Source: How did Europe become the richest part of the world? | Aeon Essays

Good stuff. I find it interesting that the authors specifically says Christianity played no part, yet then go on to point out that elements of shared culture were key, primarily the commonality of Christianity and the Church structure (and Classical heritage) were most important. Perhaps the most important element was willingness, and ability, to share.

I recommend the article.

The authors point out structure hindered in Asia and in the Ottoman Empire. That is, conservative forces (perhaps better thought of as the status quo) repressed innovation. Of course, stability has it merrit; specifically, the Byzantine-Ottoman structure amounted to the most stable, longest lasting governance of all time. Stagnant, but stable. I’ll advocate for freedom. Our hearts long most for being unhindered by external plans. Bureaucracy kills our souls. The labyrinth of government requirements and impositions kills us actively in body and soul. Stability eventually will passively kill our souls as well. Freedom is essential. (Why do you think God made us free? Our souls are intended to thrive, not simply get by.)

It is obvious that we must have relatively open borders and mostly unfettered free trade, especially in ideas and speech. We MUST have freedom of speech. We must let ideas, facts, and data be open to all. Let the haters hate, let the liars lie, let the maniacs rave, let the extremists shout, let the propagandists make it all purdy, but most of all, publish the truth. (That’s your job. Reason is the key.)

Listen to those clued in about what we call persuasion. (Scott Adams, #ScottAdams, @ScottAdamsSays,; of course, Scott Adams suggests some reading, his and others. I hope you will take his insights to heart. I tend to think he’s missing the point by focusing only on what works, not none on what’s right, but he may have the heart of the matter. What is right might just be along for the ride, and we just have to keep waiting for it to find purchase amongst the noise of what keeps everything going, whatever happens to be motivating people at the moment. It is obviously messy. I keep hoping reason can win out, but like Adams says, just look at the best and brightest minds of all time. One finds rather significant differences in their understands of what we esteem the important things.)

A comment in the article about the printing press reminds me what an unruly mess that matter was. Everyone with an inkling got hold of a press and printed anything that would sell. Tabloid journalism at its best. Fake news. Imaginary news. Plagiarism sometimes, but usually just unauthorized publishing of another’s work without compensation back to the author. There were hardly any restrictions on copying. Copyright was not a thing during the greatest expansions of Europe’s thinking. Copyright considerations were hardly significant until after the rise of the United States. It makes one wonder if we should chuck the whole notion of intellectual property rights and count on a sense of decency. (Yes, some will suffer and be deprived unjustly, but the overall growth just might make even the deprived better off soon enough.)

Ideas are important. It is important to share ideas.

Here’s a good point:

Fifty years after the publication of William Harvey’s text on the circulation of blood De Motu Cordis (1628), the English doctor and intellectual Thomas Browne reflected on Harvey’s discovery that ‘at the first trump of the circulation all the schools of Europe murmured … and condemned it by a general vote … but at length [it was] accepted and confirmed by illustrious physicians.’

I point it out because the consensus is never a valid indicator. Acceptance of the idea was no more important than its original rejection. Consensus didn’t matter. What mattered was whether the idea proved out. As Harvey’s notions were tried, probably often in contempt, they proved out. Well, sooner or later the cognitive dissonance loses sway, and what works takes over. Consensus long after the facts is simply comfortable and productive. It is never authoritative.

Side note: Gravity. While the consensus on gravity as a fact of life, water running downhill, and all that, there really is no consensus among the learned experts. Even the most certain in the standard model and accepted theories of gravity worry that they are missing something. No one ever addresses gravitational theories with reference to the consensus. Gravitation theories are always addressed in terms of what works, and what just might prove to work better.

I hold government regulation and bureaucracy as the gravest threat to modern society. The experiment of the USA is mired in a Byzantine quagmire that must be ended. The US is not alone. Government regulation and bureaucracy is killing us. If anything can set the world back a few centuries, it is the power of the State. We must pull back that power. We must establish freedom. We must kill off regulation from central authorities. I honestly think it is happening before our eyes. Technological advancement is outpacing coercive authority. Technological capabilities in the hands of the masses are empowering us to overcome our governments’ restrictions little by little. I can’t promise an easy road, but I believe it is a road we are travelling, and we will complete the traverse come hell or high water. We are going there even if it kills most of us. The moral arc bends slowly, but it bends toward justice, and government regulation and bureaucracy is the harshest impediment toward justice extant today. This impediment will be overcome no matter how harsh the accomplishment proves.

