Real conversations with leaders, creatives, and thinkers … freedom, innovation … what’s true
Episode 245: “Climate Catastrophe, or Simply the Weather?” with Jay Richards
In this episode I’m joined by Jay W. Richards, Ph.D. to talk about “climate change.”
We are both skeptical about the claims that man is causing abnormal changes in the climate, mainly by adding CO₂ to the atmosphere, and that we need a political solution - fast! - to somehow arrest the spread of this toxic combination of molecules. We’re even more skeptical that the solution is for governments or the UN coerce us do it, and along the way essentially shut down the modern economy.
There are a lot of breathless claims being made. Bryan Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America and a regular fixture at the World Economic Forum, directed his bank to produce a Global Research Report which claims the consequences of climate change will be dire and extreme. “This is the last decade to act,” they write. “Absolute water scarcity is likely for 1.8 billion people, 100 million face poverty, and 800 million are at risk from rising sea levels by 2025. Climate migration could reach 143 million from emerging markets, driven by extreme weather.”
The amount of investment required they estimate to fully decarbonize the world? “$150 trillion over the next 30 years.”
Before we get out our checkbook, here are some of the questions Jay and I believe demand an answer:
Is the Earth warming in any meaningful way?
If the Earth is warming, are we causing it?
If Earth is warming, and we’re causing it, is that bad?
If the Earth is warming, and we’re causing it, and that’s bad, would any of the solutions being proposed make a difference?
Jay Richards is the Director, Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at the Heritage Foundation, Executive Editor of The Stream, and a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute. He is author or editor of many New York Times bestsellers and the soon to be released Fight the Good Fight: How an Alliance of Faith and Reason Can Win the Culture War (with James Robison)
“Are climate change concerns based on real scientific evidence and study and careful consideration,” asks Jay “or is this an ideology? Every ideology in the modern world seems to claim that it’s based on science, because “science” has become the keeper of the public domain. In the Middle Ages, it would've been the church and the clerics. Now it’s Science, so everyone from Karl Marx to the President wants to appeal to science for their ideology. And so it is with climate.”
The IPCC (the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) produces dozens of different computer climate models predicting a climate apocalypse. The problem is that they are in significant disagreement with each other. And not only have they not made accurate predictions, they can’t explain the history of the earth's climate for the last hundred years. And they don’t encompass some basic essentials.
For example, missing from virtually all of these computer programs are the effect of clouds. Al Gore’s movie assumed a cloud free earth when in fact the earth is shrouded in clouds up to two thirds over its surface area. The variation in the cloud cover is a 200 times more powerful factor than the small effect of CO₂, according to Nobel Laureate John Clauser.
The IPCC has not convincingly answered the questions we have asked (and neither has the climate science consensus).
We do know this: a mass hysteria has been whipped up by people and organizations purporting to bring about so-called climate change solutions who are also big beneficiaries. Trillions of dollars have already been spent to no effect, yet they are demanding even more.
Who benefits? The climate change industrial complex, John Podesta, China, Goldman Sachs, Al Gore & John Kerry, the degrowth zealots, Blackrock and Klaus Schwaab.
Who loses? most of the rest of us, developing countries, thousands of species & habitats, taxpayers, the average consumer and real science.
The climate change agenda threatens our modern way of life. Listen in to arm yourself with the arguments we need to be making to resist it.
Episode 244: How Financial Regulators Have Become a (Progressive) Law Unto Themselves” with Todd Zywicki
In this episode I’m talking with Todd Zywicki, the George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law in the Antonin Scalia Law School and former Executive Director of the GMU Law and Economics Center.
He is also one of the most engaging and clear thinkers about the vast and complicated world of consumer financial services. He was Chair of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Taskforce on Federal Consumer Financial Law and served as Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review.
Todd’s recent article “Restoring the Rule of Law in Finance” served as our launching point for a fascinating - and disturbing - conversation about how financial regulation has become a key weapon in the progressives arsenal to fundamentally change America.
The rule of law is in steep decline in the United States. And perhaps no more so than where I’ve spent most of my career: in finance and banking.
