Climate Change Denier by Jacques Delacroix | Posted on Liberty Unbound on June 27, 2019 Part I

First published in Liberty Unbound

 

Part I

As the climate change End Time-ism appears to grow inexorably, I keep reading and hearing good debunking attempts. Most don’t do me lasting good, however, because they require me to know, or to gain knowledge of, rudiments of physics, and of other sciences of which I am mostly innocent. It seems to me that it’s not right, that it’s not fair even, that deciphering these technically expressed instances of skepticism must be a distraction for the average citizen, as it is for me.

After all, when I take my car to the repair shop, I don’t really have to know much auto mechanics. Similarly, I don’t study dentistry before I choose a dentist, or entrust myself into his hands. And when I had a pacemaker put in, there was no requirement that I know where the surgeon planned to place it, or why. Nevertheless, everything went fine. Both my heart and my car run well, and my teeth are in reasonably good condition for my age.

Americans have never wanted to be ruled by experts. The experts work for us. We are not their subjects.

Incidentally, the American citizenry has maintained for 230 years a fair version of representative government. We achieved this in spite of (or because of) the paucity of individuals with advanced political science degrees in our midst. We relied mostly on our ordinary intellectual and moral faculties. What I personally bring to all these crucial choices of a car mechanic, of a dentist, of a heart surgeon, of a president, is intuition fed by experience, sometimes a capacity for quick reasoning, a willingness to apply elementary logic to new situations, and all-round skepticism. I am pretty fair at assessing others’ credibility, thanks to my possession of a good detector of what they would call in French caca de taureau. I suspect that other ordinary citizens do more or less what I do. Specialized training should not be required to make the most important choices imaginable.

We Americans have never wanted to be ruled by experts. I think we still don’t want to be ruled by experts. The experts work for us. We are not their subjects. They have to convince us rationally that their positions are right. Trying to panic us is not convincing us rationally. Quiet persuasion is the only way compatible with representative government.

So it seems to me that there exists, upstream from scientific debunking, another potential critique of the general doctrine of apocalyptic climate change, one that relies on the same basic skills we use in everyday life. It seems to me also that skeptics who allow themselves to be drawn into the debate on specialized scientific grounds are falling into a kind of trap. I mean, for example, discussions of sunspots and controversies about the speed with which glaciers melt. By now, the dogma of climate change is so deeply and widely established, so many resources have been expended and continue to be expended to support it, so many careers are at stake in the media, in politics, in science, and in academia, that the only effective strategy of skepticism must start with a loud comment that “the King is naked.” I try to do this below.

Trying to panic us is not convincing us rationally. Quiet persuasion is the only way compatible with representative government.

A word of warning: at several points, my own comments may seem overly technical, thus betraying my self-awarded mission. I ask you to believe that they only seem technical. This essay, like most of my writing, is not intended for the technically trained but for the intelligently ignorant.

Although I am trying to reach a more general position, I have learned from several examples of climate change skepticism with a libertarian point of view. I am thinking, for instance, of “Global Village Idiots,” by Steve Murphy, and of Murphy’s vivid discussion of mindless and aberrant climate-change blaming, “Butterfly Police.” Others have commented on the astounding contortions climate change reformers perform to push their policy proposals. The Paris Accord would be an example. It was widely claimed that it was vital to sign and implement it although there was little disagreement with the view that it was unenforceable and would make no difference anyway. As Robert H. Miller has said, “But most of all, the dispute is about increasing government power.” (All in “Climate Change Wars.”)

Definition

The subject of this essay is the current idea of human-caused climate change. By this I mean the narrative that describes the global climate as changing more or less permanently, as a result of human activities, with severe adverse consequences for people and for the world itself, in magnitudes requiring immediate attention.

At the heart of this narrative is the so-called “greenhouse effect,” the release of gases that amplify the warming of the earth by the sun. Singled out among such gases in the versions of the narrative presented in mass media is carbon dioxide (CO2).

It was widely claimed that it was vital to sign and implement the Paris Accord although there was little disagreement with the view that it was unenforceable and would make no difference anyway.

Some other gases are also said to be responsible for the greenhouse effect, including methane burped and passed by cattle, but CO2 is usually considered the most worthy of attention. I am not sure if anyone makes the case that this gas is the main contributor to the greenhouse effect, or if it’s singled out because it’s the most convenient to manipulate (to decrease), or if it’s emphasized for some other reason.

My Credentials

I have previously discussed various forms of irrationality surrounding the climate change narrative. (See the list of links that follows this part of the essay.) Now it’s time for me to be more thorough than I have been so far. It’s also time to gather in a single essay the several sources of my skepticism. This isn’t going to be pretty! Here are my nonspecialist qualifications toward this endeavor.

I know as much about the physics of weather as the average observant person who pays attention to the daily weather forecast. I may know slightly more, because I was a sailor for 50 years, which implies an interest in winds and tides. Probably none of this adds up to much.

In addition, as a result of living for a long time, I know a lot about viciousness, ludicrousness, gobbledygook, inconsistencies, bad faith, and plain old deceitfulness. For 30 years I was a teacher, a good observation point. A few years in the graduate program of an expensive university gave me clear ideas about what constitutes good scientific design in general, and also about sampling. Finally, I gained from my past occasional service as a referee for American scholarly journals an exquisite sensitivity to measurement issues. Because of the malevolent inquisitiveness linked to the same past scholarly activity, I am keenly interested in what should logically be there but isn’t — what for all the world ought to be there but can’t be found. You tell me there is an elephant in a dark room; I grope for a trunk. If I don’t find one after reasonable effort, I begin suspecting there is no elephant. Then I ask myself why you told me there was an elephant in the room, when there is not.

I am optimistic about both air and water, which have become cleaner in prosperous European and North American countries during my lifetime.

Excuse me if it sounds like bragging, but I think that’s quite a bit. Reminder: I am still innocent of “climate science,” whatever that is.

Let me add that I am a retired citizen and that I have much more time to remain informed that most other citizens. I do it routinely. I follow the media and I read daily. I travel on the internet, in two languages. I do it for six or seven hours a day. This is not by way of boasting. I am just building up the case that if something important escaped even my attention, other, less well-situated citizens are likely also to remain unaware of it.

The Scope of my Skepticism

My skepticism is only about global warming and more, generally, about the human-caused climate change (HCC) narrative as described above. I am much in favor of clean water and of pure air but for other reasons. Incidentally, I am optimistic about both air and water, which have become cleaner in prosperous European and North American countries during my lifetime. I also think plastic trash in the ocean is a disgrace, but it’s a problem that could be solved at little cost: just make the discarded plastic valuable so that it either will not be thrown away or will be collected if it is. As for energy sources, I am taken by the sheer elegance of power production from sun, wind, tides, and waves. I also like the potential of the first two to separate individuals from the grid more or less at will. And it’s true that my wife and I, both old, don’t often need more than a hundred miles of transport autonomy. So I would sort of wish electric cars well, if only they did not require so much in public subsidies, a kind of admission of failure.

If you break something that belongs to the people in general, you should pay for it. Period.

If I were young and starting off in life, I would do my best to give myself an energy-efficient house with some ability to produce power. That’s because I dislike both waste and dependency on public organizations, especially on organizations that are excused from competing in the market place.

So, all in all, I am not one of those who miss the good old days of LA smog, chemical rivers, and filthy beaches. I am acutely aware of the general economic problem of externalities: if you break something that belongs to the people in general, you should pay for it. Period. Finally, and before the question arises nastily, I want to affirm here that I am not on any Big Oil payroll, at least, not yet. (I keep hoping though.) But I am casting a wide net in this essay. It’s possible that I am factually wrong on something or other. Please, draw my attention to any error of fact. I will be gracious and even appreciative.

The following is a systematic catalog of the reasons I am skeptical of the HCC narrative and the corresponding political agendas.

Breaches of Decency and Common Sense

The word “denier” was chosen deliberately to stigmatize skeptics like me by evoking “Holocaust deniers.” It refers to those who maintain that the mass assassination of Jews during World War II never took place. Holocaust deniers are underinformed, deliberately so in most cases, semi-literate, intellectually stubborn, and anti-Semitic. I am none of the above. This word choice is vicious. Repeating it makes one either an accomplice in viciousness or a moron.

I have to ask myself what would prompt such viciousness? Have I encountered it before, either personally, or in my broad reading? I have. More on this later.

“But,” other people ask me, “how can you deny the reality of climate change when 98% [or 95%, or 97%, same thing] of “climate scientists” agree that it’s real?” Between the lines: “Who TF do you think you are?”

This word choice is vicious. Repeating it makes one either an accomplice in viciousness or a moron.

Well, there is not a single instance, in the whole history of the world, of a survey returning 98% “Yes.” None; you can check for yourself.

There must be some confusion here with the presidential election results in some central African republic. If indeed, there were a 98% consensus, by anyone about anything, there is no way we would know about it. To be able to state this, you would have to:

  1. rigorously define the whole relevant population (in this case, I imagine, climate scientists, worldwide);
  2. actually circumscribe, delineate the population;
  3. gain access to all of it, or to a random sample of it;
  4. administer a clear and unbiased questionnaire that produces near zero unusable responses. (Or actively remedy the problems that unusable responses and non-responses pose for correct inference.)

Do the calculations in your head: suppose the survey produces 10% unusable responses, an excellent, low result by any standard. How then do you treat the 2% of disagreeing responses that are one-fifth of that figure?

The reality is worse than this. The published scholarly paper link from which the 98% figure (or 9X% figure) seems to come is referenced below in Note 1. The article admits to a whopping 86% nonresponse rate. Out of 8,457 persons identified as climate scientists whom the authors contacted, only 1,189 provided usable responses. Of those, nearly all said they believed in human-caused climate change. That’s the source of the 9X% figures. The question remaining is: what do the 86% who did notrespond think of HCC? That’s a big 7,268 scholars whom the article’s authors, on their own, using their own freely chosen criteria, had determined to be real climate scientists.

