Back in January 2008, I took a verbal snapshot of the many bad things the UK government was doing to us at the time. Today, I’ll carry this forward to the present. My purpose is to gain a better understanding of the troubles we suffer under today – and not just in the UK. And thus, to try to fathom what is going on underneath. Read more
Category Archives: Environment
On May 20th, 2019, I gave a talk to the Libertarian Alliance about the damaging political policies being imposed on car drivers in the UK, and the history behind them. Normally, these talks are recorded on video. But on this occasion, an unfortunate combination of circumstances prevented a recording. As this subject is a topical one – and becoming more so by the day – I thought it appropriate to create a “transcript” of the talk, re-constructed from my notes.
On April 8th, 2019, London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) went live in the Congestion Charge area in central London. It now costs the driver £12.50 a day, on top of the congestion charge, to drive in this zone a diesel car built before September 2015, or a petrol car built before 2006. This is an outrageous amount; and it also has to be paid at week-ends! This scheme is planned to be extended to all of the area inside North and South Circular Roads in October 2021. And after that, who knows?
Beyond this, there is talk of charging drivers of diesel cars to enter any of 35 or so cities around the UK. Some cities, like Southampton, have decided not to do this. Others, like Birmingham, are pressing on. Meanwhile, on May 9th the Times began a campaign claiming that “air pollution on the streets is poisoning 2.6 million schoolchildren,” and that this is due to “clogged roads”.
And yet, a recent (May 2nd) Sky News poll showed that more than 50 per cent of a random sample of people in the UK were “unwilling to significantly reduce the amount they drive, fly and eat meat,” either to combat climate change or to protect the environment in a more general sense. This is evidence of a huge disconnect between the political classes and the people!
There is a long backstory behind all this, which not many people seem to be aware of. In the last two years, I’ve managed to pull a lot of this backstory together. So, tonight I’ll bring it out into the open for you. In the process, I’ll identify what I call the Ten Deadly Dishonesties. These are attitudes and ploys that anti-car and other green campaigners have used, many of them more than once, in the course of their political machinations. Read more
The Environmental Scam:
One Quick and Easy Response
by Sean Gabb
9th October 2018
Once you cut through their verbiage, the enemies of bourgeois civilisation have two demands. These are:
- Put me and my friends in charge of preferably a one-world government with total power over life and property; or, until then, or failing that,
- Give us a lot of money.
When I was younger, the occasion for making these demands was something to do with poverty or economic instability, and the alleged need was for a bigger welfare state, or state ownership of the means of production, or playing about with money to “move the aggregate demand curve to the right.” The nice thing about these claims and their alleged solutions was that they all had to be debated within the subject area of Economics. Because most of us knew a lot about Economics, we could always win the debates.
By the end of the 1980s, winning was so easy, the debates had become boring. Since then, the alleged need has shifted to saving the planet from some environmental catastrophe. The resulting debates are now harder to win because most of us are not that learned in the relevant sciences. Though I am more than competent in Economics, my main expertise is in Ancient History and the Classical Languages. Much the same is true for most of my friends. Read more
June 2018 was a good month for those of us on the side of truth and common sense in environmental matters. In the Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore has written of the decline of media interest in the mantra of “saving the planet.” In the Wall Street Journal, Steven F. Hayward has gone further. He tells us of “the descent of climate change into the abyss of social-justice identity politics,” and says “climate change is no longer a pre-eminent policy issue.” Meanwhile, a so-called wind drought has caused the UK media to wake up at last to the fact that wind power is useless for generating the base load energy that is vital to our civilization. And even the government are talking of bringing nuclear power back into the mix.
But in at least one other area the greens’ assault on our lifestyles and freedoms is still growing. I refer, specifically, to their attacks on cars and car drivers. Not only is the mayor of London already making it impossibly expensive for all but the very rich to drive their cars in London. Not only is he seeking to widen further the range of his plundering schemes. But the anti-car lobby in the UK are seeking to restrict, and eventually to ban, car use on a national scale. And in this effort they are using a particular kind of pollution, called PM2.5, as their poster child.
By Andreas Tiedtke
This article first appeared at the Ludwig von Mises Institut, Deutschland. It has been translated with permission from the original German into English, by Andy Duncan. Here is the original article. The detailed references in the article below link directly to the glossary attached to the original piece.
On the 17th of November in Bonn, the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) finally concluded, with 20,000 participants from all over the world, accompanied by a substantial contingent of journalists.  This conference continued the process of the Paris climate agreement, one of the largest state control projects in human history. From 2020 onwards, ‘industrial countries’ are expected to provide an annual sum of $100 billion U.S. dollars to restructure the world’s energy supply. This money will also be used to ‘eliminate any damage caused by climate change’. Much of this cash is expected to flow into private sector investment within developing countries, with only a relatively small proportion going to the public sector for the ‘already necessary remedy of climate-related damage’. 
Of course, the politicians of these nominated ‘industrialised countries’ will hardly expect to pay all of this cash out of their own pockets, but will instead mandate their taxpayers to pick up the tab. As far as this ‘private investment’ is concerned, there would be no need for any agreement if these projects were actually profitable within a genuine free market. Instead, the relevant financial incentives are created through regulation and subsidy, which then restricts freedom of choice for private producers and also blunts the free choices of taxpayers. In addition, the International Monetary Fund is calling for a carbon tax , even though net taxpayers have already been heavily burdened by energy taxes, vehicle taxes, and other such charges and regulations within the housing construction business.
However, if citizens decide that politicians are unable to provide substantiated evidence to back up a massive encroachment upon assets and freedoms, this could prove catastrophic for politicians, as well as for entire industrial segments that no longer rely upon the freely chosen demands of customers, but instead rely upon taxpayer subsidy and government regulation. These industries range from the manufacture of wind turbines and electric cars through to that of electric lamps and polystyrene thermal insulation panels. And let’s not forget the climate conference industry itself.
Bottom up versus top down
By Neil Lock
Today, I’m going to look at two diametrically opposed ways of thinking, and at the practitioners of those two ways. One way, I call bottom up; the other, top down.
Bottom up thinking is like the way we build a house. Starting from the ground, we work upwards, using what we’ve done already as support for what we’re working on at the moment. Top down thinking, on the other hand, starts out from an idea that is a given. It then works downwards, seeking evidence for the idea, or to add detail to it, or to put it into practice.
These two opposed methods bear on far more than just the way we think. The idea of bottom up versus top down can be applied to many dimensions of our lives. It can be applied to our overall world view, and to our views on religion. To how we seek knowledge. To our ethical and political views. To our conception of government and law. To our opinions on economics and environment. To how we communicate with others. To our views on education and media; and many more. Bottom up versus top down isn’t a single scale of (say) 0 to 100, but a multi-dimensional space, in which each individual’s position is represented on many different axes.
By Andy Duncan
I noticed something very subtle, today, while reading a recent article in the Guardian. If you can bear to read it yourself, here’s the link.
I may be imagining it, but I think there has been an almost imperceptible shift in the usual recent Gramscian and culturally Marxist language of mind control.
Let’s avoid worrying too much about the actual subject of the article, which is the British government’s proposed ban on the internal combustion engine in 2040, within the expected lifetime of certain newly-built cars.
Yes, this has almost single-handedly wrecked the retail vehicle market in this country. Yes, it is simply value signalling of the worst kind. Yes, we all know that our esteemed democratic ‘leaders’ and their string-pulling fonctionnaires need to live off our taxes.