THE COLUMN: How We Got Here

The seeds of the conflict in the Ukraine, now the subject of both a shooting war and a ferocious propaganda barrage on both sides—and by "both sides" I mean Russia vs. the West, using Ukraine as its proxy—were sown more than 30 years ago, in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union on Boxing Day in 1991. At what seemed almost a single stroke, the goal of American foreign policy for the previous four decades had been achieved. The mother church of Marxism-Leninism had fallen, the Evil Empire destroyed, and the brave new world of "the end of history and the last man" was dawning.

Although Ronald "we win, they lose" Reagan was out of office, this was the Gipper's triumph. Playing poker against the Soviets' aging and disillusioned chess masters, Reagan bet the house on the Strategic Defense Initiative—widely opposed and even mocked by the pro-Russian Leftist press, led by the New York Times (who else?), as "Star Wars"—and essentially bankrupted the Kremlin. Unfamiliar with the concept of a bluff, Mikhail Gorbachev turned over his king and walked away from the board. 

I vividly recall standing outside in the freezing cold of a mid-February day in Dresden, on the 40th anniversary of the firebombing of the city by British and American bombers in 1945. Standing in front of the newly restored Semper Opera House, Erich Honecker, the East German party boss, gave a stemwinder of a speech, inveighing against the very "Star Wars" (that was the term he used: Sternkriege) the Times was mocking stateside. "I think Star Wars is bullshit," whispered a German-speaking American colleague of mine, "but it sure has these guys scared." Within six years, both the German Democratic Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were gone.

Fooled ya.

It took both the Times and the communists (but I repeat myself) to realize the truth of Reagan's game and by then it was too late. The Cold War was over, without a shot being fired. We won, they lost.

Officials in the "Star Wars" project rigged a crucial 1984 test and faked other data in a program of deception that misled Congress as well as the intended target, the Soviet Union, four former Reagan Administration officials said.

The deception program was designed to feed the Kremlin half-truths and lies about the project, the former Administration officials said. It helped persuade the Soviets to spend tens of billions of dollars to counter the American effort to develop a space-based shield against nuclear attack proposed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1983, they said. The test also deceived news organizations, which reported it widely.

Ha ha ha. With the U.S.S.R. prostrate and the former Warsaw Pact nations spinning away into freedom and autonomy, the largest fire sale in history was underway. Canny operators, such as George Soros instantly saw an opportunity, moving quickly into the economic and diplomatic vacuum with such aplomb that he overnight became a powerful figure among the ruins.

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All the United States had to do was be magnanimous in victory. The Germans under Helmut Kohl had already provided a model; Germany was reunited less than a year after the Wall fell and the East German government crumbled. Kohl's boldest decision was to exchange the worthless Ostmark (East mark) for the sound Deutsche mark at a one-for-one rate. While this was expensive for the West Germans, it turned out to be well worth it. There was little or no lingering resentment about the ways things had turned out, and while the Ossis were regarded as poorly dressed bumpkins, there was no trouble.

Magnanimity, however, proved too heavy a lift for the clueless and vengeful George Herbert Walker Bush administration. Widely seen in European capitals at the time as a "safe pair of hands" Bush I immediately squandered the greatest economic, diplomatic and intelligence community success of the modern era. The one-time Director of Central Intelligence could not or would not grasp that the game had changed, that Russia no longer had to be a mortal enemy of capitalism and the West, and that the overthrow of communism would usher in a prolonged period both of disruption and revanchism that could have been properly managed without triumphalism.

Your Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, always wrong.

But the U.S. did... nothing. As Soros knew instinctively, all of eastern Europe and western Russia was now up for grabs. I can attest to the bewilderment and anger of friends and acquaintances in Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere at the silence radiating from Washington at the time. 

Rather than extending the hand of friendship to the defeated but still proud Russians and the other "captive peoples," succeeding administrations under Clinton and Bush II added insult to injury by bringing the Central and Eastern European countries into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) starting in 1999—a deliberate provocation and a world-historical blunder of epic proportions matched only by George W. Bush's incomprehensible invasion of Iraq after 9/11. 

Meanwhile, post-Gorbachev, Russia descended into a gangster-driven oligarchy under the drunken Boris Yeltsin. I left the collapsing U.S.S.R. for the last time during the summer of 1991, just before the coup attempt against Gorbachev, and already the gangsters (Armenian, Georgian, Jewish, Azerbaijani—everybody but the Slavs) had the run of the place. The Americans who were preaching the virtues of capitalism in a land that had only known empty shelves for 70 years were regarded as thieves out to fleece Russia (and many of them were), but regulated capitalism wasn't going to cut it at a time when it was every man for himself. "Joint venture" was one English phrase that every Russian knew, and Swiss bank accounts were the place to be. It took the firm, bloody hand of Vladimir Putin to restore some semblance of order.

