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  • Bob Armstrong

    SerfCity 2009 Autumn :

    LoL : 

    Rich Old White Men

    Mid July , on HuffingtonPost.com1 a guy named Charles Alexander2 who apparently used to be a business , science and international editor at TIME posted "Heads Still in the Sand on Global Warming3" about a Manhattan Institute4 luncheon with James Manzi speaking about "Keeping Our Cool on Global Warming".

    Alexander found it "one of the my most dispiriting experiences in a long time" to be at the Harvard Club , packed in with other mostly  "middle-aged to elderly white executives and professionals ...  I didn't notice any people of color, except among the waiters." . It's simplest to just quote a couple of paragraphs :

    Finally, I stood up to show myself as an enemy in the midst of this gathering. Revealing my former TIME connection, I said that "some of you probably used my cover stories as dart boards." I explained that people like Gore and Pelosi are very worried about the future of their children and grandchildren. I explained that the media didn't print "the facts" this group wanted to see because 90% of "the facts" this group has heard are part of a two-decade campaign of disinformation financed by the oil and coal industries. Manzi denied being financed by the oil and coal industries. But I can assure you that these industries helped create the ideological world that has nurtured his career.
    That's what's so scary. These rich old white men live in their own isolated, ideological world. They watch Fox News. They read the Wall Street Journal editorial page. They read the output of conservative propaganda machines like the Manhattan Institute. They send e-mails to each other. They talk only to each other. They actually think they are right.
    I guess they would say the same about enviros like me. But I came to hear what they had to say, and I found it very unconvincing. Will they ever realize that their ideology is a self-delusion used to justify their own selfishness? In my opinion, here's what their philosophy boils down to: Let me keep my riches now. Screw my children. Screw my grandchildren. If someday their grandchildren confront them about the effects of global warming, and they realize they have been wrong, I hope they feel really bad.

    I posted some comments about how scientifically illiterate anyone who claims Venus's extreme temperature was due to some runaway greenhouse effect shows themselves to be . Some time later , as the bizarre racist , ageist , marxist  self-loathing his description of his peers reveals , I posted :

    Ironic title .
    The projection that "rich old white men" have the attitude towards their posterity : "Screw my children. Screw my grandchildren" sets a record in being arrogantly insulting .

    The damage to the welfare of the living and in fact the "greening" of the Planet , these alarmists lust for in defiance of all science reflects Alexander's curse back upon himself :

    "If someday their grandchildren confront them about the effects of global warming,
    and they realize they have been wrong,
    I hope they feel really bad.

    I've been to a bunch of those sorts of meetings . They're the compensation for living in a global metropolis . The audiences are very self selected , and the hosts very open to anyone who has the time to be there ( which biases the demographic to retired ) and , preferably , at least a sport coat . One of the things that impressed me in New York was how rapidly one can get to the center of any particular milieu you are interested in , be it the visual art world or the Wall Street analysts .Far from being restricted to the rich , these meeting are a substantial source of nutrition for a subset of the attendees . You can get right to the center of the Freedom Movement in the city just by going to a meeting of the Manhattan Libertarians ( no open bar or buffet , tho )  .

    I think this openness is universal . It has tremendous competitive advantage . I guess if the meeting had been anywhere from Dubai to Hawaii and he was a local , Alexander would have have bitched about the preponderance of  the modal local demographic of rich old men - like himself . What's he been doing all those years as an editor for TIME other than going to all sorts of such meetings . That's the point of being in Manhattan . And boy I wish I'd had his income all those years .

    Alexander's moment of self insight  is his admission : "I guess they would say the same about enviros like me" . But I don't think thought patterns like his are symmetric between eco-socialists like him and the capitalists he means to disparage by the self referential "RichOldWhiteMen" - as if there's no more concentrated  demo of ROWM than WDC .

    He brings to mind a couple of contrasting quotes I have on my CoSy.com/Liberty5 page :

    The ideas of the Left are both superficial and audacious and therefore quite comforting to most of people most of the time ; the ideas of the right are both deep and humble and therefore less attractive to most of the people most of the time .
    Dick Armey Cato 60th aniversery Heyak's Road to Serfdom6

    We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth. We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, scorn, and the like, towards those who disagree with us.
    Vladimir Ilyich Lenin quoted in Max Eastman : Reflections on the Failure of Socialism7


    To Dick Armey's description , I would add arrogant and change the label to statist  , a believer , as the Libertarian Party puts it ,  "in the cult of the omnipotent state8" . Alexander is what would have been called in the old cold war , a dupe . He buys the stances and stereotypes of the state monopolists without analysis . Even tho he has been a science editor for TIME magazine , he is too incapable of independent thought to have correctly evaluated Gore's Global Warming fraud9 . Why then would he not believe that extending the government control of the country's  health related cash flows from about 50% to a 100% monopoly would be both more charitable and efficient than market competition between all those ROWM ? After all , The Statists say they have no desire other than his and his progeny's best interests . State Force is needed because not everybody is as enlightened as he .

