MGjr Climate 2012-2013

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

MGjr Climate 2012-2013

Just because it is all hopeless
does not mean that you give up.
You go on —
to save your honor —
so to keep your self-respect.

Everything that I believe about humans facing Climate Change is stated here.

Earth’s climate was sacrificed in the 40 years from 1973 to 2013,
thereafter was the Kali Yuga.

Honor:
“By protecting others, you save yourself.”

<><><><><><><>

The Righteous And The Heathens Of Climate And Capitalism
[Swans.com – March 12, 2012] 

Can humanity unite to stop Climate Change?

No, and it is too late. The time to have changed industrialization to halt global warming was 1973 in response to the first Arab oil embargo, but that opportunity was spurned. (1)

There is a thirty-year lag between the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and its effect on climate dynamics. Today’s climate is being affected by 1980s emissions. Today’s emissions will alter the climate of the decade of the 2040s. The climate system is a myriad of interwoven processes described by nonlinear differential equations; so, the evolution of climate could have a sudden shift from its current global pattern of stability to another as yet unknown and possibly quite undesirable pattern of stability, when the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide rises above an as yet unknown triggering threshold. (2)

Humanity will not alter course. You can bank on every graspable barrel of oil, and every accessible cubic meter of natural gas being burned. There will always be someone somewhere who will not want to miss out on the advantages of possessing and using fossil fuel immediately to increase their power and wealth (in all the forms in which those two temporal quantities can be accumulated). The impossibility of global cooperation to arrest the anthropogenic emission of heat-trapping gases and vapors is the psychology described by the Prisoner’s Dilemma. (3)

We do not have a Climate Change problem, nor even an unregulated capitalism problem. We have a human development problem. Humanity is insufficiently developed to conduct itself equitably and in harmony with nature. Species come and go, and humanity’s prospects of long-term survival are as uncertain as its likelihood of developing the advanced social behavior needed to adapt to an emerging new climate. Nature will continue.

Just as the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous were insufficiently developed to anticipate the arrival of extraterrestrial rocks, and to devise rocket-borne interceptors to destroy the 10-km-wide bolide that would fall to earth creating the Chicxulub Crater and an environmental catastrophe lasting years, which caused their extinction 65 million years ago, (4) so humanity today is psychologically underdeveloped to anticipate the emergence of a new equilibrium state of earth’s climate, which will result from shifts of atmospheric and ocean currents, the quantity and distribution of ice, the degree of humidity, and the abundance of liquid water. This climate shift will be (is being) caused by the accommodation of excess heat trapped in vaporous organic compounds and molecular gases released into the atmosphere primarily during the 20th century as waste products of industrialization and as a consequence of natural outgassing from warming oceans, tundras, and land masses. (5)

Our problem is one of revising an entire system — industrialization — by which modern human society exploits exosomatic energy. Industrialization may seem as complex and convoluted a system in the realm of human affairs as the earth’s climate is in the natural realm (to which humanity also belongs, though it usually forgets this). It is the sophistication and extent of our exploitation of exosomatic energy (i.e., energy from outside the human body), rather than our use of tools, that distinguishes humankind from the other forms of life on earth.

We know humanity has a direct impact on climate — industrialization heats the biosphere — but our quantitative knowledge of the sensitivity of climate dynamics to anthropogenic inputs is never exact, though it is extensive, highly detailed, of increasing precision, and compellingly persuasive. It is beyond a reasonable doubt. (6)

New knowledge always confronts psychological resistance to altering human inertia: we resist thinking and behaving differently, especially religiously, politically, and economically.

People are accustomed to assuming that climate and weather are constants, that environmental conditions have long-term stability with known regional variations, known seasonal cycles, and which occur within known short-term fluctuations. Our economic activity is based on a traditional and limited set of expectations about local weather and climate, in the same way as we walk with unthinking assuredness on ground we always expect to solidly support us. We do not wish to change our industrialized economic behaviors to “pay more,” or even “pay for” the consequences of our many forms of self absorption called “business,” until forced by external conditions that no longer support our preferred assumptions.

