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Pascal Bruckner
Apocalyptic Daze « Back to Story

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Cause and Effect...cause and effect..
Steve W from Ford October 19, 2013 at 2:03 PM
It is an ill wind indeed that blows no one any good. In my case 40 years ago, as an impressionable young man I moved from cities to the country as I believed we, as a society, were doomed to collapse. In the interim, while awaiting catastrophe, one has to eat and so I renewed my childhood love of gardening. One thing led to another and my garden grew to a small farm and then into one of the largest organic farms in the country. In the 40 year long process I learned that nature is fundamentally robust and regenerative, not delicate and prone to collapse as so many who lack knowledge profess. I also learned the foolishness of my fear of disaster as I read widely and applied my working knowledge to the world as I found it. I have been fortunate to provide a very good life for my wife and 5 children while employing hundreds of my neighbors in satisfying work.
Impending disaster has been my friend but not in any way I could have once imagined. My fervent wish is that our lovely country might rediscover the strength and the gift with which we are all blessed and leave the worry behind.
Excellent article.

Thank you
Why is there no mention of Julian Simon here? The prophet of the cornucopia theory, he pointed out that the lot of humankind has continually improved over the years - as more and more people are born, instead of running out of resource we have more of everything.

He attributes this to human ingenuity, of which there is a limitless supply. It is this that the greens wish to suppress...
Please correct - Fukushima nuclear power plant did NOT melt down. There were explosions in the cooling system, but the reactors did not "melt". The "melting" word is what the green journalist-activists caually plant in articles.
I think there is a more mundane explanation for all this...or at least a parallel phenomenom.

A rational society is supposed to look at the past to decide on actions in the present that will affect the future. Doing this however, disadvanges the left, since the past shows everything they've ever said or done has been wrong or failed. So they've switched from using facts from the past and instead use 'facts' from the future. This was they can make up anything they like, because of course there are no facts about the future. It hasn't happened yet.
I see this on Left and Right. How many on the RIght are anticipating an economic collapse, or a societal breakdown, where the Left finally gets what is coming to them? It's a sign of withdrawal from the system, and of giving up on both humanity and society.
Apocalypse sells, it always has.
Enjoyed the article with one exception. The phrase,"the new Green puritanism" seems itself to be a perception disproportional to reality.
Democracy is making slow progress? Is Mr. Bruckner trapped inside of some kind of isolation tank?
I found your article very pertinent. The culture of apocalypse is appealing to many due to its ingredients of creating a common ground and identifying enemies. However, contrary to what some people may think, the culture of apocalypse is not a replacement for wars.
"When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory.”

This will thankfully only take a generation to run its course.

I recently heard Dr. Thomas Sowell quote an economist, saying roughly that the role of the economist is to explain to the people responsible for design, how little they the know about the problem they are addressing, take out the word economist and insert scientist and as long as the scientist has not been corrupted by power and political patronage the same logic applies. People like Hanson, a Gore lap dog, have permanently damaged the reputation of the scientific community world wide. It is a crime
robert landbeck May 24, 2012 at 4:19 PM
We are an aspirational species. But when so many of the routes to even imagine we have the potential to realize the greatest of civilized goals appear to close, with progress cut off, the seed of an existential crisis begins to take root. This will continue until 'Knowledge' reopens the gate to optimism.

The problem is exasperated in this particular point in history as any such positive, major and necessary break through doesn't look very likely from any field of human intellectual endeavor and are we continuingly overwhelmed by negative news. And the status quo won't hold much longer!
One other, final, testimony. If you are finding yourselves revolted by such citations, please mitigate your revulsion by mentally undertaking a rational explanation of how the Catholic Church has, uniquely and singularly, managed to maintain Her institutional formation for 2,000 years, against Huns, Mongols, Aryans, Nazis, communists, homosexuals, the entire PROTEST-ant "reformation" (now numbering over 38,000 different "reforming" sects) and anything else the entire world has hurled against Her during this period since the time of Christ.

Humanly impossible, but nothing is impossible with God. Get on the winning side and come Home.
What everyone is desperate to avoid are all the prophecies of the Catholic Church, particularly those of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Her appearances to the visionaries of Fatima, Garabandal, Akita and, most recently and, sadly, Her final appearance at Medjugorje, Croatia. In each of these, She has specifically cried out for mankind to improve himself, which mankind has unerringly avoided to embrace.

I won't bore you worldlings and "intellectuals" with details. Your research capacities are sufficient to take those 4 places and Google each to discover the hidden secrets of what is about to fall upon us.

Pray the Rosary. Or, don't. For who can tell an intellectual elitist anything he won't argue about until he falls into the grave?
I did find Alan Weisman’s documentary version to be interesting and fun even if I don't agree with the agenda behind it. After we're gone what happens when some non-human species wreaks havoc? At least they won't have to listen to screeching leftists telling them they have to die, now! BTW, why not eliminate the Paris-to-New York flights, rather than babies?
Good article.

Otherwise: what Graham said below.
A lengthy narcissistic sneer, a lazy routine propagandistic dismissal, but one without substance.

This is a wealthy privileged Westerner at the top of the pile, saying that because he is not personally experiencing disaster, everything is fine, and those who ring alarm bells are exaggerating.

If you were a Kenyan pastoralist, Pascal, or one of millions of other Africans whose lives are violently disrupted by climate and rising food and fuel prices, you might have a different perspective.
Enviros in the West can't do anything about what goes on in the rest of the world, which means all the can do is to make life more miserable at home.

Also, the movement will eventually run up against the fact that global population is set to peak in the 9.5 billion range and then drop precipitously during the second part of this century. It will reach steady state at perhaps 3 billion early net century, at which point all the crazy apocalyptic scenarios will just seem silly.
Bruckner is right that it is a western sickness. Western elites despise their own culture. It is striking to see how different other cultures are, how much they love themselves and how they have absolutely no intention of abdicating in favor of the earth or other species or others of their own species. "We" must reduce births, the west says. But others do not count themselves as the ones to be reduced. Even if they are interested in birth control, they see a future full of themselves with their culture and religion and nation brimming over. If the west does not want to exist any more, well, that is its own business. Others do not feel the same way. western liberals accuse western conservatives of narrowmindedness. but it is the liberals who are narrow, who imagine that their values are or soon will be universal. Most people, when they hear an American say how bad the US is, or a Jew say that he does not care what happens to Israel, or a European say that Europe is nothing, it seems very strange to them at first. Then they think to themselves, well it must be true since they say it about themselves.
It is a sad day when a philosopher writes without forwarding a single argument. Pascal is intent on criticising the tone of those who advocate a reorganisation of societies on the basis of scientific research, as opposed to the quality of their argument.
Firstly, there is no doubt that some who advocate for action are over the top. I wonder if Pascal would be willing to admit that certain forms of rhetoric (exemplified in the numerous quotes he gives) are justified in a situation where the general populace are to be convinced of the need for change. Or is he happy to condemn the logic of an argument by the rhetoric used to get people to induce people to listen to the argument?
Secondly, I think there is a serious issue arising from Pascal’s attempt to paint all climate change advocates with the same apocalyptic brush. Does Pascal believe that any discussion seeking to avoid potential eventualities by championing social change as a form of millennialism?
Are we to believe that anyone who invokes a non-too rosy future is a doomsayer? How else are we to address unpleasant projections of the future based on present day policy and actions?

