Etats-Unis; la Destitution: mise a jour:

La premiere manche du processus de destitution du pres. Trump va mal pour les Dems. Les elus du parti a la Chambre des representants ont de plus en plus l’air de cons, et de plus, de cons ennuyeux. On commence a se demander dans le parti s’il faut vraiment s’infliger une deuxieme manche perdue d’avance (car elle se passerait au Senat, fermement aux mains des Republicains). Rappel: Cette deuxieme manche constituerait le quasi-proces qui pourrait theoriquement aboutir a la destitution du president et a son depart immediat du pouvoir.

La chef de la majorite a la Chambre, Nancy Pelosi, une fine manoeuvriere parlementaire, est surement en train de se demander comment tirer les marrons Democrates du feu Republicain.

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Madness Entitlement

Most American undergraduates in four-year colleges want to study abroad for a while. (I think this is probably true. I would bet 75/25 for.) In 2019 (or 2018, not clear) 20% of American students were diagnosed with or treated for depression. I can’t vouch for this number. That’s from an article by Andrea Petersen in the frou-frou pages of the Wall Street Journal of 11/12/19 . (Yes, the WSJ has had frou-frou pages for years.) Petersen cites a study of 68,000 students by the American College Health Association in support.

The sunny, gay article (in the original meaning of the word “gay”) examines some of the ways in which American colleges and universities assist mentally and emotionally afflicted students realize every student’s dream of studying abroad. The measures taken range from allowing students going to Europe to bring their emotional support dog with them (would I make this up?) to training host families in how to alleviate their American guests mental suffering.

I don’t make light of depression but hey, here is a sound idea: Take a depressed young person probably still struggling to establish his/her identity and, for half or more, also struggling with grade issues, separate him/her from his/her recently acquired college support system, drop him/her suddenly in a country whose language they don’t understand (including most of the UK and some of Ireland), insert the student someplace where he/she is a nobody, with zero recognizable accomplishments. Wish him/her well. Wish for the best.

The mindlessness gets worse. Ms. Petersen comments on the big problems that arise when students gone abroad suddenly cease to take their medication. She cites by name a psychiatry professor who recommends avoiding any interruption in treatment by taking along enough medicine to last for the whole duration of the stay abroad. Excuse me, but isn’t it true that much anti-depression medicine is feel-good drugs easily subject to abuse? Isn’t it also true that a quantity large enough to last a year, even six months, is a quantity large enough to qualify you as a dealer in some, in many countries? Do you really want your inexperienced twenty-year old to spend even a little time in a slammer among people whose language he/she has not mastered? Isn’t this picture pretty much a definition of batshit crazy? (1)

Yes, they say, but it’s worth taking this kind of risk, or some risks, for the great enrichment studying abroad provides. What enrichment, I ask? If you polled twenty experienced college professors in a variety of disciplines, I am sure you would find only lukewarm endorsement for the practice. Study abroad disrupts learning in the same way vacations disrupt learning, or a little worse. In return, what good does it do? The easiest thing first: No, almost no students will “learn” a foreign language while studying abroad for a quarter, for a semester, even for a school year. That takes several years; immersion is both problematic and much oversold as an initial language learning method. (Actually, I think it does not work at all. If it did, we wouldn’t have some many immigrants stuck in low pay jobs after twenty years.) Immersion lasting a few months will benefit the handful of students who have already spend several years studying the language of the country where they stay. It will make the pieces fall into place faster, so to speak. For the rest of them, they well come back completely unable to line up a sentence beyond, “Lets’ go.” They will often, however, be equipped with rare words such as “antifreeze,” and “suntan lotion-30 strength.”

But living abroad may open young minds in some esoteric, seldom described ways. I tend to agree with this, more or less on trust. But so does an equivalent amount of time spent in a lumber camp. So does a stay in an area occupied by a moderately different social class. So does serving the homeless. So does – come to think of it – working at Burger King if you haven’t already had the experience. Everything different from one’s own experience opens the mind. Why one has to do it at great expense and specifically in a foreign country is not obvious to me. There are always the vestiges of history strewn all over Europe, of course, but I don’t believe many undergraduates begin to do the homework necessary to understand what they are looking at. In fact, I believe only a handful do in a thousand.

Finally, someone a little more honest will say: But they have so much fun! I agree there, although guardedly (I have observed American students abroad being actively miserable.) Yes, studying abroad can be a lot of fun for a twenty-year old. But so can a vacation. And, it’s a lot cheaper. And, it’s more honest; it involves no pretense of learning, of significant culture acquisition.

