Thursday, February 28, 2013

My Global Warming Skepticism, for Dummies � Roy Spencer, PhD

Dr. Roy Spencer addresses these questions:

1) Are Global Temperatures Rising Now? 
2) Why Do Some Scientists Say It’s Cooling, while Others Say that Warming is Even Accelerating?
3) Haven’t Global Temperatures Risen Before?
4) But Didn’t the “Hockey Stick” Show Recent Warming to be Unprecedented?
5) Isn’t the Melting of Arctic Sea Ice Evidence of Warming?
6) What about rising sea levels?
7) Is Increasing CO2 Even Capable of Causing Warming?
8 ) Is Atmospheric CO2 Increasing?
9) Are Humans Responsible for the CO2 Rise?
10) But Aren’t Natural CO2 Emissions About 20 Times the Human Emissions?
11) Is Rising CO2 the Cause of Recent Warming?
12) Why Do Most Scientists Believe CO2 is Responsible for the Warming?
13) If Not Humans, What could Have Caused Recent Warming?
14) So, What Could Cause Natural Cloud Changes?
15) How Significant is the Climategate Release of E-Mails? 
16) Why Would Bias in Climate Research be Important? I thought Scientists Just Follow the Data Where It Leads Them
17) How Important Is “Scientific Consensus” in Climate Research?
18) How Important are Computerized Climate Models? 
19) What Do I Predict for Global Temperature Changes in the Future?
Roy W. Spencer received his Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. Before becoming a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2001, he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. Dr. Spencer’s work with NASA continues as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming.
Dr. Spencer’s research has been entirely supported by U.S. government agencies: NASA, NOAA, and DOE. He has never been asked by any oil company to perform any kind of service. Not even Exxon-Mobil.

Justice Department Not Approving Authority for CIA Interrogations

via Big Peace by Jim Hanson on 7/20/10
There is quite a lot of hyperventilation going on about some testimony from one of the Justice Department lawyers Jay Bybee who co-wrote the so-called "torture memos". Apparently some  of the techniques the CIA used were not included in these memos, and the left is claiming that the Justice Dept. didn't "authorize" these techniques. First of all the term torture is garbage, none of the techniques used, including the dreaded waterboarding, are torture. Secondly the Justice Department is not the "authorizing" authority for what the CIA does when interrogating prisoners. What they did in the memos in question was to offer their legal opinion as to whether or not the techniques were legal under US law and treaties we have signed. Just because particular techniques were not included in these memos does not mean they were unauthorized, it means Justice hadn't weighed in as to whether they would stand up if challenged in court.
The actual authorizing authority would be the CIA itself and the President as its boss. If they decide to use particular methods then those methods are authorized. Going to the Justice Department is only part of the ass-covering process in case (as happened) these tactics become public. Even in his testimony Bybee is not saying that these techniques would have violated our laws and been considered torture, he is saying that they simply weren't covered in the memos in question.
Judge Jay S. Bybee, said the Central Intelligence Agency never sought approval for some practices detainees later said had been used on them, including dousing them with cold water to keep them awake and forcing them to wear diapers or soil themselves.
Since those memos said that waterboarding was OK, and most of these fall well short of that, the CIA simply didn't ask for an opinion on these. They could logically have assumed that since they had "authority" to waterboard that playing loud music was going to be a non-issue. Well not according to our torturologists on the perpetually-outraged left. They keep hoping for that smoking gun where W just said "Torture 'em all". Sorry folks, this ain't it.

