Robert Zubrin: Radical Environmentalists and Other Merchants of Despair

Recent wildfires and soaring temperatures have climate change proponents declaring victory. But as Robert Zubrin enthusiastically warned during a recent ReasonTV interview, sometimes the message isn't nearly as frightening as the messenger.

Here is the original text:

"We have never been in danger of running out of resources," says Dr. Robert Zubrin, "but we have encountered considerable dangers from people who say we are running out of resources and who say that human activities need to be constrained."

In his latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, Zubrin documents the history of dystopian environmentalism, from economic impairment inflicted by current global warming policies to the Malthusian concern over population growth. "Just think how much poorer we would be today if the world would have had half as many people in the 19th century as it actually did. You can get rid of Thomas Edison or Louis Pasteur, take your pick."

Zubrin sat down with Reason Magazine Editor Matt Welch to discuss his book, the difference between practical and ideological environmentalism, and how U.S. foreign aid policy encourages population control.

Runs about 9.30 minutes

Produced by Meredith Bragg. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Josh Swain.

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  • John||

    Step 1 - engage in fanatical opposition to any sound forest management so that the forest burns down.

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com.....e-forests/

    Step 2, blame the forest burning down on "global warming"

    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com.....seid=auto

    Step 3 profit!!

  • ||

    "Profit!!11!!!" is the fourth step. The third step is "Blame libertard Rethuglicant negro-lynching planet-killers for everything ever as a conclusion."

  • Surly Chef||

    I though the "?????" step was required just before profit. Otherwise it's not a joke befitting the format, it's just something awful done to get over on others and as such not particularly funny.

  • ||

    It's mutated from that initial structure considerably since its invention, so no, not necessarily.

  • Surly Chef||

    Okay. I don't post enough to keep on top of these things all the time.

  • ||

    I don't post enough to keep on top of these things all the time.

    ------------------

    Is that one of those crimes you're going to have to surrender your monocle for?

  • Surly Chef||

    I was busy because I was beating poor children with my blood diamond studded cane for not doing my work fast enough, or polishing my monocle enough that I can burn then with the rays of the sun with it instead of using physical effort to beat them. Basically I was in a downward spiral of oppressing the underprivileged and you're going to question my monocle rights!?!?!

  • John||

    If you would get your child labor from the third world, preferably SE Asia, you wouldn't have to beat them so much.

  • Surly Chef||

    My family is from SE Asia. That wouldn't be racist enough. Asians do hate each other though.

  • John||

    Vietnamese guy beating Korean children out of racism would make most liberals' head explode.

  • Surly Chef||

    More likely a Korean father would beat his daughter for dating a Vietnamese guy.

  • John||

    I didn't say it was a good joke. And yeah, it is just an awful process whereby environmentalists destroy the environment in order to create a justification for further power.

  • ||

    What if they swore that they were doing it all for the children? Would you trust them then?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Sorry for the OT, but I think I found Australio-Dunphy...

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/si.....41536.html

  • shamalam||

    That Aussie cop seems like a pretty decent guy, with a sense of humor.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Oh, and I do enjoy watching the ebb and flow of enviro-doom predictions. When I was a kid it was all Ice Age-y.... reason for it? MAN! Now, Global Warm-y ... reason for it? MAN! Solutions remain remarkable consistent, tho' - give us a crapload of money and power to remake society as we wish. Nice to have found a universal solution.

  • ||

    "Elect me President, and I'll make chickens shit gold!"

  • Surly Chef||

    Which we would point out would only serve to diminish the value of gold.

  • ||

    And the promulgator would be elected anyway, because logic isn't very common among the general electorate.

  • Dylan||

    Breakfast will never be the same.

  • Surly Chef||

    Oh, I really just assumed they go hand in hand.

    Asshole: "If we just print more money everyone will be rich!"

    liberatrian: "I'm positive that's not how it works..."

