Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

16 July 2018

Critique of The Steel Greenhouse by Willis Eschenbach


Willis Eschenbach made a guest post entitled The Steel Greenhouse at Watts Up With That in November 2009 that reduces a critical aspect of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis to a very simple model.  Some critics of catastrophic man-made global warming claim his model is incorrect and others embrace it.  In this post I will solve the same problem he does, but with fewer assumptions and I will not violate the energy density conservation rules of equilibrium electromagnetic fields given by Stefan’s Law in the simple limit of black body cavities and more generally given by electromagnetic field theory as Eschenbach does.  I will follow the mathematics from a non-equilibrium case to the radiative equilibrium case.

In one very important respect, Eschenbach produces a correct result, yet in another very important respect he buys into an error that causes a huge amplification of the effects of infrared-active or greenhouse gases when that concept of thermal radiation is applied to real climate issues.  If you have not read my prior post on thermal radiation physics which I reference below, you are a most unusually astute scientist if you really know and understand what Eschehbach’s widely shared error is.

I have previously discussed the fundamentals of black body thermal radiation and how it applies to real life materials in several postings.  The best single post to read to understand why it is improper to think about black body and thermal radiation generally as most scientists do is:


The Eschenbach model for his discussion of a fundamental aspect of the greenhouse gas warming effect is to imagine the Earth as a perfectly conducting sphere with black body emission closely surrounded by a perfectly conducting shell which also has surfaces that act as though they are black body absorbers and radiators.  Effectively, his model takes there to be only vacuum between the surface of the inner sphere and the surrounding shell and only vacuum and a T=0 K universe beyond the surrounding shell.  The only means for energy to flow in the system between the inner sphere and the outer shell is by thermal radiation, as it is also beyond the shell.  The very small correction for the different surface areas of the inner sphere and the outer shell will be ignored as Eschenbach did.  The geometric surface area correction is less than one part in a thousand.  This is not meant to be an accurate model of the Earth and its atmosphere.  It is a useful thought experiment.




Eschenbach posits that the inner sphere has its own source of heat which he sets at a thermal power density of 235 W/m2 at the surface of the sphere.  Since this is the only source of heat, at equilibrium, the only very slightly larger shell around the sphere must radiate energy into space at a power of 235 W/m2.  So far he is right.

He posits that the outer shell is a great conductor, so there is no temperature gradient in the shell between the inner and outer surfaces.  Now he applies standard issue knowledge of thermal radiation and says that if the two sided outer sphere is radiating power on the outside surface at 235 W/m2, then it must be doing so also from the inner surface which has the same temperature, because the relationship between the power of radiation and the temperature is given by P = σT4, where P is the power per unit area, T is the temperature of the surface in Kelvin, and σ is a constant.  This relationship is the Stefan-Boltzmann law.  If the inner surface were radiating into a vacuum at T = 0K, this would be a correct application of the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.  This is not the case for the inner surface, though we will imagine that it is for the outer surface since space has an average temperature relatively close to absolute zero compared to an Earth surface temperature near 288 K.

Eschenbach goes on to observe that since the shell is radiating energy back to the inner sphere at 235 W/m2 and the sphere surface already had a supply of power of 235 W/m2, the sum of the two powers is now 470 W/m2.  Putting a shell around the core sphere has doubled the radiating power of the core sphere.  This is the real greenhouse effect he says.  His solution is based on a flux of photons at 470 W/m2 flowing outward from the sphere surface and a flux of photons at 235 W/m2 flowing downward from the shell to the sphere surface.

Some people are bothered by the failure here to conserve energy, but not very many, because most people think it is only important to conserve energy at the sphere and at the shell.  Most people seem to examine this and say, well, the 470 W/m2 radiating out from the inner sphere surface minus the 235 W/m2 radiating into the inner sphere surface from the inner surface of the shell is still 235 W/m2 which is supplied by the internal power supply of the core sphere.  QED, energy is conserved.  Never mind the fact that the energy of the photons issuing forth at the rate of 470 W/m2 and the energy of the photons from the inside wall of the shell at 235 W/m2 must add, not subtract, when we examine the energy density of the volume between the outer shell and the inner core sphere.  I will discuss this somewhat further on in this post, but the reference I gave above will be a much more thorough discussion of this critical issue.

