The New Navy

I recently read that former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who, last year, survived an assassination attempt is receiving a real honor. She is having a Navy ship named after her.

 My first thought was, good for her. Then I began to ponder it further. Why her? I feel for her & her family but I’m not sure this is appropriate. Yes, she was in congress. So what?

 As is usually my want, I started to look a little further.

 It seems this is the “New, socially conscious, Navy”. In 2010 the USS John P. Murtha was unveiled, of course, named after said liberal shady dealer.  Earlier this year, the Navy announced plans for the USNS Cesar Chavez, after the labor leader.

 Are you kidding me? What’s next, the USS George Soros or maybe the Saul Alinsky? Are there no American traditions left?

 Rather than ranting over it, I’ve compiled a history of how naval ships were named. You may be the judge of whether this new nepotistic method is appropriate.

 The Navy traces its ancestry to 13 October 1775, when an act of the Continental Congress authorized the first ship of a new navy for the United Colonies, as they were then known. The ships of the Continental Navy, and of the Navy later established under the Federal Constitution, were not named in any strictly categorical manner.

Ship names in the Continental Navy and the early Federal navy came from a variety of sources. As if to emphasize the ties that many Americans still felt to Britain, the first ship of the new Continental Navy was named Alfred in honor of Alfred the Great, the king of Wessex who is credited with building the first English naval force.

On 3 March 1819 an act of Congress formally placed the responsibility for assigning names to the Navy’s ships in the hands of the Secretary of the Navy, a prerogative that he still exercises. This act stated that “all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy, under the direction of the President of the United States, according to the following rule: Those of the first class shall be called after the States of this Union; those of the second class after the rivers; and those of the third class after the principal cities and towns; taking care that no two vessels of the navy shall bear the same name.” The last-cited provision remains in the United States Code today.

Ships armed with 40 guns or more were of the “first class”; those carrying fewer than 40, but more than 20, guns were of the “second class.” The name source for the second class was expanded to include principal towns as well as rivers.

An act of May 4, 1898, specified that “all first-class battleships and monitors [shallow-draft coast-defense ships completed between 1891 and 1903, armed with heavy guns] shall be named for the States, and shall not be named for any city, place, or person, until the names of the States have been exhausted, provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed as to interfere with the names of states already assigned to any such battleship or monitor.”

However, in 1894 the famed Civil War sloop-of-war Kearsarge ran aground in the Caribbean and had to be written off as unsalvageable. There was so much affection for that ship in the Fleet that the Secretary of the Navy asked Congress to permit her name to be perpetuated by a new battleship. This was done, and Kearsarge (Battleship Number 5) became the only American battleship not to be named for a state.

Ship name recommendations are conditioned by such factors as the name categories for ship types now being built, as approved by the Secretary of the Navy; the distribution of geographic names of ships of the Fleet; names borne by previous ships which distinguished themselves in service; names recommended by individuals and groups; and names of naval leaders, national figures, and deceased members of the Navy and Marine Corps who have been honored for heroism in war or for extraordinary achievement in peace.
As battleship construction went on through the early 1900s, state names began to run short. The law stated that battleships (first class) had to bear state names; to comply with this, monitors and armored cruisers were renamed for cities within their respective name states to free the names of their states for assignment to new battleships. The monitors Florida and Nevada, for instance, became Tallahassee and Tonopah, while the armored cruisers Maryland and West Virginia became Frederick and Huntington. By 1920, state names were the sole preserve of battleships.

World War I brought the development of mine warfare necessitating the introduction of a new type of ship, the minesweeper. A new type of ship required a new name source. The then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had a keen interest in amateur ornithology. This led him to select bird names as the name source for these new ships, and “F.D.R.” signed the General Order assigning names to the first 36 ships of the Lapwing class.

Between World War I & II, the Navy’s first aircraft carriers came into service. Our first carrier, converted from the collier Jupiter, was named Langley (CV 1), in honor of aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley. Our next two carriers were built on the unfinished hulls of battle cruisers, two of a canceled class of six fast capital ships, which had already been assigned the names of American battles, and famous former Navy ships. These new carriers kept their original names, Lexington and Saratoga. The original battle-cruiser name source continued as carriers Ranger, Yorktown, Enterprise, Wasp, and Hornet entered service between 1934 and 1941, carrying on through World War II and into the postwar years.

