This week an unprecedented 481 icebergs swarmed into the shipping lanes of a storm-tossed North Atlantic. Strong hurricane force winds had ripped these bergs from their sea ice moored haven of Baffin Bay and thrust them into the ocean waters off Newfoundland. The week before, there were only 37 such icebergs in the Atlantic’s far… Continue reading An Armada of Icebergs Has Just Invaded The North Atlantic – robertscribbler
This is the problem with Crook’s brand of High Broderist faux-moderation. Crook says he supports some kind of carbon tax and public funding for research and mitigation, but he quite obviously hasn’t given the slightest thought as to whether that policy would be enough to achieve his climate goals, or even what those goals are. Instead, he just implicitly assumes that the best solution is one that doesn’t disrupt the status quo very much.
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Political moderation on climate change is many things, but perhaps the most important one is that, as we’ve seen, it is incredibly risky. Such a position is, in effect, courting tremendous damage to human civilization to avoid admitting that the greens might be right about something.1
As for differences between right and left today, the claim that “both sides do it” only qualifies as “Broderism” if you have already determined that one version of the politically correct actually is correct in connection with specific circumstances or issues. Having concluded that climate change theory is correct, that the problem is of paramount importance, and that solving the problem requires the assent of non-scientists, we seem to have no choice but to insist on an ideologically correct line, or coercive enforcement of its dictates, rather than an impossible or at least unlikely process of turning every influential individual or masses of voters into climate scientists. If the political left or green left has the only possible solution to the paramount problem,2 then the fact that the left might also be susceptible or even more susceptible to the substitution of ideological discipline for thought or open inquiry would be either secondary or even potentially a plus. Both sides may “do it,” but even being the only side that “did it” would be decisive only if “doing it” impaired achievement of the paramount and indispensable aim. The last is, however, very possible in a liberal democratic political culture, or, put differently, liberal democracy with its moderating or compromising tendencies becomes itself a principal impediment to achievement of the paramount and indispensable aim.
The resulting problem can be put abstractly, or under maximal heightening of respective positions, as follows: If the only way to avert climate change catastrophe is, eventually, the immoderate or total state, then the question would be whether the total state without climate change catastrophe would be better than the moderate or liberal democratic state with climate change catastrophe.
Ecologism comes as close to dialectical materialism as positive or bourgeois science can while still remaining positive science, somewhat in the same manner as cognitive science and physics approach each other at their limits, but on the level of lived history. Nature itself, including human nature, the working world itself, turns out always to have already filled the revolutionary opening that we workers of the world have never quite managed to occupy. The Earth is the true proletarian.
I am not asserting that conquering the will to conquer nature, or conquering human nature, or ending conquering, etc., whichever or whatever it comes to, must entail great violence, nor am I calling for it. I am however recognizing that violence would in some sense be normal, because whether or not you or I call for it, many seem fully prepared to demand it. Even and especially the most committed pacifists would therefore still be asked to risk their lives at least, and to be entangled in risks of life borne by others. In another sense, we, or some of us, are already undergoing or engaging in violence. The catastrophe is indeed very well under way if, along with acts that cause human suffering as normally understood, we treat habitat destruction, species extinction, factory slaughter, and so on, as forms of industrialized warfare against natural life. In that sense, it’s too late for “peaceful change,” though it may not be too late for less violent change, or even for less and less violent change.
Avoiding climate catastrophe requires of democratic capitalism that it embrace its own absolute contradiction – catastrophically.