Donnerstag, Mai 31, 2007

Doom and gloom and how much they enjoy it...

Everytime there is a sustained period of economic development, those who tend not to fully partake of the benefits of same seek emotional compensation by choosing some aspect of the good times to blame for everything bad.

Hence now with global warming. It's become now the cause celebre, the enfant terrible of the dissatisfied, with those whose participation in the current huge global upswing is less than they think it is their due, and who want to make life miserable for so many.

This link underscores this: the whole global warming activist scene is one filled with drama queens and kings, screaming "The Sky Is Falling" so loudly that no one dares critique them. The animosity displayed towards anyone daring to challenge the orthodoxy is stifling and dangerous: these people don't merely want to take your money to spend on their pet projects, they really want to control your lives by either taxing certain behavior out of existence or via making it highly immoral and disgusting to, say, take a vacation in the Maledives.

This is, for me, one of the key points that Josie Appleton raises here:

We can see how social anxieties – a fear of change, a sense of the fragility of things – guide the questions that scientists ask, and the kinds of theories that ring true.

The world is, economically, going through rather significant changes, and it is indeed something people have to take into account. It's been a basic fact for my generation that you may have 3 or 4 completely different jobs during a lifetime, something my parent's generation would have seen as a sign of someone not knowing what they want to do in life. My children's generation is even more detached from the concept of career and doing one thing for your whole life: my daughters have no idea what they will be doing, nor do their friends. Contrast that with the certainty that others, less flexible, show and their horror at the idea that buggy whips won't always be in demand.

Consider what Al Gore wrote in his book An Inconvenient Truth:

The climate crisis also offers us the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause; the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence; the opportunity to rise…. When we do rise, it will fill out spirits and bind us together. Those who are now suffocating in cynicism and despair will be able to breathe freely. Those who are now suffering from a loss of meaning in their lives will find hope.'

Those are his italics, not mine: this is almost a textbook case of teleology. Put simply, this means that there is no such thing in and for itself, but rather that there is a final cause or purpose inherent in everything.

The global warming folks don't want you to listen: they want to own your soul. Their evangelical fervor is more similar to religious revivals than it is to dispassionate scientific discourse, as anyone who has dared to contradict them publicly has learned (me, I doubt the basis for their temperature reconstructions: there is too much manipulation of numbers by those who have been shown to use the wrong methodologies to reconstruct the past: see Mann et al. for the dangers of fine-tuning your reconstruction curves so that they always give you the same results, regardless of what numbers you put into them). As Josie aptly puts it:

Carbon dioxide becomes the nexus between individuals, the thing that connects us to other people and to the future of the planet. This infuses the most banal acts with a deep moral meaning. Choosing a particular brand of washing machine, or taking the train rather than the car, become acts laden with significance. Washing clothes contributes to the future of civilisation. Buying strawberries affects the fate of the planet. In the main, that effect is negative: by seeking to fulfil our own wants and pursue our own goals, we are condemning other people to death. The way we help the whole is by reining in our wants, for example by buying strawberries in summer only.

The carbon calculator involves an almost pathological indifference towards the significance of the things we do. Plane journeys to see sick relatives or to visit prostitutes are weighed the same, in parts per million. The ways in which human beings judge whether something was worthwhile – Did it have a useful result? Did it bring joy or pain? – are suspended. The planet doesn’t care either way. The planet’s indifference to the passions and trials of human life becomes the worldview we ourselves assume. Again, we see how global warming appears to provide the answer to a dilemma – how we live, and how we should structure and judge our lives – but that it does that by abolishing the question. It solves the dilemma of moral meaning by abolishing all meaning.

I'd modify this somewhat: it doesn't solve the dilemma of moral meaning by abolishing all meaning, but rather subjugating all meaning to be subservient to the higher moral meaning of ecological absolutism. It makes what is fundamentally an open sum game into a closed sum game, one where my mere existence means that others die.

The world is not a closed sum game. You cannot solve a closed-sum game: you can only redistribute the limited options. An open-sum game, on the other hand, means that you can solve problems by thinking outside of the box: the environmentalist extremists would want you to not even consider that. They don't want you to come up with a solution to the problem, because they are making their livelihood dependent on ensuring that it becomes a generational problem that cannot be solved.

In other words, it's a scam, one of the most degenerate and vile scams there are: selling salvation to the damned. Again Josie:

But the more that society defines itself in relation to global warming, the less willing it is to let go. Global warming is now not so much a problem to solve, as an issue around which to reorganise society. This is more Noah’s flood than Clean Air Act, and the lesson is in the sins of hubris and consumerism. Global warming is sent to show people that ... they are ‘wasting their lives commuting to work in cars’. (The) proposed solution – to ‘cut our need for energy by living less consumptive lifestyles’ – will apparently form the basis of a new and happier society.

In other words: it is nothing less than the attempt to build a Brave New World. One of complete and total control, since, as Josie points out, unless that happens, energy usage, flying, trade will all continue to increase.

And that is intolerable to these control freaks.

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