Friday, June 26, 2009

Lethal Exposure

"Good News for People Who Love Bad News". The title of this Modest Mouse album was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news that the House narrowly passed the global warming bill. Practically, this bill even turned many Democrats off, and it will face severe resistance in the Senate so there is still hope that this economy crushing, rights violating, power grab by the left can be stopped. Secondly, and more importantly, I think there might be a silver lining.

In a previous post, I attempted to explain why I think Americans are so easily taken in by the apocalyptic prophecies and pseudo-science of the environmentalist movement. This movement, which relies on guilt and the veneer of science, combines together every ideological ingredient necessary to take full advantage of a culture steeped in altruism and intellectually disarmed by modern philosophy's assault on reason and objectivity. While these philosophical factors have ripened the American populace to be led into fascism, there is a large element of the population that is anti-intellectual but reachable.

By that, I mean that there are Americans who, despite warnings from writers like myself that the environmentalists are profoundly anti-human, may have dismissed Al Gore and the environmentalist left as "well-intentioned" but "impractical". There are Americans who may have thought there was some validity to the concerns expressed by this movement but who did not fully appreciate their philosophical premises, and therefore, remained unable to abstractly grasp the deathly implications of the environmental movement's ideology. While these ideas remained in the abstract it was possible for this type to dismiss them. Not anymore. The left and particularly the environmental movement has finally been exposed.

In the midst of massive scientific uncertainty and in fact a seeming scientific revolt against the global warming orthodoxy, can there be any doubt about the motives of politicians and intellectuals who rush through a bill that threatens to impose "the highest tax in American history" to decrease carbon emissions? Is there any doubt about the "intentions" of politicians and intellectuals who denigrate oil companies and threaten energy producers with punitive regulations and "windfall profit" taxes as energy prices rose last year but who then pass a bill that will directly cause energy prices and thus the cost of everything to rise? Is there any doubt about the motives of politicians who in the middle of the worst economic crisis in 80 years pass a bill that will burden industry with draconian regulations, higher costs, and cause Americans to pay exorbitant prices for the lifeblood of American prosperity: energy?

Are these people really "well intentioned"?

(Incidentally, I have heard the Democrats make the argument that this bill will actually result in an increase of "jobs" allegedly in the alternative energy industry or some such thing. This is like saying that a bill which forces doctors, engineers, and businessmen to quit their jobs to take up ditch digging and collecting rocks is a value because they will have "jobs". It is like arguing that cavemen were better off than modern man because they were all "employed" hunting squirrels and evading predators in caves. Is it better that people are employed finding cures for cancer and inventing spaceships or devoting time to monitoring ethanol regulations and assembling windmills? This argument completely drops the context and ignores the most fundamental principles of economics which I explained in this post. )

Defenders of freedom have a historic opportunity. The environmental movement and the larger aims of the left can no longer be dismissed as ivory tower idealism. The practical consequences of the their deadly ideas are coming to fruition for all to see. Our job has been made easier in that now, all we have to do is point. If Americans still can not grasp this, then maybe they will finally grasp it when they are herded into a rail car and shipped to a Green Re-Education Camp. Then again, maybe not.

8 comments:

Richard said...

"there is a large element of the population that is anti-intellectual but reachable."

In addition to that group there are the "extremists", like Green Peace, who are actually against the bill for the fact it doesn't go far enough. Considering all that there's a chance it won't pass. At least I hope.

Harold said...

" This movement, which relies on guilt and the veneer of science, combines together every ideological ingredient necessary to take full advantage of a culture steeped in altruism and intellectually disarmed by modern philosophy's assault on reason and objectivity."

Yes. One of the main problems is that people just don't have the self-esteem to stand up to this kind of assault. They're told to sacrifice for future generations (gotta think of the children you know). Doubt is created by raising questions about "sustainable growth" and "finite resources". Then once certainty has been sufficiently eroded, people will willingly give up their freedoms. After all, when we act, we act on the entire universe (or the planet in this case) and we cant know all the ramifications of that. So, better to be safe and limit our actions, right?

"Are these people really "well intentioned"?

I don't know, it's an interesting question. Clearly there are those who ignore the role of reason in man's life and want to destroy it. But there are also those who it seems haven't thought much about the roots of this movement (and I say this as someone new to philosophy). They've "defaulted" to the dominant morality in the culture, and as a result support these laws. And while I'm not saying that can't be judged, it doesn't necessarily make them malicious.

seine said...

