Monday, 30 June 2008
Here is a column by one of global warming’s true believers. Note the ungodly mix of dogmatism, condescenscion, and scientism.
“Why are you stealing food?
“I was just, uh, noticing that you’re out of salami. I think you oughtta have somebody go over to the delicatessen, you know, bring some more back.
“Gee, well, you know, it’s free. You don’t have to steal it.
“Well, if it’s free, then I ain’t stealin’.”
Patriotism is not some fuzzy feeling about one’s country or its flag, although it may involve those things. It’s a form of partialism, no different in principle from the partiality that one owes to one’s family, friends, neighbors, co-religionists, or colleagues. The opposite of patriotism is cosmopolitanism, which is a form of impartialism. Cosmopolitanism holds that there is no morally relevant difference between one’s compatriots and others. Duties are owed to individuals as such, not to individuals as fellow citizens. I’ve been paying close attention to Barack Obama for several months. I’m not convinced that he’s a patriot. In fact, there is ample evidence that he is a cosmopolitan. Think long and hard before voting for someone who believes there is nothing special about being an American.
Gee. I wonder why Professor Stone didn’t mention “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Does he like only some constitutional amendments? Would the president’s “civil-liberties adviser” pick and choose in this way? How would such selective enforcement be prevented? (Yes, this is the same Geoffrey Stone who tried to explain the partial-birth abortion decision in Gonzales v. Carhart by pointing out—I am not making this up—that the five justices in the majority are Catholic. See here for a smackdown by lawyer-journalist Jan Crawford Greenburg. See here for my own smackdown.)
Here is a scene from yesterday’s rain-soaked final stage of the Tour of Pennsylvania. The Tour de France begins in five days.
To the Editor:
Re “The New Trophy Home, Small and Ecological” (front page, June 22):
As the voice of the nation’s housing industry, the National Association of Home Builders is delighted that the subject of tankless water heaters has moved into the realm of cocktail-party banter. The more consumers learn about green techniques and materials, the more discerning they become.
Expensive, designer green homes won’t solve our nation’s energy crisis. A certification checklist “more daunting than a private-school application” means money not spent to upgrade the furnace or add more insulation.
Durable, sustainable and energy-efficient homes come in all price ranges through the N.A.H.B. National Green Building Program. It’s true that many costly, inefficient requirements are being “woven into building codes” across the country—as the nation undergoes the worst housing finance crisis in decades.
Voluntary programs that pay attention to cost-effectiveness will make green homes affordable to buyers of more modest means.
Sandra J. Dunn
National Association of Home Builders
Washington, June 24, 2008
The philosopher, like God, creates universes and destroys them.
(M. P. Golding, “Towards a Theory of Human Rights,” The Monist 52 [October 1968]: 521-49, at 525)
My adopted Texas Rangers are in New York for three games with the hated Yankees. The first game begins in less than four hours. I’m tingling with excitement. I can’t wait for Josh Hamilton to hit the first of his two mammoth home runs. I can’t wait for Choke-Rod to strike out three times and leave six runners on base. I can’t wait for Mike Mussina to get knocked out of the game in the third inning. I can’t wait for the ass-kicking to begin!
Addendum: And it has begun! Rangers win, 2-1. There is no better feeling in the world than watching the vile Yankee fans go home unhappy. As for Choke-Rod, he lived up to his name.
Sunday, 29 June 2008
To cynical observers of the Washington scene, all this must seem absurdly lacking in political realism. George W. Bush’s administration has spurned the Kyoto Protocol, which allows the United States to continue to produce at least four times its per capita share of carbon dioxide. Since 1990 U.S. emission levels have already risen by 14 percent. The half-hearted measures for energy conservation proposed by the Bush administration will, at best, slow that trend. They will not reverse it. So what is the point of discussing proposals that are far less likely to be accepted by the U.S. Government than the Kyoto Protocol?
The aim of this chapter is to help us to see that there is no ethical basis for the present distribution of the atmosphere’s capacity to absorb greenhouse gases without drastic climate change. If the industrialized countries choose to retain this distribution (as the United States does), or to use it as the starting point for a new allocation of the capacity of the global sink (as the countries that accept the Kyoto Protocol do), they are standing simply on their presumed rights as sovereign nations. That claim, and the raw military power these nations yield, makes it impossible for anyone else to impose a more ethically defensible solution on them. If we, as citizens of the industrialized nations, do not understand what would be a fair solution to global warming, then we cannot understand how flagrantly self-serving the position of those opposed to signing even the Kyoto Protocol is. If, on the other hand, we can convey to our fellow citizens a sense of what would be a fair solution to the problem, then it may be possible to change the policies that are now leading the United States to block international cooperation on something that will have an impact on every being on this planet.
(Peter Singer, One World: The Ethics of Globalization, The Terry Lectures [New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002], 49-50 [italics in original])
Note from KBJ: The key word in this passage is “presumed.” Singer may not like it, but the president of the United States is the president of the United States, not the world. His or her job is to promote the interests of this country. This doesn’t mean that the president will never sign treaties; it means that any treaty he or she signs is a means to promoting this country’s interests.