There is a certain moralistic resentment here. Those who are willing to sacrifice “pleasure” today in order to contribute to the “good of society” resent those who remain profligate and “liberal.”

Climate moralists resent the selfish capitalists, the Republican climate-change deniers and the modern “drill baby, drill!” neoliberals. These latter in turn hate the climate evangelists for trying to force their climate religion down neoliberal throats, and for calling to cut off capitalism’s rapturous resource exploitation orgies.

The resentment of climate missionaries by heathen capitalists is mirrored by the resentment of religious fundamentalists and political reactionaries, who seek to forcibly evangelize the atheist and “liberal” masses to “conservative” psychological repressions and monetary obsessions, instead of having their orgies of free sex, free thought, free drugs, free abortions, and socialist politics. Like an American Taliban, these atavistic fundamentalists resent missing out on all the good fun the unrepressed leftist sinners are having; they can only find satisfaction by shutting down the good times for everybody.

I believe a transition to a post-coal and post-nuclear future could be a very exiting and rewarding national effort, one that would offer many young engineers (as I can remember being) fulfilling lifetime careers, and energize the unfolding of a new Renaissance. (7)

However, for minds mired in reactionary and regressive attitudes, either because of religion, or an attachment to money, or xenophobic fear born of willful ignorance, the entire discussion triggers instant panic, as in an earthquake with the ground giving way beneath them. So, I am pessimistic humanity will anticipate climate change, though I expect it will try to adapt after the fact.

Science has given us enough information to “verify” the anthropogenic climate effect; yes, we can always add more data and make our simulations more precise, but we already have more than enough information. Our globalized problem now is simply to arrive at a decision: either act to modify our climate karma, or consciously accept becoming the victims of nature’s future circumstances. At the typical level of current public discussion about climate change politics, the question “what are we going to do about it?” boils down to “who is going to pay for what has to happen, and how do I get out of it, or make money from it?”

All of the “controversy” today about climate change is just the verbalization of the psychological resistance of human inertia: “I don’t want my world to change,” “I don’t want to miss out,” “I don’t want to pay,” and “I don’t want to stop what I like doing.” All these are expressed in class- and group-specific ways, disguised in terms of economic harm and scientific doubt.

And so, like a dinosaur chewing its cud on a lazy humid summer day on the savannas by the Tethys Sea, we may sense a momentary chill as the shadow of a doubt about a dark future lurking unseen among the clouds crosses over us like a bolide streaking across the face of the sun, but that apprehension instantly evaporates as the warmth of our sunny expectations returns to flood our consciousness once again. What we can’t imagine can only erupt as surprise.

The best way to face an uncertain future is joyously, wide-eyed with enthusiasm, like seven samurai united for battle: “This is the nature of war. By protecting others, you save yourself.”

The real challenge for us, humanity, is learning how to consciously evolve.

Notes

1.  “1973 Oil Crisis,”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis

2.  “Carbon Dioxide In Earth’s Atmosphere,”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth’s_atmosphere

3.  M. García, Jr., “Bayesian Bargains: Jail, Shopping, Debt, And Voting,” 30 January 2012,
http://swans.com/library/art18/mgarci39.html

4.  “Chicxulub Crater,”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater

5.  “Huge Methane Leak In Arctic Ocean: Study,” 4 March 2010, Agence France Presse,
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g6NkTJSt40nZs4lXD-gLdCZdSndQ

6.  M. García, Jr., “Climate and Carbon, Consensus and Contention,” 4 June 2007,
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/06/climate-and-carbon-consensus-and-contention

7.  M. García, Jr., “The Economic Function Of Energy,” 27 February 2012,
http://swans.com/library/art18/mgarci41.html

The Righteous And The Heathens Of Climate And Capitalism
12 March 2012
http://www.swans.com/library/art18/mgarci43.html

<><><><><><><>

Changing Climate For Unchanging People
[Swans.com – January 28, 2013]

Climate Change is the entropy of industrialized civilization. It is Nature’s fever from its infection by viral capitalism.

In early January 2013, the National Climatic Data Center in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded in the contiguous United States, with a mean temperature of 12.9º C (55.3º F). The average for the 20th century was 11.2º C (52.1º F), and the scatter of the yearly data points about that century average lies within the band defined by 10º C (50º F) and 12.2º C (54º F).

