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by Walter E. Williams

        The Competitive Enterprise Institute has published a new paper, "Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions." Keep in mind that many of the grossly wrong environmentalist predictions were made by respected scientists and government officials. My question for you is: If you were around at the time, how many government restrictions and taxes would you have urged to avoid the predicted calamity?

        As reported in The New York Times (Aug. 1969) Stanford University biologist Dr. Paul Erhlich warned: "The trouble with almost all environmental problems is that by the time we have enough evidence to convince people, you're dead. We must realize that unless we're extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years."

        In 2000, Dr. David Viner, a senior research scientist at University of East Anglia's climate research unit, predicted that in a few years winter snowfall would become "a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren't going to know what snow is." In 2004, the U.S. Pentagon warned President George W. Bush that major European cities would be beneath rising seas. Britain will be plunged into a Siberian climate by 2020. In 2008, Al Gore predicted that the polar ice cap would be gone in a mere 10 years. A U.S. Department of Energy study led by the U.S. Navy predicted the Arctic Ocean would experience an ice-free summer by 2016.

        In May 2014, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared during a joint appearance with Secretary of State John Kerry that "we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos."

        Peter Gunter, professor at North Texas State University, predicted in the spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness: "Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions. ... By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine."

        Ecologist Kenneth Watt's 1970 prediction was, "If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000." He added, "This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age."

        Mark J. Perry, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan's Flint campus, cites 18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day in 1970. This time it's not about weather. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated that humanity would run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold and silver would be gone before 1990. Kenneth Watt said, "By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate ... that there won't be any more crude oil."

        There were grossly wild predictions well before the first Earth Day, too. In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior predicted that American oil supplies would last for only another 13 years. In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous energy claims, in 1974, the U.S. Geological Survey said that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated that as of Jan. 1, 2017, there were about 2,459 trillion cubic feet of dry natural gas in the United States. That's enough to last us for nearly a century. The United States is the largest producer of natural gas worldwide.

        Today's wild predictions about climate doom are likely to be just as true as yesteryear's. The major difference is today's Americans are far more gullible and more likely to spend trillions fighting global warming. And the only result is that we'll be much poorer and less free.

        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

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        Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is controversial within her party.

        She says the U.S. should talk to its enemies. She was criticized for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

        But Democrats were supposed to be the anti-war party, I say to her in my newest video.

        "They're heavily influenced by a foreign policy establishment ... whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo," Gabbard tells me. "So much so, to the point where when I'm calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they're saying, 'Well, gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist?' As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them."

        Gabbard is a veteran, and now says, "Honor our servicemen and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice."

        She enlisted because of the 9/11 attacks. However, there, too, she thought a limited response was necessary but now says that our government has "used that attack on 9/11 to begin to wage a whole series of counterproductive regime-change wars, overthrowing authoritarian dictators in other countries, wars that have proven to be very costly to our servicemembers."

        She blames both parties. "I call out leaders in my own party and leaders in the Republican Party (and all) who are heavily influenced by the military-industrial complex that profits heavily off of us continuing to wage these counterproductive wars."

        She also wants to end our big domestic war, the war on drugs. She'd start by legalizing marijuana.

        "I've never smoked marijuana," she says. "I never will. I've never drunk alcohol. I've chosen not to in my life, but this is about free choice. And if somebody wants to do that, our country should not be making a criminal out of them."

        Even if they use stronger drugs? Heroin? Meth?

        "That's the direction that we need to take," she says.

        Although Gabbard just barely polls well enough to make the Democratic debates, she made a big impact at one debate by basically knocking Sen. Kamala Harris out of the race.

        Gabbard simply pointed out Harris' hypocrisy in suddenly becoming a criminal justice reformer.

        Gabbard said, "She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana."

        That debate clash crushed Harris in betting predictions about who the Democratic nominee would be. Harris' numbers started dropping from that moment, and she quickly fell from first place to, as I write this, seventh.

        Good for Gabbard for bringing up the drug war -- and for running an ad that at least mentions America's huge federal debt.

        But like most Democrats, Gabbard would spend billions on expensive new programs, funding it with military cuts.

        But Bernie Sanders admits that "Medicare for All" alone would cost $3 trillion. The budget for the entire military, by comparison, is $700 billion per year.

        "The money that we are going to save by ending these wasteful wars -- you're right, it won't cover every other thing that we need to accomplish," Gabbard admits.

        At least she's willing to debate with me. No one else polling over 1% has been willing so far.

        "Our leaders are increasingly unwilling to sit down with those who may be 'on the other team,'" she explains. "Look, I love my country. You love our country. Let's come together as Americans with appreciation for our constitution, our freedoms, civil liberties and rights, and have this civil discourse and dialogue about how we can move forward together."