I've been on this planet for 55 years, and I've heard catastrophe warnings over and over and over again, on every subject imaginable, and it never, ever, ever stops. Earth getting hit by an asteroid! There was even some stupid movies about it - that and a zillion other disaster films including the incredibly stupid (and awful) '2012.'

Remember Y2K? Millions, no BILLIONS perhaps spent on that lunacy.

Yes, the hand wringers are out there in full force - the no character, easily manipulated and brainwashed, and what it always comes down to, as it always does, is these people know better, and not only that, they are constantly running around telling everyone what to do. Stop eating that, stop doing this, stop buying that, stop listening to that, stop thinking that, we should have a law - and it never, ever stops.

On human caused global warming - they are like cave men, seeing and hearing thunder and lightening and telling everyone we need to appease the gods by sacrificing a few virgins - or else. Yes, these people know what to do - and when we have thunder and lightening they say, look you didn't sacrifice virgins, or enough virgins anyway...

You see the comments to this article, the same nonsense - "97% of climate scientists says"- well if 97% of scientists say we need to sacrifice virgins does that means we start lining them up? Here's what Michael Crichton had to say about 97% of scientists:

"I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus."

As for the science being settled on human caused global warming (note "human caused" - if Mars is also warming, maybe the fact that it is a bit warmer outside has something to do with that big bright, hot ball in the sky we see every day, and not anything we are doing - after all it has been warmer in the past, and we weren't even around then) that was something made up by a British PR firm. Now, when a scientific theory requires a public relations firm isn't that a bit suspicious? Not to mention all the so called support for human global warming that turned out to be plain wrong, misleading or downright fraudulent - the hockey stick graph, climategate and all the rest.

Because, the point is, that the news media gets more people tuned in and hence more advertising dollars when there is a disaster, and when there isn't a real disaster, well, one has to be made up. Earth shattering asteroids, man eating fungi, man eating bacteria, swine flu, bird flu, marmot plague, anthrax, air pollution, light pollution, water pollution, cancer from cell phones, cancer from high tension wires, exploding homes caused by fracking, cancer from alar (remember that one?), cancer from cyclamates (another blast from the past), prions, global cooling, nuclear winter, race riots, terrorism, right wing terror, left wing terrorism (not so much), this thing that will kill you, that thing that will do the same....

and endlessly the hand wringers on television, on the net, in the streets, on the radio, an endless stream of these no character, chicken littles and boys who cry wolf, sometimes slick as can be, sometimes crude as can be - and they all say we need to listen and do what they say...and they constantly have their hand in our pockets - especially the global warmers who all have money in the game, especially Al Gore, and the environmental groups, some of which have candidly admitted, more or less, that "global warming is a mighty fine way to make some money."

Hand wringers out there - get some common sense - stop with the nonsense already!

Just stay tuned, more hand wringing and disaster to follow -

Listen to the news the next month or so - I guarantee something new will be added to this list - these people are endlessly inventive - maybe mad cow disease, maybe something else but it is coming!
Just research what the Blessed Virgin told the late Fr. Gobbi of the Marian Movement of Priests about what Seattle will suffer because of rampant homosexuality and doubt the end is near.
You have only to read the prophecies of St. Nilus and St. Malachi to understand that we are in the last days. The closure of Catholic churches by the hundreds all across Europe or their wholesale emancipation into Muslim mosques are yet another succinct sign. Or take the Blessed Virgin's withering prophecy at Akita Japan, or Her final appearances at Medjuorje now over 20 years in duration and no one in his right mind would even begin to doubt it.

Decades of birth control, abortion and divorce, as well as shacking up with impunity, and saturating homosexuality, and what do you think is coming our way?
Its is certainly true that the lot of the masses has improved significantly over the past century. As an argument that things are better now they've have ever been assumes we are only concerned with humans. Peter Singer's book on expanding circles and the evolution of moral progress proposes that we need to consider the wider implications of our activities for all the creatures we share this planet with. Even if it was possible I think an earth were everyone is provided a healthy and filling life at the expense of other non human animals is a failure.
Its is certainly true that the lot of the masses has improved significantly over the past century. As an argument that things are better now they've have ever been assumes we are only concerned with humans. Peter Singer's book on expanding circles and the evolution of moral progress proposes that we need to consider the wider implications of our activities for all the creatures we share this planet with. Even if it was possible I think an earth were everyone is provided a healthy and filling life at the expense of other non human animals is a failure.
Victor Provenzano April 24, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Was Nouriel Roubini a member of a "cult of catastrophists" when he & he alone among major world economists already foresaw an acute global financial crisis in 2005 & even detailed which derivatives & exotic financial instruments would unravel first & in what precise sequence? Or was he, rather, confirming that he was an incomparable economic historian, macroeconomist, econometrician, and systems thinker with an imaginable degree of foresight?
Was John Maynard Keynes a member of a "cult of catastrophists" when he wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace in 1919 in which he insisted that the Versailles Treaty was inappropriately & unnecessarily overpunishing Germany & that the likely outcome of this would be the rise of an extreme right nationalist leader in the Weimar Republic who would then, quite likely, initiate a second world war? Or was he rather confirming that he was an oracular historian with the stunning foresight of an Alexis de Tocqueville?
To the degree to which this discussion incessantly treats affirmed science as a mere "cult of catastrophism,” it is entirely irrelevant. Its evasive focus is on the would-be "psychic coloring" or “cultural strain” of those who dare to cite verified statistics on the rate at which nations around the world are currently draining their fossil aquifers (which cannot be “refilled”) or the rate at which topsoil is eroding on the farmland of every continent. This, of course, is evasive nonsense. By thinking in this way, many of you seem to have entered the dismissable & uninviting realm of congenital naïveté.
Who pays you to write this garbage?

There is no question we are destroying our world.

Fukushima has decimated Japan.

The oceans will be emptied of fish within a generation if we continue.

Farming is dependent on fossil fuels - which are becoming more expensive and will run out.

This article is utter nonsense and it carries the sulphurous smell of Kock Brothers money.
Democracy isn't making slow progress due to chronic economic crisis, especially high food and oil prices. More people have joined the poor due to global unemployment. Life expectancy has been increasing but it is being threatened by high oil and food prices. Conflict is not becoming rarer but getting worse. Serious illnesses may be coming back because of antibiotic resistance and warmer climate. And "environmental worry" is not universal given the failure of one meeting after another among nations to decrease pollution.
perhaps someone can translate this back - the man is a fool. Apparently, if you warn folk, they'll do nothing, which is your fault for warning them?

