In case you missed it, Canada and the EU last week announced they immediately are not accepting any further certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8 or Max 9 jets from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
How does that make you feel? I grant there is ample reason to investigate Boeing and their software engineers, but this move signals that our allies have stopped trusting our government. Or is it that they mistrust our honesty, as if our bureaucratic infrastructure has become corrupt?
This is not funny, as it comes immediately on the heels of the March 12 revelation by U.S. prosecutors that they have been investigating corruption in college admissions and have made arrests in the college testing apparatus, the college guidance apparatus and in college sports, with more to come. I wish I could say this came as a shock, but I taught several sections of Freshman Comp II back in the ՚70s, and I still recall the environment. Mental capacity was not a requirement if you played ball, were from Iran (this was before the fall of the Shah) or had a rich daddy. And, while I can understand that some people get assistance from diverse sources, it meant that the college degree was available for purchase without the commensurate ability to wield it. If you would like to see an analogy, search the internet for chimpanzee and AK47. The video you see is a hoax, but a funny one, and the fact remains that chimpanzees can be trained to use weapons, whereas those wielding an unearned certification cannot.
While I believe in waiting until the accused are proven guilty, I also have to accept that the determination of guilt is a function of the courts, but the determination of a problem is the function, in part, of the press, which essentially has ceased to function. So we press on.
My job includes being a skeptic. I am supposed to both know enough about general matters and have the energy to look into such matters as they may bring themselves into focus. “Focus,” these days, seems to include “controversy.” So it goes.
So let’s take a controversy in the media. Any controversy will work, but “climate change” has the potential to affect costs in our industry radically, so let’s look at it as a skeptic. That means just looking at facts.
Fact 1: The idea of climate change as a political issue has been around for decades. Back in the ՚70s, it was presented as “global cooling” by the same groups of advocates as we currently see. Along the way it morphed into global warming and then the all-inclusive “climate change.” So it’s a political issue advocated by identifiable groups.
Fact 2: The study of climate change is funded by many governments through research grants to universities. So there’s money.
Fact 3: The academic community has been caught several times manipulating data. One of the most famous of such events began in 2009 and was named, unimaginatively, Climategate. There are arguments surrounding motives and actions on both parts, which are the subject of many internet-warrior conflagrations, and we can report on those as we like, but the fact remains that data was manipulated, for noble reasons or ill.
Fact 4: While there is a clear geological record that shows Earth’s climate has changed back and forth substantially over time, most of that change has occurred in geological time. The last one started about 2.5 million (m) years ago.
Subfact A: Scientists say the Huronian ice age (2.5 billion (b) years ago) was caused by the elimination of atmospheric methane, methane being the stuff of cow farts. Id est: eliminate cow farts and you get an ice age.
Fact 5: Proponents of climate change as a political issue claim that climate change as a result of human intervention is “settled science.” As a linguist, I can assure you that science is not settled. If it’s settled, it’s not science.
Fact 5a: Climate change as a function of human intervention is a political controversy with substantial opinion, credentialed and not credentialed, on both sides, as well as noted above, a lot of money available through governments.
Those are facts. As noted, I recognize this is a controversial topic, and I recognize that you already have strongly held beliefs beyond the facts. For example, it is valid to speculate that we need to act because of what might happen if we do nothing, but as a skeptic, I have to allow your beliefs but point out that we don’t know what might happen. We can see what Alvin and Heidi Toffler said back in 1970 in Future Shock, or what Charles Reich said in 1970 in The Greening of America, but we can also see that their vision of the future did not come to pass. They didn’t even predict Beto, and he never learned about them in school. Even before Reich and Tofflers, Rachel Carson broke the barriers between fiction and fact with Silent Spring in 1962, a nice defense of which can be seen in the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of the International Socialist Review.
But there are more facts. Facts about people as prophets.
Fact 6: Fact 5 is important in geological time, since humans have believed since the beginning of historical time that their actions can affect the climate. In recent time, governments have seeded clouds. Before cloud seeding there were rain dances, water witching, observing insect behavior and prayers. All primitive cultures invoked supernatural powers and performed rituals to affect climate change. Sometimes, including in Judeo/Christian history, people offered up sacrifices and burnt offerings, and in primitive cultures climate change was affected by throwing virgins into volcanoes. Imagine where we’d be if they had not been proactive.
Fact 7: We now have political candidates that want to affect climate change by throwing cows into volcanoes.
There are many side-facts that bear on the current political climate. Some Democrats want to ban automobiles and cows. Beto O’Rourke believes in climate change. He also appears to believe in manipulating eternity. I believe that’s a fact, and not my opinion. Here’s why. The news last week asserts that Beto was so discomfited by his Texas senatorial loss to Ted Cruz that he went to New Mexico and ate dirt. It was special dirt, and he brought some home for his wife and family to eat because it had “rejuvenative powers.” Rejuvinate means to make young again, juvenate being from the same latin word as juvenile, and we will get to that.
