Evil Greens

James Delingpole happily shares the results of a recent scientific study on the morality of the environmentally conscious. Or rather, the lack thereof:

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the “halo of green consumerism” are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. “Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours,” they write.

The pair found that those in their study who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not. Later, in an honour system in which participants were asked to take money from an envelope to pay themselves their spoils, the greens were six times more likely to steal than the conventionals.

It’s hardly surprising. These are the same jokers who completely fail to see anything wrong with the vast AGW/CC scam. They are clearly moral vacuums.

Goodbye to a Good Dog

In the winter of 1994, Big Chilly, the White Buffalo and I decided that the Digital Ghetto needed a dog. The White Buffalo decided on a Basenji and we even went to visit a breeder or two, but his plans fell through for reasons I cannot recall. I was initially interested in a Shiba Inu or a Husky, but after reading through a few dog books, I was struck by a very pretty breed from Hungary that had golden eyes. After Big Chilly and the White Buffalo saw one at a dog show and enthused about how beautiful they were, I decided that my dog would be a Viszla.

In the summer of 1995, I found a breeder in southern Minnesota and the three of us, accompanied by the White Buffalo’s girlfriend, made the trek to pick out a puppy. To this day, I have never seen anything cuter than eight very young Viszla puppies running madly towards us with their long ears flapping up and down. After spending nearly an hour playing with them, I settled on the second largest male pup because he was playful without being overly aggressive. It turned out to be an excellent choice, as he grew into the nicest, most graceful, and most strikingly attractive dog I have ever seen. I named him Mithra, in what turned out to be a comically inappropriate reference to the Roman soldier’s god, although for the first six months he was usually addressed as Mr. Saggy Puppy Butt for the way in which all of the fur on his back sagged off his backside whenever he jumped up on something or sat down.  He was about as fierce as a newborn lamb and never met a lap he didn’t believe was just his size.

For 15 years Mithra the Viszla has been the very best of companions. He travelled halfway around the world with Spacebunny and I and always greeted us at the door with a happily wagging tail and the traditional Viszla gift in his mouth. Even when he could barely walk anymore, he always insisted on painfully pushing himself to his feet and making his unsteady way to the door to welcome us home. We still laugh about how he once brought a favorite stuffed animal to the door, prompting frantic shrieks of “Hinny sad! Hinny sad!” from the highly alarmed owner. And he played a significant role in Spacebunny and I getting to know each other, as many of our dates that first autumn involved walking paths covered with fallen leaves, trailing after our dogs as they ran together through the woods.

He hated the Minnesota winters, but loved chasing the low-flying seabirds on the abandoned beaches of northern Florida when we lived there. He also enjoyed the Italian sun, and liked nothing better than to recharge his batteries by sleeping in front of the big picture window with the southern exposure. He was a little lonely after Spacebunny’s dog was hit by a car on a visit back to Minnesota, but appeared to bitterly regret getting what he’d wished for when we came home one day with a very enthusiastic and energetic Ridgeback puppy.

He was always a favorite with everyone no matter where we went. People would stop us on the street to admire him and children adored him despite his aristocratic demeanor. Big Chilly and Spacebunny’s brother liked him so much that they, too, decided upon Vizlas for their next dogs, Freya and Kjetil. He learned to answer to Sha-sha since children couldn’t pronounce Mithra; that was about the only trick he ever mastered. He was a perfectly obedient dog, he simply wasn’t intelligent. And, to be honest, with looks like that, who needs brains? “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” those golden, somewhat vacant eyes seemed to say. At obedience school, he would run through his entire repertoire in a desperate attempt to demonstrate his complete willingness to do whatever you wanted if he could only figure out what it was.

It became clear that he was aging when the Ridgeback gradually began overtaking him when they were out running around the fields. She would stalk him like a lion stalking its prey, then pounce on him with gleeful abandon. After some initial disgruntlement on his part, they wound up getting on very well together, although as he became more and more fragile, we had to keep an eye on them to ensure that she didn’t accidentally hurt him in her playful enthusiasm. Mithra outlived both Freya and Kjetil, but his health declined and we finally had to move his kennel outside because he couldn’t make it through the night without needing to relieve himself. Throughout the last two winters, we expected to wake up one cold morning and find him gone, but he lingered on despite losing most of his hearing, most of his eyesight, and much of the use of his back legs. We were reluctant to put him down, though, because he was still the same, good-natured dog who happily slept away his days in the sunshine and greeted us at the door.

