Retreat to Sanity

I’m new to the work of Dr. Malcolm Kendrick but a skim of his blog suggests he has many wise things to say and has written several books that I intend to read.

I was unable to find many videos with Dr. Kendrick, and some that were on YouTube have been deleted by censors, but I did very much enjoy this must watch November 2020 discussion on Covid19.

Today’s essay by Dr. Kendrick may be the best I’ve read on Covid19 and nicely articulates how I’ve been feeling of late.

Despite Dr. Kendrick’s expertise, intelligence, curiosity, and determination, he has been unable to determine what is true about Covid19, and has decided to retreat to sanity.

My self-appointed role within the COVID19 mayhem, was to search for the truth – as far as it could be found – and to attempt to provide useful information for those who wish to read my blog.

The main reason for prolonged silence, and introspection, is that I am not sure I can find the truth. I do not know if it can be found anymore. Today I am unsure what represents a fact, and what has simply been made up. A sad and scary state of affairs.

… So, I have given up on COVID19. It is a complete mess, and I feel that, without being certain of the ground under my feet, I have nothing to contribute. I too am in danger of starting to make statements that are not true.

… faced with a situation where there are almost no facts that can be relied upon, from anywhere, I have officially removed myself from all discussions on the matter of COVID19.

Instead, I shall return to other areas where, whilst the truth is constantly battered and bruised, and lying in a bruised heap the corner, it is still breathing … just about alive. Sometimes it is capable of weakly raising its head and whispering quietly into my ear. I shall let you know what it says.

Before departing the arena Dr. Kendrick summarized what he believes is true about Covid19:

  • SARS-CoV2 probably resulted from gain of function research in the Wuhan lab, but we’ll probably never know for certain.
  • The current versions of SARS-CoV2 are a bit more deadly than our modern influenzas with an infection fatality rate (IFR) of about 0.15%.
  • None of the test data can be trusted.
  • It is impossible to compare the effectiveness of various strategies using available data.
  • Misinformation exists on all sides of the debate.
  • Everyone has an agenda including the fact-checkers.

I’m going to try to follow Kendrick’s lead and return my focus to the many much more important overshoot issues that are grounded in reliable science that we collectively deny.

93 thoughts on “Retreat to Sanity”

  1. Very interesting. Something big is afoot in China. The government is tightening control with many important policy changes.

    Doug Noland suspects they’re getting ready to weather the storm that will occur when the global everything bubble pops.

    Risk grows exponentially during the “Terminal Phase” of Bubble excess. I assumed Beijing would move decisively to rein in excess, particularly in lending and apartment speculation. But what is now unfolding goes way beyond measures to contain excess. China has begun a transitioning phase, with momentous yet uncertain consequences and ramifications. What began seemingly as a campaign to rein in apartment speculation and crack down on the big tech monopolies has speedily developed into something much more systemic and Draconian.

    Beijing has been bustling with activity. Communist leadership has clearly turned against Capitalism, though it’s difficult to fault their effort to curb the “disorderly expansion of capital.” Untethered finance has so corrupted today’s Capitalism. Under the guise of “market reform,” Beijing is in the process of wresting ever-tighter control over the markets, the economy and society at large. I’ve long assumed Beijing would respond to a bursting Bubble with various forms of financial, economic and social repression, while casting blame on foreign governments (i.e. U.S. and Japan). It appears Chinese leadership has decided to begin executing some sort of plan.


  2. That was the scariest analysis of finance I have read in a long time. If his analysis is correct Xi (Chinese leadership) is seeing a collapse of the worldwide economic system coming soon, and they are attempting to assert a more “communistic” control on the country. The absolutely scariest line of his analysis was that Xi would probably attack Taiwan to divert internal criticism away from the party. Would an attack on Taiwan precipitate nuclear war? It would be the end of the economy as we know it. Collapse is so unruly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry Rob,
      I disregarded our previous discussion and watched the power point presentation that the authors’ have on their web site (for the book). I ordered the book. These two scientists seem to get it. The problem is too many people (throw in denial) with too much stuff causes problems that will destroy us. Seems like a potential good read. I’ll let you know in a few weeks (if we are all still around!!).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This year they decided to beat the rush and fail before the COP26 conference is even held.

    China and the United States have failed to reach an agreement on climate change, with Beijing rebuffing calls to make more public pledges on climate change before a United Nations’ climate summit in Glasgow in November, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

    In a report published on Friday, the Hong Kong-based newspaper said that the talks also got entangled in the debate on human rights, after Washington recently targeted Beijing’s solar power industry over allegations of forced labour of minority Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.


    1. There is a great documentary on our sordid history with water. Cadilac Desert. It inspired an excellent fiction novel called “The Water Knife” about the governments of near future SW united states fighting over water rights. I highly recommend both as entertaining and informative to those who are collapse informed.


      1. Thanks! Looks really good. Will definitely watch.

        FYI, the book by Marc Reisner that it’s based on is available for download at the usual places.

        Cadillac Desert: Water and the Transformation of Nature is a 1997 American four-part documentary series about water, money, politics, and the transformation of nature. The film was directed by Jon Else and Linda Harrar.

        The film chronicles the growth of a large community in the western American desert. It brought abundance and the legacy of risk it has created in the United States and abroad.

        The first three episodes are based on Marc Reisner’s book, Cadillac Desert (1986), that delves into the history of water use and misuse in the American West. It explores the triumph and disaster, heroism and intrigue, and the rivalries and bedfellows that dominate this little-known chapter of American history.

        The final episode is drawn from Sandra Postel’s book, Last Oasis, (1992) which examines the global impact of the technologies and policies that came out of America’s manipulation of water, demonstrating how they have created the need for conservation methods that will protect Earth’s water for the next century.

        The parts of the documentary are entitled:
        “Mulholland’s Dream” (90 minutes)
        “An American Nile” (60 minutes)
        “The Mercy of Nature” (60 minutes)
        “Last Oasis” (60 minutes)


  4. I’ve been following Dr K. for many years now and was pleasantly surprised to see your comments yesterday at his latest blog. The comments are worth reading too except that they usually number into the hundreds! His books are excellent, especially Doctoring Data. I have some of his videos bookmarked….if they’re still up on YouTube I’ll send you links.


    1. Rob, I’ve Googled “Malcolm Kendrick YouTube” and there are many links still working; too many to bother about sending you the links, so have a go yourself.


        1. I don’t think there ever was much Covid stuff. He’s mainly into heart disease. That video with Ivor Cummins js the only one I remember. He’s written more Covid stuff on the blog and has had warnings from the UK medical establishment about that and his stance on statins.


  5. I’ve been digging a little deeper into the work of Dr. Malcolm Kendrick and I’m really impressed.

    Watch this talk by him on the corrupt state of drug effectiveness data, and then think about the implications of him saying he’s unable to figure out the truth about Covid.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “I’m going to try to follow Kendrick’s lead and return my focus to the many much more important overshoot issues that are grounded in reliable science that we collectively deny.”

