Thursday, September 4, 2014

When their research has social implications, how should climate scientists get involved?

My response to this Guardian position.

Taking a position as a political advocate means that you are no longer adhering to the prime directive of objectivity that is the due of true Scientists. In many ways you are no longer open to dissent when pressing your objectives with emotional zeal. You have become a believer.

If protecting your reputation is important than it is incumbent upon any professional to distinguish between their work and their hobbies.
Many climate alarmists have embraced the "Precautionary Principle" as the basis for their prescribed remedies, making them, in effect insurance salesmen. My understanding is that if you want to keep the price of insurance down, consumers must be persuaded to buy it, not compelled. The hard evidence so far leads many of us to discount the need for such a policy.

Political advocates prophesizing that the Arctic will be ice free by 2014 or that a child in New York will never know what it is like to throw a snow ball doesn't sell many insurance policies.

It devolves into the realm of opinion which by its nature, even if supported by evidence is subjective. I might take the evidence that red cars are more likely to be charged with speeding than blue cars. Yet that is only my opinion that your red car will get a ticket.

In order to come to a political solution opinions are important, but they must be distinguished from a scientists work, otherwise they become an inflexible dogma.

The point is that Political Advocacy is not Science. Everyone in a free society has the right to an opinion on political solutions, especially scientists. But, an opinion, even from a scientist, cannot be regarded with the same validity as an experimental deduction.

Indeed many scientists hold conflicting opinions on the best course of action we should take even if CO2 touches off a violent series of positive feedbacks.

It would be refreshing for a lay person like myself to see more debating and defense of prescribed actions in the public arena.

Either I have missed it or I have not seen a serious public rebuttal of: 1) The evidence that shows the climate has not warmed over the last 10 to 15 years despite an increase in CO2. 2) The polar ice is increasing in size. 3) There is no evidence that the number of tropical storms has increased. I think most of us are open to conflicting evidence when presented honestly & without bias.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Has the Public Sector reached a Critical Mass?

On June 12, 2014 another Liberal Majority government was elected despite a record number of scandals that cost taxpayers billions of dollars. What should have been a public shaming and humiliating defeat for the incumbent has turned into a clean slate to pursue a policy of empowered paternalism.

How could this happen?  I asked a prominent economist from the University of Western Ontario for his opinion on why the Tories were failing to catch fire with the electorate. His only answer was “it means that errors were made” (by the Tories). The answer could lie in an examination of those so called “errors”. The Tories had campaigned with a moderate plan to create private sector jobs and stabilize the fiscal deficit. They had called it the “Million Jobs” plan that would require a slowing in the growth of government. The result was a tidal wave of alarmism from public sector unions, and surprisingly from a few private sector labour organizations such as the Journalist’s Union.  The Tory plan was portrayed as a “slash and burn” agenda that would, believe it or not, destroy the province's economy. Was Tim Hudak’s error that he did not hide the fact that he believed something had to be done about provincial spending? Was it a tactical error to endorse the chopping of 100K public sector jobs? Was it a mistake to focus on Ontario’s competitiveness? Some pundits think so. Yet, this is a reaction to a plan that focused on fiscal responsibility (I would argue in a very moderate manner) and its failure to attract support points to a much deeper transition that has taken place within the province.

Over the past decade the Ontario government has aggressively broadened its powers to influence and distort the economy. It has dramatically increased the cost of energy with its draconian implementation of the Green Energy Act. It has thwarted entrepreneurial growth within the health industry by enforcing professional privilege that restricts less expensive resources from providing services. It has mandated that automobile drivers should be harassed with insurance services they don’t need and cannot opt out of, while forcing them to comply with overbearing and expensive inspection requirements. It has broadened the scale and cost of the education system so that children are drawn into the system at a much younger age.  The government has also lavishly spent its treasure on computerized databases that watch every detail of a citizen’s health status and drug purchases, driving habits and other metadata intrusions. These incursions have contributed to the explosive growth of Public Sector employment and Private Sector Cronies who are funded in whole or in part by the government.