Let us step back from this and talk a moment about black body cavity thermal radiation.  The principal characteristic of a black body cavity is that it is at thermal equilibrium and the energy density inside the cavity is everywhere the same and given by Stefan’s Law.  If the energy density is e, then e = a T4, where a is Stefan’s constant.  Within the cavity in equilibrium, there are just as many photons traveling in one direction as in its opposite direction.  If photons traveling in opposite directions had energies that cancelled one another out, then the energy density inside a black body cavity would be zero and would not be given by Stefan’s Law.

If you return to Jackson’s Classical Electrodynamics, you will also find that two oppositely directed electromagnetic plane waves will simply pass through one another and reappear as normal plane waves after their very brief interaction.  They most certainly do not sum up to zero energy.

Let us simplify the problem even more by just looking at two facing planes, one of which has a supply of power Q per unit surface area and only radiates that power from the surface facing the other plane which has two sides that can radiate power.  Imagine these to be a small section out of the Eschenbach inner core of a unit area of surface and of a unit area of outer shell.  This simplification of the model with its parameters for thermal radiation is shown below:





The power into the left plane representing a unit surface area of the inner core causes it to radiate power at a rate of PS, when the power to the sphere is first turned on.  We will assume that the surrounding shell on the right of the drawing was at T=0 K when the power to the inner core was turned on.  Let us either assume that it has a finite heat capacity so that it has to warm up to its equilibrium temperature or we count on the finite speed of light to create a delay.  We are making this assumption so that we are not too quick to leap to false assumptions.  What is the general case before and when equilibrium is reached?  It is obvious that TO will increase.  What will happen to TS?

The power transferred from the inner core to the outer shell is PS. The power radiated from the outer surface of the shell section will be PO and that surface is in vacuum facing nothing but T = 0 K space.  For simplicity and in order to be strictly correct in applying the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, the space between the powered inner core and the spherical shell is in vacuum.  We have

Q = PS  = σ TS4 - σ TO4

PO = σ TO4

At equilibrium, PS = PO, so

TSE4 - TOE4 = TOE4, where the added E in the subscripts designates the equilibrium values.

Therefore, TSE4 = 2 TOE4 or TSE = 1.189 TOE and

PS = σ ( 2 TOE4 - TOE4 ) = σ TOE4.

But Q = PS always, so when the shell was still at T=0 K, Q = PS = σ TSI4 , where TSI was the initial temperature of the surface of the sphere when Q was first turned on and all the sphere surface saw as a T=0 K environment.  Consequently,

TOE = TSI

At equilibrium, the outward facing surface of the shell radiates energy at the same rate the initial core spherical surface did when it was surrounded by T=0 K.  The shell temperature has become what the initial core sphere surface temperature was.  Very importantly, the inner core surface temperature has increased to be

TSE = 1.189 TOE = 1.189 TSI

Putting the shell around the inner core has sufficiently retarded its rate of cooling that with the same input power to the inner core, its temperature has increased by a factor of 1.189 or the one-quarter root of 2.  The reason for this is that the powered inner core is emitting energy from a surface of unit area 1, while the surrounding shell is retarding its emission with a surface of unit area 1 and emitting a power equal to the initial power emitted from the sphere from its outer surface of unit area 1.  In the similar problem with two planes both of which have two black body surfaces and one of which is supplied with power, the equilibrium condition has both planes at the TSI temperature.  They create a black body cavity between them and the photon emission from the two facing inner surfaces is P = 0.  There is only P = σ T4 emission from the outward facing surfaces of each plane and the interior energy density is given by Stefan’s Law as

e = a T4

Let us return to Eschenbach’s post.  His inner sphere had a power of its own of 235 W/m2 and the shell radiated 235 W/m2 down upon the inner sphere, so he says the inner sphere surface radiates power away from its surface equal to the sum of the internal power and the radiated power from the surrounding shell, which is 470 W/m2.  Applying the Stefan - Boltzmann Law:

PS = 470 W/m2 = σ TSE4

TSE = 301.74 K

In my case,

PS = σ TSI4 = 235 W/m2

TSI = 253.73 K

TSE = 1.189 TSI = 301.68 K

So, both Eschenbach and my calculations yield the same, higher inner core surface temperature. 