Spare me!

Maybe, just maybe, the 'intellectuals' are right. The choice - between carrying right on, vs putting the brakes on - is a no-brainer. If it turns out the warnings were wrong, the resources are there to chew into, full steam ahead. If they were right, you're going to impact with less velocity.

What the writer lacks is logic.
We are in the midst of a changing of the cultural guard, unseen since the 14th-15th-16th centuries AD. The Old West is out of intellectual (though not technical) steam, and will soon be on the shoals. Soon is the next 50 years. The struggle to replace the Old West will be fully engaged by then, with the victor (s?) unknown right now. The moaning doomsayers will not be on the winning side.

The cult of the catastrophists (only one cult with many manifestations, and all Old West in root) is nothing more than an attempt to hang on to a system that will not, can not last. I would pity these people if only they would leave me alone.

Fascinating times, truly revolutionary, with great opportunities for those willing to work. Are we in the West willing to work? Our children will find out, I suppose.
Alena Hromádková,Prague April 22, 2012 at 8:44 AM
The growth of secularism and decline of primary groups naturally resulted in the expansion of irrationality in the West as well as in the polluted and morally devastated East.Lists of positive developments doesn´nt help very much, I experienced as a private person and a more or less active citizen. Many people long for a good education and a deeper meaning of their life but do not posess conceptual and practical encouragements to fight their own passivity and propensity to gloom or despair. The new class of internet populists is profiting from the lack of self-reflection and culture of hope, I think.
This piece is finely done in every respect except one -- an examination that gets beyond the details and dimensions of the current global wave of fear to its true source: A world-wide epidemic of human addiction to excitement in all its forms.

Christ understood the alternatives (faith vs nihilism) when He offered: "My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you.... Not as the world gives to you do I give to you." The world gives anger, fear and doubt (all expressing through the adrenal glands as excitement). There is little sobriety in this present world. (Sobriety not just in the sense of NOT being intoxicated, but also in the sense of NOT being excited.)

The problem for moderns in choosing the "peace of Christ" is not that it might be inauthentic, but that it is available to any man woman and child who wants it, here and now, and does not need to be filtered through the erudite minds of scientists, academics and political opportunists. Peace is available to the average man for the asking. But ask we must--without strings attached to the asking. Got a fear of fiscal chaos? Try tithing. God's simple promise is in exchange for your 10% "ante" to His good work, He'll protect your financial interests. Concerned that your life's challenges are too overwhelming? Try "letting go and letting God." Or, for those who prefer to get it from the Bible, how about "Come to me all you who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."? Mr. Obama can't take credit for this (Jesus, he ain't) nor can he appoint a Czar to ration it to us. So he'd rather borrow $15 trillion and give us "cash for clunkers", "shovel ready projects", forced health care (but no alternative medicine, which is more effective, natural and a lot cheaper). All of these projects get an (if you'll pardon the expression) "imprimatur" from his assorted gurus, czars and community college enclaves because, well, they're good for you (and also exciting). The peace of Christ may be free but, alas, it's boring. Excitement addicts have zero tolerance for boredom.
Opine
As a Westerner, a Christian, a Conservative, this article laid bare the Rationale of the oncoming US Dark Age.
WE NEED NOT Experience such.
Survive.
Semper FI
@ Victor Provenzano (April 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM)

You do realize how ridiculous you are making yourself look in this comment section, don't you?

Victor, nowhere in my comment did I say the climate is not changing. It always has and it always will. Nobody would claim otherwise. I specifically referred to AGW (meaning MAN-made global warming).

The dispute is NOT whether global temperatures are rising or not, they have been (to a greater or lesser degree, and even none in the last 15 years) ever since the Little Ice Age. The dispute is about the degree of man's involvement in the cause of rising temperatures.

CO2 was hailed as being the main culprit (and also the most easily taxable - so don't try and fudge the issue by bringing in other greenhouse gases) and we are all being taxed out of existence on account of 'our' carbon emissions – and all on the basis of 'climate models' which are in the on-going process of being rubbished as more and more evidence of their fallacy comes to light.

I think you live in cloud cuckoo land, Victor, the way you describe how science is carried out. We would all like to think that your description, such as it is, of the model in which science is depicted as being as pure as the driven snow, were true. BUT there is one glaring omission in your definition: finance. Who funds the research? Who relies on grants to keep their jobs? He who pays the piper calls the tune!

Have you not heard of the Climategate emails, Victor, the Harry-Read-Me files, the Hockey Stick illusion, Glieckgate, Polar Beargate etc etc etc.

Like I said earlier Victor, you are one of those environmentalists who only sing from your own hymn sheet... spreading doom, gloom and alarm all around you... spouting Lysenkoism and blaming mankind for all the world's ills in your misanthropic bile.

Well, please do it on your own and leave the rest of us to get on and enjoy life.
Victor Provenzano April 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM
Whoopdy Do,

Thank you so much for your "aphoristic" reply. You, of course, know, "Whoopdy Do," that the Sumerians perished as a civilization after they succeeded in salting their farmland with an excess amount of irrigation water, something that has been occurring in the U.S. & across the globe as a result of the ongoing "Green Revolution." Would you have also told the now vanished Sumerians that "the sky is falling"? You, of course, know as well, "Whoopdy D.," that the advanced New World civilization of the Maya perished when an excessive degree of deforestation led to an unsustainable amount of soil erosion, both of which processes are, as we know, also now occurring on a global scale. Civilzations rise & fall, "Whoopdy," when they first use & then overuse the natural resources on which they & we all depend: soil & water. This is an unassailable fact of history. I am afraid that your jejune wit will be insufficient to stave off the underlying ecological process that have always been at the foundation of both viable & unviable human civilizations. Question, "W.D.": Is your "wit" sustainable?
I'm a skeptical agnostic atheist person and I generally enjoyed this article. One thing I feel compelled to bring up however is that Media Advertising and Propaganda is essentially the only method known to be successful to address perceived issues of a culture. Many a society has fallen in Human history. The causes are of much debate but evidence exists in a few cases that destruction of the ecosystem (the society depends on) has directly lead to declines. It doesn't take a leap of faith to understand that if you kill off your own food supply, you will starve. The dust bowl of the thirties in the U.S.is a prime example of a society who got a reality check. Farmers assumed they were doing good and were rewarded with short term wealth, but their aggressive farming depleted the soil. The climate of the local environment did the rest. The effects were far greater than just a few farms not being able to produce, mass amounts of people suffered in a variety of ways. If an annoying media campaign and governmental legislation is what it takes to curb potentially hazardous actions (that could affect large populations) then I begrudgingly welcome it.
Victor Provenzano
You list:
two droughts in the Amazon in 6 years
rapidly vanishing Arctic sea ice
imminent acute water shortages around the world
the extreme soil erosion already occurring on a global scale

You forgot to mention:
The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Agreed.

I have particularly never understood the idea that humanity should seek voluntary extinction as a means of preventing a natural catastrophe that would destroy humanity. Well, what is the point, then? Let the catastrophe do the heavy lifting for us.

