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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Professor Jason Dill's Open Letter to Greta Thunberg

I appreciate this Copy of the Open Letter from Professor Jason Dill. - I have seen expatriates from African countries who spent 15 to 20 years in Sweden returning to their home country with nothing to offer but politicking, creating new political parties, and in-fighting. Yes, some of this was necessary. But they should also have returned with skills in trades and in the professions. They did not. With Greta Thunberg I see Sweden do what it and the United Nation has done for decades. Spreading one version of politics, theirs, and one version of helping civilization, theirs. But Good Intentions are NOT enough.  Indeed, they can do more harm than good. And this letter addresses this. Minimally, it invites thought - for which I am grateful.

An Open Letter to Greta Thunberg

     You have declared yourself a leader and said that your generation will start a revolution. You have comported yourself as a credentialed adult and climate change activist who has fearlessly addressed politicians and world leaders. You have dropped out of school and declared that there isn’t any reason to attend, or any reason for you to study since there will be no future for you to inherit. You have, rather than attend your classes, been leading Friday Climate Strikes for all students in your generation across the globe. Your attendance at oil pipelines has been striking. There, you unequivocally declare that all oil needs to remain in the ground where it belongs.

I shall, therefore, against the backdrop of your activism, address you as an adult rather than as a child.
In September of 2019 you crossed the Atlantic in a “zero carbon” racing yacht that had no toilet and electric light on board. You made an impassioned plea at the United Nations in which you claimed that, “we have stolen your dreams and our childhood with our empty words.”  You claimed that adults and world leaders come to young people for answers and explained in anger: “How dare you!” You claimed that we are failing you and that young people are beginning to understand our betrayal. You further declared that if we continue to fail your generation: “We will never forgive you.”

You have stated that you want us to panic, and to act as if our homes are on fire. You insist that rich countries must reduce to zero emissions immediately. In your speeches you attack economic growth and have stated that our current climate crisis is caused by “buying and building things.” You call for climate justice and equity, without addressing the worst polluter on the planet China; the country that is economically annexing much of Africa and Latin America. You dare not lecture Iran about its uranium projects -- because that’s not part of the UN’s agenda, is it?

You proclaim that we need to live within the planetary boundaries, to focus on equity and “take a few steps back” for the sake of all living species. You resent the hierarchical distinctions between human and animals and entertain no qualitative distinction between a monkey, a malaria-infested mosquito and a snarling hyena. You mouth slogans such as: “We have set in motion an irreversible chain reaction beyond control,” and you advocate for universal veganism on the Ellen DeGeneres show. You do not buy new clothes, and you don’t want the rest of us to either. You want us all to stop flying in jet planes without giving us an alternative as to how we would re-transform our financial and trading systems—to say nothing of our personal enjoyment of the world—without regression to a primeval era. Few can afford to cross the Atlantic in a $6M zero carbon yacht financed by rich people who made their wealth by the very means you condemn as loathsome.

There are a few things that we, the rational adults of the world who are not bowing to you like guilt-ridden obsequious Babbitts need to say to you, Greta.

First, we did not rob you of your childhood or of your dreams. You are the legatee of a magnificent technological civilization which my generation and the one before it and several others preceding it all the way to the Industrial Revolution and the Renaissance, bequeathed to you. That growth-driven, capitalist technological civilization has created the conditions for you to harangue us over our betrayal. It is a civilization that eradicated diseases such as small pox from the word, and that lifted millions out of abject poverty in a universe you think is dying and decaying. It assured you a life expectancy that exceeded that of your ancestors. Most likely by focusing on economic growth which you demonize, and scientific advancement, that civilization will further enhance a robust quality of life and health for your descendants.

Here is a hard truth to ponder, Greta: if the great producers of this world whom you excoriate were to withdraw their productivity, wealth and talents—in short—their minds from the world today, your generation would simply perish. Why? Because as children you have done nothing as yet, with your lives besides being born. This is what we expect of children until such time as they can be producers by learning from their elders. You are understandably social and ecological ballast. You are not yet cognitively advanced to replicate the structures of survival of which you are the beneficiaries.
Children are important installments on the future. We have invested in you. It is you and your smug generation which think they have nothing to learn from the older ones who are failing themselves. Whom do you expect to employ the majority of you if you have neither the job credentials or life competency skills to navigate the world? The future unemployable-skipping- school-on-Friday obstreperous children?

