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“Democracy hurting our climate response” — closet totalitarians at the ABC again

Posted By Joanne Nova On September 8, 2014 @ 7:45 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

The ABC Drum Pater Burdon asks:   Is democracy hurting our climate change response?

Indeed! Burdon is impressed with Naomi Orsekes’ speculation that China will “weather” the climate change storm because it is an undemocratic (and glorious communist) state.  This same country builds the equivalent of a new coal powered plant every 10 days, and suffers from smogifying pollution so crippling that up to 250,000 people may be dying of it. Let’s try that “centralized” government where peaceful activists and people who complain about corruption get jailed or risk torture. And who could forget the “success” of big-government in China last century — no other style of government has successfully killed as many people, ever.


Is it democracy that is blocking progress on climate change or the current limited version of it that pervades Western society? Peter D Burdon writes.

The third possibility is that democracy is working just fine, and the masses of “dumb” voters have it right. What if believers can’t convince the voters that their alarming-tax-plan can stop the storms because the case for a carbon-crisis is pathetically weak? Could it be that people don’t need a degree in the history of feminist art to see that climate scientists got it wrong, there is still snow, and the world is not like the simulations?

This is something Burton and the ABC fans simply can’t imagine:

“The strongest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter.”

This glib remark supposedly from Winston Churchill encapsulates a scepticism that many people have about democracies and their ability to respond to a crisis. Democracy, according to this view, is an endless meeting that provides everyone (regardless of their expertise or ignorance) an equal say.

The real failure of democracy

The current failure of democracy is that Western nations are spending so much to solve a problem that most of their citizens don’t want their money spent on.

Badly designed polls with vague motherhood type questions can make it look like half the population wants to “do something”. But better polls show that most people don’t want to spend anything. In the UK 62% of people are skeptics.  Globally, 63% don’t want their dollars spent on the environment…. The environment is low on the list of concerns, and only 3% of Americans name “environment” as the top issue.  Worse for alarmists, climate change is low on the list of environmental issues — in Australia “climate change” ranked 7th out 8 of environmental concerns.

When big-government fails, the answer is more and bigger government

The inefficiency of democratic governance in responding to crisis is acknowledged in the wartime practice of increasing executive power and suspending debate and ordinary decision-making mechanisms.

Following this example, a number of climate advocates have begun considering the benefits of greater centralisation in decision-making to mitigate the devastating scenarios offered by climate scientists.

For example, in an interview about her new book The Collapse of Western Civilization, Naomi Oreskes argued: “If anyone will weather this storm it seems likely that it will be the Chinese.”

And so collective self reinforcing blindness makes it possible for Peter Burdon to suggest that the nation which produces more greenhouse emissions than any other nation, where democracy doesn’t exist, and where human rights are a real issue,  might somehow be a nation we can look up to? A great leap forward indeed.

The largest moneyed interest stays invisible

Burton talks about the effect of “vested interests” on democracy, but completely misses the largest single vested interest by far.

Oh, the conspiracy of it all…

In light of these factors, Western democracies are best described as a plutocracy (rule by moneyed interests) in which some of the formal elements of democracy remain.

In ancient Greece, democracy was associated with the rule of demos - the common people. In contrast, governments have redefined democracy in economic terms where people simply vote periodically for ‘political entrepreneurs’, who seek out their vote like commercial interests seek out dollars in the marketplace.

It is surely conceivable, perhaps even likely, that moves to deepen democratic institutions and dramatically reduce the flow of private money into politics (including closing loopholes in disclosure laws) would result in laws that reflect community and ecological interests better than those made by corporate democracy. Indeed, Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig contends: “We will never get your issue solved unless we fix this issue [of money in politics] first.”

Democracy would work better if we could reduce the influence of moneyed interests, but the largest single block of moneyed interests in both dollars and votes is the government itself. US government expenditure is about 25% of the entire GDPOver 100 million US residents are on welfare. In 2011, fully 44.7 percent of the population paid no federal income taxes. It’s  48%  in Australia.

Who among these voters will vote for a smaller more efficient government? As I’ve discussed before, the real problem with Democracy is when the voters start to vote themselves the contents of the Treasury. Not that you’ll hear about that on their ABC. The incentives are all wrong, of course, for a publicly funded news outlet to discuss the pitfalls of public funding.

You just can’t get this sort of multistory nonsense for free. It takes a lot of tax dollars to pack this much ignorance and blindness into one article.

The ABC (and most universities) are out of control. Let the people vote…

By Peter Burdon


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