Saving the World

Recently there was a link on Insty about a mother who raised her son to be a fanatical environmentalist.  She said she was following the Jewish precept of teaching your children to “heal the world.”

Of course, having raised the kid to think the world is “infected” and “dying” and that humans are the cause, she’s then shocked he’s absolutely impossible to live with, and that she’s relieved to have him move out.

I find the concept of “saving the world” as she interpreted it and as my teachers (mostly hard left) taught us an interesting piece of hubris.

Look, it’s sort of like all those early science fiction novels, in which some government or other took over the whole Earth and this worked out, no problems.

It is almost by definition an adolescent idea.  You know just enough about the world, to not know what you don’t know, so that you think you can right all wrongs.

It also exaggerates your importance, and the importance of your group or class in it.  Let’s suppose I went ultra enviro (well, you know, I could get shot and lose a large portion of my brain) and decided that I must live the absolutely most sustainable lifestyle possible.  No paper, no disposables, minimal electrical, no driving, etc.

Oh, h*ll, let’s suppose a couple of million of us decided to live like that.  (No, I don’t think it could be more.  That type of lifestyle depends on a large and technological society to support it.  It’s impossible to be that environmentally conscious while trying to survive (trust me — most of the damage done to the Earth in terms of local climates etc is done by people who really can’t afford not to do it.  For instance, in Portugal our garbage collection was so unreliable, that we burned everything.  Also you burn forests to create semi-arable fields.  Your inability to replenish those fields means you must keep burning, etc, world without end) and it’s impossible to live even a semi-civilized life unless your exigencies and pieties are supported by the greater society. For one “organic” agriculture is a great piece of inefficiency and the only way to get enough organic produce anywhere is to fly them, you know, on those fossil-fuel powered planes.

Anyway, so let’s supposed you managed to get 2 million people to really do this, instead of, say, pretending to do it and putting pious stickers on their prius.

Would these two million people make a dent on pollution, the use of artificial products, landfills, etc?  Not even.  Two million amid six billion (or whatever they claim the population of the world is now.  As you guys know I have my doubts that their count is anywhere near reality, but even assuming they’re wildly wrong and it’s 5 billion or even 4: what difference would the worshippers of Gaia living the life of austere monks make?)

Of course, I suspect the idea is to convert others: but that not only is psychologically impossible, it’s physically impossible.  If the whole world went that crazy, billions would die, and most people aren’t going to sign up for suicide to cater to the illusions of the American left.

I read that and I thought that the mother would have done better to teach her son traditional Jewish practices, instead of the fashionable beliefs of his time.  For one because environmentalism is essentially anti-human, so of course it made him very unpleasant for other humans to live with. For another because environmentalism is a de-facto impossible to practice, unsustainable religion.

BUT this led me to think about raising our kids to heal the world — or save the world — or whatever.

I’m not a scholar of Jewish law (Duh) and therefore cannot possibly say whether she even translated the idea right, but it seems to me that she interpreted it wrong, regardless of how she translated it.

I said above the whole idea of “I’m going to save the world” is a piece of hubris.  It is also an immature idea.  Sometime around 20 we get the feeling for how big the world really is, and also come to understand other people also have a vote.

This is when we realize that yes it is an obligation for humans (who wish to live as humans) to try to make things better for those around them and those who depend on them.  But most of the time this is not big movements and certainly not “save the world” poses.

Most of the time, except for those very few who ascend to positions of great power where they can make the world immeasurably better or worse, what the rest of us do is at best the little things.

This doesn’t make us insignificant.  Yeah, whether you buy a plastic bottle of water or not is insignificant.  Those are showy gestures.  But whether you study how to make a new type of plastic with fewer effects on water, say, is NOT.  Even if you don’t accomplish it, someone might take your research and run with it.  So, if you’re really worried about the environment, that small gesture, which doesn’t allow you to hound your mother for using a plastic bottle in front of your friend, is the way to go.  Not as much fun (come on, being an ascetic for belief is great fun to a certain type of mind) and doesn’t give you as many chances to berate others, but in the end will have a heck of a lot more effect in the world.

Most of us who care to live ethically and who are adults, try to make our mark in those ways.  Help those who need help, wipe the snot from the un-mothered children thrown into the world, keep the undisciplined toddlers (particularly those older than us) from destroying things and creating what we can that will continue our work into the future.

I don’t know if it makes us more pleasant to live with, though even my parents were NOT looking forward to my moving away, and my kids departures are proving to be a bit of wrench.

But it does, in a little measure, heal the world.  Or at least make it better (if we succeed) for those who come after us.  Even if just a little bit.

Saving the world?  Bah, what kind of a bank would you need for that deposit?  And what interest rate would it pay?

We’re not that big.  And there are a lot more people who get their own say, out there.

We’re not teens posing in superhero flight-mode atop the bed.

We’re adults, and therefore we accept the burden of doing the little things.  And that sometimes we’ll fail.

We also accept the most that we do — the kind word, the helping others achieve their goals, the cleaning up of a small space, the fixing of a small problem — are at best pebbles dropped in a vast ocean.

BUT you know pebbles have ripples and those small gestures, which respect others as human beings, will create other small gestures, and eventually things change.  Not all of a sudden, not in a big way, not with you getting all the credit.

They do however change, and often for the better (unless you think the living conditions of the nineteenth century were better, in which case I wash my hands of you.)

Go forth and toss some pebbles into the ocean today.

442 responses to “Saving the World

  1. More than one person online has wondered where the boy’s father was – – my own belief is that he couldn’t tolerate this woman’s sanctimony and got the hell out, leaving her to destroy his son. It’s possible I’m wrong, of course, but I’d like to hear what happened to the husband/father.

    • That was my feeling too.

    • My own personal guess is that she left him, rather than the other way around. I base that on the fact that she never once mentioned the boy’s father. Given how self-centered and victim-culturey her piece was — “Oh poor me, I’m so put upon by my son, and while I’m talking about that subject, didn’t I do a great job instilling those noble sentiments in him?” — if her husband (or even, say, live-in boyfriend) had left her alone to raise her son, she would have mentioned it as another way she was put upon.

      The fact that she didn’t mention him at all is a clue. She doesn’t want to mention him, which means that either: 1) she feels guilty about it on some level (she’d never admit to guilt, of course), or 2) she thinks others would judge her for leaving him, so best not to mention him at all.

      I can’t be 100% certain I’m right, of course, but I’d bet at 3-to-1 odds that it was she who split up with her husband/boyfriend, not he who left her.

      • As if she couldn’t easily spin it — at least in her own eyes — to his evil and folly in refusing her demands.

        • Of course she could spin it — most people do spin things to make themselves look better. So if she had said “my husband was evil/abusive/insensitive/whatever so I left him,” I would have thought, “well, that’s her claim, but what’s the reality?” But if she didn’t even mention the breakup, my best guess is that she couldn’t find a way to spin it that would make her look at all good, so best (from her perspective) to keep quiet.

          Though that theory does rely on her being self-aware enough to know what makes her look bad, and since the whole article makes her look like a terrible parent, that’s a big hole in my theory. Ah well.

      • Of course she left him. The microaggressing SOB kept flagrantly brandishing that penis every time he took a shower.

    • My first thought was, “You’re the parent; why do you put up with this?”

    • You’re being silly. Everybody knows: fathers don’t matter, except to make things worse.

  2. Well, Mahayana Buddhists vow to save all sentient beings, and the definition of “sentient” there is very flexible, as it includes animals and trees and fanatical Trump supporters.

    Explaining this can take a while.

    What you’re looking for is “tikkun olam”. I think the Orthodox explanation here is good: http://www.jewishvaluesonline.org/594

    • But the point of saving all sentient beings is not to keep them alive on earth. There is in fact a legend of Buddha that recounts how a snake turned itself into a man, became a monk, and was caught by the Buddha — who instructed it on how to starve itself to death, which would result in rebirth as a man who could legitimately become a monk.

    • William O. B'Livion

    • Yes, it’s the doctrine of “tikkun olam” or “repair of the world”. It’s been taken in modern times to mean support for radical environmentalism, social justice, and a number of other left-wing causes. In fact, the historical roots are far more mystical.

      My reading of it is that it has its roots in Kabbalistic tradition, and particularly the writings of Isaac Luria. Luria seems to have believed that when the universe was created, the original creation shattered, sending sparks into the darkness. Each time one performs a mitzvah (acting in accord with the Law or acting in accord with the commandments), one returns a spark to its rightful place and thus contributes to repairing the world. The deeply religious undertake to fulfill commandments, meditate, and live a holy life in order to return as many sparks to Heaven as possible.

      • Sounds similar to the Christian concept that Mary’s lifelong obedience to God helped untangle the knots of Eve ‘s sin (as in Irenaeus).

        • Sounds like another of those Christian concepts found only in tradition or, alternatively, in the Bible in I or II Imaginations.

          • sigh

            sounds like flame bait for a nice flame war over interpretation of Scripture

          • Yup, Mary.

            Alan, let’s not go there. It’s one thing to make an observation or to offer a comparison or to ask an honest question, but the second part of your comment is a little much. If you want to critique the different understandings and sources of Christian theology, contact Suburbanbanshee off thread, please.

            • ‘Sokay. I gotta work tomorrow early, but I will try to post something over on my blog later tomorrow about the Pauline references and the Irenaeus quotes. Early Christian theology is fun! But yeah, discussing it is beyond the scope of this blogthread, and I probably should not have brought it up.

        • Actually whenever I hear a Jewish person talk of tikkun olam, I can’t help but think “…but Jesus Christ IS tikkun olam…” but being a quarter Ashkenazi myself, I hesitate to say anything.

          • That’s the difference between Christianity and Judaism. Jews don’t believe in Jesus.

            • Er… most of us kind of figured this out?

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Yep.

