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Opinion

One of the world’s leading progressives says “I’m out”

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This is a compelling read because of the insight but it’s even more remarkable considering the author.  Michael Schellenberger not only founded and lead “Environmental Progress“, he was an Invited IPCC Reviewer and was named by Time Magazine “Hero of Environment”.  Schellenberger is still a leading environmentalist, but his views have changed significantly over the years as he’s become disillusioned with the movement.  

Michael Shellenberger is author of the best-selling “Apocalypse Never”

This newsletter was sent out to Michael Schellenberger’s subscribers on Substack

Why I Am Not A Progressive

And Why, From Climate Change to Homelessness, Liberal People Are Giving Up

For all of my adult life I have identified as a progressive. To me, being a progressive meant that I believed in empowerment. In 2002, when I co-founded a labor-environmental coalition to advocate for renewable energy, the symbol we chose to represent us was of Rosie the Riveter, an image of a woman factory worker during World War II flexing her muscle beneath the words, “We Can Do It!”. When President Barack Obama ran for office in 2008, it seemed fitting to me that he chose the slogan, “Yes we can!”

But now, on all the major issues of the day, the message from progressives is “No, you can’t.” No: poor nations like Bangladesh can’t adapt to climate change by becoming rich, insist progressives; rather, rich nations must become poor. No: we can’t prevent the staggering rise of drug deaths in the U.S., from 17,000 in 2000 to 93,000 in 2020, by helping people free themselves from addiction; rather, we must instead provide Safe Injection Sites and Safe Sleeping Sites, in downtown neighborhoods, where homeless addicts can use fentanyl, heroin, and meth safely.

Progressives insist they are offering hope. Many scientists and activists yesterday said that, while we have gone past the point of no return, when it comes to climate change, and that “No one is safe,” we can make the situation less bad by using solar panels, windmills, and electric cars, albeit at a very high cost to the economy. And in California, progressive leaders say that we just need to stick with the progressive agenda of Safe Injection Sites and Safe Sleeping Sites until we can build enough single unit apartments for the state’s 116,000 unsheltered homeless, most of whom are either addicted to hard drugs, suffering from untreated mental illness, or both.

But progressives are talking out of both sides of their mouth. Yesterday I debated a British climate scientist named Richard Betts on television. After I pointed out that he and his colleagues had contributed to one out of four British children having nightmares about climate change he insisted that he was all for optimism and that he agreed with me about nuclear power. But just hours earlier he had told the Guardian that we were “hopelessly unprepared” for extreme weather events, even though deaths from natural disasters are at an all time low and that, objectively speaking, humankind has never been more prepared than we are today.

And on the drug deaths crisis, the consensus view among Democrats in Sacramento is that “the problem is fundamentally unsolvable,” according to one of the Capitol’s leading lobbyists. Facing a recall that is growing in popularity, Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday tried to demonstrate that he believes he can solve the problem. He came to Berkeley California and cleaned up garbage created by an open air drug scene (“homeless encampment”) underneath a freeway underpass. A reporter for Politicoposted a picture of Newsom who he said was “looking tired, sweaty and dirty.” But a commenter noted that the video was shot at 12:12 pm and by 12:25 pm Newsom was holding a press conference. The governor hadn’t even bothered changing out of his Hush Puppies into work boots. People close to the governor say that it is Newsom himself who believes homelessness is a problem that cannot be solved.

The reason progressives believe that “No one is safe,” when it comes to climate change, and that the drug death “homelessness” crisis is unsolvable, is because they are in the grip of a victim ideology characterized by safetyism, learned helplessness, and disempowerment. This isn’t really that new. Since the 1960s, the New Left has argued that we can’t solve any of our major problems until we overthrow our racist, sexist, and capitalistic system. But for most of my life, up through the election of Obama, there was still a New Deal, “Yes we can!,” and “We can do it!” optimism that sat side-by-side with the New Left’s fundamentally disempowering critique of the system.

That’s all gone. On climate change, drug deaths, and cultural issues like racism, the message from progressives is that we are doomed unless we dismantle the institutions responsible for our oppressive, racist system. Those of us in Generation X who were raised to believe that racism was something we could overcome have been told in no uncertain terms that we were wrong. Racism is baked into our cultural DNA. Even apparently positive progressive proposals are aimed at fundamentally dismantling institutions. The Democrats’ $1 trillion infrastructure bill, supported by many Republicans, and their $3.5 trillion budget proposal, contain measures that would finance the continuing degradation of our electrical grids by increasing reliance on unreliable, weather-dependent renewables, and establish racial incentives for industries including trucking, where there is already a shortage of drivers in large measure because not enough of them can pass drug tests. And does anyone really believe that, if those bills pass, progressives will abandon their dark vision of the future and return to Rosie the Riveter?

