My coworker who is an Obama fan sent me an email this morning entitled "Just before the pain strikes." The photos below are muy graphic, and not for the faint of heart:
And the pièce de résistance:
Hits. In five and a half years, we've never had more than 100,000 hits on SCOTUSblog. Yesterday, though, we had our first 100,000 hit day. And then our first 200,000 hit and 300,000 hit day. By the end of the day, we had over 370,000 hits, and 240,000 nominally “unique” visitors (though, as Tom mentioned, that's an imperfect count because it counts repeatedly the many people whose computers don't accept cookies). We're still amazed that our servers held up.And I've had not one, but two people send me essays via email, asking me to post them if I found them worthy.Here's guest essay #2 by blogosphere commenter RAH:
LiveBlog. According to our LiveBlog software provider, Coveritlive - who offer a terrific (and free) product, by the way - we had about 20,000 LiveBlog viewers during the hour and eighteen minutes that we had the LiveBlog open, including 10,000 unique viewers who stayed for more than five minutes. Over 6,000 people have replayed the LiveBlog since we ended it.
The opinion. We can track how many times the opinions are downloaded from our servers, which are above and beyond the web hits cite above. Wednesday was certainly a big day at the Supreme Court, and we saw over 8,500 downloads of the decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana and over 6,000 downloads of Exxon v. Baker. We expected, then, something in the neighborhood of a few tens of thousands of downloads of the Heller decision, since we knew it would be popular.
But we were way off. All told, from the moment we posted the opinion at around 10:22 am through the day yesterday, the opinion was downloaded over 93,000 times from our servers. Because of the rise of the Internet and the accompanying ease of distributing the Justices’ own words, there seems a good chance that Heller is on track to be one of the most widely read Supreme Court opinions by the general public of all-time.
Heller, Its Implications and Expected Influence
Before addressing the verbs "keep" and "bear," we interpret their object: "Arms." The 18th-century meaning is no different from the meaning today. The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson's dictionary defined "arms" as "weapons of offence, or armour of defence." Dictionary of the English Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson). Timothy Cunningham's important 1771 legal dictionary defined "arms" as "any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another." A New and Complete Law Dictionary (1771); see also N. Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) (reprinted 1989) (hereinafter Webster) (similar).This includes state's prohibition of body armor for civilians and non-police
From our review of founding-era sources, we conclude that this natural meaning was also the meaning that "bear arms" had in the 18th century. In numerous instances, "bear arms" was unambiguously used to refer to the carrying of weapons outside of an organized militia.Thus, carry is also explicitly stated in the decision as part of the 2nd amendment. I really like that he used Ginsburg's definition of carry which had carry in a variety of forms from pg 10:
In Muscarello v. United States, 524 U. S. 125 (1998), in the course of analyzing the meaning of "carries a firearm" in a federal criminal statute, JUSTICE GINSBURG wrote that “[s]urely a most familiar meaning is, as the Constitution’s Second Amendment . . . indicate[s]: 'wear, bear, or carry . . . upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose . . . of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.' " Id., at 143 (dissenting opinion.)The ability to carry was thus defined and protected despite DC attempts to think otherwise. That is why he gave the ability for legislatures to regulate concealed carry. Beside that has already been a traditional state privilege as evidence by the many states that have legalized CCW.
Thus, the most natural reading of 'keep Arms' in the Second Amendment is to "have weapons."That demolished any future attempt to ban the ability to keep handguns and other arms.
If big business is so right-wing, why do huge banks fund liberal and left-wing charities, activists, and advocacy groups, then brag about it in commercials and publicity campaigns? How to explain that there's virtually no major issue in the culture wars - from abortion to gay marriage to affirmative action - where big business has played a major role on the American right while there are dozens of examples of corporations supporting the liberals side?That's the lede for this:
Indeed, the myth of the right-wing corporation allows the media to tighten liberalism's grip on both corporations and the culture. John McCain perfectly symbolizes this catch-22 of modern liberalism. McCain despises the corrupting effect of "big money" in politics, but he is also a major advocate of increased government regulation of business. Apparently he cannot see that the more government regulates business, the more business is going to take an interest in "regulating" government. Instead, he has concluded that he should try to regulate political speech which is like decrying the size of the garbage dump and deciding the best thing to do is regulate the flies. - Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism, pp. 312-313.
