Category Archives: Environmentalism

My articles: Atlas Shrugged Movie Update and more!

 Hello, everyone. Please keep up with my writings at www.parcbench.com!

See http://www.parcbench.com/2010/07/29/atlas-shrugged-movie-wraps-where-is-john-galt/

and for more articles by me, see

http://www.parcbench.com/author/gregzeigerson/

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www.parcbench.com.

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and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gregory.zeigerson

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Thank you!

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Avatar Review

“Avatar” spoilers follow.

The unoriginal “ideas” in Avatar’s screenplay are such cliched, non-
intellectual, California-Liberal New Age mysticism, that the basic
storyline, minus the physical-peril suspense and special effects,
could read as a satire.

Its references include Native American Mother Earth worship, the
evils of American imperialism, becoming “one” with one’s tribal
ancestors, and the purity of primitivism and its superiority to
industrialization. All of this is presented as if based on biological
and geological reality.

Besides this, as usual with a James Cameron screenplay (see
“Titanic”), the dialogue is trite and the characters are shallow
stereotypes copied from hundreds of previous films and novels.

But most offensive of all is the imagery that is easily interpreted as
anti-American symbolism to leftist and international audiences. An
Earthling general is presented as the stereotype of a tough American
military man, in the mold of Patton. He is presented as evil and
corrupt. The invasion of the Na’vi nation is presented with no
subtlety at all as a war whose purpose is to “steal” the “oil” inside
their planet. (“Unobtainium” is invented to stand in for oil).

At the end, the sight in 3-D of Earth’s (America’s) helicopters
attacking Na’vi aliens (Third Worlders) and burning down their
homes is obvious, heavy handed symbolism, harking back to
Vietnam. It is presented so that the audience roots for the Third
Worlders to defeat the Americans. It’s almost like treasonous
propaganda, created to incite anti-American anger.

A character who abandons Western Civilization to live among the
collectivist Nature Worshippers is shown to be noble and heroic.

I believe and hope the reason most people see the film is to marvel
at the phenomenal technical achievements in visual effects, the
remarkably believable designs of the diverse alien creatures, the
excellent pacing, and the suspenseful scenes of physical peril, which
reflect James Cameron’s true talents.

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Rush Limbaugh

In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, Rush Limbaugh contributes aneditorial that proposes a “bipartisan stimulus”that allows for infrastructure spending but also includes major tax cuts for corporations and on capital gains.I think that’s still allowing Obama too much spending, but by setting it up as bipartisan, it’s a strategic effort to prove what actually stimulates the economy. I don’t know that it would prove anything and it doesn’t address draconian regulations and federal control of banks and so many other horrors now in process. But it’s an honorable effort in the right direction.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123318906638926749.html

What I do oppose in the writings and broadcasts of Rush Limbaugh include his beliefs in religion as the foundation of America, and his derivation of morality from religion rather than from reality, leading to his belief that a fetus has rights over that of the mother, or that assisted suicide is immoral and should be illegal. I disagree with those and other religion-influenced viewpoints he expresses, especially those that support theocratic laws, and I also disagree with him on limiting immigration. He is a Conservative and not an Objectivist, so I would not try to defend him on his Conservatism.

Having expressed my caveats, when it comes to issues of economics and political power (outside of the issue of separation of church and state) his daily radio broadcast can be an indispensible guide to understanding the news and what important facts most mainstream journalists regularly fail to investigate.

Once he is on a topic that isn’t directly connected with religious conservative views, in my opinion he resorts to a common-sense type of self-interest and reason as his apparent, implied philosophy.  Outside of sacrificing one’s life for the sake of a fetus, or sacrificing the right of  a terminal patient to avoid pain via assisted suicide, he is not particularly altruistic or pro-sacrifice.

His whole persona is of one that enjoys the good life, the wealth he has achieved on his own initiative, rather than a persona of humility and guilt and slavish service to the downtrodden. He is opposed to a victim mentality and he applauds individual accomplishment and self-responsibility.

He does, however, ascribe his talent as on loan from God.  He is wrong to suggest his talent is from a supernatural source, but on the other hand it doesn’t sound like he’s kneeling and bowing his head in atonement and guilt for his success.

In fact, he has often recommended “Atlas Shrugged” by atheist Ayn Rand,to explain capitalism to people. Not only that, but he is on the front lines of daring to question environmentalism and for the right reasons. He sees the scam of it, that it’s just a ploy to impose socialism and big government regulations. And I will always be grateful to him for being the only voice against feminism in the 1980s. At that time and in the later 1970s, everywhere men and boys were being unjustly criticized for their natural masculinity. Any differences they had from women were considered flaws, and flirtation in office settings was on the verge of becoming illegal. Since then,that type of feminism has lost most mainstream support thanks in large part to Limbaugh.

