Category Archives: Climate change

The constitutional condition of England

A traditionalist laments

In his recent article, “Shakespeare and the Redundancy of Conservatism“, Alan Bickley laments the downfall of a country that once could rightly be proud of itself.

Excerpts:

I spent the 1980s and 1990s predicting and lamenting the death of our Ancient Constitution. This was not the provisional work of more or less stupid intellectuals. The English Constitution was part of the organic unity of our nation. It was one with our language and our history and our general beliefs about ourselves. It needed no justifications, no hierarchy of laws, no entrenchment, no supervisory panel of judges. We had trial by jury not because some piece of paper required it, but because we had agreed, since before the Norman Conquest, that a man should suffer punishment only after the lawful judgement of his peers. We had a privilege against double jeopardy because we agreed it was fair that a man should be troubled only once by the authorities with an accusation of some specific wrongdoing. We had freedom of speech because it was our birthright. We knew who we were. We looked down on foreigners, and we took it for granted that they should look up to us.

The last two sentences may be indicative of what went wrong: Pride cometh before the fall. (In fact, Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) says: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”) That is not to say that England didn’t have something others could rightly look up to. But it did invite the wrong kind of pride.

I have given up on lamentations during the present century. I have given up on them because my predictions turned out to be broadly correct. The English Constitution is something nowadays to be discussed in various past tenses. In 1997, I looked forward with particular horror at what was now certain to come. I was like a man in fine clothes who found himself compelled to cross a sea of pig filth. I fussed and tutted over every speck on the national shoes. A quarter of a century later, we are spattered up to our waists, and it hardly seems much if we trip and land on our faces. The forms of our Constitution have been changed in random though generally malevolent ways. Even those forms that remain have been drained of their ancient substance and filled with something new and wholly malevolent.

Bickley is a traditionalist, but despairs of the current Monarchy:

The Conservative Party has not only failed us. It has betrayed us. It has conserved nothing. It has joined in the work of destruction. We now face the prospect of another Labour Government. This will almost certainly complete the draining of substance and the changing of forms. But I no longer greatly care. The Monarchy is much in the news at present. A few months ago, the Queen died. We have a coronation approaching. More importantly in the past few weeks, the younger son of the King’s first wife has published an extended ghost-written whine of self-pity. The response of the fake conservatives who are allowed into the media is to complain that he is bringing the monarchy into disrepute, and even endangering its existence. So far as they believe what they are saying, they deserve the comment that Tom Paine made on Edmund Burke – that he “pities the plumage, but forgets the dying bird.” What has the Monarchy done in living memory to uphold the Ancient Constitution? The answer is less than nothing. The late Queen was a woman of notable uselessness. Of all the documents put before her to sign, she seems to have queried only personal cheques. The new King is stupid or evil, or possibly both. What I have read of his coronation plans involves a repeat of the woke pantomime that opened the London Olympics. His son appears to be no better.

Bickley is particularly scathing about the Church of England:

I could continue. I could say the Church has been colonised by probable atheists, there for salaries that, if not generous in themselves, are higher than their personal market worth, or for easy access to under-age boys. The Bench is a committee of authoritarian leftists. The chartered institutions are the same. The whole administration is a mass of incompetence and petty corruption. The Ministers no longer try to hide that they are taking bribes. Corruption beams from their horrid faces. The classics are rewritten to be goodthinkful, and hardly anyone complains. We have indeed dropped into the filth, and those dragging us through it make a point of kicking anyone who declines to wallow in it with the approved show of enthusiasm.

But I will not continue. I have said enough. We have fallen, and, looking at those countries with a less fortunate history than our own, there are lower depths yet awaiting us. Should I care? Should I not give up altogether on writing and focus what time I have left on securing the least uncomfortable life possible for me and mine? Though always desirable, national improvement is possible only when there is a nation still fit to be improved. I am no longer as sure as I was about England. Before the spring of 2020, I could tell myself that the people had always voted for improvement when given the chance. The English had voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union. They had pinched their noses and voted in a team of corrupt mediocrities when these turned out to be the only group in politics who seemed willing to go through with the Referendum result. Surely, though oppressed, the nation was still sound?

