200 Years That Changed the World

200 Years That Changed the World

In this video Hans Rosling demonstrates two hundred years of dramatic world change. This isn’t something to sneeze at but if you want to ask “So What?” then the answers to the “so what” question are manifold. Here is but one:

The world in general trends towards the good – throwing conventional politics and philosophy aside for the moment (colonialism vs industrialization vs education vs capitalism vs. communism etc.) a key thing that occurred to spur the tremendous growth in economies everywhere was the tapping of abundant cheap energy through technology. Given plentiful energy then prodigious leaps were bound to occur, so it’s thoroughly wrong-headed to think of energy itself as being an evil.  Instead view it as a neutral: it’s something we can use well or abuse.

So while everyone is crying doom and gloom right now, I like to view the long term. Every setback in human history has been far outdone by amazing progress through our collective and individual wills toward the good.

I’m not non-plussed or threatened that China is booming, it doesn’t worry me that India is making wondrous progress – neighbors who have wealth are much less of a threat, and much more of a contributor to overall worldwide good than those who are poor.

Watch the video, and pay attention to the countries where Freedom came, and where energy is in abundant use. Conventional wisdom is that we use abundant energy because we are a rich country – I don’t believe conventional wisdom because history proves that wrong. Instead we are rich because we use high energy – we must continue that if we want the world to continue to progress.

The other thing to notice is the pace of change – as energy and eduction increase together, we accelerate that pace. We are on an ever faster trajectory towards a better life for all, but… we have to continue to increase rather than decrease energy use across the planet, and we have to increase the pace of education.

Lou Dobbs and Chris Hitchens Take on UN and OIC Blasphemy Laws

Freedom Under Fire

Hate laws, speech codes, blasphemy laws and the like are just plain wrong. They are as wrong as banning scarves or religious books as some in Europe wish to do. One of the best features of our constitution is the clear, concise codification of unalienable individual rights. There is a right to hate in america and there is a right to criticize the ones that hate; and I would have it no other way. Stifling individual rights is the quickest way to emulate Euro-style serfdom in the US.

The recent move by the Organization of Islamic states and the UN to codify anti-blasphemy laws  specifically for Islam into charters binding on all member nations is discussed in this video from CNN.

A couple of notes on this: Lou Dobbs does get something wrong here, Pakistan’s government right now is a duly elected Parliamentary government, one of the few in the Islamic world. It is a weak parliamentary government and under extreme stress right now due to the Nawaz wing protests and the breakaway ungoverned tribal provinces.

Chris Hitchens was also in a dust up recently, and I side with him on it even though he was attacking someone else’s extreme speech through the action of defacing a Nazi sign in Lebanon. Michael Totten gives the best summary of the event.

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