Ridiculous, But Lethal, Lord Ridley Riddled With Holes
Plutocrats are everywhere. Everywhere that matters. You won’t find them in the 99% parts of town they feel are bad, you find them where opinion is molded, the MSM, the Media Sadistic Manipulations. Either they are writing, or, better, controlling the writers.
I always think that I am as cynical as one can get. Yet, I keep on being surprised, as I discover people I thought were honorable, being tightly wound with the worst thinking. I want to share my latest surprise with my readership.
Long ago, I came across a scientifically oriented writer, Matt Ridley. He wrote well. I innocently bought other Ridley’s books. A curious fly innocently exploring a sticky web. However I found Ridley’s science increasingly turning to sophistry, over-complicated (“The Red Queen” hypothesis was presented as key to evolution, something out of “Alice in Wonderland”). And Ridley was cocksure about his very restricted vision of evolution. How could one be so sure to explain so much with so little?
Being cocksure about very little explaining everything, is a feature of the intellectual fascists. It’s basically their definition.
I was always a Lamarckian (just as Darwin himself). I always believed that Lamarckism was too good a mechanism for evolution, for evolution not to have stumbled on it. Although I understood perfectly well the reasoning of Jacques Monod in “La Chance et La Necessite’”, I pushed it to its logical conclusion: natural selection was not just natural selection of genomes, but natural selections of inheritable geometries, and a selection of the selection mechanisms themselves.
So Ridley’s bombastics struck me as the simplistic self-obsession of one who did not know too much, but felt he owned the world (how right would I turn out to be!). I forgot about him. In recent years, it turned out that this vision that genes (sensu stricto) were everything was very far from the whole story.
Now epigenetics, the intelligence of genetics, is established, and just warming up.
Libertarians believe that all government is bad, except for the army. Everything else ought to be bought and sold, somehow that would be fairer, more clever, more efficient, get the animal juices flowing for the best. An extreme libertarian who earns his life well, working for the health industry in the USA, recently tried to persuade me that, if only there were markets, all would be well.
My libertarian friend started to sing the praises of Matt Ridley, who he told me, had demonstrated the superiority of markets, in a book called “The Rational Optimist”. I found that weird. Matt Ridley? Really? Was not just Ridley a zoology student? How did he get into writing a bible libertarians swear by? What a riddle.
Then there was this Wall Street Journal Weekend section, full pages of it. It was entitled:“The World’s Resources Aren’t Running Out.”
The subtitle, and basic reasoning? “Ecologists worry that the world’s resources come in fixed amounts that will run out, but we have broken through such limits again and again.”
For those who know about history, this master idea was beyond absurd. It was counter factual.
For example, we have run out of Tasmanians, down to the very last one. OK, the politically correct Wall Street thinkers would probably point out Tasmanians were not a resource. In any case, historians know that, out of the 99.9% of the 10,000 or so civilizations out there, which have collapsed, most did, either because they had run out of resources, or because a resource collapse had caused a war. that destroyed them.
That was even true of the Mongol Empire, which in turn annihilated several civilizations: after Genghis Khan had domesticated the half dozen Mongol tribes, the resulting population explosion, deprivation of killing each other, threatening dearth of resources, led to an immediate expansion into most of Eurasia (and all of China). (Thanks to new military methods, and superlative training. That only the Franks could resist.)
Once, a Roman emperor from Constantinople visited Rome, for the first time in centuries. Rome was where the Roman empire had originated, and the Roman Senate still convened.
In July 663 CE,Roman emperor Constans II
, including that of the Church of Mary and the Martyrs (as the Pantheon was then called). Copper and bronze was melted to make Greek fire machines, the gold (the roofs were of gilded bronze) to make coins, and lead to make sling pellets. That was part of a desperate attempt to stop the Arabs.
The brute truth is that the Roman Empire ran out of metals. Romans had exhausted their mines. All over. The Roman metal crisis caused both the inflation crisis that started in the late Second Century, and carried over all the way to 663 CE.
A century later, the Franks (Imperium Francorum) would solve that problem by conquering Eastern Europe, which only imperators Caesar and Trajan had the guts and brains to try to invade (Caesar was assassinated on the eve of his departure; Trajan, though reached through Romania all the way to Moldavia, 2C).
The next huge resource crisis was in the Fourteenth Century, when a situation similar to what we have now developed: an exploding population, a resource crisis (no more wood), and an ecological crisis (“Little Ice Age” plus human devastation).
Then, though, Europe knew what to do, what the Franks had done: keep a strong state, adapt the laws, develop new technology. and be ferocious (that, unfortunately also brought war). Being ferocious extended to the death penalty for those settling in regions where forests were supposed to regrow (in mountainous areas, deforestation means losing the soil).
