Sunday 16th of December 2018

be gentle...

be gentle...

The Crystal Palace near London was full of scientific investigation/observation displays of what had been — represented by such things as concrete dinosaurs — of samples of the then present scientific knowledge and of the optimistic technical future elevating what we could do, without killing each other. The Palace burned down in 1936. This demise is not a representation of what can happen to us and our civilization on a grandeur scale, though we need to be vigilant... Ultra-conservatives, narrow-minded bourgeois and generous leftists can join at the hip through religious beliefs that are designed to burn down our godless lovely modernity.

 

No-one know how the Palace made of glass and steel burned, but one expert has suspected the wooden floors, which makes no sense at all, unless something/someone starts a fire: electrical fault (wiring), sabotage, neglect… Who knows. Electrical insulation was poor then and the recent fire at the Brazilian museum was such a disaster waiting to happen.

But were there by then enough jealous people who did not like this giant English modernity to the glory of humankind of the mid nineteenth century, eager to see it go? Germans, Irish, Christians, French spies? In 1936, with rumblings of inevitable wars after the economic collapse of 1929, possibly engendered by banks seeking more profits, there were enough mad angry hungry people walking up and down the streets...

Carelessness is not to be excluded either. Many a good old building has suffer a similar fate after surviving many centuries of war and storms to be destroyed by an intelligence-limited repair guy, with a spitting-fire welding torch, doing some modern work under the super dry dusty woody roof, with not a single fire-extinguisher nor a bucket of water near-by. Woof is inevitable.

 

Thanks to the internet, we are bombarded 24/7 with news of disasters and impending disasters, to the point of ennui. Are things really as bad as the media and Hollywood say? Or are we headed for a happy techno future?

The other evening, in search of some entertainment, [Robert Bridge, an American writer and journalist. Former Editor-in-Chief of The Moscow News, author of the book, 'Midnight in the American Empire,' released in 2013] stumbled upon a film by Australian director John Hillcoat titled, The Road (2009). This riveting post-apocalyptic drama focuses on the travails of a father and son as they set out on foot across a devastated American wasteland following some cataclysmic disaster.

What motivates the characters to persevere in their impossible journey, which presents them with every sort of imaginable and unimaginable nightmare, is simply the quest for survival. Why anyone would want to survive amid such total devastation is another question.

An interesting element of the film is that we are never told what caused so much destruction. All we know is that some overnight event turned America, and possibly the entire planet, into a scorched wasteland. Hillcoat plays on our modern fears that some uncontrollable event, either by force of nature or man-made, is lurking just around the corner, waiting to devour us. The media is certainly culpable for giving life to these fears.

 

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/445247-asteroids-war-economic-collapse/

 

The earlier Australian franchise Mad Max (Road Warrior in the USA) might have inspired Hillcoat to produce The Road

The Babylonians were probably more civilised and happier than we are today. This is a sweeping Gus-glib comment… If we’re to believe the writings, they had a certainly clever understanding of water, plants and nature in the middle of difficult sandy conditions. This state of affair would have created jealousy with neigbouring tribes, such as those of Nineveh and possibly the Wandering Jews in search of a cup of tea, unless the Babylonians were destroyed by a god-sent meteorite, as prayed for by their enemies... Water is precious. A cotton farmer in Australia was recently fined a lot of cash for having stolen more than his allocated water from the river to grow his crop.

Photosynthesis is far more important than god on this planet. Without it, the landscape would resemble that of Mars with a touch of Venusian atmospheric CO2 induced heat. Photosynthesis is far too complicated to have been invented by an intelligent designer. For plant survival, there is a fine balance between water, CO2 and photosynthesis. Indoor plants need far less water as their leaves adapt to the semi-darkness and the lack of direct sunlight. If taken outdoors, such plant would quickly burn, though specimens of the same species that grew in the sun survive well — as long as the heat/light intensity does not go beyond a critical point, the likes of which we see more often these days with heat records. Then we turn into Babylonians awaiting the next gentle rain at the source of the Euphrates and the Tigris, which the other day was like the big Noah flood, in Sydney. 110 mm of a pelting downpour in one hour in our neck of the wood... In cold climate this would be the equivalent of four metres of snow in one hour… Imagine.

