The Loathe Boat, Exciting and New

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Johann Hari's travelogue of the National Review cruise is a fantastic read and it's hard to pick the standout section. Andrew Sullivan focuses on a tiff between Norman Podhoretz and William Buckley. The running theme of total panic about Muslim birthrates might be even weirder.

This is the Muslims Are Coming cruise. Everyone thinks it. Everyone knows it. And the man most responsible for this insight is sitting only a few tables down: Mark Steyn. He is wearing sunglasses on top of his head and a bright shirt. Steyn's thesis in his new book, America Alone, is simple: The "European races"–i.e., white people–"are too self-absorbed to breed," but the Muslims are multiplying quickly. The inevitable result will be "large-scale evacuation operations circa 2015" as Europe is ceded to Al Qaeda and "Greater France remorselessly evolve[s] into Greater Bosnia." He offers a light smearing of dubious demographic figures–he needs to turn 20 million European Muslims into more than 150 million in nine years, which is a lot of humping–to "prove" his case.

But facts, figures, and doubt are not on the itinerary of this cruise. With one or two exceptions, the passengers discuss "the Muslims" as a homogenous, sharia-seeking block–already with near-total control of Europe. Over the week, I am asked nine times–I counted–when I am fleeing Europe's encroaching Muslim population for the safety of the United States.

At one of the seminars, a panelist says anti-Americanism comes from both directions in a grasping pincer movement–"The Muslims condemn us for being decadent; the Europeans condemn us for not being decadent enough." Midge Decter, Norman Podhoretz's wife, yells, "The Muslims are right, the Europeans are wrong!" And, instantly, Jay Nordlinger, National Review's managing editor and the panel's chair, says, "I'm afraid a lot of the Europeans are Muslim, Midge." The audience cheers. Somebody shouts, "You tell 'em, Jay!"

It's unclear how much this phobia was building among NR's high-toned audience before Steyn's book came out. If his work is responsible, well, then, damn. At one point he claims that the population of Yemen will outstrip Russia's in the not-too-distant future.

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  1. How did you restrain yourself from throwing them all overboard??

    Earplugs?

  2. There is a lot of scary stupidity in there, but I’d have to confess that there is a kernel in there that bothers me. Fundamentalism wins elections. Moderates lose everywhere all the time. If nothing else, they get blown up.

    Now, you can’t talk about The Muslims with any greater accuracy than you can talk about The West, but can’t you legitimately talk about The West as a group of people with some basic sets of assumptions in common?

    I dunno. I just worry sometimes that the glue of common understanding in the middle east is something like The Goodness of Theocracy or The Evil of Choice. I want to believe that is absurd and that there is a minority who feel that way, but is that hope empiricially borne out?

  3. Hey you! Gen Y-ers! You heard the man. Now get out there and start screwing your brains out and pushing out pups.

    And don’t start whining about “I can’t support that many kids on my McJob salary” The great US Conservative welfare system has got your back. Have they ever lied to you before?

    Or do you hate America?

  4. At some point there was coup at NR and high-functioning retards took the place over. I’m not sure if the audience for NR devolved and it followed along or if it was a more synergistic process where dumb + dumb = a lot of dumb. WFB with his big city fancy talk is a relic they wheel out every once in a while but no one remembers why. Lowry? Podhoretz? Goldberg? I wouldn’t trust those dorks to wash my car.

    I think conservatarians are looking for something. “Small government” and all that BS went out with the Macarena. The Brown Hoard provides something with some real guts to get agitated about.

    JasonL – There seems to be a global counterrevolution against the Enlightenment underway. It’s not quite accurate to make like it’s just taking place in the islamic world though.

  5. Wow. This is nearly as insane as the “Commies are coming” BS I heard up until the Soviet Union shattered.

    So who will take the place of “the Muslims” after they’ve had their run? Just wondering. Hey, maybe it’ll be “the Christian Fascists”! Can I shoot? Can I?!

  6. The excerpt Sully quoted about Buckley being shouted down by dittoheads whipped into a Rumsfeldian fury by Podhoretz was vaguely depressing

    So is the thought of a cruise where nobody gets laid

  7. Was Midge Decter wearing a veil when she said “the Muslims are right”? Why was she allowed to speak in a group of men anyway? Weird.

  8. At one point he claims that the population of Yemen will outstrip Russia’s in the not-too-distant future.

    Next Sunday A.D.?

  9. Midge Decter, Norman Podhoretz’s wife, yells, “The Muslims are right, the Europeans are wrong!”

    It’s interesting to watch the little National Review civil war. The same magazine that publishes the “Exterminate the brutes” Islamophobia of Mark Steyn also publishes the Taliban Republicanism of Ramesh Ponorru and this Midge Decter person.