He also usually expresses a reasonable, self-defense based foreign policy.

So as we enter the Obama years, I consider Limbaugh’s radio program useful. It’s telling that Obama has said, “Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh”.

As long as Rush sticks to economics and political power issues, his clarity of thought and expression, mixed with satirical humor, is excellent. His points about how Obama/Congress’s stimulus packages are a new “New Deal” and that such programs cannot correct a recession, and only extends it or turns it into a full blown Depression, are on target. I would recommend that people listen to his broadcast, especially now.

For some transcripts of his recent programs, see www.rushlimbaugh.com.

Once the economic crisis is over and he returns to more religious-right issues, I don’t expect to find as much value in his program. And he is no substitute for the secular pro-capitalistic and rational philosophy expressed in Op-Eds and essays and speeches by Objectivists found at The Ayn Rand Center, the Ayn Rand Bookstore and The Objective Standard. But he covers more of the intricacies from day to day than they are able to cover, so he is a fine supplement, if you discard all his religionist inclinations.

The only philosophy that will protect individual rights is Objectivism, not Conservatism. Rush is a Conservative, and Conservatism needs to be rejected in the long run. If you can separate out his rational views from his irrational views, he is a valuable supplement to Objectivist sources like The Objective Standard and The Ayn Rand Center.

It’s because the TV networks and news magazines and newspapers are so reluctant–to an unprecedented extreme–to criticize, investigate and analyze the Obama administration’s and the Democratic Congress’s actions and motivations,that I recommend Limbaugh. But I repeat that I am not a Conservative and the only philosophy that can save America in the long run is Objectivism.

See www.aynrand.org and  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/author/robert_tracinski/ for Objectivist perspectives.

P.S. Another interesting radio program, which covers in depth various newsworthy topics that you won’t hear much about in most of the media, is The John Batchelor Show. This world-news oriented program heightens dramatic emphasis by means of musical intros, the host’s striking references to parallel events in history, and his use of dramatic language, metaphors and images. Batchelor recently spoke with Stephen Moore about his Wall Street Journal article suggesting that “Atlas Shrugged” is coming true.

Here are the links:

http://johnbatchelorshow.com/mp3/jbs_090118a_abc.mp3

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123146363567166677.html

http://johnbatchelorshow.com

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Wall E is Not Walt D–Repeat

I am re-running one of my blog posts from June 30, 2008, because Disney is releasing Wall E on DVD for the Holiday Season. I can think of few films less appropriate for Christmas, the festive, joyful holiday. Here is my review of Wall E withreaders’ comments following:

One of the most important qualities Walt Disney’s movies, television programs, and theme parks imparted to me as a child, and to children everywhere, was a feeling of reassurance. I’m referring to the works of Walt Disney himself when he was alive, and of his studio the first few years after his death.

Even if the story is about things going wrong in one character’s life, it is clear that there is a larger world out there of sensible people and a system and world that makes sense, that there is something called normalcy, and the goal of the characters is to get back to normalcy or better, to improve their lives and live happily ever after.

The Banks family in Mary Poppins is at first somewhat unhappy, but there is hope and magical delight in the world outside, and there is a policeman and there are friendly neighbors who bring runaway children home. The home of (1961’s) 101 Dalmations’ owners is a happy, sane, home, and once the dalmations fight off the bad guys, they return to a state of eccentric yet happy normalcy. The world is expected to be filled with reasonable people who can get along and solve problems.

Even the satirical post-Walt movie The Barefoot Executive indicates that the larger world may be a little silly, but still okay at its core.

To a child, the sense of a system and society that is dependable and rational is extremely important to his feeling secure and optimistic, to his feeling free and motivated to learn and grow and become ambitious within that society.

The new Disney-Pixar movie Wall E is not at all in the spirit of Walt Disney’s movies. The characters of Wall E, Eve and The Captain are Disney-esque and very charming and funny. But the universe they inhabit is the opposite of Walt’s universe.

We are expected to believe and accept that in the future human beings (A) allowed a corporate monopoly to replace the U.S. Constitution (and all other governments) and become a dictator and (B) that no one noticed a problem with garbage disposal until it got so bad, the entire species had to leave the planet. In this dystopian vision of the future, the technology to build extraordinary robots and a spaceship that holds and takes care of the needs of the entire human population exists, but not the technology to get rid of garbage and plant trees or grass. Human beings are intelligent yet immensely moronic simultaneously.