And so the opportunity was lost to turn Russia from an enemy to, if not a friend, at least an adversary with whom we could live and do business. America does have an enemy today, but it's China, not Russia.

Putin, who was a KGB operative based in Dresden during my time in the former DDR (among the Stasi, he had a reputation for ruthlessness and cunning even back then), is not the kind of man into whose eyes you can look and see his soul. The moody Slavic temperament is very poorly understood by sunny Americans, alternating between pride and despair, all laced with centuries of grievance against a West it both passionately wants to belong to and equally passionately wants to reject.

No American has ever had the experience of watching his country vanish before his eyes, and those who think that Putin operates by the same set of "values" as the international atheists who currently populate the upper reaches of the American government, foreign-policy establishment, and bureaucracy have never met a Russian, read a single word of Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy, or heard a note of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, based on Pushkin. As Aristotle intimates in the Poetics, culture and politics are the same thing, and it's only Americans who don't seem to be able to understand that. 

The current American fixation on "diversity" (itself the partial result of decades of KGB meddling in the civil-rights movement and inflaming black sensibilities) has no purchase in the rest of the world, which regards it as inexplicable and the very antithesis of social cohesion and the nation-state. The last thing the Ukrainians want right now is diversity: they want a Ukraine for Ukrainians. Meanwhile, for the Russians, the notion of admitting the Ukraine to NATO has proven to be the last straw; the closest American analogy might be turning Texas into an "independent" extension of Mexican hegemony in the southwest. The differences are irreconcilable. 

Bush II's second inaugural address has proven to be spectacularly wrong in its central observations, a woolly wish list of platitudes and bromides that has only worsened America's position on the global stage. After all, a country that doesn't try very hard to maintain its cultural and territorial integrity isn't much of a country and certainly won't last very long. 

We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. 

As the war in the breadbasket of Europe rages on, freedom is only secondarily the issue now. It's the hunger in the dark places that we have to worry about. “The state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state," wrote the Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant in 1795the natural state is one of war." Just 123 years after Kant wrote those words, once-formidable Prussia disappeared from the map. Putin is determined not to let that happen to the Russia of his imagination, the Russia of Peter the Great and of Tsar Alexander I, who saved the Motherland from the existential threat of Napoleon. He may not succeed, but he's willing to die trying—and to kill as many people in the process as he has to.

Canada: Fascist or Communist?

The lifting of the Emergencies Act is an enormous relief to all liberty-loving Canadians, but the fact that it could have been invoked on demonstrably flimsy grounds—for a peaceful protest in which no violence or property damage occurred—demonstrates the lawless lengths the Justin Trudeau government will go to secure total power. Perhaps the Act was a test to gauge the reaction of Canadians, many of whom accepted it supinely. Perhaps it was withdrawn because it appeared set to be revoked by the Senate. According to No More Lockdowns Canada, the reason may have had something to do with “an abrupt loss of institutional confidence in the banking system.”

Whatever the case, the willingness to suspend peaceful citizens’ liberties so harshly demonstrates the autocratic impulses of the ruling party. In innumerable articles, blogs and podcasts I’ve consulted over the last few turbulent weeks, the government has been variously described as fascist or communist. The terms are used interchangeably. An acquaintance recently asked which would be the proper designation.

The red queen.

As Mussolini wrote in The Doctrine of Fascism, “The Fascist State lays claim to rule in the economic field no less than in others; it makes its action felt throughout the length and breadth of the country by means of its corporate, social, and educational institutions.” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s recent directives under the Emergencies Act were wholly fascist in nature, to wit: 

First: we are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules so that they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use. These changes cover all forms of transactions, including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies. Second: the government is issuing an order with immediate effect, under the Emergencies Act, authorizing Canadian financial institutions to temporarily cease providing financial services where the institution suspects that an account is being used to further the illegal blockades and occupations.

Obviously, the freezing of bank accounts would proceed without a court order. The corporations and financial and social institutions seem eager to comply. The definition of “illegal,” of course, is moot, a tyrannical expedient.

Canada has also adopted the top-down, social credit and contact tracing system practiced by Communist China, a country it is rapidly coming to resemble. Justin Trudeau made no secret of his admiration for the Chinese “basic dictatorship”: “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.” Indeed, Trudeau invited the Chinese military to train in Canada. (The site chosen for cold-weather maneuvers was Petawawa, Ontario.) Fascist Venezuela and communist Cuba are also major influences and templates. 

Which is it, then, fascist or communist? The answer is both, for the distinction is fundamentally irrelevant. Both are totalitarian entities, defined as systems of government that are centralized and autocratic and that demand total subservience to the state—hence “totalitarian.” Jonah Goldberg made the point eloquently in his Liberal Fascism. There is no paradox. As Paul Gottfried writes in Fascism: The Career of a Concept, “Totalitarianism is defined as a twentieth-century problem that is illustrated most dramatically by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia…Hitler and Stalin were not ideological opposites but similar dangers to human freedom.”