Is This the Best They've Got?

via Power Line by John on 7/18/10

On its web site, the NAACP promotes its resolution accusing the Tea Party of being racist:
The resolution came after a year of high-profile media coverage of attendees of Tea Party marches using vile, antagonistic racial slurs & images.
Really? The NAACP's blog post is accompanied by seven photos, all of which are credited to Think Progress, a far-left web site. These photos evidently comprise the best evidence the NAACP has to support its claims against the Tea Party movement.
It is striking how weak that evidence is. Not a single one of the images is clearly racist (even assuming that they all came from Tea Party events; there is no way to tell that). One uses the N-word, but not as a reference to Obama. Rather, it describe taxpayers; Congress, not Obama, is the "slave owner." One sign shows President Obama as Hitler. That may be offensive, but it simply isn't racist--just as when, on thousands of occasions, liberals portrayed President Bush as Hitler, it was outrageous but not racist.
Another photo shows a sign that says, "The American taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's ovens." Again, that statement is hyperbolic and many would find it offensive, but it has nothing to do with race. Other signs I simply don't understand; one says, "Obama What you talkin about Willis? Spend my money?" The NCAAP thinks that is a racial reference, but it's too obscure for most of us, like this one: "The long legged mack daddy." I learned from a Google search that a "mack daddy" is a pimp. Again, a crude term at best, but virtually every politician has been called worse.
Basically, the NCAAP seems to think that any harsh criticism of President Obama is "racist." But all presidents are criticized harshly; often unfairly so. The NCAAP is trying to extend a special zone of protection around Obama, an effort that is doomed to failure. And its reliance on Think Progress doesn't inspire confidence. That site has faked video evidence to try to support the claim that the Tea Party is "racist."
Are Americans dumb enough to fall for this dodge? I doubt it. My guess is that only true believers take seriously the claim that those who are concerned about out-of-control government spending are "racists."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fwd: New at Reason: David Harsanyi on Getting Government Out of Marriage

via Hit & Run on 8/6/10

Imagine if government had no interest in the definition of marriage, writes David Harsanyi. Individuals could commit to each other, head to the local priest or rabbi or shaman—or no one at all—and enter into contractual agreements, call their blissful union whatever they felt it should be called, and go about the business of their lives. Isn't it about time we freed marriage from the state?

Time for a Divorce

Why government should get out of the marriage business

In the 1500s, a pestering theologian instituted something called the Marriage Ordinance in Geneva, which made "state registration and church consecration" a dual requirement of matrimony.
In our Utopian vision, no group is empowered to dictate what marriage should mean to another. And one of the great perks would be the end of this debate.

Ultimately, though, I'm not sure how many Libertarians really want Government out of marriage. There seems to remain the assumption that married couples will continue to get the tax and other legal benefits that accrue to married couples today.

The Buckley Rule

PowerLine has a discussion on the "Buckley Rule" and the "Limbaugh Rule".

Buckley rule followed here
Rush suspends the Buckley Rule
Thinking about the Buckley Rule
The Buckley Rule is, "Vote for the most conservative viable candidate".

One of the things I'd like to note is that we seem to have a hard time telling who is, and who is not viable.

Was McCain a viable candidate? He lost.

How about Bob Dole? I never considered him viable. I thought his campaign slogan should have been "Dole as dishwater". But someone voted for him.

Bill Clinton was not viable; he was merely the only candidate willing to waste time running against an incumbent riding high after the first Gulf War. When George HW Bush torpedoed his chances by violating his "no new taxes" pledge, Clinton was the only one in position to take advantage.

I think the point is, we need to be a little skeptical about claims of who is, and who isn't "viable".

Monday, February 25, 2013

GM food: Golden rice will save millions of people from vitamin A deficiency. - Slate Magazine

