Bjorn Lomborg has apparently changed his mind, and now thinks that global warming is the number one planetary crisis priority. “He's back and generating as many headlines as ever. After years as the world's leading climate change critic, Bjorn Lomberg is now saying that we need to put it at the top of our priority list. What's that, he has a new book out? Indeed, and in , Lomborg, an adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, goes so far as to say we should spend $100 billion a year to sort it out. The Guardian calls it a Major U-Turn, one "that will give a huge boost to the embattled environmental lobby".
Richard Loosemore comments: ”The last quote from that article pretty much sums it up: > 'Grant him this: Dude knows how to play the media. Who else could get such attention for adopting a position already held by millions of sensible people?'”
By all means use this conversion on your well-educated but obstinate “ostrich-skeptic.” It’s big stuff.
But don’t expect the spin machine to stop turning out bright fools to razzle us and dazzle us with incantations that have one aim... to keep us doing nothing. Take Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist, who offers yet another version of the right wing nostrum that lots of people, interacting freely, will bounce around so many ideas, that solutions to problems will naturally appear (or evolve, like species in nature), leading to better times for all.
Now, mind you, I absolutely agree with everything I just paraphrased! And much more! For example, Ridley correctly demolishes the opposing foolishness of the left - the insipid pessimism conveyed in liberal-influenced media like the film AVATAR - that modern society is somehow worse than cultures that came earlier, more violent, less kindly or thoughtful.
Baloney. (In fact the very ubiquity and success of messages like AVATAR is partial disproof of its premise! Think about that.)
Prof. Steven Pinker already has made it abundantly and decisively clear that humanity is now experiencing unprecedentedly-low levels of violence, per capita, compared to any time in (or before) history. Likewise increasing levels of education, freedom and (yes) ethical behavior. The foolish leftist notion - that we can only continue this progress by chiding people, while frantically ignoring the fact that progress has been made - is certainly insane. It deserves rigorous criticism.
Nevertheless, the right is far worse. Take the way their fizzy “optimism” arm-wavings start off by reciting truths - (e.g that ideas do breed and evolve among free/educated people... and civilization has thereby moved forward). Only then, insidiously, they razzle that basic truth into rationalizations for indolence!
Problems will solve themselves, as if by magic! Ignoring Adam Smith’s cautiously pro-government and anti-oligarchy reasoning, they mis-apply his teachings in order to praise the kind of laissez-faire faith in an “invisible hand” that plays right into the hands of entrenched and conniving oligarchy.
The crux: this fizzing, percolation of ideas and solutions does happen - it can lead to all the great synergies that the optimists proclaim... even the miracle of the runaway positive sum game... the suppsed justification of capitalism. On the other hand this semi-random idea-churn works best when it then feeds into a process called the modern-western, mixed society, wherein smart men and women in business, the arts and government compare notes, deliberate, negotiate, plan and bring about solutions to problems!
The usual prescription that lies underneath what Bjorn Lomberg used to teach, and that other court rationalizers continue to foist on us, is that men like Marshall and Acheson and Vennevar Bush - who MADE this modern world - should be ignored in favor of a random boiling of freely-exchanged solutions. But the invisible hand is only a metaphor. Groups of human beings do assess, make and implement plans. Civil servants and politicians and scientists and citizens can and should play at least as big a role as crony CEO golf buddies.
But the message of the right wing optimism machine is to claim that foresight and deliberation can ONLY be engaged in by corporate masters. Never anybody else. It ignores how much planning and genuine leadership went into making this present world of low violence and rising hope.
------ Other politically redolent matters -----
Kent Pitman offered this observation about “rights” in the US system of government in light of current events (mosques, immigration, etc “Rights are just promises we make to ourselves on our better days, binding us to the conduct we aspire to, hoping that on our worse days we will not be quick enough or powerful enough to undo them before we regain our sanity.”
As for the incredible gall of Glenn Beck arrogating the mantle of “Heir of Martin Luther King?” I have one response that may seem unfair, regionalist, even a bit snippy. On the other hand it says a lot, in a visually powerful way.
Find a map showing those states that were most opposed to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Act. Now compare that map to one showing the regions where Glenn Beck is most popular today. I mean, geez. Some things ain’t complicated.
More evidence of wasted money in Iraq. Of course the pathetic thing is the failure of anybody on the right to call for a Special Prosecutor, re all this. If you include possible graft in military support contracts, we’re possibly talking about HUNDREDS of billions. So where are the people who screeched over never-proved assertions that a few tens of millions (yes, that is an “M”) might have been pilfered from the UN’s Oil-for-Food program, back in the Clinton years? What do such people call misdeeds under Bushite direction - three or four orders of magnitude worse - “ancient history.”
Why, oh why, does not President Obama use the Gulf Oil Spill and the Minerals Management Agency scandal as an excuse to appoint a special prosecutor... and then simply let the SP run loose?
BCRion reminds us of this classic. (Note the date!) That is both funny and heartbreaking that it hurts, so bad.
If only, it wasn't true.
--- A little Science... and a boycott. ---
A new, magnetic-zap method for treating depression seems verified & approved.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Norton Security Software promised rebates when I bought packages at Fry’s. EVERY time, they have reneged. The “debit cards” they sent me never worked. The call-in numbers never answered. I’ll never do business with them or with Kaspersky, ever again.