Having their names reassigned to new construction normally honored ships lost in wartime. Names like Lexington, Yorktown, Atlanta, Houston, Triton and Shark were perpetuated in memory of lost ships and gallant crews. Unique among these names awarded in honor of lost ships was Canberra, assigned to a heavy cruiser in honor of the Australian cruiser Canberra. It was sunk while operating with American warships during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942. This was seen to be an appropriate exception to the custom of naming cruisers for American cities.

During World War II the names of individuals were once again assigned to aircraft carriers. The Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first aircraft carrier (CVB 42) to be named for an American statesman. Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal suggested that name to President Harry S. Truman, shortly after FDR’s death in 1945. The first “Supercarrier,” the Forrestal (CVA 59), was named after the aforementioned Sec. Nav.

With the onset of the new age, Nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarines, built to carry the Polaris strategic deterrent missile, began to go into commission in the early 1960s. These were rightly regarded as ships without precedent. Thus, a name source of their own was deemed appropriate. Our first ballistic missile submarine was named George Washington. They were classified as the  “41 for freedom” and bore the names of famous Americans and others who contributed to the growth of democracy, such as Patrick Henry and Ethan Allen.

All the ships of the current Nimitz class bear the names of such national figures as Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and Ronald Reagan

Many naval ships are non-combatant in nature. Examples include, Submarine tenders that bear the names of sub pioneers, such as Simon Lake, Hunley & Holland. Ammunition ship names are of volcanoes or words denoting fire and explosives, such as Suribachi or Pyro. Fleet tugs, rescue & firefighting craft bear American Indian names like Powhatan and Navajo.

I’m sorry but I don’t see our naval history replete with any junior congressman or labor leaders.

Attribution: Naval Archives

The Magic of the Sweater Vest

Poll: Santorum takes first national lead

By Josh Lederman of The Hill:

Rick Santorum has taken the lead nationally in the Republican presidential race for the first time, a new poll showed.

Less than a week after besting Romney in primary contests in three states, Rick Santorum has a 15-point lead on the former Massachusetts governor, according to a national poll released Saturday by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Recent polls had shown Romney up about 10 points on Newt Gingrich, his nearest rival.

Santorum leads Mitt Romney 38 percent to 23 percent in the new poll, while Gingrich is in third place with 17 percent. Ron Paul comes in last with 13 percent.

This is the first major national poll to show Santorum in the lead. The closest he had come previously was after his surprise win in Iowa the first week of January, but even then, Romney performed 10 points better than Santorum nationally.

But Santorum has been riding a wave of momentum since his surprise performance on Tuesday, when he defeated the front-runner not only in Minnesota and Missouri, but also in Colorado, a supposed Romney stronghold. Santorum’s campaign has said he has raised more than $2 million since Tuesday, and he was the biggest attraction on Saturday when about 10,000 activists packed the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Some of Santorum’s success in the new poll may be attributed to declining support for both Romney and Gingrich. Romney’s favorability rating has declined substantially in PPP’s polling and now stands at 44 percent — just one percentage point higher than the 43 percent who say they disapprove. Santorum remains highly popular, with 64 percent saying they approve and just 22 percent viewing him negatively. Gingrich’s numbers are almost identical to those of Romney.

Santorum is also besting Romney and the others with key demographic groups, including self-described very conservative voters, Tea Party voters and evangelicals.

“It’s important to keep in mind, though, that fewer than half of his voters are firmly committed to him,” said Dean Debnam, the polling firm’s president. “When he comes under attack in the coming days, his lead could evaporate just as quickly as it was created.”

The survey of 656 Republican primary voters was conducted Feb. 9-10 using automated telephone interviews and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

3 Cheers for Racist Eugenics!

In case anyone needs a refresher on what Eugenics is, here you go:

Technically there are 2 types of eugenics. Positive & Negative. ‘Positive’ is like selectively breeding horses for racing. ‘Negative’ is what has been practiced by progressive monsters for over a century. The purposeful elimination of the “Unfit or Unwanted”. “Unfit”, as defined by said progressives.

‘To Stop the Multiplication of the Unfit’
by Michelle Malkin

If you aren’t creeped out by the No Birth Control Left Behind rhetoric of the White House and Planned Parenthood, you aren’t listening closely enough. The anesthetic of progressive benevolence always dulls the senses. Wake up.

When a bunch of wealthy white women and elite Washington bureaucrats defend the trampling of religious liberties in the name of “increased access” to “reproductive services” for “poor” women, the ghost of Margaret Sanger is cackling.