    Amen to that. In the beginning of COVID I spent plenty of time and was vividly involved in discussions and any new foundings. But many months ago I just understood that there is no way for layman to learn all the facts and correctly decide what is the real picture. It was just lost of time, energy and other personal resources.
    It is definitelly better to focus on the overshoot and related areas – COVID is just small bump on the road (anyway predicted many years ago – doesn’t matter if it is 100% natural, or got some “help” from smart apes).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave Cohen today with a similar message to that of Dr. Kendrick…

    How can you identify a good source of information you can trust?

    About an information source, always ask yourself how does this source benefit from telling me X and not Y or Z? If they apparently don’t benefit, that’s a very good sign.

    A good source typically has no obvious conflicts of interest in reaching certain conclusions and not others. Your job is to look for conflicts of interest.

    A good source typically has no obvious social or financial incentives to reach certain conclusions and not others. Your job is to try to identify your source’s incentives. In this Dark Age, fear of job loss, social exclusion and other bad consequences are very often the main incentives driving behavior. Sticking your head above the parapet is not a good survival strategy when the bullets are flying. A person who is swimming against the predominant social currents is often a person with integrity. Integrity matters, even if the person in question ultimately turns out to be wrong.

    A good source is consistent or forthcoming in their conclusions. Such a source can explain to you why they reached certain conclusions and not others. Such a source does not simply assert the truth of something without explanation. Such a source can explain why they changed their mind if that was required. Such a source does not assert X on Tuesday this week and then without explanation assert not-X on Wednesday next week.

    A good source can be mistaken and admit it. A good source is accountable to someone, even if it’s their own conscience, and therefore never lies. (Of course, humans generally deceive themselves.) Your job is to identify lies when they occur (as they constantly do nowadays). Lies always indicate an attempt to manipulate you or a need for a source to protect himself from the consequences of his own past behavior. Your job is to ask yourself if a source is trying to manipulate you (e.g., make you fearful for no good reason) or why, if the source is an honest information broker, the source needs to protect himself from his own previous behavior. Here’s looking at you, Dr. Fauci!

    A good institutional source is not captured by those it regulates if that is what it is supposed to do, nor does it invent reasons to maintain its own existence and enhance its social status and importance.

    A bad source is not a good source according to all or most of the criteria listed above.

    And that’s it. Still, you may get fooled about what reality is but at least you tried to defend it. You may even pay a heavy price for being mistaken. But even then in this worst case you will know that you did the very best you could do in a human world which is so fucked up right now that it is virtually impossible for any of us to see our way through it.

    Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Just off-topic, I saw Apneaman’s comment on megacancer which I still look at from time to time (to see how strangely thoughts of brilliant people may roam). I hope he is going to come back here as well after long break. I really like his sanity and great comments…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m not sure if you no longer want any links or comments about the Rona. Let me know and I won’t post anymore if that is the case. I read this article today and found it insightful. I really felt it seemed like an honest critique.
    View at


    1. Thank you very much. Feel free to post intelligent articles on any topic. It’s a very good essay by David Fuller reviewing the claims of Weinstein/Heying and reinforces Dr. Kendrick’s conclusion that Covid truth is elusive.

      When I first run into someone apparently intelligent and open minded like Fuller one of my quick tests to establish their credibility is to scan the topics of their body of work to look for evidence that they are aware of the proximity and severity of human overshoot. This test is important because overshoot is without doubt the most important issue, by far, that we should be discussing and so anyone that claims to be a truth seeker and that does not have overshoot front an center is probably a normal human with a high level of genetic reality denial and thus should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.

      Fuller has over 300 videos on YouTube and I do not see a single one addressing the main topics of overshoot: over-population, non-renewable resource depletion, ecological collapse, limits to growth, unsustainable debt, etc.

      Have you followed Fuller for long time? Are you confident he is a voice we should trust?

      P.S. Weinstein and Heying also don’t discuss overshoot. Nor does Sam Harris.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No I haven’t followed fuller at all and I rather like your litmus test. I only posted it because it came across as an honest attempt at disputing some of the claims around ivermectin etc. There was no labelling of people as right wingers, anti-vaxers or conspiracy theorist. He wasn’t belligerent towards Brett or Heather or anybody else.
        I’m reading and listening to the public debate over vaccination in my country at the moment and I’m beginning to feel rather terrified. It is so polarising. I can honestly say that vaccine passports was not my list of things that I’d see on the road to olduvai.


  10. Of all the things that may be true about Covid-19, there is one I know for sure: Our global response to the issue has comprehensively destroyed any hope I had left that society may respond effectively to energy, environment and overshoot issues. There is nothing for it now but to enjoy the fireworks.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Rob,
        I would agree with you that if someone isn’t focused on overshoot, overpopulation, and denial or at least mentions them they would be suspect.
        I read Fuller’s long piece and he seems to make many good points that one should be suspicious of all of the players. But he seems to not even be aware of the possibility (or discounts it?) that the medical establishment, big pharma and the “science” connected to them could have an incentive to suppress something cheap like Ivermectin/hydroxy chloroquine in favor of making a lot of money, or that keeping or gaining prestige/retaining jobs & status could could play a factor in their pushing vaccines. He doesn’t appear to look at incentives or conflicts of interest very closely, except when it suits him.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That kind of talk will get you banned on Twitter by Michael E. Mann – he considers hard-eyed realists as more objectionable than deniers. I’m somewhat sympathetic to his negative view on passivity, but also believe if we’d been ‘realistic’ about the human predicament, especially decades ago when J. Hanson warned us about the dangers of GW we might have gone down a different path. But probably not given MPP, easy access to FF and the seeming inevitability of overshoot.

      The concept of the “global response” is interesting. Take a film like “Home Alone” in which the McCallister family forgets about little Kevin and fly off to Paris without him. Sure it’s just a movie, but it captures the quintessence of how humans F-up at the family level, let alone the band or civilizational level. Frankly I’m thankful things are holding together as well as they are.


  11. Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying today were on Joe Rogan’s podcast talking mostly about their new book.

    Lots of interesting topics covered including a little on the impossibility of permanent growth on a finite planet. They assume that we are genetically wired to desire growth and that we need to find a non-material substitute to satisfy this need.

    They’re probably right but completely missed the elephant in the room which is that modern industry, technology, health care, education, social safety nets, and citizens owning a nice home and a bicycle all require plentiful affordable credit, and plentiful affordable credit is only possible in a growing economy. That’s why our monetary system is designed as it is.

    A side effect of this design is that if the economy contracts, lots of wealth will vaporize due to defaulting debt, since one person’s debt is another person’s asset. That’s why central banks in most countries of the world are doing things we deemed insane only a decade ago.