Alternatively, when the deep ecologists make their true case that humanity should extinguish itself to prevent a catastrophe that will destroy Earth's biosphere [it is highly unlikely to destroy the Earth], my chief response would be "Why?"

I realize it might be considered humanocentric [or sentient-centric] to think that a planet that supports no sentient life is either waiting for some to use it, or is of no value at all. But it is hard to see why we should not think that way. Why should we, humans, value the continuation of Earth's biosphere of nonsentient life over our own future and development as a sentient race practicing advanced civilization?

Why should we even value the emergence of a future sentient lifeform [statistically not very likely] over our own future?

Victor Provenzano
Obviously, arithmetic is not your strong suit. When a rising (or falling) trend levels off, it remains at or near the last trending level recorded. So your point means precisely nothing. Please take a remedial math course, as your attempt at a response makes you look even more ignorant than you already do.
Victor Provenzano April 20, 2012 at 1:06 PM
NickJ, for you, a world in which 9 of the 10 warmest years on record occurred in the first decade of this century (with respect to AVERAGE annual global temperature) is a seamless reflection of a world in which there was "no warming for the last 15 years." As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said in a exquisitely waggish moment: "You are entitled to your opinion," NickJ, "but you are not entitled to your own facts."


I can only assume the author is being willfully ignorant and obtuse in an attempt to make a point. Reasoned discourse actually accounts for counter-arguments on their OWN terms, at least initially. Simply labeling the other position pejoratively does not meet the criteria (e.g. "neo-asceticism").

Engaging in these ascetic behaviors is proposed because it is responsible, dare I say, "the right thing to do" irrespective of whether they are sufficient to effect the change, unto themselves, they are directed towards. Does this make them pillars of sound policy? No (no more than making, say, extreme abortion control a central social policy). Does it make them absurb? No.

Is it truly that hard to grasp that these proposals are advanced because they are behaviors within the control of individuals? So, I ask: willfully ignorant, or just ignorant?
What has hope or pessimism got to do with atmospheric physics and chemistry?

It seems to many including your self are concerned with the meaning of scientific results.

They don't mean anything, they just are.

It's warming so what?
The climate will change so what?
The environment will change so what?
Species will die, so what?
People will die, so what?
Nations will die, so what?

Some people get all worked up over it, they shouldn't. If they weren't threatened by global warming they would be threatened by something else.

Your concern seems to e that people shouldn't be alarmist or despondent and that our society/civilization should be hopeful, visionary, triumphant.
I don't think so. Something will kill us off but so what everyone dies in the end anyway. I think its better to be realistic. Shit happens, then you die. Pessimism and hope have no place in dealing with reality.
An error can be found when rational scientific information (interpretation of actual data) is appropriated by others. Yet the political process,manifested (arguably)in despair and defeatism, has to have trustworthy inputs. Science and economics therefore feed society, its government and its expectations, it does so through the press and other agencies of interpretation.

Our real peril is that responsible science ceases to be an agency for describing what is happening or predicting possible danger (based on the facts) but is appropriated in order to retell exciting old apocalyptic myths.

Failure to recognise or even understand what the science is saying may indeed imperil us. We should not risk burning the furniture in order to keep the house warm or the occupants amused.
Is the mass of humanity still living hand to mouth and without any surety for the near future? If so, we in the rather privileged West can hardly dictate limits to their efforts to improve their lives.
We know many alarmists. They constitute almost all our acquaintance. Most of them believe that representative government has failed, and they believe this perceived failure is the result of the stupidity of people generally. These wise ones hope for a strong hand that will bring humanity to heel. They believe themselves to be mankind's betters, and they are more to be feared than any others.

We may yet have our second chance as a humanity, but it won't be by way of science or religion. Science has proved itself too limited and religion an illusion. So where does progress cone from?
http://www.energon.org.uk
As soon as I saw the words "secular" and "elite" being used pejoratively in the subtitle, I knew this article would be complete dreck. After reading the article I was proven completely correct. Putting your head in the sand and ignoring the major problems of our time is not a very mature thing to do.
Victor Provenzano
It’s perhaps to be expected that you’re so-called “proof” that “97% of US scientific experts agree with the consensus on global warming” comes from that authoritative reference, USA Today.

If you’d read the actual report, you would have found that the authors based their percentages on a tiny subset of scientists, numbering at most 200, using criteria which would have selected global warming alarmists, so it is of no value as a gauge of the opinions of the scientific community as a whole.

The authors started with a somewhat larger list of 1,372 scientists, of whom only 66% agree with “anthropogenic global warming”, however that’s defined. One of the authors of the study, Anderegg himself said in response to a question, “my groups are NOT representative of the total number of scientists.”

There are other surveys which have compiled thousands of researchers who DISAGREE with AGW theory. One group of 31,000 scientists signed a statement saying,

“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

As for who is ignorant, you appear to be one of the last people on your block who hasn’t heard that there has been no global warming for the past 15 years. Once again, smartass, how is NO GLOBAL WARMING evidence of dangerous global warming?
Mr Bruckner,

In your 3rd para. you state, "I do not wish to minimise the problems we face." From the article one presumes you mean environmental problems. You then state you want to understand, I suspect you mean reveal, the inappropriate response of our leaders, scientists, and intellectuals.

In the next 17 paragraphs you then scorn many, probably most, of the ideas suggested to date to tackle the "problem" (your word). Are there ideas that appeal to you? They weren't mentioned. You do mention some of the not insignificant social advances over the past 20 years, but they are not solutions.

The 18th para has a summation with no suggested ways to approach the "problem". So we citizens are to be thankful for the benefits progress has delivered and continue as usual wherever that may lead us. This seems to be your point when you state that "Billions of people look to economic growth, with all the pollution that accompanies it, to improve their condition. Who are we to refuse it to them?"

Don't you think it is beholding on you to offer a better idea to solve or at least mitigate "the problems we face"? Until you do articles such as this are facile.
Victor Provenzano April 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM
For Nick J, here is a survey, published in USA Today, of only American "scientific experts" from the (U.S.) National Academy of Sciences, 1372 of them to be exact (it is not a survey solely of climatologists and it is not an international survey). 97% of U.S. "scientific experts" agree with the consensus on global warming. The minimal 3% who disagree are described by the survey as having an "average expertise" that is "far below that of their colleagues."

As for you, NickJ, your ignorance of all of the things that you have been "discussing" here is, sadly, little less than a public menace.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/06/scientists-overwhelmingly-believe-in-man-made-climate-change/1#.T5B-HNm73RQ

Jun 22, 2010

Report: 97 percent of scientists say man-made climate change is real

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Updated 2010-06-22 5:43 PM

Forget the four out of five dentists who recommend Trident…. Try the 97 out of 100 scientists that believe in man-made climate change.

This data comes from a new survey out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study found that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is "very likely" caused mainly by human activity.