Meanwhile Christians and Jews (and other religious dudes with their own book of sacred-stuffs) refer to their bible — the old Testament — as the book of god, yet this is mostly a repository of gory stories about the failures and wanderings of humankind in hostiles environment such as burning bushes in the desert, great floods because people stopped believing in god, with people killing each other on every second page, including the starter: Abel and Cain.

These conflicts, possibly true but wrongly interpreted, were not due to an “original sin” as postulated in the “good” book, but to basic trial and error in human survival with limited resources — and delusions under the stars to fill in the gap in the lack of understanding natural phenomenon and why we’re here. Dude, we’re here because a monkey had a brainwave in how to use a stick to club something.

Tribes stole from each other and still do it under the cover of commerce, cash and trade fights in which from time to time, there is a “reset” at a G20 meeting. This can accidentally flare up into full-blown out wars, due to unruly conditions, but more often than not, these nasty fiddles are due to deceit and the greed of some idiots, mixed in a psychopathic belief of superiority amongst humans. Nothing to do with god, though apparently should we listen to Him (god is a male) we would live in peace in sandals, unless He (god is male) asks us to go to war. The USA is a good place to explain this crap in today’s conditions. But such problems need not to happen, though there is the fear of everything, which has the possibility of killing us before everything or nothing happens. Artificial Intelligence is leading the charge in browning our coloured pants, while believing in god will save us, like He (god is a male) has done till now, in peace and hope — except for the conflict religiously organized as mentioned before to protect Him (god is a male) from fake gods and demons. Adore god or not. Millions of us die either way.

So, there are people with a dedicated righteousness who tend to dismiss the reality of true change, not that of paradise lost, but that of natural random evolution — including devolution — in which we, humans, are now involved, by pushy accidental arrivism (philistinism) rather than being clever about it, in playing a greater role on this small planet — for better or worse, in a new era/period we have called the Anthropocene — the era of the human species.

So far, we’ve mucked it up with the help of the god delusion, though our technological advances have been part of an accelerated slide towards planetary discomfort, despite improvement in our kitchen appliances — from a bunch of downstairs slaveys working for the nobility and kings, to automated democratic electrical gizmos.

So the religious “experts” tell us:

 

In the first and in what can fairly be described as a poem in praise of the order, dynamism and fecundity of the world God speaks the world into being the differentiated and diverse sort of reality that it is. Over the course of seven days, light is separated from darkness, earth from the heavens, and land from sea, with all the fertility and profusion of plant and animal creatures coming to be in their midst. The focus of this text has most often centred on day six, because this is the day on which human beings appear. The creation of human beings is unique, because unlike what is said of other creatures, humans are created in the image of God:

Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26).

A mountain of commentary has been devoted to this text. What does the imago Dei refer to, and what sort of power does it inspire and legitimate? What is the point, as the text further elaborates, of being fruitful in number and subduing the earth (1:28)?

 

This is the beginning of the justified raping of the planet by one species: us, the humans who believe in our godly rights to fiddle with rakes and bombs. The text above abominably misunderstands the space, the co-habitants and the true nature of how we have arrived there — so-called in charge of keeping the place tidy, while we destroy nature. I must say I find it unfortunately offensive that one could see humankind in this image of god, though this aggrandissment is hypocritically accepted “with humility” by the bigots and devouts. We rather see ourselves as god’s sinning derivatives than being monkeys’ uncles (or aunties). Sad. But who would not? So the monkeys suffer from being downgraded to being part of the wild as we also make a distinction with “domesticated” animals and those we cannot control, but can destroy, eliminate, eradicate, suffocate and extinct-ate. 