Meanwhile, at the state and local level, progressive governments faced with worsening racial disparities in education and crime, are attempting to “solve” the problem by eliminating academic standards altogether, and advocating selective enforcement of laws based on who is committing them. Such measures are profoundly cynical. Progressives are effectively giving up on addressing racial disparities by ignoring them. But such is the logical outcome of victim ideology, which holds that we can divide the world into victims and oppressors, that victims are morally superior and even spiritual, and no change is possible until the system that produces victims and oppressors is overthrown.

To some extent none of this is new. After World War II, it was progressives, not conservatives, who led the charge to replace mental hospitals with community-based care. After the community-based care system fell apart, and severely mentally ill people ended up living on the street, addicted to drugs and alcohol, progressives blamed Reagan and Republicans for cutting the budget. But progressive California today spends more than any other state, per capita, on mental health, and yet the number of homeless, many of whom are mentally ill and suffering addiction, increased by 31% in California since 2010 even as they declined by 18 percent in the rest of the US.

Also after World War II, it was progressives, not conservatives, who insisted that the world was coming to an end because too many babies were being born, and because of nuclear energy. The “population bomb” meant that too many people would result in resource scarcity which would result in international conflicts and eventually nuclear war. We were helpless to prevent the situation through technological change and instead had to prevent people from having children and rid the world of nuclear weapons and energy. It took the end of the Cold War, and the overwhelming evidence that parents in poor nations chose to have fewer children, as parents in rich nations had before them, where they no longer needed them to work on the farm, for the discourse to finally fade.

But the will-to-apocalypse only grew stronger. After it became clear that the planet was warming, not cooling, as many scientists had previously feared, opportunistic New Left progressives insisted that climate change would be world-ending. There was never much reason to believe this. A major report by the National Academies of Science in 1982 concluded that abundant natural gas, along with nuclear power, would substitute for coal, and prevent temperatures from rising high enough to threaten civilization. But progressives responded by demonizing the authors of the study and insisting that anybody who disagreed that climate change was apocalyptic was secretly on the take from the fossil fuel industry.

Where there have been relatively straightforward fixes to societal problems, progressives have opposed them. Progressives have opposed the expanded use of natural gas and nuclear energy since the 1970s even though it was those two technologies that caused emissions to peak and decline in Germany, Britain and France during that decade. Progressive climate activists over the last 15 years hotly opposed fracking even though it was the main reason emissions in the US declined 22 percent between 2005 and 2020, which is 5 percentage points more than President Obama proposed to reduce them as part of America’s Paris climate agreement.

The same was the case when it came to drug deaths, addiction, and homelessness. People are shocked when I explain to them that the reason California still lacks enough homeless shelters is because progressives have opposed building them. Indeed, it was Governor Newsom, when he was Mayor of San Francisco, who led the charge opposing the construction of sufficient homeless shelters in favor of instead building single unit apartments for anybody who said they wanted one. While there are financial motivations for such a policy, the main motivation was ideological. Newsom and other progressives believe that simply sheltering people is immoral. The good is the enemy of the perfect.

As a result, progressives have created the apocalypse they feared. In California, there are “homeless encampments,” open drug scenes, in the parks, along the highways, and on the sidewalks. But the problem is no longer limited to San Francisco. A few days ago somebody posted a video and photo on Twitter of people in Philadelphia, high on some drug, looking exactly like Hollywood zombies. The obvious solution is to provide people with shelter, require them to use it, and mandate drug and psychiatric treatment, for people who break laws against camping, public drug use, public defecation, and other laws. But progressives insist the better solution is Safe Sleeping Sites and Safe Injection Sites.

Should we be surprised that an ideology that believes American civilization is fundamentally evil has resulted in the breakdown of that civilization? Most American progressives don’t hold such an extreme ideology. Most progressives want police for their neighborhoods. Most progressives want their own children, when suffering mental illness and addiction, to be mandated care. And most progressives want reliable electrical and water management systems for their neighborhoods.