We need to enforce our laws, because we are society of laws. Yet, we need to improve our laws. We need openness and more freedom. We need to protect ourselves and our culture, but we must not act in fear. Our culture has a heart, here in the USA, and we need not fear influx of other culture. Our heart, “The American Way,” may evolve, but it will hold up; it will remain true to its essence. We believe in open exchange between individuals. We need to extend that up and out. We need to uphold the principle of free exchange above fears and above prejudices. Let freedom ring. Enforce our laws, but keep making our laws more open and less restrictive. Most of all, we need to keep lessening our laws. It is the burden of so many laws and regulations that hold us back. It is that same burden that makes us fear each other and allows us to fall to violence and coercion, pretending the law is on our side, even when we know the Truth and the Right are against us. It matters. Do what is right, not what is lawful or winnable in court.

Another noteworthy statement:

In such systems, once the process gets underway, it can become self-propelled. In that sense, knowledge-based growth is one of the most persistent of all historical phenomena – though the conditions of its persistence are complex and require above all a competitive and open market for ideas.

The authors included a variety of topics, a bit of a hodgepodge, and my own comments obviously wander afield with little aim. Oh well. I mostly wanted to record my thoughts, and hopefully encourage a reader or two.

Those authors pointed out that it didn’t have to happen. Coercion could have held sway and stifled the innovations and progress. Progressivists forget that the key to progress is freedom, not central control, not central planning. Power corrupts. Centralized authority of any form always becomes corrupted to the detriment of most while unfairly enriching the few with that authority.

Freedom is paramount. Let freedom ring.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.

In closing, the article that prompted my writing is long. It is worthwhile. I cannot recommend it enough. Did you read it?

Good to know.

They didn't say it

Here’s one for the feast day of the Dumb Ox:

Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.

Attr. St. Thomas Aquinas.

St. Thomas discusses remedies for sorrow in the Summa Theologica, First Part of the Second Part, Question 38. You can read it for yourself at the above link. Here’s the tl;dr version:

  1. Any pleasure is a remedy for sorrow (not necessarily the best remedy, but it does work).
  2. Weeping is a remedy because it provides an outlet for the sorrow.
  3. The sympathy of friends is a remedy (and good friends are a treasure).
  4. Contemplation of the truth is a remedy. St. Thomas regards this as a subset of “any pleasure” because contemplation of the truth is always pleasurable.
  5. Finally, sleep and baths are a remedy; in essence, sorrow drains the body of energy, and these things help restore that energy.


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Good point. And, for reference.

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Many messages emanating from the world of science are entirely bogus.


After eight years in which my focus has been mostly on climate matters, I’ve lately pulled back the lens to take another look at science’s bigger picture. In this respect, a 2001 book by Daniel S. Greenberg, a journalist who spent more than 40 years covering US science, is an eye-opener.

It provides mountains of evidence that the leaders, advocates, spokespeople, lobbyists, and public relations personnel of the science world have long promoted narratives that are fundamentally incorrect.

It’s true, for example, that much of the public knows little about science. But that hasn’t prevented science from being generously funded. Gushers of money have been allocated to scientific research decade after decade. Support for such funding amongst the public, as well as on the part of politicians from both major political parties, has been beyond enthusiastic.

Nevertheless, entire organizations and numerous careers are devoted to maligning the public that funds scientific salaries…

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Fabius Maximus website

Summary: Our long war, with its failure to achieve its objectives despite the expenditure of so much money and blood, has been marked by serving officers protesting the madness of our tactics — as we copy tactics of other foreign armies defeated by local insurgents using fourth generation war. Here is another, by Captain Wadell (USMC) — speaking from his hard-won experience. Since Trump seems determined to continue the long war, doubling down on failure, we should listen to list to the Captain’s advice.

“There is a powerful article in the February issue of the Marine Corps Gazette by Capt. Joshua Waddell, a company commander in the 1st Marine Division. It is so heartfelt that it kind of jumps off the page.”
— Thomas Ricks in “A powerful attack on the Marine Corps leadership — by a serving Marine captain“, 7 February 2017.

