October 17, 2017
Author: Chilton Williamson
Barak Obama’s words “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” have come to stand as the motto of his presidency. (Their author was actually the black Caribbean bisexual poetess June Jordan.) Similarly, “This is the one we’ve been waiting for” is a succinct representation of the issue of climatic change the international left has taken as its Gaia-sent pretext for a global government, or rather global governance, by the scientists and other “experts.”
A review of almanacs going back a couple of centuries, national and international records, economic history, and common sense shows that the change in global climate observable today is both real and at least partly caused by the Industrial Revolution that got under way at the start of the 19th century. Industrialism was the material result of the deliberate replacement of speculative and theoretical science, known up until the 17th century or shortly before as “philosophy,” by practical science as a determined attempt to give humanity the greatest achievable power over nature, a self-conscious intellectual project building on Sir Francis Bacon’s dictum “Knowledge is power.” Industrialism, on the other hand, was not a concerted program but the ad hoc opportunistic pursuit of technique necessary to build machines of increasing utility to men and nations, their business and commercial interests and governments especially. Practical though its intentions were, the industrial system has never made natural, human, political, cultural, or even economic sense for reasons I cannot consider here but which have become increasingly clear with the passage of time and the course of civilization. Clearly industrialism, seen from the Christian perspective, has been sacrilegious in its conception, its development, and its results. Today, we are witnessing the public admission of that fact—strangely enough, less often by Christians than by secularists and pagans, who are proposing to reverse the unhealthy and destructive effects of industrialism not by dismantling it (the left, every bit as greedy and grasping and luxury-loving as the rest of us, wants to have its cake, eat it, and go on to bake many more cakes), but by using scientific expertise to adjust it and political expertise to exploit it for political ends. Unlike the building up of the industrial system in the 19th and 20th centuries by “rugged” and fiercely competitive individuals and their companies, the efforts under way to “save our planet” are part of a self-conscious, deeply moralistic, and well-coordinated project of the global elites and the left to accomplish what international communism failed at doing. Their aim is to rule the planet, whether incidentally “saving” it or not. The extent to which the movement, with its carefully cultivated aura of a religious crusade, has succeeded in concealing its motives while winning support for its agenda is suggested by one particular document hailed by progressives everywhere, despite its authorship by the world’s most prominent Christian: the papal encyclical Laudato si’, issued from the Vatican in 2015, whose prescriptions for reversing global warming are notable chiefly for their congruity with the means advocated by the pagan experts and politicians who are running the wider show. As industrialism was developed with no broad concern for, and no thought given to, its implications for the future of the natural world, so the climatic-change agenda is being pursued with no consideration for the welfare of the human environment—for political, corporate, associational, and individual freedom and autonomy, and the general principle of subsidiarity.
Beyond the political and moral objections to the Climate Crusade lie a large number of practical ones. Unfavorable or unwanted climatic change is precisely the sort of challenge that human groups—naturally rivalrous, self-regarding, self-aggrandizing, advantage-seeking, dishonest, and deceitful in their relations with one another—are least suited to address in a fair, honest, free, competent, and effective way. Uniting or consolidating these associations, more or less by force, from the tribal level up to the national one to establish “a world without nations” would only boot the problems that today exist in a national context to a higher level of human organization. The ever-upward translation of political responsibility has been liberalism’s solution for individual and collective problems for almost as long as liberalism has existed. The liberal certainty that assigning responsibility to a higher, wider, vaguer, and less accountable authority is the answer to otherwise intractable difficulties is based on the mistaken assumption that the higher authority will be more visionary, competent, effective, disinterested, honest, and altruistic than those below it. History has disproved this confidence. The Industrial Revolution could not possibly have been planned in advance, as the hideous results of the effort to create overnight an efficient and acceptable alternative to it in the Soviet Union showed. The same goes for socialism as a rational plan to construct a global utopia and for “socialism in one country,” the project Stalin adopted for the Soviet Union after the internationalist one had collapsed.
