Friday, 30 October 2009

Challenging Old Fei Pang (肥彭) - Two Decades Too Late


I was recently appalled by a piece written by the former governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten and included in your October 30th paper. Although of course not as famous and widely respected a personage as Fei Pang (肥彭), I nevertheless would hope that I may yet, from my humble position as an honest little groundling, address two points of disagreement I have with Chancellor Patten.

First, although I would not challenge Lord Patten's celebratory juxtaposition of the murder of Martin Luther King and the election of Barack Obama as an indication of progress, I did notice that he was particularly brief on this subject, noting only that there is "nothing to be grumpy about there." Yet there are certain respects in which the Presidency of Barack Obama constitutes some cause for concern. Primarily, my worry is with President Obama's continuation, and indeed, intensification of the policies followed by President Bush with regard to the Federal deficit, the "bailing out" and part-nationalization of certain industries and, with Ben Bernanke, the attempt to further reinflate the credit money bubble. These policies will bear exceptionally poisonous fruit over the long term, though their actual planting (started by President Bush) was unfortunately continued during President Obama's first weeks and months in office. I may not have the age-qualifications of old Fei Pang (肥彭), but I am certainly more than a little grumpy about President Obama's willfull pursuit of extremely dangerous fiscal and monetary policies.

My second point of disagreement with Patten is in his warning on the "seventeen-fold increase" in carbon dioxide emissions since the beginning of the 20th Century. That such a widely respected man as Lord Patten could say this despite the public availability of satellite data showing average global temperatures actually falling for the past ten years does not exactly fill me with hope; as carbon dioxide emissions have continued to rise over the past ten years, but global average temperatures have not, it cannot therefore be true that carbon dioxide emissions create global warming. This is a matter of elementary logic which one would think, would not escape the attention of a Chancellor of Britain's most prestigious Oxford University.

I do not yet have children myself, but I know people who do (unfortunately my friends are other groundlings much like myself who must actually work for a living) - and I wonder to myself - how much will their children have to get angry about because of the way our higher-ups such as Chancellor Patten are behaving now and have behaved throughout the entire length of their careers?

Yours sincerely,
Michael Fagan

(Sent to the Taipei Times Editor: Friday, 30th October 2009. Unpublished by the Taipei Times)

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