The globally averaged temperature during 2012 was described as follows in the National Climatic Data Center’s “State of the Climate” announcement:

“The globally-averaged temperature for 2012 marked the 10th warmest year since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 36th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average annual temperature was 1976. Including 2012, all 12 years to date in the 21st century (2001-2012) rank among the 14 warmest in the 133-year period of record. Only one year during the 20th century — 1998 — was warmer than 2012.”

NOAA also estimated that there were eleven extreme weather and climate events in the U.S. during 2012 that caused losses of more than one billion dollars each. Extreme weather events included the drought extending over 61% of the nation (the Great Plains and Hawaii), the heat waves in the Northeast, the extensive wildfires in the Southwest, and the storms along the Gulf and East Coasts: Hurricane Isaac and Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy.

At the same time as NOAA was issuing its “State of the Climate” announcement, a bushfire catastrophe was declared by the Australian government. In December 2012 and early January 2013, during an austral summer with unprecedented high temperatures, fires raged across so much of the states of New South Wales (in which the cities of Sydney and Canberra are situated) and the island state of Tasmania that the smoke plumes massed into a blanket obscuring daylight at ground level, and the view of the landmass beneath it to astronauts orbiting above.

Also appearing in early January 2013 was a massive draft report on climate change in the United States, by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC) of the US Global Change Research Program. After a three-month period of public review and comment (ending April 12, 2013), and review by the National Academies of Sciences, NCADAC will revise its draft report and submit it to the Federal Government for approval as the Third National Climate Assessment Report. The previous NCA Reports were issued in 2000 and 2009.

The draft NCADAC report is detailed and unequivocal about the many specific manifestations of ongoing climate change occurring within the territory of the United States. The purpose of the NCA Report “is to establish a scientific and credible foundation of information that is useful for a variety of science and policy applications related to managing risk and maximizing opportunities in a changing climate.”

The atmosphere today holds more moisture because it is warmer than in previous centuries. That enhanced fluid mass can be cycled with greater intensity because of the added heat energy, as storms and floods, or withheld with more enduring pitilessness as drought. As global warming continues, we can expect a higher frequency of droughts, heat waves, wildfires, downpours, and tropical storms like those of 2012, and of greater intensity.

Despite the stark assessment of ongoing climate change in the new US Government reports, a multitude of fresh memories of extreme weather events and associated personal tragedies in 2012, and the greater publicity about climate change in mass media today, the issue of implementing a broad and immediate national response to climate change, and then an international response, neither dominates the attention of the American public nor perceptibly impacts the formation and conduct of national policy. Why is that?

Many concerned with the ominous potentialities of climate change believe that the corporate stranglehold on mass media throttles the flow of information to the public about the links between climate change and political economy, as part of a management of the public mind by a national elite so as to preserve popular attitudes of consumption that continue to support, acquiesce to, or be fooled by profitable schemes of finance, commercialism and resource exploitation. To some of the people deeply concerned about climate change, it may seem as if censorship is being practiced out of elite fears of awakening the public and then overturning the economic order.

It is not a matter of censorship, but of mental inertia. For most people, behavior is habitual, ingrained by training through indoctrination (TV, advertising, peer pressure; thought molded by an external agency), and thinking is fashioned after the fact to align with behavior (“I’m cool because I own this desirable stuff,” or “I have substance and status because I am recognized by this class of better people”).

Changes to behavior are fiercely resisted by any person who takes the pattern and style of their learned and imprinted behaviors to define them, to be their self-image. To “force” someone to change their behavior is to force them to re-think who they are, and that is nearly always experienced as a demotion, a degradation: psychological death.

Confronting people with your anxiety about Climate Change as an emergency they must respond to immediately and irrevocably can be received as a demand that they commit psychological suicide: Climate Change means that all your implicit assumptions about the world on which you base your life and self-image are wrong, you must kill your present psychological self (your idea of who you are and how you should live) and accept a new one that fits in with the new climate-change-altered reality coming into being.

