I recently came across two articles that struck me as being exceptionally lucid on two topics that are often the victims of shallow journalism and group think.
In a world of scarcity, the most advanced societies have the most internationally connected economies. This has always been true. In ancient northern African nations, the Greco-Roman world, and later in the Netherlands, Britain, Spain, and the United States, nations that traded widely were nations that prospered.
...Trading societies also tend to be open societies.
But the assumption that societies in isolation from the world promote human dignity and increase human freedom better than internationally connected ones is historically fallacious. Isolationist nations lag behind the rest of the world in terms of both human freedom and standards of living. It is no accident that the developed nations of the West offer more freedom and protection for women and non-elite citizens. Connecting weak economies to stronger ones, overall, is mutually beneficial and empowers developing countries toward true independence for its citizenry.
The whole article nicely debunks the nonsense that anti-Globalization camps attempt to foist upon people and also nicely ties in the aspect of connectedness that is so appealing in Thomas Barnett's work. I simply find that globalization delivers what people want at the price they will pay - denying (whether through anti-WTO tirades or good old labor union support for trade protectionism) it is simply to disavow the principles of freedom and choice.
The second article is an opinion piece in last week's Wall Street Journal by James Schlesinger, the first secretary of energy in his piece called The Theology of Global Warming:
Much has been made of the assertion, repeated regularly in the media, that "the science is settled," based upon a supposed "scientific consensus." Yet, some years ago in the "Oregon Petition" between 17,000 and 18,000 signatories, almost all scientists, made manifest that the science was not settled, declaring:
"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."
Second, science is not a matter of consensus, as the histories of Galileo, Copernicus, Pasteur, Einstein and others will attest. Science depends not on speculation but on conclusions verified through experiment. Verification is more than computer simulations -- whose conclusions mirror the assumptions built in the model.
Mr. Schlesinger also cites the Guardian (which is a supporter of the 'theology') as evidence of the weakness of the positions:
- The science of climate change leaves "considerable uncertainty" about the future.
- There are concerns about the objectivity of the international panel of scientists that has led research into climate change.
- The Kyoto agreement to limit carbon emissions will make little difference and is likely to fail.
- The U.K.'s energy and climate policy contains "dubious assumptions" about renewable energy and energy efficiency.
He expertly shows the fragile science has been co-opted by those with political motivations as a tool for their own purposes.
In a completely different vein - we watched three DVDs this weekend with a couple surprises.
Meet the Fockers although humorous was a pretty big let down - too much silly left wing posturing taking itself too seriously - but what do you expect from a cast including Barbara Streisand? Good comedy exaggerates reality on both sides of an issue -otherwise it is just propaganda.
The Jacket is a wholly different affair - sometimes reviewed as a Memento in reverse, it is a most unusual 'who-done-it'. We found it oddly touching and compelling.
Constantine is another 'R' rated piece was also an unusual surprise providing a violent vehicle for a fantasy style good versus evil story with Keanu Reeves. The film is very interesting in a disturbing way.
Since we subscribe to a mail in DVD service - we get to see some films we normally wouldn't waste our money on - still - giving something a few hours of your time needs to be considered.