Financial regulation is unusually convoluted and secretive. It affects us directly every day, but most of us are not even aware of how it operates and its agenda, even though the financial system is an essential infrastructure of our society and economy. It enables people to have a bank account, buy a home, start a business, or simply make a purchase at the grocery store.
This sounds like it could be a commonplace, or even boring topic, but let me assure you, after listening to Todd explain what’s really happening, it is not.
Episode 243: “Capitalism’s Promise: Essentially Infinite Resources and Human Flourishing” with George Gilder and John Tamny
I’m talking in this episode with the upbeat and visionary George Gilder, one of America’s leading economic and technological thinkers, and the author of the groundbreaking books, Wealth and Poverty, Knowledge and Power, The Scandal of Money and now:
Life after Capitalism: The Meaning of Wealth, the Future of the Economy, and the Time Theory of Money
Co-hosting with me is the equally upbeat and contrarian thinker John Tamny, founder of Parkview Institute, editor of RealClearMarkets and author of the recently published The Money Confusion: How Illiteracy About Currencies and Inflation Sets the Stage for a Crypto Revolution“
Life after Capitalism launches a new economic theory. A key theme of the book is that wealth is knowledge and that the difference between our age and the Stone Age is entirely the accumulation of knowledge.
The prevailing “capitalist” theory, conceived by Adam Smith and coined by its enemy Karl Marx, is deeply inconsistent with actual capitalist practice. Karl Marx - and now the cultural Marxists - are dead wrong. Economics is not a zero sum game class struggle for power. Instead, what governs economics and flourishing is human creativity. Innovation and growth are capitalism’s infinite promise.
The clash between creativity and power is the central issue of our time. We need to keep front and center the idea that freedom and innovation are humanity’s best path of escape from stagnation and tyranny.
Here are just a few of the things we talk about in this episode:
Most of the way people talk about economics is wrong. Almost all the economic statistics you see in the newspapers are just plain unfounded. They're just projections, arbitrary subjective views, and self-interested inventions.
Information theory puts it in the proper light. Economics is not an incentive system. It’s an information system. Information theory explains the actual foundation of our modern era.
Humans operate on the learning curve which means that with every doubling of total units sold, costs drop between 20 and 30%. In other words, the natural progress of costs is to drop. The Federal Reserve’s idea that the natural condition of life is 2% inflation every year is completely spurious.
Economists and statisticians disguise the fact that that GNP is wildly overstated for government services and wildly understated for private sector business contributions.
Free enterprise is driven by the creativity of the human mind and the possibilities of human creativity are essentially infinite. The “surprise” is that the new great inventions always come as a surprise to us.
One way to understand the economic theory of information is to see how it’s been pitted against the politics of fear. Today’s world is dominated by the politics of fear. The late Senator Fred Thompson, was asked, "Why didn't you run for president in 2000?" And he said, "I just didn't want to go around the country telling people how bad they had it."
The prevailing notion that there are magical people in a government office that can protect us from bad things is just wrong.
The truth is that material resources are essentially infinite. They are not scarce. Humans keep inventing new materials from what was previously thought useless.
The solution to a Texas sized flotsam of plastic refuse floating in the Pacific Ocean is not to shut down the plastics industry. It’s to use it as the raw material for a transformational new material, graphene.
This episode offers up a strong dose of positive reality. Not optimism. Reality. Look around at the super abundance that’s been created in the world in the last 250 years. Billions of people have been lifted out of poverty and are living longer healthier lives.
All these good things that are happening will keep happening if we simply keep what are essentially Marxist zero sum “solutions” from getting in the way and instead let freedom and human creativity work its magic.
Episode 242: “The Surgeon General Now Wants To Cure Your Loneliness: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” with Stella Morabito and Mark Tapscott
In one of our most talked about episodes, Stella Morabito came on the show in May to talk about her book The Weaponization of Loneliness: How Tyrants Stoke Our Fear of Isolation to Silence, Divide, and Conquer.
We talked about a new kind tyranny creeping into American lives. Government, social media and a new kind of “ruling class” are increasingly working to control speech and behavior and isolating us from one another. This effort is intensifying and spreading throughout society’s institutions.