Besties.

If there is a difference between the two totalitarian ideologies, it pertains to the relation between state and corporation: the communist system is a sealed unit in which state and corporation are one and the same; the fascist system uses the corporation as a semi-independent institution to be manipulated and controlled. Between one and the other falls the shadow of not much.

The issue of whether Canada in its current manifestation is fascist or communist is therefore immaterial. It is both, owing to the habitual governing practice of the Trudeaus. Invoking the War Measures Act to deal with national emergencies that are not national emergencies seems to run in the Trudeau family. During the 1970 “October Crisis,” Trudeau père applied the measure to disable, as Nationalist Passions puts it, “an informal group, organized in small, autonomous cells [that] had no more than thirty-five members.” In 2022, Trudeau fils invoked the successor Emergencies Act to crush a peaceful trucker convoy protest and shut down banking privileges of both protestors and those who contributed to the trucker fund, retroactively made illegal. 

“Getting rid of troublemakers en masse,” Gottlieb writes, “would help to advance the common project imposed by the leader,” consisting of control over the economy and public life, “a monopoly over all forms of communication” (Cf. Bill C-10), and the crushing of political dissent and fractious minorities. Sound familiar? What we are witnessing is a dynasty on the make and a country on the skids.

Père Pierre?

The Emergencies Act may have ben revoked, but the federal Covid mandates and restrictions, which the Freedom Convoy originally protested, are still on the books. Moreover, the truckers have lost their licences and operating insurance and many have lost their rigs. Their livelihoods have been destroyed. Some continue to languish in jail without bail. These are the wages of a peaceful protest that broke no laws, despite the misinformation and disinformation that is Justin Trudeau’s stock-in-trade.

We should not, then, be distracted by irrelevant distinctions and scholarly niceties. Whether the government is fascist or communist is moot. Under the current administration, a working coalition between two far-left parties, the Liberals and the enclitic NDP, Canada bears all the hallmarks of a repressive, oligopolist state that is laboring to permanently entrench itself. The Trudeaus have seen to that. Canadians have elected them on multiple occasions and, with the exception of those whose minds have not dimmed—a minority, be it said—Canadians have reaped the country they deserve. Mutatis mutandis, we now live under the boot of a communofascist regime and, barring some unforeseen change, we will all suffer for it.

THE COLUMN: Sic Semper Tyrannis

On this, the second anniversary of The-Pipeline.org, we present the first of a series of weekly columns that will appear each Monday morning. Everything on the table, nothing off the table. mw

And so we near the end of the Great Pandemic Hoax of 2019-22, an unprecedented and breathtaking power grab by governments around the world to seize powers far beyond their constitutional allotments and to transform a relatively minor flu virus — however originated and for what ill purposes — into a weapon of mass economic and emotional destruction whose effects will be felt for years and decades to come. It has been a textbook example of tyranny.

Consider it a warning shot, though, because while Covid may finally have been exposed for the non-apocalyptic event it always was, such tyranny is only the beginning until we put a stop to it. Put a stop to extra-legal "emergency" measures that are transparently and insultingly fraudulent, and which are invoked in the name of the "greater good." Put a stop to the notion of judicially sanctioned "protected classes" in a formerly classless society. Put to stop the notion of a "New Normal" of privation, deviancy, and spiritual and material penury imposed by Leftists as they continue their centuries-old task of undermining every tenet of Western Civilization in the name of "equity" — in a world in which equality is aspirational at best and equity is impossible.

And, once and for all, put paid to the notion that "when you've got your health you've got everything,"  the motto of a nation of neurotic hypochondriacs that is fundamentally at odds with every principle of the moral and socially productive life. For under this seemingly anodyne contention lies a wealth of mischief, chief among them the idea that your fellow citizens pose an existential threat to you by their refusal to conform, and thus can and should be restricted, incarcerated, or even killed as the need arises. And all in the name of Socialism, whether National or international.

Nicolae and Elena in happier times.

As we've seen via a recent study by the Johns Hopkin University (a study of studies, really), the lockdowns imposed by states, countries, and municipalities everywhere in the name of "mitigating" the spread of an illness with a 99 percent survival rate in the name of public health were completely ineffective.

Far better to have done nothing at all; instead, families were separated, the elderly (those most at risk from the respirational difficulties caused by the likely Chinese-manufactured bioweapon) died alone and often in squalor; weddings and funerals were canceled or held "virtually"; businesses were shuttered and driven into bankruptcy; more than two years of schooling were ripped away from forcibly masked children; and colleges and universities continued their descent into mere parental-money shakedown rackets by offering education-by-Zoom as they continued with their main mission of gobbling up real estate to take it off the tax rolls and fatten their endowments.

