Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The New Religion

Conservatives and reactionary ultra-individualists (such as those found at Capitalism Magazine) are rebranding environmentalism as an irrational "religion", and implicit in this accusation is the continued assault on left-wing views, equity and social justice.

Thanks to Comrade Hogan, who recently added CapMag to the Right-Wing Sin Bin, for making me aware of this particular kind of right-wing trash.

In the above linked CapMag article, the author, Tom DeWeese vents his bile against the Kyoto Protocol, a rather flawed idea to allow carbon trading and minutely lower C02 emissions. Although starting with a fairly sane sounding argument that there is "no consensus" on Global Warming (the term is Climate Change now buckeroo), DeWeese then wanders into the kinds of conspiracy nut-case views that feature in Mel Gibson movies or are held by the chief economic advisors of Vlad Putin.
Global Warming is nothing more than a euphemism for redistribution of wealth from the rich, development nations to jealous dictatorships who refuse to allow their citizens the right to gain their own wealth through free markets. It's about political redistribution from strong, independent sovereign nations into the hands of a power-hungry global elite cowering in the United Nations. These are the same cowardly scoundrels who used to try to rule the world through global communism. Today they pretend that the same lies have something to do with protecting the environment.
This is pretty whacky stuff. Just like Andrei Illarionov, who claims that a sinister global cabal of shadowy totalitarian lobbying cultists are controling the world through their Kyotoism.

These guys sound like the Citizens Electoral Council, who believe that global economic collapse is imminent and that the world is controlled by an coterie of Jews, the British Monarchy and the CIA. Illarionov quoth on Lateline (linked above):
This is a very clear, pure lobbyist effort to redistribute financial resources to one particular group of people.... Kyotoism, from my point of view, is quite totalitarian ideology that is imposed on the world and on many societies with totalitarian means, and in this regard, this totalitarian ideology is very similar to other totalitarian ideologies that we have seen in the past, like fascism and communism.
While these extremists don't get that much credibility in the media (at least in Australia, where it is thankfully understood that there is anthropagenic change in the global environment), it is clear where their rhetoric is leading.

As far as I can tell, the fastest growing progressive political movement in the world is the Green movement. While in my opinion the environmental movement is (for now) largely characterised by moderate, moralistic conservatism, it is also one that has galvanised a mass of public like no other since the seventies.

A friend of mine commented that he believes that evironmental activism and ecological issues will be the major issues for mass social change in the 21st Century. With accusations of "communism" "fascism" and "socialism" now being levelled at rebellious aspects of the "technician-class" of Capital, it appears that my friend may be correct, or that at least, Capital is identifying environmentalism as the next threat to its Imperialism.

With a weight of scientific evidence to back them, the Green movement has become internationally organised. As governments and some aspects of big business around the globe have begun to acknowledge the validity of ecological sustainability, reactionary elements of capital are striking back.

As we see, the ideologues and rhetoricians of Capital are not only labeling environmentalists as communists ("watermelons" perhaps), but are also linking them to the irrational aspects of religion: cults, sects, fundamentalism.

Personally, this is an interesting development, as it makes connections with the subversive or counter-cultural aspects of religion, rather than the pro-state, pro-ruling class sections of religion (ie, those that are "acceptable"). (Interesting because this is my thesis.) Sect, cult, are terms used to denigrate and delegitimise; the tropes of communism are thrown in to link environmentalism with the so-called "discredited" Marxist theories.

Furthermore (and this is an point I should have emphasised more earlier), DeWeese and Illarionov are manufacturing a dichotomy between "true" and "false" science, with true science on the one hand being that which denies Climate Change (or anthropagenic Climate Change) utterly and false science which studies it.

The totalitarian sect/cult that is bending the ear of Bush, Blair and Putin (according to Illarionov) are the Messiahs of the False Science bent on communist-style redistribution of wealth and a crushing of individual rights to freedom of speech. They abhor facts and reason, they ruthlessly crush dissent, they excommunicate heretics from public life, and the hate the environment.

DeWeese says something that strikes me as indicative of his ideological background:
Global Warming has become a religion that the faithful have vowed to follow no matter what the true facts may show. Global Warming is a theory, nothing more, and large numbers of scientists around the world are beginning to question its validity. There is no consensus of support.
This is the same argument used against evolution: "Evolution is a theory, nothing more".

It is precisely this kind of counter-intuitive anti-intellectualism that is threatening scientific thought. It is exceedingly dangerous, crypto-theology, cloaked by a veneer of "science" of the kind used by reactionary ultra-conservatives.

(This enrty made use of Google's rel="nofollow" tag)


  • At March 02, 2005 11:37 am, Blogger Liam said…

    It's nothing particularly complicated or new. They're not bringing any amazing new analyses to the issues. It's simple.
    Like P.P. MacGuinness, they're just champions of the overdog.

  • At March 02, 2005 1:33 pm, Blogger Alex said…

    It's not new, but it is being increasingly emphasised.


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