The nonresponders cannot simply be considered irrelevant. Suppose that 20% of them, 1,454, are firm “deniers” who have not responded because they are gun-shy, suspicious of an ideological trap, or simply too busy to respond. Suppose further that the remainder, 80% of nonresponders, actually have no opinion. The percentage of those who have an opinion and believe in climate change is now 1,189/1,189+1,453 = 45%, instead of the astounding 98%, 97%, or more, when nonresponses are ignored.

There is no reason to think the survey sample is representative of the whole population from which it is drawn.

Now, obviously I chose nonresponding deniers to be 20% for my own demonstration purposes. I don’t know what the percentage of deniers among nonresponders is, any more than the authors of the study do. It might be much less than 20%; it might be zero percent. The percentage of deniers among those who are not represented in the article might also be much higher — 97%, or even 99%. I don’t know, and, again, the article’s authors don’t know either. It’s plausible that the percentage would be high, because of a common positive bias among survey responders in general. Those who are on the positive side of the answer to a survey question appear generally more motivated to answer than those who are on the negative side. So the climate change skeptics could easily be underrepresented among those who responded.

There is worse. The original 8,457 climate scientists contacted are, in fact, a sample of an unknown population of real, credentialed climate scientists that may be much larger, possibly several times larger. It’s a sample arrived at in a principled (and even ingenuous) manner well described in the article, but it’s not a random sample. There is no reason to think it’s representative of the whole population from which it is drawn. Thus, one conceptual problem piles up on top of the others.

The authors could have easily avoided this latest, unavoidable criticism. They could have simply asserted that the number 8,457 — all those contacted — constituted the whole relevant population. That would have avoided my second criticism of their sampling method. The fact is that they did not. I am guessing that they did not because they wanted to stake a much broader claim than their data legitimately allowed. What other explanation is there?

Much humility is in order here; it has not been forthcoming from the authors of the study, and less from those who have followed them blindly.

Here is the real finding expressed in traditional, nontriumphalist scientific manner: >97% of a possibly biased (possibly grossly biased) sample of a nonrepresentative sample of a loosely defined population of climate scientists affirm the reality of human-caused climate change.

I don’t fault the authors’ craftsmanship at all. They worked well with what they had. I blame their conceit, (or their unexamined zeal) and even more, the conceit of their nonscientist followers. Much humility is in order here; it has not been forthcoming from the authors of the study, and less from those who have followed them blindly.

The consumers of percentage-based pronouncements should always ask forcefully: “X% of what, exactly?” An earlier article in the respected peer-reviewed Organization Studies claims that fewer than 40% of geoscientists and engineers agree that humans are creating a global warming crisis. Change the population of reference, change the percentage! (“Science or Science Fiction? Professionals’ Discursive Construction of Climate Change,” Lianne M. Lefstrud and Renate E. Meyer, November 19, 2012.) That study was performed in oil-rich Alberta, which may, of course, have affected it. Other extraneous factors may have affected other surveys, in opposite directions.

One more issue of credibility with statements of the form, “9x% agree . . .”: someone — not necessarily me — has to have access to the list of all actually surveyed, someone relatively neutral, or better, someone a little hostile, to check that the list is clean, that it does not include, for example, 40% high school dropouts, 10% environmental activists with no scientific credentials, or all the mothers of the researchers and their activist friends. Normally, this kind of scrutiny is performed by scientific journals and by the referees or reviewers they appoint. (If you are not familiar with the way in which scholarly and scientific journals work, see my didactic essay on the subject.)

If there is one rotten apple in this barrel, there are probably more; possibly the whole barrel is rotten.

I don’t know whether this precise degree of scrutiny has occurred in the survey we are examining, although the article of reference was apparently published in a peer-reviewed journal. My own limited experience says that only somewhat hostile reviewers can be solidly expected to perform thoroughly the kind of verification I describe above. And, no, I am not accusing the authors of cheating. I just think, again from experience, that one tends to be indulgent toward what confirms one’s viewpoint. I know this from having been brutally yanked back to reality by several peer reviews during my own research career.

As it is commonly used in the non-scholarly big media and on social media, the widespread appeal to a 95%, or 97%, 98 % consensus is simply ludicrous.

This is one of the many cases in which the rotten apple in a barrel concept may apply: if there is one rotten apple in this barrel, there are probably more; possibly the whole barrel is rotten.

It’s tempting to move on. But by the way: science does not advance by consensus. Just ask Charles Darwin. (See his struggle against the consensus of his day in Adrian Desmonds and James Moore, Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How A Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution [2009].)

Lack of Clarity

Next, I will try to do my homework about what should happen, on a proximate basis, practically, to a belief in the HCC narrative. The semi-official spokesorgan for the climate change movement seems to be the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC or IPCC for short). That organization publishes periodic reports — some of them stained by little scandals. (Once, a photographer was found to have inserted his uninformed but firm opinion about the speed of glaciers melting in an allegedly scholarly summary.) I took the trouble on one occasion to read in its entirety the special summary of an IPCC report aimed at government decision makers. It was incomprehensible. I take the position that whatever I don’t understand will not be understood by most (or any) members of my city council. (Why, the former mayor is a former student of mine!) But those are the very people to whom the summary is addressed. I don’t know why the directive summary for decision makers was so poorly written, whether because of incompetence, or for some other reason. (Hold that thought.) At any rate, it was gobbledygook, exactly where clarity should have been expected.

Science does not advance by consensus. Just ask Charles Darwin.

The IPCC document is not an isolated case of opaqueness in HCC communications. In fact, it’s routine. HCC partisans habitually speak with the thick tongue of mornings after. Take the term “renewable energy.” It implies that barring the adoption of some restrictive HCC-driven environmental agenda, humanity will run out of natural gas, of petroleum, of coal, in some foreseeable future. None of this is true, of course. We have seen known reserves of petroleum grow prodigiously in our lifetimes, even as we were burning oil with abandon. And why would the modifier “renewable” be used at all, if not to imply forthcoming shortages?

Inconsistencies and Bad Faith

I believe that if I hate the way something is done, hate it so much that I want everyone to stop doing it whatever the cost, hate it so much that I am willing to use force to stop them from doing it, then I am first morally obligated to try to promote other ways of doing things.

So climate change advocates tell us that the greenhouse effect — fed by human produced CO2 — will raise global temperatures to catastrophic levels. Many add that this will happen very soon, that there is extreme urgency. Well, it turns out, there is a sure way to produce unlimited amounts of energy — including electricity to power electric cars — that results in zero CO2 emissions (none). I refer, of course, to energy produced by nuclear plants. The French have been getting more than 80% of their electricity that way for 50 years. Japan’s share was about 40% until 2010. A detailed record exists for both countries. So, climate change partisans should be in the forefront of those advocating for the multiplication of nuclear plants. In every locale, at the state and city level, they should be insisting on a simplification of many of the superfluous regulations that now obstruct such expansion. They should even demand the elimination of some of those regulations that currently make building nuclear plants artificially expensive. They are not doing this, to say the least.

The vague, and in fact seldom well expressed, objection is that nuclear energy is dangerous. That belief used to be plausible; it’s not anymore. The worst has happened, and nothing happened. Three Mile Island did not amount to much, although a good, dramatic movie was shown at about the same time (The China Syndrome). The Fukushima plant was hit in 2011 with one of the worst of unexpected forces: a full blast tsunami. The resulting nuclear accident did not amount to much in terms of fatalities, or in terms of anything. (“The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and World Health Organization reports that there will be no increase in miscarriages, stillbirths or physical and mental disorders in babies born after the accident”: Wikipedia.) Many people confuse the death toll from the nuclear plant with that of the tsunami itself — deaths by drowning, for example. That’s wrong, but I have not noticed any HCC advocates condemn the confusion. Maybe I missed it.

Climate change partisans should be in the forefront of those advocating for the multiplication of nuclear plants.

The International Atomic Energy Agency lists 33 serious incidents, total, for the whole world, since the beginning of nuclear energy production. The seriousness of only two merited its highest score of seven. The first was Chernobyl, naturally. The second was Fukushima, where this highest score seems to have been given by the Japanese government, for somewhat bizarre reasons. The plant itself was put out of commission, but the tsunami alone would have probably done that. Evidence of specifically nuclear damage, as opposed to destruction from flooding and the physical force of the tsunami, is hard to find.

Even the Chernobyl accident turns out, even on superficial examination, not to have been what it was cracked to be. Sixty-three people died directly from the accident. Beyond the 63, estimates of additional deaths, of deaths above and above the expected, of deaths above the number from the natural death rate, vary widely enough to cause me to dismiss out of hand the methodologies involved. Thirty-three years after the event, I see no evidence that anyone died of radiation effects. The large area around the entombed Chernobyl plant, prudently evacuated by the Soviets at the time of the accident, remains uninhabited by humans. It’s now the largest de factogame preserve in Europe. Animals of all kinds thrive there. Does this tell us anything about the safety of that area for homo sapiens?

Would you guess that nuclear safety techniques have improved since 1986? Since the demise of the shaky Soviet Union? That’s a good bet. But while you’re computing the few nuclear-related deaths caused by the Three Mile Island accident, the destruction of the Fukushima plant by a tsunami, and the Chernobyl disaster, you may want to consider how many deaths are due to the production of energy by other means, in amounts equal to those produced by the nuclear plants just mentioned. Would these traditional modes of energy production cost fewer or more lives? How many more or fewer? I am thinking coal, petroleum, natural gas. I am also curious — and open-minded — about the comparative lethal dangers of hydroelectric, wind, and solar power. In the meantime, even France is making confused energy production choicesunder the influence of the HCC narrative. (“La France fait de mauvais choix technologiques,” by Gérard Kafadaroff and Jean-Pierre Riou.)

Offering a forceful denial of absurdity once in a while would go a long way toward making them appear more trustworthy.

