Archives for posts with tag: Forbes

If you want to save the earth, save the people first. If you want to save the people, get power to them. Affordable fuel and electricity will do more for the environment than anything else anyone can do, and it will save the humans and eliminate needless pain and suffering while doing so.

James Conca, writing for Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/04/20/the-ten-biggest-power-plants-in-america-not-what-everyone-claims/, points out some interesting facts about electrical power in the USA.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station generates most of the electricity for Phoenix, Arizona, coal makes up the rest. Kinda cool, really.

Mr. Conca provides this table:

Energy Source         average cf         high cf

Coal                              65%                   75%

Natural gas                50%                   85%

Nuclear                       90%                   98%

Wind                           30%                   45%

Solar PV                     20%                   30%

Solar thermal            24%                   40%

Hydro                         40%                    45%

Geothermal               70%                   75%

It should really drive home the pitiful uselessness of all varieties of wind and solar. Read the rest of this entry »

A Forbes article, http://www.forbes.com/sites/harrybinswanger/2013/12/31/obama-to-americans-you-dont-deserve-to-be-free/, got me thinking. Harry Binswanger writes an article titled “Obama To Americans: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free”. He makes his case well. He also points out that the Republican Party establishment is essentially of the same mindset, but with a few limits.

It got me thinking about government’s role.

First, historically, what does a government do well? Mainly, it kills people and takes things away from people, especially citizens. (Noncitizens it mostly just kills.)

Accordingly, our founders tried to limit the Federal Government’s power with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We require, at least nominally, due process before the government can take anything away from anyone.

Of course, I can’t find any due process in what most regulations take from us. No one can find due process in what the government extracts in taxes, but that is a bit of a different area.

Back to the point. Governments are good at taking things from people and killing people. War is obviously one way for governments to kill people, but police functions and prisons, including executions, are also things governments are good at, well, effective at. Good often does not apply to police efforts, prisons, executions, especially when oversight systems breakdown or when examining efficiency.

What else are governments good at?

Correct, nothing.

The only reasonable role of government is to enforce the rights of free people. Our founders seem clearly to have thought so. We will best secure our rights when we have our government responsible for very little.

Governments take things, including freedoms, unless the governments are restrained by law and the people.

Governments also consolidate their own power; it is just the nature of the beast. Once a means of compulsion is established, the government will increase its ability to force that compulsion and expand that compulsion.

Our schools and truancy are the easy example. We need to free ourselves from government compulsion in our public schools, in all means of schooling, for that matter.

Another is the notions of civil rights.

There is no right for anyone under any circumstance to demand of a vendor a product. The vendor always has the right to refuse to sell for any and all reasons. It is the proprietor’s choice and freedom. It is the proprietor’s right.

So, when a couple of fellas go to a baker and ask for a wedding cake, it is the right of the baker to refuse.

It is the role of the government to ensure that the two fellas cannot compel the baker against his will. It is also the right of the fellas to take their business elsewhere, and it is the right of all the baker’s customers to take their business elsewhere or to continue to trade with him, regardless of whether they consider the incident or not. It is also each person’s right whether (and how) to consider the incident. In short, it ain’t nobody’s business. Further, no one else should get involved unless the fellas try to compel the baker. Then the police should come and hinder the fellas. If the lawyers come, well, that is sad.

Regardless, the role of government is to ensure no one compels anyone else to do anything!

This is most clear in cases of murder and rape. Both are easy justifications of capital punishment. “It’s a hell of a thing killin’ a man. You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.” If that doesn’t justify the power of the state to execute in that given instance, after due process, then nothing would. Further, rape is the same, only worse. The rape victim must live with the horror of that fact.

Back to the two fellas and the baker. I’m not here addressing at all right vs. wrong with regard to the situation. The moral aspects of such a situation are an absolutely unrelated set of considerations. The fact is, the baker voluntarily offers her baked goods. She can choose to unvolunteer at anytime, with or to anyone, for any reason. It is her right to bake and sell. It is her right to stop baking or stop selling, or to do so selectively, even to do so capriciously. The Soup Nazi may have been despicable, but he was always within his rights, “No soup for you!”

It is government’s role to ensure the Soup Nazi can be as strict and capricious as he cares to be. It is government’s role to enforce freedom, to maintain the basis of free trade and free association. Of course, in real life, such a soup vendor would have few customers. It would also be government’s role to ensure the rights of those who do not wish to trade with the Soup Nazi, and ensure that proprietor cannot force locals to trade with him. Freedom, preference, choice. It is easy. Morals don’t matter to that. No matter how immoral the choice, if it does not compel another, nor deprives another of freedom, life, property, then the choice must be honored and protected, by application of state force if necessary.

Mr. Binswanger is correct in asserting that Capitalism and true freedom in the traditional sense were abandoned in our government and politics a century or so ago.

Our current system is going to collapse, and “The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

As the Archbishop of Chicago has indicated, approximately, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. What is omitted from the reports is a final phrase I added about the bishop who follows a possibly martyred bishop: ‘His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.

For good measure, from the same reference, “The Cardinal’s entire column is well worth reading. The end, in particular is quite poignant.

Analogies can easily be multiplied, if one wants to push a thesis; but the point is that the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making “laws” beyond its competence. Few there are, however, who would venture to ask if there might be a better way for humanity to organize itself for the sake of the common good. Few, that is, beyond a prophetic voice like that of Dorothy Day, speaking acerbically about “Holy Mother the State,” or the ecclesiastical voice that calls the world, from generation to generation, to live at peace in the kingdom of God.

God sustains the world, in good times and in bad. Catholics, along with many others, believe that only one person has overcome and rescued history: Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary, savior of the world and head of his body, the church. Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression. There is nothing “progressive” about sin, even when it is promoted as “enlightened.” 

The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end.

From my perspective, it seems things will continue to improve in some ways, but overall, it will get worse, much worse, before it truly gets better. I pray that our fall and climb back up will be short, in relative historical terms, and lacking in the worst extremes of historic societal falls.

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