As she wrote in her autobiography, Sanger founded Planned Parenthood in 1916 “to stop the multiplication of the unfit.” This, she boasted, would be “the most important and greatest step towards race betterment.” While she oversaw the mass murder of black babies, Sanger cynically recruited minority activists to front her death racket. She conspired with eugenics financier and businessman Clarence Gamble to “hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities” to sell their genocidal policies as community health and welfare services.

Outright murder wouldn’t sell. But wrapping it under the egalitarian cloak of “women’s health” — and adorning it with the moral authority of black churches — would. Sanger and Gamble called their deadly campaign “The Negro Project.”

In other writings, historian Mike Perry found, Sanger attacked programs that provided “medical and nursing facilities to slum mothers” because they “facilitate the function of maternity” when “the absolute necessity is to discourage it.” In an essay included in her writing collection held by the Library of Congress, Sanger urged her abortion clinic colleagues to “breed a race of thoroughbreds.” Nationwide “birth control bureaus” would propagate the proper “science of breeding” to stop impoverished, non-white women from “breeding like weeds.”

Speaking with CBS veteran journalist Mike Wallace in 1957, long after her racist views had supposedly mellowed, Sanger again revealed her true colors: “I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world — that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin — that people can — can commit.”

Sanger also elaborated on her anti-Catholic animus, telling one of Wallace’s reporters that New York Catholics had no right to protest the use of their tax dollars for birth city birth-control programs: “(I)t’s not only wrong, it should be made illegal for any religious group to prohibit dissemination of birth control — even among its own members.” When Wallace pressed her (“In other words, you would like to see the government legislate religious beliefs in a certain sense?”), Sanger laughed nervously and disavowed the remarks.

Fast forward: Five decades and 16 million aborted black babies later, Planned Parenthood’s insidious agenda has migrated from inner-city “birth control bureaus” to public school-based health clinics to the White House — forcibly funded with taxpayer dollars just as Sanger championed.

Several undercover stings by Live Action, pro-life documentarians, have exposed Planned Parenthood staff accepting donations over the years from callers posing as eugenics cheerleaders who wanted to earmark their contributions for the cause of aborting minority babies. “We can definitely designate it for an African-American,” a Tulsa, Okla., Planned Parenthood employee eagerly promised.

What has cheap, easy and unmonitored “choice” for poor women in inner cities wrought? Nightmares like the Philadelphia Horror, where serial baby-killer Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his abortion clinic death squad oversaw the systematic execution of hundreds of healthy, living, breathing, squirming, viable black and Hispanic babies over 4 decades — along with several minority mothers who may have lost their lives in his grimy birth control bureau.

City and state authorities looked the other way while jars of baby parts and reports of botched abortions and infanticides piled up. Beltway Democrats who now bray about their concern for “women’s health” were silent about the Gosnell massacre and countless others like it in America’s ghettos. Why?

The Obama administration is crawling with the modern-day heirs of the eugenics movement, from Planned Parenthood golden girl Kathleen Sebelius at the Department of Health and Human Services to the president’s prestigious science czar John Holdren — an outspoken proponent of forced abortions and mass sterilizations and a self-proclaimed protege of eugenics guru Harrison Brown, whom he credits with inspiring him to become a scientist.

Brown envisioned a government regime in which the “number of abortions and artificial inseminations permitted in a given year would be determined completely by the difference between the number of deaths and the number of births in the year previous.” He urged readers to “reconcile ourselves to the fact that artificial means must be applied to limit birth rates.” He likened the global population to a “pulsating mass of maggots.”

Listen carefully as this White House dresses its Obamacare abortion mandate in the white lab coat of “reproductive services” for all. The language of “access to birth control” is the duplicitous code of Sanger’s ideological grim reapers.

Gotta Get Me one of Deez

Ever wonder what it would be like to drive a F1 racecar? I know I have.

Well, wonder no more. For the miserly some of about $500,000, you too, can be the proud owner of the Caparo T1, street-legal supercar.

The Stratton Motor Company in Norwich, England is now offering this 2 seater that will do 0-60MPH in a blistering 2.5 seconds, which almost matches the 2.4 seconds of the 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. The Bugatti will set you back a tad more at $2,400,000.

So the T1 is a veritable bargain.

Of course it has no doors, windows or even a windshield, but is equipped with a 6 point racing harness as the seatbelt. What do want for a half a million?

It is fitted with a six-speed ‘flappy paddle’ gearbox and brakes which will stop it from 100MPH in three seconds.