You should understand that many of us gun owners today feel the same way as the Cheyenne and Lakota did about the predatory federal government in 1876 -- especially after the Olofson case proved to all of us who were paying attention that Waco Rules still govern the ATF. You can and will do anything we can't or won't stop you from doing. The rule of law -- the faint hope for the justice of a fair trial -- is no longer likely for the gun owners your agency selects as targets. Olofson proves that. - Mike Vanderboegh at Mindful Musings, "Closed Hand": An Open Letter to the ATF's Jim Cavanaugh
Repealing the 2nd Amendment doesn't make it go away anymore than repealing the rest of the Bill of Rights would allow the government to kick in my door and rob, beat, imprison and torture me with impunity. The 2nd Amendment is inherent and inalienable just like the rest of the Bill of Rights. Words on ink & parchment don't "grant" me the right to keep & bear arms, they merely codify a pre-existing right. My rights, all of them, exist independent of the Constitution.Damned straight.
Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 19th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, the Second Amendment extends, prima faciae, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.The second venerable "chestnut" that has long been a lamppost for gun opponents to slouch against during any debate, has been to claim that the Second Amendment is only a "collective" right, indicating that it has to do with "militia service" or some existent group organized by the government, such as police forces, National Guard Units, or the proverbial "posse". While Justice Scalia spends considerable time on the exploration of the "militia" idea, before disposing of the gun opponents agenda for that phrase, he deals a swift death blow to the idea that the Second Amendment is some kind of "collective" right. He notes that the Second Amendment specifically says the "right of the people", and goes on to add that;
The unamended Constitution and the Bill of Rights use the phrase "right of the people" two other times, in the First Amendment's Assembly-and-Petition Clause and in the Fourth Amendment's Search-and Seizure Clause. The Ninth Amendment uses very similar terminology.[direct quote removed] All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not "collective" rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body.In footnote here he says that Justice Stevens contention that the right is conditioned on membership in a militia, and is "primarily collective in nature", Justice Scalia calls "dead wrong", citing McDonald v. Smith, 472 U.S. 479(1985) which defined the historical origins of another individual right set forth in the Bill of Rights. Writing for the majority Justice Scalia notes that, "Nowhere else in the Constitution does a 'right' attributed to 'the people' refer to anything other than an individual right." In fact, he says, "We start therefore with the presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans."
It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service - M-16 rifles and the like - may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendments ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias of the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large….But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.This seems to say that like the analysis of the right of speech to be extended to our fax machines and cell phones, the right to militarily useful weapons should be protected. Light machine guns, and squad automatic weapons are probably not protected and may be "infringed", but the average infantryman's rifle, "M-16 rifles and the like", appear to be protected specifically by the Second Amendment. At least, for as long as the Supreme Court stands as it does today.
The rule of law, the state's monopoly on violence, and the state's internal sovereignty all mean the same thing.The Potowmack Institute has been silent since March 5, 2008, just before oral arguments were heard.
Any hint of protection for a fundamental or procedural right to be privately armed outside of a military or militia context would validate not just a malignant, anarchic vision of social and political life but also an insurrectionist doctrine. The Constitution becomes perverted. It defines treason as the waging of war against the United States and then secures a civil right to commit the same. Several amici refer to the insurrectionist doctrine but do not emphasize the centrality of this in gun right ideologies, how widely it is adhered to, and its constitutional impermissibility. The right of armed self-defense includes the right of armed self-defense against the government itself, the same government the gun rights claimants want to secure the right.
If 4 of 9 SCOTUS justices can so easily cast aside the Bill of Rights then I will always hang on to my guns, thank you very much.I think "insurrectionists" make him nervous or something. I suppose Mr. G. Eyclesheimer Ernst thinks we should all be "good citizens" and go along with whatever the government tells us needs to be done because they know better, even if that includes killing people the government doesn't like and cremating them in big ovens.
