I'm something of a centrist in political and social terms; conservative-leaning, libertarian-oriented, but definitely centrist overall. I'll try to listen with respect to anyone who approaches me with respect and good manners. Even if I disagree with them, if they're sincere and honorable and upright individuals, I won't dismiss or ignore them. However, when those with differing views become, not just dissenting, but objectionable, in-your-face, dishonest and downright threatening, that's a different story.
This has become clear in far-Left-wing (i.e. 'progressive') environmentalist circles over the past few days. Perhaps stirred up by the recent abject failure of an attempt to discredit climate change skeptics, they seem to have seized on international efforts as a way to override opposition in individual countries or specific societies. Two reports highlight their ambitions. First, from Powerline:
ECO-FASCISTS DON THEIR JACKBOOTS
. . .
... in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the Rio UN Earth Summit that brought us the travesty of the Kyoto process that the would-be
informed leadership that directsautocrats of the UN environmental community would like to tinker with the voting process of these UN summits so that recalcitrant nations like the U.S., China, India, Poland, etc., can’t block our salvation.
Oh, that’s not how they put it, but it isn’t hard to see through the euphemisms they use. The BBC’s environment writer Richard Black (and there are few journalists more in the bag for the greens than Black) gives away the game in his recent story on this:
The most radical idea in procedural terms is introducing majority voting in UN fora to prevent a few recalcitrant nations from blocking the will of the vast majority.
Great: let’s have climate policy governed by the UN General Assembly. How long before we get a “Zionism is causing global warming” resolution? Back to Black’s account:
There have been many times in the past when just one or two countries held up progress in UN processes such as the climate change convention – and the same issue is now being raised within the EU, where last week Poland on its own managed to block the setting of tougher carbon emission targets.
On the other hand, some countries’ protests clearly matter more than others.
Sovereignty is such a bitch.
There's more at the link.
Next, from Scientific American:
Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe
. . .
I’ve come to the conclusion that the technical details are the easy part. It’s the social engineering that’s the killer. Moon shots and Manhattan Projects are child’s play compared to needed changes in the way we behave.
A policy article authored by several dozen scientists appeared online March 15 in Science to acknowledge this point: “Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.”
. . .
In principle, species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors would be a sine qua non, but that kind of pronouncement also profoundly strains credibility in the chaos of the political sphere. Some of the things that would need to be contemplated: How do we overcome our hard-wired tendency to “discount” the future: valuing what we have today more than what we might receive tomorrow? Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries? How do we create new institutions with enforcement powers way beyond the current mandate of the U.N.? Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?
. . .
If we are ever to cope with climate change in any fundamental way, radical solutions on the social side are where we must focus, though. The relative efficiency of the next generation of solar cells is trivial by comparison.
Again, more at the link.
Isn't it mind-boggling? Such people really think they're entitled to impose their ideas on us, whether or not we agree with them. The fact that there is no 'settled scientific perspective' on the issue of climate change is lost on them - they simply go on (at least figuratively) sticking their fingers in their ears and singing "La-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you" whenever anyone raises that point, and try to drown out, browbeat, denigrate or ignore any and all opposition.
Lawrence Auster has an explanation for what might be behind such arrogance and insularity. He's writing about 'liberal intolerance' in general, but one can very easily see how his points apply to the climate change debate, and fit the attitudes discussed above.
... since socialism has been discredited following the fall of Soviet Communism, the left has for tactical reasons largely shifted its demand for equality of results away from the economic sphere to the cultural/moral sphere and the advancement of "oppressed" cultural and ethnic groups. The result is cultural socialism, which entails the same kind of bureaucratically imposed egalitarian “solution” as existed under the older socialism, and thus leads to a cultural double standard. This cultural double standard goes something like this: Since "we" (e.g., whites, Westerners, Christians, men, conservatives, Americans, the U.S. armed forces, Republicans, and heterosexuals) constitute an allegedly dominant group in society and are better off than the "Other" (e.g., nonwhites, non-Westerners, Moslems, women, liberals, immigrants, enemy combatants, Democrats, and homosexuals), our superior position violates the imperative of equality. In order for the desired state of equality to be attained, we, the unfairly dominant group, must be condemned, excluded, and dragged down, while the Other must be celebrated, included, and raised up. In short, in the name of equality, society is divided into two radically distinct groups, to which radically different rules apply.
. . .
The key point is that the double standard results automatically from the demand for equality between inherently unequal things. The double standard is not a mere excess or defect of leftism, but its essence.
The problem can perhaps be better understood by considering how the leftist view of justice departs from the traditional Western view of justice. Traditional morality and classical philosophy define justice as giving each person his due, with equals getting equal results and unequals getting unequal results. Leftism, as we have said, defines justice as the guaranteed equality of outcome between individuals of unequal abilities and accomplishments. But equality between unequals cannot be just (because it involves the expropriation of the justly earned fruits of more talented labor) and is incompatible with liberty (because it requires force to achieve). To give the same to everyone requires that undeserved disadvantages be imposed on the more productive and therefore "better off" individuals and that undeserved benefits be provided to the less productive and therefore "worse off" individuals ...
Furthermore, in order to justify this unjust system, the society must lie to its members about how the differences between the respective groups came about. It must claim that the more abundant goods possessed by the better-off group were all attained unfairly, by the oppression or exploitation of the worse-off group. It must devalue individual initiative and creativity and all the other virtues that make for the building up of civilization, while excusing (and ultimately rewarding) failure, misbehavior, and crime.
This double standard, once again, applies as much to the cultural and moral sphere as to the economic. For example, the belief in equality requires leftists to delegitimize anyone who upholds the traditional moral code, and to excuse anyone who violates it, because traditional morality says that some behaviors are objectively better than others, which is (to leftists) discriminatory.
. . .
By convincing everyone that their agendas represent the advance of a general "fairness" and "humanity" to which no decent person could object, modern "liberals" assure that no one can criticize these agendas on any principled ground. The result is that public discourse about the public good — politics itself — comes to an end.
More at the link.
As I said earlier, I wouldn't mind debating such issues with anthropocentric-climate-change proponents if only they were willing to be honest in the debate. When they deliberately ignore (or lie about) scientific observations, flaws in predictive models, deliberately dishonest conduct designed to 'shut out' opposing views from so-called 'authoritative' journals, etc., it becomes impossible for anyone to have a reasoned discussion with them. When dishonesty takes over, it cheapens, diminishes and tarnishes everything - and everyone - it touches.