Our important difference is that he supposes the vacuum between the inner core and the surrounding shell has a photon density corresponding to (470 + 235) W/m2 = 705 W/m2, while my photon density corresponds only to those emitted from the inner core surface and there are no photons emitted from the inner surface of the surrounding shell.  The reasons for this are given at length in my first reference above.  Consequently, the real photon density between the sphere and the shell is actually that corresponding to 235 W/m2.  Eschenbach has multiplied the photon density by a factor of 3.

Why is the photon density critical when one more realistically addresses the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis?  One way one calculates the longwave infrared absorption warming attributed to greenhouse gases is with an experimentally measured absorption cross section for each frequency of photon energy for each greenhouse gas molecule such as water vapor and carbon dioxide.  One then multiplies the number of photons of each frequency times the value of the absorption cross section for that frequency to calculate the number of absorption events.  A factor of 3 exaggeration in the number of photons at each frequency is an important exaggeration of the greenhouse gas effect.

It is actually even worse than this when the proponents of the catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis with a similar misconception set to work.  Let us look once again at the NASA Earth Energy Budget:




NASA has a surface radiation of 117% here and a back radiation of 100%.  This produces a corresponding photon density of 217%.  In reality, the photon density is 117% - 100% = 17%.  Consequently, NASA has amplified the photon density by a factor of 217% / 17% = 12.8.  This is the equivalent of amplifying the greenhouse gas effect by a factor of 12.8.

There are many who believe that the radiative forcing caused by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 3.7 W/m2.  Divide that radiative forcing value by 12.8 to account for the greatly exaggerated effect caused by an exaggeration of the number of photons that carbon dioxide can absorb and one gets a radiative forcing value of only 0.29 W/m2.  This alone would make it much harder to experimentally document the warming effect of carbon dioxide and would explain why the global climate models have been exaggerating the effects of carbon dioxide so long and why it has been so hard for them to find that elusive hot spot in the upper troposphere in the tropics they predicted.

It has other important consequences as well.  Suddenly the cooling effects of carbon dioxide that are usually ignored with the claim that they are much smaller than the greenhouse gas warming effect are not so small in comparison.  These cooling effects include:

  • The absorption of solar insolation in the atmosphere before it can reach the surface to warm the surface
  • Carbon dioxide has a higher heat capacity than do nitrogen and oxygen molecules, so more carbon dioxide increases the heat energy carried upward by convection currents
  • Because carbon dioxide radiates thermal energy from a warmer layer of air to a cooler layer of air above it and that energy is transported at the speed of light, albeit for a short distance in the troposphere, this is faster transport of energy than is the convection current that would otherwise transport this energy upward           

Even if each of these three cooling effects is smaller than the reduced greenhouse warming forcing effect for carbon dioxide of 0.29 W/m2, the sum of the decrease on the net warming forcing effect may be quite significant.  What is more, these cooling effects probably do not saturate as quickly as the greenhouse warming effect does as one increases the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from current levels.  Consequently, the small warming effect of 400 ppm of carbon dioxide may be reduced by further additions of carbon dioxide, if not now, then maybe as one adds more to 600 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  At this point, we do not know what happens as CO2 is added in increments at higher concentrations than 400 ppm.

