Dear Ms. __________:
Thanks for your e-mailed response to my blog-post in which I claim that compassion compelled by government isn’t true compassion. Alleging that I “illegitimately privilege private morals over public morals,” you assert that a “private code of ethics gives incomplete guidance” for determining the contents and methods of sound public policy.
Omigosh, I couldn’t disagree more.
Where do the “public morals” that you so admire come from? Isn’t it true that the very reason you support the welfare state is that your own private moral code tells you that helping needy people is the right thing to do? I don’t see how you can casually cast aside one “private moral” (namely, that it’s wrong to take other people’s stuff just because you fancy that you’ve found better uses for it) in order to clear your way to justify the state acting to satisfy another of your private morals (namely, that it’s right for those of us who ‘have’ to give to people who ‘have not’).
I urge you to reflect on the following observation from Thomas Babington Macaulay’s History of England, where he explains how John Dalrymple could in good conscience advise King William III to massacre Scottish highlanders who were believed to support insurrection against William:
The most probable conjecture is that he was actuated by an inordinate, an unscrupulous, a remorseless zeal for what seemed to him to be the interest of the state. This explanation may startle those who have not considered how large a proportion of the blackest crimes recorded in history is to be ascribed to ill regulated public spirit. We daily see men do for their party, for their sect, for their country, for their favourite schemes of political and social reform, what they would not do to enrich or to avenge themselves. At a temptation directly addressed to our private cupidity or to our private animosity, whatever virtue we have takes the alarm. But virtue itself may contribute to the fall of him who imagines that it is in his power, by violating some general rule of morality, to confer an important benefit on a church, on a commonwealth, on mankind. He silences the remonstrances of conscience, and hardens his heart against the most touching spectacles of misery, by repeating to himself that his interventions are pure, that his objects are noble, that he is doing a little evil for the sake of a great good. By degrees he comes altogether to forget the turpitude of the means in the excellence of the end, and at length perpetrates without one internal twinge acts which would shock a buccaneer.*
Donald J. Boudreaux
* Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England (1848-61), abridged edition, Hugh Trevor-Roper, editor (New York: Penguin Books, 1968), p. 418.
Tim Blair – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (05:10 am)
Prepare for the Green version of shock and awe:
The Greens have launched another strike against the media, calling for volunteers for a rapid-response team to target “shock jock” and “hate campaigns” through talkback and letters to editors.
The call to action echoes Bob Brown’s attack on the “hate press” last week and Twitter jibes at individual journalists from his director of media, Marion Rae.
“The Australian Greens are looking to build a national network of individuals who want to take up the challenge of responding to the misinformation and hate campaigns being waged by radio shock jocks and other sections of the community and media,” says the party in an email.
The party calls the task “critical work”.
And cynics said there would be no new jobs in the low carbon economy.
Tim Blair – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (04:59 am)
Even harvesters of the sun’s gentle rays reject Julia Gillard’s folly:
For more than three decades, Simon Boadle has built solar swimming pool heaters at his Sunbather Pool Technologies plant at Hastings on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
But for someone in the renewable energy business, Mr Boadle has concerns about the potential effects of the proposed carbon tax. He wrote to Julia Gillard to express his fears that about half of his company’s 60 employees’ jobs would be lost because of cheaper production from China …
His concerns are based on the fact his manufacturing process uses extruded plastic, which is made from oil. He is also concerned about potential rises in electricity.
Aha! The government has got this one covered, through the magic of non-taxation taxing that aims to modify behaviour by giving all of your money back:
A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said plastics would receive compensation under the government’s high-emissions, trade-exposed industry assistance package, which could mitigate the impacts of a carbon price.
So what’s the point? Builders don’t see much of one:
Building industry powerbrokers are ratcheting up their campaign for the carbon tax to be abolished.
They are warning it will lumber developers with higher costs and aggravate Australia’s housing affordability crisis.
The Master Builders Association has joined industry counterparts in foreshadowing a jump in costs and says it is “deeply concerned” about the impact of the proposed tax.
Tim Blair – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (03:43 am)
Explosive events in China:
Watermelons have been bursting by the score in eastern China after farmers gave them overdoses of growth chemicals during wet weather, creating what state media called fields of “land mines.”
The carnage seems to have been confined:
There had been no reports of exploding watermelons in Viet Nam, according to Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department Ngo Tien Dung.