Above all, the problem with this film and the fact that busy parents, or their child care providers, will one day buy the DVD and play it over and over for their children without watching it is the message that the universe makes no sense and the future is dark and adults are incapable of dealing with their problems until long past catastrophe. This is not a reassuring message to children who love life and can’t wait to grow up and flourish. It is harmful.

As my 5-year-old son said, “That’s a Garbage Planet. That’s not Earth. Why are they calling it Earth?” He understands that Earth makes sense. People are rational beings.

I explained it’s a make-believe silly story about Earth in the future where, as my wife said, “people become stupid” and can’t get rid of garbage. I reassured him and his sister that it’s ridiculous and that this is not going to happen in real life.

I received the following comment from Artifex:

Exactly right! For all the visual beauty and charm of Wall-E, the world we’re presented with is complete nonsense. BnL can build a massive spaceship with seemingly inexhaustible energy supply, human level artificial intelligence, what must be near-total recycling of resources (although strangely enough they seem to be ejecting a lot of trash into space – where does all that matter come from?), and the ability to hyperjump into another galaxy (!) in a matter of seconds but they can’t figure out trash disposal? Why doesn’t earth-that-was just fill the Axiom with garbage and hyperjump THAT into another galaxy? Why don’t they use the same recycling technology that must be present on the Axiom to solve the same problems on earth? Completely insane. It’s a shame – I really wanted to love this one.

I received the following comment from Mike:

Great post.

Saw your comment at the Think Progress site; your words were a voice of reason amongst so much vitriol, those words of hate that seem to be only language of left-leaning websites.

(wouldn’t consider myself to be a right-winger, but I sure don’t want to be classified with those who are haters of traditional values)

I’m so glad there are folks such as yourself who teach their children to think for themselves. Not having children myself, it makes me feel better about the future of this country.

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More Political Thoughts

Now that thereis no single leader of the Republican Party, and a clearly socialistic leader of the Democratic Party (and of the United States), I see evidence (on C-span, anyway) that the thinkers on the Right and the better Republicans (mainly in the House) are finally feeling free, with the inconsistent,concessionary McCain out of the way, to fight hard against the socialist/pacifist Democrats and the big-spending,bailout-supporting,me-too Republicans. They are energized. I think real intellectual debate could finally break out of the meaningless generalities and rally-the-crowd sound-biteswe’ve witnessed during the campaign season.

Of course, the good news about Obama is that he will probably save stem-cell research and keep America pro-choice, will keep the borders open to all (hopefully excepting known terrorists) who wish to come, “wretched refuse” or not, and won’t appoint religious conservatives to the Supreme Court. But the bad news is everything else he may support, fromrestrictions onoil-drilling, to endless government spending, to paying off rather than destroying foreign enemies, to endless regulations on business and industry, to socialized medicine.

There is little hope of the Democratic Party becoming pro-laissez faire, so thebetter choice is to encourage the GOP to reinvent itself as such, and toreduce the influence of the religionists in the Republican party, now that the party has sunk to the bottom. Unfortunately, too many on the right still are religious pro-life types,whereas the reduction of the religious-right influenceis not only more rational, but it is an important way to win back those who have deserted the GOP. My guess is that we won’t turn the nation or the partyinto atheists any time soon, but we can reduce the influence of the religionists in the GOP by emphasizing the principles of liberty, individual effort, private property,and self-defense.

Moving forward, I think it’s important to remember to pursue happiness. Defend your rightsand property as needed,and then enjoy the unlimited opportunities still presentin the United States forintellectual growth,productivity, learning, adventure, self-expression, building relationships, pursuing goals, and experiencing the arts and things of beauty.

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Wall E is not Walt D

One of the most important qualities Walt Disney’s movies,television programs, and theme parks imparted to me as a child, and to children everywhere, was a feeling of reassurance. I’m referring to the works of Walt Disney himself when he was alive, and of his studio the first few years after his death.

Even if the story is about things going wrong in one character’s life, it is clear that there is a larger world out there of sensible people and a system and world that makes sense, that there is something called normalcy, and the goal of the characters is to get back to normalcy or better, to improve their lives and live happily ever after.

The Banks family in Mary Poppins is at first somewhat unhappy, but there is hope and magical delight in the world outside, and there is a policeman and there are friendly neighbors who bring runaway children home. The home of (1961’s)101 Dalmations’ owners is a happy, sane, home, and once the dalmations fight off the bad guys, they return to a state of eccentric yet happy normalcy. The world is expected to be filled with reasonable people who can get along and solve problems.

Even the satirical post-Walt movie The Barefoot Executive indicates that the larger world may be a little silly, but still okay at its core.

To a child, the sense of a system and society that is dependable and rational is extremely important to his feeling secure and optimistic, to his feeling free and motivated to learn and grow and become ambitious within that society.

