The shape of thing to come?
Blog No. 165.
What was to be the theme of this fortnight’s blog has been a toss-up between the most recent shenanigans of the NZ SIS/Immigration NZ cabal and Khakispecs’ first venture into Print.
With immigration, it is not just about the Wilfred’s that I will be writing this time around. I have also been drawn into three other scandalous cases of a rogue government department and ministers apparently unable to exercise control over their precocious civil servants. However, before I write on the above, I am waiting for a reply to an Official Information Act request from INZ – which might be some time in coming – or meaningless when it does arrive. Therefore, this blog will instead deal to Khakispecs’ first venture into print.
A fairly constant theme of Khakispecs blogs has been the need for a system of global governance and the adherence of the multitude of nation states to the continued development and rule of international law. There are two existential threats currently facing the global, 21st Century civilisation and, in due course, the rest of life on Earth: accidental nuclear war, of which the threat seems currently to be increasing significantly https://lobelog.com/the-new-global-tinderbox/#more-46498 . The nation that created the threat appears hell-bent on now maximising it. They cannot claim that they haven’t been warned. You will find a five minute clip of how Hollywood envisages the potential outcome of the their recklessness (not for those of delicate disposition.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VG2aJyIFrA&feature=youtu.be Meanwhile, the threat of climate change is drawing closer at a pace that gives no time for planetary species to adapt to their changing environment. That threat is succinctly put by layman, Paul Craig Roberts, a former editor of the Wall Street Journal,
Scientists understand the natural processes behind the previous warm and cold periods that lead to ice ages. They occur in regular patterns called Milankovitch cycles. These cycles occur because the Earth’s orbit around the sun is not constant.
The shape of the orbit changes, the tilt of the Earth on its axis changes and even the direction of the axis changes over time. All of these changes result in varying amounts of energy (i.e. heat) that the planet receives from the sun. That, of course, determines how warm or cold the planet becomes.
While these cycles do impact Earth in much the same way as we are seeing now, they happen very, very slowly.
These cycles take place on 100,000 year time frames, and the amount of warming we have seen, even though it is “only” about 1.5°F (0.85° C) since 1880, would take many thousands of years to occur if the process were occurring purely naturally. Also, when you plot these orbital cycles out, we should be in a “cooling” phase of the cycle — not warming.
The other important fact we learn when looking at these long-term cycles is that greenhouse gases, namely carbon dioxide and methane, move up and down with the global temperature. When greenhouse gases are high, the Earth is warm, when they are low, the Earth is cool.
But again, when these changes are occurring naturally, they take thousands to tens of thousands of years to occur, whereas humans have caused this to occur in just over 100 years. In fact, humans have pushed the level of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere to levels not seen in millions of years. The last time levels were this high, sea levels were several meters higher and temperatures were several degrees warmer.
So yes, the climate changes naturally, in much the same way it is changing now, but it happens much, much slower. That in turn gives the Earth, and its various life forms, time to adapt. When these changes occur rapidly, you can have mass extinctions.
So much for those singers of siren songs, who argue that, as there have always been fluctuations in global temperature and greenhouse gas levels, global warming is not a problem to worry about. The last time greenhouse gases were this prevalent in the atmosphere there were no primates around to demonstrate their ability, or otherwise, to adapt to the changing conditions.
The latest draft report from the IPCC gives little hope for keeping the temperature rise below 2C and enumerates the consequences http://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/06/27/new-leaked-draft-of-un-1-5c-climate-report-in-full-and-annotated/ The global commitment to ever-expanding capitalist economies, the runaway greed, national selfishness and the heedless example being set by the USA, leaves no room for doubt as to the cliff over which humanity is headed. The mainstream media, controlled throughout the world by corporate greed is particularly responsible for this state of affairs and, if humanity is to survive, needs urgent and radical reform. https://lobelog.com/minimal-media-attention-helped-sink-crucial-climate-initiatives/
There would appear to be no way in which humanity can avoid the realisation of one or both these twin global threats other than by instigating a system of global governance that allows for the making and enforcement of international laws applicable to all nations.
There are, of course, other major perils ahead for humanity such as the threats posed by the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence. This is happening at a far more rapid rate than humanity’s ability of adapt to it and ensure that it is incorporated into society painlessly and without dire negative consequences. Those interested in that subject should read Jamie Susskind or Yuval Harari. However, I would argue that a global polity that could solve the problems of nuclear war and climate change, would also be capable of dealing to this problem of adaptation to AI.