The growth of the Public Sector has a corollary growth in the mandate for organizations that are designed to protect and expand the incomes and jobs of those who work for the government. This mandate includes political action in favour of more public spending. With the continuous growth of the Public Sector it will soon reach a critical mass where this vested interest has the power to elect the government it chooses.  Ontario is now faced with the terrifying prospect of being at the mercy of its own public infrastructure. It explains why a Liberal Party that has been in power for almost a decade and has been responsible for the most expensive scandals in the Province’s history can be re-elected with a majority in the Legislature. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Curious Burton Stone of Power

Friday, March 7, 2014

Does Prohibiting Prostitution Enhance Freedom?

A rebuttal of Mr. Hampson's rebuttal of Anthony Furey's Libertarian defense legalizing Prostitution

Mr. Hampson has attempted to rebut a rational defense of prostitution with an emotional justification for state paternalism.  His argument presumes that human beings aspire to be indolent ne’er-do-wells, who, without the states intervention would become ideal fodder for manipulation by tyrants. They just don’t know what is best for them without his help.

Freedom is a two edged sword. It requires one to be responsible for one’s actions and most importantly to bear the consequences of those actions. The described man who only wishes to smoke marijuana and immerse himself in Pop culture must at least create enough wealth to pay for cable TV & his supply of pot in a free society. Only overbearing parents or the Nanny State could enable this lifestyle without contributions from the under achiever.

It is responsibility that gives human life its dignity. This is why slavery, initiated violence against others and child pornography are wrong. The use of force robs an individual of the dignity of responsibility and compels them to accept the consequences of someone else’s actions. Hence, the use of force by the state to engineer proper behavior in its citizens is inherently degrading.

By prohibiting prostitution the state is in effect creating a protected market for criminals who can demand high margins for a service with supply that is artificially constrained. In a free society it is a fallacy to claim that a woman is “being bought” and used. By her own volition she or he has traded value for value from a negotiated agreement.

Freedom also provides a moderating force to self-destructive activities. The freedom to speak one’s mind in a forum that does not violate the rights of others could be used to impart moral lessons and wisdom to all who would listen. It also provides us with the ability to use our compassion freely to whomever we think is worthy.

One can only conclude that by prohibiting sovereign individuals from engaging in an activity like prostitution the state has robbed us of the dignity of responsibility. This, I counter, makes us much more susceptible to tyrannical manipulation than if we truly were to choose our own course of action.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Revisiting the political divide

 Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)                              John Locke (1632 - 1704)

For lack of an argument many antagonistic partisans prefer simply to label their opponents as right-wing or left-wing in the hope it will relieve their audience of the necessity for any further thought. This is particularly irksome for a lucid adversary when the debated activity is misaligned on the political grid. But, what is this grid and is there a test that will reliably place one’s ideas in its proper place?  

I realize that this would be detrimental to anyone obfuscating their message deliberately, but I believe the time has come to agree on a universal political spectrum.

In 1789 the political divide was loosely defined by the seating in the French National Assembly. The spectrum consisted of a Jacobin elite on the left-wing of the house supporting what they called a republic and a Legitimist elite on the right-wing defending various implementations of the Monarchy. The overriding theme of the time was which elite would exercise absolute power over the unfortunate citizens of France. In hind-sight we know that the Jacobins would self-destruct by implementing an unprecedented orgy of political genocide known as the Terror - While the right-wing elites would implode by escalating destruction into the monumental catastrophe known as the Napoleonic Wars.

The French were unwilling or unable it seems to appreciate the evolutionary road to enlightenment that was unfolding in Britain and her empire. The dominant theme in Britain was the long road leading to the rejection of absolutism in all its forms. This began to unfold after the signing at Runnymede in 1215 of the immortal Magna Charta. Evolving with time half the British political spectrum could be defined by the classical liberal John Locke who advocated freedom through his justification of property rights and by proposing the separation of church & state. He became a major inspiration for the rebellion in 13 of Britain’s colonies in North America. The other half, perhaps best embodied by Edmund Burke have taken the view that tradition and religion were the best bulwarks against tyranny. The idea was that existing institutions could be modified, not replaced, to protect the rights of individuals. The consequences of these two roads have produced the “Constitutional Republic” and the “Constitutional Monarchy”. Both of these systems are designed to overcome the impulse toward absolutism – one overt and the other subtle.

