In Western nations, climate hysteria is emerging as the new culture war — but its outcome is far from certain.
A CNN producer recently wrote an opinion piece headlined “Climate politics are tearing the West apart.” He got it about half right. They are tearing us apart but not for the reasons he thinks.
Johan Bader, an associate producer for “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” is in agreement with The Economist, which has declared: “environmentalism is emerging as Europe’s new culture war.” We’re seeing much the same in the U.S.
But the cultural divide is not simply “concerned citizens” who “are pouring into the streets to lambaste feckless politicians for failing to protect the planet” against neighbors who “inveigh against out-of-touch politicians for instituting environmental policies that fail to protect them.”
The schism has been caused by a coalition of anti-capitalists, arrogant academics, authoritarians who have a need to dictate to others, know-it-alls, those who relish the status of their imagined moral superiority, and inveterate virtue-signalers who have “othered” global warming skeptics as well as the agnostics who have legitimate concerns about how the policy solutions forced on them will change their lives.
The first group, the aggressors, believe that anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe is beneath them. These elitist bullies consider a conflicting opinion an indication of low intellect, or criminality, or both. That’s why they can so easily define skeptics as rubes and outlaws who should be caged.
The cultural gap has been made obvious by the Extinction Rebellion. In one of its more infamous tantrums, the “painfully middle-class agitators” went “to a working-class part of East London early in the morning to lecture and inconvenience people who just wanted to get to work,” British columnist Brendan O’Neill recently wrote in Spiked.
The tension is not produced so much by one group being more well off than the other as it is one group thinking it is smarter than the other, and is therefore justified in hectoring and obstructing the othered group, and stealing its time. This plays out in the many efforts of true believers to “educate” their inferiors.
There is of course a religious element to the global warming scare, as well.
Just this week U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii urged those at a prayer breakfast to “believe in climate change as though it’s a religion, it’s not a science.”
Not a science? For three decades the alarmists have been saying it’s all about science, and that the science is settled, that doubters are anti-science, anti-intellectual.
Sharp observers have noted that the global warming narrative has a religious hierarchy. There is sin (man burning fossil fuels which emit carbon dioxide, his gluttonous consumption habits); absolution (carbon offsets, carbon fasts); evangelism (that neighbor with the electric vehicle, the empty head from Hollywood desperate to prove his or her relevance); prophecy (predictions that we have only a short time before the climate kills us); and salvation (believing the narrative).
Again, it’s the forces of good, those true believers, opposing the forces of evil, those depraved skeptics. And the church is the United Nations, the sacred an infallible text: the assessment reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Never do these smug and self-assured believers think for a moment that the U.N. and the IPCC are political bodies with agendas. But they inarguably are. New Zealand’s Vincent Gray, who has a doctorate in physical chemistry from Cambridge University and has been an expert reviewer of IPCC reports, told Forbes some years ago the panel “found that the public will believe almost anything that is represented as being agreed by ‘scientists,’ provided that you have enough of them and they are backed up by the requisite number of celebrities and public figures.” Therefore it’s necessary for the IPCC to “use spin, distortion, deception and even fabrication to cover up this absence of evidence.”
The IPCC’s distortions were enough to make Chris Landsea, a meteorologist who specializes in hurricane studies, quit. He stopped participating in the IPCC assessment reports in 2005 because it had become “politicized.” He was critical of colleagues for using “the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming.”