One segment of the population will flat out deny the existence of the threat to its psychological continuity, and this is simple climate change denial.

The more liberal resistant people will accept the logic describing Climate Change as a physical reality, but see it as external to their lives. They will block the Climate Change imperative to live differently, to exist differently, by moving the issue of Climate Change far away from their immediate spheres of thought and action, and onto remote domains controlled by forces and institutions they hope will save them. So, they will look to cap-and-trade economic schemes, geo-engineering schemes, anticipated “new” and “hybrid” and “carbon-free” technologies, so they can continue with existing behaviors despite the changing externality of climate, and continue to believe they will be shielded from Climate Change harm. This is why so many affluent people drive the Toyota Prius automobile, with a hybrid electric-combustion propulsion system. The sought-for mental oasis is: “It will cocoon me from the external threat to my inflexible behavior.”

To be clear-eyed about Climate Change requires accepting three facts:

[1] Human-caused Climate Change is real, accelerating rapidly, and inevitable; human restraint on greenhouse gas emissions can only make it “less bad” in the future.

[2] People who are fully prepared to alter their ambitions and their conceptions of how to live, to both adapt to ongoing Climate Change and to mitigate its future development, will be in the minority.

[3] The climate-change-accepting minority will be condemned to live in a world, and in most nations, in which the change-resistant majority will determine the economic, industrial, energy-use and environmental exploitation practices.

The idea that we can globalize a climate-change-accepting mentality into species-wide group-think, and species-wide equitable group response, is illusory. What is real is that indeed psychological globalization has occurred, in that sense our world is smaller, or perhaps more accurately, “condensed,” but the controlling character of humanity’s globalized mind is the simple and primitive brain-fever of self-centeredness, the clutching of acquisitiveness and for control.

Climate will change; people won’t.

Changing Climate For Unchanging People
28 January 2013
http://www.swans.com/library/art19/mgarci61.html

<><><><><><><>

Left Conservatives Under Right Progressives

To me, Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist conservative pragmatist. I explain what I mean by this four-part label in the following article, originally published at Swans.com on 3 December 2012.

<><><><>

Left Conservatives under Right Progressives

This is an essay in analytical politics. In it I present a precise terminology for describing the general forms that the political orientation of a collectivity or an individual can assume in regard to national and international affairs.

The model to be presented allows any political tendency to be classified in a linguistically simple, conceptually clear manner, and it allows for making comparisons among all the varieties of politics and politicians at large today, and recorded by history. This is possible because only a small number of archetypes of political orientation are used, which are analogous to the genus and family units in the Linnaean taxonomy of biology. As with the Linnaean system, the purpose of this political taxonomy is to bring order and clarity to a topic usually clouded with partisan obfuscation.

Definition of Political Orientation

Any political orientation is composed of four factors, labeled as: power, economy, engagement, and character.

Power

The form in which political power is held in a collectivity, such as a nation state, is determined by its degree of concentration, which will occur within a range of possibilities bracketed by dictatorship and anarchy. I collapse all the complexities by allowing for only two opposing forms: authoritarian and democratic.

Economy

The economy of any society is a political statement of the balance of power of the constituencies within that society; it is the structure determining the cycles of production and consumption, and the distribution of benefits and costs. The relationship of the individual to the society is characterized by two parameters: equality and freedom.

Economically, each individual is a person with some accumulation of personal wealth and property. An individual can either be burdened with or relieved of social responsibilities, and his or her accumulation can be taxed, or untaxed, or augmented by the collectivity, all depending on the specific nature of this individual’s relationship to the collectivity.

Equality characterizes the degree of social responsibility the individual has to the collectivity.

Freedom characterizes the degree of liberty the individual has to dispose of his or her accumulation.

Equality is measured by the degree of socialism in the society, which is the degree to which accumulation is bound to social responsibilities, and need is alleviated by public support.

Freedom is measured by the degree of liberality of the society, which is the degree to which accumulation is free of public responsibilities, and need is left to personal responsibility and charity.

The economic factor of any particular political orientation is assigned to one of two general types: socialist or liberal.