    Voter: "Libertarians (who are they?) want us to be poor!?!?!?!" *pulls asshole lever*

  • John||

    You are just a nihilist who doesn't believe in the power of the printing press.

  • Surly Chef||

    It's always fun to have someone confront me with this sort of logic about economics, when, because of my chosen profession, it's statistically unlikely that I even make it to upper middle class in any stage of my career but, that I want poor people to remain poor, and somehow my line of reasoning keeps everyone poor except me. I am poor; argue that my premise is wrong or something, but that's rarely the line of argument.

  • John||

    Your profession requires you to live in the real world where you have to do things like make payroll and serve customers. Most people who believe in such nonsense don't. They are trust fund kids or work for NGOs or the government where such constraints don't exist.

  • Surly Chef||

    I did work at a university part time in the IT dept recently for a couple year stint to supplement my income. It was awful the kind of people I had to deal with. There was one lone island of reason. A single econ professor, whose computer I worked on frequently, though I never met, had an entire wall Austrian books, and not just econ ones, classic liberal theory too. Right in the center stood Mises Socialism and Hayek's Road to Serfdom. One of the only regrets from that job is not getting to converse with him ever.

  • Serf||

    "A History of the United States, Volume I. If you want to read a real history book, read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. That book will knock you on your ass.

    You people baffle me. You spend all this money on beautiful, fancy books–and they’re the wrong fuckin’ books."

    *BARF*

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Ugh. Whenever I hear the words, "Good Will Hunting", I get overcome with the urge to start kicking Matt Damon in the balls and never stop.

  • Ted S.||

    Just find the type of food hipsters want to eat, and charge them big bucks for it.

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    "When I was a kid it was all Ice Age-y.... reason for it?"

    A majority of climate scientists predicted warming in the 70s. You should be a bit more skeptical of your own convictions.

  • Doubting Thomas||

    Merchants of Despair

    "We're fucked" is a common refrain here.
    Is that despair or pessimism or nihilism?

  • John||

    Funny how Libertarians are the ones who are optimistic and believe in the human ability to overcome obstacles and liberals and greens are the pessimists convinced that we just turn back progress to survive. Yet, it is the libertarians who are supposed to be the nihilists.

  • GILMORE||

    WE BELIEVE IN NOSSING LEBOWSKI!! WE CUT OFF YOUR CHONSON!

  • Doubting Thomas||

    Libertarians are the ones who are optimistic

    That's why "We're fucked" is a common refrain here amongst the optimistic libertarians.

  • Eric L||

    "Yet, it is the libertarians who are supposed to be"...the ones who want us to go back to the 1850s.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Um, yeah, sure, Eric.

  • Bill||

    Realism??

  • John||

    From the comments at Slate. Even by current standards, which are really high, this is epic stupid.

    nonya
    The question is: How do you force companies to hire more workers when the following environment is allowed to exist:

    1. There are no real unions left in this country so people don't strike.
    2. Employers can basically fire at a whim without any penalty, there is case in Page Arizona of a worker being fired because she spoke Navajo to a customer at an auto parts place. Problem was the customer only spoke Navajo and the employee was the only one in the store who could communicate to the customer. The employee violated the store's "English Only" policy.
    3. Workers, fearful of losing their jobs, now work longer hours in a week and take fewer vacations then ever. If you take a vacation you can get fired in some places. So if 5 employees can work 2 hours longer a day the company doesn't need to hire a 6th worker.
    4. Because companies don't hire people they can accumulate a glut of cash that is hardly taxed. How much tax did GE pay last year?

    So you have tons of cash that you sit on, workers who are afraid to step up and demand to be treated fairly, a large supply of labor ready to take the place of someone who quits, and really no governmental or union oversight.

    Tell me again why you would hire more people?

    How do these people feed themselves?

  • ||

    It's one of the few things they are able to do on their own John.

    Rest assured that if it came down to it though, they would force you to feed them if they ever got the balls to demand total support.

