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George Friedman: “Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe”

Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe.

A major new book by New York Times bestselling author and geopolitical forecaster George Friedman (The Next 100 Years) with a bold thesis about coming events in Europe, this provocative work examines ‘flashpoints’—unique geopolitical hotspots where tensions have erupted throughout history—and why conflict is due to emerge again.

“There is a temptation, when you are around George Friedman, to treat him like a Magic 8-Ball.” —The New York Times Magazine

With uncanny accuracy, George Friedman has forecasted coming trends in global politics, technology, population, and culture. Now, in Flashpoints, he focuses on the continent that was the cultural and power nexus of the world for five-hundred years: Europe. Analyzing the historical fault lines that have existed for centuries within the borderlands of Europe and Russia–which have been the hotbed of numerous catastrophic wars–Friedman walks readers through the flashpoints that are smoldering once again. The modern-day European Union was crafted in large part to minimize these built-in geopolitical tensions, but as Friedman shows with a mix of fascinating history and provocative cultural analysis, that design is failing. Flashpoints is George Friedman’s most timely book, delivering an unflinching forecast for the coming years.

About the author:

George Friedman is the Chairman and founder of Stratfor, the world’s leading private intelligence company. He is frequently called upon as a media expert in intelligence and international geopolitics, and is the author of six books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Next Decade and The Next 100 Years. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Margaret Thatcher: Freedom is Indivisible

Margaret Thatcher’s speech launching “Free Enterprise Week” (1975 July 1).

Recently you have changed your name from Aims of Industry to Aims for Freedom and Enterprise. I welcome that change—it is timely and it is vital.

Free Enterprise is an essential part of Britain’s future. Free Enterprise provides the jobs—nearly three quarters of all employment—and my goodness we need those jobs. Free Enterprise provides the exports—nearly 95%; of all we sell abroad—and my goodness we need those exports. Free Enterprise creates the wealth—nearly three thousand million pounds were paid in taxation last year—and my goodness this Government needs money. Free Enterprise provides the inventiveness—there would be no North Sea Oil without Free Enterprise who found it and developed it. (What a curious fact it is that it was Tony Benn who turned on the first drop of free enterprise oil. His appointment is the only known example of pouring trouble on oily waters.)

Yes—jobs, exports, wealth and inventiveness. These four—they are the basis of our prosperity. They depend on Free Enterprise.

All you need now is a Government that believes in it. A Government that would encourage a flourishing, profitable free enterprise which produces the goods. Jobs, exports, wealth and inventiveness. Certainly important enough matters to be celebrated on a special day.

Free Enterprise Day is dedicated to the destruction of one of the most dangerous of modern myths. There is an increasing belief that freedom is divisible. That you can have political freedom and economic slavery. That you can preserve intellectual freedom and destroy commercial independence. That you can fight for freedom of speech and yet overthrow freedom of enterprise.

No myth is more dangerous. Freedom is indivisible. Once the State controls the means of production, distribution and exchange, all of us become dependent upon it. The whole nation becomes dependent upon the decisions of the bureaucracy and the politicians. And it is obviously so. If the State is the only source of capital, then only those ideas, those people, and those aims which are approved by the State can get the money for development.

If the State is the only source of patronage, then only those causes, those ideals and those charities which commend themselves to the State can raise the money that they need.

If the State is the only employer, where is the real freedom to choose of the employer?

If the State is the only provider of housing, where can the tenant look for alternative accommodation?

If the State is the only shareholder, where can the director the manager or shop-floor worker look for independent support?

But, they say, you are putting forward an extreme choice. You are talking about total state takeover. That could not happen here. Couldn’t it?.

Is not the real fact that this Government is taking the country faster towards the centralised state than any previous Government?

Month by month, almost day by day, the freedom of free enterprise is curtailed and the power of the State enhanced.

That is why we have a two-fold purpose today.

First, to say “STOP” to the extension of State control, and second, to start the extension of freedom.

But, say the opponents of free enterprise you have to restrict economic freedom to gain political freedom.

You have to control private enterprise in order to give more power to the people. What nonsense.

Not one single measure produced by any Socialist Government has extended power to the people.

They have given much more power to bureaucrats, much more power to extremists, much more power to Socialist Ministers.

But it is power to the people which only free enterprise can provide.

Power is primarily the power of choice.

Choice in small things, and in big things—the food you buy, the house you rent or the home you own; the clothes you wear or the holidays you choose. Where you invest—the risks you take.

All these individual choices are a fundamental part of freedom, and free enterprise makes them possible.

The ideal of freedom has been part of our history since history began.

That of enterprise has been with us as long.

Free enterprise has been the engine which created the wealth which freed hundreds of millions of people from the day-long struggle; every day a battle merely to keep body and soul together.

It has enabled the arts to flourish. And to become, not just the preserve of the rich, but to be enjoyed by men and women from every walk of life.

It has created the wealth to finance science and technology; to continue the struggle to overcome the scourges of poverty and disease (not least in the third world).

Beyond these benefits, priceless in themselves, free enterprise has enabled the creative and aquisitive urges of man to be given expression in a way which benefits all members of society. [end p4]

Any man may test his skill, his capacity and his will to work, his tenacity and his vision against the demands of the market place and the customer.

The captains of industry and the stall-holders in the market place are both parts of the free enterprise system. They both exist to serve their customers, you and me, and those like us overseas.

They each know that success or failure depends upon how well they serve us.

So free enterprise benefits the customer in satisfying his demands.

It benefits the entrepreneur, in giving him an outlet for his skills and drive.

It benefits the worker, not only as a consumer, but by creating profitable firms and well paid jobs.

It benefits Britain by creating that surplus of wealth which improves not only material standards but the cultural and artistic standards of life too.

It benefits the poor, the old, and the handicapped by creating that wealth which alone can pay for their care.

Who then, opposes free enterprise—who wishes it ill and works for its destruction.

Those who hate free enterprise and those who have no patience with ideas of individual freedom.

Those who would end freedom of choice for the customer—and freedom of choice of employer, for the employee too.

Once the customer is dependent on the State for all his needs;

Once the worker can turn only to the State for work;

Once there is no possibility of the promotion of the Arts except by patronage of the State;

Then, not only Enterprise, but freedom itself is destroyed.

The trouble is the first steps down that road are tempting.

It is so easy to believe that freedom means giving greater power to politicians and officials of the State.

It is so easy to believe that by punishing the creators of wealth, the pains of poverty can be eased.

Britain has been tempted too far down that path.

So let free enterprise fight back now, not for itself but for all those who value freedom itself.

That is why today is a day of such significance.

Free Enterprise Day—July 1st 1975 marks the beginning of the fight back for freedom.

It is a battle we dare not lose.

Video: Thomas Sowell on Economic Inquality, Reparations

Is discrimination the reason behind economic inequality in the United States? Thomas Sowell dismisses that question with a newly revised edition of his book Discrimination and Disparities.

He sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss the long history of disparities among humans around the world and throughout time. He argues that discrimination has significantly less of a role to play in inequality than contemporary politicians give it credit for, and that something as incontrovertible as birth order of children has a more significant and statistically higher impact on success than discrimination. He discusses why parental attention is the most important aspect of a child’s intellectual development.

Sowell goes on to break down different minority groups around the world who went on to have more economic and political success than their majority counterparts, such as the Indians in East Africa, Jewish people in Eastern Europe, Cubans in the United States, and the Chinese in Malaysia. He argues that there is an underlying assumption that if discrimination was absent equality would prevail, which historically has been proven wrong.

Sowell goes on to discuss changes in crime rates and poverty since the expansion of US welfare programs in the 1960s and how this has had a huge impact on the success of African Americans. He talks about his own experience growing up in New York, how housing projects used to be considered a positive place to live, and his experience as the first member of his family to enter the seventh grade. Robinson asks Sowell his thoughts on the case for reparations currently being made in Congress, and Sowell presents an argument about why a plan for reparations is not only illogical but also impossible to implement, with so many US citizens’ ancestors arriving long after the Civil War. He also explains that slavery was common throughout the known world for thousands of years and that abolition movements didn’t begin anywhere in the world until the late 18th century. He reminds us that the United States was not the only country guilty of participating in slavery and yet is the only country debating reparations.

Video: What is Money?

In Money We Trust? explains how, 2,500 years ago, the invention of money provided a shared measure of value that facilitated trade and cooperation between strangers. Sound, trustworthy money has throughout history fueled great human achievement—from the emergence of philosophy to the high-tech revolution. The program also explores the destructive consequences that ensue when inflation or other forms of instability cause money not to be trusted. In the most extreme instances, such as in Weimar Germany or present-day Venezuela, the economy—and social order—collapses.

Official website: In Money We Trust.

Life is Not Suffering: An Open Letter to Dr. Jordan Peterson

An Open Letter to Dr. Jordan Peterson Regarding Suffering, Ethics, and Happiness

Dear Dr. Peterson,

Thank you for your defense of individualism in general and of free-speech in particular, and for your defiance of academic nihilism in general and Neo Marxist Postmodernism in particular. Your bestselling 12 Rules for Life; An Antidote to Chaos, your prominence on the Intellectual Dark Web, and your packed out auditoriums around the world, are encouraging signs that Enlightenment values survive the onslaughts from without and within. However, in the name of that Enlightenment project, I ask you to consider whether you break your rule number ten, about being precise in your speech, when you say: “Life is suffering.”