Rob Smith passed away two years ago yesterday.
Police Union Standing By Mexican Militia ReportsABCNNBCBS? Not a peep I can find. Only FOX had even a short blurb about it.
Police documents show that at least one of the suspects involved in a home invasion and homicide were active members of the Mexican Army.
A top member of a Phoenix police union is standing by reports that at least one of the men involved in a Monday morning home invasion and homicide was an active member in the Mexican Army.
"Even if you put aside the Mexican military, you have illegals in the country...they're protected with tactical gear using tactical strategies in police uniforms willing to ambush police officers. I think that's bad enough," said Mark Spencer, President of the Phoenix Police Enforcement Association.
While on the J.D. Hayworth show Tuesday, Mark Spencer announced that the suspects were hired by drug cartels to perform home invasions and murders.
The incident at 8329 W. Cypress St. resulted in the death of the homeowner. Between 50 and 100 rounds were fired at the house.
Spencer said a police officer told him that one of the men captured said they were completely prepared to ambush Phoenix police, but ran out of ammunition.
He added that all were all dressed in military tactical gear and were armed with AR-15 assault rifles. Three other men involved in the invasion escaped.
Never once did you read his writing and go "Meh. Whatever."RIP, Rob.
There's still nobody like him writing today.
Being a gentleman of decency, restraint, and a high regard for the social niceties, I elected not to pursue my momentary desire to utilize my extensive martial arts training in order to break both their necks and thereby prevent the evolutionary horrors the two of them might one day unleash upon an unsuspecting planet should they ever happen to stumble upon a method of propagating their brainless species.
Call it the Art of Enlightened Condescension or the Zen of Contempt, whatever you like, but the only other serious option is to withdraw into a hermit's cave and never communicate with the larger part of humanity again. - "Vox Day," The importance of condescension
Following Thursday’s (5-4) ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to keep and bear arms, and that a municipal gun ban violates that right, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) filed a federal lawsuit (complaint) challenging the City of Chicago’s long-standing handgun ban.Go! Read!
“Chicago’s handgun ban has failed to stop violent crime,” SAF founder Alan Gottlieb stated. “It’s time to give the Constitution a chance.”
1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Because Heller conceded at oral argument that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbitrarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement. Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and must issue him a license to carry it in the home.So licensing and registration is not "infringement."
We will know the result in the Heller case almost immediately -- i.e., affirmed, reversed, or vacated and remanded. But the nuances will be critical and we won't get the opinion itself for a few minutes. So be patient.But I WANT IT NOW!!!! ;-)
Note that we're temporarily disabling comments to make sure the server isn't overrun.UPDATE: New poll question: Are you pleased with the decision in Heller?
The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a 'warm body' democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as 'Bread and Circuses.'The Heller decision will be handed down a little bit later this morning. That decision will help tell us just how far our "cancer of democracy" has metastasized in the body politic.
'Bread and Circuses' is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome. - Robert A. Heinlein To Sail Beyond the Sunset
Petitioner's crime was one that cannot be recounted in these pages in a way sufficient to capture in full the hurt and horror inflicted on his victim or to convey the revulsion society, and the jury that represents it, sought to express by sentencing petitioner to death.He's right. By the end of it I was wondering why the sack of excrement was still breathing. This is Louisiana, right? Don't they have a lot of swamp and alligators down there?
The Court today holds that the Eighth Amendment categorically prohibits the imposition of the death penalty for the crime of raping a child. This is so, according to the Court, no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator's prior criminal record may be. The Court provides two reasons for this sweeping conclusion: First, the Court claims to have identified "a national consensus" that the death penalty is never acceptable for the rape of a child; second, the Court concludes, based on its "independent judgment," that imposing the death penalty for child rape is inconsistent with " 'the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.' " Because neither of these justifications is sound, I respectfully dissent.He then goes into a heavily annotated and deeply legal discussion of the existing precedents, but to my mind this is the key graph of the dissent:
The Court is willing to block the potential emergence of a national consensus in favor of permitting the death penalty for child rape because, in the end, what matters is the Court's "own judgment" regarding "the acceptability of the death penalty." Although the Court has much to say on this issue, most of the Court's discussion is not pertinent to the Eighth Amendment question at hand. And once all of the Court's irrelevant arguments are put aside, it is apparent that the Court has provided no coherent explanation for today's decision.(My emphasis.) In essence, Alito just illustrated that the court did what Alex Kozinski called constitutionalizing their personal preferences - "build(ing) magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases - or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text."