Questions regarding the absence of nuclear solutions to alleged climate problems are worth asking, unless you care little or not at all about intellectual and moral consistency. Yet public figures identified with the climate change narrative are nowhere to be found when it comes to opining on the desirability of nuclear power. It makes me think that they are gravely flawed intellectually, or that they wish for something other than a reduction in CO2 emissions, or that the reduction of CO2emission is only a means to some other end. Their absence in this matter is a major reason why I don’t trust HCC experts. At the very least, some of these experts should appear in the same media they inhabit day in and day out and explain, like this: “Some people think that nuclear energy production is a solution to global warming because it emits no greenhouse gases. However . . .” Their failure to appear, the fact that rank-and-file believers do not ask that they appear, makes me see the whole movement as existing in bad faith.

Failures to Intervene on the Side of Virtue and Reason

Bad faith is also demonstrated by omission. When loud voices insist that the world is going to come to an end in about 12 years unless we take radical measures, no audible contradiction comes from the HCC side. (Correct me if I am wrong; I will publish the contradiction right here, in bold letters.) When a newly-minted politician of no particular intellectual distinction affirms that we must eliminate jet-plane travel within 30 years or at least not much later, the silence of responsible HCC advocates is deafening. When multiple declared presidential candidates of the largest political party join her publicly . . .

More prosaically, there is not a day that goes by when I don’t read or hear in the media absurd and unsupported pronouncements attributing this or that untoward event to “global warming” or to “climate change.” Once I even heard a television weather reporter blame climate change for an (imaginary) increase in the frequency of . . . earthquakes. OK, this was on the international francophone television channel TV5 but, so? The HCC narrative seems to me to have further advanced toward uncontested truth in France and in Belgium than in the US. That might explain its mindless audacity. I paid much attention afterwards, and I think no correction was ever made on TV5. So, somewhere in West Africa, there may be some alert school kids who watch TV5 to improve their French and are now affirming that climate change causes earthquakes.

Before such stupidity, I expect climate scientists, the real ones with scholarly credentials, to reach down from their ivory towers to administer contradiction. They must know that unsupported and unsupportable statements like these give their cause a bad name among the thinking and the rational. They may not be able to do it often; transgressions of this kind are daily and probably worldwide. Yet offering a forceful denial of absurdity once in a while would go a long way toward making them appear more trustworthy. If they don’t, it suggests to me that they don’t care to persuade the thinking and the rational. It might be that after a certain point, persuasion becomes irrelevant because there are other means, forceful means, to achieve their desired ends. Their inaction makes me suspicious.

Climate change narrative folks, if you could lose the semi-literate, untruthful and frequently embarrassing, giant-energy-footprinted Al Gore himself, your collective credibility would soar.

I am aware of only one case when contradiction was actually meted out, when a climate scientist with scientific credentials reached down to try and straighten out the record. In 2007, when Al Gore received his Nobel Peace Prize, the media made next to nothing of the fact that it was awarded jointly with the UN International Panel on Climate Change. One little known scientist from IPCC, maybe piqued for being left in a dark corner while Gore was bathing in the limelight, wrote a brief, timid, mildly corrective op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. That’s it! Some readers may have noticed other corrective interventions that escaped my attention. I would like to hear about them, too.

And by the way, HCC narrative folks, if you could lose the semi-literate, untruthful and frequently embarrassing, giant-energy-footprinted Al Gore himself, your collective credibility would soar. Just my opinion but, ask around.

Omitting the Good

The climate change narrative includes other striking sins of habitual omission. But there is little doubt that if the various scenarios linked to climate change — global warming specifically — are correct, some good things will follow, in addition to the bad ones. This matters, because rational decisions are normally made after consideration of the pros and cons. Not to know the pros is to be condemned to making bad decisions. Two significant such omissions come to mind.

The first concerns shorter polar routes linking Europe and East Asia to each other and to North America, as ice melts near the North Pole. This means cheaper transportation, cheaper goods and, besides, a decrease in fuel consumption and therefore an abatement in CO2 emissions! I think this has already happened. It seems worth the occasional mention.

Rational decisions are normally made after consideration of the pros and cons. Not to know the pros is to be condemned to making bad decisions.

The second omission is warmer temperatures, which would undoubtedly ensure that the global area where cereals can mature will push northward. More wheat, for example, will be grown in Canada and in Siberia. This will mean more food and cheaper food. Perhaps it will even delay the moment when we must stop raising cattle because of their gross gas-processing manners. The warming of northern regions of the Northern Hemisphere may also give humanity some agricultural flexibility. Areas where cereals are grown under conditions favoring CO2 emissions might be retired, to the benefit of new areas, less favorable to them. Serious climate researchers frequently try to frighten us with the prospect of more malaria, a rebirth of the bubonic plague, species extinction, and desertification. That they omit to mention the good side of the same coin looks simply like another form of bad faith.

And then there is the simple fact, which the moderate environmentalist Bjørn Lomborg pointed out in the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago, that many more people die of the cold than from the heat.

It would be fine for HCC publicists to omit the favorable stuff about global warming if we had a real adversarial debate going on. We don’t have one because the climate change proponents overwhelmingly insist that there is no opposite side, that there is only their side, and elsewhere there is simply a mass of uneducated, illiterate imbeciles who are probably also evil (“deniers”). After all, 98%, or 97% of climate scientists, etc. . . .

Deviousness and Nonchalance

And then, there is what looks like cheating and is at least devious. Let me say first that so many people are involved in doing research, quasi-research, vulgarization of research, and promotion of the climate change narrative that it’s expected that some would be dishonest. So I am less interested in describing the liars and cheats than in gauging the response to dishonesty — or cutting corners, or manipulating data, or concealing data — of what has become, deliberately or not, a social movement.

Serious climate researchers frequently try to frighten us with the prospect of more malaria, a rebirth of the bubonic plague, species extinction, and desertification.

In 2009, hacked (stolen) emails sent by climate researchers at the University of East Anglia seemed to show coordinated attempts to suppress adverse research by deniers, by mere skeptics, and by simple rivals. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University were also implicated. See, for example: “From Phil Jones [University of East Anglia] To: Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University). July 8, 2004: ‘I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!’” [Emphasis mine.]

About more suppression, see: “Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate,” by James Taylor, in Forbes, November 23, 2011. There was also an unexplained mass destruction of data, including publicly accessible data, after questions were raised about findings on which they may have been based; this, although keeping the same data involved little or no cost: “Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.” A government-supported outfit admitted to having thrown away a large amount of climate data because of a “lack of storage capacity.” This prevents others, of course, from trying to duplicate their findings.

Here is an articulate summary of what an alert and critical layman could have read about what came to be known as “ClimateGate” — I mean a literate interested person with no training in physics or related fields, a citizen, like me: “What’s Up with That”: “Men Behaving Badly — a Short Summary for Laymen.” See also another work by the same author, and yet another by Fred Pearse, in the British center-left Guardian. Note: Pearse was also sometimes a debunker of the climate change debunking.

So many people are involved in doing research, quasi-research, vulgarization of research, and promotion of the climate change narrative that it’s expected that some would be dishonest.

So, it looked for all the world as if there were an international conspiracy of people with real scientific credentials — not publicists — to censor and to steer research in ways supportive of the HCC narrative. Soon, prestigious associations of scientists, their own universities, and some respected scientific journals responded by reaffirming the reality of climate change without, however, explicitly denying the apparent cheating or condemning the apparent cheaters. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, for example, concluded: ‘based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway . . . it is a growing threat to society.’”

After following this complicated story for 15 years, I am left with the impression that no one with any public intellectual credibility has addressed the following: however correct many of the HCC findings are, no matter how real global warming may be, top climate researchers did repeatedly violate scientific and academic norms, as well as basic individual ethics. This speaks, of course, to future credibility, to the post-scandal credibility of the scientific basis of HCC.

Ten years earlier, another climate scientist and his colleagues had produced a striking graph showing an abrupt and dramatic rise in temperature for the period more or less from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to today. Thus, the “hockey stick”: from left to right, flat, flat, flat, and then steeply up (to the right side of the graph, the last hundred years or so). He excluded available data for the period immediately preceding his period of observation. Had those data been included — extending the period to earlier times — the graph would have represented global temperature change over time as a sort of shapeless U instead of the striking “hockey stick.” The resulting graph might still have been interpretable as supporting the HCC narrative, but much less spectacularly than the hockey stick. It would have made more room for honest doubt. The alternative graph, with full data, could have been used in the way graphs are intended: to make information readily available to others — including the untrained — so they may make up their own minds. For a hostile view of the hockey stick, read: “Climate change: this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation,” Christopher Booker, The Telegraph, November 20, 2009. “Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with the Climategate whitewash,” says Booker.

The piece includes a graph that, to my eye, shows mean Northern Hemisphere temperature around 1050 as the same as in the 1950s.

The scientific transgression involved in the hockey stick graph is a subtle one, but the relevant rule is clear: researchers are supposed to include all the relevant data available, or they must say why they don’t. If they don’t follow this rule, they must at least signal clearly the existence of data they exclude so that others may try alternative formulations. (See note 2 below.) In their rebuttal of the widespread criticism accompanying their initial report, the chief creator of the hockey stick and his colleagues published a response with more complete data — through an interview with Chris Mooney of The Atlantic. The piece includes a graph that, to my eye, shows mean Northern Hemisphere temperature around 1050 as the same as in the 1950s. They insist nevertheless that they were right all along.

The graph entitled “Reconstructed Temperature” (which uses several measurements) in the Wikipedia entry, “Hockey Stick Controversy” shows about the same thing.