    Though I must admit, the way these factions can come together to hate liberals is nothing short of inspiring.

  10. Dude, Midge Decter is fucking crazy. She spoke at my college at a seminar and claimed that only homosexual sex and heroin use cause AIDS.

  11. WFB with his big city fancy talk is a relic they wheel out every once in a while but no one remembers why. Lowry? Podhoretz? Goldberg? I wouldn’t trust those dorks to wash my car.

    Buckley started a revolution; the others just want to get in on it. It’s the difference between The Grateful Dead and Deadheads–one is hard, the other just requires you to wear the uniform.

  12. JasonL,

    Now, you can’t talk about The Muslims with any greater accuracy than you can talk about The West, but can’t you legitimately talk about The West as a group of people with some basic sets of assumptions in common?

    Only to a certain degree of precision – a degree that falls well short of what’s useful when discussion politics.

    The West includes Reaganism, Naderism, and Fidelistas.

  13. There seems to be a global counterrevolution against the Enlightenment underway. It’s not quite accurate to make like it’s just taking place in the islamic world though.

    You can also place some of the blame for this on those espousing post-modernist ideologies.

  14. Block Quote Works Special Edition of My Previous Post:

    There seems to be a global counterrevolution against the Enlightenment underway. It’s not quite accurate to make like it’s just taking place in the islamic world though.

    You can also place some of the blame for this on those espousing post-modernist ideologies.

  15. The not so hidden agenda here is to pave the way for “the West” to accept that there needs to be final solution to the Muslim problem.

  16. The Titanic went down, yet this ship of fools remains above the waterline? Where’s the justice?

  17. Bhh — My hat’s off to you.

  18. Midge Decter, Norman Podhoretz’s wife

    Why isn’t her name “Midge Podhoretz?” I thought the whole women-not-taking-their-husband’s-name fad was just the kind of liberal-ACLU-feminist perversion that is destroying Western Civilization from within. If a neocon culture warrior like Norman Fucking Podhoretz can’t even keep his wife in line, what hope is there for the rest of us?

  19. Why do white people always have this nagging fear of being outnumbered someday by TEH BROWNZ?

    This isn’t recent, this fear has been around since the 18th Century.

    The third rate Canadian fascist you mention is nothing more than the spiritual heir to Lothrop Stoddard, though given VDARE’s praises of Stoddard that might be a compliment.

  20. THESE GUYS ARE CRAZY ITS NOT THE MUSLIMS IT TEH MEXICANS!!

  21. Jason-

    A few things. First, I just have to ask a question about this:
    Fundamentalism wins elections. Moderates lose everywhere all the time.

    If moderates lose and fire-breathers win, then why are you always saying that libertarian ideologues need to moderate and compromise?

    Mind you, I happen to agree about the need for compromise, but it was interesting to hear you say that it’s the moderates who compromise and lose.

    Anyway, moving on: Whatever generalizations might or might not be true about the Middle East (and I think such generalizations are probably quite dangerous), extrapolating to immigrant communities is even more dangerous. Sure, you’ll find some radicals among those communities, but how representative are those crazies? And keep in mind that Europe is not as good at assimilating immigrants as we are. To the extent that the crazies reflect on anything other than themselves, I wonder to what extent they reflect on their host countries rather than their ancestral lands.

    That’s an important question to ask, because it may be that openness will defeat fanaticism better than walls.

  22. Should read, “he might take that as a compliment”.

  23. But facts, figures, and doubt are not on the itinerary of this cruise.

    Nor are they on the itinerary of the Reason comments.

    The rest of the post is excerpts from the long paper (lots of facts ‘n’ figgers and scenarios from the UN and other sources) below:

    Timothy M. Savage: Europe and Islam: Crescent Waxing, Cultures Clashing.
    The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Washington Quarterly ? 27:3 pp. 25-50.
    http://www.twq.com/04summer/docs/04summer_savage.pdf

    – Conservative projections estimate that, compared to today’s 5 percent, Muslims will
    comprise at least 20 percent of Europe’s population by 2050. Muslims could outnumber
    non-Muslims in France and perhaps in all of western Europe by mid-century

    – European Muslims are not a monolithic group, however, Europe’s Muslims are not so
    diverse as to entirely exclude commonalities. The most important is Islam. This new
    interest in faith is especially keen among Muslims born in Europe, mostly the children and
    grandchildren of the immigrants who arrived in the 1960s and ’70s. Indeed, surveys show
    that many Muslims in Europe, especially the young, now identify with Islam more than the
    country either of their heritage or birth – feeling accepted in neither place. The Muslim
    world is overwhelmingly totalitarian; it does not share Western ideals on women or on
    basic freedoms such as free speech, a free press, and freedom to worship as one sees fit.

