The latest victim of climate change? Democracy. See, if member states of the UN don’t smarten up the Security Council is going to have to barge in and smarten them up. At any rate that’s the view of a Danish professor who, like most academics, certainly isn’t eager to sweep aside national sovereignty and deprive average voters of the right to have a say in their lives. Oh no. But alas the state of the crisis leaves us no choice.
Not much isn’t blamed on climate change nowadays including, most recently, premature births. Time was right on it, and NBC. Or that mass disappearance of insects that, awkwardly, went the way of the mass disappearance of polar bears. Birds are shrinking, which NBC labels “devastating”. But normally you’d expect the alarmists to call a breakdown of democracy a bad effect of climate change, not a beneficial solution.
Or perhaps not. After all, we have been warned of endless crises going back a century or more, some ecological, like overpopulation, and others not, like unemployment. And every time we have heard loud voices, emanating from the fringe but moving toward the centre, saying sorry but our established systems of democracy cannot cope and what with the latest crisis all you shabby ignorant voters must give way to wise experts who just so happen to be us.
Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt at one point snarled that his New Deal was being frustrated by a “horse and buggy” constitution in an “automobile age”. We have heard that the state needs extraordinary powers to stop ordinary people having so many darn babies. In the Third World if not at home. Or prevent nuclear war by submerging sovereignty in a UN run by unelected tyrants. Or abolish private property to prevent [insert disaster here], which we can only do if we first abolish the franchise.
You’re lucky if they just want to change the voting system, or insist that only people they like can spend money on electoral ads. Normally they want to stop you voting at all.
Often they succeed, in much of the world. You can’t vote against Fidel. Or Mugabe. Or Nkrumah. Or Nasser. Or whoever. Not now. Don’t you know there’s a crisis?
And there are always useful idiots willing to praise Stalin or Mao, or their successors, for taking the decisive steps we in democracies are too timid to try. Including, say, Justin Trudeau’s “level of admiration I actually have for China. Because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest…we need to start investing in solar.”
A careless remark from a silly man? Perhaps. And possibly this academic is just some weirdo with a Ph.D. But both are significant because they are part of a larger pattern in which the crise du jour, which changes, is used to justify the invariant demand: Give us absolute power.