This, the most relevant Wikipedia entry, gives wide coverage to the associated issues and it is abundantly referenced (to mostly scientific journals). It gives an impression of scholarly thoroughness. It must also leave the noncommitted reader with the view that after much back and forth, the controversy has now disappeared, to the benefit of the hockey stick creators’ viewpoint. Nevertheless, the last, concluding sentence in this long Wiki entry reads as follows: “Marcott et al. 2013 used seafloor and lake bed sediment proxies to reconstruct global temperatures over the past 11,300 years, the last 1,000 years of which confirmed the original MBH99 hockey stick graph.” (Italics mine.) So, the data before 1012 do not support the hockey stick graph? Pretty much the suspicion I started with.

The controversy began when a handful of researchers violated good research practice about including all relevant data.

None of the above demonstrates to me that there is no HCC. There is however an unfinished controversy, a healthy debate around complicated issues of statistical analysis and of even more difficult issues of measurement. I think it’s far from over. The controversy began when a handful of researchers violated good research practice about including all relevant data. They thereby drew unwanted attention to themselves and to their alleged conclusive findings. Why they would have adopted such a cavalier attitude toward good practice is anyone’s guess, but the fact makes this citizen consumer of such news suspicious.

Neither instance of academic nonchalance proves anything in itself, but both give us the right to wonder whether they are the tip of a giant iceberg of intellectual dishonesty. Personally, I can’t put these stories to rest because the critical examination by the legitimate upper scientific establishment was too weak, given the implied tremendous policy stakes. I feel as if the relevant credentialed persons had just closed the door instead of cleaning the room.

If the watchdogs are doing their watching indulgently, why should I — who am unable to perform my own watching — believe that what is being watched is legitimate?

Part II will follow.

Notes

  1. “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature”: To cite this article: John Cook et al (8) 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 (2013) 024024 (7pp). I thank my friend and FB friend Vernon Bohr for the link.
  2. I have performed this kind of longitudinal research myself. My old coauthored sociology articles on the history of the Irish press and of the Argentinean press would have shown different things, and possibly more interesting things if we had had the luxury of deciding which years of observation to include, which to exclude. Instead, we performed statistical operations on all data available, from the very first newspaper to be published in each country. This proper inclusion might have cost me tenure! No regrets here though; both articles were published in one of the best journals available (Jacques Delacroix and Glenn Carroll. “Organizational foundings: an ecological study of the newspaper industries of Argentina and Ireland,”Administrative Science Quarterly, 228:274-291(1983); Glenn Carroll and Jacques Delacroix, “Organizational mortality in the newspaper industries of Argentina and Ireland: an ecological approach,”Administrative Science Quarterly, 27:169-198 (1982).

My postings on climate change:

Advertisements
Posted in Socio-Political Essays | Tagged | Leave a comment

The 2020 Dems

The two Democratic presidential debates were performed against a broad background of consecrated untruths and the debates gave them new life. Mostly, I don’t use the word “lies” because pseudo-facts eventually become facts in the mind of those who hear them repeated many times. And, to lie, you have to know that what you are saying isn’t true. Also, it seems to me that most of the candidates are more like my B- undergraduates than like A students. They lack the criticality to separate the superficially plausible from the true. Or, they don’t care.

So, it’s hard to tell who really believes the untruths below and who just let’s them pass for a variety of reasons, none of which speaks well of their intellectual integrity. There are also some down-and-out lies that none of the candidates has denounced, even ever so softly. Here is a medley of untruths.

Untruths and lies

I begin with a theme that’s not obviously an untruth, just very questionable. Economic inequality is rising in America or, (alt.) it has reached a new high point. I could easily use official data to demonstrate either. I could also – I am confident – use official figures to show that it’s shrinking or at a new low. Why do we care anyway? There may be good reasons. The Dems should give them. Otherwise, it’s the same old politics of envy. Boring!

Women need equal pay for equal work finally. But it’s been the law of the land for about forty years. Any company that does not obey that particular law is asking for a vast class action suit. Where are the class action suits?

What do you call a “half-truth” that’s only 10% true?

Abortion is a women’s health care issue.” No, it’s not, not for nearly all women. Where there is a real concern for the health or life of the pregnant woman, it’s easy to get a big majority to agree to provide a safe and legal abortion (notwithstanding certain recent extreme state laws). In nearly all cases, abortion is a recreational issue.

There was much vagueness in the debates that was equivalent to lying except for a lacking proof of self-consciousness. One candidate (or more) wants to ban – again – “assault weapons.” But there is no such thing except (cribbing from a stranger), “scary-looking guns.” It’s a marketing term. The politician in question almost certainly means automatic rifles. He spent time in the military. He ought to know that automatic weapons have been federally prohibited for fifty years or more (along with anti-aircraft cannons and fully armed submarines). Sen. Harris, Attorney General of the largest state in the union for seven years also must know this. Not a peep from her!

The on-going, useful untruths about immigration. Contrary to what was asserted in the second debate, applying for asylum in the US is perfectly legal. One just has to do it at one of the border stations. Contrary to what was strongly implied in the same debate, crossing the border without permission is only lightly “criminalized.” It’s a misdemeanor, less likely to be prosecuted than your ordinary overstaying of a parking meter. It will be difficult to “decriminalize” – as demanded by several candidates – an act that is already barely criminal. Here again, I don’t know if ignorance takes precedence or dishonesty. Both explanations are credible.

To be fair, it may well be true that ignorance about immigration laws is also abundant among Trump supporters. I heard with my own ears the Chairwoman of the National Republican Committee refer to the question of citizenship on the census form (since rejected by the Supreme Court) in the same breath as this country’s illegal immigration problem. This juxtaposition implies of course that the chairwoman is not aware of the fact that millions of non-citizens, aliens, live in this country in perfect legality.

The persistent immiseration narrative. America’s economic well-being under the Trump administration is an illusion, several candidates affirmed. It only profits the top one per cent. Many, according to Sen. Warren, have to work two, even three jobs, just to survive. No wait, just a minute, three full-time jobs simultaneously adds up to seventeen hours a day seven days a week. Yes, that must be exhausting! And if the Senator means three ten hours a week jobs, it may be inconvenient but so what? What does she imply?

Might be difficult to find so many jobs anyway when my local Seven/Eleven is begging for workers.

The “one per cent” is a dumb fiction but one that has a grip on the imagination of those whom thinking tires out. Briefly put. Right next to the top 1%, there are the next richest 1%, and then, the next-to-next richest 1%, and so on, down to the bottom of both American income and wealth pyramids. There is no discontinuity at all. It would be impossible to devise a distribution of income or wealth that benefits the top 1% but not the next 1%, and not the next 1%. Those who use the term insult their audience. Most in the audience don’t mind. Perhaps, some independent voters do.

Sen. Sanders affirmed with a straight and indignant face that there has been no wage increase in “forty years.” That’s idiotic, obviously, for reasons too technical to get into here. I will just say that whatever workers Mr Sanders has in mind have taken their pay raises in the form of hugely expanded health care and in superior products – such as “telephones.” (Readers under thirty may have no idea of what we used to call a phone!)

Pres. Trump has managed to fool most of us with his illusion of prosperity. The man is smart. Good reason to re-elect him, I say.

Racial discrimination. It’s still 1958. Segregation reigns. The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act failed. White supremacists are everywhere, and not only in the White House. Racial prejudice is rampant in America. And if I can’t exactly locate it near where I live, you can be completely sure it’s flourishing, the next county over. Also, somebody is shooting young black men in the streets. Hard to tell who is doing it.

Climate change demands immediate (big) government action. All the candidates (if memory serves) treat as obvious that there is unusual climate change caused by human activity that should panic us into demanding massive government intervention. I don’t believe the whole package myself. Fortunately, that story seems to have little traction with rank-and-file voters.

Two shameless outright lies stand out

Of the untruths being peddled routinely by the whole Democratic Party without a tweet of dissent, there are untruths that no adult can pretend not to know as such. One concerns abortion, the other, immigration.

The small creature that wriggles on the hospital table on the day before she was scheduled to be born –  according to the description by the Governor of Virginia (he of either the black face of the KKK robes) – that creature is a baby. It’s completely obvious; it’s self-evident. To not acknowledge this is to lie outright. I understand that lying is more comfortable than admitting one supports infanticide.

Yet, my reading of the polls over twenty years tells me that there is a fairly easy compromise solution on abortion that the left is deliberately avoiding. The solution was well described by Pres. Clinton. Incidentally: I am an atheist.

Immigration: the swamping issue. Our nation-state faces an immigration problem that is complex enough for honest people to disagree and for one person to endorse several variations of his party’s platform. (See below.) One aspect of it should not be debatable.

If immigration is not effectively restricted by legal means (and I would like, orderly and humane means – see Delacroix on immigration), the sheer number of people coming in will surely destroy our economy, ruin our lifestyle, and, worst of all, wreck our political institutions. With respect to the latter, I am thinking of large enough numbers of those who – having had no experience with representative government – do not cherish it. That’s not to mention those who hate democracy outright but would move here anyway.

To not recognize that there exists a number and a composition of foreigners influx such that they would unavoidably bring those results is to lie. It could be lying to oneself under the influence of the emotion generated by the realization of one’s own generosity in matters of immigration, but it’s still lying. Incidentally, I am an immigrant and the only white/ white member of my immediate family.

Dem. platforms (as far as I can tell)

The strangest thing, I have to confess, is that I am not completely unreachable in terms of the Dems announced major policy planks.

Free tuition. The same argument can be made here as is universally accepted in favor of free primary and secondary education. Also, of the 1944-55 GI Bill. Yes, it would enlarge the power of government but, possibly, mostly of state governments. (Not obvious but it can probably be done.) One has to choose between credible proximate solutions to big social problems and vaguely defined remote ideals until such time as the latter take the place of the former. It’s not easy. I do remember that I am for small government. Often, I have no solutions in keeping with that preference.

Student debt relief. Two or three generations of younger Americans have their lives constrained, many, severely, some probably forever, by the weight of their college debts. Inevitably, the left tells them they were cheated. This is one case where the left may be close to the truth.

