Author Archives: rg

Lockdown and the price of suppressing dissent

In times of crisis, we need more debate – not less

Article by Fraser Myers

Excerpts:

This week, we learned that this shushing of debate and silencing of questions went right to the top of government. Speaking to the Spectator, former chancellor Rishi Sunak claims that even he was unable to get a hearing for his concerns about lockdown.

An omerta on lockdown harms was quickly established in the spring of 2020. Ministers were told not to talk publicly about potential trade-offs. According to Sunak: ‘The script was, oh, there’s no trade-off, because doing this for our health is good for the economy.’

[…]

Although there was an apparent consensus in SAGE in favour of lockdown, Sunak says this isn’t the whole truth. When difficult questions or disagreements were raised in the scientists’ meetings, these were simply edited out of the minutes before they reached ministers. Dissent was excised. It is only because Sunak had a Treasury official listen in to the SAGE calls that he knew there was often a great deal of disagreement and uncertainty among the scientists.

[…]

Many opponents of lockdown suspected that SAGE was being overly alarmist throughout the pandemic, and this was confirmed beyond any doubt in December 2021, when the government defied SAGE’s recommendations and refused to implement new restrictions. A predicted bloodbath of 6,000 deaths per day simply did not materialise.

Throughout the pandemic, the government and the scientists tried to hide their uncertainty. The media demonised dissenters and Big Tech cracked down on them. All of this was apparently to the end of showing a unified front, preserving the integrity of science and pushing a singular, easy-to-follow public-health message. We were essentially told that in times of crisis it is better to put up and shut up than to undermine the authorities.

But look where that has got us. An economic crisis, a health-service crisis and an education crisis are now engulfing the nation – all of which were, at least in part, fuelled by lockdown. We are standing in the smouldering wreckage of our elites’ terrible decisions. We have paid a heavy price indeed for suppressing debate and dissent.

Why Britain’s water industry stinks

The sewage crisis is a damning indictment of the water firms and our state bureaucracy.

Article by James Woudhuysen, who is visiting professor of forecasting and innovation at London South Bank University.

Excerpts:

The smell around the water firms could hardly be more pungent. At the same time as they dump effluent into our rivers, the chief execs are earning hundreds of thousands of pounds in bonuses alone. They can even top up these salaries by sitting on the boards of each other’s companies.

So how did we get here? The blame cannot be placed on the water companies alone. The corporate failures are undoubtedly legion. But they have been compounded by an opaque web of state regulators and non-governmental organisations who also manage and monitor the water industry.

[…]

One thing that binds the regulators and the water companies together, and more or less ensures that problems go unsolved and the public’s needs are ignored, is an obsession with climate change.

The corporate water sharks and the bureaucrats agree that climate change is at the root of all evil. And as we have seen recently, both dry spells and heavy rain can be blamed on climate change. Regulators and companies tell us to save water when it’s dry – because of climate change. And then when it suddenly gets wet, the sewage overflows are also our fault – because we’ve failed to do our bit to stop climate change.

[…]

The first step to ending the outrage of sewage spewing into our waters is to reject this self-serving narrative, to reject the intimate relations between the state, water companies and environmentalists, and to hold all three fully to account. Britain’s bloated and ineffectual water bureaucracy – not climate change, nor the people – is the real problem here.

Back Off, Oh Masters of the Universe

Big corporations like Deloitte are leading us down the path to totalitarianism, says Jordan Peterson

Deloitte have produced a study about climate models and say that urgent action is needed. Psychologist and polymath Jordan Peterson has an appropriate answer.

A written version is here:

https://www.telegraph. co.uk/news/2022/08/15/peddlers-environmental-doom-have-shown-true-totalitarian-colours/ [close the gap between “telegraph.” and “co.uk”]

Excerpts:

And what will it take to do so? Here’s the most alarming part: nothing more than “a coordinated transition” that “will require governments, along with the financial services and technology sectors to catalyze, facilitate and accelerate progress; foster information flows across systems; and align individual incentives with collective goals.”

A clearer statement of totalitarian inclination could hardly be penned. 

The one thing the Deloitte models guarantee is that if we do what they recommend we will definitely be poorer than we would have been otherwise for an indefinite but hypothetically transitory period.

Yet any reduction in economic output (however “temporary” and “necessary”) will be purchased at the cost of the lives of those who are barely making it now. Period.

Why eco-alarmists are wrong about almost everything

The Great Barrier Reef is not dying, and the world is not coming to an end.

Article by Brendan O’Neill.