    How do those Old White Men , so evil they father families to sorrowlessly condemn to the coming hell on earth , get to be rich ? And what does it mean to be rich ?

    I'll use as a definition that being rich means having control of assets substantially greater than one's annual expenditures and having at least some of one's income dependent on the value of those assets . Those ROM are members of, as Zogby would put it , the investor class  . Their family's welfare depends upon their perspicacity in allocating their assets . And they are rich because they have made wise decisions over many years .

    Consider Roger Penske . I know of him mostly from lifetime of owning winning auto racing teams . I guess he got his start with car dealerships , then became a major brand in , particularly , truck leasing . Now , he's virtually been given the Saturn spin-off from GovernmentMoters . Want to know which I'd bet on , Saturn or GM ?



    Certainly , in terms of annual consumption , few in the market economy live as sumptuously as the world's top politicians so there's no distinction there .

    The class Alexander really wants to target is this class which are the neurons of the mind of the free market . Perfect , it ain't , but we're all part of it . A world without Rich old hell there are more rich old women than men farts the would be no excellence .

     Alexander is so certain  that he and his fellow statists are so much more intelligent and oh so much more charitable than their fellow ROWM , that they must put their finger or a fist , backed by state guns and prisons , into every decision of every mind . This notion that some subset of the population is so superior to the whole that they must enforce a partial  slavery upon their fellow citizens is Marxism in its purest form :

    The rich don't deserve their accumulated assets because what they do isn't real work . And they have the fates of hundreds or thousands of families in their hands  because they are evil , not because they have been facilitated competitively efficient  flows of goods and services balanced by cash counter-flows , ie , free market commerce .

    Therefore we must take their decision making power from them and allocate it to millions of square meters of bureaucrats under the control of our cronies who control the State's guns and prisons .

    A more complete and rigorous picture of the Marxist fallacy I'm trying to convey is given in "Unresolved Contradiction in the Marxian Economic System" in Shorter Classics of Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk10 , ~1895 which demolishes Marx .

    The dangerous fallacy of the arrogant world view of Alexander and his fellow progressives is glaringly evident because he is  provably wrong about CO2 ( we're 93% CO2 + H2O ) affecting planetary temperature . ( See my CoSy.com for the implementation of the classical physics backing up that assertion. )  And , they are now running scared from the backlash of more technically competent peers calling their bluff on the blogshere . They are fighting with all the disrespect they can muster to avoid a public evaluation of their "science" but it looks like they may be stopped from doing any more damage at least here in the USA  .

    But the important generalization to make is that the notion that a centralized gun and prison toting elite subset can be as intelligent as voluntary associations of the total citizenry . This progressive political philosophy left the Soviet Union an utter basket case . ( Look up Lysenko ; it was their pseudo-science tragedy . )

    This palace class is simultaneously seeking to monopolize what is left of a market in health care . It's their control of half the cash flow right now , and enormous regulations and inhibitions on trade , and the bureaucracies they entail that are the inflation in health care . An example is , in synergy with the DEA , the collecting of millions of records of any cold or allergy medicine - and making it almost impossible to get any non-prescription asthma inhaler even those which have been used by millions for years .

    The tide needs to turn . The brilliance of the founders was to recognize , in their better selves , that we are all peers . This is more than ever so with the web . It is time to put these arrogant statists in their proper place - which is the past .

    1http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

    2http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-alexander

    3http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-alexander/heads-still-in-the-sand-o_b_232352.html

    4http://www.manhattan-institute.org/

    5http://www.cosy.com/Liberty.htm#Links

    6http://www.cato.org/realaudio/cbf-02-02-04.ram

    7http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0313235341/httcoscom-20

    8http://www.lp.org/platform

    9http://www.chamberpost.com/2009/08/transparency-science-and-the-epa-revisited.html

    10http://mises.org/store/Shorter-Classics-P20.aspx

       
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