So, one may ask, why do so many American universities maintain the pretense of the essential educational nature of study abroad? Two reasons: First, “Study Abroad” is often a profit center. They are able to charge more for tuition there than is eaten by such programs in faculty and bureaucratic salaries and benefits. Often, low-paid local instructors teach most of what courses are taught anyway. Besides, being abroad at someone else’s expense is often in itself a fringe benefit for American faculty sent abroad (presumably to teach the same courses they would teach at home, but not really). I took advantages of such an opportunity myself once. I spent three radiant months in Italy with my young family, most expenses paid. I did very little real teaching. I counseled students only because I felt like it. There were no boring faculty meetings to attend. It was pretty much a vacation.

The second reason American universities contribute to the fiction of study abroad is that it’s well aligned with their general mission. I explain: Do you wonder why so many undergraduates plunge into deep debt to earn a degree of little practical value (French, history, political science, biology, and best of all, psychology)? Aside from the traditional answer of personal cultivation (to which I happily subscribe for a large minority of the students I have known), there is the highly important symbolic matter of chartering. A college degree is and has been for many years a certificate of belonging to the middle class. No college degree? You may be rich, you may be respected, you may be talented; you are not middle class except if you are all of the above to a very high degree. Having studied abroad, being able to illustrate the fact with superficial comments about a foreign country, or more than one, is part of the chartering deal: “When I was in Italy….” There are costs but little by way of risks involved in the venture. It’s unlikely anyone in this country will be rude enough to address you in Italian; no one will ask you to demonstrate more than a spotty familiarity with Italy’s architecture; it’s unlikely anyone will try to make small talk with you about Italian history. You did it? Good enough! It’s just another youth entitlement. What’s wrong with this?

So, what if your kid is a little cuckoo? What if she can barely get up in the morning because she is so overwhelmed? What if he cries all the time? Well, it’s worth the risk just to make sure he or she enters adult life as a clearly middle class person. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate. Is this mad or not?

1    I am grateful to Brandon Christensen, the capable founder and Editor of Notes on Liberty for introducing this irreplaceable expression into my vocabulary.

PS    I am a retired university professor. My long-form vita is linked to my blog here:

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The North Syria Debacle as Seen by One Trump Voter

As I write (10/22/19) the pause or cease-fire in Northern Syria is more or less holding. No one has a clear idea of what will follow it. We will know today or tomorrow, in all likelihood

On October 12th 2019, Pres. Trump suddenly removed a handful of American forces in northern Syria that had served a tripwire against invasion. The handful also had the capacity to call in air strikes, a reasonable form of dissuasion.

Within hours, began an invasion of Kurdish areas of Syria by the second largest army in Europe, and the third in the Middle East. Ethnic cleansing was its main express purpose. Pres Erdogan of Turkey vowed to empty a strip of territory along its northern border to settle in what he described as Syrian (Arab ) refugees. This means expelling under threat of force, towns, villages, houses, that had been occupied by Kurds from living memory and longer. This means installing on that strip of territories unrelated people with no history there, no housing, no services, and no way to make a living. Erdogan’s plan is to secure his southern border by installing there a permanent giant refugee camp.

Mr Trump declared that he had taken this drastic measure in fulfillment of his (three-year old) campaign promise to remove troops from the region. To my knowledge, he did not explain why it was necessary to remove this tiny number of American military personnel at that very moment, or in such haste.

Myself, most Democrats, and a large number of Republican office holder object strongly to the decision. Most important for me is the simplistic idea that the US should not betray its companions-at-arms. I think it’s terrible for our collective morale. I think it’s undoubtedly dangerous because it tells allies, potential allies, and enemies that America lacks staying power. That’s a good reason in itself to try another Pearl Harbor.

I deplore further that decision because it leaves uncertain the durability of our joint victory against the savages of ISIS. The Kurds who guarded something like 10,000 ISIS prisoners may or may not be replaced by Turks or others in good time. Surely the handing down of responsibility between hostile forces can’t go completely smoothly. That barbaric organization, ISIS, executed at least three Americans innocent of any hostile acts against it. It did it publicly, on video, with a knife. It proffered explicit threats against the US. It should not have been that hard to remember why we don’t like them in return. They burned prisoners alive in cages, they drowned others, also in cages. They took thousands of Yazidi and other non-Muslim women into sexual slavery. Hundreds of Yazidi women are still unaccounted for. The ISIS leadership provided clear moral and theological justifications for such treatment of civilians. ISIS is a close to the Black Plague as we have seen since Nazism.