Through the 19th and 20th centuries absolutists experimented with many different implementations of their trade. The Pragmatism of William James and John Dewy became the justification for all manner of tyranny under the rubric; “the end justifies the means”.  Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Islamism and Socialism are the resulting abominations. The dominant theme for modern day absolutists is the demand for group rights that are identified as the “collective”, the “people” or the “class”. By advocating for a group with a uniform message this structure is by its nature elitist. In response to the elitist experiments proponents of individualism began to question the legitimacy of the right to govern. The logical conclusion of this thinking is an ideal state of anarchy where no man is governed by another.

Today the political spectrum is inherently coloured by the clash of the elite forces of absolutism and the individual’s rational desire to be free. Boiled down to its bare essentials this is collectivism on the left of the grid and Individualism on the right.

Now you should know where you stand. If you advocate policies that require or justify the use of force against other people such as; government social programs or other wealth redistribution schemes, State monopolies like education or the post office and restrictions on free speech then you reside on the left-wing of the Political spectrum. If you advocate volunteerism, believe in free enterprise and freedom of thought & conscience then you reside on the right-wing of the grid.
Now that that is cleared up; are you a collectivist or an individualist, an elitist or an individualist, an initiator of force or an individualist – If you think about it you may change your mind.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Useful notes on Objectivism*

*From: TVtropes          

A philosophy inseparably connected to the name of its creator (and namer), Russian-American writer Ayn Rand.
Plato divided philosophy into four primary branches; Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics and Politics. Objectivism has positions in each of these areas:


Metaphysics is the study of existence (also known as Ontology) as well as the basic 'substances' which make it up (also known as Cosmology). Rand argued, following Aristotle, that Ontology was the proper area of Metaphysics and that Cosmology should be reserved for the physical sciences. Thus, Objectivist metaphysics is confined to an Ontology.
What is Ontology? Ontology is the study of what it means to exist. This is probably the most mind screwy it gets, because 'that which exists' is a broad category. However, the basic questions of Ontology can be summarized as follows: Is there something? and If there is something, does it exist independently of my consciousness?
When you were a child and you thought that by closing your eyes, you could make something you dislike go away - well, that was your younger self hoping that the thing you didn't like existed in a way that depended on your consciousness.
Objectivism argues that: 1) There is something. 2) That it exists independently of your consciousness and you can't simply think it into non-existence. Philip K. Dick, no Objectivist himself, nevertheless articulated a definition of reality that many Objectivists can agree with: "Reality is that which, if you stop believing in it, does not go away."
You may ask "how can I know this? How can you know this? How can Ayn Rand know this?" The problem with asking that, according to Objectivists, is in order to know something, that something must exist in the first place.
Objectivist metaphysics thus stiplulates three axioms, i.e. undeniable, irreducible facts, describe how reality works:
  1. Existence exists (there is something)
  2. Every thing that exists has a specific nature or identity ('A is A' or 'a thing is what it is'). A thing must be something, otherwise it is nothing.
  3. You exist, and you exist possessing consciousness, which is the faculty of perceiving that which exists.

The theory suggests that these facts are "undeniable" because to deny them requires them to be true. If you deny that existence exists, you have to exist (because only entities can perform an action like denying something). Additionally, this denial assumes you have a consciousness which allows you to think and perceive and process more here.

Kant & Subjectivism

Kant's subjectivist philosophy*

"On the contrary, Subjectivism is the antithesis to Objectivism. Subjectivism was effectively established -but not explicitly stated- by German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). One of Subjectivism’s central tenets is that external reality is completely dependent on the internal reality of the perceiver; that reality as an individual perceives it (or in extreme cases as a collective perceives it) is a construct of the desires of the perceiver, or whims, wishes, hopes, or fears. 