You say: “Life is suffering. That’s clear. There is no more basic, irrefutable truth,” and that this conviction is the “cornerstone” of your belief. If you had said instead: “everyone experiences suffering”, or: “life involves suffering,” who could disagree? But I respectfully dispute your assertion that: “life IS suffering”.  If that were literally true, the obvious solution would be to end it. And if it were clear that: “the baseline of life, is something like unbearable suffering,” what sort of sadist would you have to be to purposely bring a new child into a life sentence of that? Your rules, as I understand them, are predicated on the belief that people are capable of dealing with the challenges of life so that suffering can be marginalized rather than being “the norm”. So why do you insist that: “life IS suffering?” What have I missed? [1]⁠

I have read The Gulag Archipelago and many other horror stories of history, and my second book is about life in Pol Pot’s Kampuchea, so I know of what you speak. But since the Enlightenment we have considered dark ages, plagues, genocides, famines and the like to be aberrations of life as it could and should be. I am a quadriplegic, and members of my family have suffered worse afflictions, so I’m no stranger to suffering – not many people are. But we consider illnesses that make suffering the norm for the afflicted and their loved ones for a period of time to be aberrations, which are to be relieved and in most cases cured. When your daughter suffered so terribly for so long, you didn’t say: “that’s life!” You tried to cure her, on the assumption that her suffering was not life as it was meant to be and could be. And you know better than your opponents how the refusal to accept the inevitability of physical suffering has steadily reduced its prevalence decade by decade for the last two or three centuries. There can be suffering in life – but life is not suffering! [2]

If I understand the genesis of your life-is-suffering premise correctly, it evolved because, when your thinking progressed past the Christianity and socialism of your youth, you were confronted with relativists and subjectivists left and right, and you knew that they were leading us down the lane to chaos and destruction. So, like Rene Descartes, you searched for a foundation that you could not doubt. And you found it in: “The reality of suffering. It brooks no arguments. Nihilists cannot undermine it with skepticism. Totalitarians cannot banish it. Cynics cannot escape from its reality. Suffering is real, and the artful infliction of suffering on another, for its own sake, is wrong. That became the cornerstone of [your] belief.” Then you deduced that: “to place the alleviation of unnecessary pain and suffering at the pinnacle of your hierarchy of value is to work to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth”. In other words, the relief of suffering became your ethical axiom and your standard of value, by reference to which you rank your hierarchy of values, from increased suffering (the bad) to decreased suffering (the good). As Rene Descartes said, I think therefore I am, you in effect said: people suffer therefore they value. [2]

The problem is that, as Rene Descartes’ followers soon discovered, Cartesian doubt is not a valid foundation for a philosophy. Likewise, I submit, it does not yield a valid standard of value for an ethic (although I suspect its utility is derived from its link to the right standard – I’ll get to that). For one thing, a literal-minded believer might draw the conclusion I intimated above. For another it is only applicable to the negatives of life, it doesn’t motivate the positives. And it gets tangled up on the emotional level because emotions are derived from values, so if you derive your values from emotion, you go in circles.

Your search for an objective standard, against which effects can be ranked as good to bad and human causes as virtues to vices, is the vital step that multiculturalists amongst others have long since abandoned, leaving them unwilling to defend any Western value no matter how beneficial, against contrary values of other cultures no matter how detrimental, because moral relativism leaves each culture with its own inviolate “narrative” that may not be judged except on its own terms. Religions provide standards of value, which they get from revelations delivered via prophets and written down in holy texts, e.g. the Ten Commandments – but their validity in the end has to be taken on faith. The New Atheists, like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, absorb parts of the Judeo-Christian ethic, then kick out the foundation on which they stand, trusting that the ethical precepts will remain naturally as self evidently valid. I agree with you that their hijacked morality will not stand generation to generation without its foundation, but may be used selectively by corrupt power wielders (as the communists did).

Ayn Rand took a decidedly different approach. She started by identifying why living entities need values at all, then why humans need fundamental moral values, and her answers identified what the standard of values must be. She observed that living entities have values because they face a constant alternative: life or death. To a rosebush, its chlorophyll and sunshine are values; to a bird its wings and worms are values, because these promote the entity’s life. We humans can’t live by a rosebush’s values because our nature doesn’t include the capacity of photosynthesis, neither can we live by a bird’s values because our nature doesn’t include wings and instincts – we must live according to the values that our nature demands. But human nature doesn’t compel us to engage our human means of promoting our lives, we have to discover and implement our pro-life values by choice. We are the only species that can act against the requirements of its nature. But we cannot escape the consequences of our choices – hence our need for a pro-life code of moral values to live by.

If we choose to live, we have to identify our human nature and live accordingly. Some requirements of our life function automatically, such as heartbeats, immune systems, reflexes etcetera. But our distinctively human means of survival is reason, and reason is volitional. That is why we need to discover and hold our values consciously, and choose to act to gain and/or keep them voluntarily. A human being is a rational animal; therefore it ought to act rationally, if it wants to live. But it is not always self-evident whether an action is pro-life or anti-life in the long run. The range of choices we are confronted with are unlimited, and the repercussions of any action stretch into an expanding tree of effects that lead to causes that lead to future effects ad infinitum, which makes it impossible to calculate the effects of actions pragmatically (Utilitarianism notwithstanding). We need moral values in the form of principles that apply across-the-board to keep our options within the bounds of the pro-life. E.g. you may choose carpentry or accounting because both are ways of being productive, which is a virtue, but choosing to be a wastrel by default is not within the bounds of pro-life virtue.

We learn our values from our parents and/or the culture we grow up in, but sooner or later, in one way or another, we ask why this is good and that is bad. If I understand you correctly, your ultimate answer is: because this reduces suffering and that increases it. Ayn Rand’s ultimate answer is: because this is for your life as a human being and that is against it. According to her Objectivist Ethics, the proper standard of value, as dictated by the nature of reality including human nature, is: “man’s life, or: that which is required for man’s survival qua man.” It follows that since reason is our species’ most fundamental means of survival, it must be our primary value, and that since its operation is volitional, rationality must be our primary virtue. When that primary is coupled with other identifications of reality and human nature, the virtues of: independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness and pride can be identified, and the initiation of force as an especially pernicious vice.[3]

Where Objectivist virtues coincide with Judeo-Christian virtues, it gives a non-sacrificial reason for following them, where it differs, it sets out its reasons. So adherents of the Objectivist Ethics aren’t expected to sacrifice their lives out of duty to commandments accepted on faith, or sacrifice their best interests as a duty to other people or society. They are expected to judge their best interest in an all-aspects-of-a-whole-of-life context, as the nature of our existence demands. E.g. they are expected to appreciate that delayed gratification is not a sacrifice and that respecting the rights of others is not being unselfish, rather these are principled applications of rational pro-life self-interest.

As I intimated above: I suspect the utility of your life-is-suffering standard of value lies in its link to the pro-life standard of value. On the level of sensations, suffering is a pain, which is your body’s way of telling you what to avoid for the sake of your life. So if you are anti-pain you are pro-life – unless your body is malfunctioning, or you know something it doesn’t. Sometimes you have to override your motivation to avoid pain, such as the pain of an injection or amputation. On the emotional level too, the role of suffering is to warn you that you are acting against your life – provided your emotions are programmed correctly. But there’s the rub! Your emotions are derived from your values; achieving them gives you a positive emotion, losing them a negative emotion; so if you derive your values from an emotion you are going in circles.

If a virtue is based on a pro-life action, let’s say on being productive, and you act immorally, let’s say by being lazy or destructive, you will suffer a negative emotion, let’s say shame or anxiety. That’s if your emotions are functioning as nature intended (as they do automatically for animals and infants) i.e. to encourage pro-life action. But if they are malfunctioning, let’s say with a work phobia, the malfunction can be identified and overridden, or reprogrammed with the help of psychotherapy. Whereas, if your moral value is based on an anti-suffering standard, you don’t question whether the emotion you suffer is malfunctioning because it is your standard. Let’s say you suffer from a work phobia, the obvious “solution” is to stop working. You might notice that the “solution” has bad effects on your life, but if you, therefore reverse your “solution”, you have moved on from an anti-suffering standard to a pro-life standard of value.

Life can involve suffering, but acting virtuously, according to a pro-life morality, minimizes it, because the pro-life is the anti-suffering. Life can also involve happiness, and because the pro-life is the pro-happiness, acting virtuously maximizes it. But by happiness I don’t mean hedonism. As Ayn Rand put it: “Happiness is not to be achieved at the command of emotional whims. Happiness is not the satisfaction of whatever irrational wishes you might blindly attempt to indulge. Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy – a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions.” ⁠[4]

The pursuit of happiness, as enshrined as an inalienable right in the American Declaration of Independence, is a distinctively Enlightenment perspective. But it is rooted in the Ancient Greek concept of Eudaemonia, which makes it a distinctively Western perspective. Life as suffering is a distinctively Eastern perspective. “Four Noble Truths on Suffering” constitute the cornerstone of Buddhism. But in the two and a half millennia of its reign, what did that religion do to improved the lot of human beings on this earth? The aim of Buddhism is not to improve your here-and-now, but for you to accept your suffering, which you deserve because of sins you committed in previous lives, and from which there is no escape, not even in death. In Western philosophy this “metaphysical pessimism” rears its head when philosophers turn away from this knowable reality, towards an otherworldly and/or unknowable realm. For example: Saint Augustine (who ushered in the Dark Ages), Arthur Schopenhauer and the existentialists (who ushered in the nihilism of postmodernism and…)

The philosophers who ushered in the knowledge and will to make this world a better place for humans to live in, were those who turned their face to this reality, to identify how we can know it, and how we can turn that knowledge into power, and turn that power into pro-human-life values. For example: Aristotle, and Saint Thomas Aquinas (who ushered in the Renaissance); and Francis Bacon, John Locke, Isaac Newton, and the “metaphysical optimists” of the Enlightenment. Whatever pro-human-life premises were bequeathed by the Judeo-Christian heritage, it was the revival of the Greek pro-reason influence that gave birth to the Enlightenment. And it was the Enlightenment’s elevation of reason and rights that gave birth to modern science, industry, political liberty, capitalism – and the products and services that stopped humans dying like flies, allowing the world’s population to rise from 1 to 7 billion, increasing life expectancy from 30 to 70 years, and reducing the prevalence of suffering so far that the prospect of a person living to a hundred and dying peacefully in bed, never having experienced acute or chronic pain, is no longer inconceivable.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy could be placed on the “metaphysical optimism” side of the divide, but she preferred to call it “the benevolent universe premise”, and she would probably call your view “the malevolent universe premise,” (which is akin to your “Hobbesian by temperament” identification). By “benevolent” Rand didn’t mean that the universe is designed to help or be kind to us, but that it does not play dice with us, so we can learn its laws, and by obeying them, we can command it to improve our lives. Which, if I understand them correctly, is what your twelve rules are designed to do. Your first rule is that we must stand up straight, with our shoulders back, accept responsibility and apply effort. This is, I submit, like most of your rules, a pro-life action. The ultimate purpose of such an action is the maintenance of your life (and the lives of your loved ones, and secondarily everyone else’s). But that ultimate benefit may be experienced along the way as relief of suffering – or as happiness. So pursuit of happiness is not only a political right but is morally right. When it comes to the best therapeutic strategy for people in a psychologically disturbed state, I bow to your expertise. But when it comes to a whole-of-life moral strategy, the maximization of the happiness reward has to be the other side of the minimizing of suffering coin. And, I submit, the more glorious side.