The American abandonment of the Syrian Kurds drove the latter into the arms of “gas-them-all” Assad of Syria. That’s the hereditary dictator who initially faced a peaceful democratic revolt in 2010-2011.The US became involved with a broad consensus to run him out. We lost. That simple. I don’t blame the Syrian Kurds for their new alliance. They had warned that they would chose anything before annihilation. I would do the same. Anyone sane would do the same. It was predictable.

The American abandonment also drove the Syrian Kurds into the arms of the Russians. That must be really good for our national interest (whatever it is)!

Conservatives, and especially libertarians (of all stripes) have advanced excuses (explanations?) for the disconcerting Trump action on that border. Below are some of those justifications. Tell me if I missed one.

The Kurds are not saints.

First, this is mind boggling and deeply original. Nobody said you must only be fair with saints. Second, it’s relatively not true. In a region of boundless savagery, the Kurds appear relatively civilized. As I have said elsewhere, lining up all-female military units is not nothing in that context.

The Syrian Kurds were not really our allies.

They just helped us a little destroy ISIS. No big deal! The Syrian Kurds lost 10,000 people in that fight; we lost a dozen. This must count for something. No?

Any alliance with any Kurds is an incomparable source of endless war for America. They will never be satisfied until they have a sovereign state of their own.

This idea results from a confused amalgam. Protecting the few Syrian Kurds, specifically, from an attack by a powerful murderous neighbor in no way implies espousing the grand Kurd national project across the borders of several countries. You can tell our theoretical ally Turkey, “Don’t attack those particular Kurds or else,” without signifying anything at all about the grand project.

The Syrian Kurds are terrorists (from Pres. Erdogan).

I have been watching and listening carefully. Not a piece of evidence was produced in support. The allegation seems to rest entirely on that the main Syrian Kurdish organization ‘s political alliance with the Turkish Kurd PPK. Not enough for me.

The Syrian Kurds’ main organization is Communist (or communist).

Does this assertion even have a meaning in 2019? What kind of Commies are they, like the Cubans, like the amazingly successful managers of that exemplary fascist state, China, like the North Korean nightmare from yesteryear? In the context of the reactionary, and barbarous middle east, “Communist” means mostly being in favor of girls’ education. What if they take over and nationalize some meager petroleum resources in their area? That will make them even with moderate, reasonable orderly, certainly not Communist Kuwait. What else will they nationalize, apricot orchards? I have met Communists in another Muslim country. I found that I had more in common with the than with anyone else. (And, I am not Communist, I am pretty sure!)

But the Syrian Kurds are not our allies, Turkey is.

Sure thing; that’s what the NATO treaty says. The Kurds die with us (much more than we did. See above.) Erdogan’s Turkey, by contrast, is a permanent ball-and-chain. I am told there is no formal mechanism to exclude a NATO member. That shouldn’t be enough to paralyze us. Let Turkey drift until such time as the rational forces within regain the upper-hand. I refer to the kind of people who recently administered a big defeat at the polls to Mr Erdogan in the matter of Istanbul’s city government. Also, I recall that there was a time when the murderous Soviet Union was formally a US ally. Didn’t have to last forever. It did not.

We never promised to protect the Kurds (Pres. Trump).

Sure thing and there are elementary standards of decency based partly on reciprocity that everyone understands, even in the uncivilized Middle East.

Yes, it’s true that Mr Trump campaigned in part on the promise to stop American participation in those “endless wars” abroad where we regularly lose track of American interests. I understand well the revulsion against the artless attempt to rebuild Iraq from the ground up after a war that the US could have avoided. I even sort of understand the desire to cut and run after failing to eliminate the same Taliban in Afghanistan who sheltered our assassins.

Does this fatigue of war mean that we have to remove our all-volunteer forces from everywhere, right now? How about South Korea where we have been present military for fifty years? Everyone understands that the fewer than 30,000 American personnel there could not fight the huge and well trained North Korean Armed forces to a standstill. Everyone knows that they are only a small adjunct to the large and competent yet insufficient South Korean forces. The strategic bet is that any one of the mad North Korean leaders would hesitate to attack American forces, specifically. The second page of the Americans’ role in South Korea is that they are able to call in airstrike of devastating effectiveness. This calculation has worked well for fifty year and through three different mad leaders.

