December 11th, 2009


The antilibertarians speak.

Boatang and Demetriou visit some odd places. They have been to the blog of a software developer who knows as much about climate change as do any of those paid to study it by other climate changers (but who could probably write an actually functioning model) and who displays definite signs of Righteousness. Most of the blog is about software and I'm not going to comment on that because I know nothing about it. I also won't comment on the irony of someone involved in computer game development wondering why people are becoming obese because that is such an open goal. There's no challenge.

It's not a blog that will appear in my sidebar. Not for any malicious reason, but because software development is not what I do. Science is what I do and it's evidently not what he does.

Hence his experiment here, which follows the protocol:

1. I don't like libertarianism.
2. I will take the last five posts from the top 20 blogs to give me a sample size of 100 and read them.
3. I don't like them. I was right. QED.

From a scientific point of view, here are the problems.

1. This is neither a hypothesis nor a null hypothesis. The conclusion was determined before the start of the experiment. Nothing anyone wrote on any blog labelled 'Libertarian' would ever sway this guy. hence the experiment was pointless.

2. The sample size is not 100. The dataset consists of five samples each from twenty entirely separate subjects. Those samples were not selected at random but were the five most recent on each blog. Hence his surprise at finding Copenhagen and climate change is the most popular subject over the last five posts, and his amazement that libertarians aren't all bowing to the Green God.

3. See 1.

The lists of top 20 blogs of every type, every political persuasion, are subjective. They are voted on and then compiled. Some opted out. Taking the last five posts from the top 20 of such a list is like going to twenty neighbour's houses, taking the first five books you find and then basing a generalised view of all those neighbours on your analysis of those books. The twenty neighbours are individuals. The twenty bloggers are too.

And yet our Green God acolyte derives the following conclusion from his experiment:

But the posts I've seen were just so bad that of 100 I've checked I cannot point a single one that had any new insights or was interesting in any way. Few even pass basic sanity tests - not just by being contrarian - contrarian posts are much more interesting to read than ones that repeat the conventional wisdom - but by simply not having any idea what they write about.

You know, if I were to go and find twenty blogs on something i'm not at all interested in, or something I strongly disagreed with, and read the last five posts on each, I'd probably fail to find anything interesting either. It's so very likely, in fact, that there's no point in putting myself through the pain of reading all about dog hair removal or anchovy filleting or badger rotation or any other such thing. I don't visit ASH's website because I know I'm not welcome there and they aren't likely to say anything I'm ever going to agree with. An analysis of the last five posts on the ASH website would be entirely pointless because everyone -smoker and non-smoker - knows what those posts will be about and what they plan to do.

So, TAW took the top 20 libertarian blogs, found they are libertarian in nature, and since he already thinks libertarians are loons because they don't agree with him, he can declare them loons because he already knew that and just wanted to find something to point at and shriek 'See! See! They think differently to me! That proves they are insane'.

Believe whatever you like, TAW. Libertarianism allows that, in fact encourages it. Libertarians will not force you to think like them, act like them, eat like them, live like them. No libertarian blogger has, to my knowledge, declared their BMI as a qualification to talk about diet. When we do talk about diet, it's along the lines of 'if you want to get fat or be thin, your choice. Don't bother us with excuses, just get on and live how you want'.

Insane? Sure, if you like. If controlling everyone until they are all exactly the same is sanity, I want no part of it. If shouting down everyone who thinks differently is sanity, you can keep it.

If sanity means reacting to the word 'smoking' as if someone had just rammed a lit stick of dynamite up your backside, pass the straitjacket.

And the cigarettes.

Oh, and if anyone's wondering why I haven't mentioned whisky, it's because tonight I have been mostly drinking Napoleon brandy. Appropriate, as it turned out.

Off to the Smoky-Drinky place.

The trouble with Fridays is that, well, the report can't be sent off until Monday anyway so why kill myself to finish the last bits tonight? Added to that is my abstinence from accompanied boozing while decoding this monster into non-scientist format over the last couple of weeks and... something's gonna blow.

So, tonight, I have a bottle of Ledaig (£15.50 in Morrison's but £28 in Tesco, even though they are only a mile apart) and will carry it through the globally warmed frost to visit a smoky-drinky place I know of, where others of the smoky-drinky persuasion gather in the absence of anti-anythings and drink, smoke (yes, indoors, and with a wood fire too), eat extraordinarily spicy food and generally behave in all those ways that weren't illegal or even frowned upon until recently. It's not licenced and not open to the public so not subject to the hysteria of the mob. We all bring our own and pass them around.

While picking my careful way across the iced pavement, cursing the Green God's laxity in warming this place up as advertised, I will reflect on the question of who is going to pay the billions our loony leaders plan to put into tinpot tyrants' Swiss bank accounts while pretending to help the poor.

It won't be much reflection because the answer is obvious, really. It's you and me. MP's incomes will not be touched at all, the bankers already know how to dodge any tax this inept government can devise and the rich can afford to hire accountants so creative that even those who study multidimensional physics will never find the money.

Anyone who pays tax, anyone who has a bank account, anyone who has any income at all will be paying for this and you know what? If there's one thing guaranteed not to reduce emissions, it's building huge concrete structures and power stations in places that don't really want them and providing motorcades of limousines for the wealthy dictators of poor countries.

The environment and the climate are not interested in money. You can't bribe nature, nor can you legislate against it. It's not that nature will defy all such attempts. Nature will not even pretend to notice. Nature might matter to us be we don't matter to nature. At all. Nature has replacements already lined up for any vacant niche. We don't need to worry about nature. It'll be fine.

Passing laws and throwing money about is futile and irrelevant. It affects nothing at all. It's just the socialist way of saying 'Those people have too many bits of green paper. Steal some from them'. Same as they always do, just with a new excuse. It will have zero effect on climate. It's not intended to. It's another 'make them suffer' game.

If climate change was really due to human emissions, and our politicians really cared about it, why did so many of them fly to Copenhagen and get shuttled around in limousines? Why, indeed, does the new 'replace your boiler with a green one and we'll subsidise it' idea apply only to England and not to the rest of the UK? It couldn't be that Labour are sure of their votes in those other places and are just trying to buy English ones, of course.

Human effects on the climate are trivial compared to nature's. If we really start causing problems, nature will simply let us wipe ourselves out and set a different species going.

We're just not that big a deal.

Anyway, a drinky smoky evening beckons. Best get some food in me first. A salted lard sandwich should complete this evening's anti-Righteous festival.

Sure, I could give it all up and live longer, but that would mean living in the future and to me, that's just not appealing at all. There's nothing there.