Have a blinding flash of the obvious:
People who want you dead can be relied upon to oppose
Any development that’s likely to keep you alive.
Now, I don’t happen to know anyone who personally and identifiably wants me dead. But I do know of a category of people who want all of us dead. I’ve been writing about them. Indeed, I’ve been doing so for some time now.
Such persons seldom wear badges that say Death Cult Member. No, they’re subtler than that, if not by much. They merely put anything and everything above human flourishing. “Animal rights.” “Species diversity.” Varieties of moss. The exact shape of desert dunes. And they’re absolute death on anything that might help people live longer or more comfortably.
Quite some time ago, a pair of chemists decided to explore one of the most intriguing mysteries in physics: whether it’s possible to bring about an exoenergetic nuclear-fusion reaction on a small scale, and at a temperature at or near normal human-environment temperatures. This is better known as “cold fusion.” Physicists have predicted “pathways” to such fusion but have never achieved it. But those chemists created quite a stir for a little while:
In 1989 Martin Fleischmann (then one of the world’s leading electrochemists) and Stanley Pons reported that their apparatus had produced anomalous heat (“excess heat”) of a magnitude they asserted would defy explanation except in terms of nuclear processes. They further reported measuring small amounts of nuclear reaction byproducts, including neutrons and tritium. The small tabletop experiment involved electrolysis of heavy water on the surface of a palladium (Pd) electrode. The reported results received wide media attention, and raised hopes of a cheap and abundant source of energy.
Many scientists tried to replicate the experiment with the few details available. Hopes faded due to the large number of negative replications, the withdrawal of many reported positive replications, the discovery of flaws and sources of experimental error in the original experiment, and finally the discovery that Fleischmann and Pons had not actually detected nuclear reaction byproducts. By late 1989, most scientists considered cold fusion claims dead, and cold fusion subsequently gained a reputation as pathological science.
That the Pons / Fleischmann experiments didn’t work out was sad, but then, a lot of promising-looking things happen only once, including in labs, and can never be recreated. What was really significant were the reactions of the world’s mouthiest environmentalists at the possibility that cold fusion had really been achieved:
Paul Ehrlich, Jeremy Rifkin, and Amory Lovins have several times each said that they favored a reduction in world energy supplies. Ehrlich and Rifkin were appalled when the “cold fusion” developments of the late Eighties were announced:
Ehrlich: “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet!”
Rifkin: “It would be like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.”
Lovins, in a notorious interview with Playboy magazine, had said:
If you ask me, it’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won’t give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other. [Amory Lovins, Playboy interview, Nov/Dec 1977]
As I wrote at the time, “If they sound like the sort of persons from whom you would be disposed to seek edification, stay far away from your Curmudgeon; he’s armed and has had a very bad week.” Do you need any further explanation?
But time marches on, as does research into nuclear fusion:
US scientists have reportedly carried out the first nuclear fusion experiment to achieve a net energy gain, a major breakthrough in a field that has been pursuing such a result since the 1950s, and a potential milestone in the search for a climate-friendly, renewable energy source to replace fossil fuels….
Researchers were able to produce 2.5 megajoules of energy, 120 per cent of the 2.1 megajoules used to power the experiment.
Now, it appears at the moment that this trial wasn’t quite as exoenergetic as all that. But let’s leave that to the side for a moment. Rather let’s assess the reaction of a premier environmentalist to the possibility:
“We’ve never been in principle against any technology, but it is very clear, every time you start calculating, that the moment you introduce nuclear, the costs are going up and the speed of change is going down,” Jan Haverkamp, an energy expert at Greenpeace, told The Independent in January. “That’s exactly what we can’t afford now as climate change is becoming ever more real. If you start talking about nuclear at this moment, either you’re following a fad or you’re trying to divert the attention from what really needs to be done.”
Haverkamp’s statement begins with a lie and proceeds through several other falsehoods. But this is what “environmentalists” do. They are resolved that Mankind must not be permitted to flourish; it would threaten “the environment” is merely the cover story. The mere possibility of a new, effectively unlimited energy source that would have no significant downside horrifies them ab initio.
So they have to piss on it. Just in case, mind you.
These are not persons for whom anyone who loves life should have even a scintilla of respect. They are not champions of any worthwhile cause. They cannot defend their positions without revealing the agenda of which they must not speak: the extinction of Mankind, or at least a great portion thereof. And now and then one of them lets the mask slip:
“Every one of you who gets to survive has to bury nine,” Eric Pianka cautioned students and guests at St. Edward’s University on Friday. Pianka’s words are part of what he calls his “doomsday talk” — a 45-minute presentation outlining humanity’s ecological misdeeds and Pianka’s predictions about how nature, or perhaps humans themselves, will exterminate all but a fraction of civilization.
Though his statements are admittedly bold, he’s not without abundant advocates. But what may set this revered biologist apart from other doomsday soothsayers is this: Humanity’s collapse is a notion he embraces.
“The ending of the human epoch on Earth would most likely be greeted with a hearty ‘Good riddance!'” — philosopher Paul Taylor in Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics
“Human happiness [is] not as important as a wild and healthy planet….Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.” — biologist David M. Graber, in review of Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature, in the Los Angeles Times, October 29, 1989.
Should Mankind ever regain its sanity, such persons will no longer be admitted to the councils of state. They will be known as what they really are: our enemies, dedicated to our destruction. Nor will their acolytes’ plaintive cries that they meant well receive the slightest respect.
(Damn it all, where is that planetoid?)