Monday, November 30, 2009

An interesting fellow

Mike Moore is an interesting fellow. I don't mean the grotesquely loud and obese Mike Moore who fiddles with the facts for his profitable films, while attacking profits. I mean Mike Moore, the former prime minister of New Zealand and was Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

First, some background as to why Moore is so interesting to read. His political life has been spent on the Left. He was a trade unionist and the vice-president of the International Union of Socialist Youth—twice. He was the youngest person ever elected to New Zealand's parliament, in 1972 and remained there until 1999 as a Labour Party MP.

He has a new book coming out in a couple of weeks which is rather interesting, called Saving Globalization. Moore has become a strong advocate of free trade precisely because of the role that free, international markets play in uplifting the poor of the world. Yet it is clear that he still thinks socialism is appropriate for some things at some levels. He also writes a periodic column for the New Zealand Herald, which I try to read whenever it appears. His newest column takes on Green ideology, even though, true to his political leanings, he had previously been a member of GreenPeace. Here are some excerpts from his column:
"I heard a member of the UN Panel on Climate Change say of the findings: 'There can no longer be dissent.'"

"I'm not a climate denier. I feel obliged to point this out to save believers from sharpening their carbon neutral pencils and writing to the beleaguered editor. It's good young people are aware of the issues but some schools command kids to apostolate on environmental issues.

Bossy little people tell you not to eat meat or fly. It's getting a bit like kids having to turn in their parents under fascism. No, it's more like the Inquisition when you had to prove your innocence, and if you were innocent and died under torture that was OK because you were guaranteed a place in heaven.

If you believe the end of the world is nigh, you can rationalise that facts can be embellished and others' rights and opinions can be snuffed out in this crusade."

"If you challenge uber-environmentalists, you are a denier. End of story. Even that is a loaded charge, linking scepticism of this righteous belief to Holocaust-denying."

"What was silly is becoming sinister. Green ideology is becoming a theology that rejects the lessons of the Enlightenment, which was about freeing man so he could reason and choose. This new religion has many apostles, especially in the non-profit sector and the soft media.

It's right and proper that politicians and business people face a sceptical media who scrutinise them, hold them to account, expose their flaws and contradictions. The green agenda is too often accepted at face value because they claim to have the planet's interests at heart, unlike grubby politicians and greedy businesspeople."

"There needs to be scepticism, everywhere, much more of it. Scepticism is the chastity of the intellect and should not be surrendered easily.

Scepticism is desirable, necessary; cynicism is death by instalment. After a long life in public affairs I now have a new rule of measurement. It's the sacred law of humour. If someone can't see the absurdities of life, then I get nervous.

The enemies of reason throughout history, convinced that there is just one way, usually end up burning books, killing sparrows and building furnaces. Even worse, they don't laugh or blush."
You can read his full column here.