The Court's final — and, it appears, principal — justification for its holding is that murder, the only crime for which defendants have been executed since this Court's 1976 death penalty decisions, is unique in its moral depravity and in the severity of the injury that it inflicts on the victim and the public. But the Court makes little attempt to defend these conclusions.One wonders how Justice Alito managed to refrain from accusing the Court's majority in this case of moral depravity of their own.
With respect to the question of moral depravity, is it really true that every person who is convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death is more morally depraved than every child rapist? Consider the following two cases. In the first, a defendant robs a convenience store and watches as his accomplice shoots the store owner. The defendant acts recklessly, but was not the triggerman and did not intend the killing.
In the second case, a previously convicted child rapist kidnaps, repeatedly rapes, and tortures multiple child victims. Is it clear that the first defendant is more morally depraved than the second?
The U.S. Supreme Court today did not release its long-awaited ruling on whether the District's handgun ban violates the Second Amendment. That means the potentially landmark decision will almost certainly come tomorrow morning when the court is planning to issue the last of its rulings for the term. The case, District of Columbia v. Heller, which was argued nearly four months ago, could settle the decades-old debate over whether the Second Amendment grants individuals the right to own firearms.It should be every bit as well-reasoned and factual as his last one.
Mayor Adrain M. Fenty is planning to hold a news conference at the John A. Wilson Building after the decision is announced.
An employee shot and killed four of his fellow workers at a plastics plant in Henderson, Ky., on Wednesday, before shooting himself, the police said.According to the radio report I listened to on the way in to the office this morning, the shooter went home, got a gun, came back and started shooting.
Two other workers at the plant, Atlantis Plastics, were also shot and they were transferred to hospitals in Evansville, Ind., the Henderson Police Department said in a statement. "The cause behind this incident is unknown, however, the suspect is known to have gotten into an argument with a supervisor earlier in the evening," the police statement said.
After the argument, the suspect left the plant for his regular break and when he returned he was carrying a handgun, police said. The identities of the victims and of the suspected killer were not immediately released, and it was not clear whether the supervisor was among those killed.
"It's an individual right, but only not."Sorry, but the more I consider it, the less likely I find the idea that the courts will save us, and I've felt that way a LONG time.
I am incredibly lucky. I exist in the middle of the American middle class – the graviest of the gravy trains in the history of the planet. Hell, if I had a blindfold, a million darts, and a map of the world, nine-hundred-thousand throws would land me in a place worse off than here and now, and a lot of those would be traumatically worse. - Mike, in Wheel of Fortune at MIKE-ISTANSometimes I need to be reminded of that, myself.
The only opinion remaining from the March sitting is Heller. The only Justice without a majority opinion from that sitting is Justice Scalia.Further:
The Court has announced that it will release opinions against(sic) at 10am Wednesday. Because seven opinions remain, it will almost certainly have one additional day. Based on past practice, that day likely will be Thursday.Anybody taking bets on Heller being announced Thursday?
Criminals are often poor people who are led away in chains and go to state prison, for decades or lifetimes, for using guns as weapons against taxpayers. Politicians wear nice suits, drive luxury cars, and when they go to prison—federal prison, and only for a few months—they go away for using government as a weapon against taxpayers.RTWT - it's worth your time.
It is all about power in the end. - John Kass, Chicago Tribune, Of course it's fair that they have guns and you don't
One reason why diesel fuel today is higher priced than gasoline is because of the unintended consequences of the 2007 EPA mandated ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) fuel - and not necessarily because it costs more to produce...Hey, Maxine Waters and Maurice Hinchey, how about we "socialize" CITGO's refineries? I'm sure your good buddy Hugo Chavez wouldn't mind a bit!