        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

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by Walter E. Williams

        During my student days at a UCLA economics department faculty/graduate student coffee hour in the 1960s, I was chatting with Professor Armen Alchian, probably the greatest microeconomic theory economist of the 20th century. I was trying to impress Alchian with my knowledge of statistical type I and type II errors. I explained that unlike my wife, who assumed that everyone was her friend until they prove differently, my assumption was everyone was an enemy until they proved otherwise. The result: My wife's vision maximized the number of her friends but maximized her chances of betrayal. My vision minimized my chances of betrayal at a cost of minimizing the number of my friends.
        Alchian, donning a mischievous smile asked, "Williams, have you considered a third alternative, namely, that people don't give a damn about you one way or another?" Initially, I felt a bit insulted, and our conversation didn't go much further, but that was typical of Alchian -- saying something profound, perhaps controversial, without much comment and letting you think it out.
        Years later, I gave Alchian's third alternative considerable thought and concluded that he was right. The most reliable assumption, in terms of the conduct of one's life, is to assume that people don't care about you one way or another. It's an error to generalize that people are friends or enemies, or that people are out to either help you or hurt you. To put it more crudely, as Alchian did, people don't give a damn about you one way or another.
        Let's apply this argument to issues of race. Listening to some people, one might think that white people are engaged in an ongoing secret conspiracy to undermine the achievement and well-being of black people. Their evidence is low black academic achievement and high rates of black poverty, unemployment and incarceration. For some, racism is the root cause of most black problems including the unprecedentedly high black illegitimacy rate and family breakdown.
        Are white people obsessed with and engaged in a conspiracy against black people? Here's an experiment. Walk up to the average white person and ask, "How many minutes today have you been thinking about black people?" If the person isn't a Klansman or a gushing do-gooder liberal, his answer would probably be zero minutes. If you asked him whether he's a part of a conspiracy to undermine the achievement and well-being of black people, he'd probably look at you as if you were crazy. By the same token, if a person asked me: "Williams, how many minutes today have you been thinking about white people?" My answer would probably be, "Not even a nanosecond." Because people don't care about you one way or another doesn't mean they wish you good will, ill will or no will. They just don't give a damn.
        What are the implications of the people-don't-care vision of how the world works? A major implication is that one's destiny, for the most part, is in one's hands. How you make it in this world depends more on what you do as opposed to whether people like or dislike you. Black politicians, civil rights leaders and white liberals have peddled victimhood to black people, teaching them that racism is pervasive and no amount of individual effort can overcome racist barriers. Peddling victimhood is not new. Booker T. Washington said: "There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs." In an 1865 speech to the Anti-Slavery Society in Boston, abolitionist Frederick Douglass said that people ask: "'What shall we do with the Negro?' I have had but one answer from the beginning. D!
 o nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us!" Or as Patrick Moynihan urged a century later in a 1970 memo to President Richard Nixon, "The time may have come when the issue of race could benefit from a period of 'benign neglect.'"
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com .
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by John Stossel

        I now make my living by releasing short videos on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
        I assumed you who subscribed to my feed or became Facebook "friends" would receive that video every Tuesday.
        Wrong! Turns out social media companies send our posts to only some of our friends. (That's why I ask for your email address. Then they can't cut us off.)
        Why might they cut us off?
        One reason is that we'd drown in a fire hose of information if they showed us everything. The companies' algorithms cleverly just send us what the computer determines we'll like.
        Another reason may be that the companies are biased against conservative ideas.
        They deny that. But look at their actions. Social media companies say they forbid posts that "promote violence," including ones that encourage violence offline.
        But antifa groups that promote violence still have accounts. The Twitter account of the group in Portland, Oregon, that recently beat up journalist Andy Ngo. leaving him with brain damage, is still up.
        "In Austin, they were calling for a paramilitary operation!" says Glenn Beck. That antifa group's Facebook account is also still up, even though it links to a manifesto calling for opponents to be "beaten bloody."
         In my newest video, Beck, who runs a big media operation called The Blaze, says social media companies push a leftist agenda.
        "They manipulate algorithms to reshape our world."
        Beck himself hasn't been banned, but he says Facebook limits his reach, putting him in a "digital ghetto."
        "They're shaping you," he warns.
        Is it true?
        Although I'm not a conservative, sometimes I do notice odd things happening with my posts.
        On average, my videos get more than a million views. But when I did a one that criticized Facebook, that video got half as many views.
        Because Facebook didn't show it to many people?
        I can't know. Facebook won't say.
        Today, social media companies are pressured to cut off anyone spreading hate. In response, YouTube and Facebook say they now even demote content that almost violates policies.
        But those antifa accounts are still up.
        By contrast, Beck says, conservative accounts are censored merely for making fun of Democrats.
         "Remember the person who slowed down (a video of House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi?" he asked.
        The video made Pelosi sound drunk. It went viral, but once Facebook got complaints, the company announced it "dramatically reduced its distribution."
        When Facebook did that, notes Beck, "The person in charge happened to be one of the leaders in Nancy Pelosi's office who had just left to go to work for Facebook."
        I told Beck that Facebook hires some Republicans. "They do," he replied, "but only about 20%, and not in top level positions."
        The site Spinquark did the research Beck cites, finding dozens of Democratic campaign workers who now work for social media companies.
        Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once invited Beck and some others to come to his offices to talk about bias.
        "I sat with him and he said, 'Why would we do that?' And I said, 'I want to believe you, but your actions don't match.'"
        Beck was also unhappy with conservatives at that meeting. "Some said, 'Mark, solve this by having affirmative action. ... For every liberal you hire, hire a conservative.'"
        "I don't want that!" Beck said. "We don't need more regulation!"
        We don't.
        But it's human nature, when people see a problem, to demand government do something.
        Beck himself fell prey to that when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed she saw border guards telling migrants to drink water from toilets. On his radio show, Beck said government should "prosecute anyone making outrageous charges like this!"
        I gave him a hard time about that. "You want prosecution of members of Congress who say nonsense?!"
        Beck laughed and quickly walked his statement back. "John, I speak five hours off script every day. ... There's a lot that I vomit out."
        The solution?
        "No censorship," says Beck.
        "Publish everything?" I asked.
        "Yes!" answered Beck. "We can handle it. Stop treating us like children."
        I agree. On at least some platforms, all speech should be free. The more that is blocked, the less we learn.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