And the only people held responsible for this sanctioned crime wave were... you. You, the uncooperative, the recalcitrant, the deplorable. You, the anti-social, the rebellious, the individualists, the fighters, the darers, the doers. You, the people who founded this country in defiance of central authority and rule-by-pronunciamento, you who pledge allegiance not to a political party or a strong leader, but to a flag and to the country for which it stands. One nation, under a God whom the other side has no use for, but only contempt. Just as they do for you.

It's become axiomatic that inside every leftist is a totalitarian screaming to get out. So if there's one positive thing Covid has done is identify those people for all to see: the slave-muzzle wearers, proudly exhibiting their servile natures. They're the Karens, the mask nazis, the buttinskis who can't leave you or your family alone, the ones who screech at the sight of the unmasked like Donald Sutherland ratting out a real human being at the end of the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers:

These are the same people who want to force you into electric cars but not provide a reliable source of electricity for them. Who wish to destroy the energy industries that built our nation, and leave you freezing or sweltering in the dark. Who condone and even encourage mass looting of shops, the murder of small Asian women waiting for a subway train, the shooting of policemen by the underclass, and the flouting of nearly every law of civilized behavior on the streets in the name of "social justice." And these are the people who, under the rubric of "climate change" and "the Great Reset," want to strip you of your home, your cars, your livelihood and, eventually, your life. No matter which office they hold, high or low or none at all, these people are your enemies and should be treated accordingly.

Make no mistake: Covid was only a beta-test, one that a submissive population passed with flying colors. Instantly repealed, without all that pesky business about amending the Constitution, were the first, fourth, fifth, and the eighth articles of the Bill of Rights. (The ninth and tenth, of course, have long since been rendered null, void, and nugatory. You remember them, the ones that reserve all unenumerated rights not mentioned in the Constitution to the people and the states.) This is why former president Barack Obama infamously referred to our founding document as a "charter of negative liberties." Which is precisely what the Founders desired.

Read 'em and weep.

Ah, but "affirmative" rights sound so much better. Like FDR's Four Freedoms:  what could possibly go wrong with having government affirmatively promise you freedom of speech (already guaranteed by the first amendment), freedom of worship (ditto), freedom from want and freedom from fear. While they were never legislated formally, the first two were superfluous — and have in any case been repealed by Covid — and the latter two have been implemented by stealth under the false flags of "compassion" and "safety."

Affirmative rights, however, are essentially fascistic; your "safety" and material security, in the zero-sum mindsets of governments everywhere, come at the expense of someone else. Feminized guarantees of "safety" and "security" were standard fare in every European communist country until its collapse between 1989 and 1991, It's instructive to note that those are the same terms in which censorious social-media sites such as Twitter (from which I was "permanently banned" in August 2020 for unspecified "targeted harassment") and Facebook (in whose Sugarmountain Gulag I am currently spending another two weeks for "hate speech," which is Zuckerspeak for disparagement) couch their own "rules" and "community standards." The sooner both are destroyed, the better and freer everybody will be.

For when the preference cascade begins, punks, tyrants and dictators need to watch their backs as the real workers of the world unite. I spent the years between 1985 and 1991 shuttling in and out of East Germany and the Soviet Union, was in Berlin as the Wall was being torn down, and departed from Moscow just before the coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in the summer of '91. (The Soviet Union folded four months later.) I stood on Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest with Hungarian friends in late 1989, looking east over the Danube, as they expressed their fears of an imminent invasion from Romanian troops. Hope was in the air — the Wall had just fallen — but uncertainty still ruled. Would the useless George H.W. Bush administration come to their aid? Or, once again, would the fascist-communist tanks roll?

Instead, a miracle happened: the people, united, were not to be defeated.

On Dec. 21, 1989, the old dictator went to the well once too often, and called a rally he couldn't control. As the people's voices rose against him (if the Romanians had had trucks, they would have used them), his voice broke, his expression changed from confidence to befuddlement, the television transmission stopped, and he was whisked away. A rebellion that had started with a lone priest in the ethnically Hungarian town of Timișoara spread eastward across the country to Bucharest. The next day, the evil pair tried to escape by helicopter, but by then the army had switched sides. Ceaușescu and his wife were arrested, tried, and summarily executed.

What's the old saying?

Oh yes: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Partiya Lenina, Sila Narodnaya!

The Biden-Harris regime’s embattled nominee to oversee the banking system is a dishonest small-c communist who aspires to nationalize Americans’ bank accounts, crush the energy sector, and deindustrialize the world’s largest economy by creating a mammoth new bureaucracy to implement aspects of both the Green New Deal and the Great Reset. What could possibly go wrong?

She's not alone. Plenty of Democrats share Comptroller of the Currency nominee Saule Tarikhovna Omarova’s view that the economy is a plaything to be manipulated for political ends.

Fortunately for your wallet, five of the more survival-savvy Democrats –including Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Mark Warner of Virginia— are reportedly defecting from Comrade Omarova’s camp, so it seems unlikely she will survive the confirmation process. Republicans have also vigorously criticized her nomination and the regime is fighting back.