The new Disney-Pixar movie Wall E is not at all in the spirit of Walt Disney’s movies. The characters of Wall E, Eve and The Captain are Disney-esque and very charming and funny. But the universe they inhabit is the opposite of Walt’s universe.

We are expected to believe and accept that in the future human beings (A) allowed a corporate monopoly to replace the U.S. Constitution (and all other governments) and become a dictator and (B) that no one noticed a problem with garbage disposal until it got so bad, the entire species had to leave the planet. In this dystopian vision of the future, the technology to build extraordinary robots and a spaceship that holds and takes care of the needs of the entire human population exists, but not the technology to get rid of garbage and plant trees or grass. Human beings are intelligent yet immensely moronic simultaneously.

Above all, the problem with this film — and the fact that busy parents, or their child care providers,will one day buy the DVD and play it over and over for their children without watching it —is the message that the universe makes no sense and the future is dark and adults are incapable of dealing with their problems until long past catastrophe. This is not a reassuring message to children who love life and can’t wait to grow up and flourish. It is harmful.

As my 5-year-old son said, “That’s a Garbage Planet. That’s not Earth. Why are they calling it Earth?” He understands that Earth makes sense. People are rational beings.

I explained it’s a make-believe silly story abou tEarth in the future where, as my wife said, “people become stupid” and can’t get rid of garbage. I reassured him and his sister that it’s ridiculous and that this is not going to happen in real life.

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George Will on Environmentalism

I have posted a reply to George Will’s excellent column, “The United States’ New Pre-Emptive War.”

Although there is one sentence about abortion rights that I would argue with, in the rest of the essay Mr. Will eloquently and accurately analyzes environmentalism, with reference to declaring polar bears “endangered” based on “future global warming,” and quotations from Nigel Lawson. CLICK HERE

Here is my comment:

Ayn Rand Foresaw This Outcome

Almost four decades ago, Ayn Rand predicted that leftist
environmentalists would seek to justify all-encompassing regulations, as George Will accurately describes above. She wrote in her essay The Anti-Industrial Revolution: “The immediate goal is obvious: the destruction of the remnants of capitalism in today’s mixed economy, and the establishment of a global dictatorship. This goal does not have to be inferred —- many speeches and books on the subject state explicitly that the ecological crusade is a means to that end.” (From Return of the Primitive)

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Activism Now! Israel, North Korea, Global Warming

Hi, everyone.

There are so many important issues out there on which to comment, and regarding which to take action. I don’t have the time to blog on all of them, butI’ll just list a bunch of links here and you can do the rest.

Here’s an easy way to protest the current demands at the Annapolis conference, for Israel to compromise with terrorists and murderers. This web site will automatically dial phone numbers to American and Isreali leaders so you can leave your own voice message defending the rights of Israel against the leaders of its enemies, the dictatorships that systematically violate the rights of their own citizens and engage in terrorism against Israel. Israel by comparison isa civilized, free country and democracy that has the right to self-defense.

http://callsforjerusalem.org/s/norpac.html

And be sure to read this excellent analysis of the Annapolis conference:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=CE6526B5-15D0-4F90-A9E2-CB2FD445F745

Here’s a link to a web site that is promoting a Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 protest against Chinese treatment of North Korean Refugees, at Chinese consulates around the world. These refugees have miraculously escaped the concentration camp that is North Korea, and yet have to endure mistreatment by China and then repatriation to North Korea, where they could then possibly betortured and murdered for daring to escape.

http://www.northkoreanrefugees.com/

http://www.nkfreedom.org/

And here (See sites listed below)are links to essays and web sites that answer Al Gore and other Environmentalists who want to use the alleged 3 degrees of climate improvement to comeover the next 100 years, as an excuse to immediately impose government regulations on the whole planet. This good news about the wonderful warm weather to come,is also the reason to systematically make self-sacrifice the habitual state of everyone, especially all the little children who are taught the world iscoming to anend. This state of self-sacrifice is necessary presumably so that everyone is so miserable they won’t notice that they have no free enterprise system any more,and they won’t care when all their money is taxed away to make the Green politicians and subsidized Green cronies rich, and all their actions need to be approved by Green-enforcer bureacrats via endless paperwork, or else!

Send these links, these articles, to all your fearful friends who want to give up everything, the whole industrial revolution,in order to merely slow down–not even stop–the inevitable end of the world, coming in their minds only of course:

www.nzcpr.com/guest76.htm

www.cei.org/pages/ait_response-book.cfm

www.weatherquestions.com/Roy-Spencer-on-global-warming.htm

www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=030306H

www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=010405M

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