The Secret is To Keep Thinking

ACCORDING to a Marxist, and good friend of mine, ‘the left’ has lost its way because too many adopt the ‘correct line’ on issues without any need to investigate first. In essence, they have stopped thinking. Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 11.45.54 AM

All this is explained in his first post at ‘C21st Left’ with the slogan/subheading, ‘Sous les paves, la plage!’ (beneath the paving stones, the beach).

But it’s not just the left that has stopped thinking.

After I returned from the Heartland Climate Conference in Las Vegas I penned ‘Three facts most sceptics don’t seem to understand’, as I despaired the absence of critical thinking, and
enlightenment values, in the most popular keynote addresses. I suggested that scepticism should be of entrenched dogmas, while supporting ideas and research that can potentially contribute to human progress.

My favourite Marxist touches on similar themes in his first blog post:

Support Progress. I use a capital ‘P’ in order to stress that there is such a thing. It happens through human imagination, ingenuity and engineering. As Engels pointed out long ago, humans are distinguished from all other animals in that we can create what we can imagine.

Harmony with Nature – Sustainability – have never been part of the left’s lexicon. Marxists believe in unleashing the productive forces through the further mastery of Nature and through freeing research and production from the social relations imposed by capital. This is the opposite of the ‘green’ world outlook.

Here the Marxist is directly attacking the romantic vision that is now very much a part of correct thinking in Australia.

While this blog is normally focused on issues concerning the natural environment, I’m opening the following thread to thoughtful comments on the more general topic of ‘correct thinking’ with the addition of the following comment from ‘C21st Left’:

Internationalism: ‘they’ are ‘us’. Be ‘they’ oppressed people resisting a fascist regime in Syria or asylum seekers reaching our shores in unauthorised boats. Or ‘foreign workers’ arriving lawfully on special visas. In a globalising world, humanity is one, as never before.

The circles one mixes in too often dictate responses to such issues as sustainability and immigration, when what is perhaps needed is more critical thinking.

A problem, to quote C.G. Jung, is that, “Rational argument can be conducted with some prospect of success only so long as the emotionality of a given situation does not exceed a certain critical degree. If the effective temperature rises above this level, the possibility of reason’s having any effect ceases and its place is taken by slogans and chimerical wish-fantasies.”

Empty slogans and wish-fantasies can be found everywhere and on all sides. The secret is, perhaps, to check whether or not we are ‘thinking’, rather than just adopting ‘a correct line’ dictated by someone who stopped thinking long ago.

177 Responses to The Secret is To Keep Thinking

  1. Another Ian October 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    “If two fellas never argue it jus’ means one of ’em’s doing all the thinkin”

    Baxter Black

  2. handjive of October 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Aimlessly wandering the inter webs, i read this & thought of this blog.

    This post is an opportunity to link it:

    Malleable Minds Fit for an Affirmative State Designed to Meet Needs and Constrain the Ruled

  3. Rhona Eastment October 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    Well yes, we imagine we are all-powerful and so have created a polluted, dying World, poisoned by greenhouse gasses, and knowing this, we continue to burn fossil fuels, to satiate our greed. If you have just returned from the Heartland Institute Climate Conference, and knowing your position on Anthropogenic Global Warming, that is you deny it is happening, I guess you probably participated to perpetuate the myth, to the detriment of all living species on this little blue Planet. You are not a Climate Scientist, your arguments regarding the supposed ‘cooling period’ have been overturned by reputable climate scientists, yet you and Heartland Inst. and other blinkered, idealists persist in pushing this line.
    Time I think to try to find solutions and be helpful to the rest of humanity and the animal kingdon, rather than toady to your Libertarian mates.

  4. Daryl McDonald October 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    In a nutshell, it’s just a matter of OBJECTIVE vs SUBJECTIVE thinking.
    Objective thinkers consider ALL the available evidence, and weight it in their deliberations with an open mind. They readily modify or dump their theories/models if the outputs do not match the empirical evidence. They welcome debate.
    Subjective thinkers use filters to screen the available evidence and weight their deliberations with beliefs. They dogmatically stick with theories/models despite empirical evidence to the contrary. They claim the “science is settled.” Sceptics are called “deniers” ,which is a religious term.
    An old mate reminded me recently that at the start of our Engineering, they wiped our mental hard-drive, and reprogramed it with logical, critical, OBJECECTIVE THINKING.
    We are nearly all born somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. Our life experiences strongly influence which way we lean.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  5. jennifer October 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi Rhona

    You can’t have been thinking as you penned the above comment.

    It suggests that: 1. carbon dioxide is poisonous rather than a building block of all life on earth, and 2. that the opinion of ‘reputable climate scientists’ is good reason for denying evidence.

    You seem to have missed the key message in my post, which is that people who subscribe to the popular consensus like yourself should start thinking through the logic of some of the value laden nonsense statements you are prone to make… . Try understanding the carbon cycle and the motivations of so-called reputable scientist. This may require some reflection.

  6. Ian George October 11, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    Which one is correct?
    The first one is the raw data for Darwin which was on the GISS NASA site until 2011.

    The next one is the adjusted ‘homogenised’ data for Darwin by the same GISS NASA.

    Now, does that strike you as a little unusual? And Darwin had a Stevenson Shield from the late 1800s, initially at the PO and later at the AP.
    There are hundreds of examples of the homogenisation process by GISS, BoM and HADCRU – all the same. Cool the past, warm the present.
    The data tells the truth.
    If you torture the figures for long enough (through adjustment), they’ll ‘fess up to anything.

  7. Robert October 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

    Hey, they made the blue temperature lines go up instead of down again! So clever.

    They do that to help the animal kingdom on this little blue poisoned planet. Or to stop us rednecks satiating our greed. Or something.

    Off topic: The bower birds and possums are feasting on everything outside the house while the pythons and goannas are having their usual spring brawl over my roof space. Do you think maybe they’re Libertarians?

  8. egg October 11, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    They stopped thinking because of sophisticated propaganda, which as you all know has to be emotive to work successfully.

    Climate Change was the perfect vehicle, think of the children and grandchildren, push it through the school system, indoctrinate the masses into thinking the end is nigh.

    It worked like a charm and the apparatus is going to be extremely hard to dismantle, even after the penny drops, because half the population appears to be brainwashed and cannot think.

    Fairfax and the Guardian can continue the propaganda unabated, I have no objection, but Aunty should be brought into the real world and not treat Sceptics as pariahs. You might think the hiatus would send alarm bells ringing in the news department … crickets …

    Bill Shorten has correctly said he will do no deals with the Greens, which means the left (as opposed to the Watermelons) is beginning to think, whereas the Greens should soon become an irrelevant rump of hard core zealots blaming Murdoch for everything.

  9. egg October 11, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

    The comment by Rhona is a good example of the problem, how on earth are we going to convince anyone that the models got it wrong, that scientists, journalists and politicians took us up the ‘precautionary principle’ road and its come to a dead end.

    Even when observational evidence suggests CO2 is a harmless trace gas and had nothing to do with the warming of late last century, its not believed by the green coats who have swallowed their own propaganda.

  10. hunter October 11, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    Rhona is an interesting case study in how the climate obsession reduces those infected by it to a few reactionary cliches.
    Look at how she has bought into an apocalyptic world view based on reliance on authority of those apocalyptics she can echo mindlessly. Her false assertion regarding the pause is one she can repeat like a faux rosary to avoid dealing with the idea that humans are not as bad as she needs them to be: Skeptics are not merely wrong, they are evil. Jennifer is not merely debating an issue, she is perpetuating an evil myth at the behest of a group she sees as directly involved with evil.
    The climate obsessed of today are all too often like Rhona: Combining the shallowest of religious thinking with a sciencey veneer that is skin deep and out of touch.
    The eugenics movement at its height was led by the leading intellectuals and progressives of that age as well. And the Rhona’s of that day took great comfort that their eugenics obsession- which just happened to coincide with their racist and ethnic bigotry- was the only way to save the world.
    Jennifer hit the nail on the head: It is thought, reason and reasonableness which shows the way forward.
    Not the reactionary fear of those who buy into apocalyptic claptrap.

  11. Another Ian October 12, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    From comments at

    PaulH says:
    October 11, 2014 at 11:02 am
    Terrence Corcoran at the National Post did a good take-down of Naomi Klein’s latest book:

    “Her objective is to rally millions of people in a war against climate change, to clear the world of fossil fuels and install some new social order as part of a battle of worldviews”

    Notwithstanding her (few) valid attacks on crony capitalists and various green-washing groups, it’s mostly standard socialist paradise nonsense”

  12. Pat Frank October 12, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    You asked for critical commentary, Jennifer.

    So, well, then, Marxism is itself a romantic vision. Your favorite Marxist, Jennifer, is merely one sort of romantic visionist attacking a competing sort of romantic vision.

    Hence the hostility of Marxists for Fascism, by the way. Fascism is just a heresy of Marxist Communism. They’re both forms of socialism, in competition for the same levers of power. Syria under the Assads is a Ba’athist state. Ba’athism is just socialism for Arabs.

    Your Marxist calls Syria fascist to put a safe rhetorical distance between his Marxist loyalties and the ugly reality that is socialism in action. “Rhetorical” meaning specious.

    In evidence before us all: every single Marxist state has engaged in politically-driven peace-time mass murder of its own population. The only socialist exception, actually, is Mussolini’s Fascist Italy.

    Assad’s behavior is right up to Marxism-standard.

    So, evidence has it your favorite Marxist is one of the non-thinkers. Any Marxist guilty of skeptically rational thought would be an ex-Marxist.

    And what does “sustainability” really mean, in any case? That word is a modern mindless classic; loaded with sentiment, lacking analysis. How does a vision of “sustainability” rack up against the reality of entropy?

    “Sustainability” has no quantitative meaning. It is completely plastic, recruitable to anyone’s fancy.

    Another question: what is the “natural environment”? Do you propose a contrasting ‘unnatural environment’? What is that?

    Is your drawing room less natural than a forest grove? Is a pump-ridden oil field less natural than the fumarole-ridden field of a volcano?

    Your use of “natural environment” implies the usual distinction that makes human technics ‘unnatural.’ This distinction stands guilty of sourcing the standard accusatory polemics against human productive activity.

    We have repeatedly seen its false logic: human technology is unnatural, is therefore against nature, and is therefore evil. As humans are necessarily technological, the conclusion of that rhetoric is hostility to humanity itself.

    If you want mindfulness, then engage it.

  13. Daryl McDonald October 12, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    Thanks Rhona,

    Your thoughts elegantly encapsulated exactly what I was trying to say in my stumbling, bumbling prior post.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  14. Jennifer Marohay October 12, 2014 at 8:33 am #

    Pat Frank,

    Thanks for your frank and insightful comments.

    I don’t have enough knowledge of the subject of Marxism to post a useful reply. I shall see if my Marxist friend can come across and engage in some thoughtful discussion.

    But I do understand that said friend, and also some of the guys at, are pro-technology and apparently all philosophically of the hard left. Which I find interesting.

    As regards my use of the term ‘natural environment’… I use it generally to differentiate my interests from those of say a landscape architect who would be interested in the ‘built environment’. My interest back to the very beginning/my childhood has always been with nature. This interest includes mans impact within such environments. Of course in an Australian context almost every part of this great land was once actively managed by Australian aborigines… this doesn’t, in my opinion, make it less natural, because we are a natural part of the landscape…. though sometimes an unnecessarily destructive one. If you google ‘Bill Gammage’ at this blog and more generally and/or the word ‘Wilderness’ at this blog, you may find some of our pondering on related issues.

  15. jennifer October 12, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    Pat Frank,

    I’ve just put ‘Wilderness’ into the search box at the top of this page…

    And I like this comment from Motty (wonder where he is now?):

    “I once had to explain to a southerner that there was less “art” in Queensland because we had mud crabs, snapper, and fish and chips at sunset over Wellington Point. And after sampling same, he agreed that, indeed, art was a poor substitute, practiced by the less fortunate.

    But now we have the SEQ megapolis, fewer muddies, area restrictions on the bay and a long queue for fish and chips after the sun has set over Wellington Point. And we are now told what an artistic, vibrant city we have become.”

    But for me, who spent much of the first 7 years of my life playing with indigenous kids about a billabong in the Northern Territory… my favourite quote from the series is here… What is Wilderness? (Part 2)

    “For many aboriginal people, wilderness offers no cause for fond nostalgia. Rather, it represents a tract of land without custodians.” Martin Thomas, 2003, The Artificial Horizon. pg 29

    PS When I recently revisited that billabong it was no longer managed and no longer suitable for swimming… the perimeter now overgrown with bamboo and the black water itself full of freshwater crocodiles.

  16. Graeme M October 12, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    An interesting post and even more thought provoking comment from Pat Frank. Especially his observation regarding Marxist states and mass-murder. I don’t know if his fact there is correct, but if so, even in the main, it’s food for thought. Of course, I think most states have engaged in mass murder at some scale and not necessarily for Marxist ideals.

    However I have had long debates with my wife regarding the leftist mindset which seems to me to embody the principles Jen notes above. In arguing with various ‘lefty’ acquaintances, I have observed an absolute unwillingness to either entertain a idea outside of their preferred model of the world, or a ferocious will to completely destroy the competing idea. Even if that means being quite illogical, or logically inconsistent. And when you give up because there is no substance to tackle, they claim victory.

    I think SD’s efforts at Deltoid were an example of that – an example recently claimed By Bernard from there as an ass-whipping for SD, which is not how I saw it.

    But perhaps it’s not just leftist thinking as noted – perhaps it’s an unwillingness to critically examine ideas for fear they may embody uncomfortable truths. Although of course, the same charge could be leveled at sceptics?

  17. Ian Thomson October 12, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    Hi egg,
    You comment about kids being indoctrinated reminded me of a conversation about unnecessary revenue raising road rules , last week. A whole generation has been raised , giving the matter no questioning thought.
    Pauline Hanson , last week asking why 600 bad chemicals are allowed to be added to a LEGAL substance, tobacco, is another which comes to mind.