But here was the Wall Street Journal, rewriting history with superficial, not to say superstitious, feel good, blabber:
How many times have you heard that we humans are “using up” the world’s resources, “running out” of oil, “reaching the limits” of the atmosphere’s capacity to cope with pollution or “approaching the carrying capacity” of the land’s ability to support a greater population? The assumption behind all such statements is that there is a fixed amount of stuff-metals, oil, clean air, land-and that we risk exhausting it through our consumption.
But here’s a peculiar feature of human history: We burst through such limits again and again. After all, as a Saudi oil minister once said, the Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stone. Ecologists call this “niche construction”-that people (and indeed some other animals) can create new opportunities for themselves by making their habitats more productive in some way. Agriculture is the classic example of niche construction: We stopped relying on nature’s bounty and substituted an artificial and much larger bounty.
Economists call the same phenomenon innovation. What frustrates them about ecologists is the latter’s tendency to think in terms of static limits. Ecologists can’t seem to see that when whale oil starts to run out, petroleum is discovered, or that when farm yields flatten, fertilizer comes along, or that when glass fiber is invented, demand for copper falls.
That frustration is heartily reciprocated. Ecologists think that economists espouse a sort of superstitious magic called “markets” or “prices” to avoid confronting the reality of limits to growth. The easiest way to raise a cheer in a conference of ecologists is to make a rude joke about economists.”
An “artificial and much larger bounty” in agriculture? Just ask the Irish, who live next door to the ignorant blabbermouth who wrote the preceding. The 1841 census showed that there were 8,175,124 people living in the four provinces of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. The Irish thrived on potatoes. After the potatoes died, from Potato Blight, caused by a fungus Phytophthora infestans, so did the Irish. The population was soon half of what it used to be.
Anyway, who was that ignorant fellow who wrote those idiocies for the Wall Street Journal?
He confessed that:
“I have lived among both tribes. I studied various forms of ecology in an academic setting for seven years and then worked at the Economist magazine for eight years. When I was an ecologist (in the academic sense of the word, not the political one, though I also had antinuclear stickers on my car), I very much espoused the carrying-capacity viewpoint-that there were limits to growth. I nowadays lean to the view that there are no limits because we can invent new ways of doing more with less.”
I, I, I, I. We can invent? We will just ask the Lords overlording in their castles to innovate more with less?
Matt Ridley, because, of course, it is Matt Ridley who had written these mellifluous inanities, and hundreds of similar articles all over (as I found out, to my dismay), pursues:
“This disagreement goes to the heart of many current political issues and explains much about why people disagree about environmental policy. In the climate debate, for example, pessimists see a limit to the atmosphere’s capacity to cope with extra carbon dioxide without rapid warming. So a continuing increase in emissions if economic growth continues will eventually accelerate warming to dangerous rates. But optimists see economic growth leading to technological change that would result in the use of lower-carbon energy. That would allow warming to level off long before it does much harm.”
About eight million people killed a year: that’s what Ridley calls “little harm”. What would be big harm? A tax on hereditary wealth?
Hey Ridley! Ever heard of acid? Half of the new CO2 dumped by humans into the atmosphere, turns into acid presently. It’s true that the atmosphere could globally warm five degrees, and all that would happen is that a few billion people would be under water, but being under acid is something else entirely.
Caviar would not be served on the tables of the great Lords anymore, because sturgeons would have dissolved.
More seriously, accountants are already finding that about half a million people a year are dying from global warming already. Aside from higher winds, higher flooding, widely expected, is indeed occurring. Just this year, precipitations greater than all records were registered in Great Britain and the Balkans. Recent massive flooding in Australia even lowered world sea level (as the water had nowhere to go: there are no rivers in the middle of Australia, where it usually never rains).
Yet Matt Ridley maniacally pursues:
“Until about 10 years ago, it was reasonable to expect that natural gas might run out in a few short decades and oil soon thereafter. If that were to happen, agricultural yields would plummet, and the world would be faced with a stark dilemma: Plow up all the remaining rain forest to grow food, or starve.
But thanks to fracking and the shale revolution, peak oil and gas have been postponed. They will run out one day, but only in the sense that you will run out of Atlantic Ocean one day if you take a rowboat west out of a harbor in Ireland. Just as you are likely to stop rowing long before you bump into Newfoundland, so we may well find cheap substitutes for fossil fuels long before they run out.”
This is wrong in several lethal ways.
First, fossil fuel pollution already kills seven million a year already, and no market will correct that, as this mass smothering is the result of connivance between governments and polluters.
But, obviously, killing people is not a factor for the incomparable Mr. Ridley. It’s just the cost of doing business, apparently.
It is far from clear that fracking shale and other rocks is not augmenting the ecological crisis. Contrarily to what Obama has been saying, if fracking leaks more than 3% methane, it’s worse than coal, as a contributor of the greenhouse effect (there is proof of massive CH4 leakage).