I am no longer so sure. I live in a middle class area. Every Thursday during the Lockdown, I was troubled by the sound, from every front door in my street, of people banging their pots and pans in required solidarity against a virus that plainly showed itself from the start to be no worse than a mild seasonal flu. I then saw the hundred-yard queues of people waiting patiently to be injected with an untested vaccine they had already been warned was at least dangerous. More recently, doubts regarding the wisdom of our war with Russia have been routinely treated in private conversation as equal in their morality to defences of pederasty. Everyone in England but the rich is cold. Everyone but the rich may soon be hungry. There are no demonstrations in Trafalgar Square. When the Ministers tell us we are all in the same boat, there is no replying shout that they are in first class and we in steerage. If every nation gets the government it deserves – government, that is, in the wider sense – the English have no right to complain; and they do not complain. Richard Lynn once assured me that IQ in England had been falling by one point every decade since 1901. 1901 was many decades ago. Whether IQ means as much as people tell me I will leave aside. There seems little doubt that the English who once defended their ways and liberty with fists and more deadly weapons, who began the scientific and industrial revolutions, and who planted their flag in every corner of the world, are as extinct a people as the Athenians of the age of Pericles were when Hadrian visited the city.

So, what is to be done?

There is, however, no doubt that the days of lamenting the death of the Ancient Constitution are past. It has gone beyond recall. Any restoration now must be much more of a new beginning. There is a case for reconnecting the most vital threads from our past to a future settlement. But I do not believe these threads involve a privileged role for the family of Alfred the Great, or any of the outward forms of the Ancient Constitution. We have been notorious, since the eighteenth century, for our indifference to questions of political legitimacy and national identity that consumed other peoples. Now that the mostly unspoken consensus has passed that allowed us the luxury of smiling at the antics of foreigners, we must begin to think about first principles. This will often be painful. It may lead us in directions that we once thought undesirable. Even so, we are left with no alternative if we are not to continue our slide towards, and perhaps below, the level of other nations. And, if I cannot be bothered to explain myself more clearly than I have, a period of Labour government may not be quite so regrettable as I regarded the advent of Tony Blair in 1997.

Net Zero Will Lead to the End of Modern Civilisation, Says Top Scientist

Article in The Daily Sceptic.

Excerpt:

In Manheimer’s view, the partnership among self-interested businesses, grandstanding politicians and alarmist campaigners, “truly is an unholy alliance”. The climate industrial complex does not promote discussion on how to overcome this challenge in a way that will be best for everyone. “We should not be surprised or impressed that those who stand to make a profit are among the loudest calling for politicians to act,” he added.

Perhaps one of the best voices to cast doubt on an approaching climate crisis, suggests the author, is Professor Emeritus Richard Lindzen of MIT, one of the world’s leading authorities on geological fluid motions:

What historians will definitely wonder about in future centuries is how deeply flawed logic, obscured by shrewd and unrelenting propaganda, actually enabled a coalition of powerful special interests to convince nearly everyone in the world that CO2 from human industry was a dangerous planet-destroying toxin. It will be remembered as the greatest mass delusion in the history of the world – that CO2, the life of plants, was considered for a time to be a deadly poison.

What Does the Science Say?

On climate change. And why it is so corrupted.

Jordan Peterson talks with Dr. Richard Lindzen.

This interview with Michael Crichton is also interesting. (There’s no date to it but from what he says I guess it was done in 2007. He died in November 2008.) Crichton makes the point that from all his research on the matter, looking into scientific papers etc., he can surmise that CO2 is likely causing some warming, but not catastrophically so. Nevertheless, we should be reducing our CO2 output. However, he emphasises: This is happening anyway and will continue happening as technology progresses. Trying to crowbar and accelerate this process with government force is unlikely to improve things and likely to cause huge amounts of harm elsewhere.

