Missionaries in the service of climate ideology.
Far too many of our so-called climate “experts” are not so much dispassionate scientists or rational thinkers as they are pedestal theorists and instinctual religious crusaders, generally on the Left. It is no surprise that Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, invoked the Mayan moon goddess Ixchel to bless the Cancun Climate Summit in December 2010. President Obama’s former Special Advisor for Green Jobs, the neo-Marxist Van Jones, was one of these aggressive-sentimental votaries. Jones apparently enjoyed a divine revelation, enthusing in his 2008 book The Green Collar Economy, that Green jobs will enable us to “heal the land and repair the soul.” Carbon taxes now resemble the traffic in Indulgences during the medieval era as energy sinners buy absolution from a profiteering clergy. Computer models have become the sacred texts of this new breed of true believers who, despite the contradictions, disparities and corruptions found therein, insist on toeing the orthodox line.
These are “texts” that should be marked with an obelus, as writings of questionable value. They are, quite frankly, a sort of legerdemain. One thinks, too, of the famous dictum attributed to Tertullian: Credo quia absurdum (I believe because it is absurd.) Actually, the Church Father had written: credibile est, quia ineptum est (probability can be derived from improbability). Same difference. Climate warmists are the Tertullians of the modern age, extracting conviction from rank implausibility and offering their legendary computer models as proofs of the ineffable.
For Lord Christopher Monckton, who specializes in exploring scientific frauds, the reasoning of our climate extremists represents an instance of the logical fallacy known as the argumentum ad petitionem principii, where the premise is also the conclusion. “We tell the computer models that there will be strong warming if we add CO2 to the air. The models show there will be strong warming. Therefore the warming is our fault” (Financial Post, April 21, 2012). Monckton’s scathing and authoritative analysis, predicated on Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations, tears the anthropogenic thesis to wretched little shreds. (Aristotle’s volume is well worth consulting; as the philosopher points out in introducing his subject, “things made of litharge and tin seem to be of silver, while those made of yellow metal seem to be golden.” The application to the current form of “climate science” and its pseudo-scriptural psalters is obvious.)
In an open letter sponsored by the Cato Institute addressed to President Obama, himself a stalwart adherent of the climate change hypothesis, over a hundred scientists from more than a dozen countries stressed that “the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated” and that the “computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior” (Climate Science, March 31, 2009). Still more piquant, climate modeling even fails to “predict” the past. In an online article entitled “Deep Ecology, Neo-Paganism and the Irrationalism of Global Warming Hysteria” (January 2008), E. Calvin Beisner, founder of the Cornwall Alliance for Environmental Stewardship, has shown how rickety such computer constructs are. He writes: “In their most candid moments, the modelers know the models do not describe and cannot properly be used to predict future temperatures. They know the models fail even to retrodict past climate without multiple and enormous ad hoc adjustments.” That Beisner is an evangelical Christian who has resisted the temptation to turn what passes for science into theology is encouraging.
As often as not, the constructs that emerge in the theoretical sim world do not qualify as proof of what happens in the real world. Rich Trzupek fittingly remarks, “‘climate change’ is a figment of a computer’s imagination” (FrontPage Magazine, February 1, 2012). But this has not prevented the climate models from becoming the Authorized Version. NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin, who has professed some skepticism about certain aspects of global warming research, especially with regard to these theoretical computer models that tend, as he says, to run before they have learned to walk, was startled to realize that “you can’t express any sort of contrary opinion or a comment without it being treated almost as a religious issue” (Newsmax.com, March 17, 2008). Princeton physicist William Happer, writing in the Wall Street Journal (March 27, 2012) is of the same mind, bemoaning that “what used to be science has turned into a cult” and denouncing the “credulous support of schemes to reduce ‘carbon footprints’…by funding ever more computer centers to predict global warming.”
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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