February 11, 2008


Climate change, is democracy enough? (David Shearman, 17 January 2008, Online Opinion)

[T]he savvy Chinese rulers may be first out of the blocks to assuage greenhouse emissions and they will succeed by delivering orders. They will recognise that the alternative is famine and social disorder

Let us contrast this with the indecisiveness of the democracies which together produce approximately the other half of the world’s greenhouse emissions. It is perhaps reasonable to ask the reader a question. Taking into account the performance of the democracies in the reduction of emissions over the past decade, do you feel that the democracies are able and willing to reduce their emissions by 60-80 per cent this century or perhaps more importantly by approximately 10 per cent each decade?

If you say “yes” then you fly in the face of a track record of persistent failure in a wide range of environmental management leading to depletion of natural resources and fresh water, biodiversity and ecological service loss, loss of productive land and depletion of essential food sources such as ocean fish. In Australia, a surfeit of democracy carries much responsibility for the demise of the Murray Darling River, where debate has replaced action.

Such an analysis of democracy is conducted in the book The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy, co authored by myself and Joseph Wayne Smith, in a series from the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy. The fundamental reasons why democracy is shackled in its present form relate to its fusion with the needs of corporate enterprise but also important is the human denial to recognise its limitations and the inhibition to criticise democracy and implement reform.

Liberal democracy is sweet and addictive and indeed in the most extreme case, the USA, unbridled individual liberty overwhelms many of the collective needs of the citizens. The subject is almost sacrosanct and those who indulge in criticism are labeled as Marxists, socialists, fundamentalists and worse. These labels are used because alternatives to democracy cannot be perceived! Support for Western democracy is messianic as proselytised by a President leading a flawed democracy

There must be open minds to look critically at liberal democracy. Reform must involve the adoption of structures to act quickly regardless of some perceived liberties.

While one must quibble with Jonah Goldberg's choice of terms--fascism--the Left is undeniably in love with authoritarianism/totalitarianism. An inevitability since a free people won't adopt their kooky ideas.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2008 7:43 AM

When I visited China in 1998, even in Beijing there were signs in hotel bathrooms warning us not to drink the water. I have never seen them in the US, Brazil, or Canada. And the air in Beijing was like Los Angeles at its worst. And that was 10 years ago.

Reading this guy's heavy-handed junk, it sounds like "Arrest, try, shoot!"

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 11, 2008 8:37 AM

The Second Amendment is intended to give the People the means to deal with this kind of national-socialist idiots.

Posted by: Peter at February 11, 2008 8:45 AM

"There must be open minds to look critically at" [junk science and slick power point presentations.]

Posted by: Genecis at February 11, 2008 1:32 PM

Instead of wasting billions each election cycles to elect our representives and leaders, we should emulate the Chinese and let our betters choose our presidents and representatives in the People's Congress. On top of having an efficient leaders selection system, we can use the billions campaign moneys to tackle the green house gases. Our betters, of course, know what's best for us, for the country and for the world. Why not let them do what is best and follow them like lambs?

Posted by: ic at February 11, 2008 4:08 PM