              • I know that but the original poster was using Jesus as a solution to Tikkun Olam–Jewish issue. And I thought that doesn’t compute. Hence my post.

                • Oh. I didn’t see that. The comments pane is weird as blog owner, and I don’t want to log out, so…

                • It wasnt meant as a “solution” it was meant as an observance of the concept of tikkun olam. Merely my lame attempt at joining in the conversation.

                  • Sorry for misunderstanding you. Sorry for jumping you. It was a nice post.

                    • Hey no worries 🙂 its all good. Im a lurker more than anything else much of the times on blogs and am only clumsy in my posts because I haven’t practiced the art of communication. I am in awe of the intelligence and talent that is here and I learn a lot from the comments themselves. Warm regards!

              • You’d think so, but I have seen that be the source of a rather big kaboom.

                (Yes, you can read that as “I have had people jump down my throat for that observation.”)

                • Apparently I just got the big kaboom. Sheesh.

                  • Nah, nobody’s even mad here! Just confused. 😀

                    You’d need someone really invested in Christianity having nothing to do with the Jewish faith, to the point of getting upset if someone points out that the split was in a group believing the promise had been fulfilled.

                    Sadly, there *are* a lot of folks like that…their world view requires that there be no connection.

                  • Sorry for misunderstanding you. Sorry for jumping you. It was a nice post.

                    • Hey no worries 🙂 its all good. Im a lurker more than anything else much of the times on blogs and am only clumsy in my posts because I haven’t practiced the art of communication. I am in awe of the intelligence and talent that is here and I learn a lot from the comments themselves. Warm regards!

            • I think most Jews believe in Jesus, they just think he inflated his C.V.

              • thwap!!

              • Bibliotheca Servare

                Made me gigglesnort, dangit… *hunts for tissue*

              • saw a news report somewhere on a conservative site, or maybe it was an e-mail, but the headline was “New proof Jesus existed found!” or some such … I thought to myself, “um, I’m an atheist and I am quite sure that someone named Jesus existed”, and that he had a following of like believers etc etc. Now, if it had been Noah or Adam, I might have wandered over to look, but why look at proof for Jesus? it is a bit like looking at “proof” Henry V existed, or maybe William The Conqueror.
                History, He’s in there, whether one thinks he is the son of God or not.

                • No religion or political ideology lacks* its share of idiots.

                  *Some have a definite overabundance.

                • I think it’s an outcropping of the “Christianity is nothing new” tact, which had a sub-group of “Jesus is just one in a long line of sacrificed gods,” which lead to “Jesus was never really alive.”

                  Yes, they do take a rather astounding lack of information to believe, but until recently it was really easy to have an astounding lack of information, even if you were trying really hard to have a lot of good information.

                  • Until recently? Wander around the internet for a few minutes, or walk into Home Depot and talk to the first employee that comes up and asks, “Can I help you?”*

                    There are an astounding number of know-it-all experts with a rather astounding lack of information.

                    *No, I need help, but I’m pretty sure you can’t help me.

                    • That’s why I added the “trying really hard to have a lot of good information.”

                      It’s a thing I have to keep reminding myself when I read old sources– and “old” can be just the blessed 80s and early 90s, never mind something that predates me– or I start to feel contempt for the research skills of the authors, because *I* can do better as in actually checking if the source material says what their source said it did.

                      I can, but I’ve got my magic box here on the desk; they’d have to locate a physical copy, and then get permission to check it. (Yes, micros are physical in this estimation.)

  3. This “change one little thing” is in line with The Christophers, whose motto is “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

    http://www.christophers.org/

  4. Me? Save the world? Maybe, but only for my personal collection.

    Rule it? No way. That’s a job for an egomaniacal mouse. };o)

  5. The hypocrisy kills me. I keep running into these folks who will happily lecture me about the things I do wrong, environmentally – and it always turns out that they’re only doing the “Green” things that don’t bother their lifestyle. If they’re whining about locally-sourced produce, they have a huge old house that costs $500 a month to air condition. If they’re into wind and solar power, they take overseas vacations every year.

    Every single one of them has an exception that more than makes up for everything they claim to be doing to “save the Earth.”

    I was right in the middle of a Stern Lecture by a pseudo-Greenie, finally had enough, and nearly shouted “you drive a forty year old Cadillac that gets SIX MILES TO THE GALLON!” She still has that car, nearly a decade later.

  6. Press an extreme radical hard core enviro hard enough and catch them in an honest moment and they will admit to a long term goal of the elimination of the majority of humanity. They really do see a massive die off as the only way for the Earth to heal.
    Perhaps the scariest thing about John Ringo’s Black Tide universe is that it could really happen. Not today quite yet, but soon. And his zombie like apocalypse is exactly the sort of thing those greenie nutjobs lust after.

    • If Black Tide comes true, it will be by accident. The hardcore enviros I’ve met couldn’t plan changing a toilet roll, much less creating and spreading a plague.

    • The Other Sean

      I think Tom Clancy already used that as the plot in “Rainbow Six,” about 15 years back.

    • Look up Amory Lovins. I heard a lecture he gave at UT back in 1976 or 1977 that outlined his beliefs. He wanted t go back to a feudal existence which necessitated the death of 97% + of humanity.

      • Because he has NO clue what medieval existence REALLY was like.

        • Ugly, brutal, and short?
          What’s not to love about that?
          These fools really do not have the slightest clue, do they?
          Almost be worth it to give them what they ask for, except for sensible folk schadenfreude only goes so far.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Yeah, I’d feel guilty for having their children grow up listening to their parents wail about how unfair life was.

            • The “short” part means most of ’em won’t grow old enough to HAVE children.

              • Actually, that was an AVERAGE.

                If you made it to 10, you had a good shot at fifty or sixty.

                Just HUGE numbers of neonatal to toddler deaths.

                One of the reasons for large family traditions. Seven or eight kids and two maybe three adults out of them.

                • Sigh. True and not. You had a good chance of making it to fifty, yes, but SIXTY was OLD. I was talking to my mom yesterday to confirm this. i don’t know where the crazy idea came from that “people lived about the same time if they survived childhood.” This is not true. Someone my age would be an old crone having overstayed her welcome in the world. When someone sixty years old died in the village (at worst second world, twentieth century) people said “well, he was old”. Yes, most of the people who died in their forties were victims of a “plague” but plagues were not just the black plague but anything including a strong flu in the middle ages and before. They had diseases we can only guess what they were, because they were familiar enough to only leave behind a name, like “the sweats”. BUT they were still killers.

                  • True. One needs to remember that during the life of the fairly young US of A, “consumption” was more likely to be said than “tuberculosis”.

                    And sixty was what ninety is, yes. I meself am closing on the big 5 and O that would have indicated “mostly done with life”.

                    The “nasty and brutish” parts are too often ignored over arguments of the definition of “short”.

                    • Even now in Portugal where they’re less careful with stuff like burning industrial wastes outside (though EEC has cleaned up SOME of that) my brother looks like my father and people my age look OLD.

                    • Well, there were examples of people making it to their eighties, but unlike today they were rare. A US mortician, in the late 20th Century, was asked what was the biggest change he had seen, and he said he didn’t sell as many small caskets.

                      Out of curiosity, i checked my genealogy records, which goes back to the 17th Century. Most are in the 60s, with the oldest in his early 90s. They key thing here is that most of them died long before even seeing the 80 mark.

                    • Oh, yeah — I saw my first 80 year old when I was 10. And my son when he volunteered at the hospital saw a fairly large number of 100 year olds. 100 was undreamed of, a legendary thing.

                  • I know, even in this country, as early as my grandparents my grandfather was SURPRISED to make it past 60. He’d been obsessively saving anyway (Growing up dirt poor in West Virginia will do that.) So it wasn’t a financial difficulty, but the expectation of dying by around 60 says quite a bit about how rare it was to make it older than that, even as recently as the 1900s.

                    • I still unconsciously think of average lifespan as mid to upper sixties. I am surprised when somebody mentions something about someone dying young at 67; because I think of that as “dying age.” But my uncle recently brought over a bunch of old birth and death records, genealogy stuff on my mom’s side of the family. Looking through it, it goes back to just after 1800. Interestingly enough, the average lifespan of my ancestors that lived to old age (did not die of various reasons, before forty) was mid-seventies, with a fair number of them reaching their nineties. The original man to come from Ireland to America in the early 1800’s lived to be 99.

                  • I remember seeing, sometime in the last few years, a graph of percentage of people still alive at a given age with graph lines for various birth-years – I think a series of ten or twenty, a decade apart (?) – should try to find it. Anyway, the “lesson” was in the shape of the graph. The end points weren’t much different – i.e. the ultimate human lifespan’s about the same for those who don’t die “prematurely”. The difference was in, for instance, the percentages living to 20, or 40, or 60 years.

                    • Someone did a study of colonial America and came to the conclusion of that if you divided life into cohorts consisting of the first year of life and then every decade thereafter — your odds of dying were identical regardless of which one you were in.

                • Yeah, the huge number of neonatal to toddler deaths being common even to the early last century-mid last century had me realizing that what’s happened to me (1 stillbirth, 1 SIDs, in successive years) was probably a normal occurrence less than a hundred years ago. I found myself wondering how women of yore managed to stay sane.

                  That’s why every time I hear people (especially feminazis) wanting to see the world burn to end their pet hate, I think they’re out of their goddamn mind.

                  • They stayed sane because that was just the way things were. A number did go nuts. Lacking the labor saving devices technology they didn’t have the time to brood over their losses. I’m sure they were grief stricken but somebody had to do the daily chores.