Humanity, is currently divided into 195 sovereign nations, all bound together in an environmentally destructive global economic system that invites national selfishness on the part of governments and irresponsibility and a sense of impunity on the part of the international corporate actors that are the greatest beneficiaries of the system. Those nations powerful enough to feel they have a choice, regularly demonstrate their contempt for the international law, which marks humanity’s past and largely ineffective attempts to control that selfishness.
For those political elites dependent on public acceptance, (and ultimately, that means all of them, no matter which end of the democratic/authoritarian spectrum they sit) the easiest option is an appeal to the nationalism (which Einstein described as ‘the measles of mankind.’) Likewise, self-interest demands that they should take no steps that might undermine the smooth running of the national economy, or might alarm the public with thoughts that serious sacrifice and systemic changes are required to avert a peril that might only become apparent long after the decision-makers have left office. It is no wonder that the majority of mankind are carrying on their daily business with little thought of the morrow.
‘A country like New Zealand could save the world’ has been compiled to address the above problems. It is a collection of twenty or so of my previous blogs, written over two years, that have addressed these problems in the past and which illustrate how I arrived at the solution I propose.
Though I suggest in the book that the fate of humanity could rest in the hands of just one hundred and twenty human beings, the members of the New Zealand parliament, I do, of course, hold out no hope that they could collectively overcome the systemic obstacles to their being able to rise to the occasion. However, the book is written in the hope that it might be able to trigger some ideas in some minds that could help move our civilisation further towards a possible escape – even before the impact of the disasters, inevitable within the next several decades, alarm and alert all members of society to the existential crisis that humanity is facing. At that stage the chooks might well become headless, panic have set in and all hope of rational decision taking become forlorn.
The book is divided into two parts. The first part consists of a selection of previous blogs that help establish the nature of the crisis and detail some of the other attempts to find a solution. The second part proposes a series of steps that New Zealand could take, which could ultimately be expanded to embrace the global community. The proposal consists of four distinct phases.
The first proposal is that a New Zealand government should take action to ensure that both its leaders and public have ready access to the truth about their situation. On the basis that an accurate understanding of a situation is the best defence against its adverse outcomes, it is proposed that New Zealand takes control of its own media. Currently, both leaders and led have their opinions formed by, and are brought up in, a matrix of inadequate or misleading information provided by overseas-owned media corporates that are not concerned with the welfare of New Zealand – other than its continuance as a cash-cow. The proposal is that NZ budgets (perhaps by diverting a substantial portion of its current defence budget) be used to sponsor NZ home-grown media and investigative journalism and, if need be, buy back NZ media that has fallen into foreign ownership.
Once the country is back in a situation where the public can access a home-grown analysis of the truth and the serious nature of the issues can clearly be explained and understood, it is proposed that a constitutional convention be held in which the public can fully participate. The hoped for outcome from such a convention would be the adoption by NZ of a written constitution, which would ensure a far more participatory governance system than the current ‘cast a vote and forget for the next three years’ system. A public that is well-informed and regularly participates in the decision-making process is far more likely to accept the need for change and sacrifice than one which has such vital decisions, if any government dare take them, imposed from above.
Once New Zealand can present a model of a successful, working, participatory democracy and having control of its own media, is able to represent itself truthfully, it can invest in a far more effective and greatly expanded overseas diplomatic presence. This should be one designed to achieve more than the sale of greater volumes of milk solids. At this point, it will be necessary for New Zealand to make public its complete neutrality and independence from any of the global power blocs. Using its media outreach and its diplomatic presence, New Zealand should work to inspire both the publics and the leaders of other nations to follow its own example.
Once sufficient international support is available, the final phase should be embarked on – the reform of the United Nations and the erection of a system of global governance supported by enforceable international law.
The book goes into some detail regarding each of the above four stages of the proposal. There is no doubt that it will remain ignored until such crises are actually upon our society. By then, it may well be too late to adopt such a leisurely and relatively benign procedure – and perhaps, in the face of the irrationality of mass panic and despair, too late to adopt any procedure whatsoever.
I am now too far advanced along my life-path to entertain any hope of doing anything on my own account about realising the proposals in this book. Perhaps those younger than I and therefore, with that much more to lose through inaction, will take up the struggle.
For those interested in reading the book, I would ask them in a week or two to go to their public library and ask for a copy. By then, I hope the distribution system will have started to bite. Alternatively, while I work at finding a distributor and to get it into bookshops, I have some hard copies available for NZ$29.50 + GST + $4.00 postage within NZ. Just send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org A Kindle edition should be out in two or three months time – or earlier.