Subjectivism holds that the universe is not absolute, in fact it asserts that no absolutes exist whatsoever- which is a contradiction, and contradictions do not exist- henceforth Objectivism is right because its tenets/axioms do not contradict themselves. “Subjectivists believe that feelings are the creator of facts, and therefore a man’s (collective in some cases) primary tool of cognition. If men feel it, declares the subjectivist, that makes it so,” a famous critique by Ayn Rand."

*Quote from William Nauenburg at Opinion

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cui bono?

Why are Toronto’s young black kids participating in gun violence? On the surface it is a perplexing problem that seems to defy a rational answer. But at its root, as always, there is one culprit that will foil any “symptom based” plan to end this unwelcome tragedy.  The Filthy Lucre obtained by reaping the profits of a false economy is the stimulus for extreme gang violence.  It is the “illegal” drug trade that is without a doubt the greatest contributor to urban violence in our country.
Because the Nanny State sees itself as the guardian of morality, having usurped the church, it feels compelled to regulate every aspect of choice within society. It is a self-perpetuating system that creates infrastructure to deal with alleged social ills, thereby legitimizing and expanding them into demand for further regulation.  Without the power of the modern Nanny State the Law of “Unintended Consequences” would serve as a lesson in corrective reform.  By creating powerful vested interests the state is unable to take curative measures without being accosted by a wave emotional propaganda designed to enforce the maintenance of ever expanding bureaucracy.
With almost existential inevitability the Nanny State will decree what is in the best interest of its population.  The most devastating instrument for state enforcement of morality is to prohibit a product or service that is desired by a segment of society.  Prohibition creates a market vacuum that can only be exploited by criminal activity.  Rather than focusing on liability for damages the state uses the law to shield the market from legitimate competition with the result of ludicrously high prices and profits.
Being much more resourceful than the state gives them credit many people will seek to supply the demand for prohibited goods or services. They will create the organization that is necessary to operate within an illegal environment.  Since the state has withdrawn the protection of law and order, these organizations will defend their market share from rivals with violence.  By following a policy of Prohibition the state has created a positive risk/reward incentive for many people who desire a fast-track to riches.
The prohibited activity becomes the focus of state expenditure which then creates a vested interest that is determined to expand its funding. Cui bono! All of this leads back to 15 year old kids killing each other in order to compete within a street level sales organization that operates in a lawless environment.  
Prohibition enriches criminal organizations, leads to violence, creates expensive vested interests and results in the death of children.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nothing to see here

Nothing to see here – move along – quickly now! (Responding to note below)
All of the cheerleaders for the “Idle no more” or “party on” group, such as the CBC, Toronto Star & other lefty apologists don’t want you (the tax payer) to know the facts. It appears that Sun News is the only news outlet willing to ask some of the right questions.
When “Sacred Cow” issues like the standard narrative for Climate change or Native rights are challenged by the facts many of us just don’t want to face up to reality because it doesn’t jive with our world view.
We use the standard tactic of attempting to deflect attention away from the issues at hand and hurl abuse at the proverbial straw man that everyone agrees is the enemy.  For many on the left side of the political spectrum the straw man is Sun News. They are liars (they must be I read that in a blog somewhere) or they are in the pay of big oil. So we can safely avoid paying any attention to the issues at hand and write off the inconvenient facts as the ravings of a lunatic.
Well, many of us from the right, centre, left and libertarians want to know the truth about how our tax dollars are being spent and what is the motivation for that spending. Basic questions should be asked in order to take rational action toward the desired outcomes.
These issues start right at the basic principles we use to govern our morality:

1)   In our society whose interests predominate? The individuals or the guilds (elites)?

2)   Is it moral to perpetuate unsustainable communes based on race with tax dollars?

3)   Are racially based contracts even constitutional in the 21st century?