I am not even completely sure I understand the American interest in South Korea. Should we cut out there too? (We have a treaty but it takes a few days to denounce it.) In the end, long standing American resolve on the Korean peninsula gave us peace.

And if he is bent on bringing the American military home, why did Pres. Trump recently send American military personnel to Saudi Arabia with which we have no treaty?

Abandoning the Syrian Kurds was treacherous. It was dishonorable. It was stupid.

Two disclaimers.

In my travels, I found no one easier to like than Turks. (I even wrote a story celebrating them “ Turkish Savagery”

Like many or most people of libertarian leanings (and many readers of Notes on Liberty), I believe that military operations abroad, even a mere military presence, reinforce the power of government vis-à-vis civil society. Even simply maintaining a standing army has this effect. This belief is not enough though to make me think that black is white or that the clear evidence of my eyes ought to be ignored. Government can only shrink where a democratic society acts more or less according to basic standards of honesty. Otherwise, Somalia and Libya are closest to any libertarian dream.

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The October 2019 Dem. Debate (Sorry!)

Like many others, I was underwhelmed by the last Democratic debate. I can’t even guarantee I did not wander off for parts of it, or dozed off. Here are some comments that were not prominent in the media, I think, in the days following.

Only two candidates spoke steadily as if we were in the 21st century: Mayor Pete Butti. and Andrew Yang Rep. Gabbard got near there several times but she demonstrated too much ignorance of politics to count. (She attributed to Hillary Clinton, for example, Bill Clinton’s famous abortion wish list.) All the others were straight out of the 20th century, except Sen. Sanders’ of course who is straight out of the 19th.

If the worst happened, I could live with any of those three: The Mayor, Yang, Gabbard. The balance of candidates don’t exist in much in my mind because they are short of ideas and too formulaic. Besides, I think Joe Biden is dead in the water although he promised never again to let his family sell America away. (I have no trouble believing that his son did not do anything illegal, not the point.) Sen. Sanders was surprisingly chipper given his recent health troubles and his age There is no reason to believe that he is anything but personally honest, but, really! In fact, I could live with him too if I was assured he would never have a Dem. Congress to free him from his notional cage.

Mr Tom Steyer, in a corner, showed why we shouldn’t repeatedly stray away from professional politicians. The man is a sinister monomaniac. Climate change is the only issue facing us, according to the billionaire, and it’s for tomorrow. I don’t know that he said anything to this effect, but he probably thinks there is a link between climate change and abortion issues. In less enlightened times, we used to call his attitude madness.

I believe Sen. Warren will be the Dem candidate, by elimination, after co-opting another woman as a VP. The strange thing about Warren’s candidacy is that I could learn to like the main features of her program, the following three at least.

I have seen single payer health care at work abroad and it’s fine. That’s in France. It’s not clear that the French can still afford it at this point. But we spend almost twice more per capita on health care than the French do so, there is room to play. Furthermore, our economy keeps growing most of the time; the French economy does not. PS: The French life expectancy is longer than the American by two years.

There are good political reasons to avoid putting 18% of the national economy in the hands of the fed government, of course. I am just losing faith in the possibility of conservative alternatives.

The unconscionable lending of billions to 20-year old to follow unspecified courses of study is a disaster in several respects. It seems to me that nearly everyone agrees on this. Someone has to be man enough to cry it aloud. Sen. Warren did it with more clarity than others. Some solution that does not create too much of a moral hazard has to be found, probably several competing solutions. I don’t know what it will or they will be but the problem has to be whittled down, and quickly.

There is a major historical precedent for making tuition free schooling instantly available to millions. It’s the post WWII GI Bill. It corresponded to a major explosion of economic development (that had also other causes, to be sure.) One would have to look far and wide to find any serious argument against that particular major educational reform. Tuition-free state schools make a lot of sense. It looks to me that, as opposed to most other federal outlays, a subsidy to make this happen would be an investment in the future, not mere consumption.

Someone other than Sen. Warren might fairly easily talk me into these three massive reforms, if the chances for shrinkage of the fed government looked as bad as it does now (in 2019). Ms. Warren would have a hard time convincing me of anything or talking me into going along with anything. The main reason is that she is addicted to lying. I think the Indian ancestry issue was not an isolated incident. This matters because the three societal changes above require very realistic accounting. And I don’t believe anything she says about this or on any topic.

