This is a mirror of the original post in my other blog. I will keep this one for archival purposes:

Make me believe!


The Internet has been nominated for this years Nobel Peace Prize.


Given that the Internet has allowed a powerful global conversation to start and thus implies non-violence as well as being a platform for global voluntary cooperation, it should be given the Nobel Peace Prize. Although the prize itself is meaningless, it does have an undeniable symbolic value.

Now the analysis.

The Nobel Prize to Barack and “Scandinavian” as adjective:

One of the main reasons for Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize was his stand and preliminary work against the dispersion of nuclear weapons. Well let’s not forget that we, the world, are still facing many dangers that are not being fought against by any politician. Instead politicians ally themselves with them to set the discourse of the day, and this is true for most societies worldwide. So it’s fair to call these dangers for what they are: Press, Radio and Television = Weapons of mass destruction!

Weapon of Mass Brain Destruction

Do you miss your brain?

Well, as much as I was disappointed with the stupidity of the Nobel committee here in Oslo last year, I don’t blame them. I guess Thorbjørn Jagland, chair of the committee, wanted to shake hands with Barack and play the cool kid in front of the world. To me that is not surprising coming from him. In my eyes he is a poster child of the manic Scandinavian obsession with and speciality for organizing peace and freedom. He also represents the historical, and current, Scandinavian pushing for the creation (notice where the first 2 UN Secretary General are from) of a One World government. And as any politician or person of power, he likes to show off. Period.

In second though, the peace organizing behavior might actually be driven by guilt or might just be categorized as schizophrenic as the track record of Scandinavian countries (read Norway and Sweden specifically) is not as peaceful or uneventful as you might think. But please, don’t get me wrong. I love Norway and the other Scandinavian countries and their people, I just want us to acknowledge collectively that we are acting sanctimoniously. If we are to change things we have to recognize mere facts first!

The point:

So before you get me going with my rant and I bore you to death: The Internet has allowed individuals from al parts of the globe to communicate  and in the process it has changed the way we think of ourselves,  people around us, country borders and the world itself. I guess we can link this to the idea of the Internet being a global conversation driven by argumentation, and this does not only apply to markets, but also has political and social implications. Thus, Discourse ethics can seem to be a valid tool to search for interpersonal relations and moral implications in this global polilogue of ours.

Not surprisingy, as I have taken my stand, I will take a libertarian approach and analize if this global conversation actually has brought us some amount of peace or, at least, less violence. Anyway far less damage than Nobel’s invention.

From Wikipedia’s article about Discourse Ethics:

Drawing on the work of Habermas and Apel, Hoppe, a former student of Habermas’s, asserts that argumentation, or discourse, is by its nature a conflict-free way of interacting and requires individual control of resources; thus, he argues, certain norms are presupposed as true by anyone engaging in genuine discourse. These norms include the libertarian principle of non-aggression, which itself implies libertarian rights. Therefore, no one can argumentatively deny libertarian rights without self-contradiction.

Now let’s see Gary B. Madison’s analysis on the subject:

the various values defended by liberalism are not arbitrary, a matter of mere personal preference, nor do they derive from some natural law. . . . Rather, they are nothing less and nothing more than what could be called the operative presuppositions or intrinsic features and demands of communicative rationality itself. In other words, they are values that are implicitly recognized and affirmed by everyone by the very fact of their engaging in communicative reason. This amounts to saying that no one can rationally deny them without at the same time denying reason, without self-contradiction, without in fact abandoning all attempts to persuade the other and to reach agreement.”

These implicitly recognized values include a renunciation of the legitimacy of violence. Thus,

it is absolutely impossible for anyone who claims to be rational, which is to say human, outrightly to defend violence …. [As Paul Ricoeur writes:]’. . . violence is the opposite of discourse. . . . Violence is always the interruption of discourse: discourse is always the interruption of violence.’ That violence is the opposite of discourse means that it can never justify itself—and is therefore not justifiable—for only through discourse can anything be justified. As the theory of rational argumentation and discussion, liberalism amounts, therefore, to a rejection of power politics.”

