A Righteous Anger

I am angry. Yes, given the state of the world, this is an unfortunately common state of being. But current circumstances have incited a particularly strong sense of it.

I'm not surprised that Google has taken this stand. In fact, I would have been surprised at a principled defense of capitalsim and individual rights. My anger rises not from Google's support for Earth Hour, but for the fact that a supposed paragon of the free market has betrayed its foundation so completely, and so obviously.

It is to be expected that Google would side with this movement. It is blasé. Boring.

And that is what causes the intense anger. Why is it taken as given that the most productive, the most innovative, will side with those who see the extinguishing of light as the goal?

However, I have hope. Frankly, it is dim hope, but hope nonetheless. Men and women of like mind are taking a stand, and speaking out against the patent irrationality of this position. They are speaking out in favor of human life and human achievement, in favor of reason and productivity and human happiness.

In support of this ideal, and in support of science, objectivity, and reason, take a stand in the next few days and send in your endorsement of the Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change. Don't take my word for it. Read the Declaration and decide for yourself whether you support its ideas and aims.

I know it's a small step. I know that signing your name to what amounts to a petition seems very small. However, it is something, and I think that it is worth doing. I have read the Manhattan Declaration and support it. If you do too, follow the instructions and email your endorsement. I understand the deadline for endorsements is noon, April 1, 2008. It's an interesting experiment with laudable goals. If it can make some waves, or poke some holes in the IPCC, it will have accomplished much.

Now, therefore, we recommend –

That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as “An Inconvenient Truth”.

That all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.

Agreed at New York, 4 March 2008

Others who are fighting the absurdity of Earth Hour:
Productivity Hour
ManHour 2008
Wyatt's Torch


Stephen Bourque said...

Yes, the Manhattan Declaration is excellent. I agree with it and emailed my endorsement.

Tom Stelene said...

Great post!

The 'greens' are a secular religion. It is like humans sin against The Environment by 'selfishly' pursuing their own good at the expense of the Environment's good (according to the eco-gurus) - just like the mystics say we 'selfishly' pursue our own good against what (according to them) God says is good. This supposed conflict of man's corrupt view of what is good for himself with the superior and TRUE good of The Environment or God then leads to men being directed to sacrifice their puny, pseudo-good to that superior good of The Environment or God.

That is what I see the idiotic Earth Hour as: a real sacrifice - even if only for an hour - of what is good for men to the imaginary good of The Environment; all these fools fantasizing that they are serving some superior TRUE good they consider themselves subordinate to. It's mentally sick!

C. August said...

SB, I'm glad you emailed your endorsement. Hopefully it will have some sort of impact.

Tom, I agree completely. It really is a religion for a lot of them. What's so sad is the "regular Joes" who just take the IPCC's and climate-mystics' word for granted, and try to do their part. They think "hey, the scientists say we're killing the planet, so what's the big deal if I try to conserve some electricity?" The trouble is -- just like casual Christians who uncritically support the Church because it seems "good" -- they don't fully grasp the true nature of what they're supporting.

Burgess Laughlin said...

I am always open to learning better methods for living. The question that arises for me now, in respect to this petition, is: What difference will it make?

Is signing a petition an effective way of changing one's world for the better?

If so, how can one measure the effect? If it isn't measurable, how do you know it exists?

C. August said...

Interesting comment, Burgess. Perhaps you could elaborate?

I endorsed the declaration because I wanted to openly support ideas I agree with. I don't know what impact it will have, but I'll certainly keep an eye out for mention of it in the press. In this battle of ideas, any time ideas attacking environmentalism are presented in a public forum, it is a good thing.

Regarding your general question about signing petitions and whether there is any measurable effect, it makes me think of writing an op-ed or a letter to the editor. Is there any way to measure the effect of those actions in most cases? Does the answer to that question have an impact on whether one should or should not do it?

I hope you'll reply, because I'm interested in further examining this line of thinking.

Burgess Laughlin said...

I don't have a formal, written-out strategy for intellectual activism. Someone needs to write such a work. I can make a few observations.

I think it is possible to assess a particular act of intellectual activisim:

- How much time does it take to do it? (This is measurable directly.)

- How many of the right kind of people will see what I do? Statistics may be available from newspapers, for example, about how many readers of the op-ed page they usually have--but then you have to estimate what percentage of those readers are both rational and knowledgeable enough to pick up the principle you are conveying, perhaps 1% of the readers?

- Will what I do actually convey principles which others then can use in a ripple effect?

- Will the people who see it and learn the principle then be in a position of power to actually do something about the principle they have acquired? (I know of no way to even estimate this, but perhaps a better approach is to address audiences that do already have power to make changes--not "man in the street" audiences.)

I think the most important approach to intellectual activism is to follow The Wolverine Principle: act in ways that are most closely tied to one's own personally selfish goals. E.g., an architect writing in an architectural magazine about statist architectural issues (zoning, etc.) will have more effect than an electrical engineer writing to a general audience about medical care.

The personally selfish approach brings with it specialized knowledge (with little extra investment of time to learn the issues) and a high level of motivation for a decades-long, possibly fruitless fight.

Those are my off-the-cuff thoughts for trying to decide (1) whether to be an intellectual activist, and, if so, (2) in what manner to be an intellectual activist, that is, what path will best achieve one's own goals in life.

C. August said...

Are you sure you don't want to write the book on intellectual activism? That was quite a comment. Thank you.

I'm going to have to chew on those ideas for awhile.

Lynne said...

I have also given this a lot of thought, beginning with how to start being intellectually active. For me, this is all about reading more, both Objectivist and non-Objectivist literature and trying to apply Objectivists principles to non-principled or wrong actions or ideas I see around me. Then, I try to write about the application. Sometimes, I get it wrong, more often than not, I’m unclear, but each time I write something, I get closer to being able to essentialize my point, to elucidate the principle, and therefore make a compelling argument. Once I own these arguments, I can use them anytime anywhere: LTEs, notes to friends, in person. I am using my blog, in part, to further my writing efforts rather than activism efforts. Sometimes I get excellent comments that I can integrate into my thinking, fixing what it wrong, or tightening what is too loose.

Intellectual activism is making a rational argument in the face of irrationality no matter where or when you find it. Unfortunately, the opportunities for me to do this in my everyday life (for solely selfish reasons) seem endless.

And I happily signed the Manhattan Declaration hoping that they can make better use of my letters (BA in Environmental Science, and MS in Engineering in Environmental Studies) than I ever did.

Anonymous said...

Please, if you need any information against global warming, check out this site. It is ignored by everyone, except those who care, and believe in science.


Thanks for your daily comments.

Burgess Laughlin said...

This petition has been signed by over 19,000 American scientists.

The statement above appears on the petition site mentioned in an earlier comment. When I look at the alphabetical list of signers, I see that a lot have no science degrees noted.

So, I question whether the italicized statement above is correct. If it isn't, then the petition will be laughed away by supporters of "global warming."

Has anyone actually audited the petition signature list to verify its accuracy?

C. August said...

I had the same thoughts. After approving the comment, I went to the linked site and did a very quick perusal, looking for any prominent scientists whose names I recognized, and saw none. This is in contrast the original Manhattan Declaration, which featured a number of scientists whose papers or book chapters I had read.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll have a chance to investigate further. If anyone else cares to review that petition site, please post your comments.