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Page added on March 25, 2018

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Gimme That Old Time Religion!

Enviroment

The biggest albatross of environmentalism is its well-deserved reputation for apocalypticism: the world is always going to come to and end because of. . . plastic bags! Bee colony collapse disorder! Endocrine disruptors! Velociraptors! And of course the big one: c—— c—– (formerly known as g—– w——). This apocalyptic outlook always comes with the same sort of moral unctuousness you associate with a fire-and-brimstone street preacher: repent of your fossil-fool ways!

Why, people often ask me, are environmentalists so gloomy about the human prospect? I have a simple answer: it makes them happy. Seriously: if you point out to environmentalists the data showing many environmental problems on the national and global scale are improving, they usually go into a rage. Good news is bad news.

A few of the smarter environmentalists know that decades of nonstop environmental gore (heh) has been counterproductive, as public opinion surveys show that “apocalypse fatigue” set in a long time ago. That’s one reason why recent surveys even of Democratic voters show climate change to be a very low priority. Most sensible people would rather spend an evening trapped with a life insurance salesman than spend five minutes with an environmentalist.

Despite all of the efforts of the smarter environmentalists to shed their Malthusianism, they just can’t help themselves. Like an AA dropout who succumbs when walking by a well-lit tavern, orthodox environmentalism repeatedly stumbles and goes on a bender. For example, consider Paul Ehrlich apparently getting ready to imitate the Rolling Stones with a 50th anniversary tour of his famous book:

Paul Ehrlich: ‘Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades.’

By Damian Carrington

A shattering collapse of civilisation is a “near certainty” in the next few decades due to humanity’s continuing destruction of the natural world that sustains all life on Earth, according to biologist Prof Paul Ehrlich.

In May, it will be 50 years since the eminent biologist published his most famous and controversial book, The Population Bomb. But Ehrlich remains as outspoken as ever.

The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.

Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.

I guess Ehrlich missed the news that more than half the world’s formerly destitute population has been brought out of extreme poverty since his book was published because of this “redistribution of wealth.” He’s narrowly correct: this is unprecedented—and wouldn’t have happened if we had embraced his coercive eco-socialism. Anyway:

The Population Bomb, written with his wife Anne Ehrlich in 1968, predicted “hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death” in the 1970s – a fate that was avoided by the green revolution in intensive agriculture.

Many details and timings of events were wrong, Paul Ehrlich acknowledges today, but he says the book was correct overall.

Please environmentalists: don’t ever change.

P.S. I want to retract the sideswipe I made of life insurance salesmen above, because I have been through something incomparably worse. At a conference reception in New York once, I somehow got cornered by Paul Ehrlich and Jocelyn Elders, Bill Clinton’s very odd surgeon general. (Remember her?) Now that was lit.

powerline



20 Comments on "Gimme That Old Time Religion!"

  1. pointer on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 8:45 am 

    The author (if he can be called that) is a fool. All he’s got is ad hominem attacks.

  2. Sissyfuss on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 8:56 am 

    Defending BAU is so much easier than defending the health of the environment.

  3. dissident on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 9:36 am 

    One note Johnny cornucopians. “You doomers were wrong in the past” therefore you will always be wrong.

    The only failure here is intrinsically human. Both cornucopians and doomers have unrealistic expectations of future timelines. Recall the 1970s TV show “Space 1999”. The expectation that it would only take 20 years to achieve what would realistically take 200 or more years is typical. Ehrlich, if he was not a publicity whore back in the 1960s, made the same human mistake of accelerating events by a factor of 10 or higher. This human forecast bias does not invalidate real issues.

  4. Davy on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 9:46 am 

    There is always criticism until it happens. Science says it will likely happen eventually. The timeline is really the only question. I doom and prep because it is a great lifestyle. If I don’t get to see it I imagine my kids will. They will appreciate my ground work. They will talk about my forsight. They will say dad was a little crazy but ahead of his time. I am less a doomer now but no less a doomer. Enjoy life now the future is not going anywhere.

  5. Cloggie on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 10:45 am 

    “Ehrlich, if he was not a publicity whore back in the 1960s, made the same human mistake of accelerating events by a factor of 10 or higher.”

    He was a megalomaniac publicity whore. If you dig a little in his background, you know why. A bit like “our” millimind.

  6. Boat on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 10:49 am 

    Davy

    One of your better posts. Most of my complaints have always been about timelines and specific reasons about a collaspe but not the eventual outcome of overshoot.
    For example high populated low developed countries will not weather climate change as well as let’s say N America.
    Would you rather be in India/China or say Finland, Sweden, Norway in twenty years.

  7. Cloggie on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 10:50 am 

    “I doom and prep because it is a great lifestyle”

    Now that’s a fascinating tidbit, a real eye-opener! You do it for sport and hobby and to look interesting. Not because you are afraid that otherwise you’ll have nothing to eat next year, “when the joint comes crashing down”, or something.