Yours sincerely, John Dawson

On the beach in Melbourne


[1] Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos; Penguin, Random House Canada, 2018, p.161

[2] Peterson, 12 Rules, pp.197,198

[3] Ayn Rand, “The Objectivist Ethics,” The Virtue of Selfishness; A New Concept of Egoism, New York, The New American Library, 1964, pp.vii-34.
Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism, the Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Dutton, Penguin Group, New York, 1991, pp.206–324

[4] Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Random House, New York, 1957 p.1022

Salsman: Socialism Works Wonderfully

Writes Richard Salsman on why Socialism Worked in Venezuela | AIER:

“…socialists don’t expect their system to work in the sense of creating liberty, prosperity, and peace. First and foremost, they expect it to work to seize the means of production, human capital included. Then they expect it to entail, in their own words, a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” They expect it’ll destroy liberty and prosperity.  In this sense, history demonstrates unequivocally that socialism works wonderfully.”

Definitely worth a read.

Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: ‘Infotainment’ Posing As Knowledge

Anthropologist C.R.Hallpike, reviews Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and finds it wanting:

The biological title Sapiens is intended to give the impression of a work of hard-nosed science in the Darwinian tradition. Human history is presented as ‘the next stage in the continuum of physics to chemistry to biology’, and our ultimate destiny, and not so very ultimate either, is to be replaced by intelligent machines. It is a summary of human cultural and social evolution from stone age foraging bands through the agricultural revolution, writing and the rise of the state and large-scale societies, through the gradual process of global unification through empires, money, and the world religions, to the scientific revolution that began the modern world and its consequences.


Summing up the book as a whole, one has often had to point out how surprisingly little he seems to have read on quite a number of essential topics. It would be fair to say that whenever his facts are broadly correct they are not new, and whenever he tries to strike out on his own he often gets things wrong, sometimes seriously. So we should not judge Sapiens as a serious contribution to knowledge but as ‘infotainment’, a publishing event to titillate its readers by a wild intellectual ride across the landscape of history, dotted with sensational displays of speculation, and ending with blood-curdling predictions about human destiny. By these criteria it is a most successful book.

You can read the whole thing here.

Terence Corcoran: How Net Neutrality “Worked” in the 20th Century

Terence Corcoran, gives a little history lesson on how “Net Neutrality” worked in the 20th century over at the Financial Post:

Our freeways and highways are working models of road neutrality. At any time, anywhere, drivers are free to stream onto highways, free of any of the blocking, throttling and paid prioritization that private road tolls might bring. The result of road neutrality is constant congestion, with drivers dependent on politicians to determine whether new roads are built as a public utility, with no regard to price and cost.

Postal neutrality dominated for centuries, until key parts of the business were liberated from neutrality by allowing competitors to travel the same routes to deliver parcels. Today, UPS and FedEx compete with government postal services on quality and price. Recently, UPS announced another break with postal-neutrality principles, saying it would impose a surcharge on U.S. packages shipped the week before Christmas. The objective, says UPS, is to end congestion by prompting shippers and consumers to postpone deliveries that are non-essential holiday items until after the Christmas rush.

Promoters of net neutrality might learn from the history of public utilities and the experience in de-neutralized sectors such as postal services. Under deregulation, telcos in competition with one another would have more incentive to innovate and supply the infrastructure for the promised technological miracles than they would under the centuries-old utility model. [We tried ‘neutrality’ before the net came along. It’s always terrible.]

Why Are People In The 21st Century Still Attracted to Marxism?

The lecture “Why Marxism?”, is an examination of why so many people are still attracted to Marxism despite the history of totalitarianism and genocide. Professor C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. He has also been a visiting fellow at Princeton and Harvard universities and at the University of London.

James D. Hill’s Moving Declaration of Independence From Ta-Nehisi Coates Racist Anti-American Ideology

Professor Jason D. Hill, a Jamaican-born professor of philosophy at DePaul University, writes in An Open Letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates: writes that Coate’s ideology and his book, Between the World and Me, “function as deputized stand-ins for the black male and the black experience in America, respectively. And I believe that as stand-ins, both fail. Because I write as a black immigrant who chose to live in the United States, whose biggest hope as a child was to become an American citizen, and who chose to embrace the American Dream you condemn, please consider these words my Declaration of Independence—an independence that only my beloved America could have given to me.”

Continues Hill later in his letter:

I am saddened by your conviction that white people wield such a great deal of metaphysical power over the exercise of your own agency. In making an enemy of the Dream that is a constitutive feature of American identity, you have irrevocably alienated yourself from the redemptive hope, the inclusive unity, and the faith and charity that are necessary for America to move ever closer to achieving moral excellence. Sadder still, you have condemned the unyielding confidence in self that the Dream inspires.

Hill continues to make many important points, such as why…

1. The American Dream is proof of the metaphysical impotence of racism:

In the 32 years I have lived in this great country, I have never once actively fought racism. I have simply used my own example as evidence of its utter stupidity and moved forward with absolute metaphysical confidence, knowing that the ability of other people to name or label me has no power over my self-esteem, my mind, my judgment, and—above all—my capacity to liberate myself through my own efforts.

On this matter, you have done your son—to whom you address your book—an injustice. You write: “The fact of history is that black people have not—probably no people ever have—liberated themselves strictly by their own efforts. In every great change in the lives of African Americans we see the hands of events that were beyond our individual control, events that were not unalloyed goods.”

I do not believe you intended to mislead your son, but in imparting this credo, you have potentially paralyzed him, unless he reappraises your philosophy and rejects it. In your misreading of America, you’ve communicated precisely why many blacks in this country have been alienated from their own agency and emancipatory capabilities. The most beleaguered people on the planet, the Jews, who have faced persecution since their birth as a people, are a living refutation of your claim. 

2. There is nothing beautiful, noble or special about skin color per se:

You touch on your flirtation with some special black racial essentialism in your book, and it is both affecting and sympathetic: “My working theory then held all black people as kings in exile, a nation of original men severed from our original names and our majestic Nubian culture. Surely this was the message I took from gazing out in the [Howard] Yard. Had any people, anywhere, ever been as sprawling and beautiful as us?” Unfortunately, there is nothing special about the black body. There is nothing special about any racially distinct physical body per se. Black skin does not convey nobility. Neither does white skin, or yellow skin. Your body is not special until it conjoins itself to a mind and adapts nature to its needs and desires and rational aspirations, its self-actualization and manifested agency. Any human body that fails to achieve a self-cultivated moral character and inscrutable human will is merely an ecological social ballast: ignoble, exploitable, a heap of unintelligible flesh on this earth.

3. Abnegation of personal responsibility promotes the pathology of black on black crime:

This abnegation of personal responsibility assumes its logical end in your failure to grant black people responsibility for their own lives in the phenomenon of black-on-black crime. You tell your son: “Black-on-black crime is jargon, violence to language . . . . To yell black-on-black crime is to shoot a man and then shame him for bleeding.” Why? You give no reasons. In truth, black-on-black crime is a pathology that has to be reckoned with.

4. So-called reparations are based on the racist notion of collective guilt:

No self-respecting black person ought to take a single penny from the state for the infliction of any ancestral damage. The very premise supposes that blacks are wards of the state. If individual rights are currently being violated by states that illegally discriminate against blacks, that is a matter to be redressed in the courts. People who are possessed of self-esteem, who are dignified individuals capable of supporting themselves, do not seek any form of reparations. It is beneath them. Reason indicated that you cannot codify either collective guilt or collective entitlement. And reparations are predicated on the attribution of collective guilt, which in turn is based on the worst form of racism: biological collectivism. […] By what impertinence would you hold any white person guilty for the crime of simply being born white? You would, perhaps, imply that an accident of birth confers on them a white privilege for which they are to spend the rest of their lives atoning.

5. On why individualism is the solution to the collectivism of racism:

I myself have cultivated a love of humanity. It is a love for the human species that involves, above all, and paradoxically, a ruthless practice of individualism. This is America, where chromosomal predestination must be challenged by individual achievement.[…]

Here’s another idea: How about blacks just ask that white people not regard them as anything special and not obstruct their efforts to enhance their lives?


But I suspect my request for our being ignored and left alone to create our own destiny will not satisfy you. This is because you are trading on black suffering to create a perpetual caste of racial innocents. And the currency of your economic system is white guilt.

An Open Letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates is must reading.

Journo: Stop Normalizing the Palestinian Movement

Let’s stop normalizing the Palestinian movement | TheHill

….By negating the need for objective moral judgment and acting on it, our policymakers have landed us in a dead-end situation that sells out our ideal of individual freedom and harms our regional ally, Israel. We need to begin undoing that pattern. For a start: Stop normalizing the Palestinian movement. Stop brushing aside and playing down its crimes and vicious aims. Stop pretending that one faction, Fatah, is somehow well-intentioned — a fact refuted by its murderous, tyrannical history, not to mention its openness to allying with Hamas. Let’s recognize that the Palestinian movement is deeply hostile to individual freedom, and treat it accordingly.

Stubblefield: Separation of Education and State

Robert Stubblefield has penned this excellent letter to the Aiken Standard on why “School vouchers have benefit outside of religion“:

Star Parker’s recent column noted that school voucher programs could allow religious parents to shield their children from bad ideas currently taught in government schools. Evolution, abortion and gay marriage are bad ideas to many religionists. Note that secularists might use vouchers to avoid their children being taught such ideas as profit is bad, sacrifice is good, words are equivalent to sticks and stones, and that racism to get diversity is OK.