Everything changed in October of 2006, when the new U.S. ULSD regulations were implemented. Current U.S. ULSD is regulated to contain no more than 15-parts per million sulfur. In actual practice, U.S. ULSD contains just 7 or 8-ppm, which perhaps not coincidentally allows our ULSD to meet the somewhat stricter 10-ppm sulfur regulations in Europe. So, ULSD produced here in the United States has, for the first time, become acceptable for use in Europe. According to a 2/08 article in Reuters entitled "ANALYSIS-Exports keep U.S. diesel prices above gasoline", they reported that U.S. diesel fuel is currently being exported in quantity. The economics of "Supply & Demand" no longer apply to the U.S. diesel fuel market. American truckers could boycott diesel fuel, and it wouldn't necessarily produce lower diesel fuel prices.
According to a June 2008 article at MSN, entitled: Why is the U.S. exporting gasoline and diesel?, they report that U.S. oil companies were exporting more than 1.8 million barrels of crude oil, gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products per day. The top five buyers of U.S. petroleum products were Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, Chile and Singapore. This article also indicated that Venezuela owns three CITGO refineries in the United States, and that about 30,000 barrels of refined products per day are being shipped back to Venezuela, where government-subsidized gas/diesel is currently being sold for a whopping $0.19 per gallon. If we weren't exporting diesel fuel, there would be more of a surplus, which could result in parity between gas and diesel fuel prices. What can we do? What should we do?
Surprisingly, most of the world's "unconventional" sources of oil exist right here in the United States. These unconventional sources include the vast oil shale deposits called the Green River Formation, which are found spanning an ancient 17,000 square mile lake bed beneath Colorado, Utah and Wyoming (80% on federal lands). Oil shale can produce anywhere from 22-40 gallons of oil per ton of oil shale. A barrel of crude oil contains 42 gallons. Based on current extraction technology, at least 100 billion barrels of "commercially viable" crude oil is thought to exist in Green River Formation. (Note: the total amount of all oil shale within the U.S. is thought to contain a staggering 1.4 trillion barrels of crude oil, which is more than four times the estimated historic levels of oil found beneath Saudi Arabia.) With a current U.S. consumption rate of 20 million barrels per day, 100 billion barrels of crude oil derived from oil shale could meet all of the U.S. oil consumption needs for another 14 years - all by itself. See: www.fossil.energy.gov to learn more.I was certain I'd referenced Shell's extraction technology, called the "in situ conversion process" here before, but damn if I can find the piece now.
Shell scientists have created the technology required to economically extract large amounts of crude oil from oil shale without wrecking the environment. In fact, Shell's method is capable of extracting high quality light crude oil from oil shale deposits utilizing heated wells - not a rock mill operation, which does little damage to the environment. According to a November 2007 article in CNN Fortune - online magazine, a Department of Energy study was referenced that indicates the Green River deposits are predicted to produce 2 million barrels of oil per day by 2020 and as many as 5 million barrels per day by 2040 - assuming of course, that the environmental lobby and Washington could be convinced that the future of the U.S. depends on us becoming energy independent. Indeed, this level of production would rival that of the largest conventional oilfields in the world. 2007 estimates for cost per barrel came in at a low of $30/barrel, while cost estimates for a broader range of oil shale deposits range from a low $30 to as high as $90 per barrel. Shell's production methods are expected to yield more than one million barrels of oil per acre. Keep in mind that the Green River Formation encompasses 17,000 square miles.
Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that “speech, or . . . the press” also means the Internet...and that “persons, houses, papers, and effects” also means public telephone booths....When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases - or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we’re none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.On March 9, 2007 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit found in favor of the plaintiffs in Parker vs. District of Columbia, for the first time overturning an existing gun law on the grounds that it violated the individual right to arms that is protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The D.C. Circuit is only the second to have found that the Second Amendment does, indeed protect an individual, and not a collective right. The first was the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S. v. Emerson decision of October, 2001 wherein the Court decided that the right protected was an individual right, but the law in question met that court's understanding of "limited, narrowly tailored specific exceptions or restrictions for particular cases that are reasonable and not inconsistent with the right of Americans generally to individually keep and bear their private arms as historically understood in this country" - "albeit likely minimally so".