The devout continues with a tad of possibly unintended sarcasm:

 

The responses to these questions have been diverse and numerous. What I wish to highlight, however, is this passage's role in the development of various strands of human exceptionalism, and its deployment to inspire and warrant the modern quest to control nature and engineer life. As historians such as Peter Harrison and Rémi Brague have argued, the scientific desire to know the world, and the technological obsession to remake the world, can be understood as a modern, often secular, variant on the desire to restore human beings to their divine-like nature. To recover the imago Dei, on this reading, means to acquire the knowledge and develop the power that liberates people from the physical exertion that acquaints them with the limits and the needs of embodied life. It puts them on a path to what ecomodernists have described as a good Anthropocene a path on which catastrophes are engineered away and human freedoms and creativity flower.

 

Yes, sustainability is bad news. It can bring us peace and creativity at a clever human level, while the imago Dei — being little gods in waiting — can lead us to greater delusions of acceptance of crap, including pain, war and pestilence because the next life is better on the other side of death. Let’s sacrifice a goat to this idea, unless god asks us to sacrifice our own sons in glorious wars. Go away: religion stinks of hypocrisy and has done so since day one. You have been fooled but you don’t know how to get out of this thick molasses, like a moth trapped in glue. Should you manage to escape, you would have lost a couple of legs and flown straight into the web of a daddy-long-leg.

 

The Legitimacy of the Human is an adjunct work to a bigger work, The Kingdom of Man — a book by Rémi Brague, a very religiously devout man, who argues the thesis of the increasingly visible failure of the modern project, founded upon a view of “man” (women where are thou?) as thoroughly emancipated and autonomous, his own decisive sovereignty and the world’s.

 

Religious beliefs are old men’s business designed to help them own other humans.

Human failures started a long time ago, even before the wandering (religious) Jews, in search of their Promise Land, a search that took more than 5,000 years and is still faulty-wonky, with conflicts of ownership. Meanwhile the Christians, in search of their own superiority complex, ended up with lists of wars longer than those in the bible, while being deceitfully tiddly-godly about sciences. The failures of humans thus rest squarely with god, not with human becoming scientifically (or not) “autonomous”. Proper autonomy means we can seek a positive social construct that understands survival needs, entertaining imagination, the management of resources, the protection of nature and the careful elimination of rubbish.

We’re still fumbling on all fronts because some people want to profit more than others, mostly under the imago Dei illusion and that of cash, which tells us we’re far more valuable than we are. We are valuable but this value is dependent of the planetary system, including the carbon cycle that includes photosynthesis.

 

Brague’s work tells us our failures are most visible in our technological powers and predicaments, with their ever-growing capacity to destroy or fundamentally transform our humanity, but understandings of freedom and equality unable to justify themselves before the bar of reason, but willfully asserting themselves, complement the picture. If modernity’s precious gains are to be preserved, and with them their beneficiaries, modern human beings, then the founding thoughts of the modern world need to be revisited and revised, often in terms of a creative reengagement with pre-modern ones. A new, truly humanistic, culture needs to be sought.

 

Yes we need to be vigilant, and we should be able to live with this, while being more careful where and how we tread. Look. It’s not that hard to know the little limits of our little planet — its thin surface that provides life.

 

The Legitimacy of the Human drives home that basic argument, surveying contemporary challenges to the very existence of humanity, then interrogating modern thought and philosophy for reasons it might have for the continuation of the human adventure. Brague finds the self-proclaimed advocates of the modern strikingly silent or even negative about the proposition. To be sure, in many instances modern philosophy has helped humanity organize itself better in terms of justice, peaceful coexistence, and prosperity. But on the basic question whether it is good that humans exist, it is strangely tongue-tied.

 

Well the answer is very simple, whether we exist or not is totally irrelevant to the greater universe expansion into nothingness from its Big Bangish origin. Our relevance is to our own pain and contentment measuring devices and management with cleverness at a social and individual level. That’s it. And we can improve on the contentment without having to call upon a superior monkey, god, who can tell us we’re sinners… But the old (not as old as Gus) Brague cannot stop himself from consulting the oracles:

 

Other authorities must be consulted, other sources drawn from, to credibly answer that fundamental existential question. The last two chapters of the book hearken to the answer of the biblical God, as expressed in Genesis 1 and recapitulated by the Word Incarnate of the Gospels.