The report is based on questions posed to 1,372 scientists. Nearly all the experts agreed that it is "very likely that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for most of the unequivocal warming of the Earth's average global temperature in the second half of the twentieth century."

Click here for an interactive graphic that shows how global warming occurs.

As for the 3 percent of scientists who remain unconvinced, the study found their average expertise is far below that of their colleagues, as measured by publication and citation rates.

In the study, the authors wrote: "This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change."

The study authors were William R.L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold and Stephen H. Schneider.

The report comes as the Earth continues to sizzle in 2010. So far, through May, 2010 is the warmest year ever recorded, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

By Doyle Rice
A very real apocalyptic catalyst continues today embodied in the four nuclear reactors at Fukushima Japan—particularly the spent fuel rod pools at reactor number 4.

"Japan’s former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, was invited to speak at the Public Hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012, on the Fukushima nuclear power plants accident. Before the Committee, Ambassador Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4—with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced. He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries. Ambassador Murata informed us that the total numbers of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421 (396+615+566+1,535+994+940+6375)."

http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/04/682.html

it would appear this oversight could be explained by the nationality of the author—France is itself, after all, a ticking time bomb for a nuclear disaster.
A lot of the rise of this sort of thinking is in reaction to the 9/11 attacks; it is to deny that the great threat of our times is terrorism that originates from the non-Western, non-Judeo-Christian side of the world and is, as it was prior to 9/11, the evil West.
A thoughtful essay. I agree with much of it, especially the Marxist and Environmentalist influences and shortcomings. However, I see that the essayist, while writing beautifully, also falls into some of the same traps, hasty generalizations and slippery slopes.

Still, exceedingly well written. Wish I'd written it.
Victor Provenzano
If you’re going to make accusations against other people, it would be a good idea not to tell such obvious lies yourself. You claim I made accusations of corruption against “98% of climate scientists who agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming”. That manages to incorporate 3 lies in one sentence. First, I made specific accusations of corruption against 2 individuals, neither of which you refuted. Second I never said “98%” of climate scientists were corrupt. Third, there is no evidence that “98%” of scientists agree that human CO2 emissions are the primary driver of global warming.

So, smartass, besides these obvious lies, if warming is occurring “FAR outside the statistical norm”, why has there been NO warming for the past 15 years, which is FAR outside the predictions of the alarmist models?

Since when is NO warming dangerously excessive? Before you accuse other people of being dupes of the energy industry, perhaps you should turn your brain on and look at the ACTUAL EVIDENCE.
Environmental worry is universal; the sickness of the end of the world is purely Western.

Exactly. I had actual death threats online during the Y2K "crisis" because I was involved in Y2K projects and knew the issue was not THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT. These people desperately want to see the end, and I really don't understand why. Are they so poorly fitted to live in the world that they must wish for us all to go with them to oblivion?
Luke Lea righteously declares,

"I hate facile generalizations".

Except when they are about Nietzsche? (Just thought I'd give you a hand, there, and finish your sentence.)

To give us hope against all the despair he reports, M. Bruckner writes only one short paragraph: "To counter this pessimism, we might list the good news of the last 20 years: democracy is making slow progress; more than a billion people have escaped absolute poverty; life expectancy has increased in most countries; war is becoming rarer; many serious illnesses have been eradicated..." One would think, given his negative tone toward the doomsayers, he might expand a little more fully on the good happenings. And, significantly, while listing a few good developments on the human front, he writes nothing to oppose all the bad news on the environment. If the environment keeps warming, how will humanity continue to solve its problems? For all his clever flaying of the Cassandras, the author has NOTHING to say about this.

Maybe this article is just translated badly but how can a modern philosopher defend the act of pollution? Surely what we need, as simple biological facts go, are clean air and clean water as a minimum condition for the good physical life. Bruckner's point is that all is justifiable if there is a 'positive outcome', i.e. prosperity. Hasn't he read somewhere that money doesn't buy happinesss? What would be his take on Fukushima? How many cancer victims will be needed to feed his sense of stability? We live in a monolithic system that resists change. Some people believe that unless that system changes, we are doomed. Are they so wrong? If fear is not the right motivator, surely courage is but do we need to fight a civil war to prove who is right. Let's try balancing opinions instead. Bruckner is Voltaire's Candide - a strange believer in the idea that we are OK since we live in the best of all possible worlds.
Ramesh Raghuvanshi April 19, 2012 at 3:14 AM
Western civilization is based on fear so western people always dreamed doomsday.Always waiting for Messiah.Western people are pessimist so tiny catastrophe happened some where they immediately alter,Take example of 9/11 attacked so they were so much feared started war with Afghanistan, destoried Saddam without any proper causes.I think psyche of western people never change in future they behavior will not changes they alwayscreate trouble in the world
You don't think that there's a problem? Or that the problem is a purely rhetorical one?
"Around the turn of the twenty-first century, a paradigm shift in our thinking took place: we decided that the era of revolutions was over and that the era of catastrophes had begun."

Ah, so World War I and Hitler were not viewed as catastrophes? I hate facile generalizations.
Wow. Great article. If only people would.stop to think. Environmentalism has become a non- relgion in which arate only to hope is to give our power to a few. That way they can tell us what bags to use and
d what light bulbs to buy. While we take advantage of all capitolism had given.
Victor, Luc,
I write as someone who is totally opposed to the AGW argument but I have zero issues with climate change. Of course the climate is changing, as it has in the past. The Romans grew vines in England and then we had ice on the River Thames some hundreds of years later. The disagreement is about the answer to the question of whether the climate is changing by getting hotter or is it cooling?

I will opt for the cooling model which will have catastrophic consequences. Climate change is not man made, wind farms are a con and the results will be for our children to see. But the climate change lobby is viewed as suspect because it lied so much about AGW that it lost all credibility. That is too bad.
The Christian apocalypse saw itself as a hopeful revelation of the coming of God’s kingdom.

For us believers it still does. The 2012 scare is irresponsible and ridiculous. Here is a secular refutation of all that nonsense. Humanity certainly deserves to be hit by a meteor but the 2012 hysteria is insane.