    The conversation about road rules arose, incidentally, when my mechanic showed me a little car , belonging to a little old lady , who thought she had registered it on line in April, but had not ticked the right box . – Result, not a kindly warning and escort to the Motor Registry, a $400+ fine and don’t move the car.

    When I questioned a $98 fine for not having my license on me , when unexpectedly driving a company car from work. The Policeman told me that I couldn’t have had a relative die in a road accident, or I would understand.
    -That,s indoctrination, everything from the tiny blue endangered planet , to what is in the food must be safe, or “they” wouldn’t let them put it in.

  18. Ian Thomson October 12, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    Love motty’s comment

  19. Ian Thomson October 12, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    The 10% rule is an interesting catalyst , for unthinking norms. Be it anything from sharia law to AGW. , when influential people believe implicitly, (or appear too), then public opinion and policy follow suit. Question them and you are either coming from a vested interest or you are a “conspiracy theorist” .
    Thoughtful analysis is not always regarded as an innocent thing.

  20. Beth Cooper October 12, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    ‘Varieties of Fascism,’ Prof Eugen Weber provides readings and
    analyses of official documents , reports, acts, and speeches to
    compare the fundamental similarities and differences of Fascist,
    National Socialist, Communist and Socialist movements between
    World War 1 and World War 11.

    Karl Popper;s ‘The Open Society and its Enemies’ Volume 2 on Hegel
    and Marx is described by Bertrand Russell as a masterly criticism of
    the enemies of democracy.

  21. Ian Thomson October 12, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    I note that the map with the article I linked to shows West Papua as a muslim country. I wonder what the Morning Star people think of that. However that map shows a politically correct view, held by most.

  22. Raredog October 12, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    Rhona’s comment above got me thinking about critical thinking in general. Certain elites despise ordinary people. Once, snobbery was based on class or wealth, but today this conceit is masked by a token progressivism and implied empathy, that helpfully disguises their controlling and vain natures. These elites are, by nature, condescending, because they have to convince themselves that they are not wrong, that they are not actually part of the problem, and that they are still relevant, especially if they suckle on the public teat. By using key emotionally triggering words such as ‘inclusion’ or ‘diversity’ they spike the language and use these words as weapons against those who do not subscribe to their elitist views such that they can consider this underclass as racist, misogynistic, denialist or homophobic. By creating strawmen they can then tear into those they despise, oblivious to their own lack of empathy. As such, a vicious circle of ‘us’ and ‘them’ is created. This is a deceitful approach because it is based on the lies that inclusion means exclusion, and diversity means conformity of thought.

  23. Ian Thomson October 12, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Hi Raredog,
    A lot of that in Canberra, I hope you are aware that your comment is now compulsorily stored, (in complete privacy , of course), for two years, ready for using against you. Just in case you ever stick your neck out.

  24. egg October 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    ‘…perhaps it’s an unwillingness to critically examine ideas for fear they may embody uncomfortable truths. Although of course, the same charge could be leveled at sceptics?’

    On visiting left wing blogs I’m called a ‘troll’, being outside group think. Sceptics also treat Green interlopers as trolls too, which should be avoided in the struggle ahead because it serves no useful purpose.

    Jen set the right example in her reply to Rhona.

    Leftoids are completely closed off to any rational argument on a whole range of issues, but most importantly on climate change. They are not thinking of what is outside the box, they have faith in the high priests of science and this has lead to mass delusion.

  25. Beth Cooper October 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    ‘I only know that I ‘know’ nothing.’ Socrates the sceptic,
    charged with corrupting youth in debate.

    By Zeus, Socrates!
    It seems you’re right once again!
    Time for your hemlock!

    H/t David Bader

  26. egg October 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    “Orthodoxy means not thinking–not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  27. c21styork October 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Pat Frank asserts that Marxism is a romantic vision. In doing so, Pat Frank reveals a lack of critical thinking, as Pat has merely made an assertion. Having studied Marxism for many years, I know that Pat would be unable to back up the assertion with evidence from Marx or Engels. Dogmatic or ritualistic thinking runs counter to critical or dialectical thinking, as both have no need for investigation of reality as a starting point. Pat Frank might like to dip into The Communist Manifesto, which far from offering a romantic vision, celebrates poetically the revolutionary transformations ushered in by capitalism at that time. Or, Pat can read Engels’ Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, which attacks romanticism. Marxists do not see a romantic vision but a future society based in the resolutions of the contradictions existing within the actually existing social system. The pseudo-left, some of whom claim a Marxist label, are an easy target – a free kick, so to speak – and bring to mind Marx’s claim, in the early 1860s, that he was not a Marxist.

    Ba’athism in Iraq resulted in the massacre of the region’s largest communist party. After liberation from the fascist regime there, the first free newspaper to hit the streets of Baghdad was the Peoples Path, the previously outlawed newspaper of the Iraqi communists. (No, this was not the reason I and other Marxist-influenced leftists supported the US-led war in Iraq. We supported it as an act of solidarity with the Iraqi peoples’ struggle against tyranny for democracy). The first purpose-made concentration camp in Nazi Germany, Dachau, was built for communists in the main. Pat Frank needs to investigate further the fundamentally different, and irreconcilably opposed, views of fascism and Marxism before making ritualistic assertions. This definition of fascism by Mussolini may help Pat: “…Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production…. Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied – the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society….

    After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage….

    …Fascism denies, in democracy, the absur[d] conventional untruth of political equality dressed out in the garb of collective irresponsibility, and the myth of “happiness” and indefinite progress….”

    I’ll continue to address Pat’s other points in a separate comment, as I have to pause for now.

  28. c21styork October 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    Continuing with my reply to Pat Frank (and thanks for the opportunity). It is, of course, wrong and offensive for Pat Franks to read my mind and assert (again, assertions without evidence) that my (and other Marxist-leftists’) opposition to al-Assad’s fascist regime is specious. None of this is critical thinking. It’s just as puerile and as juvenile as what comes from the pseudo-left.

    The previous Marxist-influenced left-wing site to which I contributed, Strangetimes, called for US-led action against the Assad regime at a time when the US Ditherer-in-Chief was revealing just what a ditherer he is, and Australia’s political non-leaders were waiting to learn what line to take.

    I know why I was attracted to Marxism in the first place, and it was never because I support mass murder. It was in part to do with rebellion. Marx’s motto – De Omnibus Dubitandum – continues to inspire me. Pat’s claim that “Any Marxist guilty of skeptically rational thought would be an ex-Marxist” is hardly an example of critical thinking. It’s just a throw-away line, an example of ritual group-think – very reminiscent of the pseudo-left. Again, I can only say to Pat: do some investigation into what Marx and Engels wrote and argued; then you might begin to understand the values and analyses that attracted people to them. And then you will understand why we genuinely support the overthrow not just of Assad but of all the dictators in the region. And why we support the dictum: It is right to rebel!

    As for current ‘communist’ governments… give me a break. Why would any leftist support the North Korean ‘Theocracy’?! And haven’t you heard that capitalism was restored in China in the early 1980s? And Putin? A genuine leftist supports Pussy Riot and others courageously fighting the gangster capitalist regime there.

    To adopt these positions, as a Marxist-influenced leftist, I have had to struggle against the pseudo-left. The conservative Right, by contrast, seems satisfied to hold up the pseudo’s as emblematic of the Left. As I said before, what a free kick to the Right. I hope my blog will prove that just because John Pilger and Andrew Bolt agree on what constitutes the left, does not make it so. I could not have reached this position without critical and reflective – dialectical – thinking.

    Finally, Pat raises the question as to why human synthetic production is not natural. From a Marxist point of view, it is not natural because it involves self-conscious collective labour or social production that necessarily exploits and transforms nature. This form of production – ushered in initially by industrial capitalism – produces wonders that cannot be produced by Nature alone. A robot mobile chemical lab on Mars, for example. Or, for that matter, a tram.

    Thanks again for this opportunity. Marxists, too, are regarded as ‘trolls’ at pseudo-left sites.

  29. egg October 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    ‘Marxists, too, are regarded as ‘trolls’ at pseudo-left sites.’

    Yep, the pseudo left is very confused.

    Abbott is about to orchestrate an infrastructure revolution, bullet trains, new cities and mass immigration. What would Marx make of that?

  30. c21styork October 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

    egg, Marx would like it but would point out that ‘you ain’t seen nothin’ yet’ compared to how rapid development would occur when production and research are freed from the capitalist profit motive (ie, the rationale based on maximization of profit) and concentrated private ownership of means of production.

    When I first became interested in Marxism, in my teens, the old communists to whom I looked up, were strong advocates of the industrial and economic development of the north of Australia. They argued that this would not happen quickly under capitalism – and they were right. None the less, I cannot pour scorn on Tony Abbott for at least advocating such development. I just wish he would acknowledge that he is borrowing former Australian communist policy. The Greens are way to Abbott’s Right in their opposition to such development.

  31. egg October 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    Interesting times c21, Gina is very keen to get the ball rolling. Personally I’m glad its happening under a restrained capitalism where some due diligence might be applied.

    My thinking is that the Free Trade Agreements with China, Japan and Korea will open up the country. Abe is desperate to sell Maglevs overseas, but the Americans are lacklustre on the idea, even when the Japanese offered to throw in five billion dollars to pay for some of the line.

    Abbott said we have a window of opportunity and the G20 meeting should clarify Australia’s future, he wants badly to become the ‘infrastructure PM’.

    More than 80 percent of the workers who built America’s continental railway in the 19th century were Chinese immigrants and paid less than the Irish. On this occasion I would expect Communist state run consortiums to lay the track in double quick time for half the price.

    Of course this is only speculation, but I’m confident Abbott will stay in power for a decade on the back of it.

    ‘The Greens are way to Abbott’s Right in their opposition to such development.’

    Not sure about that, generally I thought they liked the idea of bullet trains criss crossing the romantic countryside.

    What is your impression of the climate change debate?

  32. hunter October 12, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    I was thinking the same thing about the Marxism as romanticism: That I had vaguely recalled that Marx was reacting against the romantic in his failed vision of history and humanity.
    I also recall that he dehumanized history and human motive and made it all materialistic and economic, with no regard for human creativity or individualism. That is the bitter poison root Marxism infected the world with. Here is one quote that
    sets up the problem Marx has created and that you offer no solution to:
    “You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible. (Published by Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1973 edition, page 66)”

    One of many many problem with your vision of Marxism is that no matter how many times a Marxist people’s state has been tried, it has never not become a vile oppressive disaster to those ruled and to the environment it exists in. USSR, Cuba, NK, Albania, etc. etc. etc. all followed the downward arc.
    You make some good points about fascism v marxism, but a few quotes don’t sum up a whole history. You remind me of a really good SF writer, Ian McLeod, who writes of an alternate world where the emergence of a Marxist/Trotskyite world takes place and everyone lives long happy lives. (Interestingly the bad guys are greens, by the way).
    But it is fiction. And a rule of fiction is to never let facts get in the way of a good story.
    Before railing on the wicked capitalists and etc. it would be constructive to first confront the vision horrorific that is Marxism as practiced. Ultimately this is where fascism and marxism share the same poisoned ancestor of dehumanization. Like eugenics and climate obsession, marxism offers a world vision that has a sciencey veneer but which in substance is prejudice and rage.
    marxism dresses itself as science but is at root the opposite.
    Where marxists reign, science, learning, freedom and productivity die, along with the people.

  33. sp October 12, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    egg October 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm # :

    “More than 80 percent of the workers who built America’s continental railway in the 19th century were Chinese immigrants and paid less than the Irish.”

    I am not sure this correct? The Chinese worked from the west coast to the center, the Irish from both coasts.

    Also not sure the Chinese were immigrants, I think they were expected to go home after the job.

    What is the relevance of the Chinese being paid less than the Irish?

    As for Abbott becoming the infrasructure PM – there is no money for these grand “transformational” schemes, and as for Very Fast Trains – I think that has been done to death, there is no business case. It is unlikely there will be much much for the short term future. I am not overly keen on politicians or Canberra apartchiks using my super to build their folly’s

    Currently the Chines are in Africa big time, building rail, ports, you name – they dont provide the money, but an army of Chinese who may or may not earn less than the locals, but send all the money home – not so good for money flow in Africa.

  34. Ian Thomson October 13, 2014 at 5:58 am #

    Hi sp,
    “Very Fast Trains – I think that has been done to death, there is no business case.”
    How much is that imaginary, one day it will happen ,after squillions of $ spent on appeals , second Sydney airport going to cost the long suffering, rorted, taxpayers of NSW and Oz ?
    All to provide people with a longer slower trip on the third busiest , intercity air route on the whole bloody planet.
    Why third busiest ? Because there is no other way to get between the two incestuous, expensive dumps.

    Dr Mahatir , not known for exaggeration stated that when people finally realise what happened to MH 370 they will refuse to fly and all sorts of business stuff would collapse. I’ll take a nice train ride through the mountains any day

    As all the Shires, in NSW were levied to build the bloody harbour bridge , how much will we pay for the airport?
    There’s a pure marketing business case , clear as the model T Ford. The people need it , the people want it and the people can afford it.

  35. Another Ian October 13, 2014 at 6:01 am #


    IMO be very wary of

    “government enthusiasms”

    which seem to be much more common than

    “government wisdom”

    (this last description being very close to oxymoron territory I realise)

  36. egg October 13, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    ‘What is the relevance of the Chinese being paid less than the Irish?’

    Nothing really, it was just a bit of history, and you are correct in thinking they were encouraged to eventually go home.

    With the infrastructure we will have to wait and see what transpires from the FTA, but a Brisbane to Melbourne line via the western route should fire up the public imagination for utopian ideas.

    Ord to Darwin would most likely be the first cab off the rank, but that’s another story.

  37. egg October 13, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    ‘The circles one mixes in too often dictate responses to such issues as sustainability and immigration, when what is perhaps needed is more critical thinking.’

    The Greens are generally against mass immigration, but realistically there is no rational argument to stop it.