Finally, after a 12-year delay caused by opponents of genetically modified foods, so-called “golden rice” with vitamin A will be grown in the Philippines. Over those 12 years, about 8 million children worldwide died from vitamin A deficiency. Are anti-GM advocates not partly responsible?
The New York Times Magazine reported in 2001 that one would need to “eat 15 pounds of cooked golden rice a day” to get enough vitamin A. What was an exaggeration then is demonstrably wrong now. Two recent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that just 50 grams (roughly two ounces) of golden rice can provide 60 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. They show that golden rice is even better than spinach in providing vitamin A to children.
To be sure, handing out vitamin pills or adding vitamin A to staple products can make a difference. But it is not a sustainable solution to vitamin A deficiency. And, while it is cost-effective, recent published estimates indicate that golden rice is much more so.
Supplementation programs costs $4,300 for every life they save in India, whereas fortification programs cost about $2,700 for each life saved. Both are great deals. But golden rice would cost just $100 for every life saved from vitamin A deficiency.
Most ironic is the self-fulfilling critique that many activists now use. Greenpeace calls golden rice a “failure,” because it “has been in development for almost 20 years and has still not made any impact on the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency.” But, as Ingo Potrykus, the scientist who developed golden rice, has made clear, that failure is due almost entirely to relentless opposition to GM foods—often by rich, well-meaning Westerners far removed from the risks of actual vitamin A deficiency.
Here it is worth noting that there have been no documented human health effects from GM foods. But many campaigners have claimed other effects. A common story, still repeated by Shiva, is that GM corn with Bt toxin kills Monarch butterflies. Severalpeer-reviewed studies, however, have effectively established that “the impact of Bt corn pollen from current commercial hybrids on monarch butterfly populations is negligible.”
Greenpeace and many others claim that GM foods merely enable big companies like Monsanto to wield near-monopoly power. But that puts the cart before the horse: The predominance of big companies partly reflects anti-GM activism, which has made the approval process so long and costly that only rich companies catering to First World farmers can afford to see it through.
Finally, it is often claimed that GM crops simply mean costlier seeds and less money for farmers. But farmers have a choice. More than 5 million cotton farmers in India have flocked to GM cotton, because it yields higher net incomes. Yes, the seeds are more expensive, but the rise in production offsets the additional cost.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

NIH-Funded Conspiracy Theory Smearing Tea Party Gets Even Wackier


Federal cancer research money funded a “laughable conspiracy-theory report smearing” the Tea Party as being created by the tobacco companies and the Koch brothers, which we earlier debunked. The left-wing academics that authored it have “received $7 million” from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
But the senior author of the “study,” Professor Stanton Glantz of the University of California at San Francisco, has now doubled down on his wacky conclusions. He told Fox News that the Tea Party ”pretty much originated with that smokers’ rights stuff.” As a sarcastic Rick Moran notes, if you doubt Glantz’s conspiracy theory, “It’s obvious you’ve missed the thousands of signs at Tea Party rallies calling for an end to tobacco taxes and setting up cigarette vending machines in grade schools.” As one Tea Party leader noted to Fox News, “If you’re going to have a conspiracy theory, at least try to make it pass  the laugh test … and this one doesn’t even do that.”

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Note on Economic Methodology

Sent to you by Karl via Google Reader:

A Note on Economic Methodology

via Ideas by David Friedman on 2/16/13

I recently came across a talk by Roderick Long in which he criticizes my father's methodological position, in particular the argument in his essay "The Methodology of Positive Economics," an essay which defends the use of unrealistic models in economics, such as perfect competition, on the grounds that the ultimate test of a model is not its descriptive accuracy but its ability to make correct predictions. The talk struck me as an  attempt to make sense of the position without  understanding it. Hence this post, in which I will attempt to explain the Chicago school methodology practiced by (among many others) both my father and myself. 

Roderick starts his argument by imagining a theory of Harry Potter movies according to which some invisible force builds up over time to produce a Harry Potter movie every year. That theory predicts that each year there will be a new movie. For some years the prediction is correct, but eventually it fails. Someone with a more realistic theory would have produced a more correct prediction—that the series of movies would end, probably at the point when it had covered all of the books.
The first theory successfully predicts a reasonably likely event, a successful movie having a sequel, several times. That is evidence that it is a good theory, but not very much evidence. A theory built on a more realistic model of the process, in which successful movies are likely to have sequels but a series of movies based on a popular series of books is likely to end when it runs out of books, successfully predicts more facts, so is a superior theory by the criterion of prediction. Roderick's own example is one where the criterion of prediction and the criterion of realism lead to the same result—the more realistic theory is also the better predictor, so is to be preferred on either criterion.

