Written by Daniel Greenfield
The media has been having a prolonged belly laugh at a group that had the temerity to suggest that the world would end today. Of course it's ridiculous when Harold Camping predicted that the world will be over today, but not when Al Gore predicted that the North Pole would melt in five years. True believers in Gore would say that's the difference between science and eschatology. But when bogus science warns us of an apocalypse if we don't follow the tenets of their ideology, then how much difference is there anyway?
Of course no one expects MSNBC to do sneering reports of global warming activists freezing at a protest or Al Gore being forced to watch a count down of a solidly frozen North Pole. Such mockery is only directed at people who believe in more unpopular forms of apocalypses. At least unpopular at the broadcasting studios of Manhattan. Camping is ridiculous, but Al Gore is right on the money.
The only real difference between Harold Camping and Al Gore, is that Harold Camping believes what he's saying, while Al Gore preaches one thing to his followers, but lives a lifestyle in direct contraction of it. The Vice President turned Prophet of Gaia lectures on watching our carbon footprint and then flies on jet fueled carbon wings to another concert on behalf of the planet. Other aspiring prophets like Prince Charles, who admires poverty, but lives in privilege, are no better.
Of course prophets are immune from hypocrisy. Doubly so if they're false prophets. If the invariably prosperous believers in Death by Global Warming really believed in the creed, wouldn't they be selling their homes and cars, and going off to live a simpler life in the Himalayan mountains. But it's easier to believe in something than to practice it. Like all liberal social engineering projects, environmentalism is meant to change everyone's life. And there's no point in its proponents doing more than paying lip service to it, as they make it the law of the land. If Osama bin Laden could preach Islamic morality while stocking up on X rated tapes, surely Al Gore can foretell the doom of the North Pole and still take a private jet around the world.
If liberals have turned to doomsday predictions, it's because they have discovered that religion and the apocalypse can be a marvelously effective way of controlling human behavior. But their religion is materialistic, concerned with the human presence in the natural world. Even its materialism is consumeristic. The Reds had no truck with environmentalism. To a Communist, the natural world was a mass of raw resources to be used to build socialism. But to the children of the capitalists, concerned more with what they buy, than with what they do, environmentalism restraints and directs their buying habits. As religions goes, environmentalism is the Consumer Reports of theologies.
For all the talk of apocalypse and melting poles, the environmentalists really only care about what your economic activity. Buy or don't buy. But preferably buy, so long as you're buying green, or buying carbon credits along with whatever you're buying. The sinner fills up on paper towels, but the righteous man buys paper towels with a green stamp on the box. The man of little faith may drive an SUV, and the faithful may also drive an SUV, but the faithful man's SUV has a bumper sticker warning everyone to conserve something or other. Such hypocrisies are constant, pervasive and little commented on.
When exactly did environmentalism turn into a fanatical religion, complete with its own televangelists, revival concerts and scripture? Arguably that's what it always was. But what began as a movement for the responsible stewardship of the earth has been corrupted from the ethical to the fanatical. Conservationism kept humanity in the picture. Environmentalism rages at humanity. Behind its colorful drawings and its dolphin key chains is the vision of a world in which humanity and its fire sticks are the original sin.
But that primal rage has been channeled and diluted into a million businesses, into countless regulations and profitable ventures. The new environmentalists are regulatory robber barons like Al Gore, green rent seeking tycoons looking to use cap and trade, and a thousand mandatory revenue streams to fleece both the faithful and the unfaithful. There is no further way to corrupt environmentalism, its existence is already an abiding corruption. For the false prophets, the lab coated peddlers of junk science and the writers dreaming up ever more fanciful depictions of the day when the oceans rise and man finds himself paddling for safety besides the polar bear, there is nothing left but the lie.
The religious apocalypse is the break between a fallen world and a better world. But in the environmental apocalypse, it is only the end. Materialistic eschatology cannot see any way past the end or any purpose for it. Only a Waterworld in which some of us develop gills and others have to learn to kayak. The threat of their end of days is meant to badger us into bowing our heads. Buy Green or the North Pole will end in 5 years. Bicycle to work or a polar bear will chew your ear off. Their end of days lacks imagination and proof. It is constantly imminent, yet never arrives. It is held to be proven so thoroughly that it can never be disproven. And who would want to disprove it, except someone who doesn't already have a grant to prove it.
There's hardly a problem in the world that the media doesn't blame on Global Warming. When it's hot, they point to Global Warming. When it's cold, they also point to Global Warming. Earthquakes,civil wars and the end of WiFi are all laid at the door of one single phenomenon. The difference between religion and science is that one is revealed truth and the other is theory. But when men and women in lab coats start predicting the end of days if the heretics don't repent and cast out their fluorescent light bulbs and SUV's, then what you have is theory as revealed truth. An experiment in eschatology.
Science requires objectivity. Combine science with ideology and you get a mandatory belief in absurdity. Everyone who self-righteously insists that global warming is science misses the point. The scientific orthodoxy of every generation has embraced ridiculous and wrongheaded theories. Science is not a pure form of revealed truth, it is the trial and error process by which we crawl toward a better understanding. A less flawed picture of the universe. Turn the scientific orthodoxy of any era into a mandatory ideology and you have killed the science and left only another belief system.
Environmentalists parade around the corpse of science on their shoulders, mount it on their walls and proclaim that science is on their side. Once you completely murder a system of using trial and error experimentation to confirm a theory, then you might as well use it as a banner on a flagpole or a trophy in your living room. But the environmentalist' science has as much relation to a living field, as the head of a dead moose mounted over a bed and breakfast's fireplace does to a living creature.
Ideology has killed science and now claims its intellectual credibility for its own. But purging dissenting scientists, burning books and silencing all critics with jeers is not science, no more than what passed for it in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany was science. It is the fanaticism of an ideology, the championing of backwardness, the exploitation of titles and terminology to silence debate and betray the ethical trust of inquiry.
The end of the world? The same people who ridicule Christians waiting for the end, are waiting for their own end. Without any real faith in it. That's the difference between Camping's followers and Gore's followers. No one will hang around with a count down clock in 2014 and wait for the North Pole to end. Not even if Gore's prediction was better known. Those who believe in Global Warming, paradoxically don't really believe that the world could actually end. They may eat up the cinematic spectacle of oceans rising, cities sinking underwater and whales doing belly flops over the Grand Canyon, but it never really touches them.
To understand why is to understand the purpose of environmentalism. Its harsh criticism of consumerism turns it into a moral activity. The Whole Foods shopper is elevated above the Wal-Mart shopper. The woman who buys sneakers made of recycled tires isn't shopping, she's engaged in an ethical communion with the earth. Environmentalism is the theology of consumerism, uplifting it rather than proscribing it, taking a cut of ordinary economic activities in exchange for its blessing.
Environmentalism is the religion of the comfortable, and the theology of the convenient. It injects a false spirituality into the materialism of the faithless. There is nothing to it but greed. From the false prophets spinning tales of the end, to scientists doing a more elevated version of the same for grant money to scribes envisioning the end for a lucrative book or movie deal. It's not the end of the world they're waiting for, but a commercial break
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.