Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: February 7, 2011


Big tent, little tent, both parties contend with tough changes

I‘m headed to CPAC this week. Just thought it would be a good idea – there’s going to be quite a libertarian contingent there. Doug Mataconis from Outside the Beltway, Jason Pye from United Liberty (and an occasional contributor to QandO), as well as members of CATO.

There’s a reason I think it is important to go and that’s to see what is in store on the conservative side of things for the promise of smaller government and less spending. I’d like to join other libertarians in influencing that move toward both smaller (and less intrusive) government and much less spending.

But I’m certainly not going to line up very well with the social conservatives. Such is life – my bet is we can find common ground on the fiscal and governmental side of things. And, if you’re familiar with the neo-libertarian strategy, it is to try to work within the existing system to influence and change those things we can by pushing for change that enhances basic liberty. Call it a bit of putting my money where my mouth is.

That’s also what I characterize as "the pragmatic approach". The system we have is what we have – I can stand outside and throw rocks at it, or I can work inside and try to change it. And no, working inside certainly doesn’t mean I "accept" the system as the end product or am "validating" it by working within it. I’m simply pointing out that the most effective way, in my opinion, of changing things is to work with those of a like mind and create a synergy that finally makes that change. I see CPAC as a valuable forum for such action. Lots of those who are actually involved at a national level in doing such things will be there (Rep. Paul Ryan, for instance, and Sen. Rand Paul).

It’s also an opportunity to network with a lot of bloggers I’ve known peripherally- mostly through email – for years (and some I’ve met and know personally as well).

All that to say there’s a bit of a debate going on about CPAC and who should or shouldn’t be attending. I’ll let you fill yourself in here. And here.

All that said I don’t feel "unwelcome". This is a struggle that goes on in every party. Don’t believe me? Check out the Democrats – especially in the South. They’re going through some major problems as many Democrats at a state level are switching parties in the wake of the November drubbing. The complaint? The Democratic party (national) has become too liberal and doesn’t reflect the values of the more conservative among them. Zell Miller, who made it clear he felt that way, was apparently only in the vanguard of the movement away from liberal Democrats. And those Blue Dogs left in Congress, now that they’re not needed by the majority, have all but been cut off from the Congressional Democratic leadership. They’re simply too conservative for the Pelosi crowd.

Anyway, this week should be interesting. CPAC is undergoing a bit of a controversy concerning the group GOProud being allowed at the table (it’s a gay Conservative group – well according to fiscal cons, social cons don’t buy that because of GOProud’s stance on gay marriage) and a new controversy which claims that the board of ACU, which puts on CPAC, has been infiltrated by Muslims.

And then there are the usual controversies.

*Sigh*

Like I say, should be interesting. As the old saying goes, may the dragon you find be well fed.

~McQ


Krugman–food shortage caused by weather caused by global warming, of course

Paul Krugman has suddenly discovered the food shortage in the world.   And, he’s come to the conclusion that it has mostly been caused by all the bad weather we’ve been having.  Of course that bad weather only be caused by man-made global warming (although there are other scientists claiming otherwise).

While several factors have contributed to soaring food prices, what really stands out is the extent to which severe weather events have disrupted agricultural production. And these severe weather events are exactly the kind of thing we’d expect to see as rising concentrations of greenhouse gases change our climate — which means that the current food price surge may be just the beginning.

Well he’s right about one thing – “these severe weather events” are certainly blamed on man-made global warming, although a body of evidence is developing saying that’s simply not true.  But being able to now tie it all to food shortages is a new venue for using scare tactics in an effort to enable government to control and tax something that is absolutely natural.

Krugman knows he’s on shaky ground as can be seen here – but he forges ahead anyway:

It’s true that growth in emerging nations like China leads to rising meat consumption, and hence rising demand for animal feed. It’s also true that agricultural raw materials, especially cotton, compete for land and other resources with food crops — as does the subsidized production of ethanol, which consumes a lot of corn. So both economic growth and bad energy policy have played some role in the food price surge.

Still, food prices lagged behind the prices of other commodities until last summer. Then the weather struck.

Consider the case of wheat, whose price has almost doubled since the summer. The immediate cause of the wheat price spike is obvious: world production is down sharply. The bulk of that production decline, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, reflects a sharp plunge in the former Soviet Union. And we know what that’s about: a record heat wave and drought, which pushed Moscow temperatures above 100 degrees for the first time ever.

Yes, it is true that emerging nations are demanding more meat and that means more crops go to feed.  Then there’s the ethanol scam using 40% of the corn crop.  I guess, in an oblique way, you can blame ethanol on “global warming” too.  

Naturally an unusual heat wave is a result of man-made global warming (AGW).   So, apparently are monster blizzards (just ask Al Gore).    But don’t believe him, let Paul Krugman, global warming expert fill you in:

To some extent we’re seeing the results of a natural phenomenon, La Niña — a periodic event in which water in the equatorial Pacific becomes cooler than normal. And La Niña events have historically been associated with global food crises, including the crisis of 2007-8.

But that’s not the whole story. Don’t let the snow fool you: globally, 2010 was tied with 2005 for warmest year on record, even though we were at a solar minimum and La Niña was a cooling factor in the second half of the year. Temperature records were set not just in Russia but in no fewer than 19 countries, covering a fifth of the world’s land area. And both droughts and floods are natural consequences of a warming world: droughts because it’s hotter, floods because warm oceans release more water vapor.

Yeah, uh, they’re also “natural consequences” of a cooling world, or a world in which the magnetic poles are going to flip, or a world that is experiencing the effects of sun spots, or as mentioned, regional weather patterns.

As always, you can’t attribute any one weather event to greenhouse gases. But the pattern we’re seeing, with extreme highs and extreme weather in general becoming much more common, is just what you’d expect from climate change.

Really – you can’t?  But that’s precisely what happens daily, Mr. Krugman.  Here’s your crowd on the Moscow heat wave:

According to environmentalists, the heat wave in Russia has been caused by man-made global warming.

Al Gore – after telling us the warmer weather meant less snow in our future is now explaining this winter of humongous snow falls, some of which fell in 49 of the 50 states, as a result of … global warming.

Most folks realize that when you explain something one way, you can’t have it the other way, no matter how convenient it might be to your argument.  And yes, that’s an “inconvenient truth”.  That also brings us to Krugman’s attempt to wave off critics:

The usual suspects will, of course, go wild over suggestions that global warming has something to do with the food crisis; those who insist that Ben Bernanke has blood on his hands tend to be more or less the same people who insist that the scientific consensus on climate reflects a vast leftist conspiracy.

See, when you use “scientific consensus” you loose all credibility, Mr. Krugman  – science isn’t about “consensus”, it’s about skepticism. 

And all of this has little to do with believing in a “vast leftist conspiracy” – that’s your strawman.  It has to do with bad science and the hacks who push it.

That would include you, sir.

~McQ