  38. Pat Frank October 13, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    Jennifer, I understood your use of “natural environment.” It’s a common descriptive phrase, and there was no important ambiguity in your meaning.

    Nevertheless, you wrote of a need for critical thinking. In that context, use of “wilderness” might have represented your interest more accurately.

    To distinguish a “natural” environment identical to wilderness does convey the necessity of an unnatural environment. Given your usage, the unnatural environment is necessarily the human-modified.

    The rest follows.

    Regards . . . 🙂

  39. egg October 13, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    ‘Australia encourages Chinese enterprises to join in building the country’s infrastructure, the Australian Prime Minister said in Shanghai on Friday.

    “I want to be the infrastructure prime minister of Australia,” Tony Abbott said at a press conference in Shanghai.’

    April 2014 / China Daily

  40. Pat Frank October 13, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    Jennifer, the movie “Inherit the Wind”, is about a famous trial in 1925, in Tennessee in the US, against the teaching of evolution.

    For those unfamiliar, Tennessee had a law against the teaching of evolution in public schools. John Scopes, a high-school teacher in Dayton, TN, read from Origin of Species in his classroom, and was prosecuted under the law. The history comes down to us as the Scopes Monkey Trial

    In the movie, Spencer Tracy playing the defense lawyer, Clarence Darrow, was given an eloquent soliloquy about the trade-offs of technical civilization. “Alright, you can have a telephone, but you lose privacy and the charm of distance. Madam, you may vote, but at a price: you lose the right to retreat behind the powderpuff of your petticoat. Mister, you may conquer the air, but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline..”

    So it is with cities and art, as opposed to mud crabs and unspoiled views. The trade-off is real. Apart from art, cities also support universities and pediatrics. We can regret what we’ve had to give up, but it is asymmetric to do so without celebrating what we’ve gotten in return.

    As to the rest, romance aside, the aborigines were territorial as were all tribal peoples and as we remain today. Where ever humans lived there were no lands without custodians.

    I understand your regret about lost openness; especially the open grounds where we played as children. Mine are gone as well. But modern societies are paying more attention to preservation and restoration than previously — mainly because we are now prosperous enough to do so. It speaks to a higher trait that with our prosperity and its leisure we have become more mindful rather than merely more acquisitive.

    That prosperity, too, has come because of universities and cities. I’m sure you know that the worst loss of wilderness today occurs where people are poorest. Better that they should lose some views to a new prosperity and leisure, than that they should lose so much more by remaining poor.

  41. Ian Thomson October 13, 2014 at 9:05 am #

    The open spaces we played in are not always replaced by human activity.
    Are we becoming more mindful of what is going , or is there a desire for an imaginary untouched landscape to return?
    A friend put a photo on facebook this morning, of the “Do Not” notice at the entry to Murray Valley NP. He quipped that ” do not walk on the grass” was missing.

    Places we used to play are often being locked away from us , for the use of an environmental scientific elite.
    There is a row in the US , at the moment, because some NP’s are charging news reporters a photography fee and reserving the right to tell them what to photograph.- To avoid mismanagement accusations, (and make money).

    Very true about the trade-off between views and progress. While teaching the kids at city schools about us ruining the planet , this little fact should be explained, perhaps with before and after picture of where they live ?

  42. Pat Frank October 13, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    c21styork, I won’t be referring to you in the third person. I’ll pass over the first part of your reply, which is just a series of dismissals.

    As evidence against Marxism as a romantic vision, you directed me to read The Communist Manifesto or Engels’ works. To make a illustrative analogy, that is rather like a Catholic directing one to read Augustine or Aquinas to refute a similar charge of Catholicism as a visionary romance. The works of those authors provide no proof that Catholicism itself is rational and analytical.

    The so-called critical thinking or critical dialectic in Marxism is revealed in the same light: they are mere elaboration of Marx’ axiomatics; and that only at best. Marxist axioms are grounded in a romantic vision. No amount of elaboration will remove the romance of the referencing vision.

    By the way, regarding the title of Engels’ book, has it not struck you at all that to be utopian is necessarily to be unscientific? Or that to be utopian is necessarily to be romantic?

    Utopianism envisions a future-perfect society. Visions of that sort are not grounded in any of human history, nor are they justifiable in terms of human social evolution, nor can they be expressed in any objective social theory — of which there are none in any case.

    In all -isms, the reality is revealed by observable action. The same standard applies to Marxism: its actual content is revealed in the actions of Marxists.

    By mere inspection of the observables, every single Marxist state has been a monstrous tyranny.

    You wrote that the Ba’athists in Iraq massacred Iraqi communists, as though that proved Ba’athism is not socialism. Were Lutherans not Christian because they were anathemized and massacred by Catholics? Were Trotsky and his followers not Marxists? Were the Mensheviks not Marxists? Were they not massacred?

    Resort to political massacre is merely the tyrant’s road to the levers of power. The worst such excesses have always been between competing ideological heresies. That is sufficient to understand the Ba’athist — communist hostility, as well as the fate of the Trotskyists and Mensheviks.

    You offered Mussolini’s definition of Fascism as contrary to Marxism, but should have linked your ellipsissed version, so that we could all enjoy all of it.

    Here is the full document, with lots of interesting parts not included in your truncation.

    For example: “Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, … All the rest of Fascism pretty much follows from that overweening self-granted authority.

    Let’s re-word that description to make a certain correspondence perfectly clear: ‘Anti-individualistic, the Marxist conception of life stresses the importance of the Party and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the Party, …

    What part of that is not consistent with the acting out of Marxism in the old Soviet Union, or in any other state officially hewing to Marxism?

    As in all things, distinction between the said and the done is critical to understanding the real.

    No matter the theoretical denials you like, c21styork, in their self-conception and active deployment Fascism and Socialism have been operationally distinct only in the color of their shirts.

  43. Beth Cooper October 13, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    Thx for insightful comments Pat Frank. And add that neither of Marx’
    historicist conclusions of laws of inexorable historical development
    and stages of history history which cannot be leap’t over, have
    turned out to be a successful prediction.

  44. gnomish October 13, 2014 at 11:42 am #

    ” which far from offering a romantic vision, celebrates poetically the revolutionary transformations”
    pure poetry. very romantic. i suppose i get to be the one to define ‘romantic’, eh?
    Romantic: concerned with virtues and values.

    pat frank- very nice quotable comments – i will pirate freely.

    aristotle laid the foundation of science: existence exists, i.e., whether you know it or not, believe it or not- reality is independent of the observer and can be known by reason.

    plato laid the foundation of mysticism: noumenal essences you can not possibly know- but for a small donation will be divinely revealed.

    the common target of the mystics is man’s congnitive faculty- his reason.
    some of the simplest ‘psychoviruses’ they have refined over the millenia are:

    ‘everything you know is an illusion’
    disregard the fact that knowing about illusions must, logically, be illusory – and just accept it as knowledge. and write a check.

    ‘there is no such thing as truth!’
    disregard the fact that it’s presented as truth and therefore can not be. instead, just accept it as truth. and write a check.

    ‘you can’t know anything, really, because you can’t know everything’
    disregard the fact that someone asserts this as knowledge, which can not possibly be, really – and just accept it as knowledge. and write a check.

    there are more elaborate ‘mysteries’ used to damage a wetware processor but they are ineffable and inscrutable in their closed set- you can only make sense of them be looking at them from outside the box – that’s what goedel’s theorem should teach: if a statement appears unprovable – then enlarge the context. truth exists in context. a logical proposition is ‘if A then B’ – fill in the blanks. if the context is not defined,, it’s not a logical proposition and therefore not amenable to logical evaluation. and that’s the point of a ‘mystery’.
    all self contradictions are false. anything true can (somehow) be proven.
    it is true that anything unprovable does not exist. this is the nature of the mystic’s magick: you can’t prove that what does not exist is nonexistent.
    that doesn’t mean it can not be done. it just means you need better cognitive tools and habitual exercise of reason. for something to be unprovable it must not exist.
    to assert as truth that something unprovable exists is false.

    analogies are not logic. they are always wrong and incomplete. they are rhetorical flourishes. they are art.

    and for what purpose does a mystic corrupt a mind? to enslave it, of course.
    whether the divine revelation is that you should sacrifice yourself to supernatural forces or to your neighbors – the predator on humans requires that sacrifice.
    the predator is an economist, too- he finds it cheaper and more cost effective to train you to do it than to have to rob each and every individual.

    perhaps starting with the smallest children, the myth of an omniscient distributor of causeless wealth can be implanted. perhaps NASA will participate on an annual basis – and meteorologists on every broadcast network can track santa’s course.
    the best part is that not one in 100 million dare call this an element of conspiracy.
    but what better to prepare the malleable mind for acceptance of more absurd permutations later in life- such as churches and states?

    heh- sorry, i’ll leave off.

  45. Pat Frank October 13, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    c21styork, in “The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century,” A. James Gregor recounts the post-WWII history of the creation of the anti-fascist polemic within Marxist theoretical circles, especially in the Soviet Union.

    He shows that the original Marxist conception of Fascism was that it is a desperation measure of the ‘hegemonic bourgeoisie’ to stave off the Marxism-demanded inevitable decline of capitalism into a cycle of diminishing profits. At zero profits, capitalism collapses. So predicted Marx of capitalism.

    But this 20th century Marxist prediction was seriously confounded when Fascist Germany and Italy actually became more prosperous, more economically efficient, and demonstrated a commitment to a progressive social order.

    So, a new Marxist conception of Fascism became necessary. Gregor summarizes the subsequent Marxist dance with ideas, trying this, trying that, until they developed a new more-or-less consensus view.

    The new Marxist-theory-saving formulation had it that Fascism now emerged from late-stage capitalism, becoming ‘state-monopoly capitalism,’ characterized by an autonomous political party, anti-democratic coercion, systematic violence, and military adventure.

    One is left wondering how to distinguish that arrangement from the generic Marxist state.
    autonomous political party: check
    anti-democratic coercion: check
    systematic violence: check
    military adventure: check

    The fact thus remains that the conflict between Marxism and Fascism is no more than a conflict between heretical sects — sects of competing secular, ideologically-driven, romantic visions of ultimate human relations.

    So call me puerile as you so desire, c21styork, but doing so won’t help your case.

    Marxism as political system has very clearly failed.

    As a theoretical construct Marxism has failed as well. Concerning capitalism, Marxism’s predictions of the increasing misery of proletarians has been thoroughly disconfirmed. The inevitable decrease to zero of profits: disconfirmed. A growing asymmetry between the ‘material productive forces’ and the ‘relations of production,’ i.e.,production and distribution: disconfirmed.

    The abolition of private property and private profit — as happened in every Marxist state of record — did not in a single solitary instance produce the abolition war, privation, and oppression. The opposite was every case. We even saw the Marxist Soviet Union in border skirmishes with Marxist China.

    Gregor tells us that eventually, under the press of armed hostility, Fascism was redefined again so that Marxist China was re-interpreted by Marxist Soviet theorists to be a Fascist state under the thumb of the Chinese petty bourgeoisie. There’s Marxist theory in dialectical action.

    Marxist theory, subjective and infinitely re-interpretable as it is, has nevertheless failed in every essayed prediction.

    One might observe that today’s Marxists clinging to Marxism despite the obvious lack of any objective foundation, are analogous to the dogged persistence of the religious despite the same obvious lacks.

    You wrote that, “From a Marxist point of view, [human synthetic production] is not natural because it involves self-conscious collective labour or social production that necessarily exploits and transforms nature.” One can observe that your definition puts humans and human activity outside nature. This is exactly the problem I raised with Jennifer’s use of “natural environment” to distinguish wilderness from technical civilization.

    We know for a fact that each of your stated conditions is wrong. Both evolutionary theory and the observed facts of human evolutionary history, including the history of human artifact and manufacture, fully root them in nature. They are each and both of nature and in nature. There are no rational grounds to gainsay that.

  46. Pat Frank October 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    Beth Cooper, thanks, and as regards Marxism’s predictions, I fully agree with you, as is very evident in my last post.

    I can recommend A. J. Gregor’s book — as interesting as it is devastating. The cover picture, by the way, has Janus as Mussolini vs. Stalin. A fine visual summary of the reality.

  47. Another Ian October 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    An estimate of speed of thinking?


    October 12, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    A long time ago here on Anthony’s blog, WUWT and soon after Climate Gate and Copenhagen in late 2009, a blogger, who I cannot even recall, commented that he had seen a study on the MSM which showed that it took about seven years for the MSM to change and reverse course and switch attitudes towards a controversial subject.

    If applied to global warming that puts the timing of the completion of the MSM switch from a full on promotion of the CAGW meme to an outright skeptical approach to somewhere around 2017.

    There is every indication that this timetable is on track in the MSM as well amongst the alarmist promoting blog sphere.

    On the part of the MSM, seven years for a major shift and reversal in attitude and approach to a subject makes a lot of sense. Editors will no doubt have moved on by then as will senior reporters, sub-editors and all the paraphernalia of a news organisation will have seen big changes in those seven years with a whole new cohort of MSM wannabe’s trying to differentiate and to make their own mark on their news media’s output.
    So a new approach to an old subject which was always a black and white science political subject that was being overturned by new information and doubts would be quite in order as there would be no skin off those new MSM personnel’s own hides if the media organisation they were involved in reversed it’s previous position of the CAGW meme.

    I also suspect that there are many more alarmist sites due to do a permanent dissapearing trick over the next year or so followed by a “Who! Me???” from the proprietors of those sites in the years ahead when they are reminded of their rabid denunciations of skeptics or anybody else who had the near criminal temerity to doubt or disagree with their rigid and rabid, “the science is settled ” ideology of the past.

    Ah! Revenge will be so sweet particularly when served considered and cold”

    From comments at

  48. Pat Frank October 13, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    gnomish, your essay reminded me of reading Eric Hoffer’s, “The True Believer.” One pithy observation after another.

    I appreciated you pointing out the irony of poetically celebrating the non-romance of Marxism.