4)   Are we encouraging an elitist criminal culture with our paternalistic welfare?

5)   Are native people being used as tools to achieve political agendas?

Let’s address the real issues at hand and avoid the use of Red Herrings to deflect attention away from them.  And yes we can take arguments seriously, even from the CBC or Sun News. It requires only that we take responsibility for our own interpretations and defend them rationally.

All that said, it is certainly strange that the Attawapiskat First Nation seems to have been running a multi million dollar surplus for the past two years.
The financial statements are here btw:
Hardly 'investigative journalism' though. 
Ezra could have put all his 'reports' together from his bedroom. He even admits the networks rep. as a tabloid. 
It's pretty insulting of him to sweep aside the efforts of the many canadians involved in the Idle No More and Occupy movements as goalless stunts organized for attention by some mysteriously rich circle of radical liberals. An interview or two would be welcome as well. Just a poor excuse for real journalism. 
Overall, not worth listening to. 
But that's just my opinion.

On January 14, 2013 5:44:48 PM PST, gregory burton wrote:
Can we really consider seriously any arguments presented on Sun News?
I mean come on, If a branch of the CBC printed a line of tabloid papers would we still trust the integrity of their reports?
Sun news was created because Quebecor thought Canadian viewers were getting bored and switching to American news channels. 
Bored. Not suspicious.
Canadian News channels maybe haven't been the most exciting in history, but they've generally done a decent job at being honest and well rounded, and have garnered a reputation for being networks that report facts. 
Not so with Fox News, the American template for the Sun News Network. Their shifty antics and reputation for mis-reporting are well known and documented by many, and most are at least aware. These people make entertainment news. It's their mission statement. They sell 'hard news' and 'edgy opinions' to a market demographic of bored citizens. They've said it themselves quite plainly if we care to listen.
(one example of an independent online magazine doing simple, straight reporting.)
Up until now I haven't needed my news, or my world for that matter, to be more exciting or edgy than it already is. The likes of Rick Mercer and John Stewart are about as much 'opinion' reporting as I can stand, and that, because at least they acknowledge the joke.
I'll stick with the CBC until pressure forces them through the same hoop. And after that, I'd rather make a few well-considered phone calls and emails to folks who are involved or who know people who are involved (which I'm sure we all do if we think hard enough) to get some firsthand info. than listen to explicitly 'less politically correct' and 'unapologetically patriotic' entertainment news.
From where I stand these issues are much more important for us to be thinking about than anything Ezra Levant has to say about a very old and very delicate issue in Canadian society and politics.
Keep your heads up, and much love

Monday, December 3, 2012

In response to Brian Stewart: Time for Canada to get back to peacekeeping

To Brian Stewart

Many of us do not have a problem with peace keeping per se - it is the body controlling the operation that breeds disgust.  The UN has indeed proven to be a cess pit of corruption and political complication. Many of its operations come preconfigured for failure with compromises that have led to soul destroying restrictions that produce genocidal results.

Peace keeping missions in the future should focus on the best interests of Canada and our allies, but they should not be prosecuted under the auspices of the UN. NATO and The Commonwealth are far superior organizations for the promotion of peace that remains in-line with our western values.

Mr. Stewart will find few who wish to return to the futility of past liberal Canadian fantasies where Canadian soldiers are reduced to helplessly pleading with combatants to maintain a cease-fire and refrain from slaughtering innocent civilians. It is also most distressing to hear Mr. Stewart refer to Somalia, Rwanda, and Srebrenica as merely the down side of a good policy – any organization that would have its soldiers stand down while genocide is underway is corrupt to the core.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

This Says it All

If we can save but one........

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
                      C.S. Lewis

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Debased by Debate

Exposed as irresponsible spend thrifts, the left is desperately searching for ways to connect with its base and find its way back to power. In Jamaica they have decided to employ xenophobia with a good measure of racism. (It is so much fun to accuse others of outrageous intent – but “reductio ad absurdum”) Portia Simpson Miller the Prime Minister has decided to implement constitutional change and replace the Queen as head of state in the island. Why? Because it is a great devise to deflect attention from the fact that she has no stomach for policies that will improve the lot her fellow countrymen.