    – Studies in France and Germany find that second- and particularly third-generation
    Muslims are less integrated into European societies than their parents or grandparents
    were. The recent headscarf affairs in France and Germany underscore and further
    exacerbate this basic clash. The influential German nationwide daily Frankfurter
    Allgemeine Zeitung depicts the situation as “frightening,” questions the prospects of
    integrating Germany’s growing Muslim population into society, and maintains that at least
    10 percent of Germany’s Muslim population-400,000 individuals-are followers and
    supporters of radical Islam, whose aim is the establishment of an Islamic state.

  24. She spoke at my college at a seminar and claimed that only homosexual sex and heroin use cause AIDS.

    Replace ’cause AIDS’ with ‘transmit HIV’ and she’s about 80-90% correct – according to the CDC and referring to the US, at least. Nearly all the rest is transmission by hetersexual anal sex between women and male junkies and MSM.

  25. Cesar,

    Most of us don’t.

  26. joe:

    It isn’t really politics per se that I’m worried about. This is more of a gaius marius sized look at things. I worry a fundamental inability to live with each other due to mutually exclusive value sets. What do you do if the guy downstairs is keeping slaves?

  27. Nearly all the rest is transmission by hetersexual anal sex between women and male junkies and MSM.

    You can get AIDS from the mainstream media? I’m unplugging my television right now!

  28. LeMur-

    50-year Demographic projections are a step above fortune telling in their accuracy.

  29. Jake,

    Don’t be silly. He meant MLM–multi-level marketing.

    Or maybe MTM–Mary Tyler Moore.

  30. Most of us don’t.

    Yes, that is true, But I’ve never seen a book by an African, East Asian, Or Latin American that talks of “Race suicide”.

  31. JasonL,

    If he’s hurting people, you call the police.

    Short of that, you chill, and your kids teach his kids the lyrics to “The Real Slim Shady.”

    If we lived in a society that depended on cultural homogeneity and universal adherence among our populace to a central cultural vision, lots of people from other cultures coming here might a problem.

    But we don’t. Diversity and the constant acculturation of immigrants and their kids are, and always have been, two of the defining pillars of American culture.

    Your slavery example is easy. We banned slavery a century ago. Slavers go to jail. It’s the smaller, victimless differences that pose more of a challenge, because we can’t impose order in the same manner, and because little conflicts will crop up a lot more frequently.

    We’ll deal. We always have. We’ve got a long, proud heritage as a mongrel society, and these problems take care of themselves.

  32. JasonL,

    You might find Danny Postel’s recent essay/pamphlet of interest. Nick gave it a shout out here, with a few additional links.

    Anon

  33. Short of that, you chill, and your kids teach his kids the lyrics to “The Real Slim Shady.”

    This reminds me of a great article in the Onion last week:

    After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack

  34. thoreau:

    I was referring broadly to the popularity of fanatical crazies in the middle east. Fundamentalists don’t win all elections in the west, clearly.

    I haven’t thought this through, but part of my concern may be highlighted by your question. Interest groups form and shape American politics because our underlying common set of assumptions includes an individual persuit of your own interests and values. We would expect there to be a lot of interest groups. What does the popularity of a theocratic state say along those lines?

    I don’t know exactly how to figure immigrant populations into my concern. The crying about the numbers seems silly to me, just as the crying about hispanics domestically seems silly. That said, I don’t like the word ‘assimilated’ much in the sense that you need to dress a certain way and eat non threatening food, but really the base line is that you buy into the ideas of tolerance, nonviolence, and fundamental rights.

  35. What does the popularity of a theocratic state say along those lines?

    The theocrats tend to be most popular in places where the local thugs are (1) allegedly allied with liberal Westerners and (2) caught with their hands in cookie jars. The theocrats always promise to not stick their hands into cookie jars, and it’s quite likely that in the beginning they even mean it. Religious zeal can be a purifying thing in the absence of temptation. (And yes, that sentence is arguably nonsensical, or at least underwhelming, which is sort of the point.)

    Of course, theocrats get power and then they stick their hands in cookie jars, because they are human.

    I’ve heard that religious courts are also pretty popular in places prone to tribal warfare. However illiberal the religious judge might be, initially he is at least consistent and predictable, which is more than you can say for a situation where disputes are handled by blood feuds. People can generally prosper under illiberal but predictable laws better than they can prosper under chaos.