    My one disagreement is that science originated with Thales of Miletus, rather than with Aristotle, though it’s surely true that Aristotle was fully conscious of his systematics and his methodology is more recognizably modern.

  49. gnomish October 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    but there’s only so much room in my pantheon anyway- tho it’s nice to know where the thales bust got to.
    aristotle can be a pirate. i’ll just give him an eyepatch and buckle on some swash.
    i bet my heroes could all do with eyepatches, come to think of it…

  50. c21styork October 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

    There is so much to respond to in Pat Frank’s replies that I don’t know where to begin. I can only say that if he wants to argue against Marxism, then he needs to understand Marxism. His is so off the mark that I can only conclude that he hasn’t read any Marx at all. He certainly doesn’t understand it, and gets it completely wrong.

    His analogy with Catholic doctrine holds some weight. Were I to makes claims about Catholicism without having investigated it, then I would be open to the repudiation that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    One point I will respond to relates to the weary old misrepresentation of Marx as a determinist. I’m not sure if Pat or someone else raised it, but it is codswallop to anyone who has studied Marxism. Marx believed that the base (economy) detrmined the superstructure of society but that there was an interrelation between the two.

    Hitler rightly understood that Marxists – or Judaeo-Bolsheviks, as the German National Socialists liked to call them – were in the forefront of supporting Modernity. That’s why they were his number-one enemy.

    As for the actual practice of socialism in the Soviet Union and China – the two that I think can reasonably be regarded as having tried to build socialism (but failed) – this is a debate about history and accuracy. The Scienc… oops, I mean, The History is not settled on these matters. But one thing can be assumed, and that is that neither Pat Frank nor others in this thread have ever considered the ‘other point of view’. That is what I think is meant by ‘keeping thinking’.

    But Pat does not need to keep thinking on this – he knows – absolutely KNOWS – with complete certainty that he is right – everything he has ever read tells him so. Why read Mobo Gao’s book about his return to his village of origin in China, when ‘Wild Swans’ has reinforced everything that the ritual-thinkers want to believe?

    I come from a different angle – I have studied both sides and developed my views in the conflict between them.

    Of course, Pat also absolutely KNOWS that Marxism has failed in its ‘predictions’. He may like to delve into the archives of ‘Quadrant’ where Frank Knopfelmacher wrote an article to mark the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto arguing that Marx actually got a lot right.

    In the meantime, Pat and others will have to continue to deal with the cognitive dissonance of the existence of active Marxists who support struggles for democracy everywhere, including in state capitalist China, while also standing up in defence of the right of climate scientists to be skeptics. After all, it is right to rebel! And, of course, we support Progress, including capitalist progress when it occurred (and can still occur in backward developing places).

    Such people will remain very confused, because they don’t understand what we believe in in the first place. And the power of ritual, backed by group-think, always stands in the way of understanding.

    The ‘secret is to keep thinking’…

  51. c21styork October 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    Hunter, it is always wrong to quote out of context and that is what you have done with your quote from Marx. Here is the quote in context:

    “From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolised, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.

    “You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible.

    “Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations”.

    In the fuller quote, Marx is actually advocating an extension of individuality to the propertyless, who were the great majority at the time he wrote.

  52. Pat Frank October 13, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Thanks for the perfect rejoinder to make my case, c21styork: repudiation without substance.

    And we can admire your mental agility in juxtaposing my supposed “cognitive dissonance” with your “existence of active Marxists who support struggles for democracy everywhere,” when the Marxism you espouse preaches proletarian dictatorship.

    So intenders of dictatorship are strugglers for democracy. Got it: black is white.

    You’ve not addressed a single issue, cst21york. Not one. Not the massacres, not the invariable failures, not the observable parallels between socialism and fascism. And not the failed predictions. Repudiation without substance.

    Long ago, I was active in debating religion and science on the early net. When pressed about the history of inquisition and massacre, a common christian fall-back was that Renaissance and Reformation Christians really didn’t understand Christianity and weren’t practicing it properly. Hence their murders, massacres, tortures, and abuses. No matter that christian violence invariably and from the first ascended lock-step with christian power.

    And now here you are, offering that the “Soviet Union and China … tried to build socialism (but failed)….” You imply the same excuse. Was it that they weren’t really proper socialists? Didn’t practice real Marxism? Didn’t understand the deep truths of communitarian brotherhood? Were acritical and monolectic?

    The history of the 20th century has shown Marxist violence invariably ascending with Marxist power. Struggling for democracy, indeed.

    There is no historical debate about the failure of every Marxist state. Nor is there any historical debate about the extent of their tortures, gulags, slave labor camps, massacres, lies, civil terror, and mass murders approaching genocide.

    Jennifer, my case is made, and sincere acknowledgements to you c21styork for your inadvertent contributions to it.

  53. c21styork October 13, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    Pat Frank, if you bothered to read the link you offered to ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ you would find it means the following to the Marxist: “In the 1891 postscript to The Civil War in France (1872) pamphlet, Friedrich Engels said: “Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”; to avoid bourgeois political corruption, “the Commune made use of two infallible expedients. In this first place, it filled all posts — administrative, judicial, and educational — by election on the basis of universal suffrage of all concerned, with the right of the same electors to recall their delegate at any time. And, in the second place, all officials, high or low, were paid only the wages received by other workers”.

    The two essential components are elections based on universal suffrage and the right of the people to recall their ‘delegates’ at any time (to avoid corruption).

    This is entirely consistent with my claim that Marxists support democratic struggle everywhere. Thank you for the supporting evidence.

    There may not be debate about the historical fact that socialism failed. But there is debate about the reasons for it – and, of course, what the actual experience was.

    You may wish to contemplate the fact that the first communist-led revolution in this century achieved its objective of overthrowing an undemocratic monarchy and replacing it with a competitive multi-party electoral system.

    And by the way, nothing is black and white to those who think dialectically.

    See you at the next protest meeting against Section 18C.

  54. gnomish October 13, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    “Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations”.

    communism neither provides nor deprives.
    communists do the depriving, if not by threat then by force.

    society is a trope useful for disregarding the fact that only individuals make the products the communist proposes to appropriate.

    self ownership and the free, voluntary exchange of value for value is attacked by a communist for the purpose of subjugating the individual, appropriating his life and property and sacrificing him at the altar of collectivism.

    marxism is perhaps the most aggressively infantile of all the rationales for evading responsibility for oneself and stealing what another has produced.

  55. c21styork October 13, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    gnomish, you might want to reconsider your claim that “only individuals” make products in light of the Industrial Revolution and mass production, which is the dominant mode of production globally.

  56. sp October 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm #

    When younger I shared a house with a couple of other blokes – not a bad set-up really in so much as a bit of drinking was done and company was had.

    My belief in communism / socialism came to a sudden half one Sunday morning when I woke with a screaming hangover and went to the fridge for my Iced Coffee and bacon and egg pie – one of the best hangover cures around – alas, one of my fellow communards, whose need was greater than mine, consumed my brekkie the night before. Thereafter I put my needs before the others, and hide my goodies in a safe place.

    Marx would have done the same – I am told he would not share a bacon and egg sandwich with anybody.

    Probably why I dont share a house anymore. Probably why most people prefer not to share their resources or the means of production.

  57. egg October 13, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    But…but… where do you all stand on climate change?

  58. hunter October 13, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    Out of context? So I guess the killing fields, the Ukrainian genocide, the Gulag Archipelago, the iron curtain, the cultural revolution, and of course “The Little Black Book” things you need more context for? After all, a million deaths is just a statistic.

  59. hunter October 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm #

    And please going back to the failed Paris commune that lasted what? a few months at most as the example of a successful good dictatorship of the proletariat sort of gives truth to the critics: It don’t work. Marx was anti-human at the end of the day. His many followers since, when they have attained power, have demonstrated their anti-humanism often enough.

  60. hunter October 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    Pat Frank,
    You forget the key aspect of discussing the ironically named “progressivism”/Marxism with a practitioner of dialectic materialism:
    They ignore the evidence that their ideology is a literally bloody failure of the worst sort. They adhere to their arguments the way a climate obsessed person sticks to so-called global warming/climate change.

  61. handjive of October 14, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    Old ship records used to improve weather forecasts
    September 4, 2014

    The project – known as the Weather Detectives – is being run as part of the ABC’s National Science Week and in conjunction with the University of Southern Queensland.

    The logbooks were collected by former Queensland government meteorologist Clement Wragge and include ships that traversed within the immediate Australasian region.

    The logbooks include information such as sea water temperatures, barometric pressure, cloud cover, wind direction as well as wind strength and swell.

    Due to the enormity of the data set covered, the project is calling on citizen scientists to help out.

    If nothing else, there now seems to be an interest in the records the BoM dismisses in it’s homogenisation.

    You would think the complete warming bias would be enough to raise flags that something is wrong with the process, but the response is always it’s worse than we thought!
    It almost seems deliberate.

  62. jennifer October 14, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Thanks Handjive, But if you could post this type of information at the Open Thread. Please.

  63. Debbie October 14, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    A very interesting post by Jen & comments by all.
    As one of those pesky small business owners, who is a producer, I become rapidly sceptical of political arguments.
    Unfortunately, as we become increasingly urbanised, it appears that too many lose touch with some basic principles and default to political or religious type ideology and memetics.
    All forms of socio political governance have their pros and cons.
    I think they begin fail when choices are systematically taken away from the individual in the name of ‘the common good’.
    Of all socio political systems, it is a system based on democratic principles that seems to work the best in practice IMHO.
    It is not perfect of course but it is the one that generally fosters Progress with a capital P.
    I think the others generally fail because they are underpinned by a naive belief in some form of a centralised, benovolent dictatorship & therefore by definition undermine individual choice and entrepreneurial activity.
    They work against basic laws of nature.

  64. Debbie October 14, 2014 at 7:50 am #

    Sorry about the grammar blips. Using a new device 🙁

  65. egg October 14, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    The free enterprise system works reasonably well, with the boom and bust a constant reminder of human folly. Still, its worth the risk.

    China is grappling with the system quite well, after many years of suppression, and I wonder what Marx would make of it.

    ‘In a globalising world, humanity is one, as never before.’

    The planet has become smaller through the communications revolution and air travel over the past century. In every field of endeavour humanity excels, generation upon generation builds on what has come before. Only a free market is capable of harnessing this natural capacity.

  66. egg October 14, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Marx believed that the technological revolution would only support the rich and powerful, leaving the masses virtual slaves.

    He obviously hadn’t read anything on the ‘trickle down effect’, capitalism thrives on uplifting the masses if they can afford to pay.

    Exploitation continues unabated in many parts of the world and its a tragedy, but looking to the future the null hypothesis is that one day all of humanity will be part of the greater middle class.

    Marx got it wrong and not for the first time.

  67. egg October 14, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Do the Marxists here have any idea of how to overthrow the current dominant paradigm in climate science?

    It will need to be revolutionary, because we don’t have much time.

  68. Neville October 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Here’s Matt Ridley’s speech to a Texas conference on energy use. He gives us a glimpse of the past 200 years and the advances made by humans on just about every level and I doubt anyone could watch this and not be surprised at some of the findings.
    And I’m sure that it does belong here and not at the open thread. BTW you can jump ahead to his Skype address, because the intro is a bit long.

  69. Debbie October 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Good question egg.
    It does look a bit like c21styork is posing a similar question, albeit from a different political perspective.
    C21styork does seem to be questioning the ethics and motives of what he calls the ‘pseudo left’ and what he seems to be arguing is actually anti progressive and therefore against the basic principles and logic of Marxist ideology?
    In some ways I agree with C21. The ‘pseudo left’ or the ‘urban environmental elite’ seem to champion social entropy or stagnation over anything that could be considered socially or scientifically progressive. CAGW with a good dose of emotionally charged environmentalism is the favoured tool atm.
    I think C21 is correct that current ‘political environmentalism’ does not sit well with Marxist theory even though it hijacks much of Marxism… particularly its fundamental opposition to Capitalism.

  70. Pat Frank October 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    c21styork, you wrote of Engels’ statement that, ““Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this [Marxist] dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

    Here, and here are a couple of histories of the Paris Commune. They reveal much.

    According to the history linked at Princeton, “The professions represented by the Commune council members were 33 workers; five small businessmen; 19 clerks, accountants and other office staff; twelve journalists; and a selection of workers in the liberal arts. All were men; women were not allowed to vote.

    So, the exemplar of Marxist governance included a minority of proletarians, and a preponderance of professionals, artists, and petty bourgeoisie. That all makes it dominated by — to use your term — “bourgeois political corruption”.

    The Paris Commune was initiated and led by middle class professionals of radical politics. Radical bourgeoisie, in other words. That’s hardly the prescription of Marxism, rooted as Marxism is in a radicalized proletariat.

    Also no female suffrage.

    Let’s further recall that, inter alia, Marxism is about resolving the contradictions of capitalism by symmetrizing the ‘material productive forces’ with the ‘relations of production.’ The Paris Commune did none of that. Their published program had no explicit statement of Marxist principles or intent. Hardly a picture of Marxism, is it.

    Perhaps they’d have attempted something later, had the commune survived. But in the event, there was no statement of Marxist intent in their published program, no such attempt in fact, and no such reality. In that sense the commune cannot of itself exemplify anything of a Marxist state or Marxist economics, or the promise of one.

    Further, Marxism has it that the Proletarian State should emerge following the collapse of a prior capitalist state, following exhaustion of resources and the zeroing of profits. The Paris Commune did not emerge from that condition. It emerged from a condition of a collapsed Monarchy, war, starvation, and violent chaos. These are not the requisites to exemplify a doctrine-delimited Marxist outcome.

    That some of the communards were Marxists, socialists, and so forth is insufficient to grant a Marxist imprimatur to the commune. This is because Marxism pretends to an analytical theory of history. A confirmatory event must follow the prescribed formula. A radical polity emerging from a monarchical social order broken into chaos by war is no example of Marxist process, even if a successor system claims to be Marxist after the fact.

