Posts Tagged ‘Crisis’

From the Editor’s Perch

February 23, 2015

Global Warning

Global Warning

 

First it was Global Warming, and the Seas Were Going to Rise and Drown Us.

The seas didn’t rise.  The Maldives are still there.

And Global Warming is now Climate Change.

Then a Great Shelf of Ice was supposed to dislodge from a Melting Antarctica,

fall into the water, and…  the Seas Were Going to Rise and Drown Us.

 

A little back story:  After fears in the 1970s of Global Cooling had abated,

Y2K was going to destroy civilization in the year 2000,

and then Second Hand Smoke was going to kill us.

But from there on out, the playbill got a lot more crowded,

as various performers realized  something  a lot of us fully allow

both In and Out of Government, and On Both Sides of the Question.

And that is that “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste”.

 

So next up, and coming soon!  are melting methane beds, from deep within a dying ocean…

expect a cold vortex pushing south, down from Canada, in between

summertime projections of starving, drought-stricken farmers moving up from the south,

a flood of undocumented aliens carrying ebola,

(insert where appropriate: the dissolution of our shorelines and possibly Manhattan)

ISIS fanatics running rampant across all of the mid-East, and thence to disseminate by air to everywhere where they might find you, and an atomically armed Iran.

 

Exacerbating the crumbling financial picture from within the European Union,

either Greece, Italy, Spain, or all three could default.  Or Germany – that economic engine – could pull out altogether leaving the whole European Consortium to collapse like a circus tent.

The High Pressure Fracking for oil in the Fly-over States, which could possibly destroy all potable water,

is also challenging the dominance of the former oil-rich countries, who came about their oil too easily,

putting their regimes in jeopardy creating more and more instability,

in a soon to be nuclear armed Near East.

While the newly created, well-paying blue collar jobs and cheaper oil in the heartland

is fuelling the rush to more fracking, even cheaper oil, and ever more CO2,

plus a lot more money-enhanced Bubbas , exacerbating the chances, Climate Change Will Occur, as it always has in the past, or that we will Be in Denial all the while we have our air conditioners turned up high.

So maybe yes, at least, to that.

 

“97 out of 100 scientists believe excess C02 causes Global Warming.”

This is what we are told, even by the President.

What was actually determined was that,

“97 out of 100 scientists believe excess C02 contributes to Global Warming.”

 

So, say the Doubters, “Just me being alive contributes to Global Warming, as does my friend’s pug dog’s farts.”

“And the President contributes to Global Warming every time he speaks!”

And probably much moreso than me.  Nevertheless,

by the President’s measure, I’d guess we could say that he personally has caused Global Warming.

And that 97 out of 100 scientists would agree on this.

Fair enough.

 

Picture from Google Images

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The Short Version / Reviews

December 8, 2014

Newsboy

“Read All About It!”

(The Growth of Government)

 Crisis and Leviathan

Crisis and Leviathan by Robert Higgs

 The growth of the private sector is rather magical.  You simply enforce property rights and a few other nurturing legal traditions, and commerce grows.  It’s rather like planting seeds in the proper soil and providing them with sun and water.  The miracle of economic growth occurs, and with it, the rise in individual income and comforts.

There is nothing magical about the growth of government.  It happens because certain people enforce it, and many more persons either allow or agree to it.  Most governments began as what nowadays would be seen as criminal enterprises.

The nature of the private sector is rather splendid and wonderful, both because of its natural quality and diversity – and because of its complexity that passes our understanding.

The complex, brutal, many times exasperating nature of government, on the other hand, can be byzantine, but it rarely appears wonderful, except in its self-limitations.  For example, with our own system of “checks and balances”, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, the wonder of humility has been introduced to government.  A twig of humanity has been grafted onto an otherwise powerful, unfeeling enterprise, which, from time to time, casts its entire monolithic pre-eminence in a noble light.  (Picture the glowing Dome of Congress.)  Other citizenry have found other ways to ‘humble’ their governments.  But, for the most part, “shock and awe” and raw power, the barrel of a gun – and not wonder – are the glistening aspects of most government.

Because the private sector grows from a natural action, whose nature passes our complete understanding – when it fails, when the economy fails us, we believers are left with little but our faith to sustain us.  When the seeds of enterprise we have planted grow and wither, there are many factors we can look at, and remedies we can try… but mostly we must have faith that the seeds still contain life and the plants can be saved.  And that the miracle which passes our understanding will blossom again.

Believers in government, however, need no faith.  In fact, they often disparage faith.  Believers in government are natural atheists and pragmatists.  They are “show me the money”, people.  And when a crisis occurs, the government offers to “show people the money”.  It’s rather like looking for your keys outside the tent, rather than inside where you lost them – because the light outside is better.

The theme of Higg’s book is that what happens when a crisis occurs depends upon the prevailing ideology of the times; that is whether we will hew to a faith in our natural occurring systems, and the value creating miracle of the private sector – or whether we have more faith in governmental directives, whose nature would seem more rational and apparent, and who can print money at will.

In Crisis and Leviathan, Robert Higgs traces the evolving nature of our national ideology, and the crisis’s which have formed it.  And what he has shown, is that in times of crisis, action tends to be valued over faith by the populace.   These crises’s stimulate governmental action which manifest as governmental expansion, which, assuming that the crisis is surpassed and the nation survives, creates a change in ideology.  This changed ideology, which is more comfortable with a larger government, insures that the governmental expansion which occurred, never shrinks to pre-crisis size but solidifies as real growth.  And, over time, and successive crisis, our faith in the natural guiding order of the private sector shrinks in comparison with our comfort in governmental solutions.  And just as a plant grows exponentially, the government grows as each succeeding crisis provides it with the ideological support to do so.  Of course, much of this growth depends upon concealed costs and fiat (printed) money.  And from there comes a sobering foreboding.

Higgs also notes that an ideology is a creation of its time.  Just as a plant cannot shrink back into a smaller plant or a seed, neither can an ideology ever become what it once was.  There is no going back to the yesteryears.

Crisis and the Leviathan is an engrossing, step by step, factual, sobering account, of why our government has gotten to the size it is, and why we are where we are as a nation – and he offers a rather dismal outlook, for anyone who values individual freedoms and the joy of personal enterprise.

Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating tour through history as situations are seen through the differing ideological lenses of history, as black becomes white and white, black – and laws are taken to mean just the opposite of what they appear to have said, when written.  You can almost hear the street paper boy shouting, as if hawking some lurid murder, “Read all about it!”

Picture from Google Images


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