In addition, the diminished effect of carbon dioxide on warming should cause everyone to have more interest in understanding many natural causes or non-man-made causes of climate variability.  We have far too little knowledge of

  • Solar irradiance variations
  • Solar wind and the weakening solar magnetic field effects
  • Cosmic ray seeding of clouds
  • Other causes of cloud variations
  • The condensation of water in dew and ground fog surface warming
  • Precipitation effects on warming/cooling
  • Evaporation of water as a function of temperature and humidity around the world
  • Better understanding of the greenhouse effect of water vapor
  • Ocean currents and cycles
  • Effects caused by the weakening of the Earth's magnetic field
  • Effects of aerosols
  • Effects of dust
  • Other effects not listed

Then there are other man-made effects, primarily man’s use of the land.

I believe that these other effects on climate will in some cases prove to be more important for our understanding of the climate and its changes than are the effects of additions to the carbon dioxide concentration in our atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide has a very small effect on the climate, especially so when one is concerned about the effect of additions to the present levels of carbon dioxide.

09 July 2018

Multilateral anti-Development Banks by Paul Driessen and David Wojick

USA finances prolonged poverty, misery, disease, and death through international banks


“Foreign Operations” appropriation bills now working their way through Congress supposedly provide funding to “advance U.S. diplomatic priorities overseas,” “increase global security,” and continue “life-saving global health and humanitarian assistance programs for the world’s most vulnerable populations.”
The bills include handsome funding for the World Bank and other so-called Multilateral Development Banks: some $1.8 billion in total. The United States is by far the World Bank Group’s largest donor, and a major funder of four other MDBs: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In recent years, these banks have embraced manmade climate change alarmism as a key foundation for their lending policies. In particular, they refuse to fund the development of electric power generation via fossil fuels – thereby starving impoverished nations and families of desperately needed electricity.
Instead, the MDBs are pouring money into solar and wind power schemes that simply cannot produce affordable, reliable electricity on a large enough scale to help raise their client countries out of poverty.
In fact, they are ramping up their green madness. The five just-named MDBs, along with the European Investment Bank and Islamic Development Bank, recently released a joint report on what they call “climate finance” – which last year jumped a whopping 30% – to a staggering $34 billion dollars!
With over $13 billion in its coffers, the World Bank has the lion’s share of this green oppression money. But every one of these banks has greatly increased its climate focus, some even doubling it.
That is not just appalling. It is immoral and contrary to the supposed purposes of the appropriation bills. The MDBs have become anti-development banks, anti-vulnerable people banks. Their virtue-asserting “climate finance” terminology is more accurately described as climate callousness.
These tens of billions of dollars should help support projects that provide real, affordable, dependable power for the nearly 1.2 billion people around the world who still do not have electricity. Another 2 billion have electrical power only sporadically and unpredictably. In India alone, almost as many people as live in the USA still lack electricity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 700 million people (the population of Europe) rarely or never have electricity, and still cook and heat with wood, charcoal, and animal dung.
Every year, hundreds of millions become ill and 5 million die of lung and intestinal diseases from inhaling pollutants from open fires, and from lack of clean water, refrigeration and bacteria-free food. Largely because their nations lack energy to power modern economies, nearly 3 billion survive on a few dollars per day, and more millions die every year from preventable or curable diseases.
But the anti-development banks simply double down on their lethal policies. Their new report asserts: “The joint methodology for tracking climate change mitigation finance recognizes the importance of long-term structural changes such as the shift in energy production to renewable energy technologies, and the modal shift to low-carbon modes of transport.”
They’ve served notice that they stopped financing coal-fired power in 2010. Now they intend to stop financing oil and gas exploration by poor countries, and instead will push for total “decarbonization.”
Just like that. Fossil fuels gone from developing nation energy funding. No discussion. No vote. No actual evidence for climate cataclysms. No recourse. Just a policy decision by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats – supported by self-serving pressure groups, politicians and “green” energy companies.
These bankers, pols and activists couldn’t even run their own operations (or their homes) on sporadic, unpredictable, 14/4/265 wind and solar power. The companies couldn’t even manufacture their wind turbines and solar panels. Yet they demand that entire developing nations accept whatever jobs, medical facilities, schools, homes and living standards can be supported by this fairy tale energy.