    So, governance dominated by bourgeoisie, no statements of Marxist intent, no emergence from capitalist failure, no attempt to symmetrize productive forces and productive relations. Marxism is nowhere in that.

    If Engels didn’t know all this, he’d be incompetent. But as he must have thoroughly known his own doctrine, he must have known that the Paris commune could not possibly exemplify a proletarian dictatorship.

    One can surmise, therefore, that in his pamphlet Engels was merely being opportunistic.

    Finally, I’d like to change focus to your opening essay, Jennifer. It’s a fact of history that Marxist states engaged in civic terror and mass murder. Every one of them, right down to Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua. In the Soviet Union this approached true genocide in the induced mass starvation of Ukrainians and in the brutal deportations of entire ethnic peoples. In China, some hundred million were killed during forced collectivization and in the willfully murderous chaos of the Cultural Revolution.

    Deliberate mass murder has been a consistent of Marxism. So has the systematic terrorization of their entire citizenries. And during all of this, in the West, the same Marxist states were invariably supported by Marxists and Progressives.

    And yet, somehow Marxists and Progressives are allowed to skate free of that burden. Without fear of contradiction, they still claim to support freedom and democracy, no matter that in every opportunity they invariably supported exactly the opposite.

    Those Marxists and Progressives who are both conscious doctrinal adherents and sincerely claim to support freedom and democracy, by the way, can only be delusional.

    So, I’ll ask you Jennifer, why is it morally OK to have a favorite Marxist?

    A favorite Marxist but not a favorite fascist or a favorite racist? Marxist states murdered far more people than ever did Fascist states. Marxist states terrorized their own populations far more than did Fascist states. Even including the systematic murder of 6 million Jews puts Hitler’s Germany only in the mid-range of Marxist state-sponsored murders.

    I write “Marxist states,” but in reality it was Marxists themselves that did the murdering.

    How is it, then, that Marxists and Marxism escape the onus of fascists and Fascism? And escape the condemnation of racists and racism? Marxism has a worse history than either. And Marxists continue to support that system.

    So there’s a question for your program of critical thought, Jennifer. Why are Marxists blessed with silence about their brutal history? Why is a special grant of moral exception given to Marxism and Marxists?

    The system has been invariably vile, and the activities of the devotees equally so every time the opportunity arose.

    Can you, or anyone, morally sustain the position of cheerfully affirming a favorite Marxist?

    Or maybe the question should be, how can anyone of moral sense possibly… …?

  71. Pat Frank October 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    hunter, I take your point and hope I have properly addressed it in the second half of my prior post.

  72. egg October 14, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    ‘The ‘pseudo left’ or the ‘urban environmental elite’ seem to champion social entropy or stagnation over anything that could be considered socially or scientifically progressive.’

    They are a confused lot, romantics for the most part, who fiercely identify with green/left sentiment as exhibited in the Guardian and Green Left Weekly.

    And a great many of them have Abbottophobia, which is not easily cured.

    ‘hijacks much of Marxism… particularly its fundamental opposition to Capitalism.’

    That does seem to be the situation, but because they are only the pseudo left they might be swayed to think differently about climate change in the form of catastrophic global cooling.

    Replacing the current paradigm in climate science may be as simple as starting up a long range weather forecasting blog that always gets it right.

  73. Daryl McDonald October 14, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    Ho Hummm,

    Round and round we go in another mass-debate.
    Left vs right. Progressive vs conservative.
    ( Jennifer, great way to clog up the blogosphere, throw out one like this just prior to
    the weekend )
    For those out there who prefer fish and chips to frog’s legs and caviar,
    I offer the following:

    HOUSEHOLD A. One partner works long ( ~2500hours/year) full-time hours, as their remuneration is dependant on achieving real world, productive results. I.E. Self employed. By taking land, water, and CO2, they create the most important commodity in the World, FOOD. In doing so, the turn over about $750,000 pa., which costs about $700,000 in inputs and fees. ( All of which have a component of government charges ) Their suppliers are paid within 30 days, yet at times, it may take 18mths to market the product. The main crop is rice, and the enterprise, which has sustained for 5 generations, over 140 years, feeds around 120,000 people worldwide. The sustainability of all this depends on reliable information, particularly with regards to weather, and technical developments.The BOM/CSIRO/ABC traditionally supplied this information. Now, these organisations, which the rice grower funds, are of little relevance. The enterprise uses the latest GPS/Laser/Satellite image technology, but constantly manually checks the calibration and accuracy of these tools.The other partner works part time, as they have a thrice of kids. They own their own modest house, an 8yr old Falcon, and a 10yr old 4WD for backup and weekends. They occasionally
    have a little bit of cash to dribble into self-managed super. They have a 24in telly, and a couple of old banger laptops. They know that thinking critically for themselves, and a conservative financial attitude is the best way forward, for them. Political correctness means having the right party in government. A family treat is fish and chips down by the river.

    HOUSEHOLD B. Both partners work flexi-time ( ~1660hours/year/person ) for government agencies. Pay rates are indexed upwards annually, and promotions are sort of routine. Pleasing the CEO means computer modelling outcomes to fit the prevailing agenda. They drive the latest imported SUV, plus a Prius for shopping, plus a tax-payer funded work car. Their tax-payer funded super is not doing much, due to the administrators enjoying a lifestyle equivalent to their own. They have mortgaged their inner city house to buy a negatively gear investment property, out-bidding a pair of first time house hunters.
    They also time share a beach-side apartment. They rely heavily on commission based financial planners. They have three large plasma TV’s, and an assortment of the latest iPads, iPhones etc. In an attempt to ensure some job security, they have instinctively adopted the ‘consensus view’. They believe in the ‘Magic Pudding’ of Government finances, and political correctness comes naturally. A treat is a $300 meal at a fancy French restaurant. They rely heavily on the ABC/SBS for their view of the World.

    Now, the critical thinking bit.

    Which household has more at stake in a variable climate?

    Which household relies more heavily on objective, accurate information?

    Which household is contributing to the ‘Magic Pudding” that so many depend on?

    Which household relies on critical thinking to survive?

    Which household will be the last of 5 generations to produce the World’s most
    important commodity?

    Here endeth the rant.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  74. Mark A October 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    @Pat Frank

    While this branch of our family spans 5 generation in OZ we have relatives in St Petersburg, Russia, Berlin Germany (former East B) and other European countries.

    I can assure you that the ones in Russia and the former East G. would heartily agree with you.

    I have no problem with consenting adults forming a commune with their eyes wide open.
    But that is not what the socialists, being Marxist or any other kind want,

    And to believe that everyone in a whole country will willingly agree to give up both, personal freedom and possessions is a delusion. Therefor compulsion must be used.

    And to believe that the next lot of Marxists will be better or more benign than the previous ones is an even grander delusion.

    It’s like the definition of insanity: ‘doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome’

  75. hunter October 15, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    Pat Frank,
    You have lillustrated the situation, with good citations, quite clearly, thanks.
    You have also given me some insight on one of the great conundrums regardinghte climate social madness:
    Why do the so-called progressives tend to cluster around social madnesses like eugenics and so-called claimte change?
    Great work.
    One can hope for the day when people would consider being a Marxist in the same way one would consider being an alcoholic: lots of good people are functional alcoholics and even do good in their professionand the world, but that does not make being an alcoholic a good thing.

  76. Daryl McDonald October 15, 2014 at 4:51 am #

    Marxism, communism, socialism, leftism, environmentalism, climateism.
    All rely on dumbing peoples thoughts down to the ‘CONSENCOUS VIEW’.
    Watch a bit of David Attenborough, or better still, spend 5 generations
    working with nature, think critically. and it will become apparent that the CONSENCOUS VIEW is what controls herd animals.
    Wilderbeast, a flock of Galahs.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  77. Debbie October 15, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Great comments Darryl McDonald and Mark A.
    Gotta always understand the difference between theory and practice.
    It is the practical results that are the final & ultimate judge of any implemented theory.

  78. egg October 15, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    The pseudo left is thoughtless and the Marxists don’t believe climate change is the most important issue of our time. Sceptics seem quite happy to sit back on their laurels knowing that in the fullness of time they will be vindicated. Cold comfort for the masses if temperatures fall sharply.

  79. Daryl McDonald October 15, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Thanks Debbie,

    I have a young bloke soon heading off to be an Engineer.
    He should be pretty handy.
    He grew up in the most important factory in the World. A farm
    I have spent a long time explaining to him the vast difference between
    a design on the drawing board, and reliable, repeatable, productive outcomes in the real World.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  80. egg October 15, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Returning to Jen’s link in the post.

    ‘In short, if our movement really wants to see the overthrow of the man-made global warming paradigm, it needs to back alternatives and promote new research.’

    To get to that point we need public opinion on our side, to persuade governments of the serious predicament we maybe facing. The precautionary principle remains intact and grants could be offered to those looking for global cooling signals.

    The way to get the masses on our side is to convince them that our medium range weather forecasting is on song, apparently of a mystical nature, with intuitive intellect helping us to discover the switches involved.

    Assuming CO2 is benign, paleo history still remains the best way to see into the future.

    And for the Marxists out there, the revolution is now.

  81. Phill October 15, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    We are of course all eventually doomed, as individuals, our planet too, perhaps eventually our whole universe. The temptation to create a narrative, religious, marxist, environmentalist, fascist, leftist, rightist, whatever to give us a structure to make sense of the world is omnipresent.

    Anyone who holds rigidly to any of these views cannot be a true scientist. Anyone who starts from these philosophies is shuffling facts to confirm their world view. The true difference in this messy debate is that the climate changist knows they are right and are therefore wrong!

  82. egg October 15, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    Here is a Marxist Chris sounding like a member of the pseudo left.

    ‘Although climate-scepticism is usually associated with right-wing politics, some on the left have also sought to deny the existence of global warming, arguing that it is an excuse for governments to increase taxes and decrease standards of living. In part, this response is a healthy reaction to those ‘greens’ who preach the virtues of a return to a mythical pre-industrial golden age.

    ‘However, the scientific evidence behind global warming is solid, and its effects are already being felt across the planet. Climate-sceptic experts usually turn out to be little more than figureheads for lobby groups backed by oil companies, with no scientific credentials. The science speaks for itself: the first six years of the 21st century were the warmest on record, possibly warmer than any others for a millennium. The most conservative estimates by scientists put the average increase in air temperature at 0.7°C over the last decade, although it is likely to be far higher.

    ‘This might sound insignificant, but it has huge implications as warming is uneven, with some areas getting far hotter than others. For example, the summer sea-ice in the Arctic has decreased in thickness by half since 1950, and could disappear mid-century for the first time in more than a million years. This means that the warming predicted for the rest of the century, anywhere between 1.1°C and 6.4°C, is quite an alarming prospect!’

    Chris Burrows / In Defence of Marxism

  83. egg October 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    ‘Remember Thomas Kuhn and his paradigm shift? According to his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, theories change only when anomalous observations stress the ”dominant paradigm” to the point that it becomes untenable.

    ‘Until then, failure of a result to conform to the prevailing paradigm is not seen as refuting the dominant theory, but explained away as a mistake of the researchers, errors in the data, within the range of uncertainty, and so on.

    ‘Only at the point of crisis does science become open to a new paradigm. So, does Kuhn inform the current climate debate, help identify important information or an alternative paradigm?’

    David Stockwell / Quadrant

  84. gnomish October 15, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    kuhn was a berkeley radical and now he’s a berkeley professor.
    everywhere you read the word ‘paradigm’, substitute the word ‘narrative’.

    there is really only one ‘crisis’ that can shift the narrative
    stop paying for it. easy.

    stop exhorting everybody else to do what you won’t and just stop feeding and breeding the population of parasites. impotent whinging of a codependent in an abusive relationship is not stopping – it is wallowing. when you put a stop to it, it stops. show how it’s done by doing it. as long as you keep telling yourself things will change any other way, your tears are delicious to your owner.

    more activists promoting a new narrative is hardly a solution to the disease of too many activists promoting narratives.

  85. egg October 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    But the big question is what do the pseudo anarchists think of climate change?

  86. cohenite October 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    I guess there are 2 types of people; the first just want to get on with their lives, big or small, ambitious or mundane; and secondly those who think they know best how other people should live.

    The nomenclature distinctions which Pat and c21ystork are duelling with really are just froth on that base point.

    The best types of societies are those which separate power sources; church and state, judiciary and police, trade unions and businesses etc and provide equality of due process and the law.

    The Western model derived from English Common Law and Christian principles is the best at doing that. All others should be measured by that standard which exists in slightly different variations throughout Australia, the US, Canada, New Zealand, India etc The other Western countries in Europe also fall into this category.

    The tyrannical states offered by Communism and religion, especially Islam were and are a blight on humanity and no amount of sophistry can disguise that fact based on historical and current record.

  87. Johnathan Wilkes October 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    The tyrannical states offered by Communism and religion, especially Islam were and are a blight on humanity and no amount of sophistry can disguise that fact based on historical and current record.

    Well said.

  88. egg October 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    Amen to that.


    Anarchists Support AGW

    So now we can lump the whole looney left into the one basket. Pathetic losers.

  89. Daryl McDonald October 16, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    Man,,,,,,,, There’s a lot of intellectual gymnastics going on here.
    The easy way to define a ‘progressive’ is check out their mathematical skills(?)
    Budget surplus’ becomes a massive deficit.
    Invariably they demand someone else pay for their feelgood ides.
    Artificial intelligence reigns over empirical data.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  90. egg October 16, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    Fiction writer makes stuff up.

    ‘The winner of the Man Booker prize, Richard Flanagan says he is “ashamed to be an Australian” because of Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s environmental policies.’


  91. Pat Frank October 16, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    cohenite, I thought c21styork and I were dueling about mass murder and delusional history. That seems like more than froth to me.

    I do agree with you about the need for separation of powers in government, but hardly think that the western model is grounded at all in christian principles.

    The western model is grounded in Enlightenment political philosophy, and modern christian principles, to the extent they’re applicable, have been abraded into relative benignity by contact with the scientific rationalism of that same Enlightenment.