 

This is where we should part company from the religious mob, despite having parted a long time ago. The fundamental existential question is answered by the relativity of a long DNA evolution. Meanwhile, we have been associated with the idea of “god” for too long a time in the Western World, yet we’re still fumbling our understandings — BECAUSE OF IT. We are deluded. Artificial Intelligence has a much better benevolent chance to show our failings in more details and show us A BETTER WAY to manage our affairs on all front of relationships and trade, while preserving the rest of nature we haven’t mucked up yet, and still give us our individuality and better comforts. Lucky us.

Time is running out on this one as the religious mob and the greedy have joined forces to “conquer the earth” which is code for wars and bulldozers — rather than operated hand shit-shovels — to speed up the process. Not good. We need to break up the synergy between power and religion. We need to be more scientific about understanding this planet. Long live the school kids’ revolution in Australia. They know sciences better than our Noah’s ark society leader, Scummo and his new mate, Trump-the-evangelist — his hero whom we loath as much as a plague of flies in the Aussie desert. Where do all these flies come from? There are none we can see, we open the car door, and zoom, we are assaulted by a billion of them as if we were the only turd around, which could be the case, but really… Hence the invention of the corked hat being far more useful than a prayer.

That cotton grower mentioned earlier reminds me of when I was in Africa, I once stood with a couple of friends, at the end of a cotton field that was being sprayed with insecticide from a plane flying no more than two metres (six feet and a bit) above the crop. We were silly of course as we got drenched with DDT (?) or whatever bad poison used then. It was only a small farm compared to the huge American concerns that had started under the awful conditions of slavery…

 

The Empire of Cotton is a book that tells us, from the beginning, about the global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Sven Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today.

Soon, entrepreneurs and powerful politicians improved this most significant manufacturing industry, combining imperial expansion, replacing slave labor with new machines and waged workers to retool global capitalism. The book is unsettling and enlightening. It brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global capitalistic mercantile world came to exist. 

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From here what follows is religiously scented and means bugger all to what is really happening:

 

As rabbinic teaching on the Sabbath developed, it became clear that one of the primary purposes of Sabbath teaching is to restrain a grasping, hording impulse within people. It is to teach people that they live not by the power of their own might and cunning, but must, in the end, learn to receive their livelihood and each other as gifts. Sabbath economics, in other words, is a regular check on human presumption to possess and control.

When it is being properly realised, it issues in practices that open human hands to share the gifts of land and provision with fellow humans and with the domestic and wild creatures of this earth. This is why some rabbis argued that in a Sabbath year, the people must not only cease from working the land to their own benefit; they must also open their storehouses to the wild animals so that no creature is hungry. The desire to practice a Sabbath economy is, therefore, also a desire for the creation of a just world in which the flourishing of the land and all its inhabitants is achieved.

One could argue that the creation of an Anthropocene world is also the creation of an anti-Sabbath world. Why? Because the ambition that seeks to engineer, patent, possess and control creatures and places knows little of the restraint, humility, liberation and respect that mark a Sabbath sensibility.

To characterise the human as a creature made by God to serve and delight in the goodness and beauty of others, and then to develop the many economic policies, cultural institutions, legal codes and education systems that will be necessary to repair a world that too often evokes lament rather than delight, is an enormous task. To move in this direction will require creative and improvisational skills that are inspired by God's own abiding and delighting Shabbat. It will require of people that they slow down, pay attention and come to know the places and the creatures of their life as worthy of their cherishing and care. Inspired by love, they may yet become the humans who work for a better world.

 

Norman Wirzba is the Gilbert T. Rowe Distinguished Professor of Christian Theology at Duke Divinity School, and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. He is the author of Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, Way of Love: Recovering the Heart of Christianity and, with Fred Bahnson, Making Peace with the Land: God's Call to Reconcile with Creation.

 

I suppose you did not need to go through this charming useless read, in order to see the errors of religious beliefs that still dream in cloudy blue skies by traditionally sharing with other creatures, on the Sabbath, what we’ve stolen from the said other creatures on the other days. 