The truth, as one anonymous blogger aptly put it, is that your generation is unable to work up to forty hours per week without being chronically depressed and anxious. Its members cannot even decide if they want to be a boy or a girl, or both, or neither, or a “they.” They cannot eat meat without crying. I might add that your generation needs “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” as pre-conditions for learning in school. Its members have a pathological need to be coddled and protected from the challenging realities of life. Your generation is the biggest demander and consumer of carbon spewing technological gadgets and devices. An hour without any of them and too many of you succumb to paralyzing lethargy. Your generation is the least curious and most insular set of individuals one has ever encountered. Your hubris extends so far that you think you have nothing to learn from your elders.

Yes, we have betrayed you: by capitulating the world of leadership to bored, attention-deficit children who spout bromides, platitudes and slogans that a rudderless and morally relativistic culture accepts because a significant number of its denizens have become intellectually bankrupt and morally lazy.
The logical endpoint of your ecological vision would see us living in primeval conditions eking out an existence in jungle swamps in which we would regard poisonous snakes and man-eating tigers as our moral equals. We would have to adapt ourselves to nature rather than adapt nature to meet our needs, like all members of civilized civilizations do. Your vision would see us foraging for mushrooms and plants without knowing which were inimical to our digestive systems. Under your system we would swelter from heat, die from rampant plagues and starvation because there will be no air-conditioning units, no sophisticated plumbing and irrigations and sewer systems, no anti-bacterial soap made from animal matter, no pesticides and chemicals to sanitize our food and drinking supplies: just one primordial swamp of human putrefaction.
If civilization is left in the hands of your ecofascist supporters we will be living in grass huts, drinking animal feces infested water, and shrinking in fear from polar bears instead of killing them for food when they attack us.
Greta, living in complete harmony with nature is the death of creativity. Understand this. All great civilizations were forged in the crucibles of proper exploitation of the earth. Those who lived on land with oil and did nothing with it never had a right to it in the first place. Non-usage of God’s resources is the cardinal sin because it results in the un-development of our human capabilities, and makes us indistinguishable from beasts.
Your generation needs to be taught the morality of wealth creation, rather than only parasitically benefiting from it. The only revolution you will lead is one into nihilism and civilization regression. You need to learn about the moral case for fossil fuel. You owe it to yourself to understand how as, Kathleen Hartnett White has detailed, the harnessing of the vast store of concentrated energy in fossil fuels allowed mankind, for the first time in human history, to escape intractable constraints and energy limits that had left all but the very privileged in total poverty and depravity. Before the Industrial Revolution all societies were dependent on a very limited flow of solar energy captured in living plants for subsistence needs such as food, fuel and shelter.

But we, the creative enterprisers, will not go back to the Dark Ages. Your philosophy can be summed up as follows:

What was good for my anthropoid ancestors is good for me. Do not rock the boat, or even build one as that will require cutting down a tree. Do not disrupt nature. Do not dare to see the earth as rightfully belonging to us. We don’t have the right to use our brains in a manner that can transform our needs into a material form. Let’s conveniently forget that production is the application of reason to the problems of survival. Let’s all diminish the grandeur of man and his luminous potential. Crush the Thomas Edisons of this world.

The apocalyptic world vision you hold has been a strip landing for those who have hated progress throughout history. Your apocalyptic predictions have been made for millennia, and, we’re still here. We will still be here long after you’ve grown up and we have forgiven you for skipping classes, thereby lowering the intelligence quotient of an entire generation.

Jason D. Hill is professor of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago, and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His areas of specialization include ethics, social and political philosophy, American foreign policy and American politics. He is the author of several books, including “We Have Overcome: An Immigrant’s Letter to the American People” (Bombardier Books/Post Hill Press). Follow him on Twitter @JasonDhill6.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Science, Exploration, Feeling and Imagination: Andrea Wulf on Alexander von Humboldt

 Science, Exploration, Feeling and Imagination: Andrea Wulf on Alexander von Humboldt
Karla Poewe

The book

Image result for free images of Andrea Wulf
Author and her book


In the last blog, I pointed out that Greta Thunberg's biological creed on the "climate crisis" places her in the sphere of nationalism. Nationalism is based on the assumptions that human beings are social animals with a natural affinity for leaders. In her story, our assumed climate crisis is the result of failed leaders with the consequence of children starving from economic growth. Hence she calls on a group of committed Scientists4Future who will tell the truth that leads to corrective action. The story, I argued puts her in the sphere of nationalism of the kind, for example, that emerged from the Weimar Republic and ended in a mediating Führer that ended in disaster. I did this by referring to the film Metropolis.

Here I want simply to point students or young people to a historical perspective that develops a sense of what science with sensitivity to environment and human beings should be, a science that is not limited to binary thinking, nor to an absence of emotion, and that is not spoken out from within a bubble for propaganda purposes.