Beyond the impossibility of an effective, honest, fair, and republican international political structure to halt or reverse climatic change are the overwhelming complexities of weather and atmospherics as natural phenomena and also those of “the science,” as people say today, whose findings are not only partial but widely disputed despite the pretense of consensus the “scientific community” makes in order to present a common political front to the world. Though scientists seem largely agreed (or say they are) on “what we know” on the broad outlines of climatic activity, they are far from agreeing on a great many of the details, many of which are certain to be crucial in trying to control, as well as understand, it. And even were climatic change sufficiently well understood in its general principles, the particular variables are too various to be humanly comprehensible in toto. Moreover, as scientists like to remind us all, science is conducted by their “scientific method” that includes trial and error and a process of experimentation involving the presence of controls to offset the experiment. It is hard to see how, in what they warn is a fast-moving, cumulative, and critical natural process, there could possibly be time for satisfactory experiment and for the design of adequate controls and their efficient observation. There is, of course, no adequate control available to stand in for Earth herself. Finally, beyond agreeing on what measures need to be taken to counter climatic change, we, “the world community” (liberalism recognizes what must be scores of these largely imagined “communities”), must be able to agree not only on what is to be done, but to whom. But both of these things are plainly impossible. If the government of the United States cannot balance the federal budget, if the British government has difficulty extracting the United Kingdom from the European Union, and if the E.U. cannot agree on the desirability of defensible borders to protect its 27 members from foreign invasion, it is madness to suppose that the “world community” could possibly resolve what the scientific one tells us is a global problem of what remain unimaginable dimensions. The left is aware of the fact, of course, and perhaps some of the scientists are as well, they being notorious for their invincible ignorance of human nature (no matter how much psychology the psychologists know) and their hopeless and oft-demonstrated political naiveté. But for them, it all is beside the point, their final objective being the acquisition of an unholy power, not a cooler planet.
Supposing human beings really do have the ability to “save the planet”—a more than dubious supposition—no attempt at any such project could be made without the global imposition of authoritarian, perhaps even totalitarian, societies using authoritarian means to forward it. This forces the question of whether the human race is morally obligated to enslave itself to a global politburo of scientific and political “experts” for the purpose of preventing radical, or even catastrophic, climatic change. The question is a theological one, sure to be swept aside and ignored by secularists and other pagans as irrelevant. (They already have Pope Francis on their side, anyway.) Yet the Bible tells us that the world was made for man. And if man chooses to unmake that world, as indeed he seems to have done, it will be of his own free will that he does it. And so it is only just that he should suffer the natural consequences of what Alexander von Humboldt in the early 19th century called his “meddling”—but suffer in his intact God-given human nature, not some warped half-human one forced upon him by tyrannical powers wielding the butt end of a gun and thought control. Ecologists and environmentalists object to this argument by pointing to the “innocent” animal kingdom, and even the vegetable and mineral ones. Why should these suffer extinction and destruction when Homo sapiens, at some sacrifice to himself, can save them? But to recur to theology, the Creator and Author of life made these lower kingdoms subordinate to men. And the Bible assures us that “This world is passing away,” to be succeeded by “a new Heaven and a new Earth” in which all will be made not only healthy and whole again, but also glorified. Even modern scientists, who predict that the world will end as a funeral pyre consumed by solar fire a few billion years hence, seem to view its destruction with equanimity. And our own destruction as well. The brain is purely an electric phenomenon, they say, not the finite material organ of an eternal spirit, and this claim, too, they calmly accept. What then are several billion years—or a few hundred, or a few score, or a few tens—more or less of Earth and mortal existence? Better sooner than later, perhaps, if the alternative is that men, whose souls are infinite, should be condemned to sacrifice the health and integrity of those souls on the altar of a finite and doomed world.
Still, the appeal to theology and the supernatural appears unnecessary and even beside the point when we turn from the world of science and the millenarian dreams of ambitious totalitarians to that of work-a-day politics early in the 21st century. While man-made global warming is real enough, and what globalists wish to make of it should be equally obvious to everyone, their grim and gray fortresses in the air will likely remain up there during a period defined by an angry reaction against globalism, economic elites, and political establishments everywhere on the part of people who are out of patience—and more—with “experts.” Whatever “populism” is, and however one defines it, the “populists” themselves can be counted on to resist a global mobilization of political and economic agents crusading to “save the planet.” They are simply not going to allow it to proceed, since to vote a lot of anti-Promethean politicians out of office is a much easier job than constructing an international system capable of stealing fire back from us mortals, whom it has warmed and fed for ages, and returning it to the gods.
Originally Published by Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture September 7th, 2017