    That said, agreed that communism and Islam are definitely a blight upon humanity and civilization.

  92. Pat Frank October 16, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    egg, maybe other Australians are ashamed Richard Flanagan is an Australian, too.

  93. egg October 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    If he’s not happy with our big sandy island then he can join the other expats and snipe from afar.

  94. KuhnKat October 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

    A clear separation between Marxism and Fascism. Fascists are also Greenies and Environmentalists for real, not just to destroy the west.

  95. egg October 16, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    Yes, so along with the Anarchists, Marxists, Greens and pseudo left, we also have the Fascists believing in AGW.

    Who knew?

  96. egg October 16, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    ‘Do I think they’re Nazis?’

    ‘Yes, I nailed my colours to that particular mast a long time ago, most recently in the final part of the “know your enemy” series.

    ‘They attempt to hide behind Godwin’s so-called law, but if they want to tattoo labels on people like Nazis, turn up with burning torches outside people’s homes in the dead of night like Nazis, witch hunt through academia for opposition like Nazis and dehumanise all resistance like Nazis, then that’s what they are – Nazis. I see them with clear eyes for exactly what they are and make no apologies for that judgement. It’s they who should hang their heads in shame.

    ‘So yes, I consider them to be Nazis but the true battle we’re engaged in is not against the extremists but for the middle ground, or in other words the opinion of ordinary person. By making such statements, the extremists are shunting themselves towards the irrelevant margin of the only battleground that really matters.

    Pointman / March 2014

  97. Debbie October 16, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    I think the common denominator is that they all believe in ‘big government’ & ‘ big bureaucracy’ & ‘big business’ & ‘big religion’ & ‘big environment’ etc…& therefore inherently despise the individual entrepreneurial spirit.
    IMHO the only governance system that. . .IN PRACTICE !!!… is able to at least partly respect the individual and human Progess (with a capital P) is a system based on democratic principles.
    History teaches us that as soon as the big experts start dictating (in whatever social, economic, political or religious flavour) . . .human Progress inevitably stagnates.
    That’s also when mass genocide often starts raising its ugly head..
    Of course democracy also has its faults, but …IN PRACTICE!!!!… it still seems to come up trumps when compared to the others.

  98. egg October 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    We could discuss the hybrid model, the real third way, China has awoken.

  99. sp October 16, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Debbie – and BIG DATA it seems

  100. egg October 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Wandered over to C21st and found Albert having a yarn with Keza who said….

    ‘Pseudo left ideology does not encourage people to use their intellects to grasp the nature of what is happening in the world . On the contrary it propagates the idea that the truth can be hidden – (and sometimes) that there’s really no such thing as truth, that intuition and “gut feeling” are superior to logic …’

    So they are not thinking logically or rationally, completely brainwashed and throughly indoctrinated. The pseudo left cadre is a nut impossible to crack.

  101. egg October 16, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  102. JT October 17, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    All here might do well to read “Darwinian Politics” by Paul H. Rubin, especially the chapters which deal with the evolutionary origins of envy, and the difficulties humans have distinguishing between production hierarchies and consumption hierarchies.

  103. Pat Frank October 17, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    So, Jennifer, have you re-thought the ethics of having a favorite Marxist?

    If there is a need for more research, one couldn’t do better than consult The Black Book of Communism.

    Written by ex-believers.

    From the editorial description, “the authors systematically show how and why, wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established, it quickly led to crime, terror, and repression. (my bold)”

    One could reasonably ask, what sane person would remain an adherent.

  104. Debbie October 17, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Big Data!
    🙂 ROFL.
    Probably BIG AVERAGES too?

    Hey Pat Frank?
    People can actually still be nice, agreeable, sane & pleasant people and have nice families and even have nice pets. . .despite the fact that on a cerebral, theoretical, academic plane they adhere to some form of romantic version of an ‘ism’ that has proven to be a failure in implementation and… as you have pointed out. . . proven to condone crime, terror and repression in the name of that theoretical ‘ism’.
    I also question the ‘sanity’ at that theoretical/cerebral/academic plane but that doesn’t necessarily follow that they can’t possibly be a favourite person (from whatever branch of theoretical ‘isms’) to spend some time with.
    There are nice people and not so nice people in every conglomeration or demographic.
    Some of my ‘favourite’ people don’t adhere to the same theoretical socio- economic beliefs as I do. But nonetheless, they’re still nice people and thoroughly functional as far as their general, everyday sanity is concerned.

  105. spangled drongo October 17, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    Great thread.

    From the comments it seems that as much as we need to keep thinking, to keep that thinking as stuck to reality as much as possible we also need to keep observing and recording for history’s sake.

    Modelling, homogenising, projecting etc need not apply:

  106. ferd berple October 17, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    in reply to:

    Three Facts Most Sceptics Don’t Seem to Understand
    “Such claims are demonstrably false. Indeed that our ANNs (see Atmospheric Research 138, 166-178) can generate skillful monthly rainfall forecast up to three months in advance, is evidence that we are not dealing with a chaotic system.”
    Agreed. I may have already responded to this. Chaos only guarantees that for all practical purposes a future state cannot be determined by first principles from the current state, due to limitations in time and precision available for calculation.

    However, chaos does not prevent determining the futures state of a system by some other method. The classic example is the ocean tides. They are chaotic yet predictable via techniques similar to Astrology. Find the patterns in the past and look for correlation with something you can predict reasonably skillfully. Such as orbital mechanics. This is overlooked by those that claim climate cannot be predicted by any means.

    Humans long ago learned to predict just about every natural cycle long before we understood the “why”. It makes no difference if the seasons are caused by the orbit of the earth or the earth being carried on the back of a giant turtle, so long as you can predict the seasons accurately. Knowing “why” may help with accuracy, but the value is in the accuracy not the “why”.

  107. egg October 17, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Agree totally with ferd, if we can better BoMs seasonal forecast then the task of replacing the established paradigm should be easier.

  108. egg October 17, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    ‘Despite rallies in New York, despite the relentless propaganda, the people just don’t seem to be scared anymore. In the latest Gallup Poll, Climate Change is ranked 13th out of 13 issues. As the strident messages of doom roll out, 60% of the public simply don’t believe what the professors are telling them. Science has lost a lot of its aura and credibility.

    ‘The US midterm elections are nearly here, yet the poll shows that Democrats have clear advantages in areas that … not many people care about. A victim perhaps of their success in adopting the smug concerns of inner city university graduates?’


  109. egg October 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    ‘To the media and to most people, the pseudo-left is ‘the Left’. Which explains why that kind of left is nothing more than an unpopular set of sects. I find the pseudo-left dull in its predictability and undialectical thinking.’


    They are a wishy washy lot, which is why I find it extraordinary that your mob is hanging out with them on climate change. You are going to get caught on the wrong side of history yet again.

  110. egg October 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    Splinter group naturally aligns with green politics.

    ‘Green anarchism or eco-anarchism, is a school of thought within anarchism which puts a particular emphasis on environmental issues.

    ‘An important early influence was the thought of the American anarchist Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden as well as Leo Tolstoy and Élisée Reclus.

    ‘In the late 19th century there emerged anarcho-naturism as the fusion of anarchism and naturist philosophies within individualist anarchist circles in France, Spain, Cuba and Portugal. Important contemporary currents are anarcho-primitivism and social ecology.’


  111. paul October 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    Jennifer , do no let the left have a voice here , just look at this thread its degenerated already , your site will be soon ruined .

  112. Another Ian October 17, 2014 at 6:21 pm #


    Thinking? Yes

  113. egg October 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    Welcome Paul

    On closer inspection it appears the left have just cleared out.

  114. Another Ian October 17, 2014 at 6:34 pm #


    And again. Comment at

    Alex H (@USthermophysics)

    October 16, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    I’d like to add my humble two cents to this good post to touch on one additional topic. I was the principal developer of large, 3-D electromagnetic codes for radiation transport modeling, which have been run on several thousand processors on one of the largest and fastest computers in the world; much like GCMs. After the initial architecture was in place, one of the first orders of business was to perform a rigorous set of validation exercises. This included comparing to analytical solutions for radiating dipoles and light-scattering spheres, which Gustav Mie on the shoulders of Hendrik Lorentz impressively accomplished. These validation procedures were *absolutely* necessary to both debugging, model verification and validation (separate things) and providing the incremental confidence we needed to eventually perform our own studies, which ended up demonstrating–through both model and experiment–the breaking of the optical diffraction limit using nanoscale transport mechanisms. I can’t overstate how important this validation was. The writeup fo this work was later awarded the national Best Paper in Thermophysics, which I mention for appreciation of co-authors Theppakuttai, Chen, and Howell.

    But descriptions of climate modeling by news and popularized science didn’t satisfy my sniff test. Certainly I agree that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which has a net warming effect on the atmosphere. We understand the crux of the debate has clearly been the quantification and consequences of this effect. As I would recommend to anyone with the capability and/or open mind, on any subject, I studied primary sources to inform myself. I approached my investigation from the standpoint of a computational fluid dynamicist.

    I was immediately shocked by what I saw in climate science publications. There is much to say, but the only thing I want to comment on here is the lack of rigorous validation procedures in the models, as far as I can tell. Various modules (and I’ve looked at NCAR and GISS, primarily) seem to have limited validation procedures performed independently of other modules and within a limited scope of the expected modeling range. I have not found any conjugate validation exercises using the integrated models (though I am hopeful someone will enlighten me?). To not have the coupled heat transfer and fluid dynamic mechanisms validated to even a moderate degree, let alone extreme degree of confidence required when projections are made several orders of magnitude outside the characteristic timescale of transport mechanisms is no better than playing roulette. It is like obtaining a mortgage with no idea what your interest rate is…absurd. The uncertainty will be an order of magnitude larger than the long-term trend you’re hoping to project. This is not how tier-1 science and engineering operates. This is not the level of precision required to get jet engines capable of thousands of hours of flight and spacecrafts in orbit and land rovers in specific places on other planets. Large integrated models of individual component models cannot rely on narrow component-level validation procedures. Period. It is an absolute certainty that the confidence we require in the performance of extremely complicated life-supporting vehicles cannot be claimed without integrated validation procedures that do not appear to exist for GCMs. This is one reason, I believe, why we see such a spread in model projections: because it does not exist. V&V is not a trivial issue; DOE, NSF, and NASA have spent many tens of millions of dollars in efforts begun as late as 2013 to determine how to accomplish V&V, for good reason. I support the sentiment behind those efforts.

    So where does that leave us? GCM’s can’t be validated against analytical solutions of actual planetary systems, of course. That is a statement that can’t be worked around and should provide a boundary condition in itself for GCM model projection confidence. But there are analytical fluid dynamics solutions that are relevant, idealized planetary systems that can be modeled and compared to ab-initio solutions, as well as line-by-line Monte-Carlo benchmark simulations which can be performed to validate full-spectrum radiative transport in participating media. I’ve seen nothing that meets this criteria (though I am open to and welcome correction. I will give a nod to LBL radiation calcs which use the latest HITRAN lines but still don’t present validation spectra and are then parameterized from k-distribution form for use in GCMs)

    My conclusion is that current GCMs are like lawn darts. They are tossed in the right direction based on real knowledge, but where they land is a complete function of the best-guess forcings put into it. This is in direct contrast to the results of highly complex models found elsewhere in science and engineering, which are like .270 rounds trained on target by powerful scopes. And they bring home prizes because they were sighted in.”

  115. jennifer October 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    Pat Franks,

    You may have a good argument for being against Marxism. But I still have my favourite Marxist.


    Diversity of opinion is something I value. We should all continue to questions our own prejudices… least we stop thinking.

  116. Pat Frank October 18, 2014 at 2:45 am #

    Debbie, successfully negotiating life eventually requires learning to distinguish between charming and friendly.

    Charming is politics. Friendly is sympathetic regard. Only friendly is there when one is in need. Your post is all about charming.

    Someone who adheres to a group interested in brutalizing your society and making you a slave is not friendly, no matter how charming. Accept such at your peril.

    Likewise you, Jennifer. We have learned that our allies are those who think similarly. Your favorite Marxist plots the demise of your freedoms, including freedom of thought. Honestly, to accommodate personal sentiment, you seem to have decided to violate your own thesis.

  117. Daryl McDonald October 18, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    Well said, Alex H.

    Being an Engineer, as well as a food producer, I like to indulge occasionally in a bit of Motorsport. All these fields of endeavour, require constant validation of theories.
    Every week in top-level Motorsport, competition sees ideas tested to within 1/1000
    of a second, lap after lap, hour after hour.
    It’s the competition phase where the real learning begins.
    A Model T Ford will outperform CGM computer models on most tracks.
    It’s all about reliable, productive function.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  118. egg October 18, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    ‘Your favorite Marxist plots the demise of your freedoms, including freedom of thought.’

    The pseudo left (Greens and the like) are even more ferocious in this respect because they are saving the planet for their grandchildren and I have the audacity to laugh in their face.

    Marxists at least have the capacity to think, whereas the pseudo left is scatter brained and incapable of thinking outside groupthink.

  119. egg October 18, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    The pseudo left has taken over the news room at Aunty, along with SBS, Fairfax and the Guardian, its a stunning victory for the cause.

    Credit should go to the myriad of journalism schools churning out left thinking people to inculcate political correct thinking.

    The pseudo left also have cadre on the blogosphere and they are reasonably well organised.

  120. jennifer October 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    Pat Franks

    I’ve never meet you. But based on your writing you appear to be something of an ideology, very sure of your own position based mostly on theory and history written by others. Your arrogance may be well founded.

    In the end I’m a sceptic and an empiricist with an open mind and open heart.

    I don’t believe that most on the left are evil, nor most of those on the right.

    I do believe that there are deluded on both sides… and to quote Jung (again) the deluded are their most dangerous when those on the left and the right stop thinking and start repeating popular slogans based on a history that may or may not be relevant to our future.