    I wrote more about this here:

    Why We Want Growth, Why We Can’t Have It, and What This Means

    Teaching everyone how to cook a new recipe or sing a new song will not keep the credit flowing. In addition, our current strategy of buying $1 of growth with $4 (and climbing) debt is equivalent to lengthening a burning fuse in exchange for adding more dynamite.

    The big brains like Weinstein and Heying should be focused squarely on this issue because if we can’t figure out how to retain a civil society as material wealth contracts, as it must and will soon due to depletion of non-renewable low cost energy, and ecosystem damage, nothing else will matter.

    I personally think democratically supported rapid population reduction policies are the only good path forward, but perhaps smarter people than me can think of a better solution.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am affraid that “democratically supported rapid population reduction policies” are inherently self-contradictory.
      It looks that only policies that would work are non-democratically implemented…

      Generally – majority will never support something that is against our wired nature…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perhaps if our idiot leaders told the citizens what the alternatives are they might support population reduction. Even if the majority still rejects population reduction policies, there will be a bunch of people that choose to have fewer or no children after listening to the debate, which will help.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. The basic problem with these vaccines is that during the product development stage they used Reduction in the severity of Symptoms as the metric of success. They did not use prevention of infection as the measure of success. So that is what they developed a “vaccine” that reduces the severity of symptoms of covid but does not prevent people from getting and transmitting the virus. In the short run that probably has some benefit but in the long run you can make the virus worse. But hey that is a win- win for the pharmaceutical companies.


    1. I wonder if it was ever possible to have a non-sterilizing vaccine that would, if given to enough people, conferred immunity? Or, do non-sterilizing vaccines always push for the evolution of variants that escape the vaccine no matter how many people are vaccinated?


      1. I have read that the type of virus matters, due to the mechanism by which they attack the cell. Since this is a coronavirus it is able to mutate quickly and evade the vaccines protections. Also the antibodies created when vaccinated are not long lived in the body, so in a few months any protection has waned. Just a laymen tho!!


  13. Off topic…but I wonder what happened to ole Dan the Miami Beach Grim Reaper? I enjoyed following his antics. Last I heard he got accused by the law of “violating rules of professional conduct” which in Florida I guess rises to the standard of lurking around in a black robe and blocking the sacred tanning rays of Spring Breakers. The scythe might have been a tad intimidating, especially to the safe space crowd. No doubt walking around in the equivalent of a burka and getting sand flies up his skirts slowed him down some – and calling out “I am death” probably got a bit old too. If I’d run into him I’d definitely have invited him out for a beer, some salmon pate and possibly a game of chess.


      1. That get-up had to be mucho uncomfortable. Cue pic of derrière of gal playing beach volleyball – If you’re going to get sand up your bum this is how you do it.


  14. David Holmgren today gives his permaculture perspective on Covid, and does a really nice job of articulating the views of the two Covid tribes.

    I’ve followed Holmgren for years and I consider him one of the few wise men on this planet. I find it comforting that he shares my personal views on Covid.

    For many people, the trajectory from trust to mistrust often leads to either deep depression or an energised anger, mostly focused on the authorities but often expressed to friends and family at great cost to all concerned.

    Although I have some of those thoughts and feelings, I mostly feel a great tension between a deep and somewhat detached fascination with the big picture and the sense of urgency I habitually feel in spring to get fully cranking with the seasonal garden and generally keeping our home at Melliodora shipshape. I feel like I finally have a box seat to watch the train of techno-industrial civilization hitting the Limits to Growth stone wall and breaking apart, all in slow motion.

    A personal view of the pandemic

    Up until this point, I have not indicated my personal interpretation of either the virus or the response because I wanted to focus on the bigger systemic drivers without getting muddied in the good/bad, right/wrong, us/them polarities. However we all have to face what life throws in our path with whatever internal and collective resources we have at hand. As is my lifelong habit, I have done my own ‘due diligence’ to understand and guide my personal decisions. In the past I have always been open about my conclusions and decisions, whether around the campfire or on the most public of forums. I have often joked about the comfort I feel in being a dissident about most things including being beaten up at primary school in the early days of the Vietnam war for being a ‘commie traitor’ to being ostracised in the 1990s for opposing the ‘war on weeds’ orthodoxy of the environmental mainstream. But today being a dissident is no joking matter. Unfortunately the psychosocial environment has now become so toxic that the pressures to self-censor have become much more complex and powerful. Much more is at stake than personal emotions, ego, reputation or opportunities and penalties.

    Following my instinct for transparency, I will state my position, which has been evolving since I first started to consider whether the novel virus in Wuhan might lead to a repeat of the 1919 flu pandemic or even something on the scale of the Black Death. I can summarise my current position and beliefs as follows:

    – The virus is real, novel and kills mostly aged, ill and obese people with symptoms both similar to and different from related corona viruses.
    – It most likely is a result of ‘Gain of Function’ research at Wuhan Institute of Virology in China supported by funding from the US government.
    – Escape rather than release was the more likely start of the pandemic.
    – Vaccines in use in western world countries are based on novel technology developed over many years, but without resulting in effective or safe vaccines previously.
    – The fear about the virus generated by the official response and media propaganda is out of proportion to the impact of the disease.
    – Effective treatment protocols for Covid-19 exist and if those are implemented early in the disease, then hospitalisation and deaths can be greatly reduced, as achieved in some countries that faced severe impacts (especially Mexico and India).
    – The socioeconomic and psychosocial impacts of the response will cause more deaths than the virus has so far, especially in poor countries.
    – The efficacy of vaccines is falling while reported adverse effects are now much greater proportionally than for previous vaccines.
    – The under-reporting of adverse events is also much higher than for previous vaccines, although this is still an open question.
    – The possibility of antibody dependent enhancement (ADE) leading to higher morbidity and death in the future is a serious concern and could be unfolding already in countries such as Israel where early and high rates of vaccination have occurred.

    Given the toxic nature of views already expressed about (and by) people I know and respect, I am not going to engage in an extensive collating of evidence, referencing who I think are reliable experts and intermediaries who can interpret the virus, the vaccine or any of the related parts of the puzzle. Outsourcing personal responsibility for due diligence to authorities is a risky strategy at the best of times; in times of challenge and rapid change the risks escalate. I do not want to convince anyone to not have the vaccine, but I do want to provide solidarity with those struggling (often alone and isolated) to find answers, so the following are two starting points that I think could be helpful:

    – For those trying to understand the vaccines, their efficacy and risks, ‘This interview could save your life: a conversation with Dr Peter McCullough’ provides a good overview with full reference to official data, scientific papers and clinical experience.
    – For those focused on treatment options, the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCA) physicians are a good source on this rapidly emerging field of clinical practise.

    As a healthy 66-year-old I am not personally afraid of the virus, but if greater virulence and death rate do emerge with new variants, I might consider the preventative regimen recommended by the FLCCA doctors. There is no way I will be getting any of the current vaccines in the foreseeable future, no matter what the sanctions and demonisation of my position on this matter.