The T1’s maximum speed is more than 200MPH and does 0-100 in 5 seconds.

The T1’s power plant is a 575HP Aluminum V-8 engine. For those in the know, 575HP doesn’t sound that radical. After all, the Bugatti has 1200HP.

The key to the incredible performance of the Caparo is the power-to-weight ratio.  At 1210 pounds, it weighs 20 percent less than a Smart Car, which gives it twice the power-to-weight ratio of the Veyron.

 There have been more than a few humans who weigh more than this car, but I don’t have the stomach to show a picture of any of them.

The wildly popular British television show, “Top Gear”, took it out on their test track, where they have driven virtually every supercar in the world.

The official test driver, known as “The Stig”,  flew around the Top Gear track in just 1 minute 10 seconds – six seconds quicker than the Bugatti. On that short track, six seconds is a lifetime.

Due to the awesome performance of the T1,  the Stratton Motor Company insist on taking the new owner on an intensive two-day driving course on road and track so they can understand the car’s incredible capabilities.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Sieg Barry!

Is the Obama Administration Using Gestapo Tactics?

By: Gary DeMar at Godfather Politics:

Here’s the way politics works: Liberals overreach and conservatives compromise. In the end Liberals win. Liberals will propose a ten percent tax increase, and Republicans will settle for five, the very number Democrats hoped to get. It might take Liberals longer to get to their goal, but they know that eventually they’ll reach it. They can always count on Republicans to compromise.

What’s true on taxes is also applies to religion. There’s a provision in the health care law which requires religious employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives. John Boehner called the rule “an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country. If the president does not reverse the department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must,” Boehner said.

Then there’s the accusation that military chaplains were forbidden to read a letter to military personnel about the mandate. Now we’re hearing that the controversy may have been “overblown.”

Did the Obama Administration purposely overreach figuring that the Republicans will broker a compromise? The Administration will get some of what it wants, set a precedent, and the Republicans will leave the negotiating table declaring victory that they were able to get some concessions. In the end, new regulations will force the church to comply with some of the regulations or face sanctions. Republicans will say that the church needs to compromise. Liberals will come back for more at a later time. They won’t stop until they silence the church. We’ve seen this before.

When German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) used his pulpit to expose Adolf Hitler’s radical politics, “He knew every word spoken was reported by Nazi spies and secret agents.”[1] Leo Stein describes in his book I Was in Hell with Niemoeller how the Gestapo gathered evidence against Niemoeller:

Now, the charge against Niemoeller was based entirely on his sermons, which the Gestapo agents had taken down stenographically. But in none of his sermons did Pastor Niemoeller exhort his congregation to overthrow the Nazi regime. He merely raised his voice against some of the Nazi policies, particularly the policy directed against the Church. He had even refrained from criticizing the Nazi government itself or any of its personnel. Under the former government his sermons would have been construed only as an exercise of the right of free speech. Now, however, written laws, no matter how explicitly they were worded, were subjected to the interpretation of the judges.[2]

In a June 27, 1937 sermon, Niemoeller made it clear to those in attendance had a sacred duty to speak out on the evils of the Nazi regime no matter what the consequences: “We have no more thought of using our own powers to escape the arm of the authorities than had the Apostles of old. No more are we ready to keep silent at man’s behest when God commands us to speak. For it is, and must remain, the case that we must obey God rather than man.”[3] A few days later, he was arrested. His crime? “Abuse of the pulpit.”

The “Special Courts” set up by the Nazis made claims against pastors who spoke out against Hitler’s policies. Niemoeller was not the only one singled out by the Gestapo. “Some 807 other pastors and leading laymen of the ‘Confessional Church’ were arrested in 1937, and hundreds more in the next couple of years.”[4]

A group of Confessional Churches in Germany, founded by Pastor Niemoeller and other Protestant ministers, drew up a proclamation to confront the political changes taking place in Germany that threatened the people “with a deadly danger. The danger lies in a new religion,” the proclamation declared. “The church has by order of its Master to see to it that in our people Christ is given the honor that is proper to the Judge of the world . . . The First Commandment says ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’ The new religion is a rejection of the First Commandment.”[5] Five hundred pastors who read the proclamation from their pulpits were arrested.

