Via Spiked: Authoritarians treat climate change debate as a disorder

An article by Brendan O’Neill in today’s Spiked Online discusses a conference on climate change denial about to be held at the University of Western England.

O’Neill says

In a sense, this vision of elite, brainy environmentalists on one side and a baying, insult-hurling crowd on the other speaks, however accidentally and however crudely, to an underlying truth: environmentalism remains a largely elitist project, beloved of politicians, priests and prudes keen to control people’s behaviour and curb our excessive lifestyles, and it rubs many ‘ordinary people’ up the wrong way. Of course much of the public goes along with the environmentalist ethos, bowing to the central idea that mankind is destructive and observing such rituals as sorting their rubbish, but they do so half-heartedly, recognising that, fundamentally, greens’ anti-consumerist, anti-reproduction, anti-travel arguments run counter to their own personal aspirations. Yet rather than recognise this frequently hidden divide between the green elite and the ‘baying crowd’ as one built on differences of opinion, on clashing aspirations, even on rational assessments by sections of the public that recycling is a waste of time, increasingly environmentalists pathologise it, turning it into evidence of their wisdom in contrast to the public’s mental instability.

I’d just observe again that IMO it’s important to divide authoritarian, reactionary, anti-human Greens from people who’d identify as Green but who aren’t opposed to human progress, and also from those who may hold ideas we disagree with but might actually be won over in debate.

5 Responses to “Via Spiked: Authoritarians treat climate change debate as a disorder”

  1. 1 sandy

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  2. 2 dalec

    Unlike the denizens of Strange Times and Spiked I actually work in a factory that employs about 50 people on a production line. So to test the assertion that “environmentalism remains a largely elitist project, beloved of politicians, priests and prudes keen to control people’s behaviour and curb our excessive lifestyles, and it rubs many ‘ordinary people’ up the wrong way.” I sent one of my new assistants (to avoid any question of them telling me what they thought I wanted to hear) around the plant to ask a simple question: ” What do you think of greenies”. Over 80% thought that greenies were OK – might be a bit of a pain in the arse at times but they do a good job. Now admittedly it is a small sample but it it is very diverse as there are about 6 nationalities here, 70% women – so perhaps there was a gender bias.Nevertheless I would challenge you or the “Spiked” ex trotskyites to actually produce a survey that supports your assertion.Dalec 

  3. 3 youngmarxist

    So sorry to hear that working in a call centre makes me in some way less pure than you because you work in a factory.I know of no such survey. However I’d suggest the massive popularity of things that the more misanthropic promoters of Green ideology dislike, such as cheap air travel, MP3 players and large TVs indicate that while many people may believe that the environment is important, they don’t believe that they are wrong for wanting a higher material standard of living.I’d encourage you to learn the difference between an assertion I make and an assertion made by someone else that I quote, and that I also imply I do not fully agree with.

  4. 4 Barry

    youngmarxist, don’t waste time on dalec. You make a good point about the need to distinguish between the green outlook that is based on the assumption that the planet’s resources are running out and therefore place a restriction on further social development, on one hand, and those who might see themselves as pro-green but who basically think it means being practical on issues such as pollution and so on. The reactionary greens are the ones who reckon there’s too much development and consumption of stuff and that we need to bring humanity back into line with nature or else the planet will collapse. The problem is that the reactionary green ethos has so permeated the thinking of the public, largely due to its promotion through the mainstream media – (just saw a doozy on MTV) – that the starting-point for many people is the belief, or feeling, or ethos, that human progress has brought the planet to the edge of major catastrophe and we ourselves are some kind of pollutant. Those of us who do support progress are up against some formidable forces but I have also found, in discussions with many individuals over time, that it’s not too hard to provoke some critical thinking. The great success of the green ethos may also be its undermining.  

  5. 5 Phil Edwards

    And Let Freedom’s Onion Ring…
    June 13, 2009 by Philip Edwards

    A cure for our present and ailing economy is Socialism. Socialism is already attached to our financial means and ways and solutions. (310) Million souls cannot trust or tolerate more uncertainties in our current plant-slash-and burn free market paradigm. The broad measure of Government and its control of many large and failing business(es) will not quickly fix our present economic disease. The fix is a war against the Greed of Destruction. This economy is neither a Type Reagan, nor another novel cure by Lee Iacocca/Chrysler.
    We are a no pain-no-gain social beast and we believe that a salvation of today’s Capitalism is possible. No! We are the children of the Greed of our own destruction. Pour trillions of dollars on the warming fire. Today’s misery will mean a most harsh future for our children. A ghost of a future Christmas Future and…
    Lionel Butler (Editor of the Financial Times) offers a quote from both Gary Becker and Kevin Murphy’s argument that “politicians should avoid a ‘cure’ which ends up killing the ailing patient.” However, their patient has already flatlined. So! Dead and onto or into another robust or not new patient. Welcoming Socialism and hi-ho and tral-la and yippee -yi and off to work we go…Finally! Nationalized medicine and Federal jobs and the creation of new jobs for millions of our Unemployed American Workers.
    And how about our war-machine -industry? Destroy and build it again and again…ad infinitum? Presently, there are over (100) million young Chinese gentlemen without young Chinese gentlewomen. The world has gone to war over many reasons and crimes and times and wealth and…
    Should we circle our wagons or reach across our still-porous boarders? Should we increase our influences from Canada’s most Northern reaches to just South of Brazil’s tip? (Languages: French to English to Spanish, Portuguese and +++ ). Let us protect and defend and trade and trade and trade. The wars across the Atlantic may damn Europe and the EU to death and the final elimination of Old-World Capitalism and Colonialism.
    Not since this world’s Beginning, has it had to Deal with so much Nothing, for so Many…WOW! Sliced Onions and Onion Tears…

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