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This imperious and self-righteous tendency is part of the missionary afflatus that has come to dominate the sensibility of the West—e.g., exporting democracy to the Arabs, or instilling utopian socialism in a generation of university students, or, in the case under consideration, saving the planet through media conversion or legislative force. Political science has, in effect, become dominical theology. Too many of us tend to divert our spiritual needs from the numinous to the meretricious, and to play the God we have abandoned by believing, to quote Peter Foster, that we “can intelligently design both the global economy and the weather” (National Post, April 11, 2012).
Indeed, the transformation of politics into a debased type of religion may be the bedrock definition of that otherwise debatable term, “fascism,” further specified as “ecofascism” by Janet Biehl and Peter Staudermaier in their book of that title. This would be true in many different spheres of human endeavor as an entire cultural world is gradually emptied of its marrow and vitality and rendered unsustainable in the long run. As the authors write in their follow-up book Ecofascism Revisited, “It is easy to overlook the fact that there are still virulent strains of fascism in our political culture,” especially in the guise of what they call “reactionary ecology.” Similarly, in our present context, observes Jonah Goldberg in Liberal Fascism, “environmentalism gives license to the sort of moral bullying and intrusion that, were it couched in terms of traditional morality, liberals would immediately denounce as fascist.”
A perfect illustration of environmental fascism at work is provided by Steve Zwick of Forbes Magazine (April 19, 2012), who writes: “We know who the active denialists are…Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn until the innocent are rescued. Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands.” Res ipsa loquitur. As expected, Zwick’s screed leans on brazenly tendentious items. He cites a Yale and Georgetown poll, claiming that 72% of Americans “see a link between weather and our own actions.” Given their politically correct origins, such figures are highly dubious. The far more reliable Rasmussen survey reports that 51% of Americans attribute extreme weather to “long-term planetary trends”; only 19% “blame human activity” (Rasmussen Reports, May 13, 2011). Similarly, Zwick’s claim that the earliest climate models “have proven accurate over time” flies in the face of the real facts. Zwick is a fervent warmist and his deposition is essentially a casuistical and fundamentalist document, an expression of dogma rather than disinterested inquiry.
The ginned-up environmental fright has given these quasi-religious enthusiasts, statist visionaries and power-seekers the “green light” to legislative domination of Western electorates and the projected reorganization of society along synodic or absolutist lines. The numbers, graphs, charts and formulae regularly brandished before us to buttress their machinations look impressive, at least initially. Looks, as the old adage admonishes, can be deceiving, and this is doubly so when the partisans of an ominous intention cannily affect a passionate love for the planet and a solicitude for the future of humanity. But apart from those who are in the game for the abundant perks they can reap, they are, regrettably and for the most part, ardent zealots who have mixed politics and theology to everyone’s cost—including their own. For what we are now witnessing was predicted long ago by that most prescient of philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche, in The Will to Power, namely, the rise of “the millenarian urge in temporal form,” whose consequences will be devastating. Until these eco-fanatics are finally put to shame and their liturgical extravagances laid bare, we will continue to swelter in the heat of their thermogenic rhetoric.
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