Yet an apparently unrelated event in Florida also bore the mark of the melon:
An East Naples man is accused of attacking a woman with his swim noodle then punching her in the face on the beach at Lowdermilk Park.
Note: I do not know, nor do I care to know, about “swim noodles”. In any case, the violence was clearly melon-provoked:
A woman who was at the beach with a friend observed a rotting watermelon that had been carved and shaped into a head sitting on the sand.
Closer to home, the countdown to further watermelon explosions begins:
In just 39 days’ time, the Greens will control the balance of power in the Senate.
Tim Blair – Monday, May 23, 11 (07:20 pm)
The Age, this morning:
Global warming is real, man made, and could cause the world’s sea level to rise a metre by the end of the century, much higher than previously thought, according to the federal government’s Climate Commission.
The Age, this evening:
Winter is set to arrive one week early, with weather forecasters warning Victorians to rug up from tomorrow as an icy southerly wind blasts the state.
Tim Blair – Monday, May 23, 11 (02:47 pm)
Review of the day:
Tim Blair is the cut and paste king is he not. Does he every think for himself?
(Headline courtesy of s_dog)
UPDATE. Another quality review:
What a sick, tortured, perverted mind he has, and don’t worry, he’s so sick, tortured and perverted, he’d take those adjectives as compliments, the twisted f**ker.
He’s upset about a t-shirt.
Tim Blair – Monday, May 23, 11 (02:22 pm)
Two tax-chomping Gaia rapturists and some rain-and-lightning clip art. You don’t get much for $5.6 million these days:
The document is so slight that to provide an impression of substance Julia Gillard has to hold three copies. Nick Minchin is unimpressed:
“The so-called Climate Commission is a Labor government-appointed committee of known climate alarmists, selectively appointed ... to further the cause of global warming alarmism,” he said following today’s release of the commission’s first report.
“I think everybody should take anything they say with a grain of salt,” Senator Minchin said.
“What’s most offensive is (climate commissioner) Will Steffen suggesting the scientific debate is over.”
They’ve been denying for years that a debate exists. What they mean is that they’re losing the debate.
Tim Blair – Monday, May 23, 11 (02:03 pm)
We’ve all been there.
We’ve all gone one verbal step too far. We’ve all launched into a joke or a line of thinking and then realised that we need to take a step or two backwards.
We’ve all wondered, mid-comment, as the mood of all within earshot becomes increasingly hostile: “How can I get out of this sentence?”
Happens to me three or four times a day. Sometimes I actually weasel my way to safety, but then again I’m usually just saying something about the excessive household shoe budget, a friend’s lame choice of new car or frankly terrifying photographs of co-workers’ babies.
Things get a little more difficult when you’re sticking up for Hitler and the Nazis, as did film director Lars Von Trierduring a press conference last week at the Cannes film festival. Try getting out of this: “I understand Hitler ... I think I understand the man … and I sympathise with him.
“I am very much for Jews. No, not too much, because Israel is a pain in the ass.
“How can I get out of this sentence?”
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (06:41 am)
Julia Gillard wants a carbon dioxide tax of just $20 a tonne so voters won’t scream. But Victorian Greens MP Greg Barber won’t rule out even $500 a tonne when asked by Tim Wilson of the Institute of Public Affairs on Joy 94FM:
Wilson: What do you think the maximum rate for a carbon tax ?
Barber: The carbon tax is not a magic bullet, it’s those other so-called complementary measures that in fact we say they’re not complementary, we say they’re the main game.
Wilson: Right, so is that $100 or is it more?
Barber: Like I said, energy efficiency’s going to do half the heavy lifting when it comes to reducing our emissions.
Wilson: So, what you’re going to rule out [a tax of] $200 [a tonne]?
Host: I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere on that one, Tim.
Wilson: Three hundred dollars?
Host: I don’t think you can actually rule out anything there, and that’s the whole point of the tax isn’t it? You can bring it in at any level you like.
Wilson: And keep going up every year and the Greens won’t rule out . . .
Host: And keep going up until it has an effect, until people learn.
Wilson: So I’m giving you right now a chance, Greg, to rule out a $500 per tonne carbon tax.
Barber: Well I just told you, you don’t need to pay the energy bill that you’re paying now. This is a tax we want you to avoid if you’re a householder.
Wilson: No ruling out, I note. Well done.
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (06:34 am)
Niki Savva is spot on:
THE biggest problem confronting the Coalition now is hubris. Senior Liberals are worried about how to contain an emotion as corrosive as Labor’s despair, and driven by the same raw assessment of the political landscape: the government is finished, Julia Gillard has planked and the election, whenever it is held, is essentially a foregone conclusion.
