Friday, September 30, 2011

the governance problem

The problem with contemporary governance is twofold:
  1. theory:  the perception that the primary purpose of government is to provide, rather than to enable, and
  2. practice: the self-serving, sanctimonious idiots who appear to hold sway and influence within the corridors of power.
I can't decide in this particular case of chicken and egg which needs to be addressed first because clearly, in this case, theory and practice are mutually re-enforcing.  (Also see here, here and here.) 

Whereas once governance was a balance between policy development and administration, today's entitlement paradigm is a nasty network of insidious insiders moralizing about their self-perceived assertion of values and the imposition of regulations on the "others" who require the direction and social engineering the ruling elite ascribe.

I was not born into the ruing class and a healthy streak of bloody mindedness and self-assertion has successfully removed me from any inclusion in the inner circles of the contemporary green bubble of environmental dogma and indoctrination.  Mostly I don't mind but when such foolishness becomes the very lifeblood of authoritarian control and paternalism, I am offended.  I am doubly so, when its proponents call it "governance".

So there is an opening.  Part Groucho Marx, part V for Vendetta and part Jonathon Swift, we have need of a contemporary leader to rescue us from our malaise, our coma of complacency and the corruption of political values that undermines the ability of the individual to ignore the paucity of good governance presented at the ballot box.  Only one thing is truly limited today: leadership.


Of course the most natural answer is education and most consider more education to be essential to achieving change.  But not if that education is purposely designed by the state to both oppress and minimize individual liberty in subservience to the state.

See this post on the role of the state in education (none) and this video on why.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the last laugh

Also from this summer's headlines:

Convincing new science.  Wow, You would think the mainstream media would be all over this.  You would think academia and educators would be all over this.  But, apparently, in the new order of environmental dogma, convincing new science is an oxymoron.  We are now in the era of pre-conceputal science.  Dogma outlines the truth, the way, the path.  Science is then those data that confirm the pre-conceived constructs of the dogma and all empirical evidence to the contrary is irrelevant, wrong or just a vast libertarian conspiracy. We are truly lost in paradigm space.

Or we can look at the CERN study and logically assess its meaning for the politically-driven agenda of AGW.

Sustainability, stupidity and progress

So, where are we?  Is today’s political landscape resplendent with potential and progressive innovation?  Or is it still entrapped in a plethora of dogma and adrift in a sea of stupidity?

Well let's consider the narrative from the summer months:

  • The world's economy has fundamentally changed and continues to undergo serious revision.  Despite the improvements in human welfare from globalization, the ideology of environmentalism remains entrenched in the dogma of eco-imperialism which ignores facts in favor of spouting moral rhetoric about environmental justice and fairness.  
  • This moralism is a guise for ideological money laundering. It is exposed by the fallacy that is green growth, most evident in the energy sector, which continues to force supposed green energy non-solutions.  The two most popular currently are windmills and solar panels, which are promoted primarily on moral grounds precisely because their economic justification is untenable. 
  • The answer to our energy needs (cheap energy, especially in developing nations) is, actually, more efficient and effective use of our existing resource base.  
  • Instead, politicians from all over the developed world are on a binge of tax imposition, in the name of environment and in deference to the continued use of the global warming scare, despite its constant refutation and lack of scientific validation. 
  • But why the need to constantly refute and slay the myth of global warming?  In part because those truths are systemically obscured and obstructed, ignored as inconvenient by celebrity activists and/or misconstrued, perverted and misrepresented in the junk science that predominates the environmental landscape today. 
  • That dogma is pervasive and affects public policy not only in areas such as energy and development but also into lifestyle regulation and social engineering fear mongering about obesity epidemics, the perils of junk food and the moral failings of the very development that is improving the human condition.
    So although we have the capacity to be sustainable, we appear locked into a cycle of political stupidity, promoted and promulgated by an environmental activism that seemingly rejects sustainability as a primary concern for the human condition, for improved human welfare.

    Environmentalism remains an ideology of the intellectual elite. Moreover, it is an ideology of the economic and political elite, the ruling classes.  They view their intellectual hegemony as "truth", their dogma as "science" and their politics as "justice". Worse still, in their arrogance and conceit, they fail to see where they are stupid and not sustainable.

    Sustainability is not stupid, stupid is not sustainable

    What makes something sustainable? What defines sustainability?