But most progressives are also voting for candidates who are cutting the number of police for poor neighborhoods, insisting that psychiatric and drug treatment be optional, and that trillions be spent making electricity more expensive so we can harmonize with nature through solar panels made by enslaved Muslims in China, and through industrial wind projects built in the habitat of critically endangered whale species.

Does pointing all of this out make me a conservative? There are certainly things I support that many progressives view as conservative, including nuclear power, a ban on public camping, and mandating drug and psychiatric treatment for people who break the law. But other things I support might be fairly viewed as rather liberal, or even progressive, including universal psychiatric care, shelter-for-all, and the reform of police departments with the aims of reducing homicides, police violence, and improving the treatment of people with behavioral health disorders, whether from addiction or mental illness.

And there is a kind of victim ideology on the Right just as there is on the Left. It says that America is too weak and poor, and that our resources are too scarce, to take on our big challenges. On climate change it suggests that nothing of consequence can be done and that all energy sources, from coal to nuclear to solar panels, are of equal or comparable value. On drug deaths and homelessness it argues that parents must simply do a better job raising their children to not be drug addicts, and that we should lock up people, even the mentally ill, for long sentences in prisons and hospitals, with little regard for rehabilitation.

The two grassroots movements I have helped to create around energy and homelessness reject the dystopian victim ideologies of Right and Left. There are progressive and conservative members in both coalitions. But what unites us is our commitment to practical policies that are proven to work in the real world. We advocate for the maintenance and construction of nuclear plants that actually exist, or could soon exist, not futuristic reactors that likely never will. We advocate for Shelter First and Housing Earned, universal psychiatric care, and banning the open dealing of deadly drugs because those are the policies that have worked across the U.S. and around the world, and can be implemented right away.

If I had to find a word to describe the politics I am proposing it would be “heroic,” not liberal, conservative, or even moderate. We need a politics of heroism not a politics of victimhood. Yes, Bangladesh can develop and save itself from sea level rise, just as rich nations have; they are not doomed to hurricanes and flooding. Yes, people addicted to fentanyl and meth can recover from their addictions, with our help, and go on to live fulfilling and rewarding lives; they are not doomed to live in tents for the rest of their shortened lives. And yes, we can create an America where people who disagree on many things can nonetheless find common ground on the very issues that most seem to polarize us, including energy, the environment, crime, and drugs.

On October 12 HarperCollins will publish my second book in two years, San Fransicko, focused on drugs, crime, and homelessnes. It and Apocalypse Never will constitute a comprehensive proposal for saving our civilization from those who would destroy it. What both books have in common is the theme of empowerment. We are not doomed to an apocalyptic future, whether from climate change or homelessness. We can achieve nature, peace, and prosperity for all people because humans are amazing. Our civilization is sacred; we must defend and extend it.

San Fransicko was inspired, in part, by the work of the late psychiatrist, Victor Frankl, who was made famous by a book where he described how he survived the Nazi concentration camps by fixating on a positive vision for his future. During the darkest moments of Covid last year I was struck by how much my mood had improved simply by listening to his 1960s lectures on YouTube. Why, I wondered, had progressives embraced Frankl’s empowering therapy in their personal lives but demonized it in their political lives? Why had progressives, who had done so much to popularize human potential and self-help, claimed that promoting self-help in policies and politics were a form of “blaming the victim?”

Few of my conclusions will surprise anyone, though the agenda, and philosophy, that I am proposing might. It truly is a mix of values, policies, and institutions that one might consider progressive and conservative, not because I set out to make it that way, but because it was that combination that has worked so often in the past. But beyond the policies and values I propose there is a spirit of overcoming, not succumbing; of empowerment, not disempowerment; and of heroism, not victimhood. That spirit comes before, and goes beyond, political ideology and partisan identity. It says, against those who believe that America, and perhaps Western Civilization itself, are doomed: no they’re not. And to those who think we can’t solve big challenges like climate change, drug deaths, and homelessness, it says yes we can.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Brownstone Institute

Three Medical Policies that Need Immediate Changing

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Pierre KoryPIERRE KORY

You can’t make this up: The same cast of characters who erred so badly on COVID-19 want a do-over. A head-turning essay in The Atlanticwent so far as to plead for “pandemic amnesty.” For many in the medical community who have been derided by the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci and his fanatics, these words ring hollow. Talk, as they say, is cheap, especially with the benefit of hindsight. Before a COVID-19 mulligan can be considered, here are three policies that must change.