    At this point there may be readers who decide to ignore anything and everything I have written as obviously deluded. These are the costs of transparency.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I apologize for copying the entire article (paywall) but I found it worth the read. I did my best.

    ‘The woke don’t give a reason for their faith. It’s different rules of engagement’

    After ten years trying to do the job he loved, Peter Boghossian describes writing his resignation letter as brutal. He always felt that it was his professional duty as an assistant professor of philosophy to apply the same spirit of rigorous interrogation that underpins his own discipline to the “dominant moral orthodoxy” on campus: wokeism.

    He ruf­fled feathers. He was repeatedly investigated by his university’s “global diversity and inclusion of­fice”. He really upset many of his fellow academics by writing spoof research papers and placing them in social science journals to highlight questionable academic standards in fields such as gender studies.

    Boghossian — the name comes from his paternal grandparents, who emigrated from Armenia to the United States — was thrust into the national spotlight this week by his letter accusing Portland State University in Oregon of becoming a “social justice factory” where students are “being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues” rather than think for themselves.

    The attack reverberated across academia and seemed to sum up much that is going wrong in an era when the clash of ideas seems to have been quashed by a conformity of thought.

    “That letter truly was the hardest thing I ever wrote, and I’ve written a ton of stuff,” says Boghossian, 55, in a phone interview from his home in Portland. “And then when I hit ‘send’ I never felt so free. I wasn’t going to be complicit in the system any more, a system that was ostensibly set up to help people but has betrayed the public trust. I just couldn’t bear it any more.”

    He has been inundated with emails of support from academics, students, “people I don’t even know”, as well as media requests. In the US, however, the interest has all been from one side of a polarised nation.

    “There’s been a feeding frenzy to get me on conservative news shows,” says Boghossian, who backed Andrew Yang, a maverick entrepreneur, in the Democratic primary, and who told an interviewer a few years ago that he had never voted Republican. “I don’t consider myself a conservative! Not a single liberal or left-of-centre show has invited me. And I put out a message [on Twitter] saying I would love to have a conversation.”

    During a long and varied career, he has co-written a book called How to Have Impossible Conversations. That’s not what academia appears capable of doing at the moment, he says. He believes the kind of Socratic dialogue that he tried to teach students from day one is being purged from campus. As he put it in his letter, rather than a “bastion of free inquiry” the university had become a place where the “only inputs were race, gender, and victimhood and whose only outputs were grievance and division”.

    He may have found freedom but sounded exasperated and exhausted on the phone. “We need to have these conversations,” he said. “We are talking about our engines of knowledge production. We are talking about our university system.”

    How did it come to this? It’s complicated, he says. The high cost of university in the US may have contributed, with a fear of not of­fending the student customer or making them feel unsafe lest they take dollars elsewhere.

    “I think that is a little part of it but it is a problem that has many parts. There is not just one answer to how we got into this mess. The fact that universities have become a business, that is part of the problem. But I don’t think it plays that much of a role because you’re talking about true believers here.”

    Once upon a time the edgy malcontent was a feature of most university departments, beloved by students even if they were a thorn in the side of the administration. The accolades Boghossian has received on generally sing his praises. “You will not find another prof like him. He critiques what academics are too scared to and of­fers an insightful and eye-opening perspective,” says one (all reviews are anonymous).

    “Peter is one of the coolest teachers I have had. I think his critical thinking class could be one of the most helpful classes I will take in my college experience,” says another.

    A third student writes: “I personally am a bit of a social justice warrior and am very liberal, queer, and feminist, and I really appreciate what Peter is bringing to the table. It is unfortunate that he has been painted as a villain — he isn’t. If you really listen to him, you’ll see he is on your side.”

    Another notes: “The only downside is that his real passion these days is anti-wokeness, and it seeped into most lectures in the form of mini-rants.”

    Boghossian’s crusade against the dominance of grievance culture on campus led to a steady accumulation of recriminations. They became unbearable. In 2016 he faced a formal inquiry into a series of baseless accusations from a former student. “Students of mine who were interviewed told me the investigator asked them if they knew anything about me beating my wife and children. This horrifying accusation soon became a widespread rumour.”

    The global diversity and inclusion of­fice eventually concluded that there was “insuf­ficient evidence that he violated PSU’s prohibited discrimination and harassment policy”. Nevertheless, he was no longer “allowed to render my opinion about ‘protected classes’ or teach in such a way that my opinion about ‘protected classes’ could be known”. Protected class is a legal term covering groups based on sex, race, creed and other categories, or, as Boghossian puts it, “a protected class is somebody whose ancestors have been historically oppressed”. He believes it was meant to stop him challenging campus orthodoxy. “If somebody says, ‘Do you think African-Americans should be enslaved?’, I’m not allowed to render my opinion about that. It’s crazy.”

    “Examples that would come up in ethics class: should there be separate bathrooms for men and women? Should there be reparations based on historical injustices? If you want to do ethics in any meaningful way, they have to come up in an ethics class.” He felt he was being prevented from doing his job. Even so, in an act of rebellion as much as scholarship, he continued to stir things up with a campaign to publish bogus social science papers, saying that he “became convinced that corrupted bodies of scholarship were responsible for justifying radical departures from the traditional role of liberal arts schools and basic civility on campus”.

    The first, The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct, was published in Cogent Social Sciences. It argued that penises were products of the human mind and responsible for climate change. He immediately revealed it was a hoax and why he did it. Swastikas began appearing on campus written with his name on them. “They also occasionally showed up on my of­fice door, in one instance accompanied by bags of faeces.”

    He prepared 20 more hoax papers with two co-authors to “shake the university from its madness”. Seven were published, including one that argued there was an epidemic of dog rape at dog parks and proposing “that we leash men the way we leash dogs”. He said: “Our purpose was to show that certain kinds of scholarship are based not on finding truth but on advancing social grievances.”

    It meant another university inquiry. Some colleagues accused him of harassment for tweeting about them; in one case Boghossian highlighted an article entitled “Math is racist” based on a book examining how algorithms and big data were “targeting the poor, reinforcing racism” that was shared by a fellow academic with students. The tweet was picked up by conservative media, which ridiculed the academic as woke. More questions from the global diversity and inclusion of­fice.

    He defended his use of Twitter to stir debate in a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education, saying: “Extramural criticism is one of the few avenues left now that academic journals have become echo chambers that reinforce and promote specific ideological lenses.”

    Boghossian said that he tried to engage with his campus critics but to no avail. “I invited my colleagues from the women, gender, and sexuality studies department to join me on stage . . . and then again at an on-campus public event days later. They declined or ignored the invitations.” He says that non-engagement with critics is one of the defining traits of wokeism. “I teach the arguments for the existence of God. But I’m an atheist, I don’t believe those arguments. So I try to bring in people who believe those arguments. That’s what education should be.