Eating stuff for power is not a new idea. Popeye ate spinach. As an aside, it did not seem to advance him socially, but that’s another column. If you read the academic blatherings of 1968 writer and Ph.D. (sic) Carlos Castaneda, you will discover that eating jimson weed will let you fly. For more information on eating stuff for power, search the internet for Beto and turd. You will discover that a “verdant” (means green) baby turd can pass as an avocado to your wife.
Let’s talk about drinking, instead. Ponce de Leon was a Spanish trust-fund baby back in 1493, who, legend has it, searched southern Florida for a rejuvenating fountain. He may have searched, or may have not. The point is, this rejuvenation idea by eating and drinking stuff is as old as throwing virgins into volcanoes. Rejuvenation, of course, is eternal life, a matter that has already been adjudicated. Old Ponce was killed by a poison arrow, dipped in plant matter (but not jimson weed) and flown at him by an indigenous person. Rejuvenation no longer being in his equation, we hope he was up on his rosaries.
Which brings us back to education and training. Once was the time, long ago and far away, that education meant discipline based on facts, not superstition. People like Castenada pushed us along the road to fiction and fantasy, but, as I said, I was teaching English back then, and I can attest that identifiable groups had no affection for discipline or facts. They loved money, power and paper certificates for themselves.
The unions came to prominence in that environment, and it evolved. It evolved to the point that today, the education of the ‘50s bears no resemblance, whatever, to the education of today.
Part of education back then was “reading and writing and ՚rithmatic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick.” I can attest to that, too, since I earned a swat or two along the way.
And education back then also focused on virtues. For those of you with good memories, can you recall what a virtue is? Virtues were once the basis of art. Ha! There’s an evolution, for you. The only plot line left in visual arts today is “pretty boy/pretty girl/blow-up bad guys/screw. The side plots involve flying without moving your butt, and moving your butt without thinking. Has anybody ever wondered what kind of “recreation” recreational pot is? Like, I mean, dude, do you achieve prowess with it? Win a pot championship? Compete against another team? Or is it just another made-up word for nothing? I wonder if anybody recreates with timed pot chess.
Those, of course, are not facts, but musings.
Today, we seem to have clear evidence that our educational systems are undisciplined sumps of superstition and ignorance. This is curious, since the advent of socialism requires an undisciplined sump of superstition and ignorance, and, voila!: half our new presidential candidates are lying about their indigenuity (I just made that word up), eating shit and promoting a final solution for cows. Ocasio-Cortez has an economics degree from Boston University (uh-oh), but seems to have economized on nothing but her class time. But you gotta admit; she has great teeth.1
The sump is growing daily, though, and anybody that thinks we can pull out of this nose-dive whenever we grab the controls is wrong. It’s in the software.
Meanwhile, our planes are falling out of the air, our allies don’t trust our our regulators and our most “compassionate” city governments are Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, Seattle and New York. Our universities are now staffed with the product of their own minds, and that product is verdant and smells. Can anybody that works for a living guess why academics don’t want their competence tested? Can anybody that has ever paid off a debt explain why student loan debt should exempt somebody from work until you and I pay it for them?
For what it’s worth, I earned my degree, have the certifications to be a full professor in any university in North America, I used to teach there and I don’t. And that should say something. For example, it says I like reality.
It seems to me, anybody that is not stoned, baffled and hateful has an uphill climb ahead, making sure those that are don’t “suffer.” From my perspective, it is better we that should feed them knowledge. I call it the Beto solution. Let them eat avocado. We can tell them it’s “smart food.”
Did I hear somebody ask why we have a difficult time finding skilled workers? I may have an answer, but it lies in revolution. I think we have the best political system, but its application is failing. We need to revolt. More accurately, our representatives need to revolt against their usurper-handlers and answer to us. That’s what we hired them for. They need to quit staring stupidly at the rain dancers and arm themselves against the ensconced bureaucrats. We need competence among our educators. We need accountability among our law enforcement. We need the voices of the activists to be proportional to the number people that support them, not the funding they can accrue. And we need our media to abandon its carnival-barker belief that the world wants a freak show.
Those are the jobs of our representatives. I don’t think this is a matter of political parties, although there is much to mock on both sides. However, the mockables are all products of our evolved educational system. They actually believe their stuff. I happen to agree with Elizabeth Warren that it’s time to break up the media and FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google). So what? It is also time to separate the mockables from the not. We can make two new parties: the Adult Party and the Party Party, comprising respective elements from the existing two. Then, the Adults Party can cut off the allowances, issue a caning and send the Party partiers to bed without supper. I am not averse to such treatment, believing I once benefitted from it, myself.
It will cost. It always has. But wouldn’t it be nice if we were looking ahead to a time when the U.S. is seen as an emblem of honor and virtue, instead of just a fading memory? We need to pay the cost now or forever, and the parasite classes cannot be relied upon to supply even a token virgin.
When a man stops believing in God, he doesn’t then believe in nothing; he believes anything. – G. K. Chesterton 1