http://www.astrosociety.org/2012/ab2009-32.pdf

http://www.2012hoax.org/mayan-calendar
Victor Provenzano April 18, 2012 at 2:57 PM
Luc Ozade, quite sadly, your ignorance of the culture of science is apparently utter & complete. There have been exactly ZERO peer-reviewed papers from the last 20 years that deny the existence of climate change. Zero, Luc. NOT A SINGLE ONE. The only debate on the issue of global warming in the realm of climate science or science as a whole (a realm in relation to which the "climate change deniers" are entirely on the outside looking in) is about the future rate of warming & hence the future pattern of climate change (to the degree to which it is, in some way, reasonably foreseeable). Not only is the IPCC not being "alarmist," Luc Ozade, its previous comprehensive report in 2007 hardly even took into account the various "feedback processes" that are currently underway on a global scale. For instance, in its 2007 report, the IPCC did not foresee (a) the rate at which the Arctic sea ice would vanish (creating a "Northwest Passage" for seagoing vessels at certain times of the year), (b) the two droughts that would occur in the Amazon rainforest in a recent 6-year period (leading to net annual carbon emissions during the first of those droughts of 2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent instead of a net absorption of 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent), (c) the rate at which the methane ice on the Arctic sea bottom would melt & release plumes of methane (a greenhouse gas with 72 times the warming potential of CO2 during the first 20 years of its presence in the troposphere), (d) the rate at which the permafrost in the Canadian, Alaskan & Russian tundra would melt thereby releasing additional methane into the air from formerly frozen peat bogs, etc. Not only has the IPCC not been, in any way, "alarmist," Luc, in effect, in its 2007 report, it significantly downplayed the essential global feedback processes & hence relied, rather, on a more reassuring & more linear global climate model. Luc Ozade, you do not seem to understand that I, as any scientist, "believe" exactly nothing. Science is not in any way founded on "belief." It is founded on ongoing empirical observation, the gathering of copious data sets, repeated experiments focused on the same scientific issue, etc. Only "climate change denial," which, of course, is entirely outside the realm of science can be described as being founded on "belief." Read some of the scientific literature, Luc, & call me in morning. When & if you do (quite likely for the first time), your unscientific & clearly random system of belief (which consists of the denial of the empirically proven & the rationally obvious) may even be shattered---if & only if, of course, you at last show yourself to be willing to think about the issue of climate change from the viewpoint of science (sadly & quite likely for the first time).
@ Victor Provenzano: Unless you are one of those climate alarmists who only read from your own hymn sheet (which I suspect to be the case), you should know that for every 'fact' you quote from those so-called scientists engaged in the spread of alarmism, climate change skeptics, such as myself, can cite an equal number of peer-reviewed papers which state the opposite.

But, you believe what you believe, we understand what we understand - and never the twain shall meet. You are wasting your time in trying to convert those of us who, over many years, have followed all the arguments and the evidence both for the AGW argument, and against it.

Only time will prove our case. And, I'm afraid, your time is running out as more and more predictions made by alarmists in the past are falling miserably by the wayside.

The argument is about as useful as a fervent religious believer debating with an atheist the existence of god. For, in the way that you argue, you are simply displaying the very characteristics posited by Pascal Bruckner, above.
What a wonderful, insightful, essay and how very true. Thank you.
Victor Provenzano April 18, 2012 at 8:26 AM
Ask yourself this, NickJ, when have you ever applied a measure of skepticism to your own supposed climate “skepticism”?

Your debate technique is transparent. You make the risible & implausible accusation of “corruption” against the 98% of climate scientists who agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming because it is, rather, an accurate accusation that can be & has been made against the climate change deniers: They & their foundations & scores of front groups are, in almost all instances, directly or indirectly subsidized by U.S. fossil fuel companies, utility firms, automobile companies, etc.

Your statement about the IPCC is a naked rewriting of history. The IPCC is a panel of several thousand scientists whose official pronoucements are peer-reviewed. You are irresponsibly practicing the same art of the big lie that you are insistently & ironically denoucing here.

Unlike you, who clearly know nothing of climate science----beyond your ability to refer out of context to the Little Ice Age----the scientist who first presented the hockeystick graph based his data set on an array of scientific sources: ice cores, sediment cores, as well as tree ring studies. He & every academy of science in the world along with 98% of climate scientists & nearly every earth scientist & physicist without exception as well have drawn precisely the same conclusions from the available data set: Warming is occurring at a rate that is FAR outside the statistical norm; it cannot be attributed to seasonal patterns, El Niño, solar activity, or Malankovitch cycles, but only to the addition of a rising quantity of black carbon & heat-trapping gases to the troposphere---CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor from increased warming, etc.----nearly all of the additional greenhouse gases having originated from human activity in the last two & a half centuries.

But then, NickJ, you & your peers here simply do not care about the facts. Here is what you apparently do not understand. You & your friends in this discussion are the unwitting & tinyminded dupes of a 2 & half decade long public relations effort by American fossil fuel firms to prevent a policy response to climate change from being implemented in the U.S. Those same fossil fuel firms have long been laughing at both you & your apparent simplemindedness as high profile oilmen in Texas have actively been investing in windfarms in the U.S. Wind Corridor. All the rightwing governments in Europe are actively pursuing a climate change mitigation policy, while U.S. oil firms own scientists have said repeatedly in memos that the evidence for anthropogenic warming is “overwhelming.” NickJ, your irresponsible & childish ignorance, lack of concerted inquiry, & utter scientific illiteracy are all about to bear unsavory fruit.
AMEN! It's about time somebody said it!
you've created a straw dog. just look objectively at the work of the IPCC. Apocalypticists are with us always, both to the left and the right. Sweeping away all serious concerns about ecological crises as attributable to a vague "environmental conspiracy" is cheap and lazy...and silly.
I think you gave the reason, possibly without knowing it. Perhaps the certainty of the end is implanted in all of us, but the secular mind has nothing to hope for, which leaves fear as the only available emotion.
Once upon a time the media seemed to think it had a responsibility to act as a skeptical observer helping its readers understand what was really going on behind the scenes.

In the case of "global warming" it has completely abandoned that role in the face of the most blatant corruption in the history of what used to be called science.

The original IPCC statement that man was responsible for global warming was a product of a single activist who deleted 5 statements to the contrary in the report after peer review was completed, and substituted his own unsupported opinion.

A senior scientist said that this was the most egregious case of scientific misconduct he had seen in his long career. Instead of reporting this misconduct, the mainstream media has covered it up ever since.

The so-called "hockeystick" temperature graph which was prominently used as evidence of unusually rapid temperature rise in the 20th century was created by another activist who pasted together a supposed temperature chart partly based on selective tree rings which purported to show virtually no temperature change for the past 1,000 years, thus eliminating the Little Ice Age and the Roman Warm Period, among other well documented temperature changes.

However, since these tree rings also didn’t show any temperature change in the late 20th century, he replaced that part of the tree ring data with the actual temperature record for the last 50 years, without disclosing his substitution.

Once again, the mainstream media didn’t lift a finger to report this obvious fraud when it was discovered, or question the existence of unusual global warming just because it was based on phony data.

