Clock off

A new article in Spiked, “Don’t panic, the end is not nigh : why we shouldn’t take the Doomsday Clock seriously”

“If you read the summary of the board’s decision, it sounds like a modern Western liberal’s complaint list. … The Bulletin’s decision to move the clock hands in 2018 suggests that the clock represents Western liberals’ own fears rather than an unbiased evaluation of the current likelihood of humanity destroying itself. The clock is no longer a useful metaphor to imagine the threat to humanity; rather, it is a metaphor for the fears of international elites that feel increasingly isolated and insecure.”

Such a potently alarmist symbol of doom was inevitably going to become the target of the usual ‘leftist takeover attempt’. Such things are so common these days, that perhaps we need a “Watch List”, drawing up a database of vulnerable institutions, assiduously and systematically watching for signs of squishiness and infiltration by the left. Then providing robust and speedy assistance to help rebuff such attempts.

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New book from Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker (Better Angels of Our Nature) has a new book on pre-order now, for delivery at the end of February 2018. Enlightenment Now is another 570-page door-stopper, and looks for optimism in fifteen measures of human progress, crunching the data by using the same approach Pinker used for violence in Better Angels.

Good to see another optimistic book, but it seems slightly worrying that (according the U.S. Amazon page) the Guardian and the New York Times both love it. If they like a book, then I’m instantly suspicious that it harbours some ugly leftisms.

Blockheads

A major new paper from MIT and others: “Does replacing coal with wood lower CO2 emissions? Dynamic lifecycle analysis of wood bioenergy”.

Ten days after official publication of this robust confirmation that killing whole healthy trees to make wood pellets for power stations is not ‘green’, the press reports are all over Google News.

No, I’m kidding. Of course they’re not. A simple Google News search shows that not a single news source has yet referenced this ‘inconvenient’ paper by title…

Clicking on the “All results for…” link only returns one to the main Google Search.

“Something seems to be going badly right…”

An optimistic editorial in the latest copy of The Spectator (13th January 2018)…

Something seems to be going badly right. […] The UK economy recovered from the 2008 crash far faster than others in Europe. [UK] unemployment sits at a 40-year low. [UK] wage inequality, we learned this week, is at a low not seen for about 30 years: since the 2010 general election, the incomes of the poorest have been rising fastest.

The global economy begins this year in its healthiest state ever, growing faster than any time since 2011. […] world trade grew at 4.8 per cent last year. […] Global capitalism has created a golden era of poverty reduction: never have so many been lifted so fast out of illness, ignorance, squalor, poverty or misery. […] The significant tax cuts just passed in the United States, our largest single trading partner, will accelerate this new chapter of global growth.

Admittedly The Spectator is not The Economist, but them neither is Economist these days. In 2009 The Atlantic could still say of it: “The Economist has become an arbiter of right-thinking opinion” and deserved so for its depth of careful analysis. I read it a lot, in the late 2000s and early 2010s. But since about spring 2015 it’s become what Delingpole would call “squishy” and prone to embarrassing gusts of smelly leftism.