It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it’s using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.
The able judges of the panel majority are usually very sympathetic to individual rights, but they have succumbed to the temptation to pick and choose. Had they brought the same generous approach to the Second Amendment that they routinely bring to the First, Fourth and selected portions of the Fifth, they would have had no trouble finding an individual right to bear arms. - Alex Kozinski, dissenting (PDF file) the denial of an en banc rehearing of Silveira v. Lockyer in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 6, 2003
The bobsled is already over the edge of the slope, all we can do is try and ride out the bumps.Bringing you the finest in black, black snark since August, 2005
At least future generations won’t damn us, since they’ll be unable to read. - Tamara K.
Obama is a true believer in the religion of Environmentalism.RTWFT! I mean it.
Not the science of the environment. Where that science survives, it provides us with a vital service; and it doesn't take any faith to believe in the findings of genuine scientists doing science properly.
No, I'm speaking of the religion. It's not an organized religion (though the U.N. did organize the great testament of faith in the utterly unproven doctrine of human-caused global warming), but neither was the English Puritanism that it so strongly resembles.
But don't take it from me. Take it from Freeman Dyson.
...in a recent review in the New York Review of Books, he wrote the following paragraphs that refer specifically to the Religion of Environmentalism:
All the books that I have seen about the science and economics of global warming ... miss the main point. The main point is religious rather than scientific.Barack Obama's comments, however, reveal him to be in the religious-faith category. The Environmental Puritans believe that any opposition to their dogmas is heresy, and that anything that doesn't match their vision of how humans should live is a sin.
There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible.
The ethics of environmentalism are being taught to children in kindergartens, schools, and colleges all over the world.
Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good.
The worldwide community of environmentalists -- most of whom are not scientists -- holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. Environmentalism, as a religion of hope and respect for nature, is here to stay. This is a religion that we can all share, whether or not we believe that global warming is harmful.
Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the belief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate.
Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true.
Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice.
Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard.
Since their vision of how humans should live is "without making any difference in how the world would be without humans," we are all, alas, sinners. However, some are more sinful than others, and the United States is the most sinful of all.
No, not China, because the Environmental Puritans, like the rest of the world, expect America to live by a higher standard than other nations. Fair enough -- we claim to be a special nation, and so we should meet a higher standard.
Still, the Environmental Puritans agree with the ayatollahs on this one point: America is the Great Satan. And Obama echoes that view when he refers to our gasoline consumption, our eating, and our air-conditioning and heating as if they were sins for which we are accountable to the rest of the world.
Engineering is very different from physics.Sexist.
A good physicist is a man with new ideas.
A good engineer is a man who makes something that works with as few new ideas as possible.
There are other religions than Judaism and Christianity, of course, but modern environmentalism was born in the West, whose cultural heritage and common languages are steeped through and through in Christian tradition, which was itself a daughter of Judaism.Again, RTWT. Including the links.
The common themes of both scriptural Judaism and Christianity deal with deity, the natural world (existing first in a purity state), a corruption of the purity state (Augustine: "fall from grace,"), redemption and liberation/salvation. Then follows paradise. A prominent, though not universal, strain in both Judaism and Christianity is a looming apocalypse that in potential or in fact destroys enormous swaths of humanity.
Modern environmentalism has all these elements, with an emphasis on apocalypticism.
Dyson wrote that, "Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion." I demur. Environmentalism has not replaced socialism at all. Instead, the old-line socialists, faced with decades of the failure of political socialism, have jumped on the environmentalist bandwagon to keep socialism alive. Environmentalism has become a much better vehicle to achieve a rigid regulation of people's lives than political socialism ever was. After all, the fate of the entire planet is at stake! Environmentalism has already led some British members of Parliament to propose that the government regulate almost every aspect of buying and selling by private individuals. If this is not socialism, it is a distinction without a difference.
