A New Beginning?

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.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post.

In his speech to Congress, Czech president Vaclav Klaus said This excessive human pride – just as the previous attempts – cannot but fail. The world is a complex and complicated system that cannot be organized according to an environmentalist human design, without repeating the tragic experience of wasting resources, suppressing people’s freedom, and destroying the prosperity of the whole human society.

Most of us know this. Yet the impetus to do so remains, as it has for the past 50 years.

Rick Ballard said...

"Forgive me, Gaia, for I have sinned."

Nope - that clearly states a personal responsibility. A central tenet of socia... er Gaiaism is that the individual has no personal responsibility for anything. Every individual is merely a product of their environment and everyone knows that the Dark Forces control all aspects of the environment.

I think the proper wording might be "Forgive us Gaia, for allowing THEM to sin."

With that formulation the rationale for the necessary reeducation camps is firmly established.

Barry Dauphin said...


I understand what you are getting at and it is onto something but...

There is a lot of shame attached to the enviro movement. Each of us are supposed to feel shame. And while there are attempts to rhetorically diffuse the responsibility, each person is supposed to be "god" too. I think that there is a different kind of problem built in to this movement. It is trying to square the circle of socialism with new ageism. And the New Age tries to retain many properties of individuality, while having the collectivist whole feel-good stuff. I think even many proponents of soft proponents of the Gaia stuff will ultimately not like losing the individuality. But your point is realy good and well worth pondering.

Barry Dauphin said...

thanks, Skook. Pride goeth before the fall.

Rick Ballard said...


It takes a neologism like 'ideotheology' to encompass a few more facets of what's going on. I relate your comment, "each person is supposed to be "god" too" to MHA's excellent post on self-actualization. The 'individualist' component is elevated, so that a gesture of futility, say, recycling, is a positive act of faith while anything to do with CO2 emmissions is a sin, but really a "we're all responsible" collective sin. The "collective pride" bit comes into play through the acknowledgement of collective guilt to be accompanied by advocacy for the elimination of either plastic or paper bags (depending upon the denomination) or attaching a "Save the Earth" sticker to the bumper of the beater driven to show "solidariety with the people". The New Ager may just be a manifestation of gnosticism. Secret and hidden "knowledge", available only to the elect, is rather endemic to both branchs.

I'm not sure that Tantulus even knows what he's reaching for anymore.

If we could just get the true believers to agree to commit to a 'No Personal CO2 Emission Day', a lot of problems would resolve themselves rather quickly.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

As Offworld pointed out to me, carbon-dioxide emission is the new "sex". We all do it and are made to feel guilt and shame for our completely natural and unavoidable behavior.

Rick Ballard said...


It's gonna take a lot more effort to get me to the 'shame' part. I'd say more but I have to follow up a lead on a supercharger that's guaranteed to work with the dual 4-barrels I just had installed...

Barry Dauphin said...


And I spoke a little too quickly about shame and the individual. Certainly shame is used in very collectivist or group-oriented societies to maintain "harmony" (e.g., Japan). I think that the New Ageism is partly an attempt to "keep" many of the things we like about individuality while having the "benefits" of the collective (We are Borg).

Tantalus wants to have it all, even if he doesn't know what that is.

Should AGW really be a problem, I still expect some basic American pragmatism to arrive in the picture, as it generally does at some point--imperfect but perfectly acceptable solutions. It will be disappointing to the hard core Gaia-philes, because they have a wholly different agenda. But there ain't one thing they are gonna be able to do about it.