I’ve got myself into trouble recently, for using words like ‘idiot’ too often. Especially on twitter. Here’s my favourite:
Am I reaching the end of my vocabulary?
James Delingpole seems equally frustrated. He’s written about “Why I am so Rude to Warmists”
It was prompted when I very vocally expressed my disgust at one of the standard phrases trotted out by Warmists and other eco-loons in these debates (as, of course, inevitably, they did again on Sunday): the one about “preserving the planet for future generations”.
You can be sure that there is very little thought behind the kinds of trite little pieties Delingpole alludes to. At best, they are nothing more than a form of moral blackmail, by individuals who have no better reason to explain to anyone else why they have a public profile. In Delingpole’s case, he was sharing a car with the person who uttered the hollow piety on the way back from a BBC debate.
As Delingpole explains,
Does anyone imagine that back in 1012 they were all agonising about how the children of the future might cope in 2012, what with all the scarce resources being used up at an alarming rate to make ships and spears and light warning beacons for the next Viking raid? Somehow I don’t think so. Yet this is precisely the kind of unutterable boll***s you hear being advanced almost every day by people like this liberal-leftie media type with whom I had my big row.
It is indeed utter, utter boll***s as James calls it.
So how to counter it? I share Delingpole’s frustration. “The answer is, of course, that there is no counter.”
He has a point. How can one reason with nonsense?
There is clearly a yawning casm — if not between climate alarmists and reality, then certainly between people who believe in the words they are uttering and people who simply don’t. The really interesting thing about the claim to be speaking “for future generations” is that it doesn’t matter how many people think you’re talking bollocks, you can claim the moral high-ground — you’re speaking for people who don’t exist yet, and who aren’t able to tell you that you’re talking complete bollocks, as well as thinking it.
In short, pretending to care for people who don’t exist is a fantastic ruse for people who don’t give a toss about people in the present.
One of my politics lecturers used to call deep differences in society ‘cleavages’. There’s an obvious pun in that, too. But it’s a good word, which describes how tensions emerge between groups of people, ultimately causing some political change or another.
Speaking of which…
I have no idea who Brian Palmer of Slate Magazine is… But he writes…
I just finished reading The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, in which Steven Pinker argues that violence in all forms has diminished over the past few centuries. That’s good for people, of course, but it got me thinking about the environment. How does war affect the planet?
I mentioned Pinker’s book a few posts ago. The pessimists of the world believe that wars are becoming more frequent, and thus we are moving closer to some kind of Armageddon. But in fact, the opposite is true, as Pinker shows. The world is far safer than it ever has been. But talk to people — especially greens, and they don’t think so. They are ever less certain about the world and the future.
So even when they are confronted with the facts, miserablists still have to search for a reason to see bad in the good. Brian Palmer’s question looks to me like such a gesture… ‘Huh, so few babies are dying and there are fewer wars… But so what… What about the trees?’
Yeah, what about the trees?
The human and financial costs of armed conflict are so vast that few people have stopped to consider what war does to rivers, trees, and elephants. In recent years, academics have been much more interested in how environmental degradation contributes to war than in how wars degrade the environment. In addition, no two wars affect the planet in the same way. The environmental devastation from a nuclear war, for example, would be difficult to estimate in advance.
Yes, we should all be really worried about the effects of war on trees.
From this side of the cleavage, I’m wondering what the hell Palmer is on about. If a couple of trees get knocked down in an exchange of nuclear weapons… Well, I really don’t care. Where is Palmer’s moral compass? Who really cares about the environment of a war zone, in which people are being killed?
And it’s not even ‘future generations’ Palmer seems to be moved about,
Armies used to defeat each other by killing huge numbers of enemies in direct battle. Today, military strategists try to undermine the enemy’s war machine with less bloodshed. That usually means occupying huge swaths of land and destroying the industrial infrastructure. In other words, as war becomes safer for humans, it may be increasingly dangerous for the planet.
This is just extraordinary bullshit in so many respects. Is Palmer’s claim that, rather than taking direct aim at people’s heads, soldiers now just blow up factories, and that this is worse? It would seem so…
One need only observe peacetime accidents to see what terror a bomb could unleash if dropped on a modern chemical factory. At the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, in 1984, water infiltrated into a tank holding methyl isocyanate. The mixture caused an explosion that contaminated the surrounding area, killing thousands. Attacks on chemical plants are entirely possible. President Clinton ordered the bombing of a Sudanese factory in 1998 precisely because he thought it was stocked with dangerous chemicals.
Apart from the fact that Palmer seems to be calling for the good old days of war, when men stood opposite men with swords and spears… It looks like he has invented a whole new form of warfare that nobody has ever thought of before: targeting industry and infrastructure to stop the enemy. Gosh… Imagine how much sooner WWII would have ended, had the Allies and Axis powers had thought of such horrific tactics… Oh, hang on a minute…
Who says it’s wrong to call environmentalists morons, idiots, and to say that they talk ‘unutterable bollocks’? Maybe we’re just not rude enough.