Excerpts:

The ‘somewhat surprising’ news about the reef’s good health – as one newspaper diplomatically describes it – is a very serious blow to the apocalyptic scaremongering of the eco-elites. 

[…]

Eco-alarmists aren’t only wrong about the death of Earth – they’re wrong about life on Earth right now. The message they constantly send is that everything is dire. The big, disgusting ‘human footprint’ on poor Mother Earth is causing heatwaves and storms and death on an unprecedented scale, they say. It is all so overblown. We are actually safer from nature’s violent whims than we have ever been. The number of people dying in natural calamities fell from around 500,000 a year in the 1920s to 14,000 in 2020. That’s a 96 per cent drop. The percentage of human beings living in poverty fell from more than 80 per cent at the start of the 19th century to less than 20 per cent in the 2010s. Deaths from disease and war have also declined dramatically in the modern era. Child labour, too. Life expectancy, meanwhile, has shot up. In Europe, it went from 34 years to 79 years between 1770 and 2019. That is, at the exact time that mankind was having industrial revolutions and allegedly being a plague on the planet, the health and prospects of humanity improved in a way our ancestors could only have dreamed of. It’s almost as if modernity is good for us.

We must never let the anti-industrial rage of the elites blind us to how brilliant our impact on the planet has been. We haven’t destroyed Earth – we have tamed it and civilised it; we have unlocked its secrets; we have transformed this wild and unpredictable ball in space into a planet that can happily host eight billion people, and more besides. Occasionally bleached coral is a very small price to pay for the liberation of humanity from death and drudgery, wouldn’t you say?

Of course things are far from perfect. We’re heading into a serious economic and energy crisis. It will hit the working classes in the West and the people of the South hardest of all. But this crisis is not an indictment of modern human society. On the contrary, it’s an indictment of the elites’ turn against modern human society. Decades of eco-doom-mongering, of fury against fossil fuels, of constant demands for a slowing down of economic growth and for a violent shrinking of the ‘human footprint’, have unquestionably helped to drag us into this worrying new reality of energy crisis and shortages. It isn’t the ‘human impact’ on the planet we should be worried about – it’s the establishment’s hostility to the ‘human impact’ on the planet. Mastery of nature is essential if we are to continue improving human life. It will also help us to look after nature itself, including its greatest wonders like the Great Barrier Reef.

Green Myths and Hard Realities: Sri Lanka as a Warning

What you get when you mindlessly hand over power to distant technocrats

Article by Joseph Solis-Mullen.

Excerpts:

With Sri Lanka’s short-lived green revolution of 2021 having quickly devolved into a real revolution just one year later, complete with the ouster of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s incompetent and authoritarian government this past week, now is a good time to hammer home not only why the effort failed, but why so-called ESG (environmental, social, and governance) policies and the green energy movement more generally are hopeless and destructive wastes of time.

That modern life is totally reliant on carbon-emitting fossil fuels is no reason to lose one’s head. And even though human-caused climate change is a virtual certainty, that is no reason to mindlessly hand over power to distant technocrats who promise to fix anything if only given the authority to engage in their dubious to morally outrageous social-engineering projects. Nor is it any reason to plow money into so-called ESG funds, which are thinly veiled shams, featuring virtually the same equities as most general S&P index funds but with substantially higher fees.

[…]

Demand reliably produces supply. Already many entrepreneurs and corporations are pioneering devices that will help to mitigate or even reverse the effects of climate change. Things may get worse before they get better. I don’t know what the future holds, and neither does anyone else. Respecting the limitations of knowledge and of the human ability to control things is central to allowing free exchange, the foundation of the capitalism that has made us all richer and better off than we would otherwise have been. The alternative is looking like Sri Lanka.

Meghan Markle and the aristocracy of victimhood

How Meghan became the Princess of Postmodernism.

Article by Brendan O’Neill, in which he reviews Tom Bower’s new book, Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War Between the Windsors.

Excerpts:

Isn’t it striking that the Trump administration was continually slammed by liberals for its promotion of ‘alternative facts’, whereas Meghan is loved by liberals despite also seeming to deal in ‘alternative facts’? The Trumpite Orwellian category of ‘alternative facts’ really means pushing ‘claims that do not conform to objective reality’, raged USA Today. ‘Traditionally known as false or misleading claims; also, lies’, it continued. Does that apply to the Duchess of Sussex, too? Are her claims about being an only child and getting married three days before she actually got married also ‘alternative facts’, false claims, misinformation?