Of course, anonymous comments fed to friendly reporters are often the best way to disseminate smears. In that vein, Bloomberg News reported that an unidentified “White House official said the attacks on Omarova, a Cornell law professor who has been sharply critical of big banks and cryptocurrencies, were so unfair that they smacked of the red-baiting smears leveled by Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s.” Except McCarthy was right, though that is a discussion for another day.

Even if the nomination craters, these retrograde Soviet-era policies will live on because they enjoy significant support in Democrat circles, academia, and in the halls of government.

Omarova shares the Leftist regime’s antipathy to American energy independence and said she wants the coal, oil, and natural gas industries to die. “A lot of the smaller players in that industry are going to probably go bankrupt in short order – at least we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change,” she said.

The White House formally sent the nomination to the Senate on Nov. 2 but unveiled the pick two months ago, hyping the demographic boxes she checked – as if her sex and skin color might make her a better commissar. “If confirmed, Omarova will be the first woman and person of color to serve as Comptroller,” the Sept. 23 announcement stated. Omarova was born in Kazakhstan and is a graduate of Moscow State University. A Cornell law professor, she holds a J.D. from Northwestern University in Chicago and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She was also arrested for shoplifting from a T.J. Maxx store in Madison in 1995.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an independent branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, supervises some 1,125 national banks, federal savings associations and federal branches and associations of foreign banks, representing $14.9 trillion in assets, or 65 percent of all U.S. commercial banking assets.

Omarova, 55, claims to be a capitalist –even an anti-communist in her youth— but her recent writings tell a different story. At a Senate confirmation hearing Nov. 18, Omarova portrayed herself in prepared testimony as someone who learned firsthand about the dangers of all-powerful government, saying she grew up “under a totalitarian regime presiding over a failing economy.”

Druzhby Narodnov, Nadyozhny Oplot!

In her charm offensive, Omarova said she was raised by her grandmother “who was orphaned and barely escaped death when, in the 1920s, Stalin sent her entire family to Siberia.” Their crime was “that they were educated Kazakhs who did not join the Party.”

These issues are deeply personal to me. Having grown up in an oppressive state-run system, with no free enterprise and no economic opportunity for people like me, I have a unique appreciation for our dynamic and diverse markets. It is what made my life and success possible, and for that I am forever grateful. Every American family should have the same opportunities that my family has had.

Despite giving lip service to freedom, Omarova supports the abolition of deposit-based banking and imposing a totalitarian banking architecture that would put private deposits in the hands of the government. Put another way, she supports communism, except perhaps for all the messy murders of people deemed obstacles to progress like her grandmother’s relatives.

In “The People’s Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy,” published in Vanderbilt Law Review in October 2020, Omarova argued for the abolition of the current banking system. “After decades of rising inequality, systemic instability, and relentless concentration of economic power, ordinary Americans are demanding a greater say in the distribution and use of financial resources,” she wrote.

She urged that all bank deposits be transferred into “FedAccounts” at the Federal Reserve, a move that would kill off banks funded by deposits. “The Fed’s entire balance sheet should be redesigned to operate as … the ‘People’s Ledger’: the ultimate public platform for both modulating and allocating the flow of sovereign credit and money in the national economy.”

In a draft paper published in July, “The ‘Franchise’ View of the Corporation: Purpose, Personality, Public Policy,” Omarova proposed that corporate charters be issued subject to pledges from the companies that they serve government-approved purposes. This is needed to curb “serious societal harms caused by contemporary corporations’ pursuit of their perfectly lawful business activities—rising inequality, exploitative labor practices, environmental degradation, erosion of democratic process, to name a few…”

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Not willing to allow a crisis to go to waste, Omarova also urged in an August 2020 white paper titled “The Climate Case for a National Investment Authority,” that the “economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic” be used for “a speedy and deliberate move to a massive infrastructure-led rebuilding and ‘greening’ of the U.S. economy.” Such an authority would pursue “the long-term goals of sustainability and decarbonization.” This is the essence of the so-called Great Reset being proposed by the Davos elite led by Klaus Schwab and others.

The Green New Deal movement “has successfully propelled this programmatic vision of an environmentally clean, just, and equitable future to the top of the national policy agenda. The Democratic Party is responding to this enthusiasm accordingly.” Omarova has also proposed the creation of a multi-trillion-dollar National Investment Authority (NIA), “a public entity that would design, execute, and finance a comprehensive nationwide program of environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive growth and revival.”

Drawing on the experience of the New Deal era’s logrolling, hopelessly corrupt Reconstruction Finance Corporation that the Eisenhower administration wisely dismantled, the NIA, she wrote, “offers a novel institutional solution to multiple organizational, financial, and operational challenges associated with an ambitious national project to combat climate change." The United States, she wrote, needs “to shoulder its share of the decarbonization load”:

Estimates of the amount of global investment in clean energy required to meet climate targets between now and 2050 range from about $1 trillion to over $3 trillion annually. The NIA will step into this gap and use innovative financing tools to mobilize and boost the flow of public and private capital into socially beneficial ‘green’ infrastructures.