Notes:
1.Basil Miller, Martin Niemoeller: Hero of the Concentration Camp, 5th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1942), 112. [↩]

2.Leo Stein, I Was in Hell with Niemoeller (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1942), 175. [↩]

3.Quoted in William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), 239. [↩]

4.Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 239. [↩]

5.Quoted in Eugene Davidson, The Trials of the Germans: An Account of the Twenty-Two Defendants before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, [1966] 1997), 275.

How Green Zealots are Destroying the Planet

By: James Delingpole, courtesy, UK Daily Mail

Just imagine a world where you never had to worry about global warming, where the ice caps, the ‘drowning’ Maldives and the polar bears were all doing just fine.

Imagine a world where CO2 was our friend, fossil fuels were a miracle we should cherish, and economic growth made the planet cleaner, healthier, happier and with more open spaces.

Actually, there’s no need to imagine: it already exists. So why do so many people still believe otherwise?

How come, against so much evidence, everyone from the BBC to your kids’ teachers to the Coalition government (though that may change somewhat now Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has resigned), to the President of the Royal Society to the Prince of Wales continues to pump out the message that man-made ‘climate change’ is a major threat?

Why, when the records show that there has been no global warming since 1997, are we still squandering billions of pounds trying to avert it?

These are some of the questions I set out to answer in my new book — which I can guarantee will not make me popular with environmentalists.

Almost every day, on Twitter or by email, I get violent messages of hate directed not just at me, but even my children. Separately, I’ve been criticised by websites such as the Campaign Against Climate Change (Honorary President: the environmental activist and writer George Monbiot). I’ve had a green activist set up a false website in my name to misdirect my internet traffic. I’ve been vilified everywhere from the Guardian to a BBC Horizon documentary as a wicked ‘denier’ who knows nothing about science.

Not that I’m complaining. Margaret Thatcher once famously said: ‘I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.’

That’s just how I feel about my critics’ ad hominem assaults. They’re born not of strength but out of sheer desperation.

The turning point towards some semblance of sanity in the great climate war came in November 2009 with the leak of the notorious Climategate emails from the University of East Anglia.

What these showed is that the so-called ‘consensus’ science behind Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) — ie the theory that man-made CO2 is causing our planet to heat up in a dangerous, unprecedented fashion — simply cannot be trusted.

The experts had, for years, been twisting the evidence, abusing the scientific process, breaching Freedom of Information requests (by illegally hiding or deleting emails and taxpayer-funded research) and silencing dissent in a way which removes all credibility from the scaremongering reports they write for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

(The IPCC is the heavily politicised but supposedly neutral UN advisory body which has been described by President Obama as the ‘gold standard’ of international climate science.)

Since Climategate, the scientific case against AGW theory has hardened still further. Experiments at the CERN laboratory in Geneva have supported the theory of Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark that the sun — not man-made CO2 — is the biggest driver of climate change.

The latest data released by the Met Office, based on readings from 30,000 measuring stations, confirms there has been no global warming for 15 years.
Now, with sunspot activity (solar flares caused by magnetic activity) at its lowest since the days of the 17th-century frost fairs on the Thames, it seems increasingly likely we are about to enter a new mini Ice Age. Should we be bothered by this? Of course we should. Not only does it mean that for the rest of our lives we’re likely to be doomed to experience colder winters and duller summers, but it also makes us victims of perhaps the most expensive fraud in history.

Over the past 20 years, across the Western world, billions of pounds, dollars and euros have been squandered by governments on hare-brained schemes to ‘combat climate change’.

Taxes have been raised, regulations increased, flights made more expensive, incandescent light bulbs banned, landscapes despoiled by ugly, bird-chomping wind farms, economic growth curtailed — all to deal with what now turns out to have been a non-existent problem: man-made CO2.

But if anthropogenic warming is not the threat environmentalists would have us believe, why do so many people believe it is? And how come so many disparate groups — from the hair-shirt anti-capitalist activists of Greenpeace and Friends Of The Earth to the executives of big corporations, to politicians of every hue from Gordon Brown to David Cameron to scientists at NASA and the UEA — are working together to promote this pernicious myth?

The short answer is ‘follow the money’.

Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the UEA which was at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ scandal, for example, was given £13.7 million in grants for his department’s research work; the environmental non-governmental organisations such as Greenpeace came on board because scaremongering helps them raise revenue.

You’re not going to give money to the charity’s Project Thin Ice if you think the polar bear is good for another 10,000 years, but you might if you’re told it’s seriously endangered.

Politicians were attracted because it was a good way of being seen to be addressing an issue of popular concern, and a handy excuse to put up taxes.