Doug, you ask, are they well really 'well intended' and I ask you is Atlas Shrugged prophetic?

I keep thinking of the final pages and James Taggart's utter collapse when the evasions are no longer evadable. If today's legislators fully comprehended their dishonorable support for the nonsense of 'cap and trade' they would probably suffer the same fate.

The justification, that human produced CO2 is causing the earth to overheat, has no scientific base and for all with active minds, been disproven.

And only people who have no comprehension of reason can believe a country could survive with hundreds of Enron type of corporations. The full scope of the destruction of wealth this legislation will cause is lost on the very people who support it and inevitable, will bear the cost.

As Ayn Rand said, for mankind there is only one sin, the failure to think. Reality is vengeful.

Doug Reich said...

Richard,

Green Peace will not be happy until the state begins machine gunning humans to eliminate carbon footprint. This is an important observation for the following reason.

Notice that Green Peace is not happy yet a bill was passed in their direction. That is why it is so important to evaluate the "extremes" of a movement because they provide the ideological premises which will lead to some mix of actions politically. I can't tell you how many times I have heard "oh, but that's Green Peace or Earth First, etc. - they are 'extremists' and don't represent the 'real' environmentalists who really want to protect humans blah blah blah". And I would always argue that it is precisely Green Peace's rhetoric you should follow just like you should understand what Hitler was saying if you wanted to understand Nazism and you should understand what the Ayatollah is saying if you want to understand Islam.

The most extreme element is the most important. The followers and politicians are mixed but they go in the direction of the most consistent.

Doug Reich said...

Harold,

You said:

"One of the main problems is that people just don't have the self-esteem to stand up to this kind of assault."

I agree completely, but for what it's worth I would say that is not a primary but a consequence of "doubt" in a fundamental way.

In other words, you are getting at the essence of the problem but the primary is epistemological. Students are taught that truth is impossible, they can't really know anything, right and wrong are relative, etc...and the result is that they do not trust their independent judgement which as you point out results in low or no self-esteem. The root of self-esteem is belief in the efficacy of your own mind.

It is absolutely true that dictatorship depends on a people who lack the ability to think independently. Throughout all of history, the periods associated with oppression are times when culturally, people were disarmed intellectually and told they can not trust their own mind. They are exhorted to depend on the judgement of others - those in power. Note that the Dark Ages in Western Europe followed from the Platonic Christian takeover of Rome. The Inquisition depended on faith in the supernatural as do the Islamist theocrats today. The communist/fascist bloodbath of the 20th century followed from over 100years of mostly German philosophy which attacked reason and objectivity.

Conversely, when the reasoning mind is valued, individuals naturally seek to control their own lives and act on their own judgement free of interference from others. Note that the Ancient Greeks who essentially discovered philosophy and science were associated with civilization, the rule of law, and Athenian democracy. The Enlightenment or the Age of Reason resulted in the American Revolution.

The point of my last few posts was exactly this. That, at root, the problems we face are epistemological. This is not a new idea for Objectivistists, but it helps to relate this idea to current events to better appreciate it.

My question regarding whether the supporters of the climate bill were "well intentioned" was rhetorical. What I was saying is that it is impossible to argue this any longer given the lack of scientific evidence for global warming AND more importantly, given the overwhelming VOLUME of evidence in theory and practice that this bill will have a destructive impact on the economy.

Given the facts which are available to all, no one can seriously argue that they are well-intentioned. They are perpetrating a massive evil.

Thanks as always for your great comments.

Doug Reich said...

Seine,

Well put especially the connection with James Taggart. I would put your line another way:

"reality is merciless"

Harold said...

"In other words, you are getting at the essence of the problem but the primary is epistemological. Students are taught that truth is impossible, they can't really know anything, right and wrong are relative, etc...and the result is that they do not trust their independent judgement which as you point out results in low or no self-esteem. The root of self-esteem is belief in the efficacy of your own mind."

Thanks for the correction. That makes a lot of sense. Well, it certaintly doesn't look good from here on out. We'll see what happens in the Senate.

Richard said...

This is a late response but oh well.

Yes I agree Doug about the nature of Green Peace and the environmental movement. I was mainly pointing out that when altruists quibble over the consistency of a law that they're internal squabbles and the impracticality of their doctrine are at least a small consolation.