- Capitalism and Alternatives -

is hidden pseudo-conservative invective.

Posted by: Quincunx on August 17, 1999 at 00:41:14:

In Reply to: What you'll get posted by Gee on August 10, 1999 at 15:15:59:

Gee: http://www.junkscience.com/ is a good place to sift.

Qx: I checked out the website and the personalities named and matched them up to the name search in this website. For all the masquerading as "skeptics" I have to admit that most of what I'm viewing at the link you provided is backed up by big money.

G: Environmentalism is one of the few areas where being wrong does not result in being discredited. There is, after all, always tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Qx: Is that right? I thought such things as economics was another area where promoting free market attitudes and promising a better tommorrow
has turned into a perpetual game of parroted optimism.

Gee: Note this article.

Qx: OK. I will.

: "Few groups have been so consistently wrong yet so revered by the political, intellectual and media elite as have environmentalists. They've been predicting that the world's going to run out of coal, oil, gas, food, arable land and you name it for decades. If anything, the world's known supply of things environmentalists said we're running out of has increased. Let's look at it.

WW: In 1914, the U.S. Bureau of Mines predicted our oil reserves would last 10 years. In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil would last 13 years; it made the same prediction in 1951.

Qx: I'd like to see the sources and references for these assertions typed out next time so as to verify them Gee. They may have been wrong but they were hardly "scares" conjured up by environmentalists. In fact the environmental movement was hardly even in existence during thos years.

WW: In 1972, the Club of Rome's report "Limits to Growth" said total oil reserves totaled 550 billion barrels. With the report in hand, president Carter said, "We could use up all proven reserves in the entire word by the next decade." Between 1970 and 1990, the word used up 600 billion barrels but, as of 1990, the word had 1.5 trillion barrels of known, unexploited oil reserves.

Qx: Again, I'd like to see the exact sources for these quotes and not just a referral to the "Club of Rome".

WW: In the 1970's, Lester Brown of Worldwatch Institute started predicting population growth would outstrip food production. His mentor, Paul Ehrlich, in his 1968 best selling book "Population Bomb," predicted that by 1999 the U.S. population would starve back to 22 million. Since 1961, world population has doubled; food production has more than doubled, even in many poor countries. The Food and Agriculture Organization reports that calories consumed per person in Third World countries are 27 percent higher now than in 1961.

Qx: Calling someone another's "mentor" is one way of demening credibility but if you're a pseudo-conservative it's enjoyable and makes for great sport. The National Review has been at it for much longer than environmentalism's large-scale impact on public consciousness.

WW: What about the 1980s forest-destroying acid-rain scare? According to a $700 million official study, "There is no evidence of a general or unusual decline of forests in the U.S. of Canada due to acid rain." As for environmentalists' pressures to come to a panicky conclusion, one of the study's authors said: "Yes, there were political pressures. ...Acid rain had to be an environmental catastrophe, no matter what the facts revealed."

Qx: Yeah, what about the specious attempt at denying the fact thast millions of hectares of northern temperate forest has been killed off? One can go boating into many lakes in northern Ontario and Quebec and see straight down to the bottom due to the clarity brought about by the effects of acid rain on the plant life which in turn feeds much of the animal life. Oh, of course since it's in Canada they can solve it by themselves and what the hell they're just a bunch of Eskimos anyways and liberal ones at that.

WW: There are other false environmentalist claims, like urban sprawl is paving over vital cropland.

Qx: You're goddamn right it has! Walter Wiliams can stay cocooned in his nice house but he should do dome more detailed studies in urban planning before he states much more. At the rate we're going there's goona be stupid suburbs creeping all over the American landscape. What do suburbs do? They shield the children who live in them from exposure to the points of production, serve to facilitate a completely consumerist lifestyle.

WW: Fact: Farmland lying fallow in the United States and Argentina alone could feed 1.4 billion people.

Qx: He does nothing other than state this claim to be a fact. Where's the back up? Has he never heard of farmers being paid by the government to let fields lie fallow so as to not further collapse crop prices? Has he even take into consideration the fact that some fields do require to be left fallow? If Walter Williams is anything he certainly isn't an agronomist.

WW: Claim: Soil erosion will lead to new dust bowls.

Qx: Fact: Ever heard of the 1930's?

WW: Fact: The percentage of cropland lost through soil erosion has dropped by two-thirds since the 1950s.

Qx: Really? Let's see where Walter Williams's sources come from.

Fact: He doesn't provide sources for this claim.

WW: Claim: Nuclear power is dangerous. Fact: Generating all of our electricity by nuclear power has the risk - equivalent of raising the highway speed limit by 0.006.

Qx: Ooooh..Not very good WW.
Claim: Nuclear power is dangerous.
Fact: Nucklear power is dangerous.

WW: The media treat environmentalists, who've been wrong time after time, as gods of the truth. For Dr. Paul Ehrlich's work, the MacArthur Foundation bestowed its "genius" award along with a handsome stipend for his "promoting greater public understanding of environmental problems." Lester Brown, who's been predicting global starvation for 40 years, also received the MacArthur "genius" award along with a stipend.

Qx: Again this is a silly claim by blaiming the "media" for reporting the claims of environmentalists. By the way was receiving a stipend that bad Gee? Considering the financial backing behind this junkscience.com website that purports to be skeptical I highly doubt it.

WW: Our continued belief in environmentalist mistakes, manipulation, lies and fearmongering leads us to establish public policies that kill people and reduce standards of living such as CAFE standards that dowsnsize autos and cause unnecessary highway deaths, energy-saving regulation that produce airtight sick buildings and the international push for birth control.

Qx: CAFE standards? That's an interesting jab at so-called liberal environmentalists and really nothing more than an expression of childish resentments on WW's part. Lets' take a look at this "downsizing of autos". First of all American automobiles only began to become smaller when it became evident that smaller (and inexpensive imports) performed just as well. Now this bit about causing "unnecessary highway deaths". This is the fault of environmentalists? I doubt it bud. If one even looks at North American vehicles maunfactured before the "Energy Crisis" of the early 1970's one can see how dangerous manmy of them were. Ever seen pictures of people impaled on steering wheels Gee? Ever wondered why auto glass shatters into little bitty cubes instead of just being long nasty shards that do much more heinous damage? Remember the recent lawsuit won by plaintiffs against a buig American car maker for pruposefully keeping the gas tank so close to rear bumper? That isn't the fault of environmnetalists. That's a corporate crime.

WW: The next time an environmentalist warns us of disaster, we ought to ask: When was the last time your prediction was right?"
: by Walter Williams

Qx: And we should also be balanced enough to question the anti-environmentalist agenda by looking at what kind of people and oprganizations fund the attack on warnings of ecological problems.

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