Joshua Waddell Capt. Waddell tests communications gear…

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“It is absurd to consider scientists’ understanding of gravity, with their history of remarkable predictions, equivalent to their understanding of climate — with a history of false or unproven predictions. It’s the kind of exaggeration which has produced three decades of failure for climate crusaders.”

Fabius Maximus website

Summary: Trump’s election, solidifying the Republican’s dominance at all levels of the US government, has disheartened climate activists. A new article in The Atlantic attempts to build support, but only shows the weakness of their beliefs. Perhaps the skeptics have won this round of the climate wars, but only the weather will determine which side is correct.

Climate nightmares

For 29 years advocates for public policy changes to fight climate change have struggled to convince the US public to support their agenda. They have failed. Polls show it ranks near the bottom of American’s policy priorities, and the increasingly dominant Republican Party has little interest in their recommendations.

It’s taken a while, but it looks like climate activists have worked through the process of accepting their failure. Paul Rosenberg’s January 2 article at Salon and now Meehan Crist’s article at The Atlantic suggest activists are moving into the fourth stage of the Kübler-Ross process

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Pay attention to the dates listed.

Fabius Maximus website

Summary: In February 2014 I examined surveys of climate scientists and found (as had others) that they showed broad agreement with the IPCC’s headline statement about warming since 1950. However time brings new research, such as a major survey that digs deeper and finds that only a minority of climate scientists agree with the full key statement of AR5 about greenhouse gases — the most recent IPCC report. That’s important news.  Also see the important update below.

The climate consensus From JoNova’s website.

Update: fame from Politifact!

The good liberals at Politifact did a hit pieced on this post. Tskilled disinformation with the assistance of climate warriors in academia. It’s an interesting story of noble lie corruption, which I describe in

This post produced quite a frenzy among the alarmists. Linda Qiu Politifact published a bizarre rebuttal, ignoring what I said and replying to things I didn’t say (this is a favorite…

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A first-rate climate scientist and hurricane expert. She was an alarmist. She started noticing some difficulties in the warmist claims. She started reaching out to the fact-based skeptics (as opposed to those who mostly rely on hype), and she changed her mind. She still thinks human actions gives us cause for concern, but you don’t have to listen long before you know she is not part of the consensus in alarmism. (And the alarmists have treated her harshly because of it.)

She is also a grandmother and a very caring professor. She is very concerned for the future for both her family and her students. She sees more harm coming from the politics and alarmism of it all than from any possible dangers of burning fuels.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin


Dr. Judith Curry conducted an interview on British radio on February 6th  addressing, among many topics, how the politicalization of climate science created and driven by the UN IPCC process has robbed scientists of the opportunity to explore the legitimate, extremely important and yet unaddressed issues of how natural climate change drivers impact the earth’s climate. Her excellent broadcast can be found here:

During the course of her interview Dr. Curry addressed the underlying assumptions contained in the UN IPCC process at its very beginning which simply assumed without establishing scientific evidence that anthropogenic activity was driving “global warming” (which was  subsequently modified to “climate change” after the global temperature “pause”).

This theme was effectively captured by her characterization during the broadcast when she noted the failures of climate models to address pre 1950 natural climate variation –  “If science can’t explain climate shifts pre…

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Watts Up With That?

From  the “I can’t believe we needed a study to determine this” and Hansen’s Death Trains department, the actual unedited press release is below, commentary follows.


Diesel trains may expose passengers to exhaust

Levels of certain airborne pollutants are up to nine times higher in train cars directly behind diesel locomotives than on a busy city street


A new study from U of T Engineering finds that diesel trains may expose passengers to elevated levels of certain pollutants, especially if they are sitting directly behind the locomotive.

“Imagine yourself driving down a busy highway in a convertible, and spending your entire commute sitting behind a very large diesel truck,” said Greg Evans, a professor of Chemical Engineering and director of the Southern Ontario Centre for Atmospheric Aerosol Research (SOCAAR). “That’s comparable to the levels we see here.”

Evans and…

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First, if it seems to be trying to catch your attention by sensationalizing and instilling fear, be skeptical. I’m astounded how many fake news stories I’ve seen about things getting worse at Fukushima. No, they aint! One can no longer trust news sources. One must find multiple sources and evaluate each one. It is generally difficult. Do the hard work, or be duped. Sadly, fake news seems to be more abundant than actual factual reporting now.