    To be sustainable an activity, action or policy must first satisfy a need, want or desire.  In short, a demand must exist.  The first fallacy of sustainability is to correlate sustainability with supply: sustainability is not a function of supply, it is a function of demand – existence of a substance does not define its potential as a resource, its utility does.  An entity having use, utility and a perceived worth to users, has a functional value and thus, constitutes a resource for which a demand exists. As technology changes, so does our sense of value of substances as to their value as a resource.

    So, first condition of sustainability: demand.

    Secondly, sustainability is defined by effectiveness.  Any activity, action or policy that is ineffective should by definition, be considered as inherently unsustainable.  If sustainability is the continued, progressive improvement from a base condition, any action, activity or policy that is ineffective, that exacerbates rather than improves the base condition, is therefore antithetical to sustainability, it is inherently unsustainable.

    So, a second condition of sustainability: effectiveness.

    Thirdly, sustainability is defined by efficiency.  Sustainability is the progressive improvement of the human condition.  To do more, in more places, more often, for more people is the very essence of efficiency.  Sustainability of any activity, action or policy is contingent upon economies of scale and context, the efficient delivery of change in a manner that make the activity, action or policy valuable to users and a perceived improvement in their living condition and situations.  Demand moves from quality to quantity as the free-market rules of economics are applied. Attention and application of efficiency is the fundamental law of economics which determines which innovations are sustained and life changing and which are fads, passing fancy and whims for which no imposition or government fiat can enforce their widespread adoption.  Without efficiency, an idea is just that: an idea.  Efficiency is essential to the successful implementation of any sustainable activity.

    The third condition of sustainability is efficiency.

    But what of ideology? Of defined “greenness”? Of perceived necessity for ecological salvation, world peace and/or sky falling pandemic?  None of these elements define sustainability, nor can they pre-empt either of the three essential and inherent conditions described above.
    Activists may seek to impose any activity, action or policy in the name of whatever contemporary ideology is in fashion and in the political ascendancy.  Declaring something green, trotting out studies that indicate the necessity for any prescribed activity, holding mass rallies of support and/or corrupting and co-opting whole systems of governance can not obviate nor hide the essential character of any proposed activity, action or policy.  And if the advocated change is not sustainable, it is unsustainable and, thus, stupid.

    But, wait, can’t something just be neutral?  Neither good nor bad?

    No.  That is the crux of sustainability.  There is no steady state, no neutrality.  Every activity, action or policy has implications, effects and affects that either move societies and individuals towards an improved state or preclude that movement, act to facilitate positive change or hinder its achievement.  To stand still is to lose ground as change is constant and innovation and the human condition must continue to progress alongside those natural changes: any dead fish can float downstream, progress comes from the constant application of efforts to improve, to develop, to innovate to sustain the human condition. 

    Sustainability is human progress defined by demand, effectiveness and efficiency.  Nothing is sustainable that does not satisfy these three conditions.

    Moreover, if one accepts that improving the human condition is the most important and valuable activity, action or policy one can engage in, any change that precludes, hinders or otherwise slows the implementation of sustainability through a lack of demand, ineffectiveness and/or inefficiency, is stupid.

    So, where are we?  Is today’s political landscape resplendent with potential and progressive innovation?  Or is it still entrapped in a plethora of dogma and adrift in a sea of stupidity?

    Smart vs. stupid

    Smart is not just knowing what you know, it is also knowing what you don't know.

    Stupid is when you either don't recognize what you don't know or you refuse to acknowledge that there are things you don't know.

    When people make mistakes and errors in judgment, this is usually the problem, not basic intelligence but a refusal or inability to acknowledge what one does and does not know.

    The world is full of officials who confuse education with learning, think they are smarter than they are, lack creativity and instead go around trying to regulate and control people whose talent and creativity both frightens and intimidates them. Nothing scares a bureaucrat more than a free thinking creative spirit who does not conform to the rules the bureaucrat imposes to bring everyone down to their level of comprehension.

    What people do not understand scares them: first they seek to control it, and what they can not control, they then set about destroying. Fear is an much easier emotion to use politically to control people than trust: which is why so many people of limited capacity gravitate to government and administration -- they seek to impose power on others to make up for their own creative inadequacies.