His fundamental mistake, if I understand it correctly, is to imagine that all that is going on in the Chicago approach is blind curve fitting, looking for patterns in the observed data and assuming that those patterns will continue. The problem with that approach is that a body of data can be fitted with an infinite number of different curves. In selecting among the possible patterns that could explain the data, one uses whatever information is available to form a theory. The theory cannot be entirely realistic, since that would require including every feature of the situation that could conceivably be relevant. The test of whether one has done a good job of figuring out what simplified model includes the important factors and excludes the unimportant ones is the ability of the model to make correct predictions.

Crucial to this view of the process is the distinction between explaining facts you already know and predicting facts you do not know, a point that is emphasized in my father's essay but, I think, entirely ignored in Roderick's lecture. Explanation of known facts can be blind curve fitting—but unless you have succeeded in choosing the right model, your predictions of facts that did not go into constructing it are unlikely to be correct. The crucial assumption that distinguishes prediction from explanation is that humans have some ability to correctly perceive patterns, making correct predictions evidence of something more than a lucky guess. You can find a more detailed explanation  here.

Roderick offers an elaborate philosophical explanation of why my father rejects what Roderick views as the correct approach to doing economics, the a priori approach associated with Ludwig Von Mises and some of his followers. There is a much simpler explanation. The problem with that approach, at least in its extreme version, is that pure a priori argument is unable to predict anything of economic interest. If one is completely agnostic about the facts, including both utility functions and production technology, any physically possible pattern of human behavior is consistent with the theory. As I put it long ago in my Price Theory, explaining why the assumption of rationality is empty unless combined with some knowledge of what humans value:
Why did I stand on my head on the table while holding a burning $1,000 bill between my toes? I wanted to stand on my head on the table while holding a burning $1,000 bill between my toes.
I conclude that the correct way of doing economics combines a priori theory with evidence. You form plausible conjectures on the basis of  theory and evidence, where part of forming them is deciding what simplifications, what unrealistic features of the model, assume away inessential complications while retaining the essential features of what you are trying to understand. You find out how good a job you have done by using the conjectures to make predictions and seeing whether the predictions are correct. An added benefit of that process, as I discovered in the course of writing my first published journal article in economics, is that finding real world predictions of your model may force you to think through the model itself more clearly.

That is the Chicago School methodology as I understand and practice it.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Oil Speculators ‘R’ Us - John Berlau - National Review Online

Link: (via

Also references this report.
From page 2:

Speculators Aren't Causing Price Hikes

Market prices are always determined by supply and demand. However, when analysts blame speculators for driving up prices higher than the "fundamentals" justify, what they mean is that speculators enter the market with an artificial demand that is laid on top of the commercial demand for oil by refiners, industrial customers, etc. By supplementing the commercial demand with the speculative demand for oil, the resulting price will be higher.

The data do not support this theory. If speculators raise the price of oil above the level that balances supply with (commercial) demand, then there will be a glut of oil on the market that must be hoarded for future sale. For example, suppose that at a world price of $90 per barrel, world oil output is 85 million barrels per day and commercial demand is 85 million barrels. The market clearing price of $90 is thus the correct one based on fundamentals.

Now if speculative investors suddenly purchase billions of dollars worth of oil futures contracts, they will push up the futures price of oil, which in turn will drive up the spot price of oil. Suppose the new world price settles at $130 per barrel. At this price, world oil output is slightly higher, say 85.5 million barrels per day, while commercial demand is lower, falling to (we'll say) 84.5 million barrels per day. Because of the speculative demand, there is now a daily glut of 1 million barrels per day, because the higher world price of oil has encouraged producers and discouraged consumers of oil.

Naturally the numbers in our example were chosen for simplicity, but the point remains: If speculators really have driven up the world price of oil above the level justified by the
fundamentals, then world output should be exceeding world consumption.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The Legacy of Baker v. Nelson | First Things

Link: (via

Against this backdrop, the revisionist view of marriage put forward by the plaintiffs in Baker v. Nelson, as well as activists today, has two principal claims: 1) marriage was never really about procreation and 2) requiring sexual complementarity in marriage is as irrational and bigoted as forbidding interracial marriage. On the latter point, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in Baker noted that "the state does not put upon heterosexual married couples a condition to prove capacity or declared willingness to procreate." Since procreation was not essential to marriage, he further claimed, statutes defining marriage as a conjugal union between a man and a woman were of a piece with the anti-miscegenation statute struck down a few years earlier in Loving v. Virginia (1965).