(Alternatively, tax credits for education would also allow such avoidance of government indoctrination without funds first flowing through the hands of sticky-fingered, bureaucracy-expanding government bureaucrats, who could set requirements – that a school qualifies for a program only if government-approved ideas are taught – more easily than a legislature could.)

The fundamental fact is that the government’s virtual monopoly on education means every student is taught content and methods approved by the government. And the dismal results of our educational system are so well-known that late-night TV shows have frequent man-in-the-street interviews illustrating people’s ignorance of geography, history, our form of government, current events … much worse than the missing and confused content of students’ minds is the fact that they lack the correct methods of thinking. Many act as if public opinion establishes fact and feelings yield knowledge. They are not taught to think in principles because the ruling educational philosophy is pragmatism, which holds that there are no principles.

For a superlative analysis of what government schools have done to abuse education and what a free system can do better, see the book “Teaching Johnny to Think” by Leonard Peikoff and Marlene Trollope.

But the main point I want to make is about the relation of this issue to the principle of the separation of church and state. The Founding Fathers recognized the potential tyranny of giving the government control of religious ideas. At the time there were no governments monopolizing the ideas educators promulgated. If there had been, they might have seen the church/state separation rule as a narrower instance of a broader principle: there should be an ideology/state separation. The state should have no role in promoting or decrying any particular set of ideas. Its sole job is to protect the individual rights of its citizens from the initiation of force at home and abroad. — Robert Stubblefield

Salsman: No Required Tradeoff Between Inflation Rate and Jobless Rate

It’s No Mystery Why the Fed Sees Low Inflation as a Mystery – The Daily Capitalist

The Wall Street Journal reports that Fed head “Yellen Defends Fed Rate-Rise Plan Despite ‘Mystery’ of Low Inflation.” For Yellen, it’s a “mystery” that the U.S. today enjoys, simultaneously, a low rate of inflation (1.9%) and unemployment (4.4%). It’s a fact, yet “theoretically” impossible, per Yellen, so she’ll keep raising the Fed’s policy interest rate, hoping to prevent further declines in the jobless rate. Get it?

Here’s why Yellen’s silly mystery is no mystery at all, at least to those who know something about the good and bad of economic theory and know some economic history too. For decades, Keynesian economists and their dominant textbooks have pushed the erroneous claim, to millions of students (including many now working at the Fed), that there’s an inevitable, unavoidable “trade-off” between a nation’s inflation rate and jobless rate. This bogus “cost-push” theory of inflation asserts that a low jobless rate somehow boosts labor’s “bargaining power” versus Scrooge-like employers, who eventually buckle under and concede to pay higher wage rates but, intent on preserving profit margins, also raise prices (thus inflation). The alleged tradeoff is captured by the so-called “Phillips Curve.” It’s in Yellen’s head.

In fact, inflation is a purely monetary phenomenon; technically, it’s a decline in the purchasing power of money caused by the interplay between the supply of and demand for money. Its effect is a general rise in prices. The main determiners of money supply are its monopoly issuers: today’s central banks (including the Fed).  Contrary to what the Phillips Curve myth implies, inflation is not caused by real factors – i.e., by a greater proportion of folks working to produce things or by faster rates of growth in economic output. In fact, stability in the value (or purchasing power) of money, much like stability in the rule of law and policy, fosters better growth and employment. Such stability is also beneficial for profits and equities.

Read the rest.

Lecture: Richard Salsman on The Limits of Public Debt

Capitalist Richard Salsman: The Limits of Public Debt

November 13, 2017, | 4:00–5:00 PM | Broyhill Auditorium (Farrell A31), 1834 Wake Forest Rd, Winston-Salem NC

Government borrowing is at record levels, by some measures, and is projected to climb still higher in the coming decade. Are there “tipping points” we should worry about? If so, what happens after that?

Why do governments borrow in the first place? Why do they sometimes over-borrow? Why (and how) do they sometimes default? Are democracies more prone to over-borrowing than other regime types? Does excessive public borrowing commit intergenerational injustice?

While answering these questions and illustrating public debt history in multi-century charts, this talk reveals what leading political economists – from Smith in the 18th century to Krugman in the 21st century – have said about public debt. Theorists are classified as pessimists, optimists, and realists. The talk reveals which factors best distinguish these views, which view dominates today’s public debt debate, and why it matters.

Richard Salsman, PhD, is an assistant professor in the philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE) program at Duke University and a core faculty member of the political economy program there. He received his B.A. in Government and Economics from Bowdoin College (1981), his M.A. in Economics from New York University (1988), and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke (2012). Prior to entering academia, he was a banker in New York City (the Bank of New York and Citibank) and founder and president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc.

Dr. Salsman is the author of two books—Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions and Gold and Liberty—in addition to scholarly journal articles and dozens of essays on political economy for Forbes. His most recent book, The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence, was published by Elgar in February 2017. Co-sponsored with the Wake Forest Department of Economics

The Truth About Climate Change

By Andrew Bernstein

Climate change is real and persistent. Even a brief study of the recent past illustrates this, but it becomes all the more certain when one broadens the scope to take in the vast sweep of geologic time. Is nature’s inherent dynamism responsible for the climate change of our era? Or are the cause(s) man-made? Many scientists, environmentalists, journalists, and such politicians as Al Gore claim the latter.

They argue that:

  1. The earth is warming.
  2. Human emission of such greenhouse gases as CO2 is the predominant (perhaps exclusive) cause.
  3. Such warming, in various forms, is pernicious to life on Earth, including human life; for example, increasing temperatures may melt the land-based polar ice caps, thereby causing rising sea levels that will flood low-lying coastal regions.

This is known as the theory of man-made or anthropogenic global warming (the AGW hypothesis). The public policy questions that arise are profound, and the stakes are high; for if the AGW hypothesis is true, then we aren’t doing enough to protect ourselves from baneful consequences.

But if  the AGW hypothesis is mistaken regarding either points two or three—much less both—then a dramatic scale-back of man-made carbon emissions is an insane policy that will severely diminish human living standards while promoting no off-setting gain.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—a group of scientists under United Nations jurisdiction—supports the AGW hypothesis. Its proposed solution is a dramatic increase in government power to impose massive scale-backs in the use of carbon based fuels.  Such a policy would affect the price and availability of literally everything we own: our clothes, home, food, medicine, and means of transportation. Energy powers civilization; the less of it produced, the more difficult and poverty-ridden life becomes.

Needlessly diminishing carbon-based energy production without a viable alternative will have drastic consequences in the developed world. But more harrowing, it will mean certain death for millions of people in the undeveloped world. The first point to be established, therefore, is whether, in fact, there is any rational basis for accepting the AGW hypothesis. Doing so requires an understanding of Earth’s climate history viewed in the proper context, meaning in this case, on an appropriate timescale.



Earth’s Climate Over Geologic Time

Charts are a common part of contemporary climate change debate. It is frighteningly common to see charts that graph out as much as the last 150 or so years of climate history. During that time, the Earth, on average, warmed roughly 2.16 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius). Our era, consequently, is known as the Modern Warm Period. This truth is widely acknowledged by scientists.

Those that refuse to evaluate climate change on the proper timescale present this as a fair sample of the Earth’s climate trajectory. Given the human life expectancy, there is even some plausibility to such a narrow time frame. That is, until we are reminded that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. That puts the sample  examined at a nanoscale percentage of Earth’s climate history. It is like straining to read a billboard when able to view but a single pixel of it.

What AGW theorists fail to mention is that the Earth in our day is significantly colder than it has been through much of its voluminous history. For the past 50 or so million years, the Earth has been gradually cooling. Prior to that, our planet had been substantially warmer. Fossil remains of tropical flora and fauna, for example, have been found north of the Arctic circle, and crocodiles lived in these northern climes.[1] It was around 30 or 35 million years ago that global temperatures dropped sharply, leading first to Antarctic glaciation, then (millions of years later) to Arctic ice sheets, and eventually to the Pleistocene Ice Age, including the most recent wave of Northern Hemisphere glaciation. Before then, Earth’s vast history—although interspersed with severe ice ages—featured climates generally warmer than today’s. Geologist, Dr. Doug Macdougall, notes, “On average, for the past few million years, the Earth has been considerably colder than over most of its four and a half billion years of existence.”[2]

Indeed, the geology professor points out that, “During much of Earth history, except for short, rare intervals, glaciers such as the one on [Mount] Kilimanjaro have been absent.”[3] Does this mean that for much of Earth’s vast history the planet has been too warm for substantial accumulations of ice? Evidently it does.

If ice ages are unusual features of Earth’s history, such rarity does not mitigate their severity. One such extreme episode, nicknamed “Snowball Earth,” occurred between 800 million and 600 million years ago, featuring at least two and possibly four or five recurring waves of ice ages so severe that the entire planet, pole to pole, including the tropics, perhaps even the oceans, were heavily glaciated.[4]

By 540 million years ago, the Earth had transformed from a giant snowball (or slushball, as some scientists prefer) to a warm, humid world propitious for the development of diverse life forms. Such a hospitable climate helped precipitate the “Cambrian Explosion” of living organisms, a period during which the ancestors of most major animal groups appeared in the fossil record for the first time.[5]

The period from about 300 million to 280 million years ago saw the Earth once again in the deep freeze—in the harshest years of the Permo-Carboniferous Ice Age; one whose severity exceeded that of the later Pleistocene glaciation. There was one supercontinent on Earth then, referred to by geologists as Gondwanaland. It was only later that the continents split and drifted apart; and across the Gondwanaland supercontinent the fossil record shows the baneful impact on plant life of the Permo-Carboniferous glaciation; only the hardiest breeds survived.[6]

Around 250 million years ago the Earth was again hot but now so dry that huge salt deposits formed from the evaporation of sea water.[7] Fast forward some 150 million years to approximately 100 million years ago, and the Earth was still uniformly hot but humid again, and dinosaurs roamed its surface as the dominant land vertebrates.[8]

Moving closer to our day, by 55 million years ago the Earth sweltered under the blazing heat of the Eocene Thermal Maximum, when global temperatures increased by approximately 9–10.8 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 5–6 degrees Celsius), with perhaps even more pronounced warming in the Arctic region.[9] Widespread extinctions were associated with this “heat wave” lasting approximately 100,000 years, but the ancestors of many of Earth’s current life forms survived.[10]

Additionally, throughout geologic time we find numerous examples of non-cyclical but, rather, sudden and catastrophic natural climate change.


