Thursday, June 07, 2007
We are witnessing the continuing development of a narrative designed to bring the world together, namely the rhetoric of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Putting aside, for the moment, an assessment of the merits of the War on Terror (WoT), including Iraq, it is clear that the US has encountered acrimony from various parts of the globe for the prosecution of the war. Even inside the US, we are experiencing bitter conflicts around the WoT, immigration, healthcare, etc. In many respects the level of anger, conflict, and other tensions have reached a fever pitch over the last several years. The “world” (via the prism of the major commercial media outlets) hates the US. And while we have always encountered the accusations of the “ugly American”, this seems different. And yet Americans desire to be liked. In general this is a friendly country to which immigrants become acculturated more smoothly than anywhere else on earth. I think that many Americans could tolerate being disliked for a while, but after less than expected evidence around the WMD question, the images of Abu Ghraib, accusations about Gitmo, the sheer difficulty of pacifying an ancient country rife with religious and tribal tensions, etc., well we want to be liked again.
At the same time, for all of the sniping, name-calling, “cheese-eating”, perfidy, etc., many other countries, deep down inside, want the US to take care of this problem (i.e., Islamofascism) and be the bad guys, so they don’t have to. Surely France, Germany, Great Britain et al. are worried about immigration and lack of acculturation of people who use the liberties available to promote a retrograde view of humanity and actively seek to gradually transform those countries. Many of our Euro buddies understand in a deep level, which they fear giving voice to, that appeasement only buys relief for today but trouble for tomorrow. Blaming the US while looking the other way in their own lands is like throwing some red meat to a lion; if you don’t have a lot more of it, where will his next meal come from?
Global warming gives a variety of people the way to “make nice” with each other. We can join hands and save the planet. Even scientists decide the issue by “consensus” rather than by thorough, accurate, appropriately cautious data collection, including challenges to the data collection and interpretation as is expected from any discipline that presumes to take the falsification principle seriously. By agreeing it’s the “big” problem, we are to put aside our differences. “Skeptics” are to be treated with derision. The question is said to be “settled” (there we can all agree about that). The remaining questions involve what to “do” about it. And most of the solutions appear to be either quasi-socialism or outright socialism, again to make level, to obliterate differences. There are to be no differences, no competition. We are to all agree.
AGW offers modern people and modern societies a secular sacrament. It is a New Penance: Forgive me, Gaia, for I have sinned. It’s been 5 yrs. since my last recycling. Instead of saying the rosary or davening, we can chant “sustainability” and become pure again. And now virtually everyone is getting in to the act. Even ChimpyMcBushitler is on board, although new religions may seek new sacrificial lambs. We will be told that it is the evil market system, which creates this problem. And that will lead to being told it is the individual’s pursuit of self-interest that lay at the heart of the warming- even life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness may come to be seen as culprits, if they haven’t already been. Top-down enforced social cooperation will save us from ourselves. A new god would be born, until…. Well, that wouldn’t really be paradise, and even the true believers would find that out at some point. But they could wreak a lot of hell in the meantime.