  • Sevo||

    "How do these people feed themselves?"

    They don't. They wait for nanny to come around with the bottle.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    As an employer I only want to hire people that threaten to go on strike, cause trouble, refuse to follow company policies and are general assholes.

    But I can't find anyone like that so I just sit on my giant piles of untaxed money.

  • Sevo||

    C'mon, VG! Scrooge McDuck would not be amused; you're supposed to swim around in it.

  • Fluffy||

    The really amusing thing is that they hold it as an article of faith that employment is exploitative.

    Employers steal from laborers by employing them and "exploiting" their labor.

    Funny how they forget their central claim about capitalism when it comes time to fantasize about conspiracies to not hire people.

  • wareagle||

    when you begin with a flawed premise - that companies can be forced to hire people - the only certainty is that a trial of stupid will follow.

  • ||

    Wow. If only we could build a power plant that runs off of retards. There seems to be a limitless supply.

  • GILMORE||

    Its called 'democracy'

  • ||

    How do these people feed themselves?

    Frankly, I'm surprised they have the brainpower to obtain oxygen.

  • Bramblyspam||

    I get really annoyed with the "get rid of Edison or Pasteur" argument, which commonly pops up when discussing abortion. Fine, do I also get to get rid of Hitler or Stalin? Suddenly the trade doesn't look quite so bad.

  • ||

    Except this article was about the death cults of environmentalism, not abortion. And you'd have to throw in quite a few more dictators to get the balance sheet to even out against Pasteur alone.

  • Brian D||

    I'd vote to get rid of Edison.

    sin,
    Topsy

  • Rubber Nipple Salesman||

    Not to mention he lost the original argument despite the theatrics.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Plus, the way he fucked Tesla over.

  • ||

    Also, fried chicken.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Tesla was an immigrant from Croatia, so Edison was just being a racist.

  • ||

    "Underwater Eruption Strews Ocean Surface with Dead Fish". Linked to Global Warming.

    "Increase in temperature, decrease in oxygen and a more acidic pH is exactly what scientists would expect to be the result of global warming for the ocean..."

  • Bill||

    That is criminally retarded, bordering on batshit crazy.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So... a split in the ocean floor was caused by... global warming.

    K remain skeptic.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yep, a slowly rising global temperature is exactly the same as a localized volcanic eruption.

  • Rubber Nipple Salesman||

    Well, the center of the earth IS very hot....several millon degrees hot- so I've heard.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "I" remain skeptic.

    Fuckin' old age... can't read the screen without my glasses, and can't find my glasses this morning, either.

  • Brutus||

    My cat is up a tree. Global warming is clearly the cause.

  • Rubber Nipple Salesman||

    The ground was simlpy too hot for the poor thing to stand on. Caused by global warming!

  • Rubber Nipple Salesman||

    simply

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Merchants of Despair", while spot-on, isn't catchy enough.

    "Doom-sponges", OTOH, is short and sweet and just as correctly descriptive.

  • Brutus||

    I like PJ O'Rourke's name best: Funsuckers.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "The Perennially Indignant" was also one of his good lines, too. Sums up leftists quite succinctly.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Speaking of The Perennially Indignant... Tony's here.

  • T o n y||

    The world population was significantly lower in the 18th century, yet it produced Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, et al. It doesn't matter what the population is if there is an overarching movement and encouragement of enlightenment.

    Step one in any useful intellectual movement is believing in the scientific method. And it's a bit rich having libertarians complain about others spreading doom and gloom. You guys aren't exactly a bunch of optimists.

  • ||

    Go troll yourself, trolly trollerson!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    There's not much to be optimistic about, what with the Teams* working day and night to ruin this country.

    *Yes, plural.

  • Doubting Thomas||

    But John claims that libertarians are optimists.
    Somebody is wrong. Could it be John?

    Naaaaaah.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I am optimistic that the Teams are doing their level best, every day, to fuck this country in the ass.