Andrea Wulf is the author of two biographies about Alexander von Humboldt the utterly fascinating explorer who practised exact science but argues that it is only meaningful when combined with emotion, art, and imagination. He influenced many famous politicians, poets, and scientists -- Jefferson, Goethe and Emerson, and Darwin, for example.

Image result for free images of Alexander von Humboldt
Alexander von Humboldt

Here is the link: 

Alexander von Humboldt comes from a tradition, he was born in Prussia, that influenced me as I show in my book about fieldwork experience and science in Africa:


Friday, September 27, 2019

The Secular Creed of Greta Thunberg: Myth based on Science

The Secular Creed of Greta Thunberg: Myth based on Science

By Karla Poewe

As the video included in this piece shows, Greta Thunberg speaks out her creed as follows:

We are Homo sapiens sapiens
of the family Hominidae
of the order Primates
of the class Mammalia
of the kingdom animalia
We are part of nature
We are social animals
We are naturally drawn to our leaders

Here is the fundamental black and white reality that, she says, is a natural expression of her being a child with Asperger’s syndrome and selective mutism. It makes her the unique proponent of a world whose carbon footprint will become no more than ancient history, if and only if we follow the right advice now. All we need to do, is to see her as a child-prophet who confronts world leaders with a clear choice, one as clear as black is from white, where only white can be chosen and acted upon to create the new world.

What is the perspective from which she sees the human being? She is most clear about this too? We view our condition from our place in nature, and specifically from that of the world of social animals who, as scientists observe, are naturally drawn to leaders—our leaders—that is leaders of the world of social animals of which we are the natural followers. 

But the world of social animals is far too broad a concept for Greta Thunberg. After all, would it not also include dangerous animals driven by instincts to kill and dominate—to live without foresight for carbon emissions control? How abhorrent concepts of instinct, unpredictability, wild emotion, reliance on the senses must be to a young teenager like Greta Thunberg.

So Thunberg dichotomizes further. Her social world consists only of Children dying from Economic Growth and Leaders to which they are naturally drawn. — But these leaders to whom we are naturally drawn, by whom we are naturally influenced, to whom we naturally listen, have for the most part failed their responsibility. Therefore, the children who are victimized by irresponsible leaders, need a mediator or mediators between Leaders and Economic Growth, as if the latter were Moloch; or as if Economic Growth were personified as Moloch, the ancient (heaven forbid, biblical) god associated with the sacrifice of children.

I bracket the word “biblical” because, of course, it has no place in Greta Thunberg’s thinking nor in that which influences it. The Influencers or Leaders are presidents, celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and journalists. Most importantly, however, since these Influencers failed to meet their responsibility, Thunberg needs Mediators. She finds them in the form of specific “Scientists” and, having found them, admonishes influential Leaders to listen. By Mediators are meant the Scientists for Future who stand for consensus among scientists about climate change. And the consensus that must be accepted is that climate is changed by human beings.[1]It is these scientists too that justify young people’s activism, for example, the demonstrations of Fridays for Future or Climate Strikes. Likewise, Thunberg’s language comes largely from this group, hence the familiar phrases, “best available science”, “mass extinction”, “tipping points” and “climate emergency.” 

But why are human beings the creators of this emergency? The answer is clear too. We do not know the basic facts. “We have not been told or, more importantly, we have never been told by the right people.” When we are told the facts by the right people, we act (See the link below).
The Thunberg-phenomenon has a vague resemblance to the film Metropolis. In 1924 A German film producer named Fritz Lang visited New York. The skyscrapers and masses of people most of who lived like slaves inspired him. Returned to Germany, he excited the völkisch writer Thea von Harbou who soon wrote the screenplay Metropolis. It is the city of the future of technology where masses of workers (called Hands) labour with great effort on a 'Heart Machine' that keeps the city functioning.

The conditions and nature of the work was, however, extremely oppressive. Consequently, desperate workers began listening to a young saintly girl who promises them a Mediator, one who will help them regain a balance between the Heart and Brain. In the meantime, she prevents an open revolt of the worker against the Brain, meaning the Lord of the Metropolis. The Mediator (son of the Lord of the city who was not corrupted by the Lord's offer of every indulgence imaginable) finally succeeds to prevent the rebellion.

The central meaning of this science fiction fantasy is that the sleep-walking mass of workers (the Hand) is unable to negotiate change on their own behalf, thus threatening revolt. They need a Führer (the Mediator) to make the Brain (the Leader) listen.

In the nineteen-twenties, post-WWI Germans believed that only a strong Mediator could end the paralyzing quarrels among the various political Parties and their leaders and make them listen and act to set things right.

Maria and Children