                    • Well, there was also a cultural way to deal with it. For instance, I partook of this in my personal history because my parents came from a generation where they lost a lot of their age mates (though weirdly neither family lost children except an infant on my mom’s side, her older sister by the same name, born almost exactly a year before, who was born without a cranium. I understand that in such cases babies also lack most of the brain, but SOMEHOW this one survived almost a year.) because I was born tiny and very sickly, and the doctor explicitly told them that I was unlikely to survive, they did all they could for me, but I wasn’t “introduced to the community” till I was three, at which time they gave me a birthday party that I SWEAR included the whole village, just about. There might have been another component there, as the doctor had led them to believe I’d be mentally retarded, both from circumstances of my birth and from my being very tiny. In Portugal you kind of keep (or kept at the time) the deficient children in “the back room” and the “enclosed patio” and the village gradually forgets they exist.
                      Anyway, I feel like till three, while beloved, I was a conditional person, to lessen the blow if I’d died. (Not that it would have with dad or his mom, but you know… at least it would have minimized the village asking about me and opening the wound. Kind of like keeping a pregnancy secret — which I did many times — from all but your husband, if you know you’re likely to miscarry.

                    • Anyway, I feel like till three, while beloved, I was a conditional person …

                      Clearly you were a victim of a culture which attempted to deny your humanity and thus have every right to call people Chicom Simps if that alleviates your feelings of oppression.

                      Especially when those people are Chicom Simps.

                    • pfui I ain’t no victim.

                  • St. Therese’s mom (soon to be canonized as St. Zelie) lost a lot of kids, and it was pretty darned terrible for her. Her surviving letters from those times are really sad.

                    Btw, they’ve got them both in French and in English translation online, at the French Carmelites’ website. I don’t know if actually reading them would help or depress you more, but I guess it’s good to know that people like St. Zelie and St. Louis Martin also felt great grief, and always loved all their kids, both in heaven and on earth.

                    • I wouldn’t mind reading about them, honestly. Prayer and quiet meditation is one of the things that’s been helping me through this. Of course, there are some days where the grief is simply overwhelming, and honestly… having tried grief therapy / psychologist/counselling, I don’t find it helpful. It seems to be trying to get me ‘over’ the sorrow as quickly as possible, and I wonder how long I have to take these darned pills for. I’m aware I’m depressed because of the grief, but I’m familiar with this journey. I scraped my emotional self raw and bloody dragging myself out of that pit before, and I just got kicked back down here. I want to sometimes yell at them, “if you haven’t fallen down the fucking emotional equivalent Marianas Trench and lived to tell the tale, for God’s sake let me catch my breath. I’ll climb out again.

                      And I know most of you guys didn’t know it when I first showed up here – well, Foxfier, and Dr. Mauser, and Mary Catelli did – but I was hurting badly and hiding it. You’re part of the reason why I was able to climb out of that trench – you all helped me, without knowing that, just by being your wonderful selves.

                      Thank you for that, and thank you again, for this time around.

                    • Speaking of meditation and prayer helping one get through it…. This showed up on my facebook feed this morning:

                      Over and over of late, I’ve been hearing the promise to Mary that a sword shall pierce her soul. I just found out that the word used is a specific class of sword– what we’d consider a real sword, instead of the Roman short sword usually indicated where it’s translated “sword.”

                      That may be part of why Mary was so honored among those who recognized children as precious little people, even while they had to wall their hearts.

                    • Oh, I tried to look for A Call To A Deeper Love, which are the translated letters into a book. Book Depository, alas, does not have the book. I’ll probably find a copy somewhere. =)

          • That’s why I keep saying these morons need sending into someplace like the Middle East. Without anything from here.

        • For some reason, they think they would be venerated and feted as sages and artist, if not the Lords and Ladies of the new feudal order.
          Oh, so, so wrong.

        • Sure he does. He just thinks he can set himself up as the Green Pope.

        • Patrick Chester

          I wonder if they think they’ll have to maintain an enclave w/superior tech (and weaponry) to keep the rest of the people allowed to live down… and imagine they’ll be in that enclave.

          OTOH, I think David Weber created a planet that was low-tech in his Dahak series with some sort of religion designed to keep it low-tech. He may have applied it to the Safehold series, but I never got into that.

          • Base on a lot of dystopian sci-fi from Clarke’s City and the States to Lee’s Don’t Bite the Sun with a side trip to Zardoz those enclaves surrounded by barbarians are a common enough trope I think some leftists have decided to create them.

          • I haven’t re-read the Dahak books completely lately so I’m not familiar with that planet. I was going to say that the supposed “humanity is a plague” types have a whole sector of space in the Weber-Ringo Prince Roger books–and they are resource intensive per person.

            Safehold has its technology limited to keep the aliens who killed all the rest of humanity from detecting that the planet is inhabited (plus other reasons).

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Well, the original plan for Safehold was to stay at low-tech for a few centuries until the alien scout ships stopped the search.

              The Leader of the Safehold operations (and his staff) had a different plan.

            • The Prince Roger series has the Church of Ryback aka the Saints.

        • His ideal society was a society of small villages of no more than 1000 or so peasants scratching out a living on 5 acre plots, producing just enough food surplus to give it away as taxes to the lord ruling the village.

          Each peasant hut would have one or two lights in it supplied by a wind/solar with gas turbine combined cycle backup generator. No Radio/TV. The lord would have a fully modern house with all the conveniences so he could tackle the really hard work of controlling the peasants in his County. The peasant diet is strictly vegetarian. Meat consumption makes for aggressive people and would be limited to the lords.

          Education is strictly controlled. The peasants are taught just enough to be able to read proclamations from the lord and no more. Technical education would be most strictly controlled with police controls monitoring all who were deemed worthy of getting it. Industrial development is strictly controlled and the workers in it will also be closely monitored by the police. It will be limited to supporting the small electric power projects and the police equipment.

          Human reproduction is strictly controlled. At most the peasants can have two children. Any pregnancies beyond would be terminated ruthlessly.

          This is what I remember from his speech. Even then, as a sophomore Mechanical Engineering student, I could see where this was a policy to a totalitarian disaster. Once you have a technology, you will require more and more police power to “keep it under control”.

          • Dystopia from hell, in other words.

          • Sounds like Chalker’s Rings of the Lords series.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Nit, that was “Rings Of The Master”. [Wink]

              I wish that series was available in e-format.

              • Fair nit…was still a very interesting (and very Chalker) series. The only unbelievable part (and only now 30 years later for me) is that the creators of the tyranny left an out in its design.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  To be fair, the creators of the Master Computer gave a broad command to it.

                  IE Save Mankind but they always wanted Master Computer to be under human control.

                  Master Computer was apparently activated just as a Nuclear War was about to start so it took the actions it felt were necessary to Save Mankind.

                  Unfortunately for its creators, Master Computer believed correctly that they would disagree with the actions it believed it must take to Save Mankind.

                  So Master Computer logically killed its creators but its “core” programming forced it to keep the “control keys for it” in human (broadly speaking) hands.

                  The only things Master Computer could do against the “control keys” was to “not let humans” know what the keys were and make it difficult to reach the place the keys could be used.

                  No, I don’t see the creators of Master Computer as “Lefties” and Its actions were not based on how the creators “wanted” mankind to live.

                  They were only interested in preventing a war that they believed would destroy life on Earth.

          • Kind of like Rand’s Anthem world.

            Oh, and you try and keep me on a vegetarian diet, and you’ll find out what an aggressive person is.

          • Sounds a lot like the backstory in one of my scribbles…

            Chapter 2: and the colonies send their fleet back to earth

      • You need a castle because of all the bad guys in the neighborhood, and you need to be the baddest to keep them OUT of your neighborhood.

    • That subtext is why iO9 bugs the heck out of me.

    • And his zombie like apocalypse is exactly the sort of thing those greenie nutjobs lust after.

      Y’know, when I read Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, one of the scariest realisations I had was that the crazy environmental nutjobs pulling it off was possible.

      I do like the ‘go on and hug the trees” solution they had at the end.

      • I admit, I took an unseemly pleasure in the destruction of their high tech enclave, and their new opportunity to “enjoy” nature.

        Clark’s a right bastard. 😈

        • He’s a tough old guy, IMO. I do like his portrayals all the way till now.

          I thought one of the last books that Clancy wrote included a few scenes that was subtly a comment of how the young of today skip straight into brutality or inanely insane measures without actually having a plan of what to do afterward.

          • I haven’t read much of the later Clancy. Was burned when they started churning out “Clancys” written by someone else.

            The first few didn’t have another author’s name on ’em. And I was perturbed to be getting dreck in place of Clancy.

            • The ones he co-authored with Mark G.. I can’t remember the rest of the name. The last good one was the one finished right before Clancy died, you could see his influence there still. I don’t mind the ones being published afterward (I reckon actually that was part of why he started co-authoring); they’re different but I think they’re much in the same flavor, but that’s just me.

      • There’s a movie out or soon coming out that has the premise of their revenge — Greens dropped into a jungle, run afoul of a cannibal tribe.

        It’s been denounced by all the right people, of course.

  7. I read it yesterday. I’m not convinced that the article isn’t a parody, though. There are some things that felt a bit off.

  8. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    “If humans are the problem and you want to save the world, why are you still alive?” [Very Big Sarcastic Grin]

  9. “Everybody wants to save the world but nobody wants to help mom with the dishes.”
    ― P.J. O’Rourke

  10. “The status is not quo. This world is a mess and I just need to…rule it.” 😉

  11. I would be delighted if I saw any sign that before thay impliment some Grand Plan they had studied the history of previous Grand Plans. Maybe I’m mistaken, but it is my impression that the introductions of Starlings, Water Hyacinth, and Kudzu to North America were all Grand Plans, made by the Progressive Intellectuals of their day…

  12. I read that and I thought that the mother would have done better to teach her son traditional Jewish practices, instead of the fashionable beliefs of his time.

    How to think, rather than what; given him the framework that caused her (or whatever teacher did) to reach the conclusion, sure– but give him the tools, instead of the result.

    Now he can’t adjust for changes.

