Irreverent Reverends & Anti-Technological, Anti-Bureaucratic Technocrats-Some Climate Links

I don’t mean to imply some people have turned their limited understanding of climate data into an anti-human, anti-science cult. Given human nature, such a turn of events is completely unforseeable!

Aside from passionate crazies, however, there are certainly not people who’ve turned global warming into a gnawing, apocryphal certainty; certain enough to offload their own fears of death into abstract ideals which might live beyond them.  This can lead to technocracy as a form of leadership; knowledge implemented through institutional bureaucracy and more diffuse accountability.  Plenty of journalists and aspiring professionals will follow those incentives into careers, opportunity and authority.

Some poets, even, and there’s certainly not any postmodern mysticism, anti-science rationalism and irrationalism to be found around and about:

A reader sends a link to a SF Gate review of poet Jorie Graham’s ‘Sea Change:

‘In “Sea Change,” Graham becomes Prospero, casting spells by spelling out her thoughts to merge with ours, and with the voices of the elements. The result is a mingling of perceptions rather than a broadcasting of opinions. Instead of analysis, the poems encourage emotional involvement with the drastic changes overwhelming us, overwhelm- ing the planet.’

and:

‘Strengths and weaknesses, flows and ebbs, yet every poem in “Sea Change” bears memorable lines, with almost haunting (if we truly have but 10 years to “fix” global warming) images of flora and fauna under siege. Jorie Graham has composed a swan song for Earth.’

Oh boy.

Older folks are left to display one’s virtue, good behavior and rule-following among the living.  That Tesla sure is sleek. Show off that new canvas bag.  Scowl at the plastic one. This binds people up together and keeps social harmony.  The knowledge is here, all that’s left is the wise, equal, and just enforcement of new rules.  Don’t you want to be good?

Maybe we can turn this thing around after all, discovering that Romantically primitive modern Eden upon the horizon.  We must act.

Alas, young, true believers, reformers and the narrowly righteous see deeper, of course, through the hypocrisy of a more settled complacency.  Tim Black at Spiked: “The Ongoing Creation Of Greta Thunberg.

They can become heroes to some, rather pathetic ciphers to others:

‘It is all very disconcerting. From her breakdown, to her recitation of carbon-emission facts, the Greta that emerges in Our House is on Fire doesn’t feel like an individual. She feels like a fictional device. A God’s fool-style character, descended down to Earth to expose our folly.’

And by no means are those on the political Left, often seeking radical revolution and ‘Capitalism’s’ overthrow for the new ‘scientific’ Socialism to come, involved here.   Institutions are clearly not susceptible to committed ideologues, operating upon failed theories of (H)istory, forcing themselves into institutions (which radicals don’t normally recognize as having moral legitimacy, unless and until it’s their moral legitimacy).

What if you have an opposing, or different view to a majority?  Isn’t that the point of free speech?

Bruce Everett on this book:

‘It’s de rigueur on college campuses to pledge allegiance to the climate agenda, denouncing Luddites who impede progress on the climate policies that all right-thinking people support. Those of us who work in academia are used to this ritual, but every once in a while an academic decides to distinguish himself by making his denunciation louder and more strident than the rest of the crowd. ‘

From a reader: Christopher Essex discusses ‘Believing In Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, And Climate Models:’

It really shouldn’t be that difficult a thing to keep a strong interest in the natural world and a desire to understand it quite apart from such true-belief, collectivist virtue-signalling, hyperbole and ideology.

This stuff is complicated!
As previously posted:

Repost-‘Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?’

Land Art Links Along A With A Quite Modernist W.S. Merwin Poem

William Logan At The New Criterion: ‘Pound’s Metro’…Monday Poem: ‘A Pact’ By Ezra Pound

-Daniel Dennett: ‘Postmodernism And Truth’

Via A Reader-Isaiah Berlin’s Lectures On The Roots Of Romanticism. Romanticism–>Modernism–>Postmodernism–>Wherever We’re Heading Now

Maybe it all started with Beethoven: Everyone’s a (S)elf.

I’d argue that this ‘postmodern’ problem also likely bleeds out into other causes, and abstract ideas, like the Climate.

Amy Payne At The Foundry: ‘Morning Bell: Obama Administration Buries Good News on Keystone Pipeline’

Full post here.

‘Late last Friday, the State Department released a positive environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama has been delaying this pipeline—which would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas—for more than three years.’

There could be more stalling to come, even with growing bi-partisan support for the pipeline and the State Department’s report, as the President and needs to work to keep his political coalition together (the unions want jobs, the greens want ecotopia).

The NY Times puts it another way:

“…a choice between alienating environmental advocates who overwhelmingly supported his candidacy or causing a deep and perhaps lasting rift with Canada.” 

Is this really where we are as a nation?  Alienating Canada? 

The line of reasoning I heard on the radio from the Sierra Club spokesman today was:  Even though Canada is shipping ever more tar sands oil down by rail to the Gulf anyways, we can wait out current Prime Minister Stephen Harper until the next election (he’s from Alberta and swimming, no doubt, in the pockets of big, dirty oil).   Using executive orders is how we got here in the first place, and the Sierra Club wants still more. 

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If you’re still on the fence on the matter, and see some good in this movement (who cleans up after a spill?…shouldn’t we conserve the natural environment?…don’t big business and big gov’t already get together on such matters anyways?), I’d argue that you should also weigh the true costs of environmental activism:  Much bigger and expanding bureaucracy, political coalitions like Obama’s (unions, greens, activists etc) tied more closely with the money supply.  There tends to be slower economic growth and costs shifted to consumers, businesses, and private property owners. 

Everybody tends to pay more for everything (especially gas) and there are fewer jobs, which doesn’t always lead to better conservation of the environment, but does tend to nudge society toward more collectivist principles of organization, rewarding some and punishing others along the way.   This is one of the big drivers of California’s current economic troubles.

Related On This Site: The best arguments for industrial regulation I’ve heard come from Mill’s harm principle:  From George Monbiot: ‘How Freedom Became Tyranny’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘The Failure of Al Gore Part Three: Singing the Climate Blues’

Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty

From The American Spectator: ‘Environmentalism and the Leisure Class’From The Literary Review–Weather Channel Green Ideology: Founder John Coleman Upset….The Weather Channel’s Green Blog: A Little Too GreenFrom The Washington Post: The Weather Channel’s Forecast Earth Team Fired