The smarter operators in the Coalition are acutely aware of the threat hubris poses, first from younger, ambitious MPs who fret that victory will shunt them even further back so they have to try harder to get attention, and second from older MPs (who should know better) who think it’s OK to act up, and worry even more than their younger colleagues that time will pass them by…
Meanwhile Cory Bernardi still thinks it’s OK to blog whatever pops into his head, including criticising the first bloke Tim Mathieson, in defiance of the usual practice that spouses and partners of other MPs are off limits.
Then along came Malcolm Turnbull, who is in much the same place - emotionally and figuratively - as Kevin Rudd. Turnbull actually did everybody in the Coalition a favour by reminding them that just a little prick can burst a bubble.
The weekend leaking of a highly colourised version of a conversation between Tony Abbott and a bruised Joe Hockey didn’t do anybody any favours, except Gillard, and suggested hubristic overflow.
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (06:30 am)
It should be an easy job. Just say no to everything:
JULIA Gillard’s long-term boyfriend, Tim Mathieson, was assigned a specialist adviser about a month ago to assist with his duties as the partner of the Prime Minister.
A Senate estimates hearing was told late yesterday that an adviser was employed part-time by the Prime Minister’s office to help Mr Mathieson manage his schedule. The First Assistant Secretary within the Ministerial Support Unit of the Prime Minister’s department, Kim Terrell, said he had no knowledge of anybody serving previously in the role.
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (06:22 am)
She wants to start the carbon (dioxide) tax at $20 a tonne - her Climate Change Minister Greg Combet uses the dishonest weasel formulation of “well south of $40” - to lull voters into a false sense of painless de-carbonising....
The report is an utter disaster for Gillard. She endorses it: she has to start the carbon (dioxide) tax at $40 a tonne - including petrol - and with a guaranteed rapid escalation.
Or she rejects it, directly or implicitly, by sticking with $20 a tonne. Thereby announcing she is either deliberately lying to voters, intending to ambush them after the election with huge price hikes.
Or that she has no intention of doing anything serious about climate change. That it’s all an equally cynical political manoeuvre.
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (06:18 am)
This doesn’t seem like a good deal:
Immigration Department secretary Andrew Metcalfe admitted to a Senate committee that no asylum-seeker needed to be sent to Malaysia under the terms of the deal.
“(But) Australia will still resettle all 4000 humanitarian refugees even if no asylum-seekers are sent,” he told a Senate estimates committee hearing.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen continued to stonewall over whether Malaysia was reserving the right to veto asylum-seekers Canberra proposed to send to Kuala Lumpur.
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, May 24, 11 (05:24 am)
Australian alarmists, like the Gillard Government’s Climate Commission, have settled on the Great Barrier Reef as their hostage when demanding we hand over billions to stop global warming:
The Climate Commissioner’s comments were backed by coral reef experts, including Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, who heads Queensland University’s Global Change Institute. He said: “We need to act very decisively on emissions or we are not going to have anything called the Great Barrier Reef;we might have something called the great weedy reef.”
In 1998, Hoegh-Guldberg warned that the Great Barrier Reef was under pressure from global warming, and much of it had turned white.
In fact, he later admitted the reef had made a “surprising” recovery.
In 2006, he warned high temperatures meant “between 30 and 40 per cent of coral on Queensland’s great Barrier Reef could die within a month”.
In fact, he later admitted this bleaching had “a minimal impact”.
In 2007, he warned that temperature changes of the kind caused by global warming were again bleaching the reef.
In fact, the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network last week (2008) said there had been no big damage to the reef caused by climate change in the four years since its last report, and veteran diver Ben Cropp said this week that in 50 years he’d seen none at all.
If Hoegh-Guldberg’s predictive ability was sound, the reef would right now be bleached again.
... in 1999 he published a paper claiming that global warming would so heat the oceans that the mass bleaching of the reef in 1998 (from which the reef in fact has recovered almost entirely) would occur every two years from 2010 - and every year from 2020. Here’s Figure 11 from that paper which he gives to demonstrate:
In fact, the reef did not bleach in 2010, and - with the peak bleaching months of March and April behind us - neither has it bleached this year:
Reports from the voluntary monitoring network and the QPWS show that the levels of coral bleaching across the entire Great Barrier Reef have remained low to moderate throughout late 2010 and the first two months of 2011.
