What Happened To Our Confidence In Human Innovation?

Much of the discussion around climate change presupposes that humanity will all of a sudden stop advancing, and that accepting a lower standard of living and rigid centralization is our only option. This is a big mistake.

Has technological advancement stopped?

Have humans forgotten how to innovate?

Obviously, the answer to those questions is “no.”

But you wouldn’t know that by listening to the doom-and-gloom rhetoric of the establishment media, along with many politicians and ‘climate activists.’

The language used to talk about climate change and the future seems designed to elicit feelings of fear and hopelessness, which is the exact opposite of what you want if you are trying to solve a problem.

Of course, those at the top want people to feel powerless and hopeless.

The thinking is similar to how politicians have spoken and acted throughout the past year-and-a-half.

The absence of any discussion of the risks of obesity, and thus the importance of exercise and personal fitness, has been jarring.

Politicians and public officials seem to want everyone to search for external, state-run, state-controlled solutions, rather than being empowered with the knowledge and freedom to improve their own situations.

And so it is with discussions of climate change.

Rather than having confidence in the strength of human innovation, and rather than looking at the positive things that are happening (the increasing efficiency and strong environmental record of the Canadian energy sector for example), all we get is a doom-and-gloom narrative where the only thing that can ‘save us’ is a bunch of politicians flying to conferences and promising to restrict their economies.

This is a really essential thing to notice.

There is very little discussion of technological advancement, or of the fact that emissions in many countries have already peaked, stabilized, and then declined – before the imposition of carbon taxes or restrictions on the energy sector.

For example, even the government of Canada admits the following:

“Emissions in 2019 were lower than 2005 emissions, with a decrease of 8.5 Mt CO2 eq or 1.1%. Emissions from public electricity and heat production by utilities showed a large decrease in emissions, 56 Mt CO2 eq. or 45%, and was a contributor to the emissions reduction.”

Trudeau supporters may claim this is because of the carbon tax. Unfortunately for them, emissions in 2015 – the final year of the Harper government – were also lower than emissions in 2005:

Greenhouse gas emissions, Canada, 1990 to 2016 (see long description below)

Emissions in the United States are also down, and went down during the Trump Administration even as the US economy grew and oil & gas production increased.

Why is this?

Well, a key reason is that human beings tend to get better at doing something the more we do it.

Consider farming.

Compared to 100 years ago, a tiny fraction of our population is engaged in farming, yet overall production is far higher.

Energy production continues to get more and more efficient, whether non-renewable or renewable.

While politicians like to take credit for this, credit really goes to the private sector, entrepreneurs, and human innovation itself.

But, talking about human innovation and the benefits of the private sector wouldn’t give politicians the power they want. If people feel hopeful, and have trust in the fact that individual freedom and free enterprise are the best ways to adapt and solve problems, then the populace would be less willing to support big-government policies, and less willing to give up economic freedoms.

Après moi, le déluge

“After me, the flood.”

This seems to be how many of our statist politicians think of themselves.

They have such a low opinion of everyone else around them that they assume a country – or world – will collapse without their ‘wise stewardship.’

It’s a heavily ego-based way of thinking, where those in power see the country as a mere extension of themselves, rather than as a nation of many millions of people each of who have individual agency, responsibility, and potential.

As a result, politicians fear the idea that ‘doing nothing’ can often be a solution to a problem.

In reality, ‘doing nothing’ simply means that there is no centralized solution, while at an individual level, people are always ‘doing something,’ and businesses of all kinds are always being created, collapsing, failing, succeeding, stagnating, and innovating.

That process of continual innovation, advancement, and change is too complex for any one person or institution to understand, let alone control, but the ego-based attitude of many statist politicians leaves them unable, or unwilling to see that.

Disturbingly, a large segment of the public has developed a similar mindset. We see it in criticism of innovators like Elon Musk, with people saying he should ‘focus on Earth’ instead of space. Yet, if we had adopted that kind of attitude, we never would have advanced and would still be an impoverished & primitive species.

By denigrating whatever comes from entrepreneurs and innovators, many only seem to trust ‘solutions’ that come from the state – the least creative and least innovate institution in our society.

What ends up happening is that we have one ‘solution’ after another, each of which causes a new issue.

Consider things in Canada right now.

The government runs massive deficits, while imposing higher taxes.

The Bank of Canada prints tons of money to cover those deficits.

The cost-of-living goes up dramatically.

Governments propose expanded spending to ‘help people.’

That spending generates further deficits, thus more money printing, and on and on.

A ‘solution’ creates a new problem.

We see this happening not only in Canada, but also in Europe, where they face a serious energy crisis.

To ‘save the planet,’ politicians in Europe have heavily regulated, taxed, and restricted energy production, seeking to ‘transition’ long before there was any realistic path to do so.

Now, much of Europe is desperately trying to procure coal supplies, and the continent is largely dependent on energy from Russia, giving Russia immense geopolitical influence and reducing large swathes of Europe to the status of a beggar.

Back here in Canada, we are watching energy costs surge and further raise the cost-of-living, while provinces like Quebec simultaneously fret about not being able to get oil from Michigan through Line 5, while opposing pipelines that could bring in energy from Alberta.

In both cases, had politicians ditched the virtue-signalling, set aside their egos, and instead trusted in our capacity for innovation, we would have a far lower-cost-of-living and ironclad energy security, two things that are essential for a nation to truly succeed and prosper.

It’s time to ditch the doom-and-gloom fearmongering and remember that for all of our flaws, humanity is an amazingly innovate species, and we have every right to believe that our best days are ahead of us, so long as meddling statist politicians get out of the way.

Spencer Fernando

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

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