There are many other examples of fraudulent “science” in the sad history of global warming propaganda, but the media now seem to think its job is to cover up fraud rather than expose it. The world is paying a heavy price for its abdication of its responsibilities.
Victor Provenzano April 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM
Sorry, Anna, I had not seen your comment before I posted mine.
Victor Provenzano April 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM
Is there a single person among those who are presumably seeking to make a "contribution" to this dialogue who is able to examine a single scientific claim, cite a single verifiable data set, or analyze a set of described ecological conditions to determine if its particular claims are or are not reliable? Each of you seems to think that “environmental science” is a matter of culture or psychology or, even more insipidly, political ideology. There is, you may be surprised to learn, no such thing as either "leftwing," "moderate" or "rightwing" environmental science. There is only science pure and simple. This is why Maggie Thatcher, supposedly an unassailable hero to American conservatives, had already called for a global treaty on climate change in 1987. It is also why a study done by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2003 concluded that 85% of what the U.S. military would be doing overseas in our current century is responding to water wars, famine, and refugee crises deriving from climate change and a host of other worsening global ecological issues (a race to the bottom of the global water table, an increasing degree of soil depletion on every continent, etc.). There is scarcely a single person who has entered the "dialogue" below (which is essentially a dialogue with him- or herself) who has anything of value to offer to our current debate to the degree that is based on the facts. You are all, nearly without exception, sleepwalking through life, and as Nietzsche said in a peculiarly dismissive mood, "Blessed are the sleepy ones for they shall soon drop off."
People have know since the 1800's that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases the temperature. We can measure the CO2 in the atmosphere now at levels which would correspond to a higher temperature and higher sea level, and we can measure the rise in temperature, and see the melting of ice sheets and glaciers, and changes in weather. Scientists are scared because they have the evidence, lots of it, and it looks really bad.

Why do people believe science when it tells them what drugs to take to prevent a heart attack or where to drill for oil, but not when it tells them something they don't want to hear?

Is it really credible that the National Academies of every advanced country would all come out with the same message because of some philosophical unease with how great things are going? Think, people!
A good take on the anti-human environmentalism’s faith, or leftist Green puritanism. These liberals feel deep down that indulgence is wrong, but on a rational level they maintain that there is nothing wrong with enjoying indulgence and life. But it is what is deep down that drives us, and the deep feelings manifest itself in pervasive guilt. A secular (generally) guilt that turns viciously against these creatures of indulgence… ourselves. Our country, our world, humanity… is bad! We need to buckle down and end this indulgence. Global warming, with it’s solution of drastic carbon cuts, becomes the (trumped up) vehicle to beat back the industrial civilization which spawns excess indulgence.

Here’s some quotes:
“A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. We must shift our efforts from the treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer.” — Paul Ehrlich, Environmental Activist
“My [goal] is to reduce human population to about 100 million, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness… returning throughout the world.” –David Foreman, co-founder Earth First!
“Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society... All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.” –David Brower, Sierra Club Founder
We worry about a imminent environmental apocalypse, yet people everyday, all over the world, people are in what is to them, an apocalypse. It could be survivors of a large scale disaster or survivors of a personal disaster. We worry so much about imagined apocalypses when we should instead help people in real ones. We will all experience personal apocalypses in our lives and, when we do, we may need others to help us through them.
If a scientist gets funding from the government to see if, lets say, rats are going extinct, he will do his research. Once it is done, the scientist will look at his research. One thing he knows is that if he doesn't find anything saying they are going extinct, he won't get any more funding. Well since he lives on the funding, he has to find something showing that they are going extinct. He will limit the values of his research to make it look like there is data supporting his research. He will claim to need more funding to get better research.

This is the problem with government funding scientists. The scientists will do what makes their research seem like it is of dire importance, yet there may be nothing to this. The same thing is happening with global warming scientists. If they find proof that there is no global warming, their funding dries up and they join the unemployment line. That may make the unemployment numbers higher, but at least it wouldn't make everything cost so damn much.
With doom and gloom being preached at our kids it's no wonder suicide is the #1 killer of our children.
Great article. Whenever I see these prophets of doom frighten us to death over our impending end, I take solace in history. In year 1000, to an average Catholic, the teachings of Bible were as true and real as our supposed climate "science" is to us. And just as those waiting for the end of the world were disappointed so will be these environmental prophets. Humanity will end but if history and science are any indicators, it will be not as we predict but rather as the nature chooses.
"Our generation in a dark and dirty age has blasphemously underated the joys of living while cravenly overrating the dangers" G.K. Chesterton.
What is extremely humorous is that I do believe we have changed our environment - the 1.4 degree Celsius - and I think it will have harmful effects on certain ecosystems. But the utter pandemonium and absolution of some of the rhetoric that is not based on science and only intended to instill fear makes me angry. Yes we can be better stewards to our environment, and polluting the Earth is neither good nor smart, but i refuse to acknowledge the silly premonition that if I only drive a hybrid or switch my light bulbs, the Earth will be "saved."
You make a lot of interesting points, the only thing I would add --as a dynamic to contemplate-- is the creation, relatively recently, of products that don't biodegrade easily. I think this realization has entered our consciousness in a lot of ways. An obvious point is that if we can create 'garbage' that outlasts our lifetimes that is something unique to the most modern world.
Used to be that the planet was going to drown in horse manure and then people began using cars. Now we are all going to die from car exhaust fumes unless of course we humans discover or create a less polluting method of transportation. But isn't that what humanity is all about, finding solutions to the problems of human life?
Bravo! Excellent article. If I may, I will steal this line " The language of fear does not include the word “maybe.”" Soooo true!

Victor Provenzano April 17, 2012 at 9:50 AM
A jejune & ill-informed article that ignores the underlying reality & science of climate change (two droughts in the Amazon in 6 years, rapidly vanishing Arctic sea ice, etc.), while also ignoring the imminent acute water shortages around the world (for instance, the aquifers of Saudi Arabia and Yemen are all but empty), the extreme soil erosion already occurring on a global scale (e.g., three deserts in Northern China are unifying into a single desert)& that seeks to transform our acutely worsening global ecological reality into a reflection of a mere cultural mythos. Mr. Bruckner's easily dismissable article sets up an unthinking straw man argument, one which any schoolchild anywhere, debating with him- or herself, will inescapably win. I am embarrassed for him & I am embarrassed to have read it.
The theme of the Bible is the vindication of Jehovah's name through the establishment of a Kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ from heaven wherein the citizens have the opportunity to return to perfection as originally intended. Nothing has changed.
The real explanation is much simpler. The radical left confects a panoply of bogus menaces the purpose of which is to promote "solutions" that will wreck capitalism and its civilization. Reflexive bien-pensants actually believe this bunkum in order to maintain their standing as good people who believe all the correct things, including these illusory doomsdays. The touchstone figures for illuminating the contemporary ecology of opinion are Willi Muenzenberg and Antonio Gramsci. The touchstone images are The Emperor's New Clothes and the little man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz.
As Kim said: A precious conceit of a Western elite.

The end result of this concern may well be a planet free, or nearly so, of Western peoples.But it sure won't be free of Muslims, Asians, and Africans. Not to worry, the well known concern for Gaea exhibited by these groups will manifest itself, and the Earth will become as a garden.
I saw this and immediately thought of you. I enjoyed it and will look into Cormac McCarthy's: The Road. Hope yor cat delivery service was a plus in the end. Cya bro
A precious conceit of a Western elite.
===========
I invite readers to see my own essay of four years ago, "Environmentalist religion explained," here:
http://senseofevents.blogspot.com/2008/05/environmentalist-religion-explained.html

Excerpt:
"The common themes of both scriptural Judaism and Christianity deal with deity, the natural world (existing first in a purity state), a corruption of the purity state (Augustine: "fall from grace"), redemption and liberation/salvation. Then follows paradise. A prominent, though not universal, strain in both Judaism and Christianity is a looming apocalypse that in potential or in fact destroys enormous swaths of humanity.