Big corporations joined in the scam as a) it enabled them to ‘greenwash’ their image through campaigns like BP’s ‘Beyond Petroleum’ and b) it meant all that extra environmental regulation would be a handy way of pricing their smaller competitors out of the market place.

But money isn’t the only reason. If you read the private emails of the Climategate scientists, what you discover is that most of them genuinely believe in the climate change peril.

That’s why they lied about the evidence and why they tried to destroy the careers of those scientists who disagreed with them: because they wanted to scare politicians into action before time ran out. This was not science, in other words, but political activism.

A similar ‘end justifies the means’ mentality seems to prevail among all those environmental lobby groups. They don’t exaggerate or misrepresent because they’re bad people. They do it, as a former head of Greenpeace once charmingly put it when accused of having overstated the decline in Arctic sea ice, to ‘emotionalise the issue’; because they want to make the rest of the world care about these issues as much as they do.
Powerful feelings, though, are hardly the most sensible basis for global policy. Especially not when, as it turns out, they are based on a misreading of the facts.

One of the grimmest ironies of the modern environmental movement is just how much damage it has done to the planet in the name of ‘saving’ it. Green biofuels (crops such as palm oil grown for fuel) have not only led to the destruction of millions of acres of rainforest in Asia, Africa and South America, but are now known to produce four times more CO2 pollution than fossil fuels.

Wind farms, besides blighting views, destroying topsoil and causing massive noise pollution, kill around 400,000 birds a year in the U.S. alone. Environmentalists, in fact, have a disastrous track record when it comes to predictions and policy recommendations. Rachel Carson’s 1962 bestseller Silent Spring — which promised a cancer epidemic from pesticides — led to a near worldwide ban on the malarial pesticide DDT, thus condemning millions in the Third World to die from malaria.

Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb, meanwhile, rehearsed another of the green movement’s favourite themes: overpopulation. By the Seventies and Eighties, he warned, hundreds of millions of us would be dying like flies because there wouldn’t be enough food.

Why did Ehrlich’s prediction never come to pass? Because, like most of the greenies’ doomsday scenarios, it overlooked one vital factor: progress.

Because the green movement has for years been ideologically wedded to the notion that mankind is an ecological curse (‘The Earth has a cancer. The cancer is man’, as a global think tank called The Club of Rome, which includes several current and former heads of state, puts it), it fails to understand the role which technology, human ingenuity and adaption play in our species’ survival.
Ehrlich’s population disaster was averted thanks to a brilliant American scientist called Norman Borlaug who devised new mutant strains of wheat which managed to triple cereal production on the starving Indian subcontinent.

Of course, there is still widespread concern over the use of genetically modified crops, but scientists argue that with proper safeguards in place they can actually be more environmentally friendly than conventional crops, using less water and fewer pesticides.

Similar technological advances in the field of energy make a nonsense of environmentalists’ claims that we are running out of fuel: long before coal ran out came the petroleum revolution; and, though we still have plenty of oil left, we now have the miracle of shale gas which lies in abundance everywhere from Blackpool to the North Sea, and is released using blasts of high-pressure liquid to open pockets of gas in rock.

When, many decades hence, that runs out we will start to harvest clathrates (solid methane deposits) buried on the ocean floor.

Economic progress is not our enemy but our friend. It is an historical fact that the richer nations are, the more money they have to spare on ensuring a cleaner environment: compare the relatively clean air in London to the choking smog that envelops Beijing and Delhi; look at where the worst ecological disasters happened in the last century — under impoverished Communist regimes, from the Aral Sea to Chernobyl.

But the greens refuse to accept this because, according to their quasi-religious doctrine, industrial civilisation is a curse and economic growth a disease which can only be cured by rationing and self-sacrifice, higher taxes and greater state control.

That’s why I call my new book Watermelons — because it’s about zealots who are green on the outside, but in political terms, red on the inside. If only their views weren’t so influential, in schools, universities, in the media, in the corridors of power, the global economy wouldn’t be nearly in the mess it’s in today.

As someone who loves long walks in unspoilt countryside and who wants a brighter future for his children, I’m sickened by the way environmental activists tar anyone who disagrees with them as a selfish, polluting, anti-science ‘denier’.

The real deniers are those ideological greens who refuse to look at hard evidence (not just pie-in-the-sky computer models which are no more accurate than the suspect data fed into them) and won’t accept that their well-intentioned schemes to make our world a better place are in fact making it uglier, poorer and less free.