Telling 20-year olds that they may contract big debts without clear expectations of how they will pay back would be considered a con-game if the con were not the federal government itself. The loan endeavor is supported by a special kind of phony statistic that exploit high school graduates’ arithmetic incompetence. College graduates earn significantly more than high school graduates over a lifetime, it’s true. Sounds like a good reason to “invest” in college even by contracting debt. Yes, but the observation is on the average. No doubt that young people with engineering degrees earn more than the average (again) high school graduate. But those who have majored in French, for example, earn less than plumbers or welders.

The wonders of arithmetic means seem to have largely escaped the attention of the bulk of our degree-bound high schoolers. And then, there is always the optimism of the young – as if it were a surprise. If one tenth of one tenth of the anecdotal horrors being told about student debts is real, we need a remedy to avoid a major and lasting fracture in the American body politics. That is exactly what the GI Bill accomplished: It avoided a life-long sense of grievance among those who had fought the war while others were enriching themselves. Yes, I think public monies will need to be spent. It may be spent in such a way as to achieve some other collective good (as the GI Bill did, I believe.)

Health care. Here is the simple, horrible truth: I have been on Medicare for twelve years, my wife, for eight years. It works fairly well, so far. If I had a serious criticism it’s – not surprisingly – that Medicare is too eager to provide care for ancillary health issues that might not need any attention. Also, it’s pushing preventive care that has little economic justification thus far.

The second thing that instructs, informs my position relative to collective health care is a degree of familiarity with the single-payer, French national health system, including under emotional circumstances. It works well, at about half the per capita cost of American health care. The French life expectancy is higher than the American. (Frankly though, I don’t know how long the French can afford it.) Note that the big cost differential leaves a lot of room for bad American innovation on public health care.

Yes, I know that giving 20% of the economy to government is a serious decision from which there is probably no walking back. I am sorry, my libertarian friends, but I am really tempted.

Immigrant relief

Immigration imposes issues that are both complex and emotionally charged. I wrote about it in NOL to set facts straight about actual policies and actual numbers of legal immigration, to escape emotionalism, to an extent. Here are two inescapable observations. Assuming there are still only eleven million illegal aliens living in America, they are a sub-population open to exploitation and mistreatment and therefore, to corruption. This is bad for me and for mine.

Something, or some things, have to be done to pull many of those out from under illegality. Another amnesty is surely in the works. It’s not fair but it’s the wise thing to do. In the case of illegals who were brought here as children and I have never known another country or language, taking care of them is also a matter of simple humanity. (America does not visit on the sons the sins of the parents.)

Speaking of humanity, I have a weak stomach with respect to children detained without proper care, care of any kind. If anything could cause me to break ranks, that would be it. That’s it wherever the responsibility lies. I am sure I am not alone.

There is no particular reason, though, why meliorative measures must include a “path to citizenship.” Almost all illegal aliens inside the US have citizenship in another country. And the European Union has dealt with this issue peacefully for many years: The numerous Romanians living in France don’t vote in French elections; they vote in Romania.

It’s a mystery why the GOP has been verbally so passive with respect to the Democratic Party’s cynical attempt to make this country a one-party system forever through control of former illegals’ vote.

And, yes, illegal immigrants must have some access to health care, as all the candidates voted in the second debate. We can’t have people bringing in Third World diseases and dying in our streets for lack of attention. It’s not criminal indulgence toward lawbreakers but ordinary self-interest. They cost a lot in resources that they have not contributed to producing. That’s one of the reasons to limit immigration, precisely.

Even reparations for the descendants of slaves get a hearing from me: There is a remaining issue of unpaid wages over 200-plus years of slavery. And I believe that good things are transmitted through family lines. The polity that enforced slavery from a legal standpoint is the same under which I live right now. I am listening to calls for reparations because I am a conservative.

Not open for negotiations, finally: the control of our borders.

So, I am surprisingly close to several Dem presidential candidates as far as actual, concrete programs are concerned. Or, at least, I could be seduced. Yet, it’s unlikely I will cross the line toward any of them. The reason is character. They are a dishonest bunch that does not care about facts; they are extremists; they are childishly self-indulgent; in the end they promote totalitarianism (although they may honestly not know it). Unless Pres. Trump does something much more objectionable than usual, I will vote for him again. Or, I will stay home (unless the Libertarian Party surprises us with a wise slate).

Those left standing

The debates, the shows, one boring, the other disorganized did serve a useful purpose. They showed pretty clearly who has the energy to campaign and/or to occupy the office and who does not. I believe candidates indicated in snipets who responds adequately to stressful aggression. I concluded that there aren’t twenty Dem presidential candidates after all. Most are there for reasons other than wanting to be president, other than believing they stand a chance, for the experience, perhaps, in one case, probably to sell more books (the woman who is Oprah’s “spiritual adviser”).

First, the candidate who most moved the agenda. Sen. Sanders is honest; he has a lot of energy. He has not had a good idea since 1970, at best. Possibly, he has not had any idea ever. What I had not realized until now is that he is a bad Marxist, a crude Marxist. He repeats the same stilted formulas that seemed partly valid in 1870 ( “18” not a typo). He displays none of the sophistication, the inventiveness, the nimbleness of those who have read Marx extensively. Not only would he try to impose some version of socialism in America, it would be very bad socialism because he does not understand the concept.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren quickly moves to the verge of hysteria. What came though in the first debate was not her usual lack of authenticity but what I think is a sincere hatred of our very successful economic institutions. I am hoping her very intensity on such matters will turn off independents. Plus, she will remind many men of their first wife.

Joe Biden came out surprisingly well, in my book. He gave coherent answers to questions. He kept his dignity even when he was attacked violently (and dishonestly) about a past he cannot change (and I hope he does not try to pretend to change it.) My musings of a couple of weeks ago on the thirst for normalcy appear prescient: Joe Biden looks exceptionally normal, so to speak, not only against Trump as I said then, but against his Dem. rivals. But Pres. Obama’s failure to endorse him is like a chain and ball, for the time being. (I sure hope Mr Obama is not considering running at the last minute.)

Sen. Kamala Harris demonstrated a great deal of oomph. She is articulate and obviously intelligent. Her mean streak though is just below the surface. I doubt it’s an asset in a race against frequently witty Pres. Trump though it may well be for the rest of the Dem. primary race. I still don’t know what she has  to brag about for her seven years as Attorney General of California, where I live, a mystery of major proportions. I would guess she has sent more black men to jail than any American alive. It will catch up with her eventually. The Senator has good skin though. I think it matters to some men and to almost all women. She is a much better identity flag-waving female candidate than Sen. Clinton ever could dream to be.

I fear Sen Harris because she seems well equipped to work the same magic on white America as Pres. Obama did. She is an obviously competent and presentable, middle-class Negro and not too African-American (not at all, in fact.)

Julian Castro is a lightweight (for the time being) but his Spanish is good. The mayor of South Bend Indiana, is smart and articulate; it’s just not his turn yet.  Plus, even the bulk of Democrats are not ready for a First Lady with a five o’clock shadow. Corey Booker is not ripe either. He seems to think things through and he has a respectable record in New Jersey. He is too young except as excellent VP material also providing a necessary touch of the tar brush.

De Blasio takes the palm as the easiest candidate to dislike. I wish I could say that Rep. Baggard from Hawaii has a chance but that would be taking my wishes for reality.

All the other candidates don’t exist, or don’t anymore, including the two middle-aged nice, white gentlemen with moderate and rational viewpoints whose name I hardly learned.

What did else did I learn in the two Dem. debates? Several candidates don’t know Spanish (which is fine) but are not smart enough to know that they don’t (a problem).

In the end, I take some comfort from the fact that the leftist organizers and monitors of the first debate had trouble getting mastery of a 1950’s sound technology!

Posted in Current Events | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Muslim Gangs: A Facebook Exchange

Once in a while I try to communicate to my conservative friends the complexity of the situation created by the existence of many Muslims in western Europe. Here is another vignette. This is transcript of a Facebook exchange over two days prompted by a short story I posted. I made a tiny number of changes after the fact and added a very few comments. Both are in brackets: [ ].

 

There is a small area in the beautiful city of Bordeaux where gangs have been clashing repeatedly, even in full daylight. It’s bad for business, of course. Sometimes, often, local businesses suffer physical damage. Some merchants are ready to try to sell and leave. The core problem. is a turf war between an Algerian gang and an Albanian gang. The members of both are presumably “Muslim,” as you may know, in the minds of my conservative friends.

The local merchants association is trying to get more police

protection. It’s impeded in its efforts by its members’

unwillingness to testify in [or go] public. Only one member,

its president, is speaking loud and clear, and on the record

about the gangs’ depredations. His name is Driss Ben

Haddou.

Kevin Ho.. Sounds like Salinas CA

  • Tash Kreditan…. If the choice is between more government and this…🤔

    1

    Jimmy Joe Lee Tash Government is the cause.. The political class is guilty. More is definitely not better . [Jimmy Joe is a Country Music singer and composer. He lives not far from me but, in the hills, of course.]

  • Jimmy Joe Lee In France and England the chickens, as they say, are home to roost. I didn’t say coming home, as they are there. Here in the States we have the Immigration Bill of 1965, and its major supporter, Ted Kennedy to thank. President Obama, purposely compounded the problem with his refugee policy.

    Nitin Agra… It will only get worse from here.. decent people will leave the locality.. the area will become a ghetto with no go zones and a hub for child trafficking, drug, smuggling, illegal arms sales and what not.. low iq and unvetted; import of large scale low iq immigrants is always unblemished with success.. feel sad for Europe.. people may have their opinions about colonialism but even they can’t deny that Europeans have conducted themselves impeccably last seventy years or so.. (This writer is Indian.)

     Laura Tayl.. Not possible to employ a private security firm if the local business persons form a cooperative to defend themselves and their ability to survive? 

  • Sam Gro.. The gangs are populated by youth who are stymied by unemployment, a product of government protections afforded to those with jobs.