So much for Omarova’s claimed “deeply personal” commitment to free enterprise and economic opportunity. Actions speak louder than words, so cue the marching bands:

Enemies of the People: AOC

Eyes Wide Shut

I read a report in the Wall Street Journal in April about a Tesla car crashing into a tree in Texas, killing the two occupants. Sadly, fatal car accidents are all too common. Striking however was the reported time of four hours that it took emergency crews to finally put out the fire that engulfed the car. Apparently, the batteries used in the car are hard to extinguish once ablaze; or at least they keep on reigniting after the job is seemingly done. The car was also equipped with so-called ‘Autopilot’ and, reportedly, neither of the occupants was behind the wheel at the time of the crash. Now, to be fair to Tesla, Autopilot does not quite mean autonomous; it is just a step on the way.

There is a lot of hype about autonomous vehicles. No doubt they will have their place in well-contained situations. Australian mining companies lead the way in using them on-site to shift material from one spot to another. There are trials afoot, including on dedicated lanes on public highways across North America and Europe. Imagine. Millions of cars and heavy trucks tearing down highways, through towns and suburban streets without drivers. What could possibly go wrong?

Call me a techno-skeptic. I can’t see anyone being clever enough to devise a system to safely control millions of speeding intersecting vehicles while orchestrating appropriate responses to untoward situations. To wit, avoiding or not avoiding, and how, that dog wandering into the road. And I’m still trying to figure out how motorcycles and push bikes fit in.

Fahrvergnügen?

Of course, there’s always artificial intelligence (AI) to come to the rescue. Nothing is beyond AI apparently. Elon Musk himself, along with other far-sighted people, including the late Stephen Hawking, is on record as believing that it might even subdue us and take over the world. Self-driving cars would be a doddle. However, I remain unconvinced.

In any case, it doesn’t matter because autonomous vehicles, so far as I can tell, will live or die in the marketplace. It a question of whether lots of people who like driving will take to them. Whether bolder trials will end in too many crashes for comfort. Whether algorithms can ever be devised to replace human judgement in handling the myriad of different, and subtly different, situations arising on the road. That story will eventually be told by technology and market forces acting together.

Electric cars belong to a different storyline altogether. Their development is inorganic. It’s artificial. It can’t be quelled by antibodies -- in this case by economic realities. Bad things can happen and will go unpunished.

Pound for pound, electric cars are more expensive to make than are petrol or diesel cars. They are heavier and impart more kinetic energy when they crash; they create a bigger fire hazard. They will require massive amounts of electricity overnight when the sun isn’t shining and the wind is often still. They depend on the extraction of rare earths which, by all accounts, is a dirty business for the environment and which increases dependency on communist China, the overwhelmingly dominant producer. They require massively expensive, power draining, ubiquitous roadside charging infrastructure. Then there’s the challenge of disposing, year after year, of millions upon millions of toxic defunct batteries.

And, pray tell, what to do during those extreme-weather events (threatened by John Kerry et al as the doleful wages of anthropogenic climate change) when a community’s electricity supply has been snuffed out by one of those weather events and families whose cars have flat batteries are advised to flee the area? Back to horses?

Make hay while the sun shines, comrade.

To reiterate, none of this would matter a jot, if governments were not forcing the issue and taxpayers were not picking up the tab and thus hiding the costs and damage that would ordinarily be revealed and quickly punished by the marketplace. At this stage only about 0.5 percent of vehicles on the road are electric and most of those are hybrids. That leaves just about ninety-ninety percent to go. There is no way of knowing how far-reaching and irreparably damaging making such a wholesale changeover will be. And, if that’s an unknown, put it together with growing dependency on electricity generated by wind and solar. Unknown unknowns.

No one has this secret knowledge of the future. Nor do markets. But markets, ever alert, tend to weed out bad ideas not too long after they germinate. In other words, we seldom find out how bad things could get. The marvel of markets is that we don’t have to think too hard about what to produce and how to produce it. That’s a good job, because we don’t have sufficient knowledge. It’s a pretence of knowledge, as Hayek put it, to think that we do.

Communism is built on a pretence of knowledge. The means and makeup of production are directed from above. That things turn out badly is no surprise.

Proud papa of the Trabant.

The response of western governments to ‘climate change’ is essentially taken from the communist playbook. Transport and energy are at the core of modern economies. Determining how they will evolve by government edict is not fiddling around the edges. It is bound to end in tears. And those tears will inevitably go beyond economics to every facet of life.

It’s hard to imagine, if it were not happening. The ways of fuelling transport and generating electricity being foisted on us would never have powered the industrial revolutions which have led to today’s prosperity. And, to make matters worse, if that is at all possible, none of it will cool the planet.