Catastrophic Climate Change

The geological record indicates five major mass extinctions during the past 450 million years.

The causes are disputed. Renowned geologist, Dr. Tony Hallam, describes several leading theories. One, that of bolide impact—the collision of comet or asteroid with the Earth—is today widely believed to have provided the coup de grace to dinosaurs, life forms already, at that time, dying off after 165 million years as Earth’s dominant land vertebrates.[11] The land impact of a high-speed bolide would inject into the atmosphere an immense dust cloud that could envelop the Earth for perhaps up to a year. As Hallam states regarding this purported cause of the end-Cretacean mass extinction:  “Such a cloud would have blocked out sunlight, thereby stopping photosynthesis and resulting in a collapse of the food chain, with consequent starvation and mass extinction.”[12]

Evidently, the Earth has suffered through perhaps a dozen of these massive collisions in its history, destroying millions of life forms whose existence we know of only via the fossil record. Climate scientist, Dr. Fred Singer, writes of them:  “The Earth’s collisions with massive missiles from outer space explode billions of tons of ash and debris into the Earth’s atmosphere, darken the skies, and virtually eradicate the growing seasons for years at a time.”[13]

Another candidate that could potentially wreak major extinction is volcanic activity. A relatively recent example of the baneful global reach of volcanic activism was the Tambora eruption on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa in April 1815. Gillen D’Arcy Wood, in his study of Tambora’s destructive consequences, writes of “the cascading worldwide weather disasters in its three-year wake.”[14]  Part of the problem, Wood says, is “the sun-blocking dust veil …[which] might linger above the earth for up to three years.”[15]  Perhaps worse is the release of gaseous sulfur compounds that rise into the stratosphere, where they combine with the limited water available to form droplets of sulfuric acid; these droplets reflect a substantial amount of sunlight away from the Earth and back into space—and can cause significant global cooling for up to two years.[16]

The lead candidate for causation of the end-Triassic mass extinction—that expunged approximately twelve percent of the planet’s vertebrate families—is a series of massive volcanic eruptions in Brazil, the east coast of North America, Morocco, and Spain.[17]

Related, paleobiologist , Dr. Douglas Erwin, the leading authority on the end-Permian catastrophe that wiped out approximately ninety-five percent of Earth’s life forms,  credits on-going eruption of Siberian flood basalts as the likeliest cause. The massive quantity of dust spewed into the atmosphere could lower temperatures for years; but worse would be the conversion of sulfate aerosols to sulfuric acid, then to be poured down as acid rain. Combine these and other factors, says Erwin, and the result is horror that only Dante could adequately describe.[18]

Hallam also points out other possible causes of mass extinctions, such as severe climate change, especially pronounced cooling periods.[19]

One conclusion is abundantly clear: The power of nature—whether via bolide impact, massive volcanism, and/or other causal agents—to wreak sudden cataclysms inflicting both widespread climate change and massive devastation of life borders on the indescribable.

But cyclical—not fitfully irregular—climate change is most relevant to understanding the warming of our era.



The Pleistocene Ice Age

Although it is today not widely discussed, the Earth is currently basking in the relatively higher temperatures of an interglacial warm period—known as the Holocene—of the on-going Pleistocene Ice Age. In contrast to modern hysteria regarding global warming, a great deal of geologic evidence points towards the return of thick Northern Hemisphere glaciers within the next 1,000 to 10,000 years.[20] Macdougall writes, “It is often not appreciated that today’s climate is just a geologically short warm spell in this continuing ice age.”[21]

Roughly 30 million years ago, ice sheets formed and expanded in Antarctica. These were followed by extensive glaciation in Greenland approximately 18 million years ago. Then perhaps just under 3 million years ago glaciers moved into North America. Over the past 2-3 million years, the Northern Hemisphere has seen repeated cases of extensive glaciation—and of thick ice sheets extending well into northern portions of what is today the United States.[22] Indeed, the sites of cities such as Montreal and Chicago were buried beneath ice sheets perhaps thousands of feet thick.[23]

Over the past million years, the recurring Northern Hemisphere ice ages have occurred on 100,000 year cycles. These include roughly 80,000 to 90,000 years of colder climate and advancing ice interspersed with roughly 10,000 to 20,000-year interglacial periods of warmer climate and retreating ice.

There are also cycles within climate cycles. About 12,500 years ago, the latest wave of Northern Hemisphere glaciation began, lasting for roughly 1000 years—until about 11,500 years ago, when northern regions warmed suddenly from ice age conditions to almost current temperatures.[24] The past 11,500 years, continuing to our day, make up the Holocene interglacial warm period—a relative warm spell in the midst of what is still one of Earth’s colder periods: the Pleistocene Ice Age. The bad news is that, measured in terms of geologic time, if the Earth’s history is an accurate guide, glaciers will soon return to more southerly latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.[25]



The Past Millennium

As part of this on-going cycle there have been numerous other periods, leading up to our own day. One, the Medieval Warm Period (roughly 900–1300 AD) saw temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere approximately as warm as they are today,[26] enabling the Norse to colonize both Iceland and Greenland, the English to plant grapes and establish vineyards, the Norwegians to harvest crops at higher elevations than for a millennium and the Scots at elevations higher than today.  Across Europe, higher temperatures contributed to crop yields more robust than in the colder period that ensued.[27] Wine was produced in northern European climes that today are too cold for growing grapes, indicating that northern temperatures might have been 1 to 1.4 degrees Celsius (roughly 1.8 to 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than at current times.[28]

Following this was the Little Ice Age (roughly 1300-1800). We know that temperatures in Europe, the North Atlantic, and North America were generally cooler than today. Alpine glaciers advanced, encroaching on farms and human habitations. The Norse were forced by harsher climate to abandon their earlier Greenland settlements. Inuit peoples in the Arctic region began migrating south. In parts of Germany, Holland, and Denmark, the fierce storms associated with colder weather destroyed large swathes of agricultural land, leading to widespread famine.[29]

During the depths of the cold temperatures, in the 1690s, crops were widely devastated. As a result, tens of thousands (of a total population under 2 million) starved to death during the so-called “Lean Years” in Scotland.[30] Even more disastrous, during the same decade, in Finland, famine wiped out twenty-five to thirty-three percent of the country’s entire population. A leading historian terms it “the most terrible event in European history.”[31]   In the past several thousand years, there have been other eras of naturally-cycling climate change, as well. [32]

The above data regarding the Earth’s swings between colder and warmer periods is sufficient to establish an important conclusion: Cyclical natural climate change has been a regularly recurring feature of the Earth across both geologic and more recent times.

Subsequent to these climate eras, from approximately the late-nineteenth century until our day, the Earth warmed slightly—by roughly 2.16 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius). John Houghton, a professor of atmospheric physics at Oxford University, a co-chair of the IPCC’s scientific assessment working group, and lead editor of the first three IPCC reports, writes that, in the past several decades, minimum temperatures over land have increased approximately twice as much as have maximum temperatures. Further, Houghton reports that, because of the warming, global mean sea levels during the twentieth century increased at an average annual rate of 1–2 millimeters, Arctic sea-ice extent and thickness thinned by forty percent in recent decades during months of late summer to early autumn, non-polar glaciers during the twentieth century retreated substantially, and growing seasons in the Northern Hemisphere lengthened by about one to four days.[33]  Our era, consequently, is known as the Modern Warm Period.

It should be perennially remembered that the various proxies described above indicate that Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period–centuries before initiation of human industrialization–were slightly higher than during our day.



The Necessity to Affirm, Not Deny Climate Change

Notice further that there are cycles within climate cycles. For example, as Dr. Macdougall points out, for approximately the past 50 million years the Earth has been gradually cooling. But, during the Roman Warm Period, the Medieval Warm Period, and the Modern Warm Period, the Earth warmed. Further, even within the Modern Warm Period there have been cycles; for example, although the Earth generally warmed from the late-19th century to today, there was, in the midst of this warming, a cooling trend from approximately 1940 to 1975,[34] resulting in Newsweek’s now-infamous 1975 article fretting about a possible looming ice age.[35] Amidst all of this is the on-going 2-million-year Pleistocene Ice Age, with its recurring cycle of glaciations followed by milder inter-glacial warm periods.

Any rational human being, examining the above facts, must affirm the reality of climate change. Indeed, we must so strenuously affirm its reality that we feel compelled to raise the eminently logical and too-infrequently asked questions:  Is the Earth’s climate always changing?

Is there ever a time when Earth’s climate is not changing?

Is climate but one more instance of the incessantly dynamic nature of the physical world? From the instant a living being is born, for example, is there ever a moment when it is not aging? Does the Earth stop momentarily in its rotation—so that there is a break in the day/night cycle—or does it whirl relentlessly on? Does our planet ever cease revolving around the sun, thereby disrupting the pattern of the seasons, or does it forge ceaselessly forward? The erosion of mountains to molehills, as a final example, is a process so agonizingly slow that the resulting disparity in stature reveals the inexorability of wind, rain, and storm, forces never granting the exposed peaks a moment’s respite.

Two millennia ago, the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, observing the ubiquity of process in the natural order, theorized that change itself—activity or dynamism—is the fundamental reality, rather than entities that, in various forms, undergo change; a logical error brilliantly corrected by Aristotle. Both thinkers, however, were deeply impressed by the robust dynamism of the empirical world.

Is climate any less dynamic than these other processes of nature? There is no logical reason that it should be—and a great deal of empirical data suggests that it is not. Indeed, the IPCC itself, in its 2001 report, acknowledged: “Climate has always varied on all time scales…”[36]

Climate, in contrast to ever-changing weather patterns, denotes a long-term condition. So climate is not–by the minute, the day, the year, or even the decade–always changing. But the evidence shows that climate periods are often changing. 

