Volatility

January 24, 2016

Three Good Actions and No Evil Actions

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A basic watchword for director Howard Hawks was that “A good movie is three good scenes and no bad scenes.” It strikes me that this is a reasonable expectation for those who claim to want what’s good for people and the environment. How about we phrase it, Three good actions and no evil actions.
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This is a supplement to my earlier post about what’s necessary and what’s insufficient. Unfortunately there will be the need for many reprises. To repeat the basic fact:
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There is one way and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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There is no argument which can be made against this fact, and anyone who tries to say it’s wrong or ‘complicated or that there’s some kind of workaround or shortcut or magic bullet is a fool or a liar.
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To call for the insufficient is always pointless and stupid and abets evil. Usually it’s actively evil, since it’s usually in order to shout down the call for what is necessary, as is the case with the pro-nuke liars and shills among false “climate change activists”, including former standout climate change activist James Hansen. As much as I appreciate Hansen’s years of work publicizing the climate change evidence and his civil disobedience against Keystone and elsewhere, this cannot justify an overtly evil action like shilling for nukes, any more than the alleged environmentalist history of Patrick Moore or Mark Lynas, if this history in fact existed, would justify or mitigate their current crimes.
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It’s clear that this is no passing lapse on Hansen’s part. He’s not someone who mentioned nukes in passing a few times as possibly part of the mix, though that too would be discreditable. No, he’s a systematic, aggressive, belligerent propagandist for the nuclear cartel, and therefore among the second type of climate change deniers, those who claim to care about climate change but really use it to shill for some kind of corporate welfare scam. Hansen was furious about the COP21 outcome, denouncing it as “a fraud” and “bullshit”. But contrary to what one might think, his anger wasn’t because the agreement was a complete fraud. No, he objected only because it included no “incentives” (i.e. new government subsidies) for nuclear reactors. I stress new subsidies since nuclear power, just like industrial agriculture, has always been 100% dependent upon corporate welfare, without which it would cease to function immediately.
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See the COP21 press release of the four “climate scientists” turned science deniers where it comes to the facts about the nuclear industry. This communication is quite peculiar in that it reads as a pro-nuke manifesto which mentions climate mitigation as an alleged fringe benefit, rather than a climate action manifesto which mentions nukes as an alleged potential part of mitigation. The emphasis is telling. (Of course, any Western establishment figure jaunting off to a secretive globalization cabal meeting like the COP21 to participate as an insider “stakeholder” or “expert” should be regarded with the highest suspicion. No chance of their kind standing outside with the real people who are forcibly excluded, like Southern indigenous and civil society representatives. For a true conference of the true people, see here.)
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Indeed, we see from nuke apologists like these the same types of vileness as from other corporate hacks. In this case we have lies about nuclear energy displacing fossil fueled generation, the fraudulent framing of options as being between fossil fuels or nuclear (where it comes to agriculture and food the false comparison is always industrial with industrial, monoculture with monoculture, poison with poison, never industrial vs agroecological, never poison vs. healthy), the standard fantasies about thorium reactors, and many others. We’ve all heard this form of corporate sloganeering before: “Safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power”. Just like for “clean coal”, fracking, “climate-smart agriculture”, and the similar slogans propagated by similar climate denialists. How about this from Hansen-Streicher on the absolutely intractable crisis of nuclear reactor toxic waste: “Nuclear waste: it is not waste, it is fuel for 4th generation reactors!” The ExxonMobil and Monsanto flacks are jealous of that one. Most despicably of all, Hansen spits on the dead of Chernobyl and those already dead or who will die from Fukushima.
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The industries that commit mass murder are the same who ravage the Earth including driving the global climate to insanity. The deniers and liars for the murders are the deniers and liars for the ecological ravage, no matter what front they put up. Anyone who doesn’t get by now that these are all peas in a pod and that the one and only climate solution is to greatly cut emissions, stop destroying sinks, rebuild sinks, those and nothing but those, is beyond help.
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Indeed, some of these shills seem to be fundamentally ignorant about even the basics of today’s nuclear deployment and the physical possibilities for its continuation and expansion. Needless to say, only an idiot thinks expanded nuclear energy could replace fossil fueled electricity generation instead of just adding to the consumption maw. That’s like believing corporations could ever want to “feed the world” even if it were economically possible for them to do so, which it’s not. The kind of person who wants to build more nuclear reactors is never the kind of person who actually wants to reduce GHG emissions and therefore energy consumption. It’s always the kind of person who wants for everything cancerously to “grow” forever. (“Growth” as the Western ideology envisions it is directly analogous to cancer in every way, from the brainless proliferation to the inevitable death.) It’s the kind of person who is cancer incarnate. I don’t know if Hansen is actually such a person – he didn’t previously seem to be so – or whether in his old age, worn down by all the struggles, he’s weakened and let himself be co-opted by the cancer people. Either way he now speaks for evil every time he says a word about nukes.
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Why do they feel the need to be nuke shills, even though this contradicts everything else they say about human health, GHGs, and environmental destruction? There’s always corruption. I don’t know if these “climate scientists” are getting nuke money the same way other scientists get money from Big Oil or Big Coal or the fracking industry, but the result is the same. Then perhaps there’s the crackpot notion which I often see phrased as “you can’t oppose everything”. I guess the idea’s supposed to be that you can oppose the US government’s wars in Iraq and Libya but not in Afghanistan, or something like that. It makes no sense to me, but that’s the logic. The moment one embraces this lie, or joins with it deliberately, one abdicates the entire cause and betrays it in principle.