Another problem is that fracking works economically if and only if oil stays above 60 dollars per barrel. The very fact fracking is “profitable” means that we have a terrible problem.
To say that peak oil and gas have been postponed is disinformation. Peak CHEAP oil is passed. That’s all what matters economically. (And it would be way worse if “externalities were accounted, as they ought to be.)
Matt Ridley then go on to explain that we will not run out of anything important that: “The economist and metals dealer Tim Worstall gives the example of tellurium, a key ingredient.” Yes, getting the advice from a plutocrat trading precious metals goes a long way on the path to wisdom.
In plutocracy, plutocrats define wisdom.
Matt Ridley takes his readers for complete idiots: “Or take phosphorus, an element vital to agricultural fertility. The richest phosphate mines, such as on the island of Nauru in the South Pacific, are all but exhausted. Does that mean the world is running out? No: There are extensive lower grade deposits, and if we get desperate, all the phosphorus atoms put into the ground over past centuries still exist, especially in the mud of estuaries. It’s just a matter of concentrating them again.”
If we get desperate, we could just get plenty of little slaves to fetch the phosphorus atoms in the estuaries, with their little fingers. Better: if we got even more desperate, we could use the slaves themselves as fertilizers.
What’s wrong there with Ridley’s asinine logic, is that extracting takes energy. Given enough energy, we can do a lot of things: fly to the closest Super Earth, establish a colony there, crash a million water bearing comets into Mars for warmth and water. We could even use super colliders to fabricate fundamental elements, including phosphorus and tellurium.
Cheap energy is what we are running out of. We are taking between pincers. One pincer is the exhaustion of resources (hence ever more expensive energy, hence fracking, hence coal), the other is the poisoning, acidification, smothering and warming of the planet.
Ridley is an adept of the Big Lie technique:
“In 1972, the ecologist Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University came up with a simple formula. the damage done to Earth increases the more people there are, the richer they get and the more technology they have.
Many ecologists still subscribe to this doctrine, which has attained the status of holy writ in ecology. But the past 40 years haven’t been kind to it. In many respects, greater affluence and new technology have led to less human impact on the planet, not more.”
So, Ridley tells us, implicitly, the increasing acidity, warming and rising of the oceans, the increasing mercury in the fish, the nearly ten millions killed by fossil fuels, each year, are not happening.
Where does Matt Ridley belongs to? The mental asylum? Make it more rather like jail.
Indeed, who is Matt Ridley?
Matt Ridley is not a nice guy. He just plays on TV, and TED, for millions of adoring fans. Matt Ridley is not just a student in zoology. Matt Ridley is not just a guy with many best sellers below his belt. Matt Ridley is not just a guy who can employ guys to write books for him. He just has to make the right phone call. To a number of servants.
Matt Ridley is a Lord.
And not a small, garden variety one.
Matthew White Ridley, 5th Viscount Ridley, Deputy Lieutenant, Fellow Royal Society of Letters, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (born 7 February 1958), is a British “journalist” who has written several popular science books. He is also a businessman and a Conservative member of the House of Lords.
Such people own the world. They are the owners. Most people at the top of British society have been there for more than 450 years, recent studies have shown.
Such people will tell you whatever allows their class to pursue their rule, through mass hypnotism.
Matt Ridley was chairman of the UK bankNorthern Rock
from 2004 to 2007. Under Ridley’s rule Northern Rock experienced the firstrun
on a British bank in 150 years. The bank had to be bailed out by the UK government. Thus the People of Great Britain had to pay for thenationalisation of Northern Rock
(Nationalization is more honest than just giving the money to the banksters, that being the preferred method. Northern Rock was nationalized by PM Brown, but then the plutocratic owners of the world realized that the Peoples did not understand a thing about all this financial stuff, so they just requested governments to fork the money over to them, without bothering with transferring ownership title to the People.)
Ridley has been inundated with honors, on both sides of the Atlantic. Academic institutions love him. He has chaired many institutions.
Ridley is also part of the British government in the largest sense, as a hereditary Peer and member of the House of Lords from the Conservative Party. In that sense, he is one of the overlords of the global plutocracy.
Ridley rules, you commoners, with your pathetic little Internet, kneel to his ideas. How can you beat the exposure of Lord Ridley, all over the Main Stream Media, books and the Internet?
It’s just like magic: you are born, and you get a castle, a title, land, money, you head one of the world’s largest financial institution, as his your hereditary right, plunder it, and while being one of the top pundits at The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal. You get a world-wide following of adoring fans. You bask in their groveling idiocy.
Such individuals do not just overlord the British. They overlord the world. They are the hereditary members of the true world global government. The argument that all those Lords belonged to jail, will seem obvious someday.
As the CO2 parts per million augment, so do the poisonous imbecilities that the Main Stream Media, in a generalized sense, keeps on fumigating public opinion with. It’s hard to know what’s worse.