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Monday, October 10, 2005

On the Little Green Men and Global Warming


I saw this intriguing heading on a recent post on the Two Plus Two Forums hosted by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth (two famous poker authors): "Martian Failure to Sign Kyoto Could Lead To Their Destruction."

Apparently Mars is experiencing some global warming of its own. Read about that in this article. Very interesting. And I would think to the extent the assertions about Mars' climate change are accurate, that constitutes significant evidence that assertions about the human factor in climate change on Earth are grievously overstated.

Extrapolating from that to a much broader topic ... I've got two sort of gut-reaction thoughts on the environmentalist movement. Confession - I'm considerably uninformed on the scientific aspects of the debate. My assertions (to follow) are based on political reading and independent thinking about the topic.

  1. People are more important than trees, rocks, water, and so forth (although, of course, I recognize people need trees, rocks, water, and so forth to thrive and probably survive).
  2. We, as a species, are lying to ourselves, are wildly arrogant, and are dramatically overestimating our power and importance where the ecology of the Earth is concerned.

As a general matter, I suspect that we, as a species, are incorrect to the extent that we, as a species, think that human beings have the power to change what will happen to the environment and the ecology of the Earth in a material way. The Earth is infinitely more powerful than we are. And of course more resilient. Dozens if not hundreds of times in the history of the Earth, stuff has happened to it which would destroy us. (I'm thinking here primarily of asteroid strikes as an external event which caused a devastation of the environment and living things. As it cycles through its process of birth and death and rebirth, the Earth has plenty of capacity to destroy us all by itself, but I'm talking here about the resiliency of the Earth, so I'm thinking of asteroids coming from space and striking the Earth.) And now, an unfathomable amount of time therefafter, here we are, with the internet. Read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson for details about asteroids, super-volcanoes, tectonic plates shifting and so forth.

Here's a pretty good article by Lew Rockwell on some of these topics. My favorite paragraph in the article is this:

  • From time immemorial until the day before yesterday, Western man has seen nature as the enemy, and rightly so. It is dangerous and deadly. For the sake of our own survival it must be tamed, cut, curbed, controlled. That is the first task of civilization. The first step to civilization's destruction is the failure to understand this, or to call this attitude a sin.

Kyoto and the greenhouse gas/global warming argument seems to me to be placing the (supposed and imagined) interests of Nature ahead of the interests of Man. And that seems to me to be ass backwards.



I'M SURE THESE GUYS WOULD AGREE.

CONCLUSION:
The earth is an amazing, powerful, resilient thing. Humans are fairly amazing, powerful, and resilient as well. If governments stay out of the way and let the earth and humans work together in an environment where market forces guide behaviour, things will work out. None of this is intended to suggest that good stewardship of our earth is a bad idea or at all inappropriate. On the contrary. My argument is simply what my argument always is: governments, bureaucrats, think tanks, and "international organizations" are not the right outfits to be charged with implementing good stewardship. Private individuals enjoying private property rights is the way to go. Economic waste in terms of dollars spent today and in terms of progress thwarted today resulting from environmental activism is manifest. Organizations supposedly acting in the "public interest" are notorious producers of economic waste.

And economic waste is bad.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aliens, Schmailiens...I just want to get laaaaaaaaaaid!!

2:58 PM, October 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hawaiian Islands were named by Capt. Cook "The Sandwich Isles in honor of the Earl of Sandwich, Lord of the British Admiralty who sponsored Cook's voyages of rediscovery.

5:18 PM, October 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MAUI (Mowee) was ruled by the powerful and famous tatooed "tabu" chief Kahekili who, it was said, would spare the life of a lawbreaker if he were to pass on his dark tattooed side.

5:19 PM, October 10, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

You're either Dongley Shlongford or you're not. Come on, now.

Let's use our handles if we've got 'em, people.

Also, the Earl of Sandwich is famous in books about poker too. Because he liked to play poker. And eat meat. And eat bread.

You do the math.

7:17 PM, October 10, 2005  
Blogger Dongley Shlongford said...

Those were not mine.
I've been off visting the galapagos islands, and have not had time for such tom-foolery as this.

The life of a polynesian cartographer is very busy if you catch my drift...

So many canvasses, so little time.

10:31 AM, October 11, 2005  

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