An economic outlook characterized as socialist has a greater proportion of equality (social responsibility) than an economic outlook characterized as liberal (economic liberty), in which freedom is dominant.

Engagement

While the economy describes the internal or domestic structure of a political collectivity (whether a real society or an individual’s idealization), the attitude of that collectivity toward the rest of the world is termed its engagement.

A society reticent to engage with the rest of the world and preferring to withdraw from it is isolationist, while a society eager to expand its influence in the wider world, and which is forward with its diplomacy, trade and military force, is internationalist.

The isolationist attitude is anti-interventionist, anti-imperialist, anti-war, and fundamentally conservative.

The internationalist attitude has a tendency to be interventionist, imperialist, expansionist, and is fundamentally progressive.

Conservative engagement is that which seeks to preserve the insularity of the domestic realm from international turmoil, to minimize conflicts with foreigners, and to focus political effort into the consolidation of power in the domestic realm.

Progressive engagement is that which seeks to change the existing international order to the advantage of an actively outgoing political collectivity. Internationalist societies can export their domestic political ambitions and problems in the form of a foreign policy — diplomacy plus commerce or war — seeking “advantages” by reshaping (moving, or progressing) international norms and the international order.

Character

A political orientation is a guide for personal action, so how do individuals act politically? This fourth factor is determined by personal character, which is limited to three types in this model, those of the: ideologue, pragmatist, and opportunist.

Ideologue

This is a person with principles, which could be either humanistic (e.g., abolitionist, Marxist socialism) or inhumane (e.g., slavery, fascist socialism), and who could be seen as either admirably firm in advocating for these principles even against contrary public opinion, or as obtusely rigid in disregarding human needs while seeking to impose an ideology upon society. Uncompromising.

Pragmatist

This is also a person with a set of principles and a political orientation aimed at actualizing those principles. However, this type of individual is politically flexible, adjusting tactics to suit the circumstances of the moment in the effort to best approach the motivating ideals, both in the near term and further future. Willing to compromise.

Opportunist

This is the self-centered careerist who makes Machiavellian use of people and ideas to acquire power and wealth. The opportunist is free of the restrictions imposed by principles, so finds it easy to espouse allegiances and then dispose of them by betrayal as is expedient. Unprincipled.

Political Orientations

The political orientation of any collectivity is one of eight types determined by the specific values of its power, economy and engagement factors:

(power)(economy)(engagement),

(authoritarian/democratic)(socialist/liberal)(conservative/progressive)

The political orientation of an individual is given by one of the eight triads just described, expanded into a quartet with the addition of the character factor set to one of its three possible values: ideologue, pragmatist, opportunist, and which are identified by the labels i, p, o, respectively.

Examples

Authoritarian socialist conservatives:
Joseph Stalin (o), Mao Zedong (i), Fidel Castro (i).

Authoritarian socialist progressives:
Leon Trotsky (i), Adolph Hitler (o), Che Guevara (i).

Authoritarian liberal conservatives:
Francisco Franco (o), Augusto Pinochet (o), China since Deng Xiaoping (o).

Authoritarian liberal progressives:
Roman Caesars (o), Napoleon Bonaparte (o), Imperial Japan 1932-1945 (o).

Democratic socialist conservatives:
Eugene V. Debs (i), Noam Chomsky (i), Willy Brandt (p).

Democratic socialist progressives:
George Orwell (p), J. Robert Oppenheimer (p), leftists for responsibility to protect (R2P) (p).

Democratic liberal conservatives:
Charles de Gaulle (i), Georges Pompidou (p), Ron Paul (i).

Democratic liberal progressives:
Winston Churchill (p), J. F. Kennedy (i), Ronald Reagan (i), G. W. Bush (o).

Conservative versus Progressive Wars

Conservative States confine their military deployments and wars to their domestic realms (as civil wars or defense against invasion), and to the countries or “buffer zones” just past their borders. Most nation states are of this type, and notable examples during the twentieth century were the U.S.S.R., the People’s Republic of China, and Iran.

Progressive States have (or had) large navies, such as: Periclean Athens, the British Empire, the U.S.A., and Imperial Japan; or they initiated wide-ranging military expeditions, such as by Imperial Rome, Napoleonic France, and Nazi Germany.