Good for you to explain “hope” with god… Don’t get me started on “traditions”… We’ve started our own planetary interference. We’ve called it the Anthropocene… It’s not a sin, but we need to be vigilant. Secular democracy is the only way to control the number of other idiots. On a wing and a prayer? Well birds don’t pray as far as we know. All they have to do is use their ability to fly. For us, we need to know aerodynamics, engine power and elevation controls otherwise we just fly a kite, if that.

 

It’s not rocket science, nor religious gobledeegook. Onwards anthropocenists! But be gentle.

 

 

Gus Leonisky

 

Your local rabid atheistic shoveller, with a pitchfork…

the anthropocene has barely started...

a cross to bear...

a cross to bear...


delegating the pain of going green to the poor...

...

Hence this December 2 headline from Reuters: “France’s Macron learns the hard way: green taxes carry political risks.” As the article explained, “Macron’s plight illustrates a conundrum: How do political leaders introduce policies that will do long-term good for the environment without inflicting extra costs on voters that may damage their chances of re-election?”

Here we might pause to note that the fuel taxes in question aren’t that large—the equivalent of 12 to 24 cents a gallon. Moreover, the French are hardly strangers to big government: the state’s share of the economy has hovered between 56 and 57 percent of GDP for a decade.  

Yet even if the French are used to lots of taxes, it does appear that the, er, insouciance of the new tax has stuck in their collective craw. That is, Macron seems to have indulged himself in the snobby Gallic temptation to épater (skewer) le bourgeoisie. Such skewering is hardly good politics in a democracy, but then nobody should need to be reminded that the rich are different.

Thus the fuel tax protests have morphed into a larger uprising against “Davocracy,”that being a sly reference to Davos, the site of the globalist World Economic Forum. And of course, Macron, a former Rothschilds investment banker, is a Davos Manpar excellence.

So yes, it was from a high throne that Macron decreed that French carbon emissions should fall by 40 percent by 2030 and that internal combustion cars should be banned altogether by 2040. 

From an Al Gore point of view, these pronouncements are not only fine but vital. Yet to the French public, those green deadlines are starting to look a little too close. And the fuel taxes are just a taste of things to come. 

Indeed, the people of France might have noticed that their country accounts for less than 1 percent of world CO2 emissions. So what’s the big deal about France? 

Meanwhile, around the world, CO2 emissions are rising, not falling. In fact, in China and other Asian countries, even coal consumption is rising. It would seem that the Chinese are happy to tell the green elites what they wish to hear at international conferences, even as back home they themselves continue to burn as they please. Yes, the People’s Republic is eager to sell us solar panels, but it reserves the right to pick the best energy source for itself.

Moreover, The New York Times recently reported that Indonesia, a country of 264 million, boasting the 16th largest economy in the world, is busy tearing up its carbon-sinking rain forest to grow palm oil, which can be used as a fuel that, yes, releases even more carbon dioxide. In other words, Indonesia isn’t even pretending to cooperate with the global greens. 

So what was the reaction of the green elite when Asians in the East ignored international climate rules and emitted their merry way? Why, that’s easy: they cracked down harder…on Westerners. In fact, the Macronian impulse to regulate French carbon is fully consistent with the longstanding desire of past Sun Kings to regulate the peasantry: other countries, of course, have similar top-down traditions. 

Indeed, it’s hard to think of an elite anywhere that doesn’t believe that it knows what’s best for the peons. Yes, there is such a thing as improving the commonweal. But as Lincoln once said, human nature can be improved but only slowly. And yet the greens, as we know, are in a hurry. 

The greens in America might wish to study what’s happening in France, because they might be destined for the same blowback. After all, perhaps the quickest way to reanimate the dreaded Tea Party would be to impose a new green tax.