The Minnesota Supreme Court offered two brief points in response. On procreation, the court insisted that the "statute is no more than theoretically imperfect" and that there is no requirement for "perfect symmetry." On the analogy to racism, the court wrote simply that "in commonsense and in a constitutional sense, there is a clear distinction between a marital restriction based merely upon race and one based upon the fundamental difference in sex." Five years after its decision in Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court then dismissed Baker for lacking a federal question—something it could do only if Minnesota's marriage law did not violate the federal Constitution.

The rhetoric of equality, when taken to its logical conclusion, will render civil marriage itself suspect, since even same-sex marriage (as the philosopher Elizabeth Brake complains in the preface to her book Minimizing Marriage) "marginalizes the unpartnered and those in nontraditional relationships—quirkyalones, urban tribes, care networks, polyamorists." The principles behind the "marriage equality" movement require much more than same-sex marriage. After defining marriage as an intense emotional bond between any two adults, the next questions will be, why marriage at all? Why two adults? Why do we care? Indeed, many are already asking these questions.

Of course, our marriage culture started to fracture long before the current debates, and a recent article in the Economist nicely summarizes the consequences. With the decline in marriage "come rising out-of-wedlock-birthrates" and "with illegitimate births come single-parent homes." The effects of single-parent homes (which in most instances mean fatherless homes) are well-documented and well-known: "Children brought up in such homes fare worse than children raised by married parents in a range of academic and emotional outcomes, from adolescent delinquency to dropping out of school."

Friday, February 01, 2013

America Truly is the Greatest Country in the World. Don't Let Freedom Slip Away.

Link: (via

What I am about to tell you is something you've probably never heard or will ever read in history books.
I believe that I am an eyewitness to history. I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide – 98% of the vote. I've never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.  In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25% inflation and 25% bank loan interest rates.
Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn't want to work; there simply weren't any jobs. My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.
The Communist Party and the National Socialist Party were fighting each other. Blocks and blocks of cities like Vienna, Linz, and Graz were destroyed. The people became desperate and petitioned the government to let them decide what kind of government they wanted.
We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933. We had been told that they didn't have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living. Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group -- Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria . We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back. Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.
We were overjoyed, and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.
After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.
Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn't support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.
Hitler Targets Education – Eliminates Religious Instruction for Children:
Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler's picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn't pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang "Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles," and had physical education.
Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail. The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free. We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.
My mother was very unhappy. When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn't do that and she told me that someday when I grew up, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination. I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing. Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler. It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn't exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.
Equal Rights Hits Home:
In 1939, the war started and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn't work, you didn't get a ration card, and if you didn't have a card, you starved to death. Women who stayed home to raise their families didn't have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.
Soon after this, the draft was implemented. It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps. During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for military training just like the boys. They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines. When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat. Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.
Hitler Restructured the Family Through Daycare:
When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers. You could take your children ages 4 weeks to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, 7 days a week, under the total care of the government. The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.
Health Care and Small Business Suffer Under Government Controls:
Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna . After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything. When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full. If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.
As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80% of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families. All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing.
We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables. Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn't meet all the demands. Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.
We had consumer protection. We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the live-stock, then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.
"Mercy Killing" Redefined:
In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps . The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated. So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded. When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work. I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van. I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade, and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months. They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness.
As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia.
The Final Steps - Gun Laws:
Next came gun registration. People were getting injured by guns. Hitler said that the real way to catch criminals (we still had a few) was by matching serial numbers on guns. Most citizens were law abiding and dutifully marched to the police station to register their firearms. Not long after-wards, the police said that it was best for everyone to turn in their guns. The authorities already knew who had them, so it was futile not to comply voluntarily.
No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up.
Totalitarianism didn't come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria . Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.