    Jacques Delacroix Jimmy Joe, Nitin: There have been Muslims in France for more than one hundred years. What do you propose, ethnic cleansing, including of the one brave man in the story?

 

Michel Berr Jacques Delacroix There will obviously be no ethnic cleansing. A civil war is possible, more probable a partition of the territory (which is actually already in place) with white, European people leaving suburbs under pressure of the African/moslim. Most Jews already left those territories. The pressure will keep on rising as moslim immigrants (mostly young, uneducated men) are coming in huge numbers, fertility of moslim families is about 3 to 4 times higher than Christian ones and as addressing the consequences of moslim immigration is considered as racism by the press and all but one political party.

    • Jacques Delacroix Michel Berr     Predictions are cheap and the more dire the better. You seem to have missed the point of the story. Look at the last three words.

      Nitin Agra I offer no solutions.. just my analysis of the situation.. though vetting who is entering, uneducated unemployed and unmarried male is the most dangerous creature to have walked the earth ever, I mean a la trump.. vetting, educational qualifications, job experience, work permit, criminal background.. I mean Europe is that naive that refugees have no females, children and oldies but just military age single males.. common man.. U get the picture.. the French Muslims since a 100 years that you speak of will not be a party to the ghettoization of the population but sadly will be the silent spectators and hence unwilling accomplices to unfolding sordid saga.. the silent secular majority of Muslims is always like that almost everywhere..

Jacques Delacroix Nitin: Muslims citizens are everywhere in French society, have been for a long time. My favorite politician, a conservative, is named Rachida Dati; many actors, writers, film directors I like have Muslim names. My (very subjective) opinion is that anything interesting in [current] French popular music comes from Arab influence. The most important French comedians have Muslim names. The first French soldier who died in Kosovo was named El Haji; the cop who died defending Charlie Hebdo had a Muslim name; the lowly employee who hid dozens in the Jewish store the next day, after the massacre, was a Muslim immigrant. Did you notice the three last words in my little news story? Two questions are unavoidable: 1 What’s a Muslim? 2 What do you propose the French do with citizens who are Muslims? Maybe make them wear an altered yellow star?

    • Michel Berr Jacques Delacroix All the moslim citizens you talk about are people who (as actually tacitly required by the French way of life) put their religion far away from their citizenship, the same way Catholics or Jews do. This is not the case anymore for decades, do you imagine Rachida Dati fighting for moslim veils in schools, banning pork from public schools, splitting schedules in public swimming pools for women, refusing to attend classes on the Holocaust, chasing even non-moslim people eating or drinking during Ramadan, the French soccer team booed in Paris while playing against Algeria or Tunisia, women refusing to be treated by a male doctor,…? This is daily bread in France nowadays. I witnessed a tremendous and deep invasion of Islam symbols in our society over the last 20 years, especially in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, UK and Germany. (Note: Michel is a Frenchman currently living in Belgium.)

 Michel Berr Jacques Delacroix Indeed, especially when they [predictions] do not come from me but from a former president (Hollande), a former homeland minister (Colomb) and a general of gendarmerie who explains that partition maps are already organized. All the moslim citizens you talk about are people who (as actually tacitly required by the French way of life) put their religion far away from their citizenship, the same way Catholics or Jews do. This is not the case anymore for decades, do you imagine Rachida Dati fighting for moslim veils in schools, banning pork from public schools, splitting schedules in public swimming pools for women, refusing to attend classes on the Holocaust, chasing even non-moslim people eating or drinking during Ramadan, the French soccer team booed in Paris while playing against Algeria or Tunisia, women refusing to be treated by a male doctor,…? This is daily bread in France nowadays. I witnessed a tremendous and deep invasion of Islam symbols in our society over the last 20 years, especially in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, UK and Germany.

Jacques Delacroix Michel Berr Sorry I couldn’t answer before. I was at the beach working on my toxic masculinity.

    • Rich menu you place in front of me, Michel. I am going to answer you, and I hope Jimmy Joe, and others, will find something of interest in my response to Michel. First, am I right that you are a Frenchman living in France (with very good English)? One thing at a time. First, ex-President Hollande is a fool, always has been; there is no reason to pay attention to anything he says. I am not familiar with Colomb. (It does not mean he should be dismissed.) I should hope the general of gendarmerie has partition maps. (The gendarmerie is a national constabulary that polices all but the biggest cities and rural France. It’s probably well respected overall.) If the general does not have such maps, what is he doing to earn his living? I, a friend, and Google could probably produce one credible map of planned Muslim partition a week more or less forever. I can’t take this seriously. The French Republic has the means to starve out any such enclave. All that Muslims separatists could produce is terrorism, not a mini-caliphate.
    • Next, you give a hodge-podge list of Muslim behaviors that annoy you. First: You don’t actually know why the French soccer team – that includes several Muslims – was booed. Nationalism is a sufficient explanation for that rude behavior. Chasing even “non-Muslims…” You don’t know that either although it’s reprehensible behavior in any case. Did any school actually ban pork or was some civilized compromise achieved? (I would bet there are not five public schools in all of France that have actually banned pork.) Other things are only publicly scandalous because France is a very rigid society. If Muslim women in Canada, even in the US, asked for a “women only” night (out of seven) at the public swimming pool, they would be promptly accommodated and nothing would be made of it. You don’t seem to be thinking of this clearly. Muslim women there for religious reasons would soon be joined by other women there for cellulite reasons. It could turn out to be a good innovation for the health of women in general. If France were not so rigid, we would not have the grotesque spectacle of several Riviera cities fining women for NOT showing enough skin on the beach. (Yes, my American readers, you read that right. It’s the “burkini” scandal.) [Update: The French highest court outlawed the practice in 2016.]
    • “Refusing to be treated by a male doctor…” I am not sure how it concerns you although it’s irritating. There are more Muslim symbols in France than when I was living there (long ago) but, so, what? France has a secular government (“laique“). If crosses are allowed (they are everywhere), crescents must be allowed. I think it’s that simple. Now, the main topic. You did a good part of my job for me [in this respect] already. Many French people with Muslim names, even many immigrants, keep their religion faraway from themselves, as you say. In other words, they are a lot like other French people for whom religious identification is vague, tenuous, or non-existent. My favorite French politician, Rachida Dati deliberately had a child out of wedlock; she wouldn’t name the stud. That’s not exactly pious Muslim behavior! So, the point is that there is no reasonable way to fight Muslims within French society because it’s very difficult or impossible to determine who is a Muslim. (My first name and my last name together could make you swear that I am a Catholic. You would be wrong.)
    • Now, I am going to try to address you and my singer friend Jimmy Joe all at once. I don’t know how anyone knows what Muslim societies really want to do to Western countries. I don’t know how anyone would know. What I do know is that they are extremely weak and, with the exception of Iran, incapable of doing much harm beyond the terrorism to which we are now used. Penetration of Western countries by Muslim extremists seems to me very limited. After all, to my knowledge, from the worst Western country, France, fewer than three hundred went off to die in the stupid jihad in the Mideast. Even if those who went are only the tip of a jihadist iceberg, it still does not amount to much. (Sixty million French people [actually 67 million].) There is also a fear of a demographic race – that you have not mentioned. I think it’s bunk. (Another time.)
    • To finish this: I do not need to be persuaded that there is an affinity between Islam, the religion, and a propensity to terrorism. Several years ago I wrote an article on this that was well received. I will try to link here right away. [Facebook had interfered previously with some of my postings.]The problem – if any – of Muslim immigration is nested inside a more general problem of immigration. To fight the current brand of terrorism effectively requires the input of cultural Muslims. Disclosure: I have Muslim relatives. True, I can’t forget that I like them. It must cloud my judgment!

1

    •   Jacques Delacroix Here is the essay mentioned in my reply to Michel Berrier, above: “Religious Bric-à-Brac and Tolerance of Violent Jihad” by Jacques Delacroix | Posted January 27, 2015.http://www.libertyunbound.com/node/1365
    • LIBERTYUNBOUND.COM

      Religious Bric-à-Brac and Tolerance of Violent Jihad | Liberty Unbound

      Michel Berr     Jacques Delacroix Thank you for your long, balanced and candour answer. I will surely read your essay. I confirm I am a Frenchman, currently leaving [living] in Belgium after several long stays in Holland and Germany. I am afraid we will hardly find a common field on that question: Rachida Dati for instance is the genuine embodiment of the French tenets. The new generations of moslims coming in the country have no desire to integrate as she did, even worse (in my opinion), women like her are nowadays accused of treason against their community. There are numerous schools where pork is banned, where history lessons are cut in order not to create tensions, …I guess your vision of today’s France is a bit distant. I encourage you to have a look at cities like Saint-Denis, Trappes, Grenoble, Avignon, Lunel, Roubaix or Mulhouse to realize what is going on. We agree on one point though: Hollande is indeed a fool. By the way, 90% of French moslims voted for him in 2012.

    • Michel Berr  Jacques Delacroix Impressive work, very accurate. [Bric-a-Brac….] I share all points of view and analyses, which makes our divergence on the conclusion apparently illogical. May be one point is missing that could explain at least part of it : the shift in the « Parti Socialiste » in 1986 which gave up the working class for the moslim citizens and immigrants, that they consider as the last (though indirect) victims of American imperialism through the occupation of Palestine by their ally Israël.
    • Michel Berr  Jacques Delacroix  I think this cover from “Le Point” would illustrate my point : a French moslim woman, fearing for her daughter to be compelled to live as in Saudi Arabia. By the way, she used to be columnist in Charlie Hebdo.

Jacques Delacroix     Michel Berr: I take your charge of my being under informed seriously. Why not come up with concrete evidence, even if only from the press? Plus, you have not answered (yet) any of my objections to your reading of facts: pork “banned”?

Jacques Delacroix Michel Berr I could not open the Le Point article. How could the daughter be “compelled” to live anywhere? (I assume she currently lives in France )

Michel Berr Jacques Delacroix That’s her point: she fears that her daughter will soon be compelled to live according to sharia laws…in France.