So what then should be done about climate change? Or at least could be done? One answer that never seems to get considered in Davosian conclaves is to finance the desired de-carbonization with taxes on the rich, as opposed to the middle and working classes. That is, instead of a Macron-style frontal assault on working stiffs, in the form of a consumption tax, what if the elite decided to finance de-carbonization out of its own wealth? What if the French government announced that henceforth, taxes on the rich will finance the production of electric cars that will then be made available, on favorable terms, to ordinary motorists? In other words, what if the rich paid for the greening of the economy? 

Of course, it might be argued that the rich don’t have enough money to pay for any such green transformation. And that might well be true. 

Indeed, the idea of the rich paying for the greening that so many fat cats advocate is so abstract as to perhaps qualify as a crypto-Marxist thought experiment and nothing more. Still, that thought experiment reminds us that for the greens, there are issues more important than de-carbonization, such as wealth preservation. Yet if wealth preservation is important to the rich, maybe it’s important to the middle class, too.

In the meantime, so long as the petit bourgeoisie see their green betters flying around in private jets and living in big homes, it’s a safe bet that they’ll grow increasingly resistant to hectoring dictates. 

So if they’re in search of an actual, workable plan for carbon reduction, the greens will have to look beyond austerity. One such answer is atmospheric carbon capture, as argued by this author here at TAC in 2017. After all, if green plants—as in vegetation—have been capturing carbon for eons, we ought to be able to figure out how to do it, too. Carbon capture is an obvious win-win: get the benefit of the fuel and protect the environment. 

It’s always seemed to me that if the elite were truly elite—that is, as smart and fit to lead as they think they are—then they’d be thinking up popular and effective solutions to problems as opposed to unpopular and ineffective solutions to problems. Macron, of course, found the latter, and now he’s probably a goner.  

Yet it’s not too late for America’s greens. They’re not in power yet, and so they still have time to figure out ways to solve ecological problems without doing violence to Americans’ financial or psychological well-being. 

So that’s the choice: learn from Macron’s mistakes or share Macron’s fate.

James P. Pinkerton is an author and contributing editor at The American Conservative. He served as a White House policy aide to both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/make-the-rich-pay-for-t...

radicalism, reactionism and understandism...

Radical communities select for particular personality types. They attract deeply compassionate people, especially young people attuned to the suffering inherent to existence. They attract hurt people, looking for an explanation for the pain they’ve endured. And both of these derive meaning for that suffering by attributing it to the force that they now dedicate themselves to opposing. They are no longer purely a victim, but an underdog.

However, radical communities also attract people looking for an excuse to be violent illegalists. And the surplus of vulnerable and compassionate people attracts sadists and abusers ready to exploit them. The only gatekeeping that goes on in radical communities is that of language and passion—if you can rail against capitalism in woke language, you’re in.

Read the whole thing. It’s really worth it. What Barnes is describing is a religion without God. It attempts to expiate sins by identifying more and more scapegoats. Note that Barnes says at the top of his essay that the cultish thought categories and practices of the radicals have become mainstream on the Left. Which is true. What he doesn’t mention is that it is also becoming mainstream in American corporations.

The Barnes essay reminds me of Dostoesvky’s parable of The Grand Inquisitor.  In the story (from The Brothers Karamazov), the title character — a heretic-burning cardinal in late medieval Seville — confronts Christ returned to earth, and tells him to get out of town, because He is upsetting the system. The Inquisitor tells Christ that humankind can’t handle freedom. People will surrender their freedom to a system that can take care of their material needs, settle moral questions for them (so they don’t have to think about right and wrong), and work towards radical egalitarianism, where people don’t have to think about difference (because that would require them to think about whether or not they are living rightly). The Inquisitor’s system has relieved people of the burden of being fully human; he believes he is doing humankind a favor. Submit to the System, and all will be well. What does it matter if a small number of people are crushed, so long as it benefits the greater good?

This is a temptation that faces all of us. We can create an inhuman System like that within the churches — and I know just the one to do it — and without church at all, as Conor Barnes discovered.

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/the-roots-of-radicals-mis...

 

Gus:

The depressing misery of many radicals stems from the greedery of the reactionists and the lack of understandism...

Kick god in the gonads for accurate scientific investigation, do your best to share your humaneness and be happy...

 

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