  13. Most of us who care to live ethically and who are adults, try to make our mark in those ways. Help those who need help, wipe the snot from the un-mothered children thrown into the world, keep the undisciplined toddlers (particularly those older than us) from destroying things and creating what we can that will continue our work into the future.

    Clean up the nasty bathroom stall when you have a few minutes, instead of walking out and complaining about it for the next five years– telling an attendant if you don’t.

  14. The selective myopia of Greens is legendary. In the time it takes them to organize a protest rally at a US coal fired electrical facility, the Chinese have built and started to operate 3-4 new ones. There is available Nuclear technology to produce clean power, but the Greens reject it outright. Then there is the concern over pesticides, but GMO as the solution? Forget it.
    No credit is given to the American people for the Herculean gains we have already made on pollution and waste reduction. We no longer hear of stories of pesticides being dumped into waters, landfills spontaneously combusting, teenage mutant ninja turtles being born. But the Green ‘fads’ are accepted without an actual reasonable cost\benefit analysis being performed (OK, I know, Greens don’t do math).
    That ‘fabric’ tote bag. It will take 7 years for the payback of resources and wastes of making that bag to equal the resources and wastes of plastic bags. Organic may sound ‘sustainable’, but the runoff of wastes can be higher in organic farming than well managed conventional farming. Wind is clean, but not the process of making the generators, or even worse, the battery technology to store the power. Electric cars… great idea, but you still have to pollute to make the electricity, disrupt the environment for the transmission lines and ultimately, the electric car and its toxic lithium batteries will be taken to the waste facility.
    I recommend homeschooling.

    • I think that if I won the lottery I’d start a school.

      • You’d catch less flack taking up serial killing as a hobby.

      • Your problems would begin when you sought licensure and accreditation.

      • If I won the lottery I’d buy a bunch of land, invite my friends and tell everyone else to bugger off.

        • Back some years ago the Fed auctioned off a WWII aircraft carrier – the USS Cabot. They’d stripped all the useful goodies out of it, of course, but it was still afloat. A scrapper bought it was $80,000.

          Even back then, $80,000 wouldn’t buy more boat than you could tow behind a pickup truck. The Cabot had a crew of 1500; lots of room for my stuff…

          Buy something like that, tow it out past whatever the Fed is claiming to be the national boundary this year, drop anchor, and run up the flag. (hard choice: the one Kickaha used in “World of Tiers”, the skull and crossbones, or the flag of the Grand Duchy of Fenwick…)

          There are, of course, a number of practical difficulties with the idea, but once you got one of the boilers working you could fire up the steam catapults and have catapult rides. “Extreme THIS, sports fans!”

          • Bibliotheca Servare

            Okay now I want to be launched off the deck of an aircraft carrier by a catapult. This needs to be a thing. =D

    • The pity is, there was once a body of responsible environmentalism. It was once normal for The National Geographic to run a thoughtful analysis of what materials were worth recycling, and which weren’t (All metals, #1 type plastic, and glass are worthwhile, with asterisks). Radicalism as a hobby, a lifestyle, and a Morally Superior Imperative has spoiled so much that might be reasonable. The Feminists had a point. They still could. The Feministas? They are an argument for female slavery. Or homosexuality. Or retreating to a mountain top. There are real environmental problem, but if the Environmental Movement brings about any solutions, it all be a tossup between pure chance and Fate’s odd sense of humor.

      I don’t want the Lefty Twits censored. I just wish they would shut up of their own accord.

      • My dad was a research biologist, and he was one of those responsible, sensible environmentalists. What he had to say about the idiocies of the radical enviros would peel paint from the walls.

        • This is why I say that I’m a conservationist, not an environmentalist.

          • But even the conservation organizations have been hi-jacked into the Green polity. It is easy to ‘conserve nature’ by eliminating humanity. As cspschofield mentions National Geographic, also Scientific American used to be, um, scientific. It is now pusedo-Scientific politically expedient notion of the moment.

            • And so I clarify that I’m talking first generation, wise-use conservationist, and then give examples. Hey, I’ve got 45 minutes to kill, er fill and keep the students learning, (or my captive audience from falling asleep).

          • I like to call the “environmentalism” I support “wildlife management” – which acknowledges that the natural world NEEDS human involvement to survive, i.e. health and quality of deer to hunt, fisheries, and farming practices.

            • I support ‘wildlife management’ …

              I staunchly oppose “wildlife management” and if you had worked some of the places I have you would, too. Drunken buffoons co-workers are bad enough.

        • Don’t know much about history
          Don’t know much biology
          Don’t know much about a science book
          Don’t know much about the French I took

          But I do know that if I were Green
          And I know that if you’re Green, too
          What a wonderful world this would be.

      • Radicalism as a hobby, a lifestyle, and a Morally Superior Imperative has spoiled so much that might be reasonable.

        Radicalism as a hobby. Yep. Nice summation of a line of thought I’ve been nurturing for years.

        I’d say not only spoiled, but actively reversed, in their pursuit of perfection or nothing.

        • What it really comes to is, nothing real ever matches what they vaguely imagined. And “vague” is the operative word here. They cannot imagine the infrastructure necessary to bring about one of their ‘ideas’ (daydreams). They can’t imagine the industrial processes necessary to make a Toyota Prius, and since those processes aren’t under their quivering little noses, they think that the environmental consequences are limited to what come out the arse end of the car.

          The paucity of their imaginations would shame a colony of cherrystone clams.

          Everything in their pointed little heads is rainbows and unicorn farts, and so the horrible reality of creaking, thrumming wind farms throws them into full bore denial.

          This kind of naiveté is cute in 16 year olds. Somewhat less cute in college students. And full bore intolerable in people in their forties.

    • Well, for the purposes of powering civilization, nuclear fusion has been a more or less constant twenty years away for the past sixty or so. We still haven’t figured out what to do with the radioactive waste from nuclear power, (thank you, Senator Nimby Reid). Can’t use coal. Can’t use wood. Can’t use hydroelectric because dams are bad for rivers. Can’t use windmills because those kill the birds, and can’t use solar because those fry them. What’s left?

      • The Other Sean

        Hook the Founders up to dynamos. As they spin in their graves, they generate electricity.

        Maybe the hot air from Washington D.C. could be harnessed somehow?

        • Not that I dislike either idea, but there would seem to be some rather formidable engineering difficulties….

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        After the next nuclear war, Soviet alarmism will be a much less pressing reason not to invest in fission. Until then, burning hydrocarbons will work well enough.

      • Humanity as a whole does know what to do with the radioactive waste. Most of it can be reprocessed. The French do this, and keep the minimal amount that can’t be reprocessed under one of their famous buildings (can’t remember which one off the top of my head).

        But Carter freaked out in the ’70s that attempts to reprocess nuclear waste would lead to it being stolen by terrorists, and banned it in the US. For whatever reason, none of the subsequent presidents have rescinded his ban.

        • The U.S. knows exactly what to do with nuclear waste – bury the low level stuff (you can’t make a bomb, either nuke or dirty, with a used rad suit), and run a breeder cycle reactor with the high level stuff – but knowing and doing are two very different things.

          • The Left spent the 1970’s and 1980’s totally freaking out about Nuclear. Nuclear war, nuclear power, nuclear waste; it didn’t matter. This really irritated my Father because, as a BA in Physics who had spent WWII at Oak Ridge, he had at least a little idea of what was being discussed, and knew it was bollocks.

            Some of it was fundamental Liberal Intellectual ignorance of anything involving math. Some of it was “Ohmigod, we can’t have a Nuclear War, I might DIE!”. A lot of it was “Ohmigod, we can’t have a Nuclear War, we might WIN!”. And the longer I watch the caperings of the envorotrash, the more I think there also a strong dose of “We can’t let The Common Folk get their kits on cheap electricity! They’ll use it all the wrong ways!”.

            Some of the genuinely concerned Environmentalists are beginning to get a clue. Mostly in Europe, and mostly on the Libertarian front.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              The left was the vector the Soviets used to infect us with memes they deemed useful.

              One of these is the same lie told by every criminal who wants their victim compliant as they take them to the secondary crime site. Don’t resist or it will be worse for you.

              That is the foundation of modern popular pacifism and anti nuke activism.

            • scott2harrison

              Your father was a Batchelor of Arts in physics?

              • Sorrry. BS, of course. Though I suppose some so-called “University” probably DOES offer a BA.

                • The Other Sean

                  Some universities do (or did) offer BA or BS as options for the traditional sciences. What that means can vary. BA could be a less strenuous requirement, with fewer science and math courses and a bunch of fluff humanities. Or the BA in a science could be a more strenuous requirement than the BS, requiring all courses the BS does plus a bunch of extra humanities courses beyond the general education requirements. For example, it might require a second foreign language and extra social science or humanities courses. Or it could be a compromise, dropping a couple required courses in major or related field and substituted more courses in exchange. It entirely depends upon the university and degree program.

                  • That’s they way NDSU did it when I went through. I could receive either a BA or a BS in Anthropology depending on how much foreign language and other science I took.

                  • Hey, don’t be so dismissive about BAs in Physics, you Yanks. If you read Physics at Oxford you emerge with a BA after three years (the standard length of almost all first degree courses). For historical reasons (that is, since the 11th or 12th century) the BA is simply the standard first degree for practically everything.

                    • For reasons known only to Lug, my older son couldn’t take a BS in chemistry after his BS in biology, because he wanted to finish it in a year and (this is where Lug comes in!) they didn’t offer the ONE inorganic chem course needed for a BS that year. So he took another inorganic chem course (about half of the other) and emerged with a BS in Human Biology and a BA in Chemistry. The difference between the two at our local college is half a semester of inorganic bio.

            • Go look up the original name for the lifesaving technology now known as MRI. Hint: acronym was NMR.

              Yep – it had “Nuclear” in the name.

