Written by Daniel Greenfield
Wednesday afternoon, the sky over New York City was a falling sheet of white. Temperatures had dropped sharply and the blizzard was underway. But nowhere in the city was the blizzard more pronounced than in Central Park, which had been designed in the 19th century to create a miniature forest in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the world. The trees were layered with coats of snow and visibility had vanished into a cloud of whiteness. And walking along a path in the Ramble, I heard a woman lecturing her children on the dangers of what else, but Global Warming.
There is a kind of madness to walking through a blizzard, while wearing a thick coat and picking the moment to discuss Global Warming. A theory according to which we should be sliding toward the tropics, awash in fleeing polar bears and Florida style temperatures, instead of frantically shoveling our driveways. Such an attitude has very little to do with science, and a great deal to do with faith. Because while the scientist sees what is and evaluates it based on the available evidence, the believer has faith in what he cannot see. And to see Global Warming while walking through a blizzard, is itself an act of faith.
Prior to this season's unfortunate weather, Global Warming advocates had staked their bets on a mild winter in order to show people the pernicious effects of people driving to work and using extra shopping bags. Which was a decent enough angle, considering that we had been experiencing milder winters over the last few years. But the problem with betting that the weather will help prove your point, is that the weather may have other plans. And now digging out of a snowstorm and their own lies, Global Warming advocates are arguing that colder winters and snowstorms are actually another effect of global warming. Which may now need to be renamed, Global Temperatures We Don't Like.
Had environmentalists hedged their bets by calling Global Warming something vaguely neutral like Global Temperature Imbalance, they would have had a much easier time covering their asses. Because temperature imbalances are a more subjective thing and the graphs are easier to fake. But Global Temperature Imbalance is much less entertainingly alarmist than Global Warming, and the environmentalists knew that they needed a name with some heft to frighten the public. Armageddon. Apocalypse. We think of destruction as a fiery event. And Global Warming was an environmentalist apocalypse, supposedly backed by science. No wonder it got as much traction as it did.
But it isn't just the weather that's turning on Global Warming, from Anglia to the IPCC, the scientific case for Global Warming is being undermined by revelations of fraud and malfeasance. And the political case for Cap and Trade is being undermined by the refusal of politicians and nations to cut their own throats so that Al Gore and George Soros can make a few billion selling "Right to Emit Carbon" certificates to every factory on the planet.
Walking through Central Park, it's easy to see how perverse the modern day Environmentalist has become in his view of the relationship between man and nature. Central Park was inspired by one of the co-founders of the Republican party, newspaper editor, William Cullen Bryant, and co-created by Republican architect and landscape designer Frederick Olmsted, to harmonize the natural world and the urban one through human industry.
The New York Republicans of the 19th century viewed public parks as part of their civilizing mission. Central Park was created as part of an ongoing battle with the corrupt Democratic Tammany Hall machine, which wanted segregated slums and downtrodden workers who would rush to them as saviors and vote how they were told. By contrast Bryant and Olmsted saw parks as a way to improve human health, inspire public citizenship and build a strong republic.
While today's environmentalists are fixated on holding back human development in order to maintain wetlands, banning DDT to save the mosquito and campaigning against agriculture to reduce population growth-- the visionaries behind Central Park did not restrict human development for the sake of nature, instead they used human industry and the state of the art technology of the time to turn a decrepit site used for slaughterhouse refuse, swamps and shantytowns into a magnificent park that seems effortlessly natural.
The difference is in the emphasis. Environmentalists demonize most human industry and accomplishment, except the ineffective and efficient kind, as evil, because they are wedded to a black and white view of humanity and the environment as opposites. In their worldview, for the environment to prosper, humanity must go into decline. And when humanity prospers, they insist that the environment is in decline.
By contrast, Conservationists, who included the likes of President Theodore Roosevelt, valued the natural world for what human beings can learn about themselves from engaging with it. That was the philosophy behind Central Park, which to this day remains an elegant demonstration of human accomplishment as applied to the natural world.
Global Warming is an ideological weapon by the environmentalists against human industry and civilization. It is part of a broader anti-civilization agenda by the left, which values the natural world only because it sees it as a "primitive" antidote to the complexities of civilization. That romanticism goes back many centuries. It is the borrowed hostility of the nomad to the farmer (and it is very telling to look at Europe and see its intellectuals championing the virtues of the grandsons of Bedouin nomads over the grandsons of French and English farmers) taken up by bored intellectuals, arguing against the complexity of civilization and for the noble barbarism of the savage.
Where the Conservationist values the natural world because of its beneficial impact on the human spirit through cultivation and achievement, the Environmentalist only thinks he values the natural world, in reality he does not love nature, he only hates civilization. Where the Conservationist sought out the natural world for its civilizing effects, the Environmentalist seeks it out for its decivilizing effects. He does not want to be a better human being, but less of one.
Accordingly to the Conservationist, we needed to integrate the natural world into our lives in order to build a better civilization. The Environmentalist is not interested in building a better human civilization. His objective can only truly succeed if every human being, every building, factory, car and artifact vanished off the face of the earth tomorrow. Because his environmentalism is really a mask for his hostility to human civilization.
Central Park does not duplicate Manhattan before the arrival of the settlers, a trendy bit of landscaping that environmentalists are rather fond of. But then who besides environmentalists would fancy the idea of reverting Manhattan to a swamp bordered island with poor water sources and high rates of disease. Instead it creates something better, improving on the natural world, cultivating land into a transcendent statement that is more about man than nature.
Where Global Warming insists that everything humans do just makes the world worse, Central Park is a shining statement that says we make it better. The ideology of Global Warming's only real message is, "Stop Doing Things We Don't Approve Of". Every ad is another parable about the evil of humans who clear cut forests, pour oil into the oceans and refuse to put things into clearly marked recycling containers. By contrast Central Park was meant to open up the natural world to human activities. The ideas of Olmsted about good citizenship and the natural world did not involve teaching people to leave the natural world alone, but to make it a part of our cities.
Environmentalists today sneer at this attitude, they view parks as patronizing to the environment and artificial human entities. They clamor against hunting and fishing. They agitate to restrict human access to national parks. They push Zero Population Growth and mandatory birth control. Their "Green", like that of the Islamic Green, burns with hate for the Red, White and Blue. For human civilization.
But as with so many left wing ideologies, the public may go along with the propaganda, until they begin realizing the real world implications. Much of the public thinks Environmentalism is a good idea, because they think it's ultimately meant to benefit them. And slowly they're realizing that this is not the case. That Environmentalism is an ideology that champions the Supremacy of Nature, better known as the ecosystem covering the surface of the Earth, over man. Where Conservationism believed in the Supremacy of Man, and the utilization of the natural environment for mankind's benefit, the environmentalist doesn't give a damn about mankind's benefit. Less so than he does about an endangered mollusk.
Walking through the blizzard, the trees wreathed in bridal veils of snow, I heard their voices in the distance, a distance that in the whiteness may have been only a dozen feet away. "The scientists say Global Warming is coming", the mother said. "It's too cold out for that," answered the little girl.
(note: photos in this article were taken by me and are under my copyright. More photos from this set can be seen at my photo blog, New York Minute)
From NY to Jerusalem, Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News