So there you are. At bottom, modern environmentalism has discarded scientific rigor to embrace something not much different than Leninism, the desire to control the major components of the way individuals live. From there it is a short step for environmentalism to Leninism's successor: Stalinism, the desire to control every aspect of the way we live. That's our future, minus the gulags. We hope.
The True Believer, being written in the immediate post-WWII years, was primarily about the mass movements of Italian and German Fascism and the rise of Communism, but Hoffer did not limit his observations. He reflected on mass movements throughout history, including the Zionist movement in pre-revolutionary Russia, the French Revolution, the Protestant Reformation, and others. He makes a point, in fact, that,And:
When people are ripe for a mass movement, they are usually ripe for any effective movement, and not solely for one with any particular doctrine or program.Which explains in a sentence the current enthusiastic crossover between the eco-movement, the gay-rights movement, the anti-war movement, the socialist movement, et al.
A rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrine and promises, but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness and meaninglessness of an individual existence. It cures the poignantly frustrated not by conferring on them an absolute truth or by remedying the difficulties and abuses which made their lives miserable, but by freeing them from their ineffectual selves -- and it does this by enfolding and absorbing them into a closely knit and exultant corporate whole.Reasonable People was largely about "Bush Derangement Syndrome," but it had broader application. I wrote:
It is obvious, therefore, that, in order to succeed, a mass movement must develop at the earliest moment a compact corporate organization and a capacity to absorb and integrate all comers. It is futile to judge the viability of a new movement by the truth of its doctrine and the feasibility of its promises. What has to be judged is its corporate organization for quick and total absorption of the frustrated. Where new creeds vie with each other for the allegiance of the populace, the one which comes with the most perfected collective framework wins.
The milieu most favorable for the rise and propagation of mass movements is one in which a once compact corporate structure is, for one reason or another, in a state of disintegration.
The general rule seems to be that as one pattern of corporate cohesion weakens, conditions become ripe for the rise of a mass movement and the eventual establishment of a new and more vigorous form of compact unity.
What we have in America today is the result of about a hundred years of Leftist influence in American culture, best exhibited by the rise of "Transnational Progressivism" (read the whole thing) - an ideology that essentially places the blame for all iniquity around the world at the feet of a single enemy, the United States; and one group in the United States, heterosexual conservative white males. That's rather narrow. For some it's just "white people." (link broken) For others it's anyone who is "conservative." (link broken) (Especially if they, themselves, are white males.) For groups outside the U.S., (and some inside it) it's more broadly "Americans." However defined, this group is symbolized in effigy at the present time by one individual - George W. Bush. But that won't last forever.I gave very serious consideration to ending the essay right there, and probably should have.
Remember Hoffer's words: "It is futile to judge the viability of a new movement by the truth of its doctrine and the feasibility of its promises. What has to be judged is its corporate organization for quick and total absorption of the frustrated." It doesn't matter if the idea is illogical, ridiculous, or outright insane. It matters if you can mobilize the disaffected to the cause.
What we are seeing today is the coalescing of a new mass movement. There are many disaffected out there who are members of various fringe groups and organizations - the ones Dr. Santy defines as those who "hate Bush because he stands between them and the implementation of their collectivist "utopian" vision." But the efforts of the Leftist intelligentsia and the "underclass" have splintered our culture. We are no longer "one people." We are no longer one culture made up of many smaller, meshing cultures. We are "Red America" and "Blue America." There is sand in the gears, and corporate cohesion is being lost. As a result there is a slowly rising tide of the disaffected, frightened of the future and looking for someone to blame and someone to promise them utopia.
Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealosies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass. (Heinrich) Heine suggests that what Christian love cannot do is effected by a common hatred.Meet the new Jews, and George W. Bush as Satan incarnate.
Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: "No.... We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one." F.A. Voigt tells of a Japanese mission that arrived in Berlin in 1932 to study the National Socialist movement. Voigt asked a member of the mission what he thought of the movement. He replied: "It is magnificent. I wish we could have something like it in Japan, only we can't, because we haven't got any Jews."