It’s complicated

Wilder does an in-depth examination of the Trouble with Texas, contending that it ain’t all about the windmills.

When we lived in Houston, I was shocked at the really poor design of the homes – sure they were fine for 95°F (2°C) and 95% humidity, but the house we lived in (and many I had seen when we were looking for a home to buy) had bare copper pipe running on the outside of the house.  The spigots outside were so poorly insulated that just walking by them with a decently cold beer would cause them to freeze and split.

And that’s just one problem.

As I’ve said before of John, it’s hard to excerpt his stuff. He deftly covers a lot of ground and is a damned good writer to boot, which makes it kinda tricky to limit yourself to mere snippets in a fashion that gets the point across. So go read the rest. Yes, there’s a bikini involved, should anybody require another reason.

Which isn’t to suggest that the Green Energy con isn’t playing a significant role in this (ahem!) Man-Caused Disaster, mind. Buck Throckmorton reminds us that things are tough all over.

Of course, once you get north of Texas, it’s even colder. Much of the central plains is dealing with temperatures below zero. They are rationing power too.

A snapshot of Midwest electricity production on February 17 shows that 55% is coming from coal while less than 3% is coming from “clean” wind and solar. The sun isn’t shining and the windmills aren’t turning. Yet our current ruling class is promising to take that coal down to 0% and replace it with wind and solar. Our country would be a frozen killing field if that plan were in place now.

Considering the Left’s professed predilection for massive population reduction in relief of poor overtaxed Gaia, plus their lunatic insistence on the installment of Communist tyranny worldwide, it’s easy to see that a frozen killing field IS the plan. There’s only one conclusion to be drawn.

We are ruled by a deluded class of fools who are no longer satisfied to use the climate hoax to limit our liberty and economic freedom. They are now freezing ordinary Americans to death. We need better leaders.

Better? Hell, I’d gladly settle for “not evil” at this point. Frighteningly enough, we haven’t even gotten to the REALLY bad news yet.

Texas’s Power Grid Disaster Is Only The Beginning
The mess with the Texas power grid is only the beginning. In the years to come, American infrastructure will fail more and more often, as America becomes less capable of maintaining the core elements of a First World country.

Why would America become less First World? That’s a simple question to answer: Because America is making itself less First World.

Texas’s struggles are only a standout example of a problem that has been building up for years. Last summer, California suffered rolling blackouts because electrical providers were unprepared for a surge in demand during a heat wave. But the problem is greater than that. America’s electrical reliability has been declining, almost everywhere, for decades. The United States of America now trails competing nations, often dramatically.

What causes this? One popular answer is simply aging infrastructure. America was one of the first countries to build a modern power grid, so infrastructure in many areas is very old and now fails with increasing frequency.

Of course, that naturally raises the question. If infrastructure is aging, why isn’t it being updated or replaced?

That is a political question, with many answers.

Follows, a look at a few of ’em, one of which manages to be a real jawdropper yet wholly unsurprising at the same time.

Another red flag for America’s infrastructure future is the Washington, D.C. Metro. The Metro has been known for years as one of the world’s worst, plagued with delays, safety issues, cost overruns, and poor maintenance.

How did the Metro get so horrid? In large part, because of wretched hiring. A 2012 report in The Washington Times revealed that Metro hiring was starkly racialized, with applicants clearly being hired or rejected based on skin color rather than demonstrated job aptitude:

Ninety-seven percent of the bus and train operators at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are black, with only six white women out of more than 3,000 drivers … It is a culture in which a white male engineer near completion of a Ph.D. was passed over for a management position in favor of a black man who was barely literate, multiple staffers said. … Dozens said white workers, especially women, were openly subject to racist and sexist remarks without repercussion — behavior that drove many targets to seek transfers or leave the agency. All said they have been inexplicably passed over hundreds of times for promotions to positions such as station manager while others with less seniority passed them by.

Why do Metro’s particular failures matter? Because its rotten ethos is spreading across the country. While Metro is an outlier case, where a major public agency became a racial racket, countless agencies are adopting “diversity” guidelines that encourage choosing employees and contractors based on skin color rather than competence alone. When ability and effectiveness ceases to be the sole consideration for jobs, effectiveness suffers. That may not matter much for writers at The New York Times, where the only victims of affirmative action (besides whose passed over for jobs) are the paper’s readers. But for the basic buildings blocks of civilized life, the consequences can be severe.

In Steyn’s famous formulation, decline is a choice. But choice might not be the whole story. Ultimately, it will be the Great Dumbing-Down that dooms us.