  8. GregT on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 11:45 am 

    “They will say dad was a little crazy”

    A little crazy? You aren’t giving the offspring enough credit Davy. No doubt, they are very well aware that you’re totally nutters.

  9. Davy on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 11:52 am 

    Hi, greggie, I might be crazy but I am not mentally unstable with multiple personality disorders like you have. big difference

  10. Davy on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 11:59 am 

    “Would you rather be in India/China or say Finland, Sweden, Norway in twenty years.”

    Definitely not China or India. Who knows really, so much will change making our ability to gauge the best place to weather the storm lacking. Much of the outcome is randomness of where the worst accumulates.

  11. Davy on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 12:03 pm 

    “You do it for sport and hobby and to look interesting. Not because you are afraid that otherwise you’ll have nothing to eat next year, “when the joint comes crashing down”, or something.”

    Can you read dumbass? I said way of life. Hobbies are part of it. Sport is not. I might not have something to eat next year but I am glad I am here and not in a place like you are in. The highest population densities in the world are right where you are at and you are sitting like a fat pig ready to be gutted.

  12. DMyers on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 12:04 pm 

    Unfortunately, Ehrlich put a time frame on things. I also agree with Davy on this, that it will happen eventually, though we cannot call the time line. Those who criticize doomers, e.g. the Libertarians (with whom I am mostly in agreement), are themselves doomers of a different color. Their doom call has more to with our political/economic practices. They see our system going down, based on a review of history.

    The author makes a valid point, that there is a tone of religiosity, i.e., absolutism and you-must-agree-with-meism, in the environmentalist and doomer advocacy of their positions. This is simply a reflection of our religious culture and the deeply embedded tendencies that have shaped our thinking and logic.

    However, it is also true that the failure of a prophecy in one time frame does not disprove it in all time frames. I call on the old description of a man falling from a tall building and saying to himself, halfway down, “…everything seems okay so far…”

    Modern civilization is unsustainable, as it practices a certain infinite consumption of a finite Earth. Even Mars is finite, so we won’t be able to mine it, either, to fill the voids that appear here at home.

    Modern civilization is a play on making our dreams come true. I admit to having benefited from my little segment of these manifestations. I admit to a preference for a diesel tractor over a team of oxen when it comes to supplying an ample supply of food.

    But our penchant for quantity, size and speed over quality, endurance, and gratitude betrays something all too human about it all, that will succumb to the God of Nature in The End.

    Amen?

  13. Anonymouse1 on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 1:28 pm 

    [Edit]

    Hi, greggie, I might be crazy but I am also mentally unstable with multiple personality disorders. big difference.

    Fixed it you for exceptionalist. You’re welcome.

  14. Davy on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 2:26 pm 

    Weasel, you are just the yapping little dog that comes to a big dog fight. You are harmless becuase what do you ever say that is meaningful? If you were smart then you could be a challenge but you are not.

  15. peakyeast on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 6:16 pm 

    A doomer only has to be right once – A corny needs to be right all the time. 😀

  16. Harquebus on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 6:25 pm 

    Diminishing energy returns compounded by population growth is making everyone, on average, poorer. Hence the massive global debt that will never be repaid. Economic collapse is a certainty and the consequences will be severe. Those still making their fortunes are sucking up far more than their fair share and making collapse a certainty.

    The author states:
    “I guess Ehrlich missed the news that more than half the world’s formerly destitute population has been brought out of extreme poverty since his book was published…”

    From Al Jazeera:
    “But instead of making the goals more robust, global leaders surreptitiously diluted it. Yale professor and development watchdog Thomas Pogge points out that when the Millennium Declaration was signed, the goal was rewritten as “Millennium Developmental Goal 1″ (MDG-1) and was altered to halve the proportion (as opposed to the absolute number) of the world’s people living on less than a dollar a day. By shifting the focus to income levels and switching from absolute numbers to proportional ones, the target became much easier to achieve. Given the rate of population growth, the new goal was effectively reduced by 167 million. And that was just the beginning.”
    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/exposing-great-poverty-reductio-201481211590729809.html

    “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.” — Mark Twain

  17. onlooker on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 6:56 pm 

    The drums of doom are getting louder and the deniers are needing to close their ears and eyes ever harder

  18. Boat on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 9:47 pm 

    Harq

    Apparently you have missed that energy consumption is down even though the US has added billions. Energy prices have been down since the 6 year run of high oil.
    The world that was paying high Nat gas prices are enjoying much lower prices. Pretty much your wrong on every count. Pretty typical for a doomer.

  19. Keith McClary on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 11:46 pm 

    pointer on Sun, 25th Mar 2018 8:45 am

    “The author (if he can be called that) is a fool. All he’s got is ad hominem attacks.”

    You forgot his army of straw men, like every “journalist” who has written a silly climate change article.

  20. Harquebus on Mon, 26th Mar 2018 5:11 pm 

    Boat
    Your focus is on the U.S. while my comment’s context is global.

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