Thus, Madison, like Hoppe, argues that the fact-value gap can be bridged by an appeal to the nature of discourse.

While Hoppe attempts to show that the non-aggression principle (i.e., self-ownership plus the right to homestead) itself is directly implied by any discourse or argumentation, Madison’s arguments are a bit different. For instance, he argues that, because discourse has priority over violence, this validates the Kantian claim that people ought to be treated as ends rather than means, which is the principle of human dignity. The principle of freedom from coercion then follows from the principle of human dignity.

Out of this we can derive, among others, that the internet is just the platform for this global argumentation, and it’s infrastructure hosts the reflection of this argumentation as text. But the conversation itself is driven by its users. All of them.

So, give the Nobel Peace Prize to all of us, to humanity that always finds ways to do what we have evolved ourselves to be best at: cooperate!

Go back to the top for the conclusion.

I know this whole analysis is quite naive, but I had to get it out of the system.

Thanks for reading!

I had just filled 11 years when the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED started in Rio de Janeiro in June 3rd 1992. By that time I believed in politicians being able to actually make a change and commit to real agreements. I believed that change in the world could be done at a political level. I believed in our democratic system as it stands and that through reform real, palpable change could be achieved.

I remember that at the end at that conference I was all enthusiastic. I really was!

Some years later I had moved to Norway and back to Ecuador, learned a lot about the world and had a broader understanding of our political system in a global sense. By then, in 1998, I found myself studying Gro Harlem Brundtland (GHB)’s proposal at school. The paper that was basically agreed upon under the Rio summit: GHB’s proposal,Our Common Future(follow the link and read it) also called the Bruntland report, can be summarized in the idea of sustainable development: Economic and social human growth while keeping our global ecosystem healthy.

While I was gaining insight in this matters the Kyoto protocol happened. For people that actually like to analyse things this agreement is the next best thing to nothing. Simply because it opens for mechanisms that can be misused, it has no penalties defined as part of the agreement for lack of compliance and because is does not address the mitigation levels that were required to have a useful agreement (over 100 years the greenhouse gases reductions will not even reach 4%) – I have already blogged on this so I will not bother you with that now.

11 years later, with more studies into these matters biasing me and a Philosophy degree to make things worse, I have to say: We all knew that Copenhagen was to be a failure. Whatever comes out of this summit tomorrow is worse than nothing coming out.

Why? Because a crappy agreement will not show the reality of this summit: Our political system worldwide is not addressing the biggest challenge in human history. Simple as that. We need a political reform worldwide WHICH IS NOT GOING TO BE PROMOTED BY YOUR AVERAGE POLITICIAN! – Sorry, but you have to face this. Politicians do not have accountability or responsibility, they just talk and try to be re-elected. This is too serious to let a bunch of idiots ruin it for the rest of us, and do so in our name!

Back to Copenhagen and the ongoing summit. Let’s put it in perspective:

