Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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The Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University has announced the launch of a new initiative focused on the thought of Alexis de Tocqueville.

The Tocqueville Program aims “to foster an understanding of the central importance of principles of freedom and equality for democratic government and moral responsibility, as well as for economic and cultural life.”

The program’s first event will be held next month (November 6), and is titled, “What’s Wrong with Tocqueville Studies, and What Can Be Done About It.”

IU professor Elinor Ostrom, the most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, co-founded the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis.


  • Lynn Vincentnathan

    OT, but thought I’d comment on “Pascal’s Blunder” you wrote some years back (http://www.acton.org/commentary/commentary_286.php#)

    Here’s the deal from a materialist (God’s creation) perspective:
    If you believe in anthropogenic global warming and mitigate it, and it’s not real, you will end up saving tons of money, strengthening the economy, ensuring greater liberty for all and mitigating many many other problems, environmental and otherwise, through the myriad of off-the-shelf tech, energy/resource efficiency/conservation and alt energy, biochar, reduce/reuse/recycle, etc; but if you don’t believe in AGW and do nothing to mitigate it, you could help push the climate into hysteresis — with 95% of life on earth dying as it did during the end-Permian warming — or runaway conditions as on Venus in which all life ends (see Hansen’s presentation – http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf), or at the very least millions dying from it as it shoots beyond 4 degrees (see http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees – see their powerpoint and hear their audio presentations).

    And then there’s the spiritual perspective: If you believe in AGW and mitigate it, & it’s not true, when you get to heaven the Lord will say “Well done, wise and prudent steward, you have done the prudent thing with the resources given you to tend, increasing them, in the face of uncertainty, and helped to mitigate many many real problems in the world by your actions. Come sit with me in the high place.” But if you don’t believe in AGW (despite all the evidence and expert claims) and it’s true, when you get to heaven the Lord will say, “What about those greenhouse gases you emitted every day?” (without a thought to reducing wisely and economically), and when you say you do not know, the Lord will say, “Please step below.”

  • http://www.muddadvertising.com Jim Mudd

    Lynn;

    How much hubris does one have to have in order to put words in God’s mouth?

  • Roger McKinney

    Lynn: “If you believe in anthropogenic global warming and mitigate it, and it’s not real, you will end up saving tons of money, strengthening the economy, ensuring greater liberty for all and mitigating many many other problems, environmental and otherwise…”

    Not likely. The real story is that trying to mitigate GW will throw the entire world into poverty not seen since the 17th century with massive famine and death.

    Lynn: “you could help push the climate into hysteresis — with 95% of life on earth dying…”

    That’s not even in the most hysterical of hysterical forecast. If we ignore GW, the planet is likely to warm a degree or two over the next several centuries. Then it might begin to cool off. We simply don’t know. But if history is any guide, the planet will likely begin to cool off in the next century.

    Creating totally unrealistic scenarios promising a return to the Garden of Eden if we stop GW, or everyone dying if we don’t, is a typical socialist technique and very hishonest.

  • DavidW

    “The real story is that trying to mitigate GW will throw the entire world into poverty not seen since the 17th century with massive famine and death.”
    Hi Roger, would you mind to explain how you came to this drastic conclusion?
    On what figures did you calculate that dire outcome?
    (I’m not asking as an adherent of the GW-hysteria, remembering the deforestation fears of the 80s very well)

  • Roger McKinney

    David, I was exaggerating a little bit. Trying to reach the extremity of Lynn’s posts. No one knows what will happen. But let’s say we have to cut CO2 emissions by 90% to stop GW. That means killing most industry in the world. It means returning to farming with mules. If we go back to the productivity levels in farming that we had before we used tractors, food production will be cut by about 90%. Many people will starve to death. In addition, the animals required for farming, whether mules, horses or oxen, need food too. In 1900, half of US farmland was used to produce feed for horses. Human food production will be cut again in order to feed the draft animals.

    Also, we would have to cut out a great deal of transporation, which means buying food grown locally. Those people in areas with poor agriculture, or little agriculture, will suffer huge increases in food costs.

    Essentially, a 90% cut in CO2 emissions would require returning to the standard of living we had in about 1900, and the population that the technology and food production can sustain, which would mean a lot of peopl would have to die.

    As Hayek often wrote, the world can sustain the current population only because of the massive accumulation of capital in industry over the past several centuries.