              The answer to why they changed it is the ultimate antitechnological superstitious “Evil ‘NUW-KUE-LERS’ magic inside” reaction – Or to quote that philospher of mobs, Frankenstein’s monster, “Fire BAD!”

            • One of the founders of Greenpeace is pro-nuclear power. He’ll occasionally write a pro-nuke op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

              I’m pretty sure he’s also left the organization that he helped to found.

              • yeas he left. He also said he’d love to have some of the waste, put it in his swimming pool (ha apparently doesn’t have much use for it), then cover it and use that to heat his house.

          • nuclear waste is easy to get rid of, short term costly but easy.
            reprocess the waste, removing what can be reuse. it is my understanding that the remaining waste would be the size of a shoe box. (or divide it up into shoe box size). surround this material with lead. attach to this box a small air cylinder (like one for co2… used for bb guns, etc.) take this box up on the space shuttle. space walk. point box to the sun (use lots of math to make sure it hits) release the contained air (or co2). when it reaches the sun the box and contents will be destroyed.
            this plan would need some refinement, but the basic idea is to remove, from earth, the dangerous material. and rather sending it in to deep space, use the largest nuke reactor in the solar system to dispose of the problem for you.
            remember I said easy, it is costly to run the shuttle (when we still did). but using the shuttle for it’s prime purpose, just add a couple of shoe boxes to the load. problem solve permanently, not a temporary dump it in a hole in the ground, and let our children deal with it.

        • Litmus test; If Carter thought it was a good idea, put a stop to it pending review. If he thought it was a bad idea, it’s time to begin beta testing.

        • I seem to recall Dr. Pournelle proposing to drop it into the subduction zone off the coast of CA so it could cycle back into the mantle where it won’t do any harm.

        • The main reason the reprocessing plants were not allowed to operate was economic. The cost of uranium fuel dropped by a huge factor in the late 1970’s with the discovery of new sources. The reprocessing plants would have to have a HUGE subsidy from the government in order to operate. That subsidy would make the current subsidies to the wind/solar/biofuel farms look small. The French government has to heavily subsidize the reprocessing plants to keep them operating.

          When uranium becomes really expensive, then reprocessing the used fuel rods and re-suing the uranium and plutonium will become economically viable. That was the main reason for creating a retrievable storage site in Nevada. The ONLY reason the government was involved is that by law, they OWN all fissionable material for non-proliferation purposes.

      • Re, fission nuclear waste:

        1. Reprocess it…waste fuel contains usable reactor fuel (you burn your fuel load but it has a baseline amount needed to maintain a critical state) which we treat as waste out of fear of someone making nukes. Sometime last week that became irrelevant. Also, some elements created can be used again in the fuel cycle (not all as fuel).

        2. While reprocessing it segregate it. Not all things are radioactive and not all things radioactive need to be stored the same way. The type of radiation (alpha, beta, gamma, neutron) affect the needed containment. The level of radioactivity affect needed storage time…more radioactive materials become inert more quickly (there is an inverse relationship between level of radioactivity and half-life).

        Intelligent handling instead of screaming, “radioactive” and then pissing yourself, would solve a good deal of the issues.

        • Well, when you have policy made by activists, those are the kinds of things you tend to get.

          • For clarity, policy based on screaming and pissing is what you get…

            • I know, but that doesn’t make it reasonable.

              Yes, spent nuclear fuel is dangerous but we don’t do a lot of things, for stupid reasons, that could make it less dangerous.

              Plus, we assume some of those products have no use forever. Sorting the elements (you, know, like your recyclables 🙂 ) means when someone invents a use for, say, radioactive chromium, it is already split out and ready for use.

              • Spend nuclear fuel may be dangerous in the wrong place, but what isn’t?

                And I would be a great deal happier at the Enviroweenies’s fondness for generating systems that depend on taking energy out of dynamic environmental cycles if I really thought that anyone had examined what might happen to those cycles if we take too much.

                TANSTAAFL

      • http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2007/12/recycling-nuclear-fuel-the-french-do-it-why-cant-oui

        What if the government allowed you to burn only 25 percent of every tank of gas? Or if Washington made you pour half of every gallon of milk down the drain?
        What if lawmakers forced us to bury 95 percent of our energy resources?
        That is exactly what Washington does when it comes to safe, affordable and CO2-free nuclear energy. Indeed, 95 percent of the used fuel from America’s 104 power reactors, which provide about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, could be recycled for future use.
        To create power, reactor fuel must contain 3-5 percent burnable uranium. Once the burnable uranium falls below that level, the fuel must be replaced. But this “spent” fuel generally retains about 95 percent of the uranium it started with, and that uranium can be recycled.
        Over the past four decades, America’s reactors have produced about 56,000 tons of used fuel. That “waste” contains roughly enough energy to power every U.S. household for 12 years. And it’s just sitting there, piling up at power plant storage facilities. Talk about waste!

    • “Wind is clean”

      Well, if you aren’t a bald eagle at any rate. The best description I’ve ever seen of modern windmills is “bird-chopping eco-crucifixes.”

      There’s also the fact that “wind farms” tend to take acres and acres of land filled with nothing but windmills. I’ve definitely seen those and wondered if they’re really preferable to the one powerplant that could be doing the same task.

      • Take enough energy out of the wind and you will directly affect the weather.

        Wind is a fluid (air) in motion and you take energy out of it by slowing it down. Changing the fluid flows and energy structure of air is the essence of weather change.

        Even wind isn’t green. If you think I’m kidding, remember hydro-electric damns are no longer green power but environment damaging which is why we’ve cut the center out of many damns.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          One might be forgiven for concluding that ‘green energy’ simply means the least feasible and sound alternative.

          • Oh yes, as soon as something starts looking feasible the greenies turn against it. This is why environmentalists block solar plants in the desert… might actually work.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              In fairness, the deserts either have a little bit of ground cover, or a lot of dust. I think solar plants are essentially a bad idea everywhere. (At least for baseline power. Extremely minor uses don’t have the problem of ‘you need how much area?’)

            • In addition to what Bob mentions, being out in the desert means there are long power lines to get the power (which is pathetic considering the space required per KW produced) to where it’s actually needed, which means line losses.

              Sure, this isn’t exactly a non-issue for more conventional power generation, but it is something to consider…but often isn’t.

            • Better would be to put the PV panels on all those acres of empty roof in the cities – power generation right next to the users for minimal transmission loss, and you’re not causing disruptions to “pristine ecosystems” (or, y’know, making them uglier than they already were.)

              • Inadequate opportunities for centralized graft and corruption.

                Besides, if it’s right there on their roof, people might actually expect to see results.

      • Wind farms actually have a pretty small footprint. You can farm up pretty close to the base of one of those windmills.

        https://www.google.com/maps/@48.504142,-100.0037671,2314m/data=!3m1!1e3

        • just hope you don’t need to be near it if the speed control stops working, or it has iced up, or you are sensitive to the various high or low frequency sound they pump out.
          Or if it catches fire.

      • The Other Sean

        Most wind farms I’ve seen aren’t taking acres of land out of productive use. For example, the largest one I’ve seen, which is in Kansas, occupies farm fields that continue to be farmed. A medium size one in Pennsylvania shares space on a large ATV course. A smaller one in that same state occupies a rugged ridge that was mined out, and would make poor farmland or housing space.

        • It’s interesting that people get so upset about windmills vs. birds. I get the idea they’ve never been near one.

          The windmills I’ve been near have been REALLY LOUD. A dozen of them in an adjacent field, spinning lazily in a light breeze, sounded like a helicopter taking off. I’m not talking about “gee, I can hear them if I listen hard, maybe I can sue for damages.” I’m talking about loud to the point where we had to shout over the noise to communicate.

          Didn’t seem to bother the cows grazing around them, though.

          • I’ve seen folks who are more susceptible to low or high freq noises complain about wind farms from a long way away. Especially the low frequency. that carries (and likely why elephants use that method .. “Wow, you hear that?” me- “No, but I feel it!”)
            The big big ones out northwest of here are less choppy than the older, smaller ones like north of Milwaukee, but they do make a particular noise.
            and it would get old quickly if I lived in earshot.

          • Have you ever tried to talk to a cow? They are deaf already. I equated windfarm noise to a jet engine idling, myself.

    • In Peru, in the early ’90’s, officials reacted to an EPA concern over water chlorination by turning off the chlorinators in their water supply. 6,000+ cholera deaths later …

  15. “heal the world.”

    I think Dennis Prager had a podcast on the actual, original meaning of tikkun olam, which is very different from the leftist ideas promulgated in the eponymous magazine Tikkun.
    I would welcome other good sources.

  16. Saving the world has this advantage over the tale of common things:

    In order to save the world, you have to have the other people dancing to your tune. Which means oppressing others is _good_!

  17. We are living in a origin story of the TOS Space Seed “Eugenics Wars”, all the crisis at home an abroad are being run by a secret cabal of Augments under the guise of “I’m going to save the world” piece of hubris, in which our fearless leader is one, that why no birth certificate. 😉

  18. What really frosts me is the switchover we made from personal help to the poor and needy to expecting our taxes to take the place of charity. I’m not saying we d not need a social safety net, but I see a lot of leftists substituting giving money to the government for getting involved with those who need help. That way, they can feel all pious and yet not actually touch a person in need.

    When you add in how INEFFICIENT and impersonal government programs for the poor can be it means that anywhere from 50% to 80% of your tax dollars went to the bureaucracy and the rest went to the needy. And they may well have been treated like a number at an overworked welfare office.

    How do I know some of this? First, I was a deacon in my church in my 20s, visiting and helping. Then I got married and I was abandoned with three small children and had to apply for assistance. Since I was living in a foreclosed home the only thing they could offer me was help with childcare. We went to food banks. Thrift stores for clothing and bread.

    When I got my engineering degree and our financial situation eased, I volunteered in food pantries and helped people with resumes to get jobs. I mentored. I drove people to the store who had no car. I helped those with no computer skills learn to use a computer. Each time, I got more out of it than I can possibly say.