To make things worse, Sen. Warren hates capitalism. There is no reason to trust that she would not try and use the power of the presidency to attempt to bring most of its complicated edifice down. She would surely fail but she could still do huge and lasting damage in the process. I am worried about the good likelihood that she will be the Dem. candidate.

Next, some haphazard impressions about the candidates’ preparedness. The Dems want to ban some, all firearms, but they still have not done their homework on what they wish to ban. Even veteran Mayor Pete uses the vague term “assault trifle.” Sen. Warren is under the impression that people are shooting “machine guns” in the streets. (They are not; very hard to get your legal hands on one of those.) Not a single panel member will mention the fact that it’s almost entirely handguns that kill people, not the kind of long guns that would be most useful in resisting a tyrannical government.

The hardest line drawn, as usual, seems to be about abortion. It’s true that several states have written, are trying to write, extremist and retrograde abortion legislation. The so-called “free choice” forces have asked for it. They did it by missing years of opportunity to conciliate moderates like me, people who subscribe to Pres. Clinton’s principles: “legal, safe, rare.” Now that it’s officially about killing babies born alive, there is no room left for compromise. Yes, women have a right to control their bodies. In fact, I think they should. So, I repeat my advice: Don’t put into your vagina anything that might shoot into it live sperms you don’t want. Everything else you wish to do for entertainment is cool. (And, by the way, don’t ask me to pay for your entertainment; do I ask you to buy me a movie admission?) To finish this: There is a strange implicit narrative in the feminist discourse about women having the right to control their bodies. It’s unmistakably hostile to men in tone though it rails against a form of oppression that would not exist if women did not like men, a lot! The problem should be carrying is own solution. It does not.

The Democratic Party debate ended with a round of touching wishes for national reconciliation after the harsh and harrowing Trump years. I noticed not a single expression of consciousness of the idea that two and a half years of deliberate, concerted efforts to a cancel my 2016 vote might leave me durably bitter. No recognition of the fact either that there are more than fifty millions of me. Where do those Dems live?

Not mentioned: the budget deficit. Why should they speak of it? Pres. Trump showed the way. Deficits don’t matter any more. Sorry, I missed the lecture.

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La Destitution présidentielle aux EU: quelques faits et deux opinions.

Les medias francophones, du moins les quelques uns qui m’arrivent en Californie, sont surexcités à l’idée de la destitution prochaine du President Trump. J’ai l’impression que c’est parce qu’ils ne comprennent pas ce qui se passe. Un coup de main.

D’abord, il faut passer au-delà des faux-amis contre lesquels nos profs d’anglais ne cessaient jadis de nous prévenir.

Impeachment” signifie à peu près “accusation,” ou “inculpation,” je crois, pas “destitution.”

La Chambre des représentants est en mesure de décider sur simple vote majoritaire d’accuser le président en exercise de tel ou tel délit, ou d’une liste de délits. Il n’est pas obligatoire que les délits soient des infraction en droit, vis-à-vis de la loi.

En entamant cette simple procédure, la Chambre obtient de vastes pouvoirs d’enquête, y compris sur la correspondance officielle de la branche exécutive.

La Chambre ayant ainsi voté d’inculper, le liste officielle des délits supposés passe au Sénat qui agit alors en tant que jury. Le président est condamné pour tel ou tel délit par une majorité des deux tiers du Sénat.

Au moment ou j’écris (10/10/19) on ne sait pas si la phase inculpation (impeachment) de la procédure de destitution a même commencé. Les Démocrates affirment que oui, sur simple déclaration de la cheffe de la majorité à la Chambre, Nancy Pelosi.

Les Républicains et la Maison Blanche maintiennent que non, en l’absence d’un vote initiatif de la Chambre. La tradition donne raison aux derniers. La Constitution, par son mutisme, donne raison aux premiers.

En fin de compte, un tribunal decidera sûrement de qui a raison, peut-être assez vite.

En attendant, l’administration Trump oppose un mur à toutes les demandes de documents et de comparution de témoins issues de la Chambre.

Maintenant, mes opinions. D’abord, il est presque impossible d’imaginer qu’un nombre suffisant de Républicains au Sénat s’aligne sur les Démocrates pour condamner Mr Trump. La majorité des deux tiers n‘est même pas à l’horizon.

Alors, pourquoi les Démocrates s’obstinent-ils?