Recent studies have reported a worrisome decline in IQ scores in Western nations over the last decades, a reversal of the once-hopeful Flynn Effect (named after the late philosopher and psychologist James R. Flynn) which posited a growth in cognitive abilities for much of the 20th Century. Now the Flynn Effect seems to have reversed, leading to predictions of a general dumbing down of selective populations. Other studies report that IQ erosion is not confined to this century but that IQ has dropped by an average of 14.1 percent over the last century. As Evan Horowitz writes for NBC News, “A range of studies using a variety of well-established IQ tests and metrics have found declining scores across Scandinavia, Britain, Germany, France and Australia.”

One recalls MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, who referred to “the stupidity of the American voter” as helping him to pass the controversial law. One wonders if Gruber ever heard of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget’s test results purporting to show that “the rot starts at the top.” This would implicate Gruber and his cohort in the experience of what Piaget calls horizontal décalage, which stymies the application of cognitive functions and logical operations to extended tasks. In other words, Gruber et al. are also stupid, gradually destroying the very society that enabled them to flourish. But the rot can also start at the bottom, as a combination of generalized mental vacancy and low-to-no-information voters furthers cultural and social degeneration. As Morris Berman remarks in The Twilight of American Culture, “A society cannot function if nearly everyone in it is stupid.”

And, well, here we all are.

Why should we be surprised that an American president should pronounce “corpsman” as “corpseman”? Or that a Canadian prime minister says “peoplekind” in lieu of “mankind”? Or that a Washington, D.C., mayor and his staff should have objected to a perfectly good word like “niggardly”? Or that a Methodist pastor and Congressman should follow the exclamation “Amen” with “a-woman,” when an ordained minister should surely know that “Amen” is an acronym for the Hebrew אֵל מֶלֶךְ נֶאֱמָן (El melech neeman: “Lord and faithful King”)—or, as some scholars think, a calque for the Aramaic “so be it”? One can multiply these gaffes, misnomers, and malapropisms indefinitely among those who should know better—and that is merely scratching the surface. The dumbing down phenomenon is virtually encyclopedic in heft and extent.

And so it goes. A London community activist, asked about removing a Churchill statue during the summer of BLM love, admits she hasn’t “personally met” Winston Churchill. A swarm of Twitter users condemns Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady as “racist” for defeating half-black Kansas City Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes on Super Bowl LV during Black History Month—the fact that the great majority of Brady’s teammates are black and are clearly Brady enthusiasts seems to have escaped their attention. Major economic and energy policies seem planned not by cerebral giants but by weed-addled pubescents. Bill Gates, for example, wants to pepper the sky with aerosols to reflect sunlight out of the atmosphere and initiate global cooling—the risks are incommensurable and likely irreversible. Gates has what we might call “sector-intelligence” and might do well on segments of the Stanford-Binet IQ test, but I wouldn’t bet on his g score. The travesty of intelligence, prudence, and wisdom is beyond calculation, and it is only getting worse as IQ continues to slip down the great chain of thinking. This is the world that the classic film Idiocracy extravagantly punctures.

Why this should be is anybody’s guess. No one really knows. Various theories have been proposed to account for accelerating neural descent, ranging from the Dewey-inspired “progressive education” agenda working its leveling passage from the turn of the 20th century to the decrepit public schools and failed universities of the present day; to the softening effect of prolonged affluence and ease on a culture; to the debilitating influence of “smart” technology that performs our cognitive functions for us; to the assumption that women of higher intelligence are having fewer children, implying that women of lower intelligence are driving population growth; to the effects of increased media exposure and the consequent lessening of reading; to the emergence of the vices of envy and resentment owing to radical egalitarianism and the rancor of the under-performing against the skilled, hard-working, and successful, a dynamic cogently analyzed by Dinesh D’Souza in Stealing America; or to the merely inescapable fact of decay: as Robert Frost wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.” One thinks, too, of poet Gerard Manley Hopkins’ remark in his Journal: “From much, much more; from little, not much; and from nothing, nothing.” Whatever the cause or causes may be, intellectual deterioration seems to be the case.

The decline of intelligence—moral rectitude and creative exuberance are collateral casualties—is now in full throttle. The exceptions to the debacle—monks, nomads, people of integrity, people capable of common sense, the classically educated—represent the only viable hope for a new “ideational” age to arise out of the rubble of a “sensate” disaster. It may take another century to bring about what Sorokin called “the turn,” the slow ascent up the IQ ladder, which is cold comfort indeed. But I suspect it’s the only real comfort we have.

Cold being the operative word in all this.

Update! On the other hand, when you do the math you realize it kind of IS the unreliable renewables that are the biggest problem.

One decade ago, almost to the day, Feb. 2, 2011, extreme put a strain on the electric grid. The electric grid was unable to meet demand, and many experienced rolling blackouts for “up to an hour.” Yes, fossil fuel plants also struggled in the cold, but this isn’t about spin or protecting industry or pushing an agenda, it’s about facts.