In Canada the Monarchy is very popular (to the everlasting consternation of the left) and it would be suicidal for a Liberal or NDP leader to make such a policy a major plank in their platform. For them the deflection will come under the guise of a “reasonable debate”. They need time to repeat over and over again, with the help of their media minions, their xenophobic, anti-British heritage message.  This was the same tactic Lester Pearson used to undermine Anglo- Canadian heritage in the 1960’s. Keep chipping away at the infrastructure until through exhaustion it ceases to be relevant.

 The problem is that there is no downside to the Monarchy.  It adds to the prestige of the country on an international level, it rewards valour and it generates more wealth than it costs. On a constitutional level it provides moral leadership (exemplified by King George during World War Two) while at the same time acting as a model for the limitation of executive power. The tradition of our Constitutional Monarchy stands as point of patriotism, like the flag, that all people can rally to regardless of political affiliation.

The Monarchy is a symbol of our Country.  To debate it is to debase it – much the way that debates on the right to burn the flag denigrates it and the country. To debate the Monarchy would cause great pain and distress to many of our soldiers and senior citizens.  Canada is a mature, confident democracy that is in no small measure a direct result of our history. Even while young Liberals are preparing their mischief, they cannot deny that the very subjects they pretend to speak for have in the past petitioned the Monarchy on the world stage. Both Aboriginal people and Québécois have used this avenue to present their case before the people of Canada.

The symbols of the Country should never be subject to partisan debate unless there is an aggrieved party. With the Monarchy as with the flag there are no damages – only benefits.

At the polls Canadians will punish the Left again if they inject xenophobia and racism into the national debate – they will give pain for pain received.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Entitlement and Anti-social Behavior = OWS

The occupy movement, if you can call it a movement, has highlighted a peculiar inconsistency that has muddled thinking in the West for 100’s of years. Since the Enlightenment toleration of divergent views has become the hallmark of the compromise we call modern society. Today we are pushing the envelope on the toleration front to the point where we tolerate advocates who would outlaw toleration.
Most sane people agree that the foundation of Western freedom is adherence to the rule-of-law. Law that is arrived at by a democratic process we call Parliament. It would follow that those who skirt the law are either undermining freedom or protesting an unfair law. How then do we classify those who game the law for an affirmative benefit for themselves or their constituency?
The reason the occupy movement has not roused a larger base of support from the local populations (other than the fact that they are an unsympathetic, unwashed rabble without a cogent message) is because they are perceived to be getting away with something the rest of us cannot. Most of us know that we would be penalized without exception if the parking meter runs out or if we block traffic. Yet protestors flout regulations in the name of expression with what appears to be little consequence. We expect a “level playing field” or “equality before the law” will instill a sense of fairness that makes social interaction tolerable.
The inconsistency is the erroneous belief that the “freedom to destroy freedom” in the name of protest has any legitimacy in western thought.  For centuries the principles of Locke, Smith and Jefferson have come under exceptionally innovative attack by those seeking an unfair advantage. Vested interests have always tried to subvert freedom with intimidation to enhance their position. Unions routinely obstruct the rights of others for partisan benefit, just as the guilds and marketing boards restrict entry to professions or production for their own profit. The growth of government itself is a form of subversion that tilts the playing field toward absurd levels of unfairness (In direct contradiction of the stated goals). 
I hope we have reached the limit of tolerance for anyone who would disregard the law in pursuit of unfair benefits. The economic crisis we face today is the direct result of government policies that sought to “help” certain constituencies by giving those advantages others do not have. This mandate to fast track some people encouraged ingenious but disastrous behavior in the money markets by insinuating that sub-prime loans would be underwritten by government policy.
Perhaps the best illustration of the escalating divergence from the path of freedom is the contrast between the Tea Party protests and the Occupy Wall Street movement. One group scrupulously obeyed the law, demanded unconditional liberty with no advantage and promoted a consistent philosophy. The other group broke the law, demanded free stuff and had no coherent message to speak of.
If we truly want to maintain our liberty within a civil society we must reaffirm our commitment to the rule of law. Sadly this will only bear fruit when the law itself is purged, as best we can, of favoritism and partisan advantage. Social engineering by government inherently seeks to subvert natural law and supplant it will short-term utopian goals. We are now enduring the long-term effects of the Welfare State; extreme feelings of entitlement and anti-social behavior. I.E. The Occupy Wall Street Movement.  God help us!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Freedom in a Dangerous World

