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We're talking about people

24 Aug 2022 | OP ED Watch

Concepts like “efficiency” often get a bad rap as Scrooge-like obsessions when people’s lives and happiness are at stake. But in fact efficiency just means getting the most good stuff we can from the available resources, from necessities like food and shelter to entertainment and hobbies without which life is sadly incomplete. So it’s a good, important and above all humane thing. For proof of which look no further than a recent Reuters story that “Britain faces ‘humanitarian crisis’ as energy costs soar, says health lobby”. And do not tell us the one again about how it doesn’t matter that alternative energy isn’t as efficient as fossil fuels, because we’re talking about human well-being here.

The Reuters story is both instructive and heart-rending. Or to be coldly precise, it is instructive because it is heart-rending. “Britain faces a “humanitarian crisis” this winter when the difficult choices forced upon low-income households by soaring energy bills could cause serious physical and mental illness, a healthcare lobby group said on Friday.” It also manages to be partisan, snide and economically illiterate, saying “Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted calls to provide more support to households struggling with higher bills, insisting his government will leave major fiscal decisions to the next prime minister who takes office in early September.”

We do not think Johnson has the moral authority to choose what cabinet should have for lunch at this point, let alone undertake a major policy initiative. But more to the point, a government that fouled up energy markets by ignoring efficiency cannot make things better by handing out ever-more-extensive claims to wealth that is being produced in ever-smaller amounts.

In any case the government is in fact, and predictably, distributing money hand-over-wallet in this area already. “A spokesperson at Britain’s health department said the government was already helping households through a 37-billion-pound ($44 billion) cost-of-living support package announced in May and was also working to increase NHS capacity” so free money without limit… but nothing for it to buy. As Reuters noted:

“Britain’s average annual household energy bills – covering both gas and electricity – look set to double again to more than 4,000 pounds ($4,766) by January, exacerbating inflation which already topped 10% in July.”

Going out on a limb here, what is needed is to deregulate energy markets, stop subsidizing things that don’t work and repeal Britain’s fracking ban.

The Reuters story gets back on track to some degree by quoting Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the healthcare organization umbrella outfit NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, that “Many people could face the awful choice between skipping meals to heat their homes and having to live in cold, damp and very unpleasant conditions”. See, without affordable reliable energy one of the world’s most advanced economies, in the 21st century, a period of prosperity that dwarfs anything in human history, will be unable to afford food, shelter and proper clothing. Or other essentials: As Reuters added, paraphrasing Taylor, “The situation could cause outbreaks of respiratory conditions, mental illness, worsen children’s life chances and add to pressure on the already stretched state-run National Health Service (NHS)”.

Still, it is very hard to get people to change their minds. Even when they believe things that are not just inherently implausible but currently going very badly wrong in obvious ways. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s human nature.

7 comments on “We're talking about people”

  1. CDN keeps saying there isn’t a conspiracy, because the global warmists keep spouting demonstrable scientific nonsense that is easily disproved (which it is). But the politicians and media keep spouting it, and with no other easily accessible sources, and with the media and politicians continuously denigrating those sources and telling people not to believe them, the results are the same whether there is a conspiracy or not. And all the political machinations in support of the global warming agenda all seem to accrue more power to the politicians. And the longer this goes on the more it looks like at least some are working deliberately, even if many/most are simply useful idiots. We’ll see how much longer it can continue as the proverbial excrement is now hitting the fan, with real world consequences for the voters who couldn’t be bothered to fact check all the drivel they’ve been fed—they are now starting to see what happens as you choke off energy from a modern economy. Even if they do, history shows us that it is unlikely the politicians will give up the extra power over the economy they’ve accrued in the process, making the whole exercise look rather worth while on their part.

  2. Ayn Rand said almost 50 years ago that if you want to know what is wrong with society, look at what is taught at universities. Aside from the Marxist-inspired cultural vandalism of post modern nihilism, the theocracy of CAGW is ubiquitous and extends to STEM as well as the totally deranged humanities faculties. The human tragedy about to hit the UK and Germany (apparently followed by the rest of the "First world") is the metaphysical equivalent of drinking the Greenpeace Kool Aid with the jimmy Jones endorsement on the label. Suicide is a choice of sorts and it started when it was somehow considered a good idea to outsource access to education and energy to the state now at end stage democracy.

  3. To quote a press release today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation"
    "According to data collected by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, total energy consumption in the UK, for example, is back at levels not seen since the 1950s; there has been a 30 percent decline from its peak in 2003, which is astonishing given that the population has increased by 12.5 percent, to 67 million, over the same period."
    This is symptomatic of a nation in decline. If Britain, and most of the Western world, does not snap out of this self-induced national morbidity, and that right soon, Britain will to all intents and purposes cease to exist. Either that or there will be a bloody revolution in which these puling politicians will be rather nastily swept away.

  4. My Question to Liz Truss (likely next PM in the UK) on Lockdown and Net Zero
    I arrived early at the hustings in Eastbourne and got a seat near the front. After the eco-protesters had been ejected and candidates’ statements politely listened to it was time for questions. I was lucky enough to capture the moderator’s eye and here is what I asked Liz:
    “With hindsight, the mathematical modelling that led to Lockdown may have caused more harm than good. Before restricting our right to heat our homes or drive our cars, will you critically examine the scientific groupthink behind Net Zero?”
    Well, I’d managed to squeeze in two topics but there is a clear link. Liz answered well and at some length. Here is what she said on Lockdown:
    “I do think sometimes we use mathematical models badly where they are not appropriate, and the housing algorithm is a similar case, where it is a human decision whether or not to build houses in a local community.
    It shouldn’t be down to an algorithm. So we have always got to be careful to intermediate with our own thinking about what is right for our society.
    Having been through the Lockdown and seen the experience of other countries, I do think we went too far, and I would not want to have another lockdown. And no lockdown would happen under my leadership. I can assure you of that.”
    Maybe nowadays it’s difficult to find politicians who fully justify lockdowns and who still subscribe to the ‘settled science’ that protected us all and kept the NHS safe, but which prescribed universal mask wearing, a major U-turn without evidence, the effective house imprisonment of most of the population, the destruction of the economy, the accumulation of massive public debt, and the damage to both children’s education and the long term health of more people than were supposedly protected from Covid.
    So Liz’s straightforward reply was welcome. On the second issue her reply was not so clear cut:
    “But on the subject of Net Zero, we do need to transition to Net Zero, but I do not want to do so in a way that doesn’t clobber households and doesn’t clobber businesses. That’s why I would have an immediate moratorium in the Green Energy Levy while we look at better ways of delivering Net Zero, using private sector innovation and technology to deliver. At the meeting I had in the City this morning, there are tens of billions of pounds chasing that green investment. That is what we should be doing. We should be looking at how we get that green investment into our economy at the same time as using gas as a transition fuel.
    So, the old obeisance to Net Zero trotted out and big money from those making millions out of the green con trick has a big influence. Do politicians ever examine the evidence for what they believe?

  5. The UK government may be handing out £37 billion in aid to help people pay their energy bills, but there is no attempt to target it to the most needy. I will be getting it & I don't need it! (yet)

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