    “It is built into the Bible in 1 Peter 3:15 that you should be able to give a reason for your faith. It is exactly the opposite with the woke. It is baked into their ideology that you don’t talk to Nazis. Even having a conversation is looked at as empowering. And so there’s no point in having a conversation with someone, particularly if they’re privileged . . . They have dif­ferent rules of engagement.”

    He does not have high hopes that the rot, as he sees it, can be reversed. “To teach in this country you need a teaching certificate. You have to go through teacher education. The problem is that virtually all of our [teacher training] institutions have been indoctrinated into social justice ideology, the woke mindset.”

    Boghossian, who was born and grew up in the Boston area before heading over to the west coast “for love”, also spent some time living in London before taking up his appointment in Portland. He would go along to Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park to listen to debate and was alarmed to hear that a woman was slashed with a knife there in July. “I’m not that familiar with the structures of [British] universities and the safeguards you have in place but my guess would be that it’s coming, it is only a matter of time. It’s just a guess, I could be wrong.”

    The relentless investigations sapped his desire to continue. He has set up a charitable foundation, the National Progress Alliance, “to promote free expression and civil discourse in the current culture war through grants, partnerships, educational material, and incubation of emerging organisations and influencers”. It is little more than a website at the moment but he has been encouraged by support from across the academic world.

    “I love teaching but slowly the university made it impossible for me to do the thing I was hired to do,” he says. “I don’t teach maths, I teach reason. I teach ethics, I teach critical thinking, and there will be issues that come up in those classes that some people simply won’t like. If you’re teaching accounting and you put the number 54 in a ledger, nobody’s going to tell you they’re of­fended about that. But philosophy should challenge your thoughts, that’s what Socrates did, that’s what all philosophy has been, it has been a history of examination and challenging and questioning. But the university didn’t allow me to do that.”

    His new crusade is to promote “cognitive liberty”, the freedom for students to reach judgments based on the battle of ideas rather than measure them against the moral certitude of wokeism. “The problem is you have people who don’t see the university as a symposium, as a place where people come for a dialectic and a conversation, they view the university as a kind of church,” he says. “And they have the right answers to moral questions. And anybody who doesn’t agree is a heretic who needs to be silenced. That is an injustice to our students. FIN

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I observe that Boghossian does not criticize our education institutions for ignoring all of the most important topics:
      – overshoot
      – populaiton reduction policy options
      – timing and implications of peak oil
      – non-renewable resource depletion
      – how to avoid war in times of scarcity
      – ecosystem collapse
      – implications of the climate change we’ve already caused
      – what it would really take to prevent further climate change
      – implications of the everything bubble and why it exists
      – how money is created and why it requires infinite growth on a finite planet
      – how to contract the economy without blowing it up
      – how to prevent a widening & destabilizing wealth gap as the economy contracts
      – how to grow sufficient food for 8B people without natural gas for Haber Bosch factories and diesel for tractors and trucks

      I suspect Boghossian is in denial and is wasting his time worrying about gender studies etc..

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Boghossian is on rung one or two of the ladder of awareness according to Paul Chefurka. I would venture a guess that more than 7.78 billion people are hanging out with this guy. No surprise there given that education is now a business: We must have “conformity of thought” in order to get the students through the system.

        “Socratic dialogue” is gone (Yes, I’m referring to Ugo Bardi’s blog and to my “favorite” troll – links below). How does one even attempt to climb higher on that ladder of awareness when “our engines of knowledge production … become echo chambers that reinforce and promote specific ideological lenses”? Even doomers fall prey to this. As the saying goes, at the end of the day it all boils down to we are nothing more than an evolutionary oopsie. Or as William Catton said pond scum.

        On another note, Hagens (Reality Blind) explained one of our limitless fantasies: “These are prices set by markets of buyers and sellers, and markets bounce up and down because they’re based not just on ‘supply and demand,’ but the belief of buyers and sellers of where ‘supply and demand’ will be in the future. These prices do not directly reflect the costs of extracting and producing oil.”

        Limitless fantasies and stories. Gather around children for I have another story to tell….

        The comment (apneaman nee moresoma –

        The response –


      2. Good point – I’d rejoinder that if any of your list are actually possible to address it seems like great unity of action will be required. This unity of action could perhaps come from totalitarianism, or perhaps from cooperation. It seems to me like we’ll get the worst of both worlds – woke totalitarianism, committed to impossible goals, in universal denial.


        1. We will never know if any of those issues can be mitigated if we do not acknowledge or discuss them.

          It’s endlessly fascinating to me that the only issues we never discuss are the most important (and most unpleasant) issues.


      3. Rob,
        Re: Boghossian. You’ve mentioned a few times your frustration at how logic and facts have failed you in conversations with friends. In “How to Have Impossible Conversations” Boghossian details how and why this happens and offers solutions on how to seek truth collaboratively. I’ve read his book twice and I’m still a novice at this. The first rule is about facts. Bad facts, bad! Not everyone forms their beliefs on evidence or facts. As you are painfully aware, most of us do a crap job of basing our beliefs on evidence and we tend to seek out confirming evidence.

        Here are a few tips from his book you might find helpful. Ask disconfirming questions such as “what facts or evidence would cause you to change your mind?” or “under what conditions could that belief be false?” or try using a scale “where do you place your confidence in that belief on a scale of 1-10?” If someone states their beliefs are not disconfirmable then you know you’re in trouble & dealing with an ideologue and it’s really about values.

        So if you give them a fact about overshoot and the need for pop reduction they reply with“you just don’t care about children” or “you’re a misanthrope – you hate humanity.” Value differences are at the core of most impossible conversations. These convos on the surface can seem to be about facts but they are really about moral issues rooted in the ideologues sense of identity and their self perception as a moral person. All you can do at that point is realize what and who you’re dealing with and introduce doubt into their moral epistemology and try to reframe.


        1. Thanks Mandrake. Good tips.

          I agree that for most people values seem to be more important than facts.

          I wonder if this is because when our denial module blocks an unpleasant fact our homunculus has to say something reasonably coherent so it makes up values to justify its decision?


    2. Catapulting a steaming pile of flaming manure into the Admin office while playing Flight of the Valkyries would have been a more effective resignation.


  16. Noam Chomsky says, “people who refuse to accept vaccines I think the right response for them is not to force them to but rather to insist that they be isolated”…

    I’m sitting in the corner with my pointy hat as I type this.


  17. An oil industry insider’s perspective…

    This recent era of inadequate reserve replacement and now a general malaise over taking the Exploration and Production industry seems almost like total capitulation by the industry. With impossibly volatile prices governing and in many cases destroying economic returns, it really feels like the industry has made a statement through their inaction that enough is enough and we are done battling all of forces that have attacked this healthy and important industry. I don’t see a vibrant restart in the cards. ESG investing or whatever we want to call it has no goal or fundamentals that tied to real life but more so to a dream that sustainable green alternative energy will fill the gap. The overthrow of our old system of supply and demand has given way to let’s get rid of the old with a bear hug embrace of the new even if the new doesn’t provide solutions or sustainability of our accustomed lifestyles.