Source: Radiation Levels Not “Soaring” At Fukushima Daiichi | ANS Nuclear Cafe

We need not fear which administration holds sway, either right or left or in between.

We have only cause to fear the ever-growing government itself.

I was quite impressed by Reggie Hamm’s articles (reblogged previously), and I was sharing Scott Adams’ ( @ScottAdamsSays #ScottAdams ) blog post on Facebook, and I wrote more than I expected. I’m reproducing it here, since Facebook is so hard to find anything on. Read the rest of this entry »

“would I want this said or sung at my funeral?”

That right there!

Perhaps it’s just me, but this seems to fit perfectly:

Please read. Click the reference and read.

Scott Adams pinged this blog article, and hundreds of other bloggers have now liked and referenced it. My cent-worth isn’t significant, but I think it worth trying.

This is really something you need to read and consider.

What he says about Lincoln is correct, except I’m no longer convinced we should consider him a hero. I love my brethren from south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and I’m glad visiting their states is no harder than any other. For that matter, I’m thankful that visiting, or moving to, another state doesn’t require interaction with the state governments (nor federal government). Of course, it should be that way all over. It shouldn’t be hard, nor regulated, to move somewhere else, not even from Mexico to Oklahoma. And I suspect moving to the CSA wouldn’t be that hard today if we’d let the CSA form and figure it out. If the USA had treated the southern states as as reasonable partners, who needed a bit more time to come to the realization of freedom themselves, I suspect the whole world would be a better place. Still, what we have is good. So, I let it go. We still have work to do. We need to keep trying to improve it one heart at a time.

Sure, we need to keep track of people from other countries, but some simple rules that work fine between the states would work fine with most countries. We need to be working toward such a freedom-based system.

Oh, did I mention the original blog post is worth reading? Yeah, it really is. Click the link and read it.

Also, trust freedom.

If you notice we are actually losing our freedoms, give me a call. If it comes to needing to man the ramparts, count on me. However, think about it. We ain’t getting there any time soon, not in the life of the current President, not for at least a few decades to come. We won’t lose our freedom to a despot. We will lose it to bureaucratic regulators. We already are. Frankly, armed revolt won’t fix that, but reducing government overall will.

Let freedom ring, and don’t hype yourself over perceived insults. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Regie's Blog

I am not an expert on Hitler. But my father is.

He toured post-war Germany extensively in 1957 and ’58 as a child performer. And he often recounts the stories. He befriended  teenage Lebensborn children (if you don’t know what Lebensborn children are …well …before you post anymore about Hitler you should read about them). He visited an SS widow and got a peek at her husband’s uniform and Luger (that he’d committed suicide with), she had stored in an old trunk, in the attic.

These and other intense experiences in Germany sent my father on a life-long quest to understand this sociopath (Hitler) and the country that allowed itself to be dragged into one of the darkest chapters in world history. My dad is a Hitler/Nazi buff the way Indiana Jones’ dad was a Holy Grail buff.

As the son of a man with this hobby (one might call…

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Good point.

Climate Etc.

“one of the real tragedies that totally distorted the debate over climate change was that it got tied into the solution in a way that if you accepted the first you had to accept the second. And I think that was profoundly wrong.” – Newt Gingrich

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The one constant of humanity has been exploration and discovery. It is intriguing to suppose our descendants, some tens of thousands of years from now, will examine this region of space up close and personal.

It’s also intriguing to wonder what humanity might be like by then.

Watts Up With That?

Tail of stray black hole hiding in the Milky Way


It is difficult to find black holes, because they are completely black. In some cases black holes cause effects which can be seen. For example if a black hole has a companion star, gas streaming into the black hole piles up around it and forms a disk. The disk heats up due to the enormous gravitational pull by the black hole and emits intense radiation. But if a black hole is floating alone in space, no emissions would be observable coming from it.

A research team led by Masaya Yamada, a graduate student at Keio University, Japan, and Tomoharu Oka, a professor at Keio University, used the ASTE Telescope in Chile and the 45-m Radio Telescope at Nobeyama Radio Observatory, both operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, to observe molecular clouds…

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