    Doubt *that*, Tom.

  • mr simple||

    You obfuscate, but you knew that. Another troll incapable of arguing in good faith.

  • ||

    We are optimistic about humanity and our ability to survive most anything. We are not optimistic about the government or politicians ability/willingness to decrease leviathan. But then, you already knew that.

    Retarded troll is retarded.

  • T o n y||

    John is never wrong, except whenever he says anything.

  • T o n y||

    John is never wrong, except whenever he says anything.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.7.12 @ 7:01PM|#
    "John is never wrong, except whenever he says anything."

    At least John might simply be wrong, rather than a psychopathic liar such as shithead.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Don't forget his blatant penchant for anti-straight bigotry, which he attempts to alleviate by calling people "racists" despite the specific meaning of that particular term.

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    Libertarians want to ruin this country. Well, 99 % of it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And before you go off into your usual "playground/echo-chamber" bullshit, let me posit this, Tony:

    If one of us, a Reason regular, were to start an account on, say, DemocraticUnderground... how long would it be before THEIR regulars began to mock and deride the new poster?

    Now, maybe you understand. Or probably not. At least I tried.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "If one of us, a Reason regular, were to start an account on, say, DemocraticUnderground... how long would it be before THEIR regulars began to mock and deride the new poster?"

    The first time you make a post suggesting that, say, Cuba isn't a democratic utopia, or make a science-based argument as to why magic conspiracy earthquake machines can't exist.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    Oh, and you'd be immediately and irreversibly banned for life for suggesting such.

    Speaking from personal experience here.

  • R||

    It wouldn't even come to that. They'd simply ban hammer your ass for disagreeing with the collective.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Hell, I got the banhammer from FreeRepublic [yeah, it was a mistake to go there, I learned that years ago] for disagreeing with THEIR collective.

  • R||

    Echo chambers gotta echo.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If anyone comes here offering valid critiques and thoughtful analysis... well, fuck, that's yet to happen, so it's a pipe dream.

  • R||

    Not sure if you're thinking that I meant that this place is an echo chamber; I meant that FreeRepublic and DU are.

    This place is only an echo chamber when the squirrels decide to treat our posts like broken records.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    No, R... I know you better than that.

  • T o n y||

    I don't know, I don't really hang out on lefty sites. When I do, it's to criticize them for various things.

    As an alumnus of the school of hard knocks or whatever, surely you know about the "two wrongs make a right" fallacy.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Way to dance around the question, Tony. Anything to justify your pointless existence here.

    Wait... you criticize your fellow leftists? For being insufficiently leftist? I am confuse.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Also, you screwed up by coming here in the first place, so your "two wrongs" analogy is as worthless as anything else you post.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.7.12 @ 7:03PM|#
    "I don't know, I don't really hang out on lefty sites. When I do, it's to criticize them for various things."

    Of COURSE you do, shithead. Why, I'll bet you criticize them for, oh, excess reliance on the government, right, shithead?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "criticize them for lack of excess reliance on the government" would be more Tonyish, Sevo.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y|7.7.12 @ 1:54PM|#
    "The world population was significantly lower in the 18th century, yet it produced Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, et al. It doesn't matter what the population is if there is an overarching movement and encouragement of enlightenment."
    Shithead, the value of your guesses is matched to your IQ; single-digits on a triple digit scale.

    "Step one in any useful intellectual movement is believing in the scientific method."
    You should try it, shithead.

    "And it's a bit rich having libertarians complain about others spreading doom and gloom. You guys aren't exactly a bunch of optimists."
    The optimism here is tempered by the reality that ignoramuses like you vote, shithead.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Do you smell cunt, Sevo? I sure do.

  • Sevo||

    Sniff, sniff.
    I'd say the odor is redolent of dishonesty mixed with sanctimony. along with an add-mixture of stupidity.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Santorum?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Mmmm...more like "Waxman".