Authoritarian conservatives have been responsible for a great deal of bloody repression, and authoritarian progressives have been responsible for a great deal of aggressive warfare.

Democratic Tendencies

Left Isolationists

Democratic socialist conservatives form the largest contingent of the political left in the United States (and perhaps Europe) today, the anti-interventionists. This orientation looks back with dismay at the UN and NATO military interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya, and opposes any such intervention in the Syrian Civil War now raging.

Left Internationalists

Democratic socialist progressives can support the resort to military interventions on the R2P principle, the “responsibility to protect” unarmed populations in immediate danger of attack, or under such attack, by armed forces of any kind including that of their own government. R2P is an evolving international norm, and all its applications to date have been controversial. Left Internationalists believe the principle behind R2P is correct, “preventing and halting mass atrocity crimes,” and that it is worth making the effort to bring more of the world into compliance with civilized political behavior. Ultimately, in terms of social evolution such an advance would be comparable to the abolition of legal slavery worldwide.

Right Isolationists

Democratic liberal conservatives, like Ron Paul and the Libertarians in the United States, want freedom from government regulations and release from tax liabilities. Since they are most sensitively attached to their accumulations they painfully feel the expenditure of public funds domestically as “welfare” and internationally as “adventurism.” They are anti-war anti-federalists, liberal isolationists, hence liberal conservatives.

Right Internationalists

Democratic liberal progressives include George W. Bush and the “neocons,” who propelled the United States into the Iraq War. Since nothing is more radical in terms of trying to progress or move international politics than to launch wars, the GWB bunch were radical progressives.

Such an identification only appears surprising to people indoctrinated by the broadcasts on US politics by corporate mass media, with grossing misleading labels. The GWB bunch were very liberal economically, as they created a huge public debt burden by major tax reductions on large accumulations, and by enormous expenditures for wars.

The G. W. Bush Administration was entirely one of economically liberal progressives, and not as usually mislabeled “social conservatives” (actually: reactionaries), “fiscal conservatives” (actually: liberals) and “political conservatives” (actually: radicals); reactionary liberal radicals.

The lies about our politics begin immediately with its mislabeling.

The Contemporary American Scene

The United States today is a democratic liberal progressive state, locked into that orientation by the overwhelming political power of incorporated accumulations, which favor inequitable freedom, and collectively sponsor the anti-parliamentarian bipartisan electoral system.

The essence of the presidential election of 2012 is that voters were limited to choosing between Barack Obama’s pragmatism and Mitt Romney’s opportunism. Neither the form of the nation’s economy nor the degree of its engagement were open to electoral influence.

The post-election dismay of the defeated Mitt Romney and the dominantly older white male would-be authoritarian liberals he personifies is that of ideologues and opportunists who find themselves trapped in a multi-cultural democracy with a popular preference for democratic socialist conservatism.

The illusion of democratic socialist conservatives who were co-opted to support the Democratic Party in the recent election, instead of building up a democratic socialist “third party,” is that despite Barack Obama being a liberal progressive, his pragmatism offered the possibility of advancing popular socialist conservative aspirations, by the workings of Obama’s assumed political flexibility from a position of electoral strength.

The disdain of the deeper left democratic socialist conservatives who rejected Democratic Party co-optation, and saw only differences of appearance and not of substance between Obama’s pragmatism and Romney’s opportunism, led them to support the Green Party, or the Peace And Freedom Party, or to boycott the election.

Given the containment of the dominant popular preference on political economy, by an elite with an opposing political orientation, we can say that the United States is a nation of left conservatives under right progressives.

Acknowledgment

I wish to acknowledge Michael Neumann, professor of philosophy at Trent University at Ontario, Canada, who spurred my thinking on themes entwined in this essay. [But don’t blame him for the result.]

<><><><>

Bernie Sanders’ (and our) “revolution” is about the left conservatives (the 99%) throwing over the right progressives (the 1%).

Left Conservatives Under Right Progressives
3 December 2012
http://www.swans.com/library/art18/mgarci58.html

12 February 2016 is the 207th birthday of both Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.