    When political arguments aren't getting you anywhere, what can you do?
    Start your own country!
    Unfortunately, most of the world's land is controlled by rapacious governments unwilling to let others experiment.
    But fortunately, that still leaves oceans.
    If people move 12 miles offshore (or 24 miles in the case of the U.S.), they can, in theory, live free from existing governments' suffocating rules. People then could try new things -- find better forms of government.
    The idea is called seasteading. My latest video shows what offshore countries might look like.
    The idea already makes some governments nervous.
    This year, Chad Elwartowski and Nadia Summergirl set up a small seastead 13 miles off the coast of Thailand.
    "We're looking forward to freedom-loving people to come join us out in the open ocean," says Chad.
    Unfortunately, the Thai government wasn't happy about it. More on what happened to Chad and Nadia's seastead, below.
    "We need a new place to experiment with new rules appropriate for modern technologies," says Joe Quirk, who runs the Seasteading Institute. "As long as people create seasteads voluntarily and people can quit them voluntarily, you'll have a market of competing governance providers."
    The seasteading approach avoids people trying to agree on a single set of laws.
    "Seasteaders don't have a problem with regulations per se," says Quirk. "Humans need rules to interact. We have a problem with the monopoly over the provision and enforcement of regulations. We don't need politicians. They're not smart enough to make decisions for us."
    I pushed back when I interviewed him, saying some people might use lawless seasteads to do things like abuse heroin -- or kids.
    "We have that in our country right now," said Quirk. "But if I move 12 miles offshore, I'm going to be so incentivized to set a better example because the world's eyes are on me. I've got to convince investors to invest ... convince people to move there ... (I)n such an environment, it's going to be much more difficult to create evil islands of heroin-shooting than to create positive innovations that improve people's lives."
    Quirk argues that the world already likes a form of seastead: cruise ships.
    "Most cruise ships fly the flag of, say, Panama or Liberia, and they're de facto self-governing. Liberia has no capacity to enforce rules on the 3,000 ships that fly its flag. So a captain is a de facto dictator. Why doesn't he become a tyrant? Because people can choose another cruise line."
    The Seasteading Institute tries to create competing governance experiments by approaching politicians from land-based governments.
    Quirk tells them: "We'll bring our own land; we'll float just offshore. If it succeeds, we share the prosperity. If it fails, we absorb the cost."
    There are historical parallels. Minds were opened in mainland China when the tiny island of Hong Kong showed that having fewer regulations could bring prosperity.
    "China very rapidly, because of the example set by Hong Kong, started creating these special economic zones," says Quirk.
    Special economic zones are similar to seasteads because they have fewer rules.
    "At least a half-billion Chinese people have exited extreme poverty by moving to these new jurisdictions," recounts Quirk.
    Unfortunately, the Chinese government did not expand such experiments to the whole country. People in power rarely want to give it up.
    Seasteads could give the world experimental evidence that can't easily be censored by land-based politicians. Chad and Nadia hoped their seastead would be the first of many.
    "They thought nobody would care," says Quirk.
    They were wrong. Although they were more than 12 miles off the coast, Thailand's politicians sent their navy to tow away the couple's small floating island. Chad and Nadia got nervous when they saw a reconnaissance plane overhead and left their seastead just before the navy raided it. Now they are in hiding. If caught and tried in Thailand, they were told they might face the death penalty for violating Thai sovereignty.
    But good for Chad and Nadia for trying.
    "It's irresponsible not to improve society by setting better examples," says Quirk. "People with the best ideas should be given an opportunity to do that voluntarily and pay the consequences of their failures ... and get the profits if they succeed."
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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