    Of course, if the religious court goes from being the new alternative to the entrenched status quo, then the religious judges start sticking their hands into cookie jars too, because they are human.

    As to assimilation, I completely agree with you: I don’t give a damn what somebody wears or eats. Well, OK, fat people shouldn’t wear spandex. And Norse immigrants shouldn’t eat rotten fish if the wind will blow the smell toward me. But otherwise, I don’t give a damn. I’m more interested in the values.

  36. No discussion of this is complete without Randy McDonald’s post in which he did the, y’know, sums wrt France, and this one wrt Spain. Take-home message: Mark Steyn is wrong, not just a bit wrong, but so wrong that only deliberate mendacity or functional innumeracy are adequate explanations.

  37. joe:

    I don’t think it is as easy as you suggest. Because I’m not necessarily talking about immigrants in particular. I’m talking about the kernel that what is wildly popular in a part of the world, not forced upon people but legitimately popular, may be at odds with our views as fundamentally as is slavery.

    I’m as much worried about us getting along on the same planet as the same apartment building. So the answer is leave everyone alone and let the oppressed over there handle thier own situation. Immigration is a feature of the world that bring these two differing views into physical proximity on an increasing basis. Or something like that.

    Mind you too, I don’t lay awake at night worrying about this, I’m more voicing a concern about what it may mean when given an option, people choose violent theocrats.

  38. Where’s a U-boat when you need one?

  39. You ever notice that certain commenters and other people are always throwing out numbers to make their case for whatever craziness they’re trying to spread?

    Take the case of Muslims somehow forming a threat to whatever order the commenter is trying to preserve. Do you think he has had experiences that made him seek out and compile stats to “prove” his point? Perhaps Muslims swarmed his workplace and forced him to pray with them, or he had a dispute with someone who forced him to settle it in a sharia court.

    What really sets someone off as a fraidy cat like that? If I want to get all spiritual, I could guess it’s something like a contracting rather than expanding soul, but that sounds kind of flaky. Is it a lack of self confidence that leads to this fear? Anybody here who’s gone from intolerant nutjob to normal? Can you give some insights to the mind of these nuts? I listen and listen to these people, but I cannot get my head around what is really at the root of their fear.

  40. i think it’s basically the fear of an alien order being imposed upon them from outside. remarkably similar to the OBL communiques.

    your confusion stems from their it being conveyed in racial and religious terms that have lost some of their freshness in many quarters. and i believe that works in both directions.

    i suppose we should have some sympathy for those who seek to swim against the current of history and the continued mixture of people, places and things. (in that vein i guess we should hope others have sympathy for us, a voice in the mines in the age of the superstate.

  41. Can you give some insights to the mind of these nuts? I listen and listen to these people, but I cannot get my head around what is really at the root of their fear.

    highnumber,

    I think you’re probably overthinking it. I attribute this type of stuff to good old fashioned Paleolithic fear of the the other tribe mixed with a dose of paranoia.

  42. But I’ve never seen a book by an African, East Asian, Or Latin American that talks of “Race suicide”.

    No, they just fly planes into buildings or commit genocide by wiping out the competing tribe. The publishing royalties must not be that good overseas.

    Honestly, do you think that cruise-happy right-wingers are the only ones who have tribalistic tendencies? Midge Decter is low on my list of people to worry about. Fanatics and thugs with loyal armies rank a bit higher.

  43. JW-


    No, they just fly planes into buildings or commit genocide by wiping out the competing tribe. The publishing royalties must not be that good overseas.

    Thats very true, I think the poster that said this kind (Muslims taking over Europe) is very similar to OBL’s complaints about western influence in the Middle East is a very valid one.

  44. Ah yes, “they.” Who exactly are “they,” anyway?

  45. Paranoid westerners always fear they are going to lose in demographics, paranoid non-westerners tend to fear that their cultures will be “westernized” and their culture will be forever lost even if they remain by far the numerical majority.

  46. highnumber: I came from the sticks where xenophobia reigns. I don’t know that I was a nutjob exactly, but I fell into the category of intolerant in younger days for sure.

    To wit:

    1. it is easier to hate and fear rather than investigate and tolerate.

    2. utter lack of intellectual curiosity

    3. people don’t read…anything besides the local rag’s obits and police blotter

    4. specifically in my case, I came from the real upstate NY (within a stone’s throw of Canada, eh) where the number one industry is prisons (NYC crooks) and law enforcement (Homeland Security and NYSP). When folks are exposed to only the worst that society has to offer for generations and do so under the gaze of the over-armed, over-zealous, over-staffed NYSP army, their ability to understand the world at large as anything other than one big goddamned fearful mess is reduced.

