Looking superficially at the above map, it appears that Germany is the defecating center of Europe. How come? Well, a closer glance reveals a different picture - admittedly, I had not read the legend carefully:
You'll notice that prosperous, dynamic economies like the United States, Canada, Brazil and South Africa buy a lot of toilet paper, which would tend to correlate with a high number of bathrooms per capita. Countries in the developing world with very young populations, like Mexico and much of Southeast Asia, buy a lot of diapers and nappies (China, in particular, is likely to see a boom in diaper consumption as it relaxes its one-child policy). Interestingly, feminine hygiene products sell best in Muslim countries like Iran and Pakistan. And those with low birth rates facing a wave of retirees, like Japan and much of Western Europe, mostly consume products for taking care of incontinence.
The terms classical music and classical liberalism share an adjective that connotes moderation, the art of dosing, the greater efficacy and depth attained by restraint and fine-tuning - without loss of boldness, if that is intended.
Martin Luther King Jr. held his Nobel peace prize acceptance speech in the auditorium of the University of Oslo on 10 December 1964:
A contemporary reflection on the aftermath [ - starting at time mark 04:30]:
Freedom bites back. Freedom is reality-based. The brain farts of bad politics peter out at some point when their unintended consequences become overwhelming. The Sisyphean efforts of good politics begin to earn more visible rewards. Civil society is like a supertanker that takes a long time to make a turn. Germany's eco-mania is facing resistance like never before. More and more politicians are succeeding in bringing down the chimera bit by bit.
Reality has overtaken hype in Germany, which has been marketing itself as a world leader in "green energy":
Reports The Australian:
IT'S been a black Christmas for green thinkers as Germany, the world leader in rooftop solar and pride of the renewable energy revolution has confirmed its rapid return to coal. --
Countries such as Germany that have been most outspoken about climate change mitigation are reporting increasing carbon emissions and rising energy costs.
The US - derided by environmental campaigners as too slow to respond to the climate change challenge - has reduced its carbon emissions significantly while simultaneously lowering energy prices, fuelling a much needed resurgence in manufacturing.
The divergence has come about largely because while Europe has pushed headlong into renewables with generous public subsidies, the US has harnessed new technology to unlock vast resources of unconventional oil and gas.
This meant in 2012 the US spent about one-third as much as the EU on renewable energy subsidies, $21 billion against $57bn, according to IEA figures.
It all adds an ironic twist to the campaign mounted against the US by European nations for its refusal to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
While the German wind and solar energy lobbies have been busy peddling the "success" of their subsidized production facilities, the reality on the ground looked somewhat different in early December:
The scale of the "intermittency" problem for renewables - and the problem it presents for policymakers and energy consumers - was outlined in Die Welt, which reported that Germany's wind and solar power production effectively stopped in early December.
"More than 23,000 wind turbines stood still," it said. "One million photovoltaic systems stopped work completely.
"For a whole week, coal, nuclear and gas power plants had to generate an estimated 95 per cent of Germany's electricity supply."
The doldrums are the flip side to the triumphant statements from renewable energy companies when production figures spike in times of favourable weather.
This is a primary reason why political support for renewables is starting to wear thin. Indications are a Europe-wide squeeze is on, with the European Commission reportedly preparing to order an end to price subsidies for wind and solar by the end of the decade.
According to Britain's The Telegraph, the commission, which oversees the European single market, is preparing to argue that the onshore wind and solar power industries are mature and should be allowed to operate without support from taxpayers.
Frustration is also increasing at the costly failure of several multi-billion-dollar offshore wind farm developments which had once been widely touted as the future of renewable power.
The Politics of Faith stands for the totalitarian drive to shape man and his world ad libitum - and indeed to even determine what his faith should be - by the means of the state, a machinery of government immeasurably more powerful in its ability to interfere with everyone's life than any form of might known in Europe before the 16th century.
The Politics of Scepticism stands for the liberal disposition, the constrained vision in Sowellian terms, a modesty and even distrust in the face of grand schemes promising change and betterment by the agency of a central power.
Writes Oakeshott, on page 129 of the book referred to above:
And while the writers who belong to the great sceptical tradition (not all of them, of course, unabated sceptics - Augustine, Pascal, Hobbes, Locke, Halifax, Hume, Burke, Paine, Bentham, Coleridge, Burckhardt, de Tocqueville, Acton - though for a season they have been displaced in popular favour by the pundits of faith, wait only to be recalled and reinterpreted. None of these, perhaps, is able to speak directly to this generation [writing in the 1950s, G.T.], but in this respect they are better placed than the apostles of faith, who for two centuries have merely repeated themselves. And in my opinion, there is no better starting place for a renewed attempt to understand and to modernize the principles of the skeptical tradition in our politics than a study of Pascal and Hume.
I wonder whether what is happening in America parallels the social democratisation of the dominant parties long prevalent in Germany. If the below author is right, cannot what he argues be interpreted to mean that the political system of the US is effectively shedding the non-social-democratic fringe? Democrats and Republicans are vying for support by the social democratic majority. That, of course, assumes that the author's statistical estimates of the number of anti-establishment Republicans are exaggerated:
The Republican Party died during the struggle over Obamacare. Its most
vital elected officials chose to represent their voters. This left their
erstwhile leaders to continue pursuing acceptance by the ruling party,
its press and its class. The result is a new party that represents the
roughly three fourths of Republican voters whose social identities are
alien to those of the ruling class and whose political identity is
defined by opposition to the ruling party. These voters are outsiders to
modern America’s power structure. Hence the new party that represents
them is a “country party” in the British tradition of Viscount
Bolingbroke’s early eighteenth century Whigs, who represented the
country class against the royal court and its allies in Parliament. The
forthcoming food fight over the name “Republican” is of secondary
This has been a long time coming. Obamacare was a trigger, not a cause.