It is an obscene global tragedy. These MDB policies condemn billions to poverty and millions to slow, agonizing death. America should no longer support any of this. No decent country should.
Thankfully for the sidelined nations, Chinese banks have begun helping to finance coal- and gas-fired power in Asia and Africa. In the process, they have gained tremendous political and strategic leverage, at the expense of the United States, Europe and MDBs. Other banks can and should do likewise.
All developing countries should avoid doing what rich nations are doing now that they are rich. Instead, they should do what rich nations did to become rich. They should remember that wealthy industrialized countries did not have MDBs to help them. They created institutions to finance the power generation and factories that created the jobs, middle classes, health and prosperity that paid for it all – and far more.
China, India and other emerging economies are doing the same thing. They are effectively telling the World Bank and other MDBs: “Get lost. We don’t need your funding, with all your anti-development strings. You eco-imperialist banks and activists will not hold us back any longer. We are going to chart our own destiny and take our rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people.”
The MDBs claim their policies reflect Paris Climate Treaty vision of “making financial flows consistent with low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development” – by coordinating climate “mitigation” (prevention) and “adaptation” programs. This moral preening ignores critical realities.
To be resilient in the face of climate change (natural or manmade), countries must be wealthy and technologically advanced. That is impossible with existing or foreseeable renewable energy on scales required to replace today’s fossil fuel energy and power up countries that are still in the dark ages – especially if the banks and their allies remain opposed to nuclear (and hydroelectric) power.
Moreover, the obsessive, unbending focus on alleged fossil-fuel-driven climate chaos ignores the enormous social, economic, health and other benefits that fossil fuels have bestowed on humanity over the past 150 years. It ignores the ways actual temperature and weather observations have been revised, “homogenized” and exaggerated to reflect alarmist narratives and computer models.
It ignores the unsustainable amounts of metals, hydrocarbons, concrete, and especially scenic and habitat land that would be required to convert the world to wind, solar, battery and biofuel power. And for what?
At this point, there is no convincing evidence (observations instead of models) demonstrating that carbon dioxide levels drive climate and weather; today’s temperatures, polar ice, sea level rise, storms or droughts are dangerously or profoundly unprecedented; humans can control all of this by limiting CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions; or anything on the horizon can replace fossil fuels anytime soon.
Indeed, on what basis was it decreed that a crisis or tipping point would be reached if Earth experienced 1.5 or 2.0 degrees Celsius (2.7 or 3.6 Fahrenheit) in higher average global temperatures since 1850, when the Little Ice Age ended and the modern industrial age began? Where is the real-world evidence?
For MDBs to remain focused on alleged climate and weather chaos, mostly in the distant future – while ignoring today’s massive, horrendous poverty, disease, malnutrition and death – is morally depraved.
President Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Ryan and Secretary of State Pompeo need to end the insanity and manslaughter. They need to give this money to agencies and programs that will support fossil fuels and real life-saving actions for the world’s most vulnerable people.
Congress and the White House are a short trek from the World Bank headquarters. They should have no trouble delivering the message – and making it resonate with the other Multilateral Development Banks.
If Congress isn’t up to the task, perhaps Mr. Trump can redirect some of this money – or other billions that are being wasted on climate alarmism and renewable energy fantasies.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development. David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science and logic in public policy.

My Comments:
I am not an advocate of taxing Americans to provide economic aid to other nations.  But if you are going to do this, do it so that you maximize raising their standard of living and their productivity so that they will make better trading partners and become better people in the future.  The Multilateral Development Bank policies to prevent people of the underdeveloped nations from having reliable power are contrary to good policy and a sad, sad waste of the American taxpayers' money.

04 July 2018

The Many Rights of the Individual

Two hundred and forty two years ago, the Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, which states

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The idea that every person has unalienable rights by virtue of the nature of man which are not dependent upon a government granting or recognizing those rights is very frightful to socialists or any other supporters of tyrannical government.  They hate the Declaration of Independence.  They hate the fact that it declares that the only justifiable reason for government is its dedication to the protection and support of every single individual’s rights.  They hate the fact that the Declaration of Independence states clearly that when government acts to deprive men of their equal, individual rights, then it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it.