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” - William Pitt the Younger

How does anyone who holds individual freedom as their highest ideal defend themselves from the on-slot of vested interests both foreign and domestic?

For most this will appear to be an odd question as it would seem self-evident that the sacrifice of one’s freedom is essential to protect one’s wellbeing.  Is freedom doomed by the very act of defending freedom? The key to avoiding an intellectual melt-down is the acceptance that we live in an imperfect world and it will always be an imperfect world. Man may never achieve a Utopia and would probably lapse into conformity if he did. Epictetus said: If virtue promises happiness, prosperity and peace, then progress in virtue is progress in each of these for to whatever point the perfection of anything brings us, progress is always an approach toward it. So the battle for freedom must be fought on every question with the measure being progress toward greater liberty.

Today Freedom is under attack from all quarters. Terrorists and internet hackers in pursuit of short-term aspirations, see individuals as nothing more than a means-to-an-end. Governments and other world bodies seize the opportunity to redistribute wealth and watch our every move. Criminals lurk in places we least expect, ready to pounce. The plea of necessity is loud and growing in volume. Are we evolving into a tyranny predicted by Karl Marx?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oakley has a point

One of These Things is a lot Like the Other...

Both Al-Qaeda and the Liberal Party of Canada are organizations that seek to challenge Western civilization. One uses overt violence to pursue its goals while the other uses the numbing mantra of moral equivalence. They both seek to be unchained from the strictures of reason, individual freedom and the right to self-defence.  They represent vested interests that wish to operate with impunity in their spheres without interference or even criticism. These interests are as diverse as the Taliban and the Ontario teachers unions, but the assignment is always the same: gain and maintain power.  The only thing that stands in their way is our tradition of freedom and our confidence to defend it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Response to a common Complaint

Who do you think pays when corporations pay more tax?

That's right you and me. I presume by fair you mean anything but fair -
punitive attacks on success are considered fair by the left.

If by success you mean making money through predatory pricing and poor wages/benefits for employees, then yes, I am for punitive measures.  However, I don't see how making sure businesses pay taxes like everyone is punitive.  If their greed makes them raise prices because they have to pay taxes, eventually they will fail, when people can no longer afford what they are selling.  Right now, I work just as hard as my elite business executive friends, yet I earne 1/5 the salary and pay more is that fair?  Thea
I don't know of anyone who has been successful in business who relies on pricing that does not recoup costs and can't retain employees because of poor conditions. That is unless they are subsidized by governments or taking advantage of illegal immigration. Chinese oil companies and Brazilian aircraft manufacturers come to mind. Perhaps you can think of someone.
A business is not a person – (even people on the right don't seem to get this – Bill O'Reilly) They rely on customers to pay their expenses and if they are efficient they can make a profit and stay in business. Ultimately the customer will always pay – an added expense like a new tax will come right off the bottom-line. This is basic economics – if investors can get a better return at another company they will move their capital there – it is not a question of greed. The freedom to create wealth has produced unprecedented advances in standard of living and life extension over the past two hundred years.
I feel for you when you are prevented from getting the true market value for your work. Unfortunately your industry has been monopolized by the government and is artificially holding the real cost down by restricting wages and engaging in predatory pricing. I support your quest for private sector wage levels – that is if you also accept private ownership.
The alternative is to turn the entire economy over to centralized government planners and we will all be equally poor – see Cuba.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Technology Already Exists!

