At CDN we frequently find ourselves having to argue that climate alarmism isn’t a cynical plot. It’s a sincere and dangerous error pushed by fatuous but absolutely earnest people. Consider the long piece in the Guardian by one Rebecca Solnit who appears to have no practical administrative experience of any kind, but who assures us that: “In order to do what the climate crisis demands of us, we have to find stories of a livable future, stories of popular power, stories that motivate people to do what it takes to make the world we need…. To change our relationship to the physical world – to end an era of profligate consumption by the few that has consequences for the many – means changing how we think about pretty much everything: wealth, power, joy, time, space, nature, value, what constitutes a good life, what matters, how change itself happens.” Would you let this person manage your grocery budget, let alone your retirement savings? Yet it is this approach that underlies the Green New Deal, the Just Transition and all the other central planning misadventures where they invest your entire economy and future in magic beans in their own minds.
Of course her punchline is “One of the goals of system change is to supersede individual virtue.” Yup. Just abolish capitalism and we’ll all get rich, like they did in Russia… um Venezuela… um say we have a story here about a future where communism works. But be very clear that she is not a scam artist, at least not in the sense of knowing what she’s saying isn’t true. Rather, she’s one who peddles fantasy and calls it reality.
Speaking of getting rich on such things, we should note here that some outfit called the Climate Nexus, which is definitely not us, is looking for an Executive Director at around US$400k a year courtesy of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, though we deniers have all the money. And note again the breezy cosmic ambitions:
“The new Executive Director has a demonstrated and uncompromising commitment to not only centering and prioritizing racial equity/climate justice in all aspects of the organization’s internal operations but also in all facets of its work. They have effectively led change while addressing issues of power and privilege as they arise.”
Because it’s child’s play just “to change the conversation on climate change and clean energy solutions in the United States”. And the whole economy, to hear Joe Biden tell it.
How does this kind of fantasy get control of the ship of state and steer it onto the rocks of reality? In a very long and thoughtful essay on Unherd, Matthew Crawford assesses the difference between two fundamental kinds of thinkers. One the “conservative” who, far from “hankering after the past”, is primarily driven by:
“affection for the present; for what actually exists. He has an eye for all the ways his surroundings afford a good life, or provide raw materials for the building of such a life. He wants to preserve the present world, not out of fearful, small-minded rejection of the possible, but because he has a greater awareness of the resources of the actual, which may be lost if we are not careful. In other words, he feels gratitude for the world, and a sense of obligation to it.”
The other is the “rationalist” who:
“looks at the world and is offended by the waste, the inefficiency, the chaos, the suffering, the grotesque failures of optimisation, and wants to set it right. He has a vision of a better world, and that is where he lives, in devotion to his vision.”
When you read a headline like “Just when in history did men decide that women are not funny?” you know you are in the presence of this sort of person, who regards history, society and possibly reality itself as basically a shabby and unnecessary plot. And while Crawford thinks you need both kinds to make a world, they need to be in balance whereas nowadays the rationalists are confident, articulate and well-funded while the latter “is apologetic and defensive” and “sometimes doubts his own sanity.”
Crawford then quotes a transhumanist, who he considers “just an over-the-top caricature of the rationalist. Like most caricatures, it brings into relief the defining features of the original through exaggeration.” This particular transhumanist burbles that:
“I’d like to bring your attention to the issue with nature and biology that transhumanists have: that it’s fundamentally flawed, and likely even immoral to perpetuate, given its tendency to predation, disease, and death. Simply said, all nature and biology, from plants, to wildlife, to people, are something to be overcome and totally replaced with the synthetic. No one with even the slightest bit of compassion would ever create a world like ours, filled with so much suffering. It must all be undone, and remade with technology, justice, and equality.”
Crazy? Sure. And an eerie echo of C.S. Lewis’s ghastly Dr. Filostrato who compares organic life on Earth to mold and maggots. But also very much along the lines of what people like Canada’s Prime Minister, America’s President, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Greta Thunberg and a great many others currently hogging the mic routinely say.
It is the conceit of pretty much every major Western politician and many activists, that, while governments learned decades ago not to try to pick individual winners and losers among firms, or technologies, it is quite straightforward to revamp the entire structure of an economy and a society including its values, while in their spare time also tending effortlessly to other minor matters like national security.
Indeed, a pretentiously titled “Declaration of North America” (DNA, get it, cute, huh?) from the “three amigos” on Jan. 10 said “Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and President Joseph R. Biden met in Mexico City for the tenth North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS). The leaders are determined to fortify our region’s security, prosperity, sustainability and inclusiveness through commitments across six pillars: 1) diversity, equity, and inclusion; 2) climate change and the environment; 3) competitiveness; 4) migration and development; 5) health; and 6) regional security.”
Wow. Hardly leaves time to govern, does it?
Such bloviation flows effortlessly from the tongue of our Prime Minister. For instance the Jan. 9 press release “Statement by the Prime Minister on the selection of the next Premier of the Yukon” claiming:
“Together, we will work to advance key priorities for people in the territory and across the country. This includes making life more affordable, building an economy that works for everyone in the Yukon, moving forward on the shared path of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, taking ambitious action in the fight against climate change, expanding access to child care for Yukon families, and improving access to safe, affordable housing and quality health care.”
Includes? You mean there’s more? Of course. For instance “to build healthy and resilient communities in the Yukon and a better future for all Canadians.” Or rather to “continue” to do so. Just as when he met with the president of Niger (who you couldn’t name on a dare and neither could he) he claimed that:
“Met with President @MohamedBazoum today. We spoke about the work his government is doing to advance gender equality, fight climate change, and strengthen democracy and regional security – and how we can make progress on the priorities that people in Niger and Canada care about.”
Like having affordable energy, a government that’s not insolvent, and a real job? Heck no. We fixed all that with our minds, like witches.