    Just yesterday I had a meeting with an old friend who is from Texas and lives in the Northeast. He is amazed at the speed in which investing and banking institutions are fleeing the fossil fuel industry. He said their is zero appetite for new oil and gas deals in his circle of high powered and well heeled investors.

    Whether it is due to this recent period of low to negative returns of the past 6 years or the expedient desire to jump on the ESG bandwagon, reserve replacement has vanished and it will take many many years to gear back up and a political reversal away from the climate change investing to provide enough supply to narrowly avert an all out war for survival in a dark period of energy poverty.

    I am in favor of alternative energy and have been for the last 30 years which is when we should have begun this effort to combat the peak oil reality. Our leaders and institutions I am convinced are convinced that by throwing unlimited amounts Funding to this new industry, the result will somehow solve the climate change issues while providing affordable and abundant energy for all. Sadly it will not and I expect the fossil fuel industry will continue to sit on the bench and watch the shit show unfold. As an energy producer for 40 years, it has been an uphill slog with a few bright spots of technological breakthroughs like 3D and 4 D seismic, horizontal drilling, bright spot analysis, and many other advancements, but my colleagues and professional staff are worn out, tired and have little faith that the market will be stable and reliable enough to warrant the humongous risks necessary to continue to explore, find and produce new reserves in a meaningful way. This seems vastly different in that the political will against this industry is so overwhelming that I am not sure that even $150 oil will yield the results that we experienced in the last 20 years. It’s simply too unpopular and now more than ever being popular, cool, and woke has usurped good and rational common sense.

    Please forgive me for sounding like an “old man” but I am amazed and stunned every day by the magical thinking and activities that rule the day. Shoot maybe it will all turn out just fine and I am just a bit out of step with the new world realities.


  18. My home is located too far to walk for supplies and I’m getting older so I just bought an e-bike.

    I was going to wait another year or two for the designs to improve but with China on shaky ground, and e-bikes in short supply, and battery prices increasing, I decided to buy now. I got lucky and found a demo with a few km at a good discount.

    It has a range of 60+ km which is plenty for my needs. I just finished customizing it for hauling cargo.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Charles Hugh Smith today on manipulation of the narrative.

    He’s right that most of our important indicators are manipulated to distort reality, but I suspect this is a widespread accepted norm because both citizens and leaders aggressively deny what’s actually going on.

    We will do anything to avoid acknowledging overshoot.

    The cost of living–the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a.k.a. inflation–is the most threadbare trash heap of manipulation currently on display. Fully 40% of the Index is based on the opinion of random people rather than easily tabulated real-world data. I refer to the government’s comically wacky method of reckoning the cost of housing: ask a random bunch of homeowners what they guess they could rent their house for.

    But wait, why not simply tabulate the actual rents being paid? That data is easily available, and could be made apples-to-apples by applying the methodology of the Case-Shiller housing index, which is to track the cost data of the same homes / flats over time. This would provide reliable data on the actual increase or decline in rents being paid.

    Gathering actual real-world date is anathema because then the CPI would be much higher and not so easily manipulated. The same can be said of all the other tricks of manipulating the cost of living: seasonal adjustments (i.e., lop off price increases and attribute the reduction to “seasonality”) and hedonic adjustments (i.e., after adjusting for the better stereo and the rear-view camera, today’s $40,000 car is tabulated as “cheaper” than yesteryear’s $10,000 car of the same size).

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Doug Noland today on bubbles popping…

    Evergrande Moment

    Evergrande owes over $300 billion – to banks and non-bank financial institutions, domestic and international bond holders, suppliers and apartment buyers. It has bank borrowings of $90 billion, including to Agricultural Bank of China, China Minsheng Banking Corp and China CITIC Bank Corp. (reports have 128 banks with exposure). Thousands of suppliers are on the hook for $100 billion.

    It appears an Evergrande debt restructuring is inevitable. From a few decades of close observation, these types of situations generally prove worse than even the more bearish analysts fear. Assume ugly and messy. The presumption all along – by bankers, investors and apartment purchasers – was that Beijing would never allow a collapse of such a huge player. This fundamental market perception is in serious jeopardy.

    Evergrande epitomizes China’s historic Credit Bubble. It has borrowed and spent lavishly, in what history will surely view as a company that operated at the epicenter of an extraordinary Bubble of asset inflation, speculation and reckless debt-financed mal-investment.


  21. Kurt Cobb today on peak natural gas. It seems our bridge to a green future is crumbling.

    Natural gas was supposed to be the so-called bridge fuel to the low-carbon renewable energy economy. It was abundant, cleaner to burn than oil and coal, and more and more available to anyone who wanted it as a global market in liquefied natural gas (LNG) blossomed and boomed.

    But this season it is looking increasingly like that metaphorical natural gas bridge is going to come up short. And, the effects are starting to ripple throughout the economy, not only in the natural gas markets themselves, but also in the electricity and agricultural markets.

    In electricity markets the natural gas price spike had, well, electrifying effects, and not in a good way. Electricity prices in Europe have climbed 250 percent since January owing in part to the rise in the price of natural gas which now powers an increasing number of electric generating plants. In the United Kingdom electricity prices traded near all-time highs. The culprit once again was the price of natural gas and the fuel’s expanded role in electricity generation.

    The effects on agriculture may also be dramatic because nitrogen fertilizers are made largely from natural gas. Two fertilizer factories closed in the U.K. recently because of high natural gas prices.

    It is an irony that high fossil fuel energy prices increase the cost of fertilizer which, in turn, increases the cost of growing biofuel crops such as soybeans and corn. Soybean and corn prices are soaring this year as their use for food competes against their use as feedstocks for fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Our leaders in denial will say no one saw this coming.

    Faced with surging gas and electricity prices, countries from the U.K. to Germany will need to count on mild temperatures to get through the heating season. Europe is short of gas and coal and if the wind doesn’t blow, the worst-case scenario could play out: widespread blackouts that force businesses and factories to shut.

    The unprecedented energy crunch has been brewing for years, with Europe growing increasingly dependent on intermittent sources of energy such as wind and solar while investments in fossil fuels declined. Environmental policy has also pushed some countries to shut their coal and nuclear fleets, reducing the number of power plants that could serve as back-up in times of shortages.

    Europe’s gas prices have more than tripled this year as top supplier Russia has been curbing the additional deliveries the continent needs to refill its depleted storage sites after a cold winter last year. It’s been hard to get hold of alternative supplies, with North Sea fields undergoing heavy maintenance after pandemic-induced delays, and Asia scooping up cargoes of liquefied natural gas to meet rising demand there.

    “Gas supply is short, coal supply is short and renewables aren’t going great, so we are now in this crazy situation,” said Dale Hazelton, head of thermal coal at Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “Coal companies just don’t have supply available, they can’t get the equipment, the manufacturers are backed up and they don’t really want to invest.”