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Ewwwww.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Step one in any useful intellectual movement is believing in the scientific method.

    And what do you do when an entire branch of academia decides to abandon it in favor of shouting down dissent and excluding colleagues from publication if they don't toe the party line?

    -jcr

  • Doubting Thomas||

    excluding colleagues from publication

    Academia has censorship powers? They are governments unto themselves?
    I did not know that.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Well, piss-burgers, Tom. Now you done gone and dropped a bunch of gloom on the place.

  • Brutus||

    Academia controls its hiring and firing, publication, discipline and tenure tracks. For grad students, it's a career-ending move to buck the left-wing zeitgeist of the academy.

  • Apparently a 'statist'||

    Has any climate-change skeptic been fired or pushed out, ostracized in any way? I mean, as a libertarian you are a professional when it comes to imagined victimhood, but why assume the lack of skeptics isn't a result of proper meritocracy?

    What if the only way you could be a climate change skeptic would be to rely on faulty scientific work?

  • ||

    But we have a consensus.

    /IPCC

  • ||

    You know...science...

    /IPCC

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "And it's a bit rich having libertarians complain about others spreading doom and gloom."

    Chump change compared to the act of being lectured on scientific method by your ilk.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Mister College Genius can't use the word "racist" in its proper context, Brutus. Always remember that.

  • ||

    $

  • Mr. FIFY||

    *snicker*

    http://www.theonion.com/video/.....ner,28675/

    Let's chip in and buy one for Tony!

  • cw||

    Perfect.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Clean it out, and put shrike in the drivers' seat.

    "Next!"

  • timposimpo||

    Sometimes you jsut have to roll with it man!

    www.Top-Anon.tk

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Global warming is your fault"

    Bullshit.

  • Brian from Texas||

    These fires were probably started by the treehuggers themselves, like when the Nazis burned down the Reichstag Building and blamed it on a Communist plot.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Earth Liberation Front? Wouldn't put it past them.

  • Tejicano||

    Had I not grown up around Tony’s type of leftist - you know, the kind who falls for every bleeding heart cause that wanders in the door, the type the not only drinks the cool aid but extols on its color and bouquet - I would wonder if he has no clue how he is only tolerated here because he provides comic relief as a representative of the lefty archetype we all know only too well.

    But the truth is that he has no clue about anything. His political lockstep mindset does not allow thought of any type. He can only swallow whole and regurgitate as his asshole is too busy being the main theme of his personality to allow anything to pass.

  • ||

    Zubrin sat down with Reason Magazine http://www.lunettesporto.com/l.....-3_21.html Editor Matt Welch to discuss his book, the difference between practical and ideological environmentalism, and how U.S. foreign aid policy encourages population control.

  • Carney||

    Zubrin is great on space and energy, but he's only about half-right in "Merchants", because quality matters as much as quantity.

    Yes, more IQ 100 people, or especially, SMART people around can create a better world for the reasons Zubrin laid out, such as bigger markets making it easier to raise capital for risk-taking, more division of labor creating better efficiency, and a bigger talent pool from which more transformationally high talented people can emerge.

    But another billion people with IQs of 70 are not going to produce a lot of Edison and Pasteur level geniuses at the upper end of the Bell Curve.

    Thus yes, it DOES make sense to encourage population control among some, and to encourage population increase among others. A blanket policy of treating the talented and untalented exactly alike makes no more sense for an NBA team than it does for considering population policy.

    Also, Zubrin's story on global warming is a bit off. In "”Merchants" he claimed it's an unalloyed good but in “Energy Victory” said it's a mild. long-term problem that we'll need to address eventually. Furthermore, in this interview, he complains about regulatory micro-management, but the whole point of cap and trade is to do precisely what he advocates: set an overall maximum target for the pollutant, then let individuals innovate to meet the goal. That's why Reagan favored cap and trade for sulfur dioxide as a market-based alternative to telling each individual facility how much to emit.

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