First, “vaccine or bust” proponents must admit their approach overpromised and underdelivered. President Biden has repeatedly declared COVID-19 a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” despite the science indicating otherwise. His claim that the vaccinated “do not spread the disease to anyone else” was rated “mostly false” by PolitiFact. Simply lowering the goalposts about less severe symptoms is insufficient. This is not what we were promised.

Making matters worse was the weaponization of this misinformation to influence public policy. It wasn’t just a smug Rachel Maddow telling her audience in March 2021 that the “virus stops with every vaccinated person.” This so-called science was used to pit Americans against one another, keep children out of school and force personnel out of critically important positions in the military, schools and first responders. Last fall, 5% of unvaccinated adults reported leaving their jobs.

I should know. I’ve been on the receiving end of threats to my livelihood.

This brings us to point two: The new California law empowering the punishment of doctors deemed guilty of spreading “misinformation” must be repealed before it can inflict further damage. Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, California Assembly Bill 2098 enables the state to strip the medical licenses of professionals who veer from the preferred political party line.

It’s a disturbing trend taking hold across the country. The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) recently voted to remove Dr. Peter McCullough, one of the nation’s leading cardiologists, from his certifications in cardiovascular disease. Mr. McCullough’s sin had nothing to do with his performance in caring for patients, but rather with questioning the necessity of the COVID-19 vaccine for younger populations. With their far-reaching certification authority, the ABIM has the power to make any doctor’s life a living hell. Mr. McCullough’s fate now hangs in the balance until his Nov. 18 appeal date. This dangerous precedent must be nipped in the bud in the nation’s most populous state (governed by an oft-mentioned future presidential candidate) before it can take hold elsewhere.

Third, the District of Columbia must scrap its vaccine mandate for children in schools once and for all. Last week’s vote to delay compliance until January 3, 2023, is not enough. DC is one of the only school districts in the country with this type of requirement, going further than their counterparts in New York City or Los Angeles.

Last month, nearly half (44.7%) of DC school students fell short of COVID-19 compliance, according to Axios. In a city where 60% of the school-age population is Black, this mandate is not only unnecessary but is perpetuating further inequity. The pandemic has already taken an incredible toll on our children’s education, with math and reading scores falling to astonishing new lows. It is beyond misguided to bar children from attending school unless they receive a vaccine for an illness that poses a far smaller hazard to their health than the soaring crime rates in our cities.

From masks to breakthrough cases to alternative treatments, the so-called experts have amassed a track record of incorrect judgments that make political pollsters look good by comparison. Even in the fog of a once-in-a-century pandemic, these decisions were not just borne of inexpert and incorrect scientific knowledge but rather driven by a rush to push a medical agenda.

Our organization, the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) practices what we preach. As data evolved over time, we updated our recommendations and approaches accordingly. It wasn’t luck. We were following the science. Sadly, government agencies stuck with their unceasing policy recommendations that were increasingly divorced from the science.

One thing most people can agree on: COVID-19 won’t be the last public health emergency. There are already concerning headlines about an early spike of RSV impacting children. The leaders of captured health agencies must learn from their mistake of allowing the pharmaceutical industry unimpeded control of pandemic health policy. Americans are incredibly forgiving people willing to show grace, but step one in that process is a willingness for those in charge to admit their mistakes.

Republished from Washington Times

Author

  • Pierre Kory

    Pierre Kory is a Pulmonary and Critical Care Specialist, Teacher/Researcher. He is also the President and Chief Medical Officer of the non-profit organization Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance whose mission is to develop the most effective, evidence/expertise-based COVID-19 treatment protocols.

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Brownstone Institute

Sam Bankman-Fried and the Pandemic Industrial Complex

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Michael SengerMICHAEL SENGER

The collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried and his fraudulent cryptocurrency empire at FTX is news at its most entertaining. Who doesn’t love the story of a big shot billionaire revealed to be an outright fraud? It’s black-and-white. FTX owes billions in debt and doesn’t actually own a dime of the assets it claimed. Game over.

At first blush, the story seems simple. A con man cynically convinced a bunch of gullible financiers that he was an eccentric young visionary and a really great guy, and he ran off with the dough.

But take a closer look at the mainstream coverage, and you’ll realize there’s far more to this story than a classic financial fraud. In fact, the puff pieces from mainstream outlets about SBF and the causes he was funding—most notably, the pandemic planning industry—even after his empire was revealed to be an outright fraud, are the clearest instance we’ve seen of the modern political machine in all its cynicism.