The Declaration of Independence is not the only essential American governing document that the socialists hate.  Barack Obama declared in a radio interview when he was an Illinois state senator in its state legislature that he did not like the U.S. Constitution because it was a barrier to socialism.  Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan just wrote in the opinion of the four dissenting justices of the Supreme Court in the Janus case that decided that public employees cannot be forced to pay union dues that the majority were “weaponizing the First Amendment.”  The five justices of the majority had used freedom of speech as the reason for not allowing unions to forcibly collect union dues or even to collect them as a default unless a public employee underwent a process to deny the union the right to collect the money from his paycheck.

Justice Kagan and many others of the left have become very incensed that freedom of speech and freedom of religion have been used to thwart them in their dictation of how Americans can think and act.  They are terribly upset that people associating with one another in business were allowed freedom of speech in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010.  They have been incensed that some businesses have been able to escape infringements of their right to freedom of association by virtue of claiming their freedom of religion, whether in their hiring practices or in their wedding cake baking services.  The present session of the Supreme Court also used freedom of speech to deny the socialist California legislature to require organizations giving advice to pregnant women to tell them about their options to have an abortion.  Hence the socialists or Progressive Elitists are more and more horrified by the individual rights recognized in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Unfortunately, those who favor a government whose functions violate the individual rights of some, often in the name of providing more security or comfort for others, have long been able to keep the courts from recognizing the many individual rights which were supposed to be protected by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.  It was recognized when the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution that individuals had many rights not explicitly dealt with in the earlier amendments of the Bill of Rights.

What are our individual rights, whether recognized by our government are not?


  • The right to life, not to be supported, but to be allowed to act to support it ourselves, as we allow others to do so also.  This is a general right to manage our own life and to fully claim self-ownership.
  • The right to determine our own actions and to undertake them, provided we do not act to prevent others from determining their own actions and undertaking them with all of us barred from the initiated use of force.
  • The right to choose our own values and to pursue those values to try to achieve our own happiness.
  • The freedom of conscience, the right to use our own judgment and to act upon it.  Freedom of religion is a subset of this right and is far from all-inclusive.
  • The freedom of association, which is also the freedom to choose who we will cooperate with and for what purposes.  This includes our domestic partnerships, our business partnerships, our hiring choices, our freedom of contract, our choice of friends, and those we join in our recreational activities.
  • Freedom of speech or communication of our thoughts and ideas in all the forms this may take.  The freedom of assembly is part of this, as it is part of our freedom of association.
  • The freedom of privacy, or the freedom not to share those parts of our lives we do not wish to share knowledge of with others.  This includes the right to be secure in our papers, our homes, and such as prescribed in the 4th Amendment.
  • The freedom of equal protection of our income and property and the other fruits of our labor and thought.
  • The right to own and bear arms so that we might protect our own lives and individual rights.
  • The right to fair and just treatment when accused of a crime as prescribed in our 5th , 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments.

I will not claim this to be an all-inclusive list of our natural rights.  I do not claim that life is so simple that it is always easy to understand how one individual’s exercise of his rights will affect others as they try to exercise their own rights.  But, good societies and good governments -- legitimate governments – will always try very hard to make individual liberty their primary goal and will defer as much as is possible to the individual’s right to make his own value choices and manage his own life.  No legitimate government can take the stance that it is justified in violating the rights of some in the interest of other persons.  Legitimate government cannot violate any person’s rights.  It must respect the equal rights of every citizen and legal resident.

A society with such a legitimate government will be one which minimizes the use of force.  The government should act to prevent all individuals from initiating the use of force.  That government also minimizes its restraints on liberty such that its own use of force is also minimized.  Government which violates individual rights does so by the use of force or its threatened use.  Governments are commonly the worst abusers of the use of force in the nations of the world today.  There are no highly legitimate governments operating at this time.  Some are much less worse than others, but all are massive abusers of the rights of the individual.  The United States federal government violates very many of our rights today and American socialists and Progressive Elitists want it to violate many more of our individual rights.