    Thank you for reminding me why I don’t care if I ever go back to that shithole again.

  47. Cecil-

    we’ve probably discussed this before – Plattsburgh? Malone? Massena?

    From yer answer, I’d guess Malone… (prison there)

    I do object to JW’s “they fly planes into buildings”. How many attacks have been like that? More than one? Is it a consistently used tactic? If not, for me that phrasing plays into the hands of the “kill ’em all” crowd.

    Wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube men paid for this space.

  48. VM – Plattsburgh was the closest city.
    The best laughs us townies ever got was when we would call Plattsburgh “the city” in the presence of some Long Island brats attending Plattsburgh State.

    I thank the stars every day for the decision to get an education and get the hell out with some sanity intact.

  49. Ah – I’ve driven Route 11 from Rouses Point to Watertown many times… beautiful, if not forsaken country…

    Just be thankful that you weren’t across the cute little lake in West Virgina (Northern Version) – you’d have no sanity, and you’d be culturally programmed never to leave… 🙂

    [ducks. runs off]

  50. The danger of a theocratic state is not absent. I just perceive it as coming from a different direction.

    As the combined effects of Peak Oil and global warming work their magic, resources such as food, fuel and especially water become more and more scarce. The US will not be immune to the resulting hardship.

    And hard times, as I’ve said elsewhere, favor dogma over reason. Demagogues will blame science for failing to protect us (when, in fact, it will be the failure of governments and the market to heed science).

    Fundies will step in, offering to “save us from ourselves”, and then the ridiculing of intellectuals, the constraints upon the press, the suspicion cast upon professors… which most of us won’t notice, as we’ll all be hypnotized by the endless parade of flags-n’-eagles.

  51. But fortunately, you’re the said intellectual who will notice (or has noticed) the flags-n-eagles. Thank you for popping in and protecting us. The XK Red 27 technique you’re employing really makes Vizzini seem like a moron!

    Wow. oh! It’s Dr. Ehrlich – welcome to these hier forums! How is your work with Dr. RosenRosen?

    *drinks*

    (wait – Norbert and Giggles the Midget S&M Klown have informed me that Alan Augustson’s post was only unintentionally funny)

  52. Alan Augustson,

    Thank you for your story outline. It is interesting, but I am afraid that it is too similar to Margaret Atwood’s

  53. The number of Muslims who are international terrorist jihadists is miniscule. Suicide bombers are mainly in areas where there is foreign occupation. Other than that, they’re just part of the melting pot, whether here or in Europe.

    Here in the U.S., nearly half the homicides and nearly half the victims of homicide are black, although blacks comprise a much smaller portion of the population than that. In Rwanda, blacks killed nearly a million other blacks in the space of a few months. Now that blacks have taken over in South Africa, the level of violent crime has reportedly escalated to “low level warfare.” Even some high level black politicians in Africa have recently admitted that the continent was better off when whites were running it.

    I would feel much safer here in L.A. in a Arab-American neighborhood consisting mostly of Muslims, than a black one. Go to GOOGLE and type Los Angeles, South Bureau, murder rates.

    It is easy enough to point a finger at any racial or cultural group, jsut by assembling information like this, out of context.

  54. This is one of the saddest H&R threads ever. Listen folks, predicting demographics is easy: If there is a huge baby boom in, say 1950, there will be a corresponding number of 20 year olds in 1970. If there is an unusual low number of births in a given year . . . you get the idea.

    Steyn’s argument has nothing to do with “Fear of the Brownz” and everything to do with the fact that European citizens failure to reproduce at even a replacement rate means the potential collapse of the Ponzi scheme that is their welfare state and pension system. If the only people in their countries having children do not value traditional western liberal ideas and values, then the country will be somewhat different politically and culturally 20 or 30 years down the road. And not for the better, if you value liberal Democratic ideals.
    That said, there are a number of other factors which are unknown, like for example, maybe radical islamic anti-western values will lose their appeal and islam will return to it’s older more progressive ways, or maybe there will be a backlash against intolerant muslim ideas or something else. But the concern that the great western values are in decline in Europe is not ridiculous or even improbable given current trends.

  55. cecil,

    Thanks for the response, but I’m thinking of the nuts who throw around stats and VDare and that kind of crap, the ones who act like they’re frickin’ geniuses, not the nuts who don’t read.

  56. dhex,

    Tribalist fear of people from different societies is hard-wired into the human psyche.