Both the New York Times and the Washington Post ran articles portraying SBF as a more-or-less honest businessman with a big heart who got tangled up in a bad situation. This is, of course, wildly inaccurate. From the very beginning, SBF had no intention of engaging in honest business. He never owned a dime of the assets he said he did. And in an incredible interview with Vox, he essentially admitted that there were never any good intentions behind his “philanthropic” contributions.

SBF-tweets

But it’s the Washington Post article titled “Before FTX collapse, founder poured millions into pandemic prevention” that’s most astonishing. As Jeffrey Tucker has documented, the Washington Post gushes over the tens of millions of dollars that SBF had donated to the pet left-wing cause of “pandemic prevention:”

FTX-backed projects ranged from $12 million to champion a California ballot initiative to strengthen public health programs and detect emerging virus threats (amid lackluster support, the measure was punted to 2024), to investing more than $11 million on the unsuccessful congressional primary campaign of an Oregon biosecurity expert, and even a $150,000 grant to help Moncef Slaoui, scientific adviser for the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” vaccine accelerator, write his memoir.

…Ok. But all that money was stolen.

Leaders of the FTX Future Fund, a spinoff foundation that committed more than $25 million to preventing bio-risks, resigned in an open letter last Thursday, acknowledging that some donations from the organization are on hold.

…Ok. But everything we did over the last three years for purposes of “preventing bio-risks” was an abject failure, leading—as was entirely predicted—to countless thousands of deaths due to delayed medical operations, a mental health crisis, drug overdoses, an economic recession, global famine, and hundreds of thousands of excess deaths among young people who were at little to no risk from the virus.

The FTX Future Fund’s commitments included $10 million to HelixNano, a biotech start-up seeking to develop a next-generation coronavirus vaccine; $250,000 to a University of Ottawa scientist researching how to eradicate viruses from plastic surfaces; and $175,000 to support a recent law school graduate’s job at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “Overall, the Future Fund was a force for good,” said Tom Inglesby, who leads the Johns Hopkins center, lamenting the fund’s collapse. “The work they were doing was really trying to get people to think long-term … to build pandemic preparedness, to diminish the risks of biological threats.”

SBF even played both sides, contributing millions for coverage of the Covid “lab leak theory.”

The Bankman-Frieds’ family foundation in February also committed $5 million to ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, to support reporting focused on pandemic preparedness and biosecurity, including one-third of the grant delivered upfront. The funding has subsidized several staff and articles — including a high-profile story with Vanity Fair about the possibility that covid leaked from a Chinese laboratory, which frustrated some of the Bankman-Frieds’ pandemic advisers who pointed to criticism of its translations of Mandarin Chinese.

This is, of course, in keeping with a years-long pattern of glowing press on the 30-year-old “crypto king”—whom Forbes had estimated to have a net worth over $15 billion—from the same business journalism outlets that were supposed to be holding him accountable.

We’ve been told not to question which policies billionaires choose to support, because it’s their money. But none of it was his money. It was all stolen.

We’ve been told it doesn’t matter whether the policies the billionaires supported actually worked, because their intentions were good. But here, SBF’s intentions had never been good. He donated the money solely for the purpose of glowing press to further his fraud.

We’ve been told the glowing press for billionaires who support these policies is justified, because the policies help the world. But these pandemics policies never helped the world. They created a man-made human and economic catastrophe, set back human rights by decades and decimated America’s global credibility.

From the earning of the money, to the donating of the money, to the positive press coverage, to the policies the process funded, at no point was there any good intent or positive outcome to any of it. The entire operation was pure, unadulterated evil.

This is the modern political machine in all its stark, inhuman nihilism. Once the machine is fed its priority, whether through fear, fraud, or outright corruption, then all its cogs snap into place—from the politicians and officials to the billionaires and journalists—and the only wrong a person can do is to oppose its priorities. The intent never mattered. The legality never mattered. The truth never mattered. The data never mattered. The results never mattered.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Author

  • Michael Senger

    Michael P Senger is an attorney and author of Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World. He has been researching the influence of the Chinese Communist Party on the world’s response to COVID-19 since March 2020 and previously authored China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign and The Masked Ball of Cowardice in Tablet Magazine. You can follow his work on Substack

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