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About Constancio Asumen, Jr.

Mr. Asumen has most recently assumed the responsibilities of Chairman-of-the-Board for ACE LILACS, a budding startup venture in the marketplace of ideas. The list of previous vocations he had engaged in before this, includes being a farmer, fisherman, stevedore, national scholar, college professor, journeyman laborer, freelance scribe, typesetter, proofreader, systems analyst, software developer, cab driver, etc. He holds a masters degree in Mineral Science & Technology (1973, Kyoto University) with a major in Exploration Geophysics. Somewhat of the quintessential Ivy League under-achiever, he is an embodiment of the can-do attitude so prevalent amongst most first generation Americans. He is an ardent adherent to the tenet that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Mr. Asumen maintains a website here.

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Past Articles
Green Technology: A Poverty of Philosophy
Global Warming: The Religion that Failed
Consensus Does Not a Science Make
Historical Parallels & Intersections
The Repugnant Obama Paradigm
The Myth of Moderate Islam
ObamaCare: How Lucky Can You Get?
Assimilation Overkill Begets Bigotry

Constancio Asumen, Jr.
Green Technology: A Poverty of Philosophy
January 20, 2010

The invention of agriculture, roughly reckoned to have occurred some 10,000 years ago, represented the first historically significant qualitative breakthrough in human society’s relationship with nature in general and its immediate environment in particular. The significance lies fundamentally and specifically in the transformation of its primary means of sustenance from a hunter-gatherer mode to the producer mode of provisioning. It transformed from simply picking and consuming what was available in nature to producing whatever was needed to consume.

 

It is the hallmark of humankind that at various critical stages, it was able to synthesize and systematize its interaction with nature such that it increasingly augmented its realm of ‘natural resources’ in order to improve its chances of enhancing its existential well being, and therefore promote the prolongation if not the perpetuation of the human species. The invention of mining and metallurgy, famously attributed to Georg Bauer (1494-1555), better known by the Latin version of his name Georgius Agricola, represented such a critical stage as it solidified the transition from the Stone Age to the Age of Metals which afforded society superior tools than theretofore known.

 

Augmenting the realm of natural resources was the operative paradigm. Crucial to the success of this project was the recognition of extant forces in nature such as wind and water currents and harnessing them to societal advantage. Thus from the sailboat to the windmills and the watermills, man had deployed his inventive inklings to enhance his power over nature. Even more critical to the advancement of this project is the discovery of latent forces in nature and galvanizing them for societal use.

 

Exemplary of this achievement was William Gilbert’s discovery of electricity and magnetism in the Elizabethan Age, circa 1600. In combination with the invention of first the Steam Engine, and then the internal combustion engine, electro-mechanical technology ushered in the industrial revolution which seemingly made the human mind’s dominance over the vagaries of nature complete.

 

Moreover, further discoveries into the structure of matter revealed that the mind’s conquest of nature appeared limitless into both the microscopic and the telescopic dimensions. Ever larger and more powerful particle accelerators were commissioned to solidify our mastery of the subatomic architecture of matter, an understanding which had ushered in the nuclear age. Deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope and jet propulsion technology brought in the exploration and attempted colonization of outer space, even beyond our own galaxy, with budgetary projections purportedly cheaper than democratizing one Middle Eastern country.

 

From early primitive agriculture to extra-terrestrial colonization the overriding compelling narrative is that of progressive dominance and leverage by the human mind over the forces and processes of nature. That is exactly one of the most important attributes that defines human beings as human and distinct from and superior to any other creature on earth.

 

From gathering resources to harnessing extant forces, to galvanizing latent energy, to creating new processes, there is a definitive progression of increasing dominance and leverage. The deal is, we dominate or we are vanquished. There is simply no in-between, where everybody is happy and no one is offended or hurt, polar bears and lung darters, included. With apologies to Alexis de Tocqueville, this is precisely the essence of American Exceptionalism as I understand, embrace, and celebrate it.