Many Americans, whether socialists or religious traditionalists, want to use government to prescribe a moral code by which everyone is expected to live.  They are often certain that their moral code is right and that a good society can be achieved if only the government will force everyone to live by their moral code.  The fact that there is often more variation in the moral codes held by the political factions pursuing such moral code prescriptions by law than could possibly be encoded into law rarely dawns on them.  These same people, especially the socialists, are very inclined to either use government or extra-governmental force and intimidation to prevent dissenters from their moral ideas from exercising their freedom of speech, press, and assembly.  According to the socialists and sometimes those who speak for God, if you have morally wrong ideas, you forfeit your freedom of speech, press, and assembly.

No freedom is a freedom at all if one will not allow those you think are wrong from exercising their freedom.  There is no freedom of speech if a minority or a single individual is not allowed to state their own ideas.  There is no freedom of association if one is not allowed to discriminate in the choosing of those one wishes to associate with, even if that discrimination may be what many may call bigotry.

The Christian who refuses to associate with gay people is wrong in my opinion, but he is acting fully within his rights.  To make him bake a cake for a gay wedding may very well be an infringement upon his freedom of conscience.

The gay organizations that want to force non-discrimination against gay people outside of the government itself are very wrong in doing so.  They should be as determined to protect their own freedom of association and conscience as anyone else should be.  Imagine a law that requires every gay bar to bring in heterosexual people until they represent their proportion in the population at large among their customers each night when the federal inspectors come around to make a count at the bar.

Many of the religious conservatives were very unhappy about the Supreme Court ruling allowing gay marriages.  In fact, this should have been a very obvious requirement respecting freedom of association.  Unfortunately, our government does not actually recognize the freedom of association.  It also very much limits the freedom of contract in general.  In reality, people should have as much freedom in forming their domestic partnerships under contract as they would have in forming a business partnership.  If three men and three women wanted to form a domestic partnership, that is their right as much as it would be the right of one woman and one man.  The same is true for one woman and two men or for two men and one woman or for three men or for three women.  The government has no business interfering with such an exercise in freedom of association and freedom of contract.  What such domestic partnerships might aim to accomplish and their sexual relationships are not government business, except insofar as the adults entering into the contract choose to make those matters a part of their lawful domestic partnership contract.

A much more harmonious society results when government is not being extensively used as a tool to prevent individuals from exercising their broad and many individual rights.  There are many claims that we live in an very uncivil society today.  Well, what do you expect when we have to fight over the control of a government that is constantly willing and wanting to violate our rights.  When we have a government that loves to take more from the rich and redistribute it to the many more voters who are not as rich, do the rich not have a right to believe they are threatened by that government?  If the rich use their money and connections to manipulate the regulatory state so that it is much harder for small, upstart companies to compete with their larger companies, is it not reasonable that the small businessmen will be very upset?  If the federal government owns half the land in a state and it controls the use of that land so that the environmentalists on the left and right coasts are happy, is it not to be expected that many in the state where that land is not of use to them are going to be unhappy?  If you are a coal miner, a river barge operator, a store owner in a coal town, or a dock worker in Norfolk, VA, is it not reasonable that you will be very unhappy when the federal government decides that a pregnant woman eating only fish from a river downwind from a coal-fired power plant might according to very imaginative argument and highly cherry-picked studies of islanders who only eat seafood develop some problem due to mercury released from coal combustion so that coal-fired power plants are being shutdown?  Or you want to build an office building, but you have to wait 5 years before starting as you work through endless environmental studies which keep requiring you to spend more and more on the building itself, not to mention the lawyers fees.