    Supplies are unlikely to improve significantly any time soon. Russia is facing an energy crunch of its own and Gazprom is directing its additional production to domestic inventories. Prices could stay high even if Europe ends up with a mild winter, said Fabian Ronningen, an analyst at energy consultant Rystad Energy AS.


  23. Wolf Richter on China…

    YouTube comment: “As a Chinese, I think you have made some very good analyses. The general sentiment on the ground here can be expressed by a four character idiom: 杀鸡儆猴. This means kill the chicken to warn the monkey. The government is trying to use Evergrande’s (the chicken) demise to warn other irresponsible borrowers (monkeys) in the financial system.”


    1. Get with the program, China! You must keep increasing debt faster than income. This is not a worry because there is infinite, cheap energy to generate the activity needed to pay off said debt. Don’t make life difficult.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, however most of us here know that Fauci, Daczak et al are “too big” to be charged, convicted and imprisoned (or otherwise punished) for these criminal, exceptionally harmful activities. And most of us here also know that gain-of-function research should have never been allowed/approved. Alas, it is all too human.

      BTW, I’ve finally read most of the material and it’s been brutal (if in a “good”, reality-based, un-Denial way) for me. Especially the excerpt from Tadeusz Borowski’s “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman” –> It’s been a long time since I’ve read something that shook me that deeply and I feel somewhat ashamed (or maybe sad, or something) that I hadn’t read it before now. It should be required reading for every human so that we might better understand our immense capacity for evil (and how banal it can be).


      1. Thanks, I think.

        The holocaust was not that long ago and was planned and implemented by people from a modern, democratic, educated, Christian, relatively affluent society – just like us.

        As non-renewable resources deplete and food becomes scarce due to climate change, I expect we’re all capable of evil, especially if we deny and thus don’t understand the cause of our hardship, and seek to blame others.

        I think that’s one of the reasons I talk so much about denial.

        How can you steer in a good direction if you can’t even open your eyes to see where you are?

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Minsky Moment

    Not if but when.

    A Minsky moment is a sudden, major collapse of asset values which marks the end of the growth phase of a cycle in credit markets or business activity.

    According to the hypothesis, the rapid instability occurs because long periods of steady prosperity and investment gains encourage a diminished perception of overall market risk, which promotes the leveraged risk of investing borrowed money instead of cash. The debt-leveraged financing of speculative investments exposes investors to a potential cash flow crisis, which may begin with a short period of modestly declining asset prices. In the event of a decline, the cash generated by assets is no longer sufficient to pay off the debt used to acquire the assets. Losses on such speculative assets prompt lenders to call in their loans. This rapidly amplifies a small decline into a collapse of asset values, related to the degree of leverage in the market. Leveraged investors are also forced to sell less-speculative positions to cover their loans. In severe situations, no buyers bid at prices recently quoted, fearing further declines. This starts a major sell-off, leading to a sudden and precipitous collapse in market-clearing asset prices, a sharp drop in market liquidity, and a severe demand for cash.


    1. I wonder however if any of the economic ideas developed during the period of rapidly increasing fossil fuel energy production (Dr. Nate Hagens has provided this insight) will be applicable, as energy production declines and involuntary degrowth begins.

      In some of this traditional economic thinking, there are a few who now think the central banks and specifically the Federal Reserve can keep assets prices up indefinitely through money “printing, ” until the point at which hyperinflation takes hold and utterly destroys the value of the currencies. Presumably asset values collapse at that point in any case. However, equities, relative to some other assets, might retain more value as sources of dividend distributions in whatever future currency is put in place.

      But, logically speaking, in world of negative growth, equities should have should have very little value. The theoretical value of equities depends upon projected revenue growth and the discounted cash flow of an increasing stream of profit distributions to shareholders into the future, usually 20-25 years. So in negative growth equities should be worth like, zero, or near to it. (Oil companies now only retain value today be telling a good story, and cutting capital investment expenses (cap ex) and borrowing to pay dividends.)

      However, if we are in fact now on the path to negative growth in industrial production as in the LTGrowth BAU scenario, some strange things could happen not predicable the usual economic theory.

      Here is a speculation on one possible unusual near term future for equities: As the world of involuntary degrowth comes into view, most stock markets decline massively in aggregate value, after a financial or geopolitical crisis of some kind. BUT, the stocks of a few winner-take-all companies, like tech stocks Apple, Google, some industrial stocks, some agricultural stocks, retain some relative value as the “chosen ones,” as governments move their economies more towards a state sponsored industrial system and an electronic surveillance and population control state. Maybe we are already seeing that in development?

      Maybe we get 10 years of that kind of future before breakdown of that system from further resource shortages and environmental stress. As I said, just speculation. The future usually spills out differently from what I think will happen. I suffer some cognitive dissonance almost every day when friends and family tell me about how much their 401K accounts have increased in value, and what they are going to be doing with all that money in their retirement.


      1. You might be right about your winner take all idea, I don’t know.

        I suspect in the end wise investors will distinguish between price and value.

        A fabulously popular company like Apple or Tesla that depends on energy and material inputs that are not available, or that produces products citizens cannot afford, will have a value of zero regardless of its stock price.

        Whereas in the medieval like world we’re probably returning to, farm land will have very high value (and power) regardless of the price.

        But then a despot will rise to kill the wise investors (aka Kulaks).


  25. Michael Pettis is my favorite source for China insight.

    What Does Evergrande Meltdown Mean for China?

    The impact of Evergrande has caused financial distress to spread faster and more forcefully than Beijing’s financial regulators expected, putting pressure on them to move quickly to stop the contagion. But they cannot rescue Evergrande’s creditors without also undermining their fight against bad debt.

    Policymakers in Beijing are in a tough position on what to do about Evergrande, the Chinese property developer whose slow collapse has transfixed the markets. Evergrande is the most-indebted property developer in the world. Its on-balance-sheet liabilities amount to nearly 2 percent of China’s annual GDP, and its off-balance-sheet obligations add up to as much as another 1 percent.

    This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if Chinese property developers, state-owned enterprises, local governments, and even ordinary households did not all have excessively high debt levels. But because the Chinese economy has long been plagued by debt problems and moral hazard, the situation will be much more difficult for regulators to sort out.


    1. I read the whole Pettis article. It was illuminating. It also shows how dire our overshoot problems are. China is addicted to growth, just as the world is, but only more so. They are trying to get politically correct growth and just not debt fueled bubble growth. How we would transition to de-growth or anything more sustainable doesn’t seem to be a question that is getting asked. It appears China’s leadership is focused on short term control of their society and ascendancy over the West. Denial of overshoot appears to be rampant in their leadership too. This won’t end well.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. h/t Panopticon @


  27. Alice Friedemann today found a very good essay by Rex Wyler, co-founder of Greenpeace.

    Lots of wise words here. It’s comforting to know there are others thinking the same thing.