  1. Connie, who was thought to become the next EU climate queen, has now resigned from the COP15’s presidency. Earlier she said that failure in Copenhagen is not an option and that it would clearly show that “the whole global democratic system not being able to deliver results in one of the defining challenges of our century” – It’s nice to be able to use somebody else’s words to describe a problem. But yes, it sucks to be right. Time after time.
  2. Adaptation and mitigation must go hand by hand. Without both we will, for real, get in trouble. Want to read more on Adaptation and why it matters? Read my former teacher Karen (member of the UNFCCC) and friends. they will explain it better than I can in their reports:
    * Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change: Concepts, Issues, Assessment Methods (PDF)
    * More Than Rain (PDF)
    Once while at Uni I asked her if she actually believed that our politcians could actually sort this one out and pull off an agreement that would actually be fair for all of humanity and that could give us a change to keep our environment in good shape. Karen, I guess,  is a person that understands that the global picture is complex and that politics are a game. Her answer was something like: “Well, I do not want to be pessimistic here, but no.” – It might have been the way I asked, who knows. Anyway I was glad to understand that I am not the only one thinking there’s something wrong here. But to be right about such things sucks.
  3. There are nations like Tuvalu that will be remembered. because they are the voice of the speechless. Their voice is an echo and reminder of the fact that our survival is never a subject of discussion, it is the only option! Our survival does not imply growth, but dignity. Survival implies a working ecosystem, not more energetic resources. Survival implies life and peace, not money and force!
  4. As reported by some organizations NGOs/CSOs will not have access to the summit tomorrow. So if your country is not enforcing freedom by default and is letting representatives for Civil Society/Non-Governmental organizations on-site be part of the delegation, There is practically no civil watchers representing YOU, of course, only your average politician is in place playing the “I want more for less” attitude that this negotiation game implies.
  5. In Copenhagen the police took ~700 people to prison the past weekend. I have a friend that was there while this happened. We talked yesterday. And he said: “It really is sad that the media focus on the conflict generated by the political need to show “action” against pacifist demonstrating” – I could not agree more because who is talking about the thousands of Pro Environmentalist that were outside of the Bella Center and in other parts of Copenhagen mourning Mother Earth while our politicians play the “Business as usual” game and accelerate the growth train towards the inevitable end of the line at the cliff?
  6. Now, naivity is not stupidity. But it is time to wake up, for real! I am getting tired of saying this, but still: Politicians alone will not fix this one. And we do not need a political agreement to act. What we need is organically coordinated action… But that’s another post.
  7. Readers of this blog know that I am by no means trying to draw an apocalypse here. I have seen too much love in humanity to believe that we are doomed to our own self-destruction. But I also acknowledge that if we leave this to our politicians we are going to blow it up. Are we?

The next result is not a game and will not happen in an oval room. It’s going to happen in the streets, in your bedroom, in a bar, in your schools. We need action. Among and between ourselves. Between you and your next peer!

And while we acknowledge this and tell it to each other, the show continues in Copenhagen with the superstars tomorrow. But no, this is too important to reduce it to a nice rhetorical speech. Do not get fooled. Copenhagen is the bad joke it was meant to be.

This struggle cannot be lost. To loose this one implies lack of human survival. Are you going to follow or are you going to act?


Let yourself get inspired... Copenhagen

I have the feeling that the real issues are not even going to be discussed about in the summit.

  • 1 . Honestly, what does this meeting hold for you and me? If every single country that did not ratify Kyoto would have done so AND actually would have complied with the protocol, do you know what the result would have been in a 100 year perspective? A 1.9% reduction in our CO2 emissions…

Now if that is not problematic for you, well it really is time for you to wake up! Politicians are playing with the public opinion (that’s us, again.) We need mitigation strategies of CO2 in the degree of 40-80% to reach the “controlled” level of a 2 degrees increase (see point 4.) You think that politicians can actually get there without including you and me? Go figure why they call it democracy when they sit there and never listen to real proposal by the citizens or scientists. I really do not care which party we talk about, they all know they cannot do much in the political framework we have.

And this is only related to mitigation measures.. Do not even get me started how things are when it comes to adaptation.

  • 2. We know that sustainable development is crap. Let’s just put the record straight once and for all! It’s just stupid to have endless growth as a premise in a world bounded by limited resources. And no, bringing stuff from the moon or mars is not an option. Neither is living in the seabed.

So what do we do? Well, we continue with life as if this is not happening. We just put our trust in technology and hope the problem will solve itself. This time is not going to happen, simply because there is no tech-fix for climate/global change. Fuck what you heard! We have a real problem, and we need real solutions and I have the feeling that the suits in Copenhagen, although a beautiful city, are not going to get inspired enough by it to actually make a useful and serious agreement.

  • 3. Good intentions are not enough. We have heard it all before in the lips of GHB, KA and others. Real and effective action translates into unpopular, but logical decisions. And unpopular decisions abroad (or at home for that matter) will not get you votes at home. But knowledge and scientifically proven facts will open the way for cooperation, if we prepare the platform and include all citizens.