Unfortunately, he recently started losing weight no matter how much he ate and his hips deteriorated to the point that he can’t even lie down comfortably by himself. His time is upon us and we simply can’t deny it any longer. So, after posting this, I am taking him to the veterinarian to put him to sleep. I’m thankful that he has had such a happy and well-loved life, but it is very difficult to finally say goodbye to him all the same. This afternoon, we took him for one last little walk together, then gave him a treat and lots of pets and hugs before making a bed for him in the car. They say it will be quick and painless, and I trust that will be the case.

Goodbye, my little friend. I will always miss you. You were a good dog. You were a VERY good dog. May you rest in peace, and if there is a dog heaven, let it be filled with squirrels to chase, beaches on which to run, soft beds upon which to lie, and never-ending sunshine in which to sleep.

UPDATE: He died as he lived, in an effortlessly beautiful manner. He lay his head on my arm and the vet was surprised to see his eyes were closed and he was nearly asleep before she had the first tranquilizing shot prepared. It was hard and it was sad, but it wasn’t awful.

Mailvox: Eurosclerosis and collapse

Eilonwy asks about RGD:

I’m reading The Return of the Great Depression, which I bought at full-price at the Wall Street Borders. I’m only a quarter through it, since I have to call my securities-analyst brother once a day to make sure I understand the concepts. In short: it’s slow, but worthwhile, going for me.

One question I have for you, and maybe it’s answered later in RGD is: when? I get this sense from reading your blog and Mr. Denninger’s, that the center cannot hold much longer and that we are tottering on the brink of a Greek-style collapse. Then I read on Yahoo Finance that Social Security has moved permanently into the red and that the debt we will accrue paying SS benefits will hurt our AAA rating, moving us yet further into debt. As Ed Morrissey states, “the wheels have begun to fly off the entitlement bus.”

What I don’t quite understand is how the welfare states of Europe cruised along – functionally – for 60 years, with entitlement programs far more progressive than what we have here, before facing the crisis they find themselves in now. Whereas (at least when reading you and Mr. Denninger) it doesn’t seem our economy will be able to hold it together for five years, and we haven’t even socialized medicine yet!

I think my question is twofold: 1) are we really bordering collapse, or could we limp along a la Britain and France, with a soft-totalitarian welfare state, and remain semi-prosperous for a decade or three before all the bad decisions we’ve made and are making really come back and whallop us? and 2) if we are bordering collapse, why do we find ourselves here so quickly?

The main reason that Europe has been able to limp along with heavier social outlays is because the European nations have virtually no defense budget. Since 1962, U.S. defense spending plus defense-related interest on the debt has amounted to around $2,500 per year per capita. If you consider that full Social Security benefits at the average income amounts to around $12,576 per retiree, it’s not hard to see where Europe has been finding its additional social spending.

In answer to your first question, yes, we really are bordering upon collapse because our total debt level is over 500% of GDP when all of the unfunded, off-balance sheet debts are included, as they must be. This is completely unsustainable even if we ended all defense spending today. Which, of course, we’re not doing anyhow. In answer to your second question, this is a rather binary problem. You can get by one way or another right up to the moment that you can no longer do so. While some still think it’s possible to hyperinflate out of the problem – which is really just a means of buying stability a little time if you consider the eventual fate of most countries that hyperinflated – there is a very serious timing problem even if the peculiar U.S. debt-money system permits such rampant inflation.

Once the fleets of money helicopters are sent aloft, it’s game over for the global economy, for everyone with savings, and everyone holding debt. That’s assuming it even works; if it doesn’t work then it’s an instant game over for geopolitical stability. So, Washington and the Fed don’t dare to issue the order until the very last minute… which means that when the next default crisis hits, there is a very good chance that they will not react quickly enough and the financial system will collapse in a catastrophic manner beyond the ability of even hyperinflation to help it limp along.

Perhaps the financial wizards who created this situation can find a way out of it, but I do not see one nor have I read anything by anyone that offers what I consider to be an even remotely credible solution. And while it’s true that these events always take longer to develop than anyone ever thinks, when they finally come to pass they tend to unfold much faster than anyone expects.