Interestingly, the Climate Commission’s report struggles to suggest any other cataclysm we’d face if the planet heated as it warns.
It concedes there’s no evidence we’ll get more cyclones:
The global frequency of tropical cyclones is projected to either stay about the same or even decrease. However a modest increase in intensity of the most intense systems, and in associated heavy rainfall, is projected as the climate warms.... it is not yet possible to attribute any aspect of changes in cyclone behaviour (frequency, intensity, rainfall, etc.) to climate change…
It does warn of more bushfires, but can’t be sure at all of a link to global warming:
The seasonality and intensity of large bushfires in southeast Australia is likely changing, with climate change a possible contributing factor
its confidence in predicting more drought seems shaken after the heavy rains of the past year and more:
...our capability to project future changes to rainfall patterns, apart from the drying trend in southwest Western Australia, remains uncertain… it is difficult from observations alone to unequivocally identify anything that is distinctly unusual about the post-1950 pattern (apart, perhaps, from the drying trend in southwest Western Australia)…
While it warns of more “extreme events”, it’s not even confident of that - and in saying so quietly concedes that simply warmer weather isn’t a great problem:
Many of the impacts of climate change are due to extreme weather events, not changes in average values of climatic parameters. The most important of these are high temperature-related events, such as heatwaves and bushfires; heavy precipitation events; and storms, such as tropical cyclones and hailstorms. The connection between long-term, human-driven climate change and the nature of extreme events is both complex and controversial, leading to intense debate in the scientific community ...
Not addressed at all in the report are the benefits of any warming - such as improved crop yields and lower mortality rates in winter. In fact, no where is there even a suggestion that we need a cost-benefit analysis of warming before committing countless billions to “stop” what could actually be of benefit.
All of which has left the Climate Commission and Prime Minister Julia Gillard with little more to scare us with than grim warnings that the see over the next 90 years will creep up by as much a centimetre a year (when in fact its rate of rise has been far below that, and falling lately):
Sea levels are set to rise by up to a metre within a century due to global warming, a new Australian report said Monday as it warned this could make “once-a-century” coastal flooding much more common…
The report said a sea-level rise of 0.5m would lead to surprisingly large impacts, with the risk of extreme events such as inundations in coastal areas around Australia’s largest cities of Sydney and Melbourne hugely increased…
Wow. Frankly, I think we could outrun a worst-case sea level rise of as much as a centimetre a year. Which is how we come back to the last scare the alarmists have left: that the Great Barrier Reef will get it. So start reading from the top again.
Professor Hoegh-Guldberg responds in comments below:
Here we go again - correcting Andrew’s lack of understanding of science. The blow-by-blow response to his disinformation is contained here ... http://www.climateshifts.org/?p=1105
Sent countless times to him but apparently will-fully ignored.
It is very flattering that Andrew Bolt takes a special interest in my scientific research. In his latest posting, his whipped his fan club into a frenzy over some graphics from my 1999 paper. I gave a copy of this paper to him when I met him recently hoping that he would understand it.
But, surprise surprise, my good friend Andrew Bolt has stuffed up again. I guess he stuffs up when it comes to political predictions, his understanding of complex issues like the stolen generation, indigenous issues, as well as his ability to understand science. Whilst I don’t hold his ignorance of the science against him - it is complex stuff ... I do think we need to help him with the details:
Andrew has made a meal out of the fact that we have not seen bleaching every second year, as might be predicted from this figure. The predictions were made by taking the known thresholds to coral bleaching (which are hard and fast, and are the basis for very successful satellite tools that can predict coral bleaching) and combining it with the best climate modelling available at the time. The net conclusion is that mass coral bleaching will increase over the next few decades until it becomes a yearly event (well, as long as coral lasts!). This is a logical conclusion of the two data sets.
The details of exactly when and where this occurs, is associated by a huge amount of variability which is otherwise known as the weather. Here is what I have sent him before:
“At this point in the research, we know that coral bleaching will occur at a particular temperature within a particular region. We also have the predictions of how the sea temperature will change, and hence the only at this point is that, round about 2015 or so (give or take 5-10 years), we will start to see the risk of coral bleaching increase until every second year is a bleaching event and so on.”
The rest is called weather ... you do understand that don’t you?