"Modern environmentalism has all these elements, with an emphasis on apocalypticism. I'll examine these religious elements in turn."
Kenneth E. MacAlister Jr. April 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Good column. The answer to the question posed by the title of the column is very simple. Lack of God in the lives of the "apocalyptics" which causes them to put their faith in fallible men. Those who have God will fear no one but Him. As for the Book of Revelation & Patrick MacKinnon's comments regarding it, the Book of Revelation is there to not only tell us what to expect as this world comes to an end, but also what consequences there are for those who reject Christ's message & hold firm in that rejection until it's too late. You can't accept the good The Bible tells about & reject that what you don't want to hear. That is setting the table for one's own destruction. Yes, Jesus Christ brought a message of hope, but He also talked numerous times about what awaits those who reject His entire message. Patrick, if what your comments suggest is all you & your friend got out of God's Word you both should re-read it carefully while requesting God open your eyes to what it really means in its entirety. Putting faith in your own ability to understand the mind of God is not only foolish, but totally unreasonable. These comments are not meant as criticism, but as advice. To reject God's Word & The Gospel out of trusting one's own judgement instead of that of God is sealing your own fate. I don't claim to know the mind of God , but I trust Him to give me the wisdom, knowledge, & understanding of His Word I could never get on my own. Put God first & your own human wisdom last. Things will then & only then begin to make sense.
We had a climate change fear monger come to speak at my kids high school. He ranted and raved and said that they would all be dead in twenty years.

We had a chuckle when the kids got home. I have always told my kids that if someone is trying to scare them, they are trying to control them. The kids are now astute enough to spot snake oil salesmen, but this guy took the cake.

I asked the kids if the "end is nigh" threats made them want to "reduce reuse and recycle" anymore, or if it put them in the frame of mind that they should make the most of their last years and consume, consume, consume.

The intellectual elite have been so well trained during their university days to believe everything they are told, and not to question it. Rational thinking is rare talent these days.
It's all about our unsustainable debt levels. People see our finances, and the see the effects of our policies on countries in Europe, and impending doom becomes the prevailing mood. And then you throw in things like Global Warming hysteria and that just adds to it. But the bottom line is if we had our finances in order and bankruptcy didn't look like a realistic outcome, people would be feeling a whole lot better about things
The only thing I really fear is Obama and socialism. The rest of that stuff is largely out of our hands and thus far has killed far, far fewer people than central planning has in the last century alone.
A splendid piece and very good on the psychology of the Apocalyptics. But their very dottiness is a warning that we do actually live in a pretty uncertain future. Kenneth Minogue
Mark Plus, your take on Ron Paul is rather ignorant of the fact that every day corruption in government has become a "ho-hum" for a pathetic/apathetic populace but a totally changeable situation for those who choose to FACE and deal with those situations in life which ARE in fact approachable and manageable, as opposed to climate change.

Pinochet? You're comical, Mark. Soccer stadium? No, I believe a nice private cell would be more appropriate for the guys who have scammed the population into trading in Monopoly money. Are you equating Ron Paul's take on the empty monetary system to some apocalyptic scenario? You must be a banker, right?

Ron Paul is actually the only guy with the wisdom and the backbone to tackle the rampant corruption in the global monetary scam. To sit back and accept this absolute thievery for another presidential term would be economic suicide. You fiat guys crack me up, Mark. I needed a good joke to end my day on. Spacibo, komrade.
Mr. Bruckner gleefully lists one environmental harm after another, as if the more that he mentions, the less true they all become.

What he fails to mention is any evidence at all that these dangers don't exist. The growing body of evidence that they do exist is already overwhelming, and his hypothesis that "if so many people say it it can't be true" just doesn't carry any weight.
Patrick MacKinnon April 16, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Copied from a recent letter to a friend:
To take
the bible literally is utterly childish but to dismiss it out of hand is
even more jejune. Therefore a reasonable individual mines it for
its wisdom and uses his discrimination to find the gold amid the dross.

However; I do find one particular book , which you happen to mention, to be
particularly out of place and so obviously a childish afterthought inserted
to hopefully persuade backsliders to repent. That is of course the
Book of Revelations and coming as it does after the New Testament
makes it particularly odious. Christ brought a message of hope for the
future to all believers. Revelations dashes that possibility since it
implies that this is going to happen regardless of how well His message
is heard and also that we are an irredeemable lot that will make His
attempt fruitless anyhow.

I am not a book burner but I am willing to make an exception in
this case. Who needs that nightmarish prospect except for a few prigs
who may be gloating in their own personal rectitude and are looking
forward with delight to the apocalyptic tortures of we less favoured.
In what sense has the writer used "aporia"?
@Frank Davis:

I suspect that Ron Paul and some of his supporters want to destroy the Federal Reserve because of its private components. To them it looks like a really egregious example of what can go wrong when you privatize the functions of the U.S. government, and its performance discredits their plans to privatize the other parts of the government.
In any slow-to-unfold disaster, there is always time to mitigate, if not prevent, the disaster.

Thus it is with global warming. We cannot, not now, not after our continued high CO2 production over the last couple of decades, prevent a 2C warming. Maybe even 3. But there are things that can be done that would hold it to less than 4C.

Every extra degree makes things more serious. More polar icecap melting, and faster. More sea level rise. More crop failures due to heat waves.

Checking tire gauges won't make a lick of difference. Neither will sorting waste by compost category. Serious, major new energy infrastructure must be designed and built. Wind, solar, nuclear. All this will require machinery and money, and we'll have to use our existing industrial base to do it. Coal and all. We'll have to accept some bird kill by the windmills, and possibly another Fukushima-style event...assuming we can't nerve ourselves to insist on better siting of nuclear power plants.
may not agree but man alive , does he not say it well! And Mark Plus you make "can send the Federal Reserve bankers to the soccer stadium" sound like a bad thing???
"A time-honored strategy of cataclysmic discourse, whether performed by preachers or by propagandists, is the retroactive correction. This technique consists of accumulating a staggering amount of horrifying news and then—at the end—tempering it with a slim ray of hope. First you break down all resistance; then you offer an escape route to your stunned audience."

Otherwise known as "Vote for Ron Paul"?

In other words, we see a similar doomsday scam on the American right coming from people who call themselves "Austrian economists," Congressman Ron Paul included. In their version of the apocalypse, the Federal Reserve System plays the antichrist role and threatens to destroy our economy with hyperinflation. We can only avoid this fate by making a fringe politician into Pinochet-like dictator who can send the Federal Reserve bankers to the soccer stadium and restore the gold standard.
Excellent! Most insightful!