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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.

Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.

Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.


Owen Paterson and the big green blob

Owen Paterson, the outgoing UK Environment Secretary, posted a comment on the UK Telegraph that has generated some discussion. He has drawn attention to the method that big government has fed big government green lobbyists 150 million Euros since 2007. 

It turns out that the Global Warming/Climate Change Alarmist movement is the umbrella under which hundreds of radical Anti-Capitalist movements find some legitimacy.   No one dares to question the noble intentions of the Global Warming/Climate Change Alarmist movement.  

I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape.  This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.

Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment.

I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland. My home address was circulated worldwide with an incitement to trash it; I was burnt in effigy by Greenpeace as I was recovering from an operation to save my eyesight. But I did not set out to be popular with lobbyists and I never forgot that they were not the people I was elected to serve.

Indeed, I am proud that my departure was greeted with such gloating by spokespeople for the Green Party and Friends of the Earth.

It was not my job to do the bidding of two organizations that are little more than anti-capitalist agitprop groups most of whose leaders could not tell a snakeshead fritillary from a silver-washed fritillary.

When I arrived at Defra I found a department that had become, under successive Labour governments, a milk cow for the Green Blob.


Parting words:

When I set out to shatter the crippling orthodoxy that growing the rural economy and improving the environment are mutually exclusive, I was ridiculed by a public school journalist who thinks the solution to environmental problems is “an ordered and structured downsizing of the global economy”. Back to the Stone Age, in other words, but Glastonbury-style.

Yes, I’ve annoyed these people, but they don’t represent the real countryside of farmers and workers, of birds and butterflies.

Like the nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s, the Green Blob has become a powerful self-serving caucus; it is the job of the elected politician to stand up to them. We must have the courage to tackle it head on, as Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada have done, or the economy and the environment will both continue to suffer.

The primary goal for the Green Blob and environmental groups is sanctimoniousness.  By loudly denouncing all bad things — capitalism, the US constitution, CO2, greed, unfairness, profit and second hand smoke (except from pot)— they testify to their own terrific goodness.  More importantly, they promote themselves to into a membership of self-selecting elites who care deeply about such things.  Doing good is not nearly as important as announcing their good intentions and then confiscating your money.   

Government’s money belongs to the people, but is being syphoned off by these crazed groups whose only purpose is to agitate for more money. By syphoning money out of the public coffers, less money is available for education, poverty, food stamps, medicine and roads. But that is irrelevant because their cause is more worthy than food stamps or education.

Environmentalists have created a wonderful kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to do anything or even be lucky to join it; you just have to care; preferably pretend that you do.   And then you need to be able to hold protest signs, shake down your local politician and threaten anyone who doesn’t think like you.

They know better what to do with your time/money/energy than the unwashed masses.  Moreover, they deserve it, because they are the people that we have been waiting for. 

 Republicans consider Enviro-whackoism a violation of the American principle that you shouldn't stick your nose in other people's business except to make a buck.  Well, the environmentalists think that they need to take that buck so that they can afford to keep their noses in other people’s business.

Point 1: Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, the influential and once-responsible environmental group, has left Greenpeace because it has become an organ of left-wing extremism.  Moore quit the organization when, he said, “Greenpeace was hijacked by social and political activists.”  

“(Environmentalism today is) more about globalism and anti-capitalism than it is about science or ecology….”

Point 2: Goldman Sachs has lobbied extensively for the ‘cap and trade’ bill, and is well positioned to make billions. Goldman Sachs will be the conduit of exchange in which carbon credits will be transferred.   Each transaction of carbon credits will benefit Goldman Sachs.  

This is the definition of cronyism in which a business has unique access into writing law that benefit themselves. They are using a perceived hobgoblin for great gain.   The only requirement was to flood Washington with campaign cash.  

Point 3: Michael Moore has profited handsomely over the years by generating environmentalist, anti-capitalist, anti-materialist, anti-consumer propaganda.  But during recent court proceeding in his divorce, we find that Michael Moore has 9 homes valued at over $50 million. Recently he had purchased 3 adjoining condominiums in New York and combined them into one to sell for profit. I am not sure, but that sounds like capitalism to me. But it can’t be, because Mr. Moore has spent his entire life denouncing that sort of thing. And Mr. Moore certainly isn’t a big fat loudmouth hypocrite.  

“The novice environmentalist sees only the lofty and noble dream of a perfect physical environment. Then, headline after headline -- acid rain, global warming, the ozone hole, oil spills -- the environmentalist begins to harden. Negativity sets in. Perceptions change. There is a distinct shift toward seeing man as the systematic destroyer of the good, the systematic doer of evil.  The image of humanity changes.  A profound misanthropy develops -- and the environmentalist is unaware of it."

Taken from ‘Trashing the Economy’, by Ron Arnold

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