When 'Inclusive' Capitalism Becomes Socialism

Capitalism is not the answer to human suffering. At the same time, it is the only economic system which allows individual freedom to flourish; it produces unrivalled prosperity; and, as Michael Novak perceptively says in the 1991 edition of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, “it is the most practical hope of the world’s poor: no magic wand, but the best hope.”

Not content, some very rich people, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope, among others, want capitalism to do more. Enter “inclusive capitalism” and its more recent stablemate “stakeholder capitalism.”

It was May 2014. A conference called “Making Capitalism More Inclusive” was held in London. Inclusive capitalism is a concept developed in 2012 by the Henry Jackson Society - a British think tank of classical-liberal persuasion. It started well enough with the principal objective being to engender more ethical behaviour in business practices. The excesses surrounding the recession of 2009/10 were fresh in mind. Unfortunately, it has gone rapidly downhill since.

The aforementioned conference was opened by Prince Charles and featured Bill Clinton, Christine Lagarde, Mark Carney and Lawrence Summers. Hardly a conservative or classical liberal in sight. Three conferences have followed: in London in June 2015, in New York in October 2016 and back in London in March 2018. Presumably, Covid has prevented holding a more recent conference. No matter. Those behind inclusive capitalism co-opted the Pope to keep the pot simmering.

Money makes the world go 'round.

As the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) puts it, Pope Francis has become the “moral guide to inclusive capitalism.” ‘The Council for Inclusive Capitalism (the Council), with the Vatican onboard, was launched on December 8 last year. Earlier in the year, in May, The Great Reset was unveiled at Davos. “Stakeholder capitalism” became the watchword; encompassing the same grand idea as inclusive capitalism.

So, to my theme: What’s it all about or, in other words, what do ‘they’ want; and why is the whole thing a crock or, more politely, misconceived?

This is Mark Carney, the then Governor of the Bank of England, at the 2014 conference to which I referred: “Inclusive capitalism is fundamentally about delivering a basic social contract comprised of relative equality of outcomes, equality of opportunity, and fairness across generations.” Hard to believe coming from a central banker? He’s Canadian.

This is easier to believe. Justin Welby, participating in the 2015 conference, outlining his aspirations for capitalism: “A generosity of spirit that doesn’t always seek the greatest return…that meets the needs of the poor and the excluded and the suffering.”

To add waffle to waffle, the Council’s mission is to “harness the private sector to create a more inclusive, sustainable and trusted economic system.” Understandably, sustainability is featured. After all, the Pope urges us to listen to “the cry of the earth.” Hmm? Smacking too much of paganism? Perish the thought.

Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, expanded on the term stakeholder capitalism in February this year. He identified two primary stakeholders. One is the planet (no, not kidding); the other is everyone, wherever they live. The respective wellbeing of both stakeholders is the objective. Though, Schwab notes, “people are social animals and their absolute well-being is less important than their relative well-being.” Got that. You and your neighbour each having ten dollars is better than him having fifteen and you only twelve.

How the idea of levelling down translates to those participating at Davos and at inclusive capitalism forums is beyond me. Note this description in UCA News of those calling the shots at inclusive capitalism: “a group of individuals and institutions with more than $10.5 trillion in assets and companies with a combined market capitalization of more than $2 trillion.” They are the woke big end of town. A race apart from the small and medium-sized businesses which make up the bulk of market economies. Their self-appointed mission: to rescue the world by reimagining capitalism.

They are discomforted by the prevailing state of affairs. They want a world within which all existing species survive and thrive, the oceans cease rising, the earth cools and each and every person everywhere enjoys a liveable income and state of the art medical attention.

Leaving aside a slight qualm I have about the earth cooling; the aims are fine. I sometimes daydream about winning a lottery. That fantasy is fine too. To take saving the poor and saving planet earth in turn.

Capitalism makes much of the world prosperous. Part of that is entrepreneurs and businesses striving to earn profits by vigorously competing with each other. Part is prices guiding resources into their best commercial use while informing and rationing demand. Part is not ensuring fair outcomes. Capitalism cannot be moulded into a generous outreach to the poor and disadvantaged. It simply won’t work. It is an idea contradictory at its core.

It's easy if you try. Scary, too.

As for lifting those in poor countries out of poverty, how about advising them to adopt Judeo-Christian institutions and values; the institutions and values that have underpinned economic progress in western countries and in other countries which have tried them. Call them what you like, of course, to make them universally palatable.

I will guess. That advice will never come out of Davos or the Council. Yet, when all is said and done, parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, property rights, free speech and freedom from fear, the absence of systematic nepotism, cronyism and corruption and, vitally, mutual trust, tell the tale of progress; not pie-in-the-sky reimagining of capitalism.