Michel Berr  Jacques Delacroix Well, here is where the trial as fake news spreader will start: mainstream papers tend not to mention these facts, but local papers do, as they would lose their readers if they would not. Let me some time to gather articles. A French  author wrote a full book describing the reality of felonies, assaults, rapes and crimes in France based on local newspapers compilation. 5 minutes after the book was published, he was torn apart by the Parisian press as a nazi.

Michel Berr  By the way, I do not consider you as underinformed, on the contrary.

Jacques Delacroix Michel Berr I am probably under informed about France today. I don’t read any local paper, for example. I believe you about French political correctness in the media.

Michel Berr Jacques Delacroix That was exactly my point. Over the last 5 years, our society has been subject to massive and silent changes. The « yellow vest » protests are just a symptom of it, widely misunderstood. I guess in a way that they are the same people as those who would vote for Trump.

Jacques Delacroix Michel Berr The yellow vests ended up with pseudo-Marxist demands for more money. I suspect 9/10 of the French lack the conceptual vocabulary to say anything else.

Michel Berr Jacques Delacroix Right, this is how it ended, but not how it started. There were many craftsmen, independent workers, owners of small businesses in the beginning. They indeed left the movement which transformed in a crypto-communist mob. I take your point though about the 9/10, which I sadly agree with.

Jacques Delacroix Michel Berr   Sorry for her mother but, presumably, the “girl,” the daughter is an adult. If she lives in France, no one can compel her to marry anybody. Young women make all kinds of mistakes all the time in their choice of mate. Many non_Muslim women marry alcoholics and spend ten years or more being beaten up. Until right now ( couple of years back), young women everywhere unknowingly marry homosexuals who make them feel inadequate without even trying. Happened to someone I know very well. Sharia might have been preferable. See my point?

Michel Berr  Jacques Delacroix the purpose of this cover page of Le Point (serious magazine) was to demonstrate the magnitude of the ramping invasion of radical moslim tenets in our society. I do not follow you at all on sharia: a woman married to a drunk can theoretically divorce; she cannot divorce under sharia, which runs by the way counter to our laws and constitution on nearly every line.

Jacques Delacroix Michel Berr Again, I could not read the article but the indignation does not make much sense. Sharia is impotent in France; it’s only a private arrangement, at most. If the daughter moves to a country under Sharia, it’s her choice as an adult. She might as well move to an American state where a divorce can happen easily if one of the spouses says he/she does not like the other anymore. Individual freedom clearly implies the right to f… up badly. If I were the mother, I too would be devastated. I would be forced to ask myself where I went wrong as a parent.

 Michel Berr Jacques Delacroix I do not make my point clear. The daughter would not want it, the mother feels that she will be forced into it, in France. Let’s be more blunt: the Islamic pressure has turned so fierce in France (this is the part I understand you cannot comprehend, as it is a recent phenomenon) that many fear either a submission of our laws to this religion (partition) as it already happened in the UK or a reaction (civil war, riots,…which I doubt).

Jacques Delacroix Michel Berr

I heard you; I read you carefully; I don’t believe any of this. I am not trying to have the last word. We can continue. I will consult my police relative in France.

Jimmy Joe Lee  If you don’t see the refugee situation as a problem, then in your view, it doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, back in the real world, it is a problem and shrugging one’s shoulders and in effect saying “Oh well” or some such, has produced the reality seen today.“ I don’t have an exact plan. Even if I did the French leadership, if they were to acknowledge me at all, would direct me to mind my own business. As a general suggestion, I would say any arrivals as refugees in the past 10 years be deported. Any in France illegally, deport them. To the remaining group… assimilate or vacate. You have 5 years to do so. If the countries that have allowed this problem to exist and grow do nothing, they will in time, maybe 50 years or less, for all intents and purposes, no longer exist. There is a truism in matters of finance. Easy in, difficult out.

Jacques Delacroix  Jimmy Joe Lee The story says nothing of refugees. Did you notice the last three words? AND SEE ABOVE my long response to Michel. [It’s likely that none of the protagonists in my short story are refugee.]

Jimmy Joe Lee Jacques Delacroix Of course I read it. I read the entire article which is pregnant with my observations. The story reflects a huge problem. The conduct of this one person, as valiant as it might be should not be allowed to mask what is a huge and growing conflict. The Muslim world has been attempting to overrun the West, what they still see as Christendom, since the 7th century. While the West has become more civilized over the centuries, the Muslim mindset is from that time. Many on this side of the fence for whatever reason don’t or don’t want to get it.

Jimmy Joe Lee I very much enjoyed reading the exchange between the two of you. That is Jacques and Michael. Obviously, you are both much more informed with respect to France in every aspect than am I. That acknowledged, medical analogies with respect to societal matters, have their limitations. Still, as example, removal of diseased tissue from a living thing, will, in the process, cause some non diseased tissue to be removed as well. While making every effort to remove as little healthy material as possible, it must be so to save the life of the entity upon which the operation is being performed. I could easily raise objection to the analogy I’ve offered. Doing so would only be to register debate points. The metaphor is, however, fitting to the situation many Western countries have unwittingly or otherwise, created for themselves.

Jacques Delacroix   Jimmy Joe Lee You are too generous [with compliments]. Do you know that I said little about the advisability of radical surgery? (I hope you will read my “Bric-a-Brac …” I think you will like it.) I questioned Michel’s reading of reports and I pointed out the difficulty of doing anything within the French republican tradition.

Roger Des M…… How long until I read of the assassination of Monsieur Ben Haddou?

 Roger Des M The deep problem is the higher Muslim birth rate, combined with a commitment to democracy => One day, “les francais de vielle [vieille] souche” will simply be outvoted.

Jacques Delacroix  Roger: The high Muslim birth rate is not Muslim. It’s the typical birthrate of people who were recently peasants. It always converges with urban averages in one generation or a little more. The commitment to democracy is a broader issue of immigration. I deal with it in my article, “Bric-a-Brac…” linked above.

I stopped here for no particular reason. The debate continues. There are insertions missing because they arrived late.

E

Posted in Cultural Studies, Socio-Political Essays | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Normal Joe and the 2020 Election

Sorry if this is a little disjointed. Summer has finally arrived on the California central coast . So, I have been trying to recover my toxic masculinity for the beach, not smooth sailing!

Mr Biden declared that President Trump poses an “existential threat” to the nation. This is not what bothers me because it’s unlikely Mr Biden understands the word “existential.” His team put it up for him to read or he cribbed it mindlessly from someone else’ speech, the way he does.

I am beginning to get a bad feeling about the Biden presidency for another, subtle reason so, pay attention. It’s not so much the continuing gap in the polls between him and Mr Trump, although that too, but only in the second position of my worries. What’s most disturbing is the continuing gap in the polls between Mr Bidden and all other Democrat candidates.

Ex-Vice-President Biden is like a caricature of Mr Nobody. In politics for fifty years, he has mostly demonstrated a talent for being re-elected. His name is associated with few important pieces of legislation and the ones that are remembered are currently causing him problems. One such is  Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 which, critics from his party say, resulted in the needless incarceration of many black males. Of course, in his two terms as vice-president, he was vastly overshadowed by his boss, Barack Obama. The thought could cross your mind legitimately that he was selected for the post, in large part for his, this talent, a great capacity for being overshadowed.

I think I may be describing precisely the reason why he is thus far outpacing other Dem candidates. Briefly put: You can’t have everything. Mr Biden ‘s main quality is that he is – for a politician – NORMAL to the point of mediocrity. Repeating myself: In this context, mediocrity is another word for normal.

He is an older white man with a well known political track record (with little to see), one unlikely to generate surprises. His face and his voices are familiar, if nothing else because of his two terms as a vice-president. He is famous for his gaffes but that makes him perhaps a little endearing, like the dear old uncle who invariably drops cream cake on his tie at every family dinner. His main liability may well be his propensity to touch others, including children. But, hey, nobody is perfect and, one suspects, other male candidates – most of them or all of them – probably have much bigger skeletons in their closets, doesn’t every guy?

Just compare Mr Biden to the two current runners up – far behind him, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elisabeth Warren. The first would, on the surface also qualify as pretty normal. He looks like a handsome grandfather. He has been married to the same woman forever. He speaks well. He is abnormal mostly in a virtuous way: He did not get rich in office. But, but, most of the time, when he opens his mouth this terrible 1949 narrative comes out of it. (I chose that date because it precedes the death of Stalin and the torrent of revelations about the realities of Soviet socialism that followed it.) Mr Sanders has not learned a freaking thing in 70 years! That’s a lot, even for starry-eyed progressives. It’s a bit much even for millennials who feel existentially cheated (this word again) and thus have their own reasons to consider the absurd.

Or take Ms Warren. Actually, she had an honorable career as an academic. (I checked, little bitch that I am!) She expresses herself clearly. The bits and pieces of her extreme left-wing program make superficial sense, considered out of context, one-by-one. Tell the truth, I am a little frightened of Warren for this reason. However, I cannot believe that independents will forget or ignore the lamentable Pocahontas story. Either, she is a long distance liar who used an imagined ethnic identity to advance her career (and therefore, cheated real ethnic candidates, in the putrid calculus of racial advancement). Or, and this may actually be worse, she fooled herself for all of her adult life into believing that her archetypal WASP face was but a mask covering up strong native American features. Her reactions on the occasion of the fiasco of her DNA analysis results make the latter explanation credible. She could have stopped publication and quickly changed the subject when it came out that her chances of having native American genes were about the same as those of a recent immigrant from China. Instead, she dug in her heels. Ms Warren has spectacularly bad judgment. I mean that she is far from normal, that way.

So, I am telling you that Mr Biden’s advantage, perhaps his single advantage may be that he appears normal, even impressively normal, Central Casting normal, I am tempted to say – but that would be cheap- abnormally normal. That would explain his advance against other Dem candidates in spite of the fact that he violates many tenets of current received wisdom about the Democratic Party: He is a man, an old man, white, heterosexual, (probably, he only sniffs females’ hair), not transgender, not even socialist.