 

Obviously, the late Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus, whose 1798 Easy on Population, on Charles Darwin’s own admission, purportedly inspired the formulation of the latter’s hypotheses on Natural Selection and Theory of Evolution, would disagree and disapprove of my viewpoint. But in the people-versus-environment controversy, I am most definitely on the side of population. I like people more than I like most of the others of God’s creations. I share Mark Steyn’s concerns that we are in an ominous trajectory to lose the demographic wars (emphasis mine):

 

". . . Birthrates are declining all over the world--eventually every couple on the planet may decide to opt for the Western yuppie model of one designer baby at the age of 39. But demographics is a game of last man standing. The groups that succumb to demographic apathy last will have a huge advantage. . . . Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30% of the world's population to just over 20%, the Muslim nations increased from about 15% to 20%. ”

 

Even more ominous is that "The Limits to Growth” crowd in both the Club of Rome and the Sierra Club—proudly self-proclaimed to be "America's oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization”-- have infested our academic institutions and influenced the mindset of more than a generation of would-be policy makers. This is the same crowd that brought us the church of environmentalism and the recent circus of watermelon Marxists  (green in the outside, red in the inside) in Copenhagen.

 

From the Van Jones abortive appointment as "Green Jobs” czar to Anita Dunn’s rants on the moral merits of Mao Tse Tung as a political philosopher, there is ample evidence that Obama himself represents a typical specimen of this mindset. His Columbia/Harvard pedigree is consistent with the characteristically Alinskian Rezko/Ayers/Wright associations in Chicago. His attempts to railroad through Congress the legislation of ObamaCare, under cover of closed-door negotiations is Obama’s version of the "full court press” in basketball which happens to be one of his favorite sports.

 

When he warned during the campaign that his administration’s energy policy could be "bankrupting coal-fired power plants . . . because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted,” we ought to have taken him seriously. This is eerily consistent with the promise of "jointly mobilizing 100 billion dollar/year fund transfer” made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Copenhagen. Schooled for the better part of twenty years in the Rev. Wright’s Trinity Church on black Liberation Theology, the idea of an American superpower is an anathema to Obama’s mentality.

 

The Bankruptcy of Green Technology

"The term "Green Technology" has been adopted over the last 5 years to identify a group of industries and industrial applications which exploit the commercial value of technologies that benefit the environment; particularly as it impacts the human condition. . . .”

 

Without a doubt, as broad a description as this, is bound to encompass a plethora of industrial endeavors with a wealth of challenges and opportunities for creative achievement in one form or another. As a field of industry it should promise to be a profit-making proposition. But as a vehicle for national policy, it is inherently intellectually bankrupt. It behooves to note the primacy of the environment over the ‘human condition’ in this nutshell of a definition. It has all the primitive trappings of lifeboat economics with the noxious and regressive ideology of scarcity.

 

Granted that the technology would be so successful that we are able to synthesize chlorophyll and clothe every man, women and child with it to enable them to photosynthetically capture solar energy and transform it into some beneficial form, the fact still remains: it shall have only accomplished the successful, if financially lucrative, harvest of existing energy. Whereas if the focus of the nation’s creative mentation is directed at the replication of the processes that produce the energy of the sun, i.e., controlled thermonuclear fusion, then we shall have achieved a proactive and progressive energy policy, worthy of a great nation.

 

The Obama administration’s focus on green technology as the principal component of his policy geared to attain energy independence is yet another flank in the systematic assault on capitalism in America with a view of downsizing it to fit the template of European socialism. Or in George F. Will’s compelling formulation (emphasis mine),

 

" . . . Tens of billions of dollars are being dispensed, as by the U.S. Energy Department, which has suddenly become, in effect, a huge venture capital operation, speculating in green technologies. . . . propelling the gigantic and fabulously lucrative industry of combating global warming. . . .

 

"Copenhagen is the culmination of the post-Kyoto maneuvering by people determined to fix the world's climate by breaking the world's — especially America's — population to the saddle of ever-more-minute supervision by governments. . . .”

 

It would be a huge mistake to attribute this policy making to mere bungling incompetence, as Victor Davis Hanson seems to imply by dubbing it "An Energy Humpty-Dumpty View of the World.” It is far more egregious than just "methologizing” that in a "fantasyland of a con artist like Van Jones, millions of windmills and solar panels will free us from energy costs and cool the planet.” It is more accurate to see it as a well-calculated effort to undermine one of the most basic ideals on which this country was founded: mastery of nature with the blessings of Divine Providence.

 

While Islamic jihadists endeavor to take us back into the seventh century with shariah law, Obama and his cohorts want to take us back to the windmills and dragons of Cervantes’ Don Quixote and the blissful world of Sancho Panza and Dulcinea del Toboso. Even if you are extraordinarily wealthy that the exorbitant taxes engendered by the sinister carbon footprint "cap and trade” would not send you to the poor house, the intellectual bankruptcy implied in this attempt to take us back to the hunting and gathering mode of provisioning ought to outrage every American worthy of the sacrifice and noble visions of our Founding Fathers.

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