Periodically the public seems to put its wrists together and asks government to handcuff it to higher taxes and more regulation. Such was the news this morning as Prime Minister Trudeau and his provincial counterparts gather to devise fresh ways to make us poorer through taxation and regulation.
I would say that, as a legitimator of collective action, global warming hysteria has been the most successful left-wing plot of all time. It makes Marxism look like the kludgy effort it really was.
Why bother with dreary economic ideas of “exploitation” – the Marxist equivalent of sin – when the very air you breathe out is filled with minute quantities of CO2? Sin! Now it is not merely the capitalist class which is to be supplanted; today everyone is guilty. So everyone can pay up! Genius!
So tax us more, please, to end anthropogenic global warming.
A warming that, so far as we can tell, has not been occurring for 19 years.
A warming that, so far as we can tell, is wholly within the range of normal climatic variation.
A warming that is producing longer crop seasons, shorter winters, and receding ice in the Arctic- though not the Antarctic.
The young think we deniers and skeptics will disappear and then we will live in a carbon-neutral utopia, with no more voices of dissent – dissent about anything really.
Sometimes it is necessary to live long enough to know that some cycles are just that, some processes work themselves out over time. If you have not lived sixty years, you will not have seen the rise and fall of cholesterol.
If you have not read history you will be unaware that almost every conscious being in the 1940s assumed that capitalism was on its way out and that a planned economy was the only way to go.
In 1940, Friedrich Hayek published “The Road to Serfdom”. No writing at the time more thoroughly disagreed with the consensus that planning was the way of the future.
Hayek’s argument was that the substitution of commands (regulations) for prices led inevitably to social and political tensions and distortions, which led to conflicts that would eventuate in the rise of the Strong Man who would come to power on the promise of putting an end to the chaos. In part it was an explanation of what happened in Germany, but in the main it was an attack on central planning, the consensus belief of its time, and hence on the Soviet Union.
I cite Hayek because we need to remind ourselves of the importance of cycles in thought. Today it seems that the central planners have fashioned a fool-proof legitimation for themselves, their rule, and the taxes to support them, for ever. To disagree is to be a heretic; to be against “carbon” regulation is to be against every belief of the bien-pensant establishment.
To be against carbon taxation and the massive global warming-inspired (oops! climate change) energy policy errors which we are about to make is to isolate oneself socially, not just intellectually. One does not want to turn oneself into a bore for the sake of truth – any more than is absolutely necessary. Some errors are just too large to fight in a social context.
I have been here before, in the pro-Communist 1970s, when Soviet agents of influence like Gwynne Dyer droned on about how we were all going to have to get used to a future where the Soviet Union was a permanent feature of life, and the Great Powers, the USA and the USSR, were morally equivalent.
There are days when I have to remind myself that the Soviet Union was actually taken seriously by Western intellectuals, to encourage me to face the coming dark age of carbon regulation and government sponsored poverty-creation with something approaching equanimity.