While a majority of Democrats feel that officials who bear that label
represent them well, only about a fourth of Republican voters and an
even smaller proportion of independents trust Republican officials to
represent them. [...]
Rather than defending their voters’ socio-political identities, they
ignore, soft-pedal, or give mere lip service to their voters’ concerns.
It chooses candidates for office whose election only steadies America on
a course of which most Americans disapprove. [...]
The issue groups’ joint endeavor to de-fund Obamacare, their joint
rejection of the Republican Party’s leadership, and the collaboration of
Republican legislators who had been endorsed by some but not others of
these groups, effectively forms a new party. The question is not what
the Republican Establishment will do with these dissidents but what the
dissidents will do with the Establishment.
Not politically correct for libertarians, it appears from browsing Lew Rockwell's tabloid, I venture to argue nevertheless (more in sync with Ted Rockwell), the below report on Fukushima (August 2013) is well-worth reading:
The situation is this. The melted-down cores at the damaged reactors
(the site is not "crippled", two reactors were undamaged and will return
to service) are still hot - though much less hot than they were two
years ago - and need to be cooled. This is done by pumping water through
their buildings, then sucking it out again and putting it into holding
tanks before purifying it to remove the radiation it picks up from the
cores. Then it gets used again.
What has happened is that one of
the holding tanks, containing water that had only been through one stage
of purification, has sprung a leak and about 300,000 litres of water
has got out. Almost all of this was contained by a backup dam which had
been built around the tanks when they were set up (this is the nuclear
industry, there is always a backup). However, "two shallow puddles" of
the water got out of the dam via a rainwater drain valve which has since
been sealed off.
The water is quite radioactive, and dose rates
measured next to the puddles were 100 milliSieverts per hour. Nuclear
powerplant workers, whose cancer rate is somewhat lower than in the
general population (probably because they don't smoke so much) are
allowed to sustain 50 millisievert in any one year in normal times and
average doses across five years of 20 millisievert/yr.
what Reuters haven't picked up on is that the high 100 milliSievert
reading is for beta radiation only. The reading for gamma rays is only
1.5 milliSieverts per hour.
As we no doubt all recall from skool,
beta radiation is not very penetrating: it can't get through human skin
and it only travels a few feet through air. So you'd have to stand very
close indeed to the two puddles, in them probably, for their beta rays
even to reach you. A sturdy pair of wellingtons would have a good
protective effect, if you should do this. As far as beta radiation is
concerned, the only ways
to seriously harm yourself with that water would be to get it on your
exposed skin and leave it there for some time, or to drink it. This is
also true of many domestic cleaning products.
The gamma hazard is
noticeable, you wouldn't want to take up residence next to the pool of
water, but you could work for days around it without breaching normal
nuclear-worker health limits and the crews in the vicinity are being
rotated regularly. Tepco is pumping all the water back into another tank
pending purification, and segregating wet soil from the area. The firm told WNN that it has no indication so far of any water having got into a drainage channel or otherwise left the area.
Incidentally, when watching the women's world championship soccer final in 2011, the German commentator kept referring to "the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe" (as is the mindless habit of countless of my compatriots to this day), which I found most irritating as no nuclear catastrophe had occurred, which should have been a reason to celebrate. At the same time, the real catastrophe was/is not worth mentioning: the nuclear-unrelated deaths of 20 000 Japanese.
I encourage our audience to read Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed, a book that treats systematically with the techniques of self-delusion and manipulation of the public, of which the global warming scare is a significant contemporary instance, as Richard Lindzen explains in the below video clip. In the last chapter of Sowell's book, "Optional Reality," the author observes:
The vision of the anointed (less charitably known as statist do-gooders) has become
independent of empirical evidence. That is what makes it dangerous, not because a particular set of policies may be flawed or counterproductive, but because insulation from evidence virtually guarantees a never-ending supply of policies and practices fatally independent of reality. This self-contained and self-justifying vision has become a badge of honor and a proclamation of identity: To affirm it is to be one of us and to oppose it is to be one of them. Moreover, the pervasiveness of the vision of the anointed at all levels of the American educational system ensures future supplies of people indoctrinated with this vision and also convinced that they should "make a difference"--that public policy-making is to be seen as ego gratification from imposing one's vision on other people through the power of government.
The markets appear particularly nervous this morning, with many observers surmising that in the face of spiking bond yields the Fed is beginning to lose control over markets.
It so happens that Frank Schaeffler is going to be arriving from Berlin this evening, to give a talk at my local Hayek-Society, here in middle-of-nowhere Kaiserslautern (aka K-Town among our American fellow-inhabitants).
Writes Michael Krieger:
We should have competition in the production of money. I
have long been a proponent of Friedrich August von Hayek scheme to
denationalize money. Bitcoins are a first step in this direction.
- Frank Schaeffler, member of German parliament’s Finance Committee
The story of the German Finance Ministry stating Bitcoin is
essentially “legal tender” has been making the rounds all over the
virtual currency and technology world this morning and for good reason.
This is a very, very big deal. Not just because some bureaucrat
seemingly “legitimizes” the crypto-currency, but because it is the first
commonsense approach from a major economy to-date.
Anyone wishing to stay up to date on the global climate change debate is advised to consult NoTricksZone, an excellent blog run by an American living in Germany. The blog's most recent post contains a 12-minute video clip summarising evidence that suggests the utter failure of all models predicting global warming.