Not a word of contradiction, then - here or in his links.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (06:34 pm)
THE Queensland floods were probably not the result of climate change but a natural part of climate variability, the Climate Commission has concluded…
The report, by Climate Commissioner Will Steffen, says “the floods across eastern Australia in 2010 and early 2011 were the consequence of a very strong La Nina event and not the result of climate change”.
THE government-established Climate Commission has dismissed the sceptics and warned of dire consequences if adequate action to cut emissions is not taken in this ‘’critical’’ decade…
It also says this year’s Queensland and Victorian flooding ‘’raised the question of a possible link between the floods and human-induced climate change’’.
(Thanks to reader Steve.)
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (06:13 pm)
Essential Research offers no respite for Julia Gillard: it’s Labor 47 per cent to the Coalition’s 53.
The good news for Labor: there’s still two years of this to go before an election is due.
Andrew Bolt – Monday, May 23, 11 (03:40 pm)
Senator Nick Minchin is right about the Climate Commission’s report today:
“The so-called Climate Commission is a Labor government-appointed committee of known climate alarmists, selectively appointed ... to further the cause of global warming alarmism.
“I think everybody should take anything they say with a grain of salt.
“What’s most offensive is (climate commissioner) Will Steffen suggesting the scientific debate is over.
“That’s nonsense because there is a very lively scientific debate about the role of human induced Co2 emissions in climate change.”
To me, the refusal of Climate Commissioner Will Steffen on radio with me this morning to frankly acknowledge that the planet hasn’t warmed this decade suggests a disturbing tendency to withhold inconvenient facts. Nor was I impressed when he claimed not to know of new evidence that historic rise in sea levels seems to have slowed (see post below), or when he claimed China’s emissions weren’t soaring.
Rather than concede a perfectly uncontroversial point - that the planet hasn’t warmed for a decade - and then argue about its true significance, or lack of, I got versions of this from Steffen:
I go back to a minimum 30 year record… I don’t look at data over one decade. I think that’s meaningless.
Fair enough, perhaps, but as reader Tony S points out, 10 years was long enough for the warmists when it suited them:
Steffen incorrectly claimed 10 years is too short a period for a climate trend.
It was not too short a period when the Bureau of Meteorology tried to prove there was no global cooling in 2008. They did this with a study of global temps from 1998-2007.In the paper Waiting for Global Cooling from the National Climate Center, Fawcett and Jones wrote:“Because of the year-to-year variations in globally-averaged annual mean temperatures, about ten years are required for an underlying trend to emerge from the “noise” of those year-to-year fluctuations.”
So it seems 10 years is sufficient time for a global climate trend according to the BoM.They concluded:
“There is very little justification for asserting that global warming has gone away over the past ten years, not least because the linear trend in globally-averaged annual mean temperatures (the standard yardstick) over the period 1998-2007 remains upward.”
I was also interested in this response from Steffen:
The rise over the past 30 years 0.17 degrees Celsius per decade and that’s about the middle of the IPCC projections.
Actually, most of that rise is not the IPCC projecting anything at all, but describing the past. What it hasn’t projected is this past decade of no further warming. That’s not to say that the warming won’t resume. Odds are that it will. It’s just to say the failure of the world to warm for a decade was not predicted, and that those who claim the world is warming faster than the IPCC warned are wrong.
Another Steffen claim in our interview is in my opinion misleading:
Steffen: Australia’s not acting alone. China’s already acting… They’re phasing out inefficient coal-fired power stations.
Bolt: Only to build much, much bigger ones. Their coal-fired emissions will be enormous.
Steffen: Andrew, they’re more efficient. .. The intensity of carbon in their economy is reducing.
Bolt: But isn’t it true that their total emissions will be soaring, Professor? I mean, this is the thing, you are not levelling with us.
Steffen: I wouldn’t use the word soaring. I would use the word rising.
In fact, the word “soaring” is indeed the right one:
Indeed, here’s green activist Bill McKibben reporting from China in the latest National Geographic:
China’s carbon emissions will continue to soar. I talked with dozens of energy experts, and not one of them predicted emissions would peak before 2030… Even reaching a 2030 peak may depend in part on the rapid adoption of technology for taking carbon dioxide out of the exhaust from coal-fired power plants and parking it underground in played-out mines and wells. No one knows yet if this can be done on the scale required.
And from the Energy Information Administration, the Guardian reports this astonishing figure:
If Climate Commissioner Steffen refuses even to acknowledge how much China’s growth in emissions will swamp any sacrifice we make, what else is he refusing to tell us?