    There is a huge temptation to “save the world” via government and feel righteous about it. But all government seems to do, in reality, is trap people in a cycle of poverty and despair. We need to reach out to our neighbors. Foisting charity on the state? Well, here is how that works, courtesy of Tom Simon’s evil alter-blogger, H. Smiggy McStudge:
    The Myth, in its shortest form, is that government exists to help people.
    The fact of the matter, in its shortest form, is this:
    Government is a monopoly of lethal force exercised by a group of humans in a defined territory.

    By definition, a government exists to kill people and smash things.

    A government may happen to do other things. If its proprietors are clever, it certainly will do other things. Killing people indiscriminately is a good way of making enemies, even among humans. Instead of smashing things, a government will steal some of them, and instead of killing people, it will bribe some of them with the loot. This divides and confuses the people, and prevents the government’s enemies from combining to overthrow it. This, in a nutshell, is what government does. The art of government consists in doing it quietly and indirectly, with plausible and soothing excuses, so that the game may be played with minimum risk and maximum profit.

    In other words, the art of government is to propagate the Myth of Government. from http://bondwine.com/2015/01/09/theyocracy-the-argument/

    • “What really frosts me is the switchover we made from personal help to the poor and needy to expecting our taxes to take the place of charity”

      Oh, that’s pretty old.

      “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge. “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?” “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.” “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge. “Both very busy, sir.” “:Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.” “Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?” “Nothing!” Scrooge replied. “You wish to be anonymous?” “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.”

      • The Other Sean

        Bah, humbug, I say. Humbug.

      • Except modern rates of taxation create a new feedback circuit unconsidered in Dickens’s day.

        I earn an extra dollar and the government helps itself to 35.45% before I see it (state and federal income taxes, medicare taxes) and until August another 6.2% (social security taxes).

        Then I get to start giving the charity. Of course, with the government demanding on net 2.5x what God does upfront (my next taxes between income and payroll is about 25%) and 5-7% each time I buy something it is easy to say, “I gave my alms aready, they are called taxes.”

        It is a backdoor was to ensure everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state even in charity.

      • Evry year I make sure to watch ONE version of A CHRISTMAS CHAROL. I may watch others, but I always watch the one with George C. Scott as Scrooge. Because his Scrooge, unlike all the others, is believable as a self made rich man. He comes across as being capable. Maybe I’m reading into it something that the scriptwriter, the director, and Mr. Scott never intended, but (to me) Scott’s Scrooge is going to be giddy for about a month, and then one day he’s going to come in to the office and say “Cratchett, this giving money away has been lots of fun, but it isn’t getting to the roots of the problem. I need your help; what kind of enterprise can we start that will employ a lot of poor people, give them a way to rise, and support itself?”.

    • In 2012, I saw a comment carried over from a Dem website. One of the commenters there was talking about the incident in which Romney helped someone remove a wasp nest. The commenter complained that Romney doing the work personally was inefficient. What he should have done, according to the commenter, was to hire someone else to do it for him.

      /rolleyes

    • Agreed. And yep Not All of Them Who Say “Tax My Neighbor” shall enter the kingdom of heaven. (Well, a few might, after repenting :-P)

    • And you don’t want to get me started on the charities that do more harm than good, such as encouraging homeless to hang out in a downtown formerly populated by mom and pop busiensses and not only destroying those businesses but costing money to the owners of the buildings the businesses leased, etc. Thereby increasing poverty. Or take our libraries-as-homeless-centers thereby making them unsafe for kids whose parents can’t afford/won’t buy books. Or “homeless” replacing “mentally ill” and “drug addicted” as a concept and thereby making it okay to just give them things and not the help they actually need. ETC.

      • Sorry to hear it’s not just a big city problem, in Chicago, going to a public library is like going to funky town, I have same thoughts as you than I have my latent prog guilt and just breath thru my mouth.

        • It’s kind of a pity, because the tradition of tolerating nutballs has a great legend behind it; the story of The Emperor Norton. But that was individual businesses, not the State.

          As Robert B. Parker had Hawk say “Those guys could scew up a picnic.”

      • See recent story from San Francisco where a streetlight fell over (thankfully not hitting anyone) due to continuous multi-year urine application to the base.

        Yep, sanctuary city AND extremely generous cash benefits to homeless folks, how did you guess?

      • I keep wandering that the mentally ill were separated out of the homeless population (and for some of them it will take institutionalization I’m afraid) what percentage would be left that needed help.

        I don’t know; I’m from the sticks. We do, somewhat, have homeless, but mostly it’s “Well, they moved in with her parents” or “So and so found them a place to live.”

        • William O. B'Livion

          I would argue that for reasonable definitions of “Mentally Ill” you’d have less than a quarter, but those would be the most visible 25%.

        • Turning the mentally ill out onto the streets thanks to the efforts of the ACLU and their ilk in the late 70s and early 80s certainly had a major effect on homelessness at the time.

          • Because the USSR convinced our left that our putting people in madhouses was like their putting people in madhouses. SIGH.

          • William O. B'Livion

            That wasn’t the only reason.

            SSRIs and anti-psychotics were developed in the 1960s and 1970s, and large parts of the psychiatric community believed that schizophrenics and such could lead “normal” lives by taking their medication. Which is probably true if you have some way of making sure the medication gets taken. And if you have some way of reintegrating these folks back into the world.

            Also the Republicans wanted to reduce the federal budget, so you had this perfect storm of activists pushing to open the doors, new drugs on the market that looked to make the problems more manageable, and a government looking to save money.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          IIRC there have been studies made that show most of the homeless have some place that they could go *if* they were willing to get off the booze and off the drugs.

        • There’s a lot of drug addicts. Some of those are self-medicating but others (I used to listen to talk when I walked downtown) just live quite comfortably from handouts, etc, and see no reason to improve.

        • Crap, hit return too soon, anyway, around that time there was a big effort to de-institutionalize folks who really needed someone to take care of them, under the guise of protecting their rights to autonomy. Many hospitals and mental wards that had provided long-term care (not always well, but that’s a different issue) were shut down to save money now they were “no longer needed”. Unfortunately turning folks loose did not in fact give them the ability to take care of themselves and many did not have family willing or able to take them in permanently. Those folks ended up on the streets and made up a considerable percentage of the new “epidemic of homelessness” that the media couldn’t stop talking about in the 80s.

          My mom got the opportunity to see the phenomenon at first hand. Her senior year of nursing school they sent her from Lynchburg to Saint Elizabeth’s in DC for a resident psych rotation and got to know a number of patients fairly well. In 1984 we moved to northern VA as a family and she took a job at a nursing home near Dupont Circle. She was accosted daily by

          • There’s some percentage of the population that is mentally ill, for whatever definition of “mentally ill” you want to use. But they’re still citizens with civil rights.

            Are they a danger to others? There are legal procedures for that sort of thing independent of any “mental health” questions.

            Are they a danger to themselves? Most places still frown on direct suicide and have laws against it. (as opposed to indirect suicide from alcohol, other drugs, or bad lifestyle choices) There are legal procedures for that, too.

            Are they annoying, disgusting, or otherwise undesirable in polite society? Possibly, but I’m not listening to you until you pull your pants up so your underwear isn’t showing.

            If some “disturbed” or “homeless” person wants a bed in the ward or a room in the barracks, whatever their area has to offer, that’s their business. But I’ve personally talked to a couple who felt that living in a culvert or under an overpass was better than being “in there”, which they equated with being imprisoned for something they had no control over.

            Some people are broken and can’t be fixed. But they still have rights, and locking them up because other citizens don’t want to look at them isn’t right.

            • They also have a right not to die of exposure for something that isn’t their fault– you don’t leave a three year old outside because, being mobile, he’s physically able to handle it and come in when he’s cold; he simply doesn’t have the judgement. He has a right– not the legal construct sort, but the one those were designed to recognize– to be respected as a human being, even if he’s not able to function like a normal adult.

              They shouldn’t be locked up in the same way a criminal* is, but a lot do need to be put somewhere, where people can control those who CANNOT control themselves.
              *Criminal— someone who chooses not to control himself.

              It’s not fair to my sister and brother’s good friend’s brother, who is schizophrenic, to see that he is going to kill someone and then abandon him to kill the people he loves. And once they slip up, and he succeeds in stabbing his mom or grandmother to death, then oh-so-respectful of his rights he’ll be put in trial, and then either put in jail or put into an mental program that will cycle him right back out again.

              This is before the theoretically harmless folks who do minor damage– like the ones that set fire to abandoned buildings (sometimes while they’re inside), broke the window at my favorite coffee shop, and who will walk up yelling incoherent obscenities if someone whose appearance they don’t like is working there.
              So far, the record for keeping the job for those women unfortunate enough to catch the ire of the three different local crazies is two weeks. And the owner’s husband CAN’T work there, because all men get the treatment. One of the gals driven off has three kids, is living in her mother-in-law’s attic, and the job was giving them a chance to move out.
              From the smell of the crazies, they’re living worse than most neglected dogs, and I don’t want to know what the damage to their life expectancy is. Not counting the very obvious “hey, easy prey here” sign they may as well have on their forehead.
              The cops can’t handle this– harassment, verbal assault, minor assault, blocking traffic and even the window aren’t enough to get these mentally ill off the street and into help, and anybody who reports them is going to have to deal with them in a few weeks. And they already know the person is insane. But hey, if they get seriously hurt, the crazy person might be put away for a while, to be abused by those who willfully choose to do what the crazy guy isn’t able to really choose, because he’s crazy.

              It’s not a matter of respecting their rights, it’s a matter of figuring out how to respect their rights.

        • And again, I hate the “post when you hit return” system.

          Working by Dupont Circle she was accosted daily by the homeless of Washington DC, a number of whom she knew because the had been her patients at Saint Elizabeth’s 15 years earlier.