This point can be summarized succinctly: Climate periods are often changing; probably generally changing; perhaps always changing.

It is precisely this context, an appropriate timescale, that many (if not all) AGW theorists ignore. A stockbroker, who tried to convince investors to buy a stock based on its performance in the last sixty seconds, while blanking out decades of data, would be ignoring vastly less relevant information than do the majority of today’s supporters of man-made global warming.

The accusation of “climate change denier” is, consequently, egregiously inaccurate when hurled at persons who examine this context and recognize the reality of natural, cyclical, and likely incessant change of climate periods.

The accusation is accurate, however, when leveled against some leading supporters of the AGW hypothesis. Dr. Michael Mann, for example,  a respected climate scientist and lead author for the IPCC, developed the infamous “hockey stick” graph, purporting to show that, for roughly 1,000 years prior to the 20th century, Northern Hemisphere temperatures had been relatively stable, perhaps even declining slightly, then sharply rising after 1900 (hence the hockey stick shape of the graph). In effect, Mann’s methodology “air-brushed” out of existence the Medieval Warm Period; if accurate, Mann’s findings would show a strong and unique correlation between human emissions of carbon dioxide and rising temperatures. However, Mann’s methodology was seriously flawed and exposed as such by Dr. Edward Wegman, a leading statistician. The hockey stick graph, a featured aspect of the IPCC’s 2001 report, was subsequently dropped by the IPCC. The Medieval Warm Period had to be acknowledged as real.[37]

But Mann, some of his IPCC colleagues, and the environmentalist movement more broadly continue to support the hockey stick hypothesis.

According to Mann and his supporters, Northern Hemisphere temperatures were relatively flat for roughly 1,000 years, and the natural climate cycles from the Dark Age Cold Period to the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age were non-existent (or, at most, greatly over-exaggerated).

Who, then, is actually guilty of denying climate change?[38]

Nevertheless, even when recurring natural climate cycles are recognized, an important question can and must be raised: What is the relationship between ongoing climate change and human activity?



The AGW Hypothesis—And Its Flaws

There is, in truth, a greenhouse effect, for which we all should be grateful; for without it, the Earth would be too cold to support life. Carbon dioxide is indeed a greenhouse gas, serving to trap heat near the Earth’s surface, contributing to rising temperatures. The late paleontologist, Dr. Robert Carter, stated the facts simply: It is, he says, an established physical property of carbon dioxide that it “absorbs space-bound infrared radiation, thereby increasing the energy available at the Earth’s surface for warming or increased evaporation.”[39]

Since the Industrial Revolution, human beings have pumped increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, for example, scientists believe that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was around 280 parts per million (ppm). By 1958, it stood at approximately 315 ppm. Today, it stands at just over 400 ppm.[40] Since the mid-nineteenth century, Earth’s temperature has also risen. Therefore, there is both an established physical mechanism by means of which CO2 contributes to increased warming—and a very rough correlation over the past 150 years between rising atmospheric accumulation of CO2 and rising temperatures.

Does all this support the conclusion that man-made CO2 is the predominant, perhaps exclusive cause of modern warming?  

There is, among several others, one very inconvenient truth for AGW theorists. For at least the past 240,000 years, Earth’s warming has preceded rising CO2 levels, not vice versa. Analyses of ice cores from Antarctica’s Vostok Glacier, for example, reveal that over the Earth’s past three glaciations and ensuing warmer periods, rising CO2 levels lag behind rising temperatures by several centuries.  Oregon State Climatologist, George Taylor, stated, “In other words, CO2 changes are caused by temperature changes.”[41]

Israeli astrophysicist, Dr. Nir Shaviv, commented: “In all cases where there is a good enough resolution, one finds that the CO2 lags behind the temperature by typically several hundred to a thousand years. Thus, the basic climate driver that controls the temperature cannot be that of CO2.”[42] Dr. Robert Carter concurred: “The ice core data show conclusively that, during natural climate cycling, changes in temperature precede changes in carbon dioxide by an average 800 years or so.”[43] Climate scientist, Dr. Fred Singer agrees: “Global warming has produced more CO2 rather than more CO2 producing global warming.”[44]

Notice further that, during the Modern Warm Period, the correlation between atmospheric build-up of CO2 and rising temperatures is inexact.  Dr. Singer points out: “Most of the current warming occurred before 1940,” prior to a large accumulation of man-made CO2 in the atmosphere.[45] Then, between 1940 and 1975, in the post-World War II period, booming industrialization injected large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere while the Earth cooled.[46] Finally, early in the twenty-first century, CO2 concentrations have shot up to 400 ppm but, when naturally-occurring El Nino effects are subtracted from the data set, there has been no measurable warming since 1998. Dr. Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric physics at MIT, a former lead author for the IPCC, and one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists, is but one of many scientists who point out this pause in warming.[47]

The full truth is that increasing accumulations of atmospheric CO2 is a cause of warming, but is merely one factor of many inducing climate changes—and is often overwhelmed by other, more powerful causes.[48] One example of this occurred about 440 million years ago, during the Ordovician Ice Age, when atmospheric accumulations of CO2 were 10-17 times higher than today’s and yet the Earth was in the depths of a severe glaciation.[49]

Part of the reason that CO2 is a weak cause of warming is that it is a trace gas in Earth’s atmosphere. Today, CO2 stands at 400 parts per million, meaning that 999,600 parts per million of the atmosphere are composed of other gases—78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, and 1 percent trace gases, one of which is CO2. CO2 constitutes but four one-hundredths of one percent of Earth’s atmosphere. Expressed as a percent, CO2 constitutes merely 0.04 percent of the atmosphere; meaning that 99.96 percent of Earth’s atmosphere is constituted by gases other than CO2. Such a minute component of our atmosphere possesses neither the presence nor the power to cause substantial, much less catastrophic warming.

So, if over the past several hundred thousand years increasing CO2 levels have not driven rising temperatures, then what has?

A clue is that, in recent years, Mars has also warmed.[50] Eminent Russian astrophysicist, Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the Space Research Laboratory at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, says simply, “Mars has global warming, but without a greenhouse and without the participation of Martians.”[51]

Is there a positive relationship between the warming of two different planets in our solar system? Do these two warmings share a common cause?



The Sun-Climate Connection

Dr. Abdussamatov believes the warming of both planets is caused in part by cycles in the Sun’s overall power. Long-term increases in total solar irradiance (TSI) are a primary cause in a complex system that leads to global warming, here and elsewhere. He says: “The predominating factor influencing climate changes (geophysical effects lasting for decades) is alterations in a general two-century-long cycle of solar activity defined primarily by corresponding changes in TSI.”[52]

Between 1978 and 2003, the Sun’s radiation increased by nearly 0.05 percent per decade.[53] The Sun’s output is so immense that even such a small increase is equal to the full amount of human energy use.[54] Unsurprisingly, this was a period of general global warming.

However, such small differences in TSI are, in themselves, insufficient to account for either Earth’s most recent warming or for its repeated warming and cooling cycles. The Sun’s cycles may trigger the recurring changes in climate but some terrestrial process(es) must amplify the effect. Which process(es)?

Before answering this question, it is necessary to make a cognate point: Regarding one important relationship, there is little mystery. Scientists have long known that the oceans store vast quantities of CO2; indeed, the oceans contain roughly 50 times as much CO2 as does the atmosphere.[55] When the Earth warms, the oceans release greater amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. States Dr. Abdussamatov: “If the temperature of the ocean rises even a little, gigantic amounts of CO2 are released into the atmosphere through the evaporation of water…. It is no secret that increased solar irradiance warms Earth’s oceans, which then triggers the emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”[56]

But what are the terrestrial processes that amplify the effects of increased TSI, leading to global warming? One, discovered by leading Danish astrophysicists, Dr. Eigil Friis-Christensen and Dr. Henrik Svensmark, involves cosmic rays and the previously-little-understood process by which clouds are formed.[57] Meteorologists have long known that low-lying cloud cover helps keep the Earth cool, but they did not understand the causes of clouds. In 2006, Svensmark and his team permitted naturally occurring cosmic rays to filter in through their laboratory ceiling and interact with the chemistry of the lower atmosphere they’d replicated in the lab. “What they found left them agape: A vast number of floating microscopic droplets soon filled the reaction chamber. These were ultra-small clusters of sulfuric acid and water molecules—the building blocks for cloud condensation nuclei—that had been catalyzed by the electrons released by the cosmic rays.”[58]

They established that cosmic rays (energy released by exploding stars, i.e., super-novae) enter Earth’s atmosphere and release electrons in the air. These electrons encourage “the clumping of molecules to make micro-specks, capable of gathering into the larger specks needed for cloud formation.”[59] Svensmark’s team had identified a physical mechanism by means of which cosmic rays effectuate Earth’s cloud cover.

Dr. Eugene Parker, one of the world’s most accomplished astrophysicists, discoverer of the solar wind, wrote about Svensmark’s breakthrough: “It is our good fortune that, some years ago, Henrik Svensmark recognized the importance of cloud cover in the temperature control of planet Earth. Clouds are highly reflective to incoming sunlight. Svensmark also recognized that the individual water droplets that make up a cloud form mostly where ions have been created by passing cosmic ray particles, thereby tying cloud formation to the varying cosmic ray intensity. That is to say, cosmic rays control the powerful ‘cloud valve’ that regulates the heating of the earth.”[60]

When the Sun emits greater amounts of radiation, its magnetic field is strongest. This bolstered magnetic field protects Earth from cosmic ray bombardment. Fewer cosmic rays mean less clumping of molecules, which means formation of fewer low-lying clouds. The Sun’s increasing TSI directly accounts for only a small percentage of Earth’s rising temperatures. But the inhibiting of cooling cloud cover accounts for a good deal more.[61]

Celestial events and relationships can also explain the Earth’s cooling. The Earth’s elliptical orbit around the Sun is eccentric; the shape of the orbit at times is more elliptic, at times less. Therefore, the Earth’s farthest remove from the Sun is not uniform. Sometimes its greatest orbital extent from the Sun is more distant than at other times. Additionally, the Earth’s tilt on its axis varies between roughly one degree less than its current 23.5 and one degree more.  Finally, the Earth wobbles on its axis so that the direction of the Earth’s tilt varies over time; at times the Northern Hemisphere will, in effect, “lean” toward the Sun and at other times away  from it.[62]

All of these factors are cyclical, known today as “Milankovitch Cycles,” after Serbian mathematician, Milutin Milankovitch, who put the theory on its modern footing.[63]  When: 1. The Earth is at its farthest remove from the Sun at the same time that 2. The Northern Hemisphere “leans” away from, rather than toward, the Sun and 3. The Earth’s angle of tilt on its axis causes the Northern Hemisphere “lean” to be at its maximal point, at these times the Northern Hemisphere will receive its least amount of solar radiation and suffer through its coldest winters and coolest summers.[64]

These three astronomical factors align roughly every 100,000 years—which corresponds almost exactly to the Northern Hemisphere glaciations of the past two million years. Geologists consider such correspondence unlikely in the extreme to be coincidence.

