Leonardo DiCaprio is officially the dumb*$$ of the week

When journalist Don Hoefler first coined the term “Silicon Valley” in the early 1970s, the San Francisco Bay and Santa Clara valley region had already been home to thriving tech companies for decades.

Then future titans like Apple and Adobe joined the scene, and the region really started to take off.

Today, Silicon Valley is responsible for about 3% of US GDP. Given that its geographical size is just 0.1% of the country’s land mass, that’s a pretty good use of resources.

Now imagine you are the leader of a country… and that you have the power to snap your fingers and do the same thing— boost economic output by 3% by giving up just 0.1% of your land mass.

That’s a pretty good tradeoff. And it seems like it would at least be worth considering the costs and benefits of such a deal.

That’s exactly the opportunity that the Republic of Panama has in front of it.

Most people might be surprised to learn that Panama has vast mineral deposits— especially copper. And there has been some limited mining operations in the past.

One site in particular, known as Cobre Panama, is a major copper mine that has been producing commercially for the past few years. The mine’s operator is a Canadian company named First Quantum Minerals, and just last quarter they produced 112,734 metric tons at the site.

That’s quite a lot for a copper mine. Production is so strong, in fact, that Cobre Panama is estimated to be worth roughly 3% of the entire national economy.

And at approximately 30,000 acres, the project is approximately 0.1% of Panama’s land mass.

Those are basically Silicon Valley proportions: a 3% boost to GDP on just 0.1% of the country’s land.

Now, even though the mine has been operating commercially for a few years, the government just recently awarded the mining concession to First Quantum; and the contract was formally signed into law by the Panamanian government last month.

But people were furious, and protests started almost immediately.

Panama is undoubtedly a country where political corruption runs deep, and there have been issues with graft and bribery in the past, including with other large-scale mining projects.

So it’s understandable that Panamanians are skeptical of their government.

There are also a number of Panamanians who are against the mining contract for environmental reasons.

But the protests have essentially brought the country to a near standstill for most of the past month.

Protestors have borrowed a favored tactic of European climate protestors, i.e. they have blocked roads, intersections, bridges, and even the country’s main Pan-American highway.

(European climate protestors have even super-glued themselves to the pavement; fortunately Panamanians haven’t done that yet.)

The net result for Panama is that the economy has practically ground to a halt. It’s almost as bad as the COVID lockdowns.

People can’t get to work. Schools have been closed. And since transportation is virtually impossible, even basic goods like gasoline have started running low.

It’s become so ridiculous that some regions of the country have had to truck in critical supplies from Costa Rica.

Most people in the country are firmly against the closure of their economy. But, as with most cases, it only takes a few passionate ignoramuses to create a big problem.

Many of the protesters are young… and incredibly ardent in their support for the environment; and I try not to judge people for their views, even if I disagree.

But I have a difficult time respecting ignorance, and hypocrisy.

Very few protestors have bothered reading the contract— including key protest leaders (suggesting to me that the protest leaders are in this for status, power, and money, and don’t really care about the environment).

They have never studied copper mining or bothered to read the environmental impact studies. They just have a knee-jerk reaction to be opposed to something, based on almost zero understanding of the issue.

These same protestors are all about green energy, like wind and solar.

But what does every wind turbine and solar panel require? COPPER!!

So they are simultaneously in favor of green energy, yet militantly opposed to mining one of the most essential elements to produce green energy.

They also fail to realize that the copper is going to be mined anyhow. If not in Panama, then somewhere else in the world.

So you’d think that someone who is truly opposed to copper production would strip themselves of every bit of copper demand from their own lives. That means no electricity, no mobile phone, no Internet, no automobiles.

Without copper, you’d essentially have to go back to living in caves.

But the protestors aren’t willing to do that. They’re far too ignorant of what they’re protesting about. They’re even ignorant of their own hypocrisy.

Yet they’re far too passionate to even realize that they’re completely ignorant.

This is what passes for ‘activism’ today. And it’s all over the world.

Two years ago, after the democratically-elected state government of Georgia passed a new voting law, a number of very prominent institutions and individuals jumped all over it.

Joe Biden called Georgia’s new voting law “Jim Crow 2.0”. The CEOs of major corporations including Delta Airlines, Coca Cola, and Major League Baseball all insisted that having to present an ID to vote was racist.

(Nevermind that you need to present an ID to pick up tickets for a baseball game or fly on Delta Airlines.)

These were all very prominent people who were totally ignorant, yet wildly passionate.

We saw the same thing during COVID times, during the BLM “summer of love” in 2021. And we’re seeing it again today—

Much of the developed world has been taken over by passionate ignoramuses shouting “ALLAHU AKHBAR” in the streets who are too impassioned to think straight about the issue.

I mean, the fact that a group called “Queers for Palestine” even exists sort of sums up the concept of Passionate Ignorance.

Passionate ignoramuses don’t want to engage in rational discussion. They don’t want to be presented with ideas or thinkers that might challenge their ideological echo chamber. They don’t even want to read.

They do, however, want to scream and shout and virtue signal on social media, without ever once questioning their intellectual premises or actions.

They’re also cheered on by brainless media and celebrities, who themselves are passionately ignorant.

The actor Leonardo DiCaprio posted an Instagram message of support to the protestors in Panama earlier this week and encouraged them to keep fighting for the environment.

I wonder if Leo has ever been to Panama or a copper mine. Or whether he realizes that this single mine produces 3% of GDP. Or that the contract is worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year to Panama (big money for a small country).

I wonder if Leo realizes that without copper mines, there would be no more movies, no more Instagram, no more private jets.

I wonder if he ever thought about encouraging them to read the contract, or to educate themselves, or to act rationally.

Apparently not. Leo thinks raging for the environment is a good idea. So the passionate ignorance continues.

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