their work by their refusal to accept evolutionary psychology?

In short, yes. It’s part of the Left’s war on science, and its war on human nature. If people aren’t tabula rasas, how are we to create the New Soviet Man?

[Update a few minutes later]

This is interesting:

On an optimistic note, Buss and von Hippel point out that their survey found that a substantial minority of social psychologists did endorse findings rooted in evolutionary biology. But still there is a long way to go until the schism in psychological and theoretical perspectives is bridged – a situation they believe is likely made worse by the lack of proper training in evolutionary sciences in psychology*. “Not a single degree-granting institution in the United States, to our knowledge, requires even a single course in evolutionary biology as part of a degree in psychology,” they write, adding that this is “an astonishing educational gap that disconnects psychology from the rest of the life sciences.”

I hadn’t been aware of this, but it’s one more reason to not take the field seriously.

Welcome To The Narcisscene

This is from last summer, but I finally got around to reading it. I’m wondering what the implications are for space colonies, potential botanical gardens and zoos in the solar system, and the O’Neillian/Bezos vision of earth as a nature park.

[Update a while later]

In reading this:

Because one cannot conceive of the length of geologic time, one cannot comprehend the brevity of the past 75 years in relation to it. The Anthropocene, if officially recognized, would be inconceivably ephemeral, momentary — indeed, instantaneous — existing only in real time. But it will endure until the Götterdämmerung, that is, until humans go extinct; it will run to the end of recorded history — turning the hourglass of geologic time upside down.

…I’m reminded of people who believe that every hurricane or fire is some unprecedented event, caused by our SUVs, when most are unaware of what happened a century ago, let alone millennia.