Then there is the shear weight of the taxes.  You are young and you do not expect Social Security to be around in 40 years when you might retire, but you are paying into it out of every paycheck, instead of putting that money into your own retirement investment fund.  Medicare costs will exceed its revenues in 2026 according to the ever-changing projections, so if that program is still going to be around, you will have to pay higher Medicare taxes soon.  Meanwhile, you may still be struggling to pay off the money you borrowed to go to college.  Thanks to all of that loan money available, the colleges built themselves up like spas for the rich, but the education you received was no better and maybe worse than the education people received 30 years earlier, but you paid much more for it.

Perhaps you are struggling to start a new business and the paperwork required by the governments and by your business customers is overwhelming, thanks to big government.  Meanwhile, you need to buy equipment so you can expand, but the county personal property tax penalizes you for having that equipment, making it harder for you to hire more people.  The more people you hire the more the governments expect you to act as an unpaid tax collector.  If you do business across state lines, you now have to worry about collecting sales taxes for each and every one of many thousands of taxing authorities even though you have no presence in their areas and no vote to determine the taxes or the politicians who decide to levy them.  Imagine the deluge of paperwork now coming your way.

When the governments do too much and forget the principle that their legitimate function is simply to protect everyone’s equal individual rights, then it is pitting the people against one another.  Good people are simply trying to protect themselves from the hurt that the government can do to them.  Immoral people are very happy to try to wrest control of government so they can take advantage of most of the people.  If you think there are not endless numbers of schemes or conspiracies to do just that in Washington, you are very naive indeed.  The evil-doers are some foundations, environmental groups, people who want welfare, labor unions, educators, scientists, professions that want restrictive licenses, and many businesses, not to mention many politicians.

It is absolute pie in the sky nonsense to think government should hurt some and violate the rights of some in order to help some greater number or the most needy.  Government will start with some plausible such proposal that almost everyone will agree with.  After it has established numerous such programs, the people will no longer have the time or will to think about them.  The government arguments for the next set of programs can be much less plausible now.  Soon it is a free-for-all.  Soon one has what we have now, government for special interests.  The people are bewildered and no longer in effective control.  Some simply trust to the authorities, but most Americans are now very jaded.  But, this is exactly what should have been expected when we allowed government to disregard a strict adherence to its legitimate role as the protector of every individual’s many and broad rights.  When we give this up as a critical and essential principle, we give up all hope for a just, fair, and harmonious society.

Medicare's Accelerating Insolvency Date

Lawrence O'Donnell, the MSNBC primetime news anchor, defended socialism on C-SPAN during an interview on Tuesday.  He cited the well-managed socialist Medicare program as a justification for our having a high regard for much of socialism.

He did not point out that a June 2018 report by the the Medicare trustees projects that the Part A Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund will be depleted (wiped out) by 2026.  He also did not point out that the Medicare trustees had projected that fund to be wiped out in 2029 only one year earlier.  So much for the projections of socialists.  A rational evaluator has to wonder if the 2019 projection by the Medicare trustees will be a zeroing of the fund in 2023 and the 2020 projection will be that the fund is empty in 2020.  I am just projecting here based on my poor opinion of government programs in general and two data points, but rational people should always be realistic and pessimistic about such programs.

It is a good thing for Medicare that Anna and I are still working well past normal retirement ages and paying into Medicare (and Social Security) and I am still operating my laboratory and paying half of the Medicare payments for each of my employees.  Of course I am also paying half of their Social Security payments as well.  These wonderful examples of socialism in the minds of many are largely paid for by transferring the costs to employers.  That makes the programs more popular with most of the voters, who are of course not employers.

It is going to be very interesting indeed as more and more Baby Boomers retire and their medical expenses increase and increase.  The medical care provided by Medicare will have to further deteriorate and the taxes on those working will have to go up.  The aged will be very grumpy and the geese being plucked of their feathers are going to put up quite a ruckus.  Will the young American impostors who so often think highly of socialism think as highly when they are paying much more for it before they get their take-home pay, even as those on Medicare and Social Security grumble more and more about how disappointed they are in the programs that are breaking the backs of younger American workers?

Of course the die-hard socialists will not care one iota because this is just reality and their emotions should never, ever be held hostage by reality.