When I talk to people about the ineffectiveness of our democratic system, people label me quickly as an authoritarian. I want democracy, no less but more of it! Not this farce in which politicians are lying and playing a game in front of our faces: There will be NO solutions without infrastructural changes in our global societies. And I am not talking just about a reduction of consume, but a change of attitude towards economical growth, resource distribution and most of all, the way we organize society. We need more local production, decision making, an inclusive on-the-ground platform of global change to actually make our efforts effective.

And this means less power in oval offices, parliaments, conference halls and their processed bullshit agreements. They always end up as politcal jokes stealing our precious time.

  • 4. Inform yourself! Don’t take my word for it. Go read and find for yourself.

Read the scientific papers from the UN Climate Change panel. Even the worse case scenario models are way too conservative compared to the empirical data we are finding WORLDWIDE. Even “pessimists” models, such as James Lovelock’s,  are not even close to explaining the findings in our empirical data, the on-the-ground experience, we are measuring worldwide. Scientific models that can explain our measured empirical data are NOT part of the UN report. They were seen as too extreme in 2007.

Come on: Google it. Go read it in you local library or newspaper!

So now you got it, right? Our measurement, i.e. of ice melting in the poles and icebergs, are showing that our models suck. And when I say they suck I mean that reality of our measurements are showing us that our Planet is in worse shape than we thought/calculated! The ice melting this year has reached rates that we have not expected/calculated to see before 15-50 years in the future (the number of years varies on depending what model you choose.) Honestly, this does not come as a surprise: Greenpeace showed already in 2002 that we had a problem with ice melting. Empirical facts cannot be discussed, but in politics true can be false and ice can be water. Politics in our democratic system nowadays is really the art of bullshitting the more, while getting caught with a lie the less.

So please… We are not getting bailed from this one. Neither your congress representatives, ministers, priests, imams nor you teacher are going to solve this problem this time. It will take a global, linked, organized and long cooperative effort to get this off and find real solutions.

I am so happy that cooperation is what humans can do best. Or else I would, honestly, believe we are doomed!

But we are not. 🙂

Let’s continue the work of green enlightenment we have been doing the last 40 years and make all of our peers realize that we are, indeed, linked with and part of nature. Not only sentient beings trying to abstract ourselves from it.

PS: It might be more than 40 years we have been doing this, really. I have the feeling that evolution has been guiding us towards a path of freedom and cooperation within our ecosystem all the way… But it might just be me.

Así que la evolución se resume a la supervivencia del más apto (survival of the fittest)? Cuento! Por favor…

La idea de que la competencia es lo que lleva a la evolución adelante es tan necia como sorda, nace en y tiene el color de su tiempo. La observación empírica nos ha mostrado que el incentivo más grande en el proceso evolutivo es la necesidad de sobrevivir a través de la reproducción.

Y todos sabemos muy bien que reproducción y supervivencia implican colaboración: Un proceso de cooperación dentro de la especia misma, además de mantener un equilibrio dentro del ecosistema que circunda a los individuos de cada especie y les permite sobrevivir manteniendo todas las populaciones de seres sintientes de una manera sustentable, viable. El éxito de la evolución radica en la ayuda y el apoyo mutuos, no solo en nuestra capacidad de competir y luchar mutuamente. No hay vueltas que darle. O creen que la especie humana hubiera sobrevivido hasta hoy si lo que mejor sabemos hacer es competir?

Lo que mejor sabemos hacer es cooperar. Solidarizar. Actuar en redes de pares. Un diálogo implica a dos. Y así vamos, en todo, de dos en dos. Esto es una descripción empírica. De oído a boca. Mandar obedeciendo!

Entonces cuando te digan que compitas, propone mejor cooperar: Veamos todos el árbol genialógico del ser humano como especie. De medio-mon@s a mon@s. Y de pronto en una de sus ramas extensas te encuentras con tu propia cara, en el espejo del tiempo que nunca para. Del cambio eterno. Del mañana, en un año.

Déjate ser la/el simi@ que eres. Y punto. Verás que de pronto no es tan difícil entenderse a si mism@.

El apoyo mutuo no es cuestión voluntaria. Es una herramienta y un hecho, un factor concreto de la evolución. Hagamos entonces tod@s nosotr@s buen uso de ella!

La supervivencia del más aptoLa supere