    But the normal course of events is for that fear to dissipate once there is regular, peaceful contact through the normal functioning of life.

  57. *shrugs* I didn’t say you’d believe me. 🙂

    But tell me, which specific part(s) are you having trouble with — the causes or the effects? Because, honestly; I’m pretty sure we’ve been watching it develop for some time now.

    No aliens, no CIA cover-ups, no black helicopters required — we just *give* our freedoms away, by degrees, and even gladly. Just protect us from “them” (however you personally define “them”).

  58. Gunnels? dat you?

    It’s a morph of DaveW and Gunnels!

    IT BURNS IT BURNS!!!

  59. I’m with de stijl et al – don’t over think it. In the mass we’re predatory, territorial, tribal apes evolved just far enough that we feel the need to justify our violence in some way more sophisticated and ‘moral’ than me want, me take. But any justification that allows us to kill and steal with a clear conscience will do – religion, ideology, patriotism, race, laughably inept demographics.

  60. Peachy-

    In short, 95% of people are just fine individually, but 95% of people act bat shit insane when they act as a group rather than as an individual.

  61. Wow. Have any of these tools ever actually met a Muslim person?

    I’ll bet they haven’t, because, gosh, you know what? Brown people are really, really a lot like pink people when you get right down to it. Pretty much decent folks, with a few saints and villains sprinkled in.

    Gettin’ pretty tired of the brown-people-hatin’.

  62. Lowry? Podhoretz? Goldberg? I wouldn’t trust those dorks to wash my car.

    Reading the Corner, Goldberg seems to have next to nothing in common with the Podhoretz family and the other “crazies in the basement” who’ve rewritten the Republican party. Hell, he’s pretty much been silent on immigration.

    I’m actually wondering how long it will be before Goldberg quits to found his own magazine, though he’s probably too lazy.

  63. The anti-Muslim wants so desperately to be right about the encroachment of anti-Western ideology via birth rates. They are the cultural equivalent of the global warming alarmists. They are taking a model and extrapolating the worst case scenario to throw everyone into fits and screaming, “Something must be done, NOW!”

    Stay on that boat, assholes.

  64. Steve,

    The title of Jonah Golberg’s new book is Liberal Fascism: The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton.

  65. Alan Augustson,

    I think you are wrong top to bottom on every point.

    As to causes, Peak Oil, global warming, and scarcity of food and water have several mutually exclusive interactions. You have essentially offered a disorganized list of the worst things you can think of without realizing that Peak Oil will decrease global warming and that global warming will increase rainfall and that, regardless, the US can and does produce way more food than it needs.

    As to effects, you offer only blind speculation. Certainly there is little evidence of your fears working out today. The people of the US are more free to do more things at this moment in history than ever before. Any projected reversal of that momentum requires some sort of argument besides, “I’m afraid.”

    Finally, you throw around the word “we” rather indiscriminately, referring both to us enlightened people as well as those who would sell themselves into slavery to rid themselves of science. The word “we” papers over much illogic. Again, some sort of argument is needed that implies that the vast and growing wealthy middle class of the US will surrender to the fundamentalist saviors.

  66. MikeP:

    Wrong.

    “As to causes, Peak Oil, global warming, and scarcity of food and water have several mutually exclusive interactions.”

    No, they don’t. Our continually-accelerating demand for cheap consumer goods, and our unlimited-driving lifestyle, created the Peak Oil condition and simultaneously propel us toward the global-warming tipping point, beyond which there will be little chance of returning for a very long time. Common cause.

    Furthermore, our ability to grow, harvest, process and distribute food all depend on oil. When the oil runs out, you grow considerably less food.

    So now you have a scorching-hot earth, less food and a lot of pissed-off people. Common effect.

    “The people of the US are more free to do more things at this moment in history than ever before.”

    Homes are entered without warrant. People are held without formal charge and without legal representation. The ability of government to conduct surveillance on law-abiding citizens is unequalled in history.

    “(…)the vast and growing wealthy middle class of the US(…)”

    Okay, it is now officially my turn to laugh. I’m not even bothering with this so-called point.

    Maybe you should have been on that cruise.

  67. Global warming is a “creative demand reduction” scam. All for us, nothing for anyone else…

    By and large, our current batch of rich people are crazy fuckers who are so far off the reality reservation they oughta be institutionalized before they irretrievably damage our nation.

  68. Becase of course Alan, human innovation is limited and we can’t possibly find an energy source other than wood coal whale oil petroleum.