AREVA offers its clients electricity management solutions which enable them to adapt their production levels to meet demand. The group is developing solutions for the production of hydrogen through water electrolysis and the generation of electricity through fuel cells.

Building for the peak

The price of electric energy is going up at an astonishing rate and all indications are that if we continue with our existing policies it will reach economy crippling levels very soon. The reasons for this are many and varied, but the government’s desire to appear to reduce emissions is the primary explanation. So-called clean technologies are expensive and nowhere near as efficient as plants that burn fossil fuels. To compound this problem the cyclical nature of electric power consumption requires the industry to build an infrastructure that will meet the needs of peak usage. Most of this infrastructure will lay fallow during off hours - pushing up the cost.

So why not find a way to make the electrical grid pay for itself 24/7? The answer of course is to use excess electricity generation capacity to produce a clean efficient portable fuel – Hydrogen. The production of hydrogen fuel would create a whole new revenue stream for the power utilities that they could use to reduce the cost of electric power. Ironically this would have the greatest effect on the efficiency of alternative electricity sources such as wind or solar power. They are notoriously difficult to attach to the power grid because of their fluctuations in output. Taking them off-line to produce hydrogen would allow them to use 100% of their output to create usable energy.

The problem is we don't have an infrastructure that can distribute and store hydrogen. So what can government do to fix this problem? It would appear obvious. They should remove the cost of government from any project that will enhance a hydrogen fuel distribution grid. They have already spent recklessly on alternative energy projects such as wind and solar power – an investment in a hydrogen infrastructure would help make that technology more cost effective. Government should aggressively encourage the expansion of hydro-electric capacity in the far north with a primary objective of producing energy that can be piped to population centers without line-loss.

A hydrogen infrastructure cannot be built over night – so a sector by sector approach would have to be adopted. Government could influence taxis and buses to burn hydrogen fuel with tax rebates and then move to a similar program for the trucking industry. This would allow the infrastructure to keep pace with growing consumption and before long many private vehicles would make the switch.

So let’s do this before we are too broke to pay our hydro bills!

Monday, May 2, 2011

What will happen to us?

What will happen to us? From the Boston Globe

The underlying premise of this article, which takes a macro-economic view of our species, is at odds with what it means to be human. One must never forget that there is no such person as humanity – thinking of us in those terms can only lead to a calculus where millions will die. What separates us from the lower forms of life is our awareness of our own mortality on an individual level. This understanding guides us toward strategies that should enhance and extend the precious time that we have left. The subversion of our individuality by elites that collectivize us for “our own good” has left a trail of woe and destruction throughout our known history. The battle for the future of mankind lies with philosophy, not with technology.

The notion that free men are self-destructive boarders on absurd – only a sinister philosophy that would promote self-sacrifice for some “greater good” could end in the corruption of our self-interest. Liberty makes life worth living and mankind will survive by defending it.

Presently the greatest threat to freedom is the “precautionary principle” that says we should curtail liberty in order to prevent a theoretical and as yet unproven threat. This maxim will be used over and over again to exert control over our actions and extract our wealth until we become helpless. Our self-interest has always been the guide for free men to deal effectively with known threats and it will continue to protect us in the future.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Little Englanders again?

Responding to anti-American comments on Linkedin Group "Friends of Great Britain"

Christopher J BurtonI see the greatness of Britain when I look at her progeny. Freeborn British pioneers have created the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They unified the Indian Sub-continent to an unprecedented degree and spread Western liberty throughout the world. It distresses me to see a resurgence of “Little Englanders” who would like Britain to retreat into obscurity and quaintness.

The world needs leadership that confidently embraces the Western concepts of freedom that are embodied by Great Britain. The United States is not the villain in this story. Beware of the Eastern economies that are causing the de-industrialization of the West with the deft use of currency manipulation. Beware of the irrationalism and violence emigrating out of the Middle East and remember that it is the centralizing forces of government control that have enslaved Europe over and over again.