China’s Train Wreck

High-speed rail in China isn’t all it’s cracked up to be:

Liu’s legacy, in short, is a system that could drain China’s economic resources for years. So much for the grand project that Thomas Friedman of the New York Times likened to a “moon shot” and that President Obama held up as a model for the United States.

Rather than demonstrating the advantages of centrally planned long-term investment, as its foreign admirers sometimes suggested, China’s bullet-train experience shows what can go wrong when an unelected elite, influenced by corrupt opportunists, gives orders that all must follow — without the robust public discussion we would have in the states.

And where we have robust discussion, it gets canceled (as in Florida). Unfortunately, the discussion in California hasn’t yet been sufficiently robust.

Earth Day Thoughts

Steven Hayward:

The ultimate reason environmental conditions in the U.S. have improved so much is economic prosperity and technological innovation. Of course regulation has played a role, but the problem is that our style of environmental regulation relates to the improvements in real conditions in much the same way that police brutality pushes down the crime rate (in other words, the EPA is the environmental equivalent of rogue cops). If you drop back and look at the data for the whole world (as I do in the Introduction to the Almanac), you will see that the nations with the best environmental conditions are those with strong property rights, economic freedom, and prosperity — three things environmentalists hate or define so narrowly as to be meaningless. The nations with the worst environmental conditions are poor and without property rights and economic freedom.

They love the “earth” more than they do their fellow humans. And they indoctrinate our children in their religion under the guise of “science.”

[Update a few minutes later]

A penitent CNN reporter confesses to his eco-sins. But don’t call it a religion!

[Update Saturday afternoon]

Breaking up over religious differences:

Sam started writing on my Facebook wall and sent me flirty messages packed with our inside jokes. Soon, we were messaging every other day. It was like old times, except, you know, without the sex.

But one day, I logged on and saw that he had weighed in on a virtual debate and assumed a staunch position.

“Global warming isn’t scientifically proven,” he wrote.

WHAT??? Does he think the world is flat, too? I thought in horror. I’m from California. I’ve been recycling and saving dolphins since I was in the womb. Suddenly, memories came rushing back to me like a horrible movie montage: The arguments we had about hybrid cars—he contended that it didn’t make a damn difference, since car companies still pollute in other ways. I thought he was just defensive about his decidedly not-green race car. And the way he would constantly rib on Al Gore, even after “An Inconvenient Truth” won the Academy Award… He was always so skeptical about the merits of organic food, too. And, hey, did he even have a recycling bin?!

And poof! Just like that, my desire for him zoomed off into the sunset. We’re still in touch, but we’re not going to get touchy-feely again.

He’s better off without her.


Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!