Pope Benedict vs the calculating elites

O'Neill defends the late Pontiff

In this interesting obituary of (ex-)Pope Benedict XVI, Brendan O’Neill, a self-proclaimed atheist, castigates “preening macho rationalists of the New Atheist set”, who, as humanists, were, according to O’Neill, more anti-enlightenment than the Pope himself:

There was also a profound irony in this Benedict-bashing spectacle. Because this man they loved to hate, ‘Pope Ratzinger’, as they demeaned him, was a far keener defender of reason than they were. He was a more rigorous student of Enlightenment, too. And he did more than they ever will to challenge the real menace to truth in the 21st century – not religion but the ‘dictatorship of relativism’, as Benedict called it. There was more humanism in Benedict’s brave, often lonely battle against today’s tyranny of nothingness than there is in the New Atheists’ snotty rage against religion.

The obituarist gets to the point:

In short, absent any notion of universal truth, devoid of social standards we might define ourselves by (or against), we’re left with just the individual, playing around in his own prison of identity.

[…]

Indeed, Benedict held that Christianity was a ‘religion according to reason’. He argued, rightly, that the Enlightenment sprung from the traditions and tensions within Christianity itself – ‘the Enlightenment is of Christian origin’, he said. One of his most striking utterances was to say that the Enlightenment had ‘given back reason its own voice’. That is, it took ideas of reason from Christianity and expressed those ideas in the voice of reason alone. 

O’Neill hints at the fundamental problem the enlightenment has, without discussing it:

Benedict’s beef was not with reason, then, as his ill-read critics would have us believe, but with what he referred to as ‘purely functional rationality’. Or scientism, as others call it: the modern creed of evidence-based politics that judges everything by experiment rather than morality.

Here’s the fundamental problem: Without morality, rationality will become ‘scientism’, the consequences of which we were able to observe since WWI in the liberal use of weapons of mass destruction, genocides and lately the Covid tyranny, environmental tyranny and other attempts at building a Tower of Babel 2.0.

O’Neill is right to defend the late Pope against the “New Atheist” set, but he does not touch the question that begs: How do we arrive at morality, without God? Rationality alone doesn’t seem to suffice.

The World is Not Ending

Jordan Peterson discusses with Bjorn Lomborg how to make the world a better place

Fitting perhaps for this time of year (Christmas) is this discussion between psychologist Jordan Peterson and statistician Bjorn Lomborg.

Here‘s the beginning of a 5-minute summary, mainly by JP, of the whole previous discussion.

Here are some snippets of ideas from this conversation:

Making climate change the only problem to focus on, and making it look apocalyptic, drives us to make poor decisions in this regard.

Enticing young people to stick themselves to roads and chucking food at beautiful pictures [signs of infantilization and narcissism] makes them believe they are messianic saviours of the world and provides them with feelings of unearned moral virtue.

They are made to believe that they are heroes defending the benevolent virginal earth from rapacious patriarchal human culture.

While there is some truth in that view, psychologically it’s only half the story. On the feminine side, there is also a negative aspect: the rapacious, overprotective mother. And on the masculine side there is a positive aspect: the provider and explorer.

Lomborg stresses that there are many solutions for many problems available, technology has provided us with them.

Peterson stresses the importance of free speech to the finding and implementation of solutions to problems. He quotes Alfred North Whitehead: “The reason humans think is so that our ideas can die instead of us.”

One of the ideas being implemented, reports Lomborg, is self-learning programs in cheap tablets given to children in the developing world, e.g. Malawi.

Another is giving nutritional supplements to pregnant women, to prevent the babies from being stunted and enabling them to develop their full potential.

It’s only in the last century or so that we have learnt to love nature. Before we mostly feared it, for it was likely to kill us. A richer humanity will feel better protected from the dangerous aspects of nature and will be much more willing to protect the environment.

The Great Climate Con

Video here.

Dr Jordan B Peterson and Alex Epstein discuss the undeniable need for fossil fuels, the toxic underlying nihilism of the “climate concerned” left, the need for balance between conservation and human progress, and the unexplored worth of wild potential.

Alex Epstein is a philosopher and energy expert who argues that “human flourishing” should be the guiding principle of energy and environmental progress. He is the author of the new bestselling book Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas—Not Less. He is also the creator of EnergyTalkingPoints.com—a source of powerful, well-referenced talking points on energy, environmental, and climate issues.