[…]

This is not to say Meghan Markle is a liar. It is more complicated than that, and in a sense more sinister. She appears to be a product of the end of truth. She seems symbolic of a postmodern culture in which self-definition now takes precedence over objective reality. In which our narcissistic description of ourselves carries more weight than any anchored, measurable facts about ourselves. In which one can ‘identify’ as anything one chooses, however estranged your identification might be from material reality. A man can be a woman, despite having a penis, and Meghan Markle can be an only child, despite having siblings. That’s their truth, man.

[…]

Together Meghan and Harry have become globe-trotting moral reprimanders, with often unwittingly hilarious results. Meghan guest-edited Vogue, using it as a pulpit to preach about the evils of climate change. Yet she takes private jets the way the rest of us order Ubers, says Bower. Harry flew in a private jet to a Google camp in Sicily to speak about climate change. ‘His plane was just one of the 114 private jets, as well as a fleet of super yachts, that had ferried billionaires and celebrities to the festival.’ Later, at a press conference in Amsterdam to promote an eco-travel campaign (!), Harry is outraged when a journalist asks him about his private jet-setting. Ninety-nine per cent of my flights are commercial, he says. Actually, at least 60 per cent of your flights are private, he is informed. ‘No one is perfect’, he replies. A few days later the pair flew by private jet to attend the wedding of a close friend who was getting hitched to the son of an oil billionaire.

[…]

We may never know all the facts about some of these stories. But we should bear in mind a point Bower makes well – that in the woke ‘religion’ of Hollywood celebrities, ‘the concept of “universal truth” [is] false’. Indeed, Meghan herself has said that ‘life is about storytelling, about the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we’re told, what we buy into’. We all have the right to ‘create our own truth about the world’, she says. Behold the Princess of Postmodernism, for whom truth is whatever she says it is. I am the Truth – the final rallying cry of the narcissistic new aristocracy.

“The successful reliance on voluntary activity”

What collectivism is destroying

In his “The Road to Serfdom”, the Austrian economist Friedrich August von Hayek (1899 – 1992) described the many virtues that the burgeoning collectivism was destroying:

“There is one aspect of the change in moral values brought about by the advance of collectivism which at the present time provides special food for thought. It is that the virtues which are held less and less in esteem and which consequently become rarer are precisely those on which the British people justly prided themselves and in which they were generally agreed to excel. The virtues possessed by Anglo-Saxons in a higher degree than most other people, excepting only a few of the smaller nations, like the Swiss and the Dutch, were independence and self-reliance, individual initiative and local responsibility, the successful reliance on voluntary activity, non-interference with one’s neighbour and tolerance of the different and queer, respect for custom and tradition, and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.”

What he doesn’t mention is that it was mainly churches that carried the voluntary activities.

Our woke civil service is frustrating democracy

A "regime of managers" is taking hold

In 1941, an American author called James Burnham wrote a very perceptive book called “The Managerial Revolution”. Basically, he said that “regime of managers” was taking over the world. Meaning, in government, civil servants and, in business, the managers in the classical sense.

They were taking away power from the politicians (the representatives of the people) and from the business owners.

The result is a self-centred short-termism. This is on full display in the examples described by Ian Acheson here. He mentions the scandal of the Tavistock Centre for gender-identity services.

During her time as equalities minister, Badenoch was assured by senior officials that everything was just fine at the clinic and that there was more than a hint of ‘transphobia’ in the many concerning reports that were leaking out. She writes that she was advised ‘repeatedly’ that meeting Keira Bell, one of the victims of this state-funded ideology, would be ‘inappropriate’.

This is a familiar theme from my years as a senior government official. Civil servants will sometimes do everything possible to stop or at least slow the designs of the elected politicians who are supposed to be running their departments.

[…]

This Whitehall groupthink will be a problem for the new administration when we get our next prime minister. Many senior public-sector leaders now take their instructions on policy from internal networks of activists. This is not endemic, but it is entrenched. Myriad publicly funded pressure groups, like Stonewall, are now a part of the policymaking machine. But even the current government’s efforts to divest from them will not be enough. Officials that don’t agree are still held in thrall to these groups through fear of career-cancelling allegations of anything ending in ‘phobia’.

Fmr. Greenpeace President Dr. Patrick Moore Says the Elites Have a ‘Suicide Pact’ to Reduce the World’s Population

He's "right on the money"

5 minute video here. He says the politicians give money via bureaucrats to the scientists. The scientists then tell the politicians what they (the politicians) want to hear.

Moore says he grew up in a logging/fishing community, so he knows that we have to extract stuff from nature to survive. However, Greenpeace now considers humans as an evil species.

It is this anti-human and anti-biblical attitude that Christians should be contending without compromise.