Fast forward one decade and two weeks, and Texas again faced with extreme cold and a straining electric grid, but it’s not the same electricity mix. Texas for the past ten years had made concerted efforts to go green.

In 2011 about 6 percent of the electricity mix was generated from wind power. Today it’s 25 percent. Simultaneously, Texas has increased its overall electricity consumption by 20 percent as the state is attracting people from everywhere and the population is booming. Furthermore, three coal plants were taken offline. Indeed, the same type of storm of 2011 did not play out in the same circumstances in 2021. Did fossil fuels struggle? Absolutely, but their percentage of the grid dropped significantly.

Energy isn’t sexy. It’s math, physics, and numbers. But it’s also life. We’re told to stop the “existential threat” of climate change we must “go green,” and switch to green energy. I do this for a living and I’ve never seen one confirmed death from “climate change,” but today I can show you several Texan deaths clearly attributable to the cold, and no NBC news spin or AOC twitter stupidity will comfort their families. They are dead from a combination of factors: billionaires don’t like coal, politicians invent mandates, and utility commissioners rest on their reports as well as a severe winter storm.

Fossil fuels aren’t perfect, but renewables aren’t either. They have severe shortcomings, and the results can sometimes be deadly. We can learn what happened in Texas if we have a serious and necessary conversation about renewable energy. But will we?

After much careful, sober deliberation I decided to consult the online Magic 8 Ball for an answer to this momentous question, which responded with Outlook not so good. Going by the evidence to date, I’d say that thing’s predictive abilities are uncanny.

7 thoughts on “It’s complicated

  1. We’re really gonna miss Western Civilization when it’s gone.

    And, unreconstructed barbarian or no, you’ll take my indoor plumbing when you step over all of the other bodies surrounding me and pry my cold, dead fingers off of my plunger. I’ve used a two holer in winter and pumped water from a well. No thanks.

  2. Given recent events, I have been reading an awful lot of ‘why don’t Texans build their houses like we do in Minnesota?’ screeds. Gee, maybe because Texas is NOT Minnesota? Houston homes are built for 100 F heat and 95% humidity because that happens for months every single year. Many winters pass without a single day below freezing, much less the temps we saw this past week.

    At least that used to be true. The folks talking about grand solar minimums certainly seem to be on to something. Add the continuing push for “green” energy scams and general stupidity by the political class and I expect things to get worse and worse.

    We will have to see if this mess is big enough to actually cause some changes. I doubt it. The ‘green == good’ narrative is too precious to our overlords for a little thing like some dead citizens to budge them.

    1. Generally speaking you don’t build for the the one in 100 years. You insure for that though.
      From my reading it seems there are many people who are fundamentally challenged regarding what to do for cold weather. If you have no optional heating source or fuel, then the pipes are going to freeze. Turn the water on and let it run at a trickle from every faucet. I would have thought this was fundamental. Of course, if you lose water as well then you’re just screwed.
      Too late for most people, but you should invest in a few basic items – like a camp stove to cook on and a heating source that runs on an alternate fuel. Kerosene heaters work reasonably well. A wood stove in your fireplace if you have one. And of course having a short term food supply is essential.

      1. A lot of people were unprepared, but some things are beyond what a single person/family can do much about. I lost water because a major pipe feeding my entire building froze and burst. Trickling my faucets prevented pipe problems for me, but not the bigger problem.

        Being prepared for losing power and water is something more people should have done. I am far enough from the gulf coast that hurricanes are not likely to impact me too much here, but I grew up in Houston where they are a regular threat. Always have enough water for at least a few days. Have a means to cook food, or food that you can eat without cooking. Have sources of light. Have something you can use to keep warm.

        I lost power for extended periods (although not for days as many did), and water for a couple days. But I was prepared, so I spent the time warm and comfortable with plenty of food and water. It was an inconvenience, not a disaster. I was more fortunate than a lot of people, true, but some basic preparation makes a huge difference. You do not have to be a hard core prepper to get through a few days to a week of disruption. Anything longer than that, and you probably have more serious problems anyway.

        1. Glad to hear you fared reasonably well. I’m actually stunned that so many let what should be an inconvenience turn into a disaster. Days at 0 degree’s is going to be a challenge, but we should all have enough food to feed our family for at least a week.

          Oh, one more small tip for those reading, if your pipes do freeze, turn the water off so that when they thaw you don’t add water damage to the list. You can turn it on and find the leaks that must be repaired but not cause massive damage. When I leave the beach I always turn the water off, just in case.

          Edit: and turn off your hot water heater if electric just so a possibly empty tank will not burn up your elements

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