  69. Buckley still controls National Review, doesn’t he? Why doesn’t he just fire the whole lot of them?

  70. Our continually-accelerating demand for cheap consumer goods,

    Umm. This is a good thing. But, to wallow in your dystopian fantasy for the sake of argument, if some disaster causes a drop in supply of cheap consumer goods, the demand will drop too.

    and our unlimited-driving lifestyle,

    This is another good thing. Again, if gas were actually, you know, uh, expensive, then people wouldn’t use the unlimited amounts of it you think they do.

    created the Peak Oil condition

    The “Peak Oil condition” means petroleum gets expensive. The rest of the Peak Oil myth is utterly unfounded and runs against every understanding of markets and economics.

    and simultaneously propel us toward the global-warming tipping point,

    There is no widely accepted “global-warming tipping point”. Which of the outlying tipping point theories are you a proponent of? Or are you a proponent of all of them just to get the most bang for your dystopian buck?

    beyond which there will be little chance of returning for a very long time.

    As I said, I think you are wrong from top to bottom. It will take a whole ‘nother comment to address your next paragraph.

    Maybe you should have been on that cruise.

    But I am puzzled by what you mean here… Do I need xenophobia lessons?

  71. Peak Oil is to the left-wing what Eurabia is to the right-wing.

  72. MikeP,

    Clearly, you do need xenophobia lessons.
    You are a famously poor xenophobe. You could only get better at it.

  73. I blame it on the lead paint at National Review. They refused to remove it in defiance of political correctness and the brain damage is catching up to them.

  74. Cesar: every fuel in the chain you mentioned, along with every substitute for petroleum we can currently come up with, just supplants one finite, exhaustible resource with another. Surely you don’t believe in infinite supply?

    Innovation can come up with a real substitute given enough time. Time, unfortunately, is against us already; and too much of it is being squandered trying to prop-up fossil fuels.

    MikeP: since you understand supply-and-demand so well, then surely you also understand the concept of “elasticity of demand”. Yes? Hm? Where an “inelastic” commodity is one people will continue to buy, no matter how expensive it becomes? Like an addictive behavior?

    Frankly, I hope you’re right. I hope people *will* stop driving. That the car will cease to be the American birthright. That Peak Oil will become moot and global-warming will be checked and even reversed. A crisis would be averted that would have cost hundreds of millions of lives. This is the same objective for which I’m working.

    And if it actually succeeds, then damn straight I’ll shake your hand and say you were right. Hope keeps me going.

  75. And what is wrong with supplanting on finite resources with another, exactly?

    Don’t underestimate the ability of human intellegence to figure out new ways to power the cars they love.


    Frankly, I hope you’re right. I hope people *will* stop driving. That the car will cease to be the American birthright. That Peak Oil will become moot and global-warming will be checked and even reversed. A crisis would be averted that would have cost hundreds of millions of lives. This is the same objective for which I’m working.

    Wow. Did your girlfriend in high school dump you for a guy who got a Mustang, or something?

  76. Alan Augustson,

    I hope that people don’t stop driving. I hope that gasoline continues to remain as cheap as it is for some time until a valid alternative slowly displaces it, allowing driving to continue unabated.

    In fact, in the absence of government interference, I fully expect that exactly that will happen.

    The car is one of those elements of reality that helps make those in the US the freest and wealthiest people in the history of the world. Why do you so dislike the ability of people to go where they want to go when they want to go?

  77. since you understand supply-and-demand so well, then surely you also understand the concept of “elasticity of demand”.

    By the way, people don’t buy gasoline because they like gasoline. They buy gasoline as part of a package of transportation. I will believe that gasoline is truly expensive when I see most not spending their money on new Priuses, but rather on getting old heaps back into working order.

  78. ewww. Now M1EK is being channeled!

    IT BURNS IT BURNS

    ooh – econ comments!

    DEMAND KURV DEMAND KURV!!!!

    Cesar – nah – he drove a DODGE STRATUS!!!!!

  79. Woops — totally forgot; no point trying to teach econ to the lemmings. *shrug* Oh well.

  80. I didn’t want to register for the New Republic thingy to read the whole article, but the notion of taking a cruise with a bunch of conservative writers…well, let’s just they’d have to be spiking the punchbowl with something pretty interesting to make that a worthwhile journey.

    Isn’t the point of a cruise to get away from it all?

  81. Hope keeps me going.

    Hope…..and petroleum.

    And they keep saying environmentalism isn’t a religion. Pshaw.

  82. A car is an appliance. It’s a refridgerator with a steering wheel.

    Refridgerators make life easier, and expand our freedom, too, but I don’t have to put up with silly-assed odes to how refridgerators are what America Number ONE woot woot woot!!!