          • Reality Observer

            What browser are you using, GJ?
            hit return there
            and again
            and once more…
            Mine only post when I actually click the Post Comment button (well, if I tab – let’s see, probably six times and then hit Enter, I’d probably post).

            • Firefox, and it only seems to happen when I am trying to comment on the stupid new system WordPress is using where you click to read something in your Reader and it takes you to their weird bare-bones version of the post instead of to the actual blog page to comment.

              If I go to the blog itself, I don’t think I have the same problem, but the other was acting like Facebook last night and if I didn’t hold down shift while hitting return it was posting. And I’m a terrible typist, so accidentally hitting return at some point is pretty much inevitable for me.

  19. I think that it’s possible to do big things. I’m in favor of a planetary thermostat of mirrors and shades to get resolution on climate. I set that out as an aspirational goal because to get there, you need cheap lift to orbit, space manufacturing, and a great deal of science and engineering that is *profitable* whether or not you ever deploy the thermostat. This is Elon Musk style big project thinking and seems to be compatible with what you’re talking about.

    I am just continually astonished that more people don’t think in terms of sponsoring that sort of work

    • The Other Sean

      But if problems get solved, what excuse will those in power have for possessing and exercising their power?

    • I like cold weather and snow, but the guy down the road likes it hot and hates snow. How do you decide what to set the planetary thermostat at?

      • The short answer is that people would argue if we are near a climate optimum. If we’re far off a climate optimum and the glaciers have almost reached Chicago, there’s a lot less argument. All the catastrophic scenarios out there only become catastrophic when the changes go large. Small variations aren’t really a problem.

  20. “As you guys know I have my doubts that their count is anywhere near reality, but even assuming they’re wildly wrong and it’s 5 billion”

    I always wonder about this also, countries that can’t do the proverbial walk and chew gum at the same time, do an accurate census count?

  21. Every time you hear a leftie hijack the term “tikkun olam” you can safely assume that the policies they are pushing under its name are antithetical to the traditional Jewish understanding of the term.

  22. Not to mention, Sarah, that the way environmentalcases relate to “Gaia” comes perilously close to Avoda Zara (idolatry, the very worst transgression in Judaism [because it leads to all the others]). That’s not “tikkun olam”, more like “ziyyun sechel” (mindfecking)

    • I figured it violated the most basic of commandments, yes.

    • Not my circus, etc., but there a lot of different Jewish traditions in the US. I can’t say any are more legitimately Jewish than others. The American actor Jeremy Piven was raised in a Jewish sect which, as far as I can tell, believes that God was the creation of the Jews (instead of Jews being the created by God). I only know this because I looked up Piven’s wikipedia entry to find out where he was from. The man has no regional accent, it drives me nuts . . .

      • Which renders the use of the term Judaism useless.

      • The ‘sect’/denomination you are referring to sounds like Reconstructionism. Its founder, Mordechai Kaplan, tried to divorce Judaism from belief in a personal G-d. Obviously he did not posit that the Jews created an actual Supreme Being, but to him G-d was an Idea, a mental construct for the betterment of mankind, conceived by the (in his view purely human) authors of the Torah. Kaplan is actually a fascinating thinker but his theology is both severely ‘out there’ and prone to caricature. A group of Orthodox rabbis actually put a ‘cherem’ (ban of excommunication) on him in 1946.
        Closer to sci-fi, Michael Swanwick’s “In the zone” makes a number of references to Reconstructionist Judaism.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      That exactly is one of the conflicts I see between environmentalism and my understanding of Christianity. What exactly is Earth, Nature, and the Environment? What real physical meaning do they have? When talking about harm to same, what measurable criteria are there? I haven’t seen an argument I find compelling that these are more than mystical gibberish.

      • You want the short book or the long book? 🙂

        As for “harm” if you want “change to river/mountain/forest since 1960” that’s kinda easy-ish. If you want “effects of mankind on planet after effects of climate and gravity and interbreeding and competition between non-human-species are removed,” we’ve got a problem.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          I’m slightly interested in the science for its own sake.

          I’m feeling my way towards something that last night I realized should be called militant agaiaism.

          Sample arguments might include:
          On AGW: It used to be molten, has cooled off, and humans had nothing to do with that.
          On ‘Earth’:Big ball of molten iron whose surface features are not essential to its existence.
          On pollution: Toxicity is in the dose. The usable volume is big, and local concentrations high enough to be a problem would dilute as they spread.
          On ‘Nature’: Why is a beaver mound or a termite nest natural, and a human factory not?

          Far too many people rely on moving goalposts when they do something like militant agaiaism. I think I may have the background to just set them up in a place where no one can score, but I’m not sure yet. I have a lot of work left to do.

          Right now there is a lot of low hanging fruit in terms of arguing with environmentalists. But if I build a fruit picker only for that, I’ll run across someone who tears it to bits, especially around here.

      • Conservationism (being a responsible steward of our planet) is perfectly compatible with both Christianity and Judaism. Radical environmentalism/”deep ecology” are not.

        • deep ecology sounds like hatred at its core.

          • Deep ecology is indeed a fundamentally misanthropic religion-in-all-but-name.

          • You get Pleistocene rewilding advocates who want to introduce the cheetah and the lion (as well as elephants and camels) to replace the American equivalents from the Pleistocene, and if they chow down a few people, well, we expect Africans to put up with being lion chow, don’t we?

            The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World by Emma Marris is a reasonable look at the ecological movement with quite a bit of sanity from the author, actually.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Recycling is not considered extreme or radical. I take the attitude that recycling which isn’t economically viable on its own is effectively a religious ritual. I took the recycling bin the city provided, and put it in back, so it wouldn’t be used.

          • A religious ritual is kinder than the term I’ve sometimes heard used (mental [self-gratification]).

          • One of the problems of Overton’s Window shifting on radical ideas. Recycling has no radical cachet, anymore, and thus has no significant support from the movement. But it does have a significant political cachet and mainstream support.

            So — for reasons of political posturing, the market inputs have been masked and the average Jane and Joe couple are tossing stuff in the box under the misapprehension it’s being handled reasonably. It’s not a religious ritual for them it’s civic responsibility. Unmask the market inputs and they’d adjust.

            Which is not to say the thing doesn’t have its religious adherents. Demonstrably does. As well the mental onanists.

            Just — most people are acting responsibly in the service of a lie.

            • Encountered this is DC. The place my mother worked put in recycling bins in the break room, so all the employees diligently sorted their recyclables.

              The guy who picked up the trash tossed it all, recyclables included, into an undifferentiated garbage truck.

              • Yep. Our former neighborhood you could pay extra for recycling. We didn’t, but we saw them pick up trash and everything went into the same maw. our neighbors STILL kept doing it.

                • If the recycling fee is going to pay for people at the recycling plant to do the sorting there is no reason to segregate the trash en route N.B. – segregating trash is racisssst.).

                  Of course, there is also no reason to make the fee optional, as all benefit.

                  Which is not to say that “reason” has much to do with it.

                • I love the places that have “mandatory” recycling but have a list of things you cannot put in the bin … like glass.
                  one of the original and maybe the most common easier to recycle than to make in the first place items, and they won’t recycle it.
                  It is that way at work too, no glass. EHS has learned that it is usually best not to have me in the meeting involving discussions on recycling.
                  If it ain’t the morons tossing trash in the aluminum cans bin, it is the corporate moronitude (totally a word) I am on about.

              • Have heard of this more than once. The facilities management is posturing.

              • The reality of “sorted” recycling is that unless “donors” achieve a very high rate of accuracy (something not achieved in even the two most anal-retentive cultures in this world: Germany & Japan) in their sorting there is no point in sorting at all, as everything will have to be resorted at the facility. How many people can effectively distinguish between plastic type 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, even with the little labels on the containers?

                Unless, of course, accustoming people to doing nasty unpleasant tasks is the actual goal of the exercise.

  23. It’s so much easier to solve everyone else’s problems in theory than it is to solve your own in practice.
    Speaking of which, I recall that I have assigned myself some computer programming problems to go solve…

  24. “We’re adults, and therefore we accept the burden of doing the little things. ” – and, I think, of constantly testing our limits, in case we’ve learned or been put into a circumstance where we can do something bigger, this time.

    Doing what we can, whatever it is.

  25. I have done much to heal the world: I raised three children to adulthood who are kind, caring, hardworking people who like science fiction. And I gave them all guns.
    And now I’m raising two more kids with the same goal in mind. So far, only Kenneth has a gun, but Alicia will get one when she’s ready.
    Want to make the world better? Planting a tree, nothing wrong with that, but if you REALLY want to make the world better, raise kids with love and limits.

  26. See. I believe that global warming will eventually be a problem (around 50% coal). And I favor a carbon tax. And I’m still fricking frustrated by environmentalists.

    Can anyone explain why we’ve basically stopped development of a power source that (a) has 1000+ years accessible supply, (b) actually works, (c) isn’t seasonal, (d) emits less radioactive waste than coal, and (e) doesn’t emit carbon??? Without crippling regulation, s’cheaper (5 cents per kWh in France) than US power (12 cents per kWh).

    And yet, environmentalists focus on essentially meaningless cuts to energy use. Irritating. And somewhat inexplicable in terms of actually caring about the environment and worrying about carbon emissions.

    .

    • right now we’re in more danger of global cooling, and it’s not man made. Sorry, I remember the seventies when we were all going to freeze. It’s all an excuse for more socialism.
      There is (some) warming but as far as we can tell through the profoundly cooked numbers, not related to humanity and certainly not related to carbon. So you favor a carbon tax why? Because you want to give the government more money, or because you want to hobble industry? No other reason will do anything.
      Oh, and socialism has resulted in the most destroyed landscapes on the planet.