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I’d say what has to be opposed is what needs to be opposed, whatever its extent. But in fact where it comes to climate change and the rest of environmental destruction (these are one whole and cannot be separated – whatever poisons also causes climate change, and whatever causes climate change also poisons) it’s not necessary to oppose “everything”, as there are superb alternatives available, starting with agroecology and decentralized renewable energy. When privileged system cadres and those who are still part of the shrinking Western middle class say they can’t oppose everything, they mean that they accept the Big Lie that their own extremely high-footprint lifestyles are sustainable in a way compatible with averting the worst of climate change and the rest of ecological destruction. In other words, in the end they join hands with the most unreconstructed Republican-type de jure deniers in believing the extremely destructive, privileged, expensive yet extremely cheap and shoddy Western “way of life is non-negotiable”, indeed is morally defensible, and propagate their lies accordingly. Ergo Hansen’s Patrick Moore-like lies and smears attacking environmental groups. Cowardly bullying shills are the same no matter which climate crime they’re shilling for.
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In the end we have the same old phony difference like the one between conservatives and liberals. Both commit and support the same crimes, but the latter are more likely to cry crocodile tears over it. Thus our liberal deniers will pretend to care about climate change and the rest of environmental destruction (once more, these are one whole and cannot be separated*) and even reject some sources of it, especially coal. (But many will temporize even there – “clean coal” and similar scams.) But they’ll then flip completely and support other vectors of destruction, such as nukes or corporate agriculture, where the latter are bolstered by the appropriate lies told to the ignorant.
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[*Nor can socioeconomic justice be separated from environmental redemption. All social injustice goes with ecological destruction, and all ecological destruction is accompanied by socioeconomic crimes. Environmental domination always goes with social domination, and often the former has the latter as one of its main purposes. The attitude of “man against nature” always goes hand in hand with man against man.]
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The same goes for traitor organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy which support corporate crimes and ecological devastation around the world. They do this not because they sincerely believe this is the best environmental outcome which can be attained. They do it because at best they want some environmental amelioration but only within the framework of continued corporate domination, which they assume also ensures their own luxurious circumstances. I say “at best”, though no doubt many of them are nothing but mercenary frauds who care zero about the Earth.
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All of these kinds of shills are part of what I’ve often described in these pages (most recently here), the template of “regulation” within the framework of corporate rule. Its steps:
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1. Corporate rule and the projects of corporations are normative and must go forward under all circumstances.
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2. A regulator, NGO, etc. may choose to try to ameliorate the worst “abuses”, or may just pretend to do so, or may actively assist the corporation’s worst crimes. Whatever it does, under no circumstances may it ever significantly hinder the corporate imperative.
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3. The regulator/NGO/celebrity type then goes forth, puts its seal of approval on the fraudulently “regulation”, “agreement” or whatever, laundering the fraud and the crime, and tells the people to stand down and go to sleep. It tells the people they can sleep easy knowing the “professionals” are in charge. Where necessary it snarls at them to STFU and stop questioning their betters.
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Do we the people really want to avert the worst of climate change and the rest of environmental destruction? Then we need a radically different template, one whose first principle is the opposite of the corporate template and whose second follows from it.
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1. Ending environmental destruction and building an ecological mindset and society is necessary and normative and must go forward no matter what.
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2. Given this framework, where it’s necessary we may take small steps, but each step must be along the vector toward the ecological and/or abolition goals. Under no circumstances can a retrograde step, a step which hinders progress along this vector, be practical or acceptable. So the one and only measure of the expedience of an action is whether or not it’s along the right vector.
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As a movement rises committed to this ecological principle and this strategic and tactical principle, its actions will speak for themselves and will need no fraudulent seals of approval.
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I’m sick of the seemingly omnipresent and infinite corruption of this Sodom and Gomorrah. In this City of Destruction all we see are the destroyers and the willingly self-destroyed. I’m not looking for the perfect in anyone, just a few good actions and no evil actions. So far that seems like too much to ask, and it’s definitely far too much to ask of anyone who’s part of the corporate system.
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Therefore the new ecological movement through which humanity and the Earth must come together to germinate and push up toward the sun must come from completely outside this system – outside its institutions and most of all outside its ideas. The system’s institutions and ideas are all modes and vectors of cancer, and it’s no accident that figurative cancer also kicks us in the gut most literally with a growing epidemic of physical cancer, the vast majority of it caused by agricultural and industrial poisons. There can be no safety there and no recourse. “Pick your poison” in the most literal sense, where that’s the best the likes of James Hansen and the WWF can come up with, is at best a confession of complete bankruptcy, exhaustion, and surrender. This is no direction to keep heading.
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There’s one way and only one way to honestly and constructively face up to climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks. This is congruent with abolishing all anti-ecological poisons, the only way to face up to all forms of ecological destruction and the only way for humanity to feed itself going forward. These are the only possible goals, since all other paths lead to the same death. The only possible goals then dictate the only possible actions.
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We have everything we need for the affirmative work. The ideas are fully developed, the science is fully proven, the practices are fully demonstrated and ready for global deployment. The new movement needs no special technology or nonrenewable resources or concentrated wealth or power to fully flourish and let humanity lead itself to health, vigor, prosperity, and fulfillment. It needs nothing but for the cancerous institutions, ideology, and practices to be abolished. These must in the end perish anyway, and Earth will heal itself and continue. The only question is whether humanity will assert itself in time with the necessary transformative actions. I know we can, and I write in the expectation that we will.
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