C’est un cirque dont l’objectif est de masquer leur incurie et leur panique bien réaliste devant la campagne pour les élections de 2020. Ils n’ont rien de sérieux à proposer, alors ils jettent de la poudre aux yeux. Je crois qu’il y aura des émeutes en Novembre 2020 car les Démocrates auront vraiment trop souffert.

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Global Warming: Take Off My Sweater?

There is a new UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report . It contains nothing but bad news, of course. But I am busy with my real life; I have obligations to others; I have to feed myself and shower; I even go to the gym regularly. What to do? Just trust a hysterical sixteen-year-old with a probable eating disorder? (Yes, I mean Greta.)

When someone or something claims that there is, has been change in something I perceive might be important, I apply the following four quick tests. I do this to decide how much I must attention I should pay to the change news.

1 Source credibility

Not all sources are created equal. Some stink, some have a long record of being reliable. The Wall Street Journal is one of the latter. Almost all anonymous internet sources are not even sources. The National Enquirer will publish anything (although it has had a few remarkable scoops). Normal sixteen-year old girls are only credible when they pronounce on show biz stars or on something related to a skill they have personally acquired, such as piano or gymnastics.

2 Main text: description of process

I scrutinize the description at the heart of the announcement of change though only for a short time. Does the process described make sense? Is it derived in an intelligible way from a study, or studies, that conform to conventional scientific, or other scholarly standards? If no claim is made that they do, they don’t, ever. If there is such a claim, there can still be abuse but there will shortly be a denunciation, in most cases, at least.

3 Narrative around description

Most change descriptions not directly in a scholarly journal come wrapped up inside a narrative. The narrative is often more interesting than the findings to which they are supposed to be linked. That’s intentional but dangerous. Suppose your doctor carefully measures your heartbeat and records his observations. Suppose that then, he gives you a very good lecture on the faults of Social Security. However valid the latter is, it should gain no authority whatsoever from the impeccable measurement of you heartbeat. This is a crude example but people do this sort of things all the time. Do you think climate activist do?

I ask myself how tightly connected the narrative is to the straightforward description of the relevant change? Often the answer is: barely, sometimes: not at all.

4 Gauging critically the order of magnitude of change

Suppose I tell you that I have lost weight. (I could use that.) Courtesy requires that you congratulate me but rationality demands that you ask: How much? If my response is one ounce, you will tend to dismiss my announcement and you will be right. One ounce out of 220 lbs is like nothing. (That’s aside from the fact that it might actually be nothing, a measurement error.)

The mysterious issue of “statistical significance” (that I will resist going into here though I am tempted) that issue, is only indirectly related to this matter. A difference between before and after, for example may be statistically significant but yet, completely unimportant.

The short Wall Street Journal piece (1) covering the publication of the report is rich in narrative and short on figures. (That’s usually the case with climate change announcements, I think.) On rare figure drew my attention:

In the past 140 years -covering most but not quite all of the Industrial Age – global surface temperatures have risen by one (unit) degree Celsius.

To give you a practical idea, that’s not enough of a rise to cause me to take off my cotton sweater, or even to unbutton the top of my shirt. If the temperature rose by only one C between 8 am and noon, I would think something was wrong with the weather! I can easily believe that at this rate, in another 1400 years, it will be ten degree centigrade (Celsius) warmer and, we will still be here. That’s unless something else, something much more likely, like an epidemic. wipes us out. (2) and (3)

As this example illustrates, it may often be wise too reverse the critical sequence described above. Why bother to assess the source credibility associated with an announced change, or the conformity of the description change process to good scientific practice, or check ou the attachment of the surrounding narratives to the process in the description, why do all this if the measured change is too small to merit attention?

My more complete ruminations on climate change skepticism are in Liberty Unbound: “Climate Change Denier”


1 U.N. Panel Sees Threat to Ocean – by Robert Lee Hotz, Wall Street Journal 9/26/19, P. A8.

2 I am well aware that this is a sort of arithmetic average. Surface temperature may have gone up more in some areas and less in others. They may have declined in some places. If the subject is dealt with , it will be in: , also linked to my blog:

3 The WSJ accounts implies that the UN report is oddly concerned with fisheries. This is odd because fishermen have known forever that there are warm and cool patches at the same latitude in the oceans. They also know that those shift positions and that the positions of such warm and cool patches affect the movements of fish.


