by Dr. Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume
With respect to the article that appeared in the 1/29/2014 online edition of the San Antonio Express News entitled “Monarch numbers in Mexico hit record low”:
Any time I attempt to read such an article, I generally stop reading near the top, along about where it says, “scientists say” or “experts said.” (An “Ex” is a has-been and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure.)
My approach to blogging is to provide information to my readership. In that spirit, I sometimes post things that draw conclusions with which I disagree. This is especially true of environmental issues (GMOs, climate change, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, water issues, etc.).
But for a multitude of reasons, I avoid becoming embroiled in these kinds of debates.
First, and certainly not the least, is that I have found it to be a futile waste of time. No matter which side one argues, the other is thoroughly convinced that he/she is right and nothing can be said or done to change that. I have better things to do than play mental gymnastics with someone who is convinced he “knows” some sort of unknowable “truth.”
This brings me to the second reason. I do not believe that anyone knows the whole “truth” about any of these issues. There is just too much “noise” out there for anyone to be able to sort it all out.
These conclusions lie in my own personal experience: I have been dealing with “doomsday” predictions for a long time. And they have all turned out to be wrong. Furthermore, since the 1970s, “radical environmentalism” has been one of the most destructive forces in our society (next to radical feminism). And, I am sad to say, I was once a part of that problem.
I was a PhD candidate during the “back to the earth” movement of the 1970s. I had read Rachael Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Paul Ehrlich’s “Population, Resources and Environment.” The latter really impressed me because it was so well “documented” (meaning he included lots of citations).
I fell for it—hook, line and sinker. I “knew” for certain that the end of the world would come before the 1980 era ended. Obviously, I had allowed myself to be misled by Carson and Ehrlich.
Then in 1980, the economist Julian Simon challenged Ehrlich to a bet. They bet on the future prices of five metals as a test of whether the future would hold prosperity or doom. Ehrlich predicted that rising populations would cause overconsumption, resource scarcity, and famine—with apocalyptic consequences for humanity. Simon countered that human welfare would flourish thanks to flexible markets, technological change, and our collective ingenuity.
Ten years later, this basket of metals had actually become cheaper in real terms. Simon won.
Then, in 2001 I read Bjørn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. It too is impressively documented and concludes that most of the radical environmentalism afoot nowadays is malarkey.
So where did that leave me? Cautiously, in the Simon camp.
On the one hand: The belief that technology is the hallmark of modern humans and holds the key to the future has been held for thousands of years. The 20th Century saw a constant stream of developments that fostered this belief. But sometimes, the use of technology considers only the problem at hand without thought given to the larger implications. Also, many of the products we use daily affect the environment in ways never anticipated.
Furthermore, as you well know, I am fully aware of the Fascistic relationship between Big Business, Big Government and Big Indoctrination (err…Education).
On the other hand: Common sense tells me that we simply cannot abruptly revert to subsistence agriculture nor can we abandon our cities. Any such abrupt change in policy would create utter chaos—literally “blood in the streets.”
The future will demand wisdom.
About the only thing I feel comfortable saying that I know for sure is that the answer is not collectivism (which will lead to the greatest tragedy of the commons of all time) but the protection of private property rights and a return to truly free markets.
Quoting Burt Rutherford in BEEF Magazine: “…the global population hit 7 billion people a few years back and is projected to hit 9 billion by 2050, where…it will level out….During that same time frame, 3 billion more people will enter the middle class…the world will need 60% more animal protein—meat, milk and eggs. And we’ll need to increase our production more efficiently, using fewer resources.”
Following up on this, there are a couple more things that I feel safe in saying are true:
There is more than enough food to feed the world today. The problem is one of distribution which is, in turn, a political problem which means it is a “government” problem. Do away with propaganda created idea that “government” (defined as force and violence) is necessary and replace it with a private property-natural law based, free market society and the hunger problem would disappear as if by magic.
Finally, Low Input, Planned Grazing (what we do) IS technology that “increases production efficiency and uses fewer resources.” If we are right and the market is kept reasonably free, the world will eventually come to know it. All we need is to be free enough to get on with it.
Books by Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume
Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual by Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume.
This guide is a detailed book review of sorts, but perhaps it would be more accurately described as an abstract that condenses 864 pages of detail into 189 pages of concentrated information. No more excuses for failing to properly plan your grazing. The booklet is available from Amazon.com in both soft cover and Kendall versions. Click here.
A Handbook for Ranch Managers A Comprehensive Reference Manual for Managing the Working Ranch. Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.
Digital media products such as Kindle can only be purchased on Amazon.com. Click Here to buy the Kendall Version on Amazon.com
To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here
The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits. Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.
To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here