    I think Wyler’s wrong on the root cause which I believe is the Maximum Power Principle (MPP) common to all life, which is enabled in a species intelligent enough to know better by Varki’s Mind Over Reality Transition (MORT) theory. The first step therefore must be to acknowledge our genetic tendency to deny unpleasant realities.

    Rex Wyler. September 2021. Ecological crisis: Might as well speak the truth

    Why is the political process — worldwide — so slow in responding appropriately to our ecological crisis?

    We may point out that most political processes are hobbled by corruption, self-interest, and bureaucratic incompetence. However, there may be a deeper reason, connected to how the status quo protects itself, not just against foreign aggressors, but against dissident ideas that threaten its accepted narrative.

    Regarding our ecological problems, the popular narrative of most societies and governments today is that we have a “climate problem,” which can be solved with “renewable technologies” such as windmills, carbon capture, and efficient batteries.

    However, global heating is a symptom of a much larger, more fundamental ecological crisis articulated by William Rees, the Limits to Growth study, the Post-Carbon Institute and other ecologically aware observers. Humanity’s urgent and primary challenge is what ecologists call “overshoot,” the predicament of any species that grows beyond the capacity of its environment. Wolves overshoot the prey in their watershed, algae overshoot the nutrient capacity of a lake, and humanity has overshot the entire capacity of Earth. Global heating, the biodiversity crisis, depleted soils, and disappearing forests are all symptoms of ecological overshoot.

    All paths out of overshoot (genuine solutions) involve a contraction of the species and a decline of material/energy throughput. There are no exceptions.

    Furthermore, the contraction of humanity is inevitable, so all genuine options exist within this framework, whether we respond appropriately or not. And finally, every day that we ignore this reality, the deeper humanity falls into the overshoot rut, the faster the feedbacks take over (forest fires, methane from melting permafrost), and the less chance we have of mitigation.

    In several cases, scientists and other colleagues who have attempted to introduce these facts in political settings have told me: “It is a non-starter. They don’t want to hear it.” Okay. That reveals a deeper problem: political inertia and the paradigm trap.

    If mentioning the real problem to any given group that wants to help is a “non-starter,” I cannot imagine how that group is ever going to be effective.

    In my experience, this is how the status quo maintains itself: Not necessarily with conspiracy or evil plotting (although those phenomena exist), but rather with social gravity, pulling every alternative idea or narrative toward itself, until the alternative idea is safely inside the event horizon and there is no escape. The capitalist/growth status quo black hole has virtually gobbled up the entire environmental movement, and the civil rights movements, this way.

    Politicians reach out to scientists for an articulation of our problems, but typically reject the warnings from scientists if those warnings violate the accepted paradigm. The message from serious ecological science suggests that a clear understanding of overshoot is absolutely essential for anyone or any group hoping to understand the problem. Non-starter or not, I suggest it would help anyone attempting to influence governments to have a one-pager on “Overshoot” available for everyone, to distribute it relentlessly, and to articulate it at every opportunity. Don’t wait until it is acceptable.

    Paul Ehrlich bravely and brilliantly warned humanity of the population crisis in the 1960s, and tried to get the topic on the UN agenda in Stockholm in 1972, and almost succeeded, but was sabotaged by people (including Barry Commoner) who claimed the subject, though correct, was a “non-starter.” So here we are, fifty years down the road, having wasted half a century on pretending, with the population having doubled, and material throughput quadrupled. Meanwhile, we’ve wasted 42 years of climate meetings, allowing political appointees to avoid the real dilemma, while pretending that carbon-capture and mechanical efficiencies would solve the erroneously-described problem.

    A leading environmental leader once told me that, although true, she could get “no traction” with the overshoot warning or with population issues. I sympathize, but my response was, and still is: What good is traction if you’re going down the wrong road?

    Sometimes the “traction” is to help with fundraising, but I don’t believe that funding is the solution. As often as not, funding is the problem, because the funding represents a huge packet of energy, resources, and person-power, so if the funding is creating traction down the wrong road — tech fixes, better lives for 9, 10, 12 billion people, a marginally more benign American or European empire — it is part of the problem.

    So the articulation of the problem includes this: We don’t have another half-century to quibble.

    Governments claim to care about risk mitigation, but ignoring the real dilemma is the biggest risk of all. It’s like turning on the air conditioner when the house is on fire.

    I believe most of the solutions that will matter will be local: Learn to grow food, grow food, learn about energy, reduce energy throughput, build up local and regional energy sources, protect local ecosystems, build community cohesion, establish systems to create soil, enrich the soil, recycle everything locally, reduce material throughput, set local limits on growth.

    Virtually none of this can be achieved globally, but there still exists useful global efforts — including efforts to inform governments of the genuine challenges. I would engage in any global effort that is realistic about the problems we face.

    In that case, what are the global priorities: My list starts with universal women’s rights, available contraception, a global promotion campaign for small families, to address unrestrained population growth; a vast reduction of militarism and weapons manufacturing; reduce psychopathic behaviour in governments and institutions; limit corporate power in government and in ecological regulation; reduce/eliminate frivolous consumption, and so forth.

    I suggest that to be effective, all this has to be done within the biophysically, ecologically correct context: Humanity is in a state of overshoot, getting worse daily, and all paths out, all genuine solutions, include a large-scale contraction of human enterprise.

    So, when you lobby your government for action, don’t equivocate. If your government ignores you because you insist on bringing up these issues, it is better to find out now, rather than in another decade or half century.

    Rex Weyler

    September 2021

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Geert Vanden Bossche dissects a moron professor who claims the unvaccinated are threatening the vaccinated.

    I think there is perhaps some short term threat from extra hospital beds being occupied by the unvaccinated, but it’s a temporary threat that will fade as the vaccine effectiveness declines with time, and could be mitigated or eliminated with early treatment.

    But once, again, let’s get started by assessing his experience in some of the fields that are critically important to understanding the evolutionary dynamics of this pandemic (according to some of the criteria I listed in my contribution ‘Separating the wheat from the chaff’).

    Q: Does Goldman understand immunology? No

    Q: Does Goldman understand vaccinology? No

    So, why does he even try to tackle an issue as complex as a population-level interaction between the host immune system and a virus within the context of mass vaccination?

    I’ve inserted my comments below (in italics) in the text of his article. Again, they should illustrate how uninformed, biased interpretations of the data can have a disastrous impact, not only in that they violate the science but also in that they lead to irrational social discrimination. Again, I doubt that Goldman is willing to engage in an open scientific debate on a public platform. He should, therefore, at least seriously consider withdrawing the nonsense he’s trying to sell as a science-based statement.


  29. File this under: You Can’t Make This Shit Up.

    Today we have a reasonably intelligent documentary producer with 3 million subscribers discussing the implications of peak oil on Saudi Arabia without mentioning human overshoot and the many dire implications of declining energy, and then with a straight face, reporting that the Saudi’s strategy for coping with less oil revenue is to promote tourism, however to succeed they must first stop butchering into small pieces dissident journalists.


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