Here is the link to article on climate change skpeticism:

                                                                              —Henrik Ibsen
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Letter to Young Climate Change Protesters World-Wide

Dear Greta, dear children:

You are worried about mass extinction and you are right. You believe bad things are going to happen to you in the near future? Right again. We will come clean below but you have to understand that to an extent, you brought everything upon yourselves.

From when you were little, we urged you to eat some reasonable amount of vegetables even if they did not look appetizing. (But see below how you changed over a short few years!) Later, we pointed out that eating so much sugar would probably give you acne, eventually. Then, we had to redouble our effort when you insisted that a quart of cold apple juice couldn’t do any harm because it was “natural” and “organic.” Pointing out that apple juice is almost entirely water and sugar made no impression on you. When one of us would challenge you to explain the advantages of “organic” food, you teared up, ran to your room and slammed the door. We lost that one anyway.

At twelve, you disrupted your family’s shopping and cooking organization by declaring that you had become vegan. We humored you; our mistake! We should have let you go hungry for a few days and nights, or until you got back to normal. Unfortunately, we did not possess then the resolve that is now ours.

At fourteen, you announced you were going to drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Since, you only owned an old bike and some skateboards, your options were limited. (Only a few of you had access to a nice sailboat; you, Greta, are one of the lucky ones. Did you know that? ) So, cleverly, you chose to modify your clothing in the right direction.

First, you gave up any synthetic fabric because it came from oil, opting instead for the more expensive all-cotton clothing (Gap-style). But then, you said that cotton required too much water to grow. So, you simply started wearing much less clothing of any kind, much, much less. Since you were then also devoured by hormonal fires, we raised our collective eyebrows and let it go.

In the meantime, there was a constant war at home about your studying hard enough (hard?) to keep up your grades in your no-bad-grades school environment. Little was asked of you and you did not do it, on the whole.

The main problem was not that you were dull – though some of you were, without knowing it; who would have told you? The main problem was that you spent ten to fifteen hours a day with your faces glued to some screen or other. That way, you gained most of your understanding of the world from advertisers, propagandists, other sources un-vetted, and other children, almost all of whom were as uninformed as you are.

Let me say before it’s too late that yes, you are a little bit right, Fifty years ago, we could have made do without 20 foot-long cars empty at both ends  and getting only eleven miles to the gallon. And then, there was the incessant jetting to nowheres with sun and sand.

This being admitted, the many of us who have read history recognize well the new world for which you are clamoring. We know it because your new world is really yesterday’s world, the world in which the grandparents of the oldest among us lived. I mean the world before western societies had fully reaped the benefits of relying on fossil fuels. It was defined by short life expectancy, high infant mortality, mediocre public health, unsafe food, social isolation (really what Karl Marx had earlier called “the idiocy of village life), and, above all tyranny. I mean by tyranny the intrusion of government in every aspect of life. (You want more regulations don’t you?).

Moreover, in spite of your thousands of tiresome repetitions, we are not running out of anything, anything (except possible wild tigers; got to do something about that). If our practices were really “unsustainable,” one of your favorite meaningless words, prices would go up. In fact almost nothing is more expensive than it used to be (and especially, not crude oil!)

What you wish for is just not worth it. We don’t want to help you go there. It’s better to stop soon.

So, making a long story short, we , your parents, and other seniors, joining yet older generations, have had it. We despair of you ever gaining the maturity, and especially, the knowledge to steer the world even as badly as we did. We are sure that if we let it happened, it’s going to become disastrously ugly.

So, rather than take this chance, with such poor probability of being proven wrong, we have decided to end the world, close it down, so to speak, in 2021. (Yes, twelve years from now). We will make it as quick as possible to avoid unnecessary suffering.

First, the ocean will rise, drowning most big cities; then a period of extreme droughts everywhere will cause crops to whither. There will be little to eat, organic, or genetically modified, or anything. Latter, fresh water will be in severe shortage. All the while mass extinctions will take place around you, beginning with panda bears, dwarf Nubian goats, and sea horses, and ending with flies and mosquitoes.

Did I say “ending”? Not so, the last mass extinction will be yours (ours). Which is pretty much what you have been clamoring for.

Sorry it had to end this way but you have convinced us through the robust logic of your arguments and your dexterous use of incontrovertible facts that there is no other issue to the current and growing horrid climate change crisis.

PS  We are glad so many of you have decided not to reproduce to alleviate the Earth’s burden, If you had not, we would have missed our grandchildren by anticipation.

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