From the unattainable to the unachievable describes the segue from saving the poor to saving the planet. Here’s a thought. What is the ideal state of the planet? Roaming ruminants, sans people, perhaps. Short of that green-dream nirvana wouldn’t it be nice, for example, to get CO2 down to pre-industrial levels? Or would it?

A friend of mine, Ivan Kennedy, emeritus professor of agriculture at Sydney University, tells me that we are now effectively addicted to higher levels of CO2. He estimates that if CO2 were to return to pre-industrial levels it would reduce the photosynthesis of cereal crops by more than 20 percent. This would likely cause famine, malnutrition and death, particularly among the world’s poorest. Something on which the Pope and Archbishop might cogitate.

WHO Done It?

To say that the World Health Organization badly mishandled the Covid-19 outbreak right from the outset might be the understatement of the century. In the early months of the crisis, as the virus was spreading throughout Wuhan and then China, the WHO consistently downplayed what was happening, praised China for its effective response, declined (at Beijing's behest) to declare a health emergency, and generally repeated CCP talking points about what was actually going on.

This while their inspectors were being denied access to Wuhan itself, to the wet market where the virus apparently first infected humans, and then to patients who were suffering from the virus.

The global response to the virus has been hysterical, but had the WHO not bent over backwards to minimize what was happening in China -- the New York Times reports that every word of the WHO's initial report on the crisis had to be approved by the CCP -- perhaps Covid could have been contained.

The WHO doesn't want this to become the commonly accepted narrative. If it is, taxpayers around the world might begin asking their governments why they contribute to the organization's $4.4 billion annual budget when it clearly only has the interests of one particular country at heart. So, they obfuscate and misdirect.

For the latest example of this, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus -- who is not a doctor -- has released a video statement for this past weekend's International Day of Epidemic Preparedness saying that the present pandemic should remind us how important it is to get ahead of the next public health emergency. He was referring, of course, to climate change.

Here's what the Director-General said:

The pandemic has highlighted the intimate links between the health of humans, animals, and planet... Any efforts to improve human health are doomed unless they address the critical interface between humans and animals, and the existential threat of climate change, that is making our earth less habitable.... [T]his will not be the last pandemic... but with investments in public health, supported by an all-of-government, all-of-society, One Health approach, we can ensure that our children and their children inherit a safer, more resilient, and more sustainable world.

His point in favor of a collectivist approach to such problems is strange since it was his globalist organization working in concert with a communist country with imperial pretentions which caused the crisis in the first place. But the reference to climate change and a "more sustainable world" is meant to distract from the incoherence. This is an appeal to virtue signalers worldwide. How can they stay mad at a man who is so clearly on their side?

Not that the country for which the WHO consistently carries water is known for its environmentalist friendly policies, but liberals pride themselves on embodying F. Scott Fitzgerald's maxim that the mark of "a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time." By that measure, they're off the charts.

You Knew This Was Coming

As we've been saying from the jump, the "global warming" crew adores the Covid-19 manufactured "crisis," primarily because power-mad authorities were able to take an event with only slightly more reality than imminent beachfront property in Nevada and turn it into a full-fledged, economy- and social-trust-destroying assault on the world. If all it took was the flu, for crying out loud, they must be thinking, why didn't we think of something that simple?

The end of the world is already taken, but what about " scientists say it's the end of the world"? And that to appease the angry Climate Gods, we must take the advances the Wuhan virus has brought us and expand upon them?

If global warming is to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as recommended by the Paris Agreement, scientists say efforts to reverse economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic must include climate policy measures, according to a [recent]  study.

COVID-19 has killed several hundred thousand people and sickened millions more, but the lockdowns necessitated by the crisis have had a positive effect on air quality. Research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, however, suggests the pandemic's silver lining is unlikely to last should the world economy's return to business as usual.

Nothing like a "silver lining" to death and economic destruction, I guess. but at least the air quality is better! A small price to pay!

But wait -- the real treat is yet to come:

Even if global lockdowns were extended through the end of the year, without significant economic reforms, the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved during the pandemic will amount to infinitesimal reduction in global warming.

And you know what that means...

"Our paper shows that the actual effect of lockdown on the climate is small," study co-author Harriet Forster said in a news release. "The important thing to recognize is that we've been given a massive opportunity to boost the economy by investing in green industries -- and this can make a huge difference to our future climate," said Forster, who recently graduated from the University of Leeds in Britain.

Because the behavioral shifts triggered by pandemic and resulting economic downturn are temporary, researchers suggest the momentary reduction in emissions will have a minimal impact on climate change. Still, the authors suggest the pandemic has provided global governments a unique opportunity to address climate change long-term.

Researchers suggest that while the pandemic's effects on the climate are temporary, they have offered a glimpse of the progress that could be made with permanent structural reforms.

And you really know what that means:

They never stop, they never sleep, and -- even after their entire economic and political system has collapsed -- they never quit trying to destroy ours as well.