Mr Biden’s normalcy may also explain the polls gap with Mr Trump in a projected one-on-one contest for the presidency. In fact, it’s difficult to think of anything else that explains both the gap between Mr Biden and his Dem rivals and the gap between himself and Mr Trump.

It’s possible that this shift in the electoral game has gone largely unperceived thus far because both left and right commentators are distracted. The pro-liberal media are entranced by the antics of the newest and of the oldest members of Congress. Surely, Bernie Sanders’ 1949 economic and social ideas are more riveting than Mr Biden’s normalcy. Certainly, the many surrealistic pronouncements by the best-looking female member of the House are more exciting than Mr Biden’s normalcy. And then, there is the continuing fascination with the left’s desire to hurt Mr Trump, somehow, sometimes, impeachment or not impeachment.

I, myself may be typical of a mistake conservatives have been making systematically that would blind us to the importance of Biden’s normalcy. Let me explain. I am not a Trump cultist, not by a long shot. I think Mr Trump is rude, crude, unreliable in this words, I think he often speaks before he thinks, many of the things he asserts are just not true. I decided early in his administration that this kind of features and mishaps would not bother me. I still think they are unimportant against the background of his successes that liberals don’t like, such as his two Supreme Court appointments, and next to his successes that even liberals ought to like, such as low unemployment and solid economic growth. And then, of course, there is just no way I will miss Mr Trump’s only realistic 2016 alternative, the thoroughly crooked Ms Hillary Clinton.

For the past two years, I have been on kind of automatic exercising my rationalist bias. I have been dismissing the obviously hypocritical mass media and its caste-based hatred of Mr Trump. I have treated lightly the howls of pain of the few liberals with whom I remain in contact. I have been seeing them first as expressing loser’s rage, an especially painful rage because the loss was unexpected. Second, the inability of the few liberals with whom I am still in contact to justify their howling on factual grounds also contributed to making me dismissive. Every time I asked one of them to give a single instance of Mr Trump acting illegally, or unconstitutionally, as they abundantly claimed he did, they failed lamentably. And, of course, I believe that immaturity is one of the sources of liberalism.

But, my approach may be too rational by half. When a liberal accuses Pres. Trump of being a would-be dictator, his words may not matter; he may just be expressing the depth of his indignation within the scope of a limited political vocabulary. He may be simply shouting out his disarray in the face of the abnormality of the current American political situation. His words may not mean what they are supposed to mean; they may simply mean, “I am disoriented and scared!”

So, Mr Trump’s main adversary, in 2020, may not be the uninformed, and woolly socialism of the left of the Dem Party. It may not be the climate alarmism of practically all its candidates , which leaves the mass of the American public notably cool. (Yes, that’s on purpose!). It may not be the resonating but hard to pin down claim for greater equality, or “social justice.” In his 2020 campaign, Mr Trump may have to fight the lure of a return normalcy incarnated by Mr Biden. Frankly, the prospect makes me nervous.

If the coming race is all about restoring the republic to normalcy, Mr Trump’s road is going to be rocky. (Strangely, someone in his entourage seems to have such foreboding. The 6/15-16/19 Wall Street Journal describes a markedly conventional organization of the 2020 Trump presidential campaign designed to make the president appear more normal – my choice of word.)

In practical terms, in this context, the strategic questions will be as follows: As there enough Dem voters who would not otherwise bother who will be enticed to vote by Mr Biden’s conventional looks and actions? Are there enough independents who will take the Trump policy achievements for granted, and who are rebuked by the Dem Party new extremism but who will nevertheless vote Democrat because the Party’s candidate, the colorless, marginally live Joe Biden – seems normal?

And if you are one of those conservatives who airily dismiss polls because of the previous presidential campaign, think again; the pollsters called the popular vote just about right in 2016.

Posted in Current Events, Socio-Political Essays | Leave a comment

Tariffs and Immigration

Pres. Trump announced yesterday (6/1/19), on returning from Europe that the threatened tariffs against Mexican imports were suspended “indefinitely.” It looks like Mexico agrees to do several things to stop or slow immigration from Central America aiming at the United States.

Well, I am the kind of guy who, on learning that he has earned the Publishers’ Clearing House Giant Jackpot immediately worries about accountants, and about where to stash the dough. So, here it goes.

Mr Trump never did specify how much Mexico would have to do to keep the threat away durably. Two problems. First, if I were the Mexican government, I would worry about his moving the goalposts at any time.

Second, – and those who hate him won’t miss it – absent specific goals, Mr Trump put himself in a position to claim a (considerable) political victory no matter what happens next. To take an absurd example, if the number of migrants from Central America decreases, by 1% in July and August, he will be able to say, “ I told you so, my tariff pressures work.” As the French say, “ Why cut yourself the switches that will be used to whip you with?”

Part of the agreement reportedly, incredibly, includes a provision that those migrants who are waiting for their American formal court appearance will be allowed to so in Mexico, and be allowed to work there while they wait. This sounds amazingly unfair to Mexico. (I sure hope some significant money changed hands in the background on the account of his provision.) Mexican public opinion is not going to respond well to this feature if it understands it.

Another feature of the agreement is that Mexico will allow itself to be designated as a third and “safe” country. This has to do with ordinary international asylum and refugee agreements language which generally specify that an asylee or refugee may not chose his country of destination but must seek legal status in the first safe country he reaches. So, for Syrians, that would be Greece, or Turkey, rather than say, Germany, or Sweden. You know how well this provision worked out in Europe! Even more seriously, Mexico is not safe by any measure: The Mexican homicide rate is more than five times higher than that of the US – which is itself no low. (Wall Street Journal, 8-9 2019, p. A6). Imagine what it will be against an alien, vulnerable population.

As I write, Mexico is already deploying its National Guard on its southern border to impeach passage. This is a brand new force; it has no experience; expect accidents or worse. When this happens, it won’t play well with the Mexican public. The southern border of Mexico is short, only about 150 miles but still, the Mexican National Guard has only 6,000 members, total.

American conservative opinion remains badly confused about the facts of immigration in general. This, in spite of my own valiant efforts. ( See my “Legal Immigration Into the US” – in 37 short parts, both in Notes on Liberty and on my blog. Ask me for the blog’s name via jdelacroixliberty@gmail.com.) On 6/7/19 evening, in less than 30 minutes, I heard two different Fox News commentators refer to the migrants arriving in caravans from Central America and that are overwhelming our national processing capacity as “illegal immigrants.” That’s wrong. People who run after the Border Patrol to turn themselves in as a prelude to their claiming asylum are not illegal immigrants. There is nothing illegal about such acts, however you deplore them. And, in our constitutional tradition, nothing can be deemed retroactively as against the law. If we don’t like what the law currently produces, we must change the law. Period.

I used to hope for a wholesale, inclusive change in our immigration laws. I now think this is not going to happen in a bi-partisan manner because there are still many Dems who deny the obvious: We are currently facing an immigration crisis. If the plight of would-be immigrants held in overcrowded facilities or let loose in strange cities without resources, does not move their hearts, nothing will. I now think the administration should opportunistically seek piecemeal reform as may be facilitated by temporary situations. Big change will not happen until the GOP gains control of both houses of Congress, in addition to the Presidency. I believe that equivalent Dem control would not make immigration reform possible because there are too many liberal ideologues and too many Dem politicians who want open borders, for different reasons.

One more thing: Mainstream conservatives and some spoiled libertarians have been clamoring on the social media that tariffs are wrong, always wrong, wrong, no matter what. They point out rightly that tariffs are first and foremost taxes on the consumers of countries that impose them. I am myself completely persuaded of the merits of free trade as a means to maximize production. This does not prevent me from seeing that trade pressures, including the imposition of tariffs, can be used to extract advantages from other countries. In fact, I suspect such maneuvers may often be the best alternative to military pressure. In this case, and temporarily, I understand, Mr Trump’s tariff mano-a-mano with the tough leftist Mexican president, seems to have borne fruit. So, I would like the never-never –never tariffs people on my side to provide a rough estimate of how much this particular tariff action – against Mexico – may have cost American consumers, total.

Posted in Socio-Political Essays | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Who are you my friend(s)?

There is someone in Hong Kong who is reading or seems to be reading many of my postings. I am charmed, of course and I would like to know who, he/she/they  is/are.

 

Use my email if you wish: jdelacroixliberty@gmail.com if you wish.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Paris Islamophobia, 2019

Here is a little story that may confuse you for a short while. At least, I hope it does.

The story takes place in the eastern Paris neighborhood where I grew up. It used to be frankly working class. I guess that it may have become a little gentrified but, I guess, not much. It’s at a bus stop next to a large park built over a former 1900 mushroom farm that used the abundant horse manure then available in Paris (That’s another story told in my book of memoirs, I Used to be French…. Ask me.)

Anyway, two youngish women are waiting for a bus in broad daylight. When one shows up, they signal for it to stop. The bus slows down and then speeds away. It’s stopped shortly at a red light. One of the women runs to it, pounds on the door, and demands to know why the driver did not stop to pick her and her girlfriend up. “You should dress better,” responds the driver motioning at her short skirt.

The next day, a man tried to place a formal complaint with the Paris Transport Authority (“RATP”). His name is Kamel Bencheikh; he is one of the young women’s father. He is a well-known Algerian poet who writes in French. I don’t know if he is a French citizen but he seems to live in France. He demands exemplary punishment for the driver.

The Transport Authority announced publicly that it would investigate the alleged incident as a violation of driver’s rules. It added that its hands were mostly tied in the absence of contact with the two young women – including Bencheikh’s daughter – who were the victims in the reported incident. The daughter is 29.

Bencheikh took the opportunity to announce to the media that he claims forcefully his Islamophobia.

Posted in Short Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment