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Julian Simon Has Been Right All Along
#1
For some reason, I must have been asleep, when this article came out in December, 2006. However, I am not surprised in the least. Damn, it's Great News, of course! And it constantly reminds me of the most optomistic scientist of the 20th century, the late Julian Simon. Not only did Dr Simon fail to appreciate the anxiety of overpopulation, global warming, or dwindling resources, but he also believed in the most important resourse on the plante: humans. And fortunately, since his death in 1996, the good news is still being carried on by many, who have managed to step in his place, since his exit on this world.

Anyway, here is a most encouraging article, which is a take off on the recent work by Indur M. Goklany, entitled "The Improving State of the World: Why We're Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet". Bravo!

Quote:The world is richer and healthier
Allister Heath

For billions of people around the world, these are the best of times to be alive. From Beijing to Bratislava, more of us are living longer, healthier and more comfortable lives than at any time in history; fewer of us are suffering from poverty, hunger or illiteracy. Pestilence, famine, death and even war, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, are in retreat, thanks to the liberating forces of capitalism and technology.

If you believe that such apparently outlandish claims cannot possibly be true, think again. In a book which will trigger intense controversy when it is published later this month, the acclaimed American economist Indur Goklany, former US delegate to the United Nations’ intergovernmental panel on climate change, demonstrates that on every objective measure of the human condition — be it life expectancy, food availability, access to clean water, infant mortality, literacy rates or child labour — well-being and quality of life are improving around the world.

A remarkable compendium of inform-ation at odds with the present fashionable pessimism, Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, published by the Cato Institute, reveals that, contrary to popular belief, it is the poorest who are enjoying the most dramatic rise in living standards. Refuting a central premise of the modern green movement, it also demonstrates that as countries become richer, they also become cleaner, healthier and more environmentally conscious.

Needless to say, Goklany has already been accused of naive Panglossianism by the doom and gloom merchants, to whom all must always be for the worst in the worst of all possible worlds. This is deeply unfair to Goklany: like the rest of us, he is concerned at the shameful deprivation, disease and misery that continue to affect hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa, North Korea and all the rest of the world’s horror spots. But he argues convincingly that to recognise their horrific plight should not prevent us from also acknowledging our progress in liberating even larger numbers of people from extreme poverty.

We should be especially proud of the fact that humanity has never been better fed: the daily food intake in poor countries has increased by 38 per cent since the 1960s to 2,666 calories per person per day on average. The population of those countries has soared by 83 per cent during that time, so this is a stupendous achievement which puts the final nail in the coffin of Malthusianism.

Together with a 75 per cent decline in global food prices in real terms in the second half of the 20th century, caused by improved agricultural productivity and freer trade, fewer people than ever before are going hungry. The rate of chronic undernourishment in poor countries has halved to 17 per cent, compared with a little over a third 45 years ago. In wealthy countries, the cost of essential foods has collapsed, with the price of flour, bacon and potatoes relative to incomes dropping by between 82 and 92 per cent over the past century; similar trends are now visible in developing countries too.

There is still a long way to go; but never before in human history have so many people been liberated from extreme poverty so quickly. The number of people subsisting on $1 a day has declined from 16 per cent of the world population in the late 1970s to 6 per cent today, while those living on $2 a day dropped from 39 per cent to 18 per cent. In 1820, 84 per cent of the world’s population lived in absolute poverty; today this is down to about a fifth.

Famine and declining life expectancy are problems now limited to the small number of countries unfortunate enough to continue to suffer from horrendous misgovernment by kleptocratic elites or which persist in rejecting capitalism and globalisation. There is only one way to ensure that the most deprived in the poorest countries are fed and clothed: their governments must embrace the market economy, strong property rights, sound money, free trade and technological progress. That is the only road to higher economic growth; and increased wealth is the prerequisite to better living standards.

To see how far we have come, consider that anyone born in Britain during the Middle Ages would have been exceptionally lucky to live to see their 30th birthday. The average person could expect to live only to the age of 22, before succumbing to disease, injury or famine. By 1800, thanks to the Industrial Revolution, life expectancy in Britain had climbed to 36 years, then the highest ever seen but less than the life expectancy enjoyed today in even the most war-torn and deprived countries. By the 1950s the average Briton could expect to live to the age of 69; today this has increased to almost 78 years.

Life expectancy in poorer countries has improved even faster. In China it has surged from 41 years in the 1950s to 71 years today; in India it is up from 39 years to 63 years, almost doubling the average lifespan of 2 billion people. In 1900 average life expectancy around the world was a mere 31 years; today it is 67 years and rising.

Just as remarkably, the gap between poor and rich countries has been shrinking fast. By the early 1950s a child born in a wealthy country such as Britain could expect to live 25 years longer than a child born in a poor country such as Algeria; today accidents of birth matter far less. The gap has closed to 12.2 years, thanks to diffusion and transfer of public health practices and medical advances pioneered in the West.

We are not only living longer; we are also living healthier lives, in poor as well as in rich countries. Disability rates in the leading developed countries have declined strikingly and the onset of chronic diseases has been significantly delayed during the course of the past century — by nine years for heart disease (despite increased obesity), by 11 years for respiratory disease (despite smoking) and by nearly eight years for cancer.

All of these and other improvements to well-being have come despite a hundredfold increase in the use of man-made chemicals, demolishing the oft-repeated but obstinately incorrect claim that pollution, urbanisation and modernity have made life more dangerous. In truth, before industrialisation, at least 200 out of every 1,000 children died before reaching their first birthday. Infant mortality globally is now down to 57 per 1,000, thanks to huge strides made in nutrition, hygiene and medical care in the developing world.

Children are not only much more likely to survive infancy; they are also far more likely to spend their childhood in school. Child labour, while still all too prevalent, has been in steady decline for years. In 1960 a quarter of all children aged ten to 14 were in work, a share which has fallen to a tenth today. Partly as a result, the global illiteracy rate has declined from 46 per cent in 1970 to about 18 per cent today.

There are many other ways in which life has improved across the developing world. Compared with 20 years ago, people are generally more free to choose their rulers and express their views; more likely to live under the rule of law and less likely to be deprived of their life, liberty or property through the whim of a ruler. Social and professional mobility is less circumscribed by accidents of birth and location. Fewer people are toiling 18 hours a day in mines; more are working in offices and able to afford holidays.

When Charles Dickens depicted the industrial town as hell on earth in The Old Curiosity Shop, he was chronicling the dark phase of economic development which some parts of China and India are undergoing today. But the forces that eventually lifted Britain from that Stygian gloom had already been set in motion, as they have in emerging economies today. Remarkably, there is mounting evidence that as countries become richer, they eventually also become greener, cleaner and healthier.

Increased productivity and better technology have allowed us to conserve energy resources, cut emissions of noxious substances such as lead and sulphur dioxide, provide cleaner drinking water and ensure better quality air. London’s great smog of December 1952, which killed 4,000 people, is now a mere historical footnote, as is the Great Stink of 1858, when the Thames was so filthy and polluted that Parliament had to be evacuated.

The widespread view that Western societies are squandering natural resources on an unprecedented scale doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. A ton of coal produces 12 times more electricity in modern power stations than a century ago. Energy intensity in the rich countries has been falling by 1.3 per cent a year for the past century and a half. This year the demand for oil from rich countries will actually fall, despite buoyant economic growth. Because one acre of agricultural land produces so much more food today than it did even a decade ago, Western countries have been able to cut back on the amount of space devoted to agriculture. Forests are growing again, replacing fields.

To the doom merchants, however, none of this really matters. Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are on the rise globally which, they claim, will trigger devastating global warming and a catastrophic relapse in living standards. But Goklany begs to differ. Climate change might exacerbate existing problems, such as malaria, coastal flooding and habitat loss, he acknowledges, but this doesn’t justify the heavy-handed interventionism called for in Sir Nicholas Stern’s recent report.

In fact, equally rigorous modelling using different assumptions suggests that, for the next 80 years at least, the benefits of faster economic growth in further improving quality of life across the developing world will outweigh any cost of global warming. Some reductions in carbon emissions may eventually be needed, Goklany says, but in most cases it would be cheaper to adapt to higher temperatures than to try to stop them.

Our best bet, therefore, is to allow technology, trade and the global economy to continue growing unimpeded. Such is Goklany’s plea: if the present rate of improvement continues, he argues, we could soon be living in a world where ‘hunger and malnutrition have been virtually banished; where malaria, TB, Aids and other infectious and parasitic diseases are distant memories; and where humanity meets its needs while ceding land and water back to the rest of nature ... even in sub-Saharan Africa infant mortality could be as low as it is today in the United States, and life expectancies as high’.

Hope has become a commodity in short supply in the West. Even though more progress will always be required, our vic-tories over famine and extreme poverty during the past two centuries are civilisation’s greatest achievement. It is time we took a well-deserved break from worrying about terrorism, rising crime, social dislocation and all our other problems to celebrate what we have actually got right.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#2
What a pity this fruitcake Dr.Simon is no longer amongst us. Nice profit gospel, but utterly indecent.
Quote:Pestilence, famine, death and even war, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, are in retreat, thanks to the liberating forces of capitalism and technology.
Oh no, a small part of the world's population has a decent life not because of capitalism and technology, but despite capitalism. This is because unions and other representatives of the exploited classes wrestled each single concession from the scum that cares about nothing but to fill its pockets. Still today, the capital fails to realise that the only way for a sustainable economy is when everybody participates fairly on the riches, only this creates purchasing power that creates sustainable growth and diversity. And it is valid for a minority of capitalist countries only. Third world, economically and politically dominated by Europe, America and Japan, is still ruled by the anarchic kind of capitalism that creates nothing but poverty and uprooting.
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
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#3
Dr Walter E Williams continues to pass along the theme of the late Julian Simon, that is it we humans, who are the ultimate resource.

Quote:The Ultimate Resource
Walter E. Williams
Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Why is it that mankind enjoys cell phones, computers and airplanes today but not when King Louis XIV was alive? The necessary physical resources to make cell phones, computers and airplanes have always been around, even when caveman walked the Earth. There is only one answer to why we enjoy these goodies today and not yesteryear. It's the growth in human knowledge, ingenuity along with specialization and trade that led to the industrialization, coupled with personal liberty and private property rights.

For most of mankind's existence, he has been self-sufficient and spent most of his time simply eking out a living. In pre-industrial societies, and in some places today, the most optimistic scenario for the ordinary person was to be able to eke out enough to meet his physical needs for another day. With the rise of industrialization and development of markets, and the concomitant rise in human productivity that yielded seemingly ceaseless economic progress, it was no longer necessary for mankind to spend his entire day to meet his physical needs. People became able to satisfy these needs with less and less time. This made it possible for more people to have the time to read, become educated in the sciences and liberal arts, gain more knowledge and become more productive. The resulting wealth also enabled them the opportunity to develop spiritually and culturally through attending the arts and participate in other life activities that were formerly within the purview of the rich.

Contrary to the myths we hear about how overpopulation causes poverty, poor health, unemployment, malnutrition and overcrowding, human beings are the most valuable resource and the more of them the better. There is absolutely no relationship between high populations and economic despair. For example, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire, has a meager population density of 22 people per square kilometer while Hong Kong has a massive population density of 6,571 people per square kilometer. Hong Kong is 300 times more crowded than the Congo. If there were any merit to the population control crowd's hysteria, Hong Kong would be in abject poverty while the Congo flourishes. Yet Hong Kong's annual per capita income is $28,000 while the Congo's is $309, making it the world's poorest country.

What are the chances for the United States to become overpopulated? The population census has us at 304 million. How many more people could we handle? I don't have an answer, but here are a couple of facts that suggests we have a ways to go before we have to worry about overpopulation. All urban areas, any community of at least 2,500 people, cover less than 3 percent of the U.S.'s 2.3 billion acre land mass. The world's population is 6.7 billion. That means if the entire world's population were put into the U.S., each person would have about a third of an acre. Nobody is talking about putting the world's population in the U.S. It is merely to suggest that neither the U.S. nor the world is running out of space.

Population controllers have a Malthusian vision of the world that sees population growth as outpacing the means for people to care for themselves. Mankind's ingenuity has proven the Malthusians dead wrong. As a result of mankind's ingenuity, we can grow increasingly larger quantities of food on less and less land. The energy used, per dollar of GDP, has been in steep decline, again getting more with less, and that applies to most other inputs we use for goods and services.

The greatest threat to mankind's prosperity is government. A recent example is Zimbabwe's increasing misery. Like our country, Zimbabwe had a flourishing agriculture sector, so much so it was called the breadbasket of southern Africa. Today, its people are on the brink of starvation as a result of its government. It's the same story in many countries -- government interference with mankind's natural tendency to engage in wealth-producing activities. Blaming poverty on overpopulation not only lets governments off the hook; it encourages the enactment of harmful policies.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#4
John,

Taiwan,Singapore and Japan are good examples of this. Neither has any natural resources but her people and they've both done better than their neighbors.

Hard to argue with this man's view. I wouldn't be willing to retreat even to 1970 personally,in fact I'd hate it.
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#5
Obviously this person also read Julian Simon's work.

Quote:The problem with calling the end of the world

Written by Tim Worstall

There's a major problem with those who keep telling us that the world is going to end because we're about to run out of something. Doesn't matter all that much what it is, as we know, there's always someone telling us that we're doomed, doomed I tell you, because oil, gas, forests, air, fresh water, is about to run out and then we'll all be sorry. There was even a fashion in the 1890s for the idea that pasture land for the world's horses would run out: the doomsayers entirely ignorant of the horseless carriage and kerosene.

The current one is some combination of gas running out and we'll all be reliant upon foreigners and oil will run out anyway. Well, maybe and maybe not:

The International Energy Agency said in November the world may have an “acute glut” of gas in the next few years because production of so-called unconventional fuel, which includes shale gas, is set to rise 71 percent between 2007 and 2030.......Western Europe may have held 510 trillion cubic feet of shale gas as of 2007, JPMorgan said. That’s adequate to feed Germany for 175 years, based on BP Plc’s data.

That number is, remember, after only a few years of looking for the stuff. You can put this two different ways (you may even think of other ones). The first is that we human beings don't in fact consume resources so much as create them: we create them by developing technology that can take advantage of them.

The second is the gross error that the doomsayers always make: that technology is static. Which, of course, it isn't and hasn't been ever since the first hominid noted the lovely sharp edges you can get from bashing two pieces of flint together.

Advancing technology isn't going to solve everything of course: while it's solved the physical problem of how a middle aged man such as myself might offer and gain enjoyment from having attracted a young popsie it's most unlikely to aid in doing such attraction. But advancing technology is going to solve, as it has done, the problems that we're going to run out of things.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#6
Here is someone, who thinks just like Dr Simon. He too has discovered that we are far better off, regardless the doomsayers.

Down with Doom: How the World Keeps Defying the Predictions of Pessimists. And note where it appears, of all places. Perhaps Buzz, who is a regular reader there, has bothered reading it. Just curious.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#7
Wow, that article was in the Puffington Host, too. Probably the readers excoriated the writer.
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
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#8
Oddly enough though he mentioned warming as a good thing,but,did not address AGW. He would have been run out on a rail had he addressed it.

Human history isn't exactly linear in improvement,there are setbacks,but,those setbacks are generally self induced by us for us,such as some of the 20th century social experiments we're trying here now,etc.
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#9
Palladin Wrote:Human history isn't exactly linear in improvement,there are setbacks,but,those setbacks are generally self induced by us for us,such as some of the 20th century social experiments we're trying here now,etc.


How was Ghengis Kahn, who affected the world quite broadly, the result of a
"setback self induced by the us (of his time)"?

According to Codevilla ("The Character of Nations') and Hayek ('The Road to Serfdom'), intellectuals can strongly influence transitions in governments as well a conquerors. Neither intellectuals or conquerors are "us".
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
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#10
JT,

Temujin wouldn't fall into the category I described,he was just a setback to all but the Mongols.

Recent history is my best example. Various popular,self induced social experiments of socialism,Marxism,fascism,Nazism are examples. Yes,they harmed those who did not partake,but,they also decimated those who volunteered to.

Ancient examples would be all the various ideas that pagan societies cherished and the conduct they mandated compared to a typical day since paganism largely was killed. For starters,human sacrifice is no longer cool,it was in some regions back then.

With all this(and 50 million more things),humanity has it better now than just 100 years ago or 3000.
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#11
A couple of comments.

The last 200 years (in which the ideas of socialism, collectivism began) are but a tiny slice of human history, and I think that you are perhaps seeing the trees for the forest.

The increased well being of the human race since 300 years ago is primarily due to the advancements in science, engineering and mass production ONLY. Too bad all those 100's of millions of people had to die because of various social/political experiments. They did not share in the increase.
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
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#12
Here is just one more example of the lunatic thinking of the what passes for elitist intellectualism among the Left. Jeff Jacoby, again shows why Julian Simon was correct in stating that humans are this planet's greatest resource. And attempting to curtail this valuable resource is the worst possible thing to do.

As usual, the brilliant Left completely overlooks the fact that the wealthier a society, the more it tends to regulate its own population rates, and totally without regulation, or busy bodies telling them what they need to do. Just one more case of the "Unseen" being totally beyond their grasp.

Quote:Population Boon
By Jeff Jacoby
7/20/2011


DAVID AND VICTORIA BECKHAM were overjoyed by the birth last week of their fourth child, a baby girl they named Harper. "We all feel so blessed and the boys love their baby sister so much!!!" the former Spice Girl exulted to her vast following on Twitter. A few days later she posted a picture of her husband cradling his new daughter, with the tender comment: "Daddy's little girl!"

What heart wouldn't be warmed by the Beckhams' delight in their newborn?

The Observer's wouldn't.

In a remarkably churlish article on Sunday, Britain's influential left-leaning newspaper (The Observer is The Guardian's sister Sunday paper) pronounced Harper's parents "environmentally irresponsible" for choosing to bring her into the world. Headlined "Beckhams a 'bad example' for families," the piece was a sour blast at parents who raise good-sized families. "One or two children are fine but three or four are just being selfish," Simon Ross, executive director of the Optimum Population Trust, told reporter Tracy McVeigh. "The Beckhams . . . are very bad role models with their large famil[y]."

McVeigh also quoted natural-history broadcaster David Attenborough, who recently "made a passionate speech about how the world's baby-making was damaging the planet." Fifty years ago there were 3 billion human beings, Attenborough had lamented. "Now there are almost 7 billion . . . and every one of them needing space. There cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed."

Has there ever been a more persistent and popular superstition than the idea that having more kids is a bad thing, or that "overpopulation" causes hunger, misery, and hopelessness? In the 18th century, Thomas Malthus warned that human population growth must inevitably outstrip the food supply; to prevent mass starvation, he suggested, "we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction," such as encouraging the spread of disease among the poor. In the 20th century, Paul Ehrlich wrote bestsellers with titles like The Population Bomb, in which he described the surging number of people in the world as a "cancer" that would have to be excised through "many apparently brutal and heartless decisions." (His list included sterilization, abortion, and steep tax rates on families with children.)

Just last month, Thomas Friedman avowed in his New York Times column that "The Earth Is Full," and that "we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth's resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished."

For more than 200 years the population alarmists have been predicting the worst, and for more than 200 years their predictions have failed to come true. As the number of men, women, and children in the world has skyrocketed -- from fewer than 1 billion when Malthus lived to nearly 7 billion today -- so has the average person's standard of living. Poverty, disease, and hunger have not been eradicated, of course, and there are many people in dire need of help. But by and large human beings are living longer, healthier, cleaner, richer, better-educated, more productive, and more comfortable lives than ever before.

The Malthusians are wrong. When human beings proliferate, the result isn't less of everything to go around. The planet doesn't run out of food and fuel, minerals and metals. On the contrary, most resources have grown cheaper and more abundant over the past couple centuries -- in tandem with rising population.

The explanation is no mystery. Yes, more babies mean more mouths and therefore more consumption. But more babies also mean more minds and arms and spines -- and therefore more new ideas, more energy, more ingenuity, more initiative, more enterprise. "Human beings do not just consume, they also produce," writes George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan in a new book. "The world economy is not like a party where everyone splits a birthday cake; it is more like a potluck where everyone brings a dish."

It is a beautiful and uplifting insight, but the population misanthropes never seem to grasp it: Human beings, on the whole and over time, usually create more than they destroy. With more people tend to come more progress and more prosperity. That's why the birth of virtually any baby is cause to rejoice, and why parents who decide to raise another child bestow a gift on all of us. To be fruitful and multiply, says Genesis, is to be blessed. The parents of Harper Beckham know that, even if The Observer doesn't.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#13
Malthusian thought is what drives the pro abortion movement in the west. It is only a small part driven by "women's reproductive freedom", IMO. The funding for foreign abortions, the extreme emotional attachment to even partial birth abortion, the public funding for Margaret Sanger's outfit all = Malthusian mass murder done in the womb = less people and more comfort for us already here in their brainless and self absorbed views.

BTW, this is not meant to belittle the legit reproductive freedom idea, I support that myself, legally.
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#14
Thank G-d for the late Julian Simon, who so eloquently show how the prophets of doom have been wrong all along. Its so refreshing to be able to see logic sticking its head up from amongst all the Kookdom being fed the public on a continual basis.

And here of his obvious followers: Matt Ridley, discussing all the wacko predictions and how they have all been proven wrong. Apocalypse Not: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry About End Times.

Obviously there is something attractive, and even spell-binding, about the thread of doom within the human psychic. And yet, time after time, none of this doom ever materializes. And when will all this lunacy stop? Your guess is as good as mine.

Meanwhile "The Walking Dead" will continue to be a resounding success, Global Warming will keep siphoning off billions of dollars to be wasted in trash, and the never ending imaginary apocalypse will be with us til......................................

[Image: cover-2009c.jpg]

Watch out December 21, 2012, the world is going to end,.........................................again.

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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#15
For me.... it's only the beginning of times! Be ready!
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#16
(08-21-2012, 05:03 PM)Fredledingue Wrote: For me.... it's only the beginning of times! Be ready!

What times and how can you be ready for it if it is unpredicted and unknown?
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#17
Here is an interesting article, in the WSJ, that bolsters Dr. Simon's thesis that we definitely aren't running out of resources.

The World's Resources Aren't Running Out: Ecologists worry that the world's resources come in fixed amounts that will run out, but we have broken through such limits again and again

What I really find so surprising about this article is that he not once mentions his mentor, Dr. Simon, with whom he is associated. Interesting.



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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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