JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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The Skeptics Handbook

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The Skeptics Handbook II

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Prediction in 1941 — the gradual end of democracy in Europe

Thierry Baudet, leader of the Dutch political party “Forum for Democracy” writes about the inexorable attrition of democracy, as predicted 75 years ago.

James Burnham, 1941 foresaw so much in “The Managerial Revolution. It’s a book that George Orwell used for inspiration.

According to Burnham, the civil democracies of the second half of the 20th century would – more or less gradually – be overgrown with backroom bureaucratic networks that make the actual decisions, all far away from the electorate and public debate.

He predicted that separate nation states would still exist, but as their sovereignty was gradually absorbed into a superstate, the nation states would become just administrative subdivisions.

Elections will also remain in place; they will provide managers valuable insights into the preferences of the consumer-citizen, while at the same time functioning as an exhaust valve to possible opposition forces. Burnham predicted a form of political theatre in the guise of sham elections between candidates who happen to be like-minded on every fundamental subject, who are paid to debate in front of clueless spectators in mock parliaments, while the results were known in advance – after all, the actual decisions have already been made.

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The slow death of a great democracy: carbon sunday

Everyone wants a free lunch, and some people even believe it exists. Julia Gillard is playing to that crowd, offering the impossible. Somehow, we will cool world temperatures while using some of the most expensive forms of energy we can find, and, wait for it, most Australians will become better off too. It’s money for nothing.

Why we didn’t do this years ago?

Quotes from wise men tell us that there is nothing new under the sun, and those who forget history are condemned…

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“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

Possibly, Alexander Tytler (circa late 1700′s)

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“Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage [...]

Hansen barracking for lawless destruction and the end of civilization

Civilization is the problem. Hansen recommends a book that incites violent sabotage, and promotes illegal activities to bring about an end to industrial civilization. Is this kind of book legal in the US?

James Hansen has called for industrial sabotage and defended lawbreakers before, but did he really read all of Keith Farnish’s words before he endorsed the book “Times Up”?

Farnish has put together a frightening compilation. He tried non-violent protest with Greenpeace for five years, but then he changed tactics. He got angry, and recommends you do too:

“Constructive Anger, on the other hand, does achieve something useful – even if it may not be exactly what was originally intended. For instance, if all the evidence you have to hand suggests that removing a sea wall or a dam will have a net beneficial effect on the natural environment then,  however you go about it – explosives, technical sabotage or manual destruction – the removal would be a constructive action. If this action was fuelled by anger then your use of explosives involved Constructive Anger.”

The four key rules of sabotage

1. Carefully weigh up all the pros and cons, and then ask yourself, “Is it [...]