  121. jennifer October 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    PS If there is anything we need at this point in history it is a new way forward… politically and economically. I don’t believe that “capitalism” (I can’t actually see much of it in Australia) or democracy as currently formulated are serving us at all well in Australia. The problem may simply be that the Fourth Estate are not doing their job… but then there is also the problem of gross inequality of income with business executives (e.g. CEO of Qantas, Westpac, Australian Post – all with some form of government regulatory backing) taking home obscene amount of money. There is a lot that is not right… and I haven’t even started on the corruption within the environmental movement that has spread to government and was optimised in the decisions made by John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull. In my opinion the Howard legacy is one for which those on the right should all be intensely ashamed.

  122. Johnathan Wilkes October 18, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    “history that may or may not be relevant to our future.”

    Strange notion!
    I think there are few examples as what to expect in regard to Marxism, if the future Marxist are true to belief there is no other outcome.
    I’m surprised that you as a self confessed libertarian can’t see the danger.

    Being a friend of one is neither here nor there as far as I’m or anyone else should be concerned.
    We all make our own bed and have only ourselves to blame if its uncomfortable.

    Becoming a totalitarian (Marxist/socialist) nation is not our immediate concern, an other kind of totalitarian (religious) system is more likely in the foreseeable future.

  123. jennifer October 18, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    Johnathan Wilkes… you may insert the word ‘a’ in front of ‘history’. I was specific and I wrote ‘a history’ referring to the history as detailed by Pat and others in the above thread.

  124. Johnathan Wilkes October 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

    Stand corrected Jennifer.
    But can’t go without saying this not the JM I thought you were.
    You represent a completely new profile.

    But I stress it’s none my business, who or what your political beliefs and associations are,
    Merely an observation.

  125. jennifer October 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Johnathan, According to the popular quick quizzes, and other Libertarians, my values fall very much in that direction. As regards ‘the right’ and ‘conservatives’, I have as much in common with them as, I have with the ‘pseudo left’. But I despise no-one… and believe the values most people hold dear are a consequence of their environment rather than them doing some independent thinking. As regards many of the policies implemented by John Howard and his corrupt (only word to use really) government… they were perhaps simply a consequence of politics.

  126. jennifer October 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    Which was the last Australian government that had some concept of free markets and freedom… not the Howard government, not the Abbot government…

    Some thought from me on Howard

  127. sp October 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    Jennifer – please, please, please, dont set me off on Alan Joyce and QANTAS – aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh – why is this man being paid such large sums?

    Why is he paid at all? he has delivered nothing except disaster.

    As we age I am sure we all believe the past was more “golden”, but I believe there is some truth to:

    “In the past you could say what you liked as long as you did the right thing. Now you can do what you like as long as you say the right thing”

    Joyce seems to have mastered the art of saying the right thing, and it pays.

    I encounter similar in the workforce – roll on retirement – I cant play that game, I have a strange attraction to honesty, sometimes wish I did not.

    Honesty seems to be an optional extra in the modern world.

  128. Pat Frank October 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    I point out that Marxists plot the end of your freedoms, Jennifer, based upon the very clear evidence of recent history and for that I’m arrogant and an ideologue?

    Dismissal by ad hominem.

    Not really surprising from a Marxist. But you? Shoot. What a disappointment.

  129. jennifer October 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm #


    I suggest you are arrogant and an ideologue for suggesting that people are no more than the ideology they claim to subscribe to.

    You remind me of the hate mail I get. The people clearly have no idea who I am, or what I believe. They have given me a label and decided I belong to a tribe that they have chosen to hate.

    You appear to have chosen to hate Marxist.

    I know C21stLeft personally and he is a thinking man, with a great sense of humour, who would like to see the world a better place… and he calls himself a Marxist.

    I may not agree with the particular ideology, but to suggest, as you do, I should despise him is simply tribal… it is doesn’t recognise the complexity of the individual.

  130. spangled drongo October 18, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

    Jen, I’ve never met a Marxist yet who wasn’t a “lovely” person.

    But nevertheless Pat’s right.

  131. spangled drongo October 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    I do think anyone who claims to be a Marxist has to accept responsibility for what Marxism has done.

  132. Another Ian October 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm #


    Read “The Gulag Archipelago” lately?

    And some further thinking

  133. egg October 18, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    They could admit to the folly of Marxism throughout history, along with laissez faire capitalism, then they would be forced to admit the present ‘free market’ is the best we can hope for in the medium to long term.

    The Chinese communists have embraced it wholeheartedly, Marx is dead.

  134. gnomish October 18, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

    pat frank knows this – who else does?

    if you haven’t done, find the dan pearl beheading to watch.
    it’s the 3 minute documentary of a liberal apostasy – so much character development in such a short film is truly a masterpiece.

    watch how he learns that his charm and friendliness defines him as truly clueless.

    watch his shock and disappointment as he learns that there was never, is never and will never be a way to live happily ever after by wishing on a star.

    watch what it takes for him to have this epiphany that a scorpion is a scorpion.

    p.s., the cameraman was so excited he dropped the camera so they had to reshoot the actual beheading- putting the marxist head back on the marxist corpse so they could pretend to cut the charming, friendly thing off again.

    this is what it takes for stupid to die.

  135. jennifer October 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    You all just repeat empty slogans. Socialism is bad, capitalism is good? Is that what you are all saying?

    And I look around and see more socialism than capitalism in modern Australia… Is that Adam Smith’s fault or Karl Marx’s?

    And what exactly should C21st take responsibility for? I guess I should take responsibility for alcoholism within indigenous Australia… after all my great great grandfather was a squatter. Perhaps I should also take responsibility for the weather, after all I am a denier.

    I believe in science, that doesn’t make me an advocate for Eugenics?

    I think we are being a bit simplest in all of this.

  136. Neville October 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    I’ve kept out of this up to now but everyone knows my point of view. How Jennifer finds fault with the Howard govt after Labor left us with six years of the most clueless govt imaginable is beyond comprehension.

    Howard was easily the best leader for the past half century, just look at the record. The evidence shows that they had to pay off 98 billion of Labor’s debt yet they then had years of surplus budgets until they lost govt in 2007. Labor delivered their last surplus budget about 28 years ago.

    The Rudd and Gillard govts had the best terms of trade for more than 100 years but still made a mess of things. Now we find that unless we get on top of this mess we could be heading toward budget blowouts for decades to come. Abbott and Hockey are trying their best but have to deal with all types of loonies in the senate just to keep the blowout under some sort of management.

    The Marxist history is well known and I agree with everything Pat Frank has said. Of course Lenin had a name for those who fell for the nice Marxist fairy tale, he called them useful idiots and that’s about the best description I’ve heard.
    Perhaps there is a system that’s better than our democratic free enterprise system, but I haven’t seen it yet. I can’t understand people who are ignorant of very recent history and feel that if we just give totalitarians another chance they’ll prove to be so different next time. Some people are so stupid that they don’t seem to value our freedoms and would sell us out at the first available opportunity. Unbelievable.

  137. egg October 18, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    ‘Socialism is bad, capitalism is good?’

    North Korea is bad and China is good, there is no denying what is best for the masses.

  138. jennifer October 18, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

    Hey Egg,

    So you think China is capitalist? And North Korea socialist? I think you are kidding yourself. Neither country provides basic property rights (a corner stone of capitalism) and both have centrally controlled economies. In fact, China’s recent economic success disproves the theory that innovation and wealth are dependent on a capitalist economy.

    And what percentage of the Australian workforce is employed directly or indirectly by government? I thought we were essentially ruled by social democrats and had been for some time now.

    Indeed to what extent have property rights in this country been eroded over the last two decades? Take it away… and provide those who don’t protest too much with government compensation… much of it ongoing…

    Oh. And which government, more than any other, feed the insatiable panda that undermined the erosion of property rights in forestry, fishing, grazing etcetera, and the beginning of the dependence by these industries on government handouts…

  139. Johnathan Wilkes October 18, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

    “China’s recent economic success disproves the theory that innovation and wealth are dependent on a capitalist economy. ”

    I think this is the point where I will depart, if you honestly believe that the Chinese economy is booming because of central planning and not because of individual enterprise struggling against the burden of same then… what can I say?

    PS the fact that we are going down the same path is no consolation to anyone.

  140. Jennifer Marohasy October 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm #


    I didn’t suggest that the economy in China was booming because of central planning, but it is a centrally planned economy… isn’t it?

    And now tell me, do you really think Australia is a market based capitalist economy… or more along the lines envisaged by Marx with lots of redistribution? I’m just wanting to be clear about definitions…


  141. Johnathan Wilkes October 18, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    If you think this is what Marx envisaged then you haven’t paid attention to his writing.
    I’m finished with this.

  142. Jennifer Marohasy October 18, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    The secret is to keep thinking… especially when your prejudices are offended.

  143. Pat Frank October 19, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    Jennifer, never did I suggest, “that people are no more than the ideology they claim to subscribe to.” You won’t find that in any of my posts, not even as an inference. You’ve made it up.

    Nor did I ever express any hate. Neither did I label you, nor suppose you were a member of any tribe.

    Nor did I express any hate for Marxists. I expressed views based upon their own history, and the history of their own plainly stated intentions.

    When did it become “hate” to notice that an objectively determined tyranny-promoting spade is in fact a tyranny-promoting spade?

    Never, either, did I ever advise you to despise c21styork. I merely questioned why it’s OK to have a favorite Marxist, but not a favorite racist or a favorite fascist.

    Given the willfully murderous extraordinarily brutal history of Marxism, that seems a very reasonable question. One that has real ethical content.

    I’m sure you’re right that c21styork is a fine, humorous, thoughtful guy. Wonderful to be in his company, and all that. But the fact remains that he self-admittedly adheres to, and defends, an ideology that explicitly and pointedly conspires to remove your freedoms.

    Sincerity is not the arbiter of goodness, Jennifer. c21styork wants to see the world, not a better place, but a Marxist place. He may sincerely believe that Marxism = better. But history definitively proclaims the opposite.

    Why isn’t it thinking to recognize that?

  144. egg October 19, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    ‘So you think China is capitalist?’

    They lack democracy, but have clearly embraced the free market model over the ‘five year plan’.

    ‘China’s recent economic success disproves the theory that innovation and wealth are dependent on a capitalist economy.’

    Life under Mao was oppressive and millions died of starvation, that isn’t happening under Xi.

    ‘I thought we were essentially ruled by social democrats and had been for some time now.’

    That’s true, although laissez faire capitalism is a thing of the past, democratic socialism is here to stay. Its the pseudo left and has little to do with Marx.

    I’m less interested in property rights than in the blatant use of propaganda by the pseudo left and the value placed on mass delusion.

    I was reading the Communist Manifesto last night and wandering through I note they want to centralise communication under state control.

    The Murdoch press would have to be crushed, but the rest of the system is already pumping out propaganda to the satisfaction of leftoids everywhere.

    Global cooling is coming, its unavoidable, and we need aunty to urgently throw away her pink skirt or become irrelevant. AGW is a fraud and the pseudo left will pay dearly for their ignorant zeal.

  145. egg October 19, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Its the only system that seems to work.

  146. Debbie October 19, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    The growth of ‘environmental politics’ which largely has nothing to do with ‘the environment’ (probably because ‘the environment’ can’t vote?) underpins much of the anti Progressive legislation we have seen over the last 3 decades.
    It has played on emotions & claimed it stands for ‘the common good’ wrapped up with a thin veneer of sciency sounding ‘elitism’.
    It has also hijacked the ‘precautionary principle’ beyond a joke.
    It’s possible to get away with almost anything, if argued it’s for ‘the environment’ &/or the ‘future of our environment’.
    No wonder all branches of ‘isms’ are happily using it. . .it has proved to be a political trump card. . .because it sounds so much like a truly ‘noble cause’ to people who don’t live & work in anything that could possibly resemble a ‘natural environment’.

  147. egg October 19, 2014 at 8:07 am #

    ‘So you think China is capitalist?’

    Yes, its a hybrid model because of the communist dictatorship, but they are managing capitalism quite well and should eventually take over the running of the planet along commercial lines.

  148. Daryl McDonald October 19, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Hey Guys,,,,,,,,,, It’s the weekend,,,,,,,,, chillax a bit.
    I think this thread has run its useful course.
    But may I offer just one more curve ball.
    A wee while ago, scientists claim to have found that captive reared animals had a lower level of brain function than their wild cousins.
    Well, no suprizes there.
    I am just wondering if I can get a big fat research grant to study homo-sapiens.
    It seems to me that most of our leaders(?), intelligensia, media etc, are reared in conditions that resemble battery hens. City groupthink provides very limited life experiences. Keep thinking.
    Well said Debbie.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  149. jennifer October 19, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Hey Pat

    I no doubt have favourite racists and fascists…. But none immediately come to mind. I only thought of C21Y as my favourite Marxist when he told me about his new blog, and I attempted some publicity for it.

    My apologises for suggesting you ‘hated’ Marxists and Marxism. It was the impression I got.

    Groups of people may be given labels, or give themselves labels… but any one individual will generally be complex and represent good and bad aspects of humanity. Groups/nations of Christians, Marxists, Capitalists, Islamists, Environmentalists etcetera, are all capable of inflicting pain, suffering and terror when they have deluded leaders and stop thinking…

    Now tell me, who is your favourite capitalist?

  150. jennifer October 19, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    While I’m labouring points…

    Here is a link to an excellent article by Bob Carter which is less about its title ‘that science is not consensus’ and more about how capitalism, and the need to be relevant in the market place, has destroyed environment-related research in Australia…

    I’m not sure that the IPA meant to publish this. ;-).

  151. jennifer October 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    My “favourite racist”… just thought of Muhammad Ali… float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. He can be admired, and I understand he could also be very racist… and perhaps proudly so.

  152. Robert October 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    My fave Marxists would have to be the boys at Spiked – that’s if they’re still Marxists. They tend to be the enemies of my enemies most of the time.

    My fave capitalist would have to be Soichiro Honda, but Kidman is up there. Took their own risks, every day.