But again, the change in solar radiation reaching the Earth is too slight in itself to cause significant change in terrestrial temperatures; amplifying factors are necessary to cause the plunge into an ice age. Scientists believe there are several. One is that decreased solar irradiance means colder winters and the likelihood of increased snowfall, including at more southerly latitudes—and cooler summers during which will occur diminished melt. Increased surface snow and ice reflect away more sunlight from the Earth’s surface, contributing to a downward temperature spiral. Scientists believe there are other contributing factors, as well. One is that greater disparity of temperatures between the polar region and the equator will increase winds, which would affect ocean currents, resulting in diminished heat carried northward by the Gulf Stream. It is also possible that increased wind intensity will carry more moisture northward from the tropics, causing increased precipitation, which, in those temperatures, will mean more snow fall.[65]

The specific terrestrial processes by means of which diminished solar radiance gets translated into conditions sufficiently cold for an ice age are not yet fully understood. But two important points are clear: 1. The underlying cause of the Pleistocene’s recurring waves of glaciation is the complex relationship between the Earth and the Sun 2. Diminished solar irradiance triggers a series of terrestrial processes that, taken in concert, substantially drive down temperatures.

No doubt there are further complexities regarding the Sun’s various recurring cycles and the processes by which greater and lesser amounts of solar radiation similarly get amplified into earthly climatic effect. But, as Dr. Singer argues, there is a striking long-term correlation between the Sun’s emission of radiation and Earth’s climate that simply cannot be overlooked.[66] Dr. Singer displays a graph charted by astrophysicists, Dr. Sallie Baliunas and Dr. Willie Soon, showing the correlation between solar irradiance and Earth’s Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the period between 1750 and 2000, a full 250 years. The temperatures, through wide and dramatic variations, track closely to the Sun’s emission of radiation. As Dr. Singer notes, “Given the variability of the temperatures, the close relationship between the two is startling.”[67]

Unfortunately, if the Sun-based climate theory is accurate, the Earth is heading toward a cooling period. Dr. Abdussamatov maintains that, “Solar irradiance has begun to fall, ushering in a protracted cooling period beginning in 2012-2015. The depth of the decline in solar irradiance reaching Earth will occur around 2041. . . . and will inevitably lead to a deep freeze around 2055-60.”[68]

Indeed, given the absence of (non-El Nino-induced) measurable warming over the past 15-18 years, the Earth’s cycle from warmer to cooler periods may have already begun.



Important Final Points

Man’s earliest ancestors evolved approximately 6 million years ago; the Homo group, including sapiens, arose perhaps 2 million years ago; and our species was distinguished roughly 200,000 years ago.[69] Therefore, cyclical climate change pre-dates man by, at minimum, hundreds of millions of years. 

Forces of nature are vastly more powerful than the forces of man. Can we retard a hurricane, for example, bearing down on our shores?  Smother massive volcanism from spewing millions of tons of ash, grit, and dust into the atmosphere, blackening the skies and blocking the sun? Impede an advance of northern glaciers poised to scrape human habitations from their current locales and deposit them, as twisted wreckage, hundreds of miles to the south?  We cannot.

Forces of nature have long—perhaps always—caused cyclical climate change. These changes—such as ice ages and their cessation—involve temperature swings vastly more dramatic than the mild warming of our era.

Astronomical factors are responsible for the cycles of the Pleistocene Ice Age. Are we to suppose that human emission of carbon dioxide is sufficiently powerful to bring down upon the Earth an equivalent ice age—or its melt? The Sun can do this. Man cannot.

Additionally, the best proxy data we have indicates that over geologic time Earth’s temperature  range has varied from roughly 50 degrees to 72 or 73 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees to 22 or 23 degrees Celsius). The best estimate we have today is that the Earth’s temperature is currently in the range of 59-60 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 15 degrees Celsius).[70] The Earth’s temperature is, by several degrees, currently nearer the cooler rather than the warmer end of its historic spectrum.

The Earth’s range over geologic time is one more data point showing nature’s power to cause temperature swings substantially greater than that of the Modern Warm Period.

Finally, we have seen some of the primary causal agents inducing Earthly change of climate: 1. the Sun’s spatial alignment relative to the Earth 2. the Sun’s cycling in its emission of radiation 3. cosmic ray bombardment of Earth’s atmosphere, actuating cooling cloud cover 4. the natural oscillations of Earth’s ocean currents, such as El Nino, La Nina, and others.[71]

The Earth is an immense meet-up of inter-locking, diverse, and dynamic causal factors promoting climate change; related, the planet itself is, relatively, but one dust point in a vastly more immense solar system and galaxy, which unleash yet more diverse natural forces contributing to terrestrial climate change.

Carbon dioxide, whether from natural or man-made sources, is merely one agent in this vast network of causal forces–and, existing in but minute doses in our atmosphere, necessarily a secondary one.




One: Natural-caused, cyclical, and perhaps incessant climate change has occurred for hundreds of millions of years, perhaps longer. The temperature swings caused thereby were, at times, vastly more extensive than the mild warming of our era. For at minimum the past several hundred thousand years atmospheric CO2 buildup lags behind temperature increase. The logical conclusion? Natural forces, not man-made ones, are the overwhelming factor driving modern climate change.

Two: The small warming that we do have is something to be welcomed and celebrated—not something to be feared or curtailed. It is the colder, not the warmer periods of our planet’s history that have been baneful to life. Extensive glaciation killed plant life and drove animals to warmer climes. It was during the warmer interglacial periods that life rebounded. The “Cambrian Explosion” of emerging life forms occurred during a warm, humid period of Earth’s history, not during one of its colder ones.  Human beings flourished throughout the Medieval Warm Period and suffered during the ensuing Little Ice Age.  The Modern Warm Period, like its medieval predecessor, is therefore a boon to be savored prior to the Earth’s next extended cold snap. Dr. Singer states:  “History, science, and our own instincts tell us that cold is more frightening than warmth. . . . The climate event that deserves real concern is the next Big Ice Age. . . . though it may still be thousands of years away.”[72]

Three: By what means can human beings adapt to pernicious, even lethal climate changes?  To protect human life from ice ages, massive volcanism, bolide impact, or whatever other scourges nature has in its arsenal, we must immensely increase our knowledge. How do we do that?

Here, history, economics, and rational philosophy combine to teach us an invaluable lesson.  Human beings must uphold two principles: 1. We must support a culture of reason, a commitment to observation-based rationality as our means of gaining knowledge—and not subordinate reason to feelings or faith 2. We must adopt a politics of individual rights and of capitalism, and put a definitive halt to Western Civilization’s regress into socialism.

When we do this, we can make advances in every field of cognition, as in late-19th and turn-of-the-20th centuries America, when such geniuses as Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright brothers, George Washington Carver, William James, Mark Twain (and many others) were free to advance the fields of electrical engineering, telecommunications, aeronautical engineering, agricultural science, experimental psychology, and literature respectively.

When human beings uphold a reverence for reason and a respect for each individual’s inalienable right to his own life and his own mind—and only then—can we develop the science and technology to adapt to such climate calamities as ice ages or the extended “heat wave” of the Eocene Thermal Maximum. By developing central air providing heat and air conditioning, insulated homes, thermal clothing, sun screen, advances in medicine, nuclear fusion reactors, geothermal energy, modern methods of transportation and hence of evacuation, and other forms of progress as unimaginable to us as were airplanes, computers, and the Internet to our ancestors just two centuries ago, we will learn to adapt to severe climate change, whether caused by human forces or, far more likely, the awesome power of nature.

But to do this, we need reason, individual rights, and capitalism. Nothing less—and nothing else—will enable us to flourish—or even to survive.

Four: The AGW hypothesis is mistaken regarding both points two and three delineated at the outset: Modern warming is neither man-made nor pernicious. Rather, it is natural and beneficial.    Additionally, supporters of the AGW hypothesis generally propose, as a panacea, massive government controls of industry and a steep plunge into statism—policies that would strangle the innovativeness and entrepreneurship necessary to combat the climate dangers regarding which they purportedly warn.

Supporters of the AGW hypothesis drop the extended historic context within which modern warming must be understood, they fail to recognize that warm periods in contrast to cold ones are beneficial to life, they ignore the inconvenient truth that atmospheric CO2 buildups follow rather than precede global warming, they are heedless of leading astrophysicists who study the sun-climate connection, and they are profoundly mistaken regarding their proposed solution to “dangerous” climate change.

For all of these reasons, the AGW hypothesis must be rejected.





[1]  Doug Macdougall, Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2006), 8

[2] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 8.

[3] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 8.

[4] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 150–160, 209–211. Gabrielle Walker, Snowball Earth: The Story Of The Great Global Catastrophe That Spawned Life As We Know It (New York: Crown Publishers, 2003), 122–28 and passim. Walker recounts the lively story of the “Snowball” theory, of the struggles of its leading proponent, geologist Paul Hoffman, to refine and promote the theory, and of the scientists who critique it.

[5] Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), xiii, <http://>, retrieved December 31, 2016.

[6] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 146–150.

[7] Singer, Unstoppable Gobal Warming Every 1500 Years, xiii.