  83. oh dear!

    noooooo!!! please don’t gooooo!

    Please lurn me some ekon! I want to know. just. don’t. know.

    [wails. runs off.]

  84. I’ve gotta say, that the only one who didn’t sound like every stereotype of conservatives ever devised come to life was freakin’ Buckley himself is hilarious.

    ChrisO: BugMeNot.com has some logins for TNR. Here’s a link.

  85. Refridgerators make life easier, and expand our freedom, too, but I don’t have to put up with silly-assed odes to how refridgerators are what America Number ONE woot woot woot!!!

    You also don’t have to put up with silly comments like…

    I hope people *will* stop refrigerating their food. That the refrigerator will cease to be the American birthright.

  86. I’ve gotta say, that the only one who didn’t sound like every stereotype of conservatives ever devised come to life was freakin’ Buckley himself is hilarious.

    Probably because Buckley is a conservative and the rest are radical Hegelian right wing authoritarians.

  87. I didn’t know that all Muslims were brownz. I thought Islam was a religion that included Asians, sub-Saharan Africans and native Europeans. This means Muslims could be Whitez, Blakz And Yellerz.

  88. MikeP,

    Wben you make something an icon, iconoclasts will show up. Yet another reason to stop fetishizing an appliance.

  89. I didn’t know that all Muslims were brownz. I thought Islam was a religion that included Asians, sub-Saharan Africans and native Europeans. This means Muslims could be Whitez, Blakz And Yellerz.

    Well, France=Algerians, Britain=Pakistanis, Germany=Turks. So yes, in this case they are talking about brown people.

    Something tells me if (very white) Tatars of Russia or Albanians were 5% of the population in France with high birth rates, they wouldn’t be so scared.

    Hey! That reminds me–Russia has had the Tatars in their borders for centuries. They are quite a large minority, and dominate many areas of Russia. Why haven’t they subjected Russia (or even the part they have autonomy in!) to Sharia law yet?

  90. Aw, look, shecky’s pretending that the National Review cruise people were talking about Albanians.

  91. joe,

    Fetishizing, I suppose, is in the eye of the beholder.

    I shall endeavor to be less fetishizing in the future, what with all the iconoclasts it apparently summons.

  92. Come aboard,
    We’re insultin’ you!

  93. simultaneously propel us toward the global-warming tipping point

    Just. Don’t. Blink.

  94. C-Span’s BookTV talked with Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in May for its series of short interviews about what politicians are reading now. She raved about Steyn’s America Alone and what it said about birthrates.

  95. I get it, you don’t like Mark Steyn. But explain how what he is saying is wrong? Pretty much all the statistics, even from the UN, confirm his premises.

  96. Steyn’s stats add up:

    Russia’s current population decline is at -0.37%

    Yemen’s current population growth is at 3.5%

    At this rate by 2057 Russia’s population will have fallen to approximately 118 million. Yemen’s population will have grown to approximately 125 million.

    Here’s something which might interest a lot of you:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_growth_rate

  97. The name given long ago to this magazine, and now to its web site, seems to be visible or audible evidence of the problem deep down. It could have been “Inquiry” or “Interpretation,” as if to make plain the writers’ and readers’ opinion that they know there are things they don’t know, and their consequent desire to find out, in the first instance, what some of those things are that they don’t know. As a name for a magazine, “Reason” has always conveyed to me a feeling that those connected with it believe, just believe, that they already know. In this thread, you seem flippant and incurious. You seem much like other upright traditionalists; you have comforting, self-affirming opinions, and you know that the people with the doubts or the comfortless new opinions are silly or wicked. You have truth, so you don’t need inquiry or interpretation.

  98. Alex | June 26, 2007, 11:23am | #

    No discussion of this is complete without Randy McDonald’s post in which he did the, y’know, sums wrt France, and this one wrt Spain. Take-home message: Mark Steyn is wrong, not just a bit wrong, but so wrong that only deliberate mendacity or functional innumeracy are adequate explanations.

    Alex opened the way for math-fetishists and sloppy reasoners to imagine that this discussion might be “complete” because a certain Randy McDonald did “the sums [italics added],” as if there can be no other sums, and as if human beings are monadic. He linked to McDonald’s posts, declared that their “[t]ake-home message” is that “Mark Steyn is wrong,” and gave us a stark choice between Steyn’s “deliberate [sic] mendacity or functional innumeracy.” Having brought up mendacity and innumeracy, he omitted that McDonald doesn’t make mention of Mark Steyn and that McDonald wrote his posts before Steyn’s America Alone was published.

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