    • I’m not totally clear on the reasons (though I have some ideas) but for some reason no environmentalist worth his salt IN THE UNITED STATES is ever in favor of any energy source that is in any danger of practical adoption. I realized this when Carter (poor schmoo) proposed to build a bunch of hydroelectric dams and the enviros went postal on him. Under Nixon it was “Hydroelectric. Hydroelectric. Why can’t we build more hydroelectric?”. Then Carter actually LISTENS to them, and all of a sudden it’s “Dams ruin the environment!”.

      My suspicion? That environmentalists are deathly afraid that if energy gets cheap the Common Man will listen to them even less than he does.

    • might want to take a close look at some of the laws made by a KKK bastard of the surname Byrd.
      SOB is dead and we are still dealing with his crap. Also, since he is gone, the folks over on his side of the aisle found that if the prices are high, they can get more power (governmentally, not electrically) so we get “Under My Policies, Energy prices will necessarily skyrocket” and the desire to keep gasoline high (to paraphrase that it was “I think it should be about $5 a gallon, but it needs to get there slowly so folks get used to it”) to both keep people poorer, and in place. Gotta keep the proles in place to stay in control of them.

    • Big scary monster; couple of accidents; very big capital costs due to size; increasing efficiency caused decrease in demand curve (not, necessarily less demand, just slower demand). Lots of paperwork.

      Try pebble bed? Try thorium, maybe?

      • Pebble bed reactors have a scale-up problem. My company was working on the proposed South African one for several years and it was not working out. Both the pebble bed HTGR and the thorium molten salt reactors need huge research and development program on the scale of the Navy/civilian nuke program of the 1950’s to get past the scale-up problems.

        No one has the money for that right now, and even though the Chinese are supposedly working on both, I’m not betting on them to get it solved either. They don’t have the money or the time before their house of cards collapses

        • William O. B'Livion

          I thought the whole thing with Pebble Bed was “scale out” rather than “scale up”? Instead of making bigger units, just have more smaller units.

          • Which actually tracks better with what the civilian power industry in the US prefers…smaller units in larger numbers to make moving capacity on and off line (for maintenance and other reasons) easier.

            • Not really. It looks like the Small Modular Reactor concept will not fly here. NRC rules will force the same number of people to run a 200 MW SMR as for a 1200 MW PWR/BWR. Ameren has pulled their application to build a 10 module SMR plant.

              Current nukes average 90 to 95% capacity factor now. That’s as good as you can get with e 3-4 week outage every 18 to 24 months for maintenance and refueling.

              • I’m not saying regulatory nature will allow it but if you look at what the power companies are installing over the past few decades in non-nuclear station the big 1200 MW plants are not what they want. They believe smaller, more numerous plants fit their power needs need. They’d rather have six separate 200 MW systems in one plant that can be brought on and off as needed.

                Yes, 1200 MW nukes run at 90% capacity as baseline power because they are a pain in the rear to get up and down. I know what a pain getting one of the Navy’s PWR up and down was if you had the start-up watch and or duty the day before and that was actually not that horrific an ordeal compared to what I’ve seen at commercial conventional plants. I can only imagine what it is like bringing up or down a commercial nuclear plant (you could tell me it is a five day evolution at each end and I’d believe you).

                When I got out of the Navy and (very briefly) looked at the field people seemed to be expecting that a 5-6 small nuclear installation could be run as one big plant in terms of operators. That hasn’t been the case but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be. If that stays the case then, yes, small scale nukes will not match what power generators seems to want but that isn’t a technical issue.

                • The fastest nuke startup from cold iron I ever saw took 4 days. Normally takes about a week. There was a bed cold snap coming and the NRC allowed the company to skip some tech spec mandated testing that one time.

          • The only successfully PBR was a 15MW thermal one built in Germany in the 80’s. It ran for years as a test reactor. The one proposed in South Africa would have been about 150 MW electrical, or about 340 MW thermal. That would have been the building block for modular plants. 15 MW thermal plants would put out about 7 MW electric, Not very useful as a basic block for a commercial generating plant.

            PBR’s worked well as a very small scale plant, but there were big problems with the circulation of the pebbles when scaled up to commercial sizes, and there was not enough money to progressively scale up from 15 MWt to 30 MWt to 75 MWt to 150 MWt to 300 MWt like was done for the Light water reactors.

            The HTGR suffered from this problem too. The first “commercial” unit was Peach Bottom 1, which ran from 1966-1974 It was a 40 MWt experimental HTGR that was in the end, just too small for commercial power production. This plant led to the design of the Ft. St. Vrain plant. This was a scaleup to 842 MWt (330 MWe). There were numerous problems with this scaleup that led to PS Colorado to close the plant in 1989. A more extended scale-up flowing the LWR example would have caught these problems and we might have had more HTGR’s operating today. BTW…HTGR plants used a Uranium-thorium fuel mix.

            Hyman Rickover had a huge influence on the civilian nuke plant development. He did not like the HTGR or the BWR, as they had no use aboard a ship. Only the fact that GE was a huge corporation with a huge influence on the government made sure the BWR got developed properly. General Atomic did not have this influence, so the HTGR development suffered.

            • Rickover’s oversized influence had its downsides as well as its upsides. If he’d had a foil (or been eased out much earlier than he was forced out) I think we’d be much better off today.

              And I say that as one of Hymie’s boys. Well, technically not as he died when I was a boot but even then he wasn’t that long out of NR and his shadow still loomed large over us, both good and bad.

            • Weren’t the Chinese working on a PBR a few years back? What became of that?

            • So, do you think scale-up is a solvable or unsolvable issue. Are PBR and HTGR like fusion, always 20 years away?

              If they are solvable then I suspect regulatory is the big hurdle. As you point out it would take money. If modulars are going to be regulated like large scale industrial plants instead of post-industrial high tech plants there is no reason to do the R&D to make them because they won’t be economically feasible so why waste the coin.

              • PBR scale-up is not on the same level as a fusion power plant. It just will require a lot of time and money. First, build a 25-50 MW thermal plant and run it a few years. Then take what you learned and build a 100-200 MWt one, then you can do a commercial scale up to 300-500 MWt.

                It will take 10 to 15 years to get that done, and it is do-able. We know how to do that.

                • So, no one wants to front the money until they know how regulatory will manage them?

                  • Yes, they are still trying to get the NRC to scale back on SMR’s. TVA is still in the process of trying to get the B&W version built at Oak Ridge later this decade.
                    Regulatory Uncertainty is a killer bitch.

                • We did not learn about the stress corrosion cracking problem in stainless steel steam generator tubes until we had operated large (500 MWe +) at higher temperatures (620 F) plants for several years. It also was not until the mid 1990’s that we got a good enough handle on the big nukes to operate them in a economically desirable fashion. Many had capacity factors less than 80%. Mankind had never tried running power plants that pushed almost 16 million pounds per hour of wet steam through pipes, turbines and pressure vessels, not to mention the recirculation of twice to three times that flow that much flow in mixed hot water with a small amount of steam mixed in. It took a while to get the right materials and designs out there to make a reliable plant.

                  Wet Steam is nasty erosive stuff

    • They’re not about conserving our resources; they’re about controlling our behavior. Switching to nuclear doesn’t change our behavior. Getting us squatting over a seven-inch tablet by a 7-watt fluorescent bulb, swathed in sweaters during a winter brownout, changes our behavior. Gives them ever such a thrill.

    • The French gov subsidizes the heck out of all electric power. If they did not, their nuke plant electric costs would more approximate ours.

  27. Not a Jewish scholar either, but…

    I’m reminded of the famous Talmud quotation (yes, I learned it from “Schindler’s List”, sue me for a populist media hound):

    “He who saves one life has saved the world entire.”

    Go out and try to make ONE life better. One life that might have ended early, or been on a downward spiral. Give blood. Heck, SELL blood or plasma or whatnot.

    Modern environmentalism is a foolish and potentially destructive religion. Classic environmentalism (clean up after yourself, idiot!) makes a difference one scrap of trash at a time.

    Or, at the very least, get out of the way and faces of people who are actually trying to do that.

    • Not a Judaic scholar.

      Milton Friedman was a Jewish scholar, Moses Maimonides was a Judaic scholar.

      Pick a little, talk a little, pick a little, talk a little,
      Cheep cheep cheep, talk a lot, pick a little more

  28. Saving the World is terribly Terrocentric. Why the hate for all the other planets?

  29. Ooo! Baen has released their publishing schedule out to May. Lots of good stuff.

  30. The Jewish concept of “Tikkun Olam” doesn’t mean SAVING the world; it means REPAIRING the world. It’s very similar to the Boy Scout concept of “Leave every campsite better than it was when you got there.” No one has to do everything, but everybody should do one, or two, or a few things to make the world a better place.

    Clearly, she (as so many Reform Jewish mothers before her) has transferred her faith in God to Gaia or some other nonsense notion. She, and her son, will pay the price. With any luck, he’ll figure out in a few years that Mom was utterly wrong about so much!

  31. Saving the world would take a lot of hard drive space (a terra-byte?), and a lot of gamers think that restoring a save like that is just cheating.

    If you can’t beat the game you’re on, just start a new one from scratch.

  32. A link to Chesterton’s 1930 novel The Flying Inn, which satirizes those who would heal the world http://bit.ly/1Nt1BHv

  33. “Let’s suppose I went ultra enviro (well, you know, I could get shot and lose a large portion of my brain) and decided that I must live the absolutely most sustainable lifestyle possible. No paper, no disposables, minimal electrical, no driving, etc.”

    You’re going to put in a bidet and buy your husband a Prius?

  34. I don’t thing the underlying impulse of the environmental, or any other PC elite, is to convert the world. I think the impulse is to mandate, through various enforcement mechanisms and agencies, that the world change. An accompanying motive is to rise up far enough in the elite to be exempt from any significant inconvenience resulting from the mandate and to receive disproportionate rewards from being the bestest of the best.