[8] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, xiii.

[9]  “Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum,” <http://>, retrieved on May 21, 2017.

[10] “Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum,” <>, retrieved on January 1, 2017.

[11] Tony Hallam, Catastrophes and Mass Calamities: The Causes of Mass Extinctions, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1–2.

[12] Hallam, Catastrophes and Mass Extinctions, 39–49, quotation on 44.

[13] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 77.

[14] Gillen D’Arcy Wood, Tambora: The Eruption That Changed The World (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), 2.

[15] Wood, Tambora, 3–5.

[16] <>, retrieved on January 2, 2017.

[17] Douglas Erwin, Extinction: How Life On Earth Nearly Ended 250 Million Years Ago (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), 26.

[18] Erwin, Extinction, 190–194. Basaltic eruptions generally ooze rather than explode, so few of the released gases ever reach the stratosphere; but 10–20 percent of the volcanic material from the Siberian basalt eruptions came from powerful explosions. (Erwin, Extinction, 194.)

[19] Hallam, Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities, 108-29.

[20] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 1–14. Regarding the ice’s return, the geologist amends his prediction with the qualification “if human activities don’t warm the Earth too severely.” Frozen Earth, 8. But whether human activities play much of a role in warming the Earth is the point in question. We will examine the evidence and we shall see.

[21] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 7.

[22] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, xiii–xiv. <>, retrieved on December 30, 2016.

[23] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 8.

[24] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, xiv.

[25] Macdougall, 7–8.

[26] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 215-16. Brian Fagan, The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300–1850 (New York: Basic Books, 2000), xv–xvi.  Macdougall, a geologist, provides a graph  (217) indicating temperatures then might have been slightly higher than those of today; Fagan, an archaeologist, says perhaps slightly lower (xvi). However, Fagan also says that on Iceland, “both winter and summer temperatures were usually higher than today” (9); that across the European continent, summer temperatures averaged between 0.7 and 1 degree Celsius (roughly 1.2 to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) “above twentieth century averages” (17); and that “Central European summers were even warmer, as much as 1.4 degrees C [approximately 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit] higher than their modern averages” (17).

[27] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 215–16. Fagan, The Little Ice Age, 3–21.

[28] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 102-04.

[29] Doug Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 221.

[30] Arthur Herman, How The Scots Invented the Modern World (New York: Crown Publishers, 2001), 9.

[31] Fernand Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), 77.  

[32] These are merely two of the naturally-cycling climate eras of relatively recent history. Preceding the Medieval Warm Period was the Dark Age Cold Period (roughly 8th and 9th centuries AD), during which Northern Hemisphere temperatures were generally lower than in the warmer era that followed. Prior to that was the Roman Warm Period (approximately 200 BC to 500 AD). Before that occurred an unnamed cold period preceding the Roman Warming (roughly 700 to 200 BC). Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 99–102.

[33] John Houghton, Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, Fourth Edition (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 75, 76–77.

[34] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, xv. Lawrence Solomon, The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud (Minneapolis, Minn.: Richard Vigilante Books, 2008), 76–78, 140, 167–171.

[35] Peter Gwynne, “The Cooling World,” Newsweek, April 28, 1975, republished on Denis Dutton’s website, <>, retrieved on January 2, 2017.

[36] Quoted in Solomon, The Deniers, 74.

[37] Solomon, The Deniers, 9-21.

[38] Solomon, The Deniers, 13-15. The most disturbing features of this case are not that Mann was profoundly mistaken; we are human beings, after all, we make errors. It was that he was extremely reluctant to share his data, his methods, and his algorithm, making it difficult to independently verify or refute his findings; it is that today, in the face of enormous contrary evidence, he and his supporters continue to uphold the hockey stick graph, and that he verbally assails his critics. Mann and his supporters do not merely deny historical periods of natural climate change; they do so dogmatically.

[39] Quoted in Solomon, The Deniers, 75. See also Houghton, Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, 20–27.

[40] CO2.Earth:  Are We Stabilizing Yet?, 2007–2017, <>, retrieved on January 5, 2017. Breitbart London,  “Greenpeace Founder: Let’s Celebrate CO2,” October 15, 2015, <>, retrieved on December 14, 2016.

[41] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 36–37, quote on 37.

[42] Quoted in Solomon, The Deniers, 95.

[43] Quoted in Solomon, The Deniers, 93.

[44] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 11.

[45] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 10.

[46] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 10.

[47] Richard Lindzen, “Thoughts on the Public Discourse over Climate Change,”, retrieved on June 4, 2017. See also: Paul Homewood, “RSS Confirm 2016 Is Tied With 1998 As Warmest Year,” Not a Lot of People Know That, January 5, 2017, <>, retrieved January 8, 2017.  See further: Christopher Monckton, “Global Temperature Standstill Lengthens: No Global Warming For 17 Years 10 Months—Since September 1996 (214 Months),” <>, retrieved on January 6, 2017. See finally: Roy W. Spencer, “UAH V6 Global Temperature Update for April, 2016 +0.71 Deg. C,” Roy Spencer, Ph.D., May 2, 2016, <>, retrieved on January 8, 2017.

[48] Solomon, The Deniers, 142.

[49] Solomon, The Deniers, 93. Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 241.

[50] Kate Ravilious, “Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming,  Scientist Says,” National Geographic News, February 28, 2007, <>,  retrieved on April 14, 2017.

[51] Quoted in Solomon, The Deniers, 161. Abdussamatov believes  there may be evidence for warming in other parts of the solar system, as well, although he does not specify what it is. See Marc Morano, “New Paper Predicts Another Little Ice Age Within the Next 30 Years,” The Hockey Schtick, December 4, 2013, <>, retrieved May 21, 2017.

[52] Quoted in Solomon, The Deniers, 162.

[53] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 192.

[54] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 192.

[55] Solomon, The Deniers, 84.

[56] Quoted in Solomon, The Deniers, 163.

[57] Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder,  The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change (Cambridge, England: Icon Books, 2007), 5–7 and passim. Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 9. Solomon, The Deniers, 143–160.

[58] Solomon, The Deniers, 155–156.

[59] Svensmark, The Chilling Stars, 7.

[60] Eugene Parker, “Foreword” to Svensmark, The Chilling Stars, vii-viii.

[61] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 193-94. Solomon, The Deniers, 143.

[62] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 75–80.

[63] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 129–140.

[64] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 124–125. Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 23.

[65] Macdougall, Frozen Earth, 83–84.

[66] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 5, 10, 24, 191–92, and passim.

[67] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 192. S. Baliunas and W. Soon, “Solar Variability and Climate Change,” Astrophysical Journal 450 (1995): 896; cited in Singer, 192.

[68] Solomon, The Deniers, 163.

[69]Elizabeth Howell, “How Long Have Humans Been on Earth?”, Universe Today, December 23, 2015, <>, retrieved on December 30, 2016.

[70] Michon Scott and Rebecca Lindsay, “What’s the hottest Earth’s ever been?” Retrieved on June 2, 2017.

[71] “El Nino and Other Oscillations,”, retrieved on June 4, 2017.

[72] Singer, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, 15, 17.

Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables: A Case Study On How Capitalism Funds The Arts

Nina Martyris over at the Paris Review recounts the delightful story of How ‘Les Misérables’ Was the Biggest Deal in Book History:

Signed in 1861 on a sunny Atlantic island, it tied an exiled French genius to an upstart Belgian house, resulting in the printing of that perennial masterwork, Les Misérables. In a new book, The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of ‘Les Misérables’, the professor and translator David Bellos condenses tranches of research into a gripping tale about Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. 

The deal, Bellos points out, was pathbreaking on several levels. First, Hugo earned an unprecedented sum: 300,000 francs (roughly $3.8 million in today’s money) for an eight-year license. “It was a tremendous amount of money, and since it entitled the publisher to own the work for only eight years, it remains the highest figure ever paid for a work of literature,” Bellos writes: “In terms of gold it would have weighed around ninety-seven kilos [213 pounds]. It was enough money to build a small railway or endow a chair at the Sorbonne.”

Second, the neophyte Belgian publisher Albert Lacroix was the antithesis of a Penguin Random House. At the time, the twenty-eight-year-old Lacroix had cut his teeth at his uncle’s printing press, and he didn’t have so much as a sou to his name. Determined to sign Hugo on, he set up his own firm—Lacroix, Verboeckhoven & Co—and borrowed the entire amount for Hugo’s advance from the Oppenheim bank in Brussels, where he had contacts. Bellos marks it as “probably the first loan ever made by a bank to finance a book,” which means “Les Misérables stands at the vanguard of the use of venture capital to fund the arts.”

Third, Lacroix signed on knowing full well that his client was a political outcast….

Read the full story: How ‘Les Misérables’ Was the Biggest Deal in Book History:

Get The Book:The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of ‘Les Misérables’ by David Bellos

8 Tactics Trump Used To Become President

From So Much Winning: How Trump Became President by Bradley C. Thompson:

There are many good reasons why Hillary Clinton lost the election, but the real story is what Trump did to win. His tactics, unprecedented in American political history, were radically unconventional in several ways.

1. The revolution was tweeted, not televised. Trump reached millions of Americans directly, on his schedule and without the mainstream media’s distortion filters. The turning point came in October 2015, when he realized he could speak directly to voters without intermediaries, reaching 25 million people on Twitter and Facebook for free. This technology allowed him to fill stadiums with 25,000 people in rural Alabama.

2. By being utterly unpredictable and outrageous, Trump “gaslit” the mainstream media. Sending out his first provocative tweet at 6:00 a.m. meant that the media would follow him for the rest of the day. He thereby received millions of dollars’ worth of free publicity from a media establishment that clearly wanted him to lose. Every day he fed and taunted the drooling beast, and then made it chase him.

3. Trump played offense 24/7. He took a line from President Obama’s playbook—“If they hit you, hit back twice as hard”—and then radicalized it. Consider his demolition of Jeb Bush, who knows how to play hardball but he was crushed by Trump. Then, during the general election, Trump out-Alinskyed an Alinsky protégé.

Read the rest of So Much Winning: How Trump Became President at