Math Is Hard, Facts Are Stubborn, …


… and socialist claims don’t add up. She Guevara’s latest silliness suggests that converting to a renewable energy economy will establish … oh, here are her own words—

As a matter of fact, it’s not just possible that we will create jobs and economic activity by transitioning to renewable energy, but it’s inevitable that we are going to create jobs. It’s inevitable that we’re going to create industry, and it’s inevitable that we can use the transition to a hundred percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social and racial justice in the United States of America.

Ummm, I suppose Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is relying on the “fact” that the socialism being practiced in other countries isn’t the real thing, and that she and her comrades would finally get it right here in America. After all, the real world facts show that the proles in France (the intellectual cradle of Marxism and Post-modernism) are rebelling against a carbon fuel tax. And the socialist destruction of the carbon fuel industry in Venezuela has not had a positive effect on that country. (However, wrecking that industry was probably an unintended consequence of other socialist policies.)

Whatever.

What does seem to be true is that she’s been reasonably successful selling her brand of snake oil. She’s been elected to Congress. She’s developing a national following. And there seems to be a group of uneducated young people who are rallying to her promises of free stuff. It’s been suggested that she could be the Left’s answer to Donald Trump, a brash upstart who doesn’t play by the rules and who intuitively understands how to sell her program to a large segment of the voters. If that’s true, let’s hope that Reality catches up to her before she can do real damage.

Don’t Know Much Biology


There’s a post up over at Watts Up With That? which takes a look at She Guevara’s proposal for a Green New Deal. I suppose it’s “green” because the “thinking” behind it isn’t ripe yet. One of the goals for her Green New Deal would be “decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries” within ten years. Let’s set aside the financial cost of decarbonizing agriculture and simply consider biology and physics.

Human beings are carbon-based life forms. The vast majority of the energy that our bodies use to keep us alive is derived from chemical reactions that amount to burning the carbon in the food we eat. That food, whether plant or animal, was from other carbon-based life forms which, in turn, were alive because those critters grew by burning carbon. (Many plants actually store more carbon than they burn. That’s why animals eat them or humans burn them for fuel.)

Over my lifetime (I’ll be 71 on New Year’s Eve), hunger and malnutrition around the world have been greatly reduced by the mechanization of agriculture and the use of chemical supplements to fertilize and protect crops. All of that required an expenditure of energy that wasn’t possible by manual or animal-powered labor. How many windmills would it take to power a tractor and planting and harvesting equipment on a farm? A windmill is a set of sails catching the wind. Image a sail-powered tractor. Now add the additional losses of power transmission over wires and charging and discharging batteries. How much hydro? How large a solar array? And how much farm land would be lost to solar arrays? Most crops don’t do well in the shade. Oh, and most man-made pesticides are organic (that is, carbon-based) chemicals; so are most natural bug killers. Where will we get the energy needed to produce and distribute those chemicals to farms and apply them to the crops? Or will more of our fields’ produce go to feeding insects and less to people?

We’ve used so-called carbon-based energy over the past couple of centuries to power the revolutions in industry and agriculture that have drastically reduced hunger and made life better around the world. Actually, all of that energy has come from the Sun. The energy in sunshine from tens of millions of years ago was stored in chemical reactions in living organisms which were turned into coal, petroleum, and natural gas. We’ve been tapping into that stored energy. It may be that we’re returning carbon in the form of combustion products into the environment at an unhealthy rate. If so, we have other options. The uranium and thorium here on Earth are the decay products of heavy elements forged in stars that went supernova billions of years ago. We can tap into that stored energy, but there’s a different set of dangers in those sources.

Every time we do something, anything, the amount of entropy in the Universe increases. Everything has a cost. Thus far, the free market has shown superior performance over all other economic systems. Efficient agriculture developed in the US—but not in the USSR. The free market puts less of a drag on society than its competitors. Going to a what amounts to a green command economy seems doubly foolish—likely poorer performance in food production and proven worse efficiency in economic resource management.

Here’s an iron law of nature: There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Congress lacks to power to repeal it.

More TERF Wars Stuff


Over at The Atlantic, there’s a piece pooh-poohing the Trump Administration’s consideration of a rule that would require government agencies to consider an individual’s “gender” to be determined by the genitalia the person had at birth—with an allowance for the use of genetic evidence to deal with persons who might be anomalous (such as being XXY).

The agency proposes to define gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” Which would indeed be ideal at a bureaucratic level.

<sarc>However, such a use of science is clearly impermissible when it gets in the way of the goals of the Party of Science.</sarc> Indeed, certain scientific research relating to persons’ wishes to self-identify with imaginary genders not congruent with their sex is now under political attack, as Julian Vigo notes in a post over at Quillette. The culture-war skirmish over transgenderism is usually handled as a debate about culture or sociology, but really a debate about the primacy of the scientific method—since many of the trans activists’ shibboleths are either scientifically dubious or obviously wrong. Failure to fall in line and be politically correct will get one labeled as a TERF, a trans exclusive radical feminist.

One of the dark ironies informing the trans extremists’ case against their opponents is the insistence that people like me—women—must call themselves cis women. For all their fixation on self-identification and self-selected pronouns, these same activists demand the right to apply made-up terms to others. And if you reject those terms? Well, that’s just taken as more proof that you’re a “TERF.”

Science deals with the Universe as it is, not as we wish it were.

UPDATE—Welcome, Instapundit readers! Thanks for the link, Prof. Reynolds.

Don’t Know Much Biology


Over at PowerLine, John Hinderacker has a post about a Canadian who legally changed his gender to female in order to save $91 a month on car insurance.

Some “trans” Canadians were angry, much as some actual Indians were angry at Elizabeth Warren for worming her way onto the Harvard faculty on the basis of high cheekbones and alleged family lore:

Members of the trans community in Canada have reacted with outrage to David’s cost-cutting scheme.

‘I think it cheapens the whole process. It sort of casts doubt on everybody else’s motives for making those changes,’ said Marie Little, a former chair of the Trans Alliance Society. ‘I think it gives ammunition to people who want to take rights away from trans people.’

That’s one way of looking at it. In my view, it highlights the absurdity of the concepts of gender “identification” and “assignment.” The more people who make the current regime look silly, the sooner it will collapse of its own weight.

This kind of nonsense highlights what happens when we allow the meanings of words to be hijacked.

Sex is a property of living organisms. In the case of human beings, sex is determined by the presence or lack of Y-chromonsomes. People with Y-chromonsomes are male, i.e., men and boys. People without Y-chromonsomes are female, i.e., women and girls. The science is really quite settled on this.

Gender is a property of words. Nouns and pronouns in the English language can be masculine, feminine, indefinite, or neuter. When speaking of a human being, the feminine form is used for a woman or a girl, the masculine form is used for a man or a boy, and the indefinite form (which is the same as the masculine) is used when the person’s sex is unknown. Note that the forms differ only for singular nouns. The plural forms are the same (and should not be used when speaking of a single individual).

Other languages have different rules for dealing with gender, but the biology of sex is the same worldwide.