“Isolation, and how rulers use it to control people, is really the greatest threat to freedom, no matter what level of tyranny it is,” explained Stella.
And now, as if right on cue, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has released an advisory titled “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.” It warns that social isolation is a major public health problem and that the federal government should both fund and direct local organizations to “strengthen social infrastructure in local communities.” The Orwellian advisory in effect warns that participation is mandatory if their plan is to work.
In Murthy’s report you’ll find no admission of the government’s key role in promoting anti-family, anti-faith, and anti-speech policies that drive people into social isolation, nor for its responsibility in brutally enforcing our isolation during its Covid era.
Also jumping into the federal government loneliness business is Democrat Senator Chris Murphy who has introduced a bill - the National Strategy for Social Connection Act - that would “create a federal office to combat the growing epidemic of American loneliness, develop anti-loneliness strategies, and foster best practices to promote social connection.” It would be housed in the Executive Office of the President reporting to Joe Biden.
So the federal government, which just three years ago commanded Americans to “lock yourself up, don’t go to work, school, or church, cover your face, social distance, close your business, stay far away from other people, even your family” is now telling us it can solve the isolation and loneliness problem it created.
We’re living in insane times.
To talk all this through I’m joined on this episode by two wise thinkers and counselors: Stella Morabito, again, and Mark Tapscott.
Stella Morabito, a senior contributor at The Federalist, writes extensively on the effects of propaganda, group think, censorship, and the cult mindset. Previously she was an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency specializing in Soviet politics, and communist media and propaganda.
Mark Tapscott is an award-winning veteran investigative journalist who covers Congress for The Epoch Times, and is the founding editor of HillFaith. Mark was admitted to the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame class of 2006, and he was named the Conservative Journalist of the Year in 2008 by CPAC.
There are many ways to combat isolation and cope with the problems of loneliness. As you might guess, we don’t think federal government agencies should be part of the solution. (Unless they simply get out of the way.)
Episode 241: A Victory for Free Speech with Jenin Younes
“America needs to come to terms with the reality and scale of the assault on free speech. Our government has established a vast system of censorship. By keeping it largely secret, it has been able to exert unconstitutional control over medical, scientific and political speech, suppressing debate over questions of great public importance. This is a shocking constitutional violation. All of us, not only the courts, need to recognize what is at stake.”
But the calvary may finally be arriving. With the recent ruling in the “State of Missouri vs Joseph R Biden et al” a major first shot has been fired at the “surveillance state”.
Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana has issued a preliminary injunction ruling that the Biden administration and other federal agencies suppressed free speech in an “Orwellian” manner during the pandemic.
In a significant victory for free speech, Doughty ruled that the Biden administration, including:
the White House
the Department of Justice
the Surgeon General
the Department of Health and Human Services
and other federal agencies could not communicate with or coerce the social media companies for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.
And last week, the news got better.
In oral arguments during the federal government’s appeal of Judge Doughty’s ruling, the appellate judges resisted the Biden administration’s arguments trying to defend its social media censorship regime.
Nearly all of the points raised by DOJ lawyer Daniel Tenny, were met with skepticism by the three judges hearing the case.
Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod said the administration claiming it merely had a “very close working relationship” with social media companies was like the mob making demands without having to “spell out things.”
On the front lines in the case as one of the lead plaintiff attorneys, Jenin Younes with the New Civil Liberties Alliance joins me in this episode to talk about what’s at stake.
“Essentially government employees in an astonishing number of agencies, including the White House, the CDC, the FBI, a Homeland Security agency called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, were using all means of tactics, pressure, threats, and coercion in order to get the social media companies to censor people who expressed views that were different from the Biden administration’s.”
The explosion of social-media platforms has resulted in unique free speech issues.
Where the government - not directly but through platforms like Facebook and Twitter - has attempted to suppress alleged “disinformation” and blatantly ignored our First Amendment right to free speech.
This was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Listen in for an astonishing story of how government abused its power to censor speech.
Fortunately we now have judges ruling for our right to free speech.
All in this episode of The Bill Walton Show.
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