    My least fave Marxist is Che Guevara because he was a murderous, puritanical poofter-basher who somehow got himself worshipped by the luvvies.

    My least fave capitalist is Soros, of course. (I didn’t mind him as Dr No.)

  153. egg October 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    Deng Xiaoping is my favourite Marxist/Capitalist with his revolutionary invention of ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’.

  154. spangled drongo October 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Jen, that is a great article by Bob Carter and as he says, putting a bunch of scientists in paradise on fat salaries and endless funding, to tell us if we have any problems with the GBR [or anything else] is only going to produce the environmental scare campaigns that generate, surprise! surprise! more of the same, ably supported by the MSM.

    “Thus did our venerable handmaiden, science, become a sex worker”.

    This is a Marxist takeover.

    Don’t see how you can blame capitalism for this problem.

  155. spangled drongo October 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    But our problem compared to UK, Europe etc is still relatively fixable as long as we understand that these fundamental feeders at the public trough must be contained.

  156. jennifer October 19, 2014 at 5:33 pm #


    Glad you like the article by Bob… but now I’m confused…

    According to the article… before the advent of competitive funding (which many suggest is capitalist in nature)… scientists were allowed to do as they please at the public purse and produced good things… well according to Bob. those in charge of departments had often got there through hard work and merit… and intended to understand their discipline…

    What type of system is Bob describing pre-1980s?

  157. spangled drongo October 19, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Bob describes the pre-1980 funding pretty much as I remember it. Arguably initially socialist and subsidised by the taxpayer but it really assisted a growing primary industry to become a major exporter and more than justify the cost.

    While some of this has continued, many of those primary producers have sadly given up and moved away for so many reasons yet the “science industry” of that era has continued to boom and grow, often to the detriment of those same primary producers.

    This same science has now matured from a primary to a “tertiary” industry ☺.

  158. cohenite October 19, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    Alex H: if you’re still around; you say:

    “(though I am open to and welcome correction. I will give a nod to LBL radiation calcs which use the latest HITRAN lines but still don’t present validation spectra and are then parameterized from k-distribution form for use in GCMs)”

    Please consider:


    All the papers are by Hungarian atmospheric physicist Miskolczi who is a specialist in LBL analysis. Figures 21 and 22 in the third paper are particularly striking.

  159. Daryl McDonald October 20, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    Well said Spangled.

    Being a Slowlurnr, I am a bit confused too.
    One day, the ‘experts’ are prattling on about “food security” and
    “foodbowl of Asia”,,,,,,, and the next that come out with a plan that reduces production in the MD Basin by around 40%? Add this to the compounding effect
    of all but killing off the natural recruitment of young farmers and you have a plan for making a lot of people go without the most essential thing in life,,,,,, FOOD.
    Subjective thinkers are predisposed to be a bit selfish.
    Maybe its the ‘battery hen’ syndrome at work.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  160. Pat Frank October 20, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    Thanks for your step back, Jennifer. It’s appreciated.

    I can’t imagine, though, how you got the impression of hate for Marxism or Marxists, as nothing in my posts support any such feeling. Your impression is regretted, therefore.

    Agreed about the complex make-up of every individual. I remind you though of Steven Weinberg’s observation that, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

    The statement can be generalized to ideology. Ideological beliefs influence an individual’s outlook and behavior. Please note: not govern, influence. Nevertheless, ideologies cause good people to do evil things.

    Over a period, an ideology that foments tyranny will over-produce tyrants. Some large-scale tyrants, invariably, very many more small-scale everyday tyrants.
    Leaders of tyrannical ideologies are not deluded. They are consciously, willfully, faithful to the clear laws of their ideology.

    Of the groups you named, “Christians, Marxists, Capitalists, Islamists, Environmentalists etcetera,” only the first, second, and fourth are ideologies, are inherently intolerant, and actively demand and foment tyranny. Capitalism is not and does not. Likewise environmentalism. (I have in mind pragmatic environmentalism. Not the modern excrescence of disguised communitarian progressivism.)

    So, your list is not a set of equivalents. Nor are the individual adherents equivalent. Some individuals adhere to systems that are very clear in their demand for oppression and tyranny. And yet, those individuals remain adherents. And the consequences are real.

    Good people consciously remaining in bad systems? What are the ethical consequences for us? What should be the ethical judgment about them?

    I don’t have a favorite capitalist, and don’t even know what that means. Capitalism isn’t a belief system, despite the “-ism” label it’s been given (by Max Weber, 100 years ago). Capitalism is just an economic methodology.

    I will admit to Christopher Hitchens as my favorite interpreter of religion, however. Also, here. I truly strongly regret that guy’s passing.

  161. Pat Frank October 20, 2014 at 6:31 am #

    Jennifer, thanks for Bob’s article. His points are very well taken, and what he describes in Australia has also happened in the US.

    The “market place” to which he refers is political not economic; one of conformance to enforced ideas, not to free choices. The wrecking agency Bob identifies is the “politicization of science.” Grant money is directed to what are deemed socially relevant goals. Granting agencies are required to service those goals. Grants are funded to the extent they promote those goals. What is deemed socially relevant is decided by politicians.

    This trend began in the 1970s in the US. One is hard-pressed these days to do basic science for its own sake. The search for knowledge used to be seen as socially and culturally beneficial in and of itself. That value has sunk into invisibility. It’s all about forwarding some desired technology that someone has decided is what we must all have.

    The impulse is wrecking science and scientists; not to say gumming the road of progress.

  162. jennifer October 20, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    Pat Frank,

    Thanks for your comments… You make some good points…

    But you also obfuscate…

    Politics can not be separated from capitalism!

    I see in my dictionary that capitalism is described as “an economic and political system” and that communism is its antonym.

    It is apparent to me that the ideology of capitalism destroyed what you describe as “the search for knowledge” and an acceptance that it “used to be seen as socially and culturally beneficial in and of itself.”

    To be clear, an ideology and and an “ism” is something that can become all consuming, and directing of policy. During the 1980s in Australia it was a belief in the need for “competitive science” based on the all consuming “capitalist ideology” that was so destructive of science because this belief system is fundamentally incompatible with the idea that science is socially and culturally beneficial in and of itself.

    Indeed, what political system would inherently recognise that science can be socially and culturally beneficial in and of itself… because I might even subscribe to it…

  163. Johnathan Wilkes October 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    ” science can be socially and culturally beneficial in and of itself”

    To a degree yes, but who is going to decide where the benefits outweigh the costs?
    There are a million things science can investigate are we to fund every one?
    Do you want to go down the path of the Arts grants?
    Are all these artist receiving those grants really benefiting society, and uplifting culture.
    Just think of the literally ‘toilet’ art being produced and exhibited.
    Things are never as simple as we would like them to be.

  164. jennifer October 20, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    It is a real dilemma, Johnathan… One that the capitalists in the Australian Labor party decided to fix in the 1980s by introducing competitive funding… and as per the article by Bob Carter insisting that the research be relevant.

    At the same time the environmental movement was really gathering momentum…

    To consider AGW research and its origins with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of EAst Anglia…

    Also in the 1980s Margaret Thatcher was against the coal miners… as part of this campaign she started to fund places like the Climatic Research Unit where there were some maverick scientists also against coal and carbon dioxide… the research had a clear political benefit…

    I gather Lord Monckton was a scientific advisor to Thatcher at the time…

    So many chameleons amongst the capitalists… indeed are true capitalists less interested in ethics…

  165. Pat Frank October 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    Hi Jennifer — In my prior post, I meant to include that I admire you and much prefer to stay on friendly terms. Please.

    Apropos your last post, certainly I may write in a confusing way, but honestly I don’t obfuscate.

    Also, there’s nothing I can do about how people choose to think. Some may turn capitalism into an ideology, but capitalism itself grew up merely as an economic methodology without any intrinsic political or social content. I can recommend Joyce Appleby’s The Relentless Revolution to show this.

    The history of capitalism in this regard is quite different from Marxism, which has been explicitly political from the start.

    I’m not familiar with what happened in Australia, as regards science. However, I am familiar with the situation in the US. Here, it was not some capitalist ideology that politicized science, but rather the idea that science funding should serve social ends. That is, here it was ideas derived from Progressivism that politicized science.

    And yet, somehow, a capitalist impulse in Australia and a progressive impulse in the US ended up equivalently distorting science.

    On another hand, even if we define capitalism as an ideological commitment to ruthless competition and profits over everything, one could still see a capitalist recognizing that support of curiosity-driven science will inevitably produce a stronger and richer economy with more profits for him/her and a consumer base more willing and able to buy stuff.

    This isn’t a fantasy, because I believe the history of science shows that technological advances grew up spontaneously from the soil of curiosity driven science. No one can predict what exact piece of information will catalyze a new technology. In fact, no one can even predict a new technology. 🙂

    In the absence of predictive ability, the only way to proceed is to spread the effort. The most efficient way to spread the effort is to let people investigate what drives their curiosity. The remunerative technology will follow. It always has.

    So, a capitalist ought to see science as the initial investment that will inevitably produce a future profit.

    I think we can agree that free science has driven all of our prosperity, and has obviously done so.

    It seems to me that any educated capitalist should understand that, profit-driven as s/he might be.

    The bottom line for me, as regards the comparison, is that no capitalist can rationally sustain an ideological rejection of free science, and no thoughtful one would try. There is no inherent politics of capitalism to reject free thought/free science.

    Neither condition is true for Marxism. We saw with Lysenkoism, for example, that science had to be Marxist.

    As Marxism makes specific predictions, and as those predictions are ideological necessities, the threat that free scientific inquiry might refute them is enough to require strict control of thought. Free thought is dangerous — often demonized as “bourgeois consciousness.” Marxism is thus inherently and necessarily intolerant. Its survival depends on never being wrong.

    Survival of capitalism merely depends on freedom of entrepreneurship.

    The political system that will recognize science is beneficial for its own sake is one that recognizes human freedom is beneficial for its own sake. That would be a society driven by Enlightenment values. I remain optimistic about the prospect, no matter the fits and starts.

  166. Pat Frank October 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

    Jonathan, science is objectively definable. Art is not.

    This orthogonal difference is enough to answer your question.

  167. Toby October 20, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    They are all bloody socialists nowadays. Everybody has moved left ( in the developed economies), despite protestations from the left that everybody has moved “right”. In many ways the chinese are now more capitalist than us. The vast majority of state run businesses have shut down because they could not compete with the free market economy they so correctly have been pushing as a way out of mass poverty.

    France with 60% of its GDP coming from the public sector is the worst example (but its energy sector is govt owned), Uk is around 50% as is much of Europe.
    IMHO once you get over 40% you have a real problem. We are heading that way ourselves and our current socialist liberals are not making it any better.

    With interest rates so low and inflation non existent, sadly this is likely to get worse. Spending is so low that many European countries now have negative interest rates!! Effectively government can borrow and earn money!!….imagine how that will thrill socialists and their capacity to redistribute wealth!
    Very strange things going on in the world. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

  168. spangled drongo October 20, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    Early Australian science that Bob Carter talks about, came up with so many ground-breaking ideas that assisted the primary producer in so many ways but being taxpayer funded, these scientists didn’t have that entrepreneurship that Pat refers to and were slow to grasp opportunities to patent many of their inventions and what should have been lucrative patents were lost to the Australian taxpayer.

    Private enterprise mainly from other countries grabbed many of these ideas and made a fortune.

  169. Daryl McDonald October 21, 2014 at 6:40 am #

    Well said Spangled.
    The big problem is when public science is driven by money,
    we end up with “the best available science” inevitably being the science of best fit with the policy/public perception agenda.
    The MD Basin plan, and AGW are just a couple of the big mysteries
    Being of Scottish decent, I like to distil things down to their essence.
    You know, boil off the light vapours.
    All part of objective thinking.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  170. Pat Frank October 21, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    The big problem is when money for science is driven by politics, Daryl.

  171. hunter October 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Pat, You make some good points.
    I see the problem more as politics funding science to justify certain policies is not good.

  172. Pat Frank October 22, 2014 at 3:12 am #

    Hunter, at that point it’s no longer even science. It’s just decorated garbage. Lysenkoism was of that sort.

    The field of paleo-temperature reconstruction has descended to that quality.

  173. Daryl McDonald October 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    Lots of pontification,,,,, but,,, no one has really nailed it.


    The SUBJECTIVE THINKERS out there are still thinking?

    The MD Basin Authority are thinking along the lines of ‘What are we going to do with all this water we have taken out of production?.
    ‘What are we going to do with the extra ~1600 GL yet to be taken out of production/”
    ‘What are we going to do with the 350+ staff we have on the books/’

    The AGW lobby out there are thinking ‘How do we explain the pause?’
    ‘How do we explain that 95%+ of our sacred computer models don’t work’.
    ‘How are we going to keep our fat funding base?’

    The OBJECTIVE THINKERS are just quietly distilling off the lighter, volatile vapours, getting to the essential ingredients of the matter, and going about the business of producing the income that funds the MaGIC PUDDING our sujective mates so deperately need.

    Cheers,,, Slowlurnr.

  174. hunter October 22, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    That is a good insight.

  175. Daryl McDonald October 23, 2014 at 3:46 am #

    Thanks, Hunter
    I hoped there would be someone else out there that could sort out the flyshit from the pepper.
    The insight you mentioed came from years of subjective thinking that culminated in a major deprssion episode. 5 weeks in a psych hospital. It was all a bit confusing, looking at life through filters. coupled with the fact they I had watched a sort of functional MDBC morph into athe questional MDBA, and the once great CSIRO jump into bed with the WWF and the like. 5 gegerations of sustainable farming under constant attack. If it doesn’t kill you, it’s supposedto make you stronger.
    I bet some of the AGW lobby are starting to feel alittle depressed.

    Cheers, Slowlurnr.

  176. hunter October 27, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    For what it is worth, I am enjoying visiting the C21 blog.
    The host is civil, his posts are interesting. He is agreeable even if one is disagreeing with what he has to say.
    Jennifer was right on target in promoting C21 and I am pleased she did so.


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