September 27, 2018

A Cultural Crisis of the Climate Crisis


Climate chaos promises catastrophe. No one within the system is doing anything and no one will do anything. There is one and only one way to avert the worst of the climate crisis:
Stop emitting greenhouse gases; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks on a massive scale.
All else is a lie. Most of all, the Big Lie is that anything constructive can be done within the congenitally destructive framework of the economic civilization.
The understanding that catastrophe is inevitable has long been around among “fringe”, “doomer” types. The fact is so incontrovertible that by now it’s starting to trickle into academia and the mainstream media, triggering much shrill criticism from the climate establishment. These mainstream scientists, even as they sound the climate change alarm, have systematically dampened it.
The IPCC has been consistently lukewarm in its projections, which reality consistently has outstripped. This isn’t just because the panel needs to attain consensus on its reports, though this does automatically water things down. It’s primarily because the IPCC, and climate scientists in general, have an institutional ideology and personal temperament which inertially cause them to focus on linear projections, discount non-linear, chaotic effects, and in general water down their conclusions. This is hard-wired into their linear, gradualist ideology. In most cases they’re unable to comprehend evidence against this linear gradualism. And then of course they have venal, careerist interests.
All this leads them to sound the climate change alarm, but only in such a way as to set up another propaganda campaign on behalf of productionism, capitalism, the economic civilization. The problem has to be solvable within the capitalist framework. The answer to the climate crisis (and all other environmental crises) has to be: Keep Shopping! Keep Driving!
This propaganda is required by their ideological commitment to Mammon, technocracy, and productionism, and it’s required for their career and funding interests. That’s why climatologists and mainstream environmental groups have been so peculiarly ambivalent and lukewarm about the crisis: Sound the alarm, but not too loud. They must reject any implication that the crisis cannot be solved within the framework of capitalism, productionism, the economic civilization.
They reject this in spite of the self-evident fact that the crisis cannot be confronted that way, that this framework will never, can never, do anything but drive the crisis unto its ultimate worst. That’s why they howl at anyone who tells the truth: The truth nullifies their entire ideology, their entire corporate-capitalist power agenda, their entire technocratic-productionist religious commitment.
They try to conceal this by deploring how publicity of the truth will allegedly sow despair and lead to fatalism. But in doing this they only discredit themselves. Here we have the climate scientists, whose reputation in the eyes of the people was always shaky to begin with, openly saying they lie to us about the real catastrophic prospects, and that all scientists and journalists should lie. No wonder de jure denial is so rife even among those who cannot profit from denial and can only be harmed by it. It’s similar to the cultural reaction which generated the anti-Darwin movement in America: It’s a revolt of the disenfranchised against a faction of openly arrogant, supercilious elites. Much of the vaccine-skeptical fervor also has this root cause, though of course it goes far beyond that: We all know for a fact what congenital liars scientists are where it comes to any corporate product which is linked with the scientism religion. The most world-historical criminal example is the poisoner campaign on behalf of pesticides and GMOs, where literally every establishment word is a lie.
These elites claim that telling the truth about climate chaos will cause people to disengage? Their open contempt for the people and falseness toward us causes far more people to disengage.
By trying to engender false hope in capitalist-technocratic “solutions” which will enable business as usual to continue (Keep Shopping!), by trying to engender “hope” at all (in this and in most contexts “false hope” is redundant), they’re acting as agents of the climate-destroying civilization, another type of sheepdog. And then many of them are out-and-out corporate shills.
Perhaps some of them are sincere in revealing their own personal despair, if privately they realize the entire technocratic and economic paradigm to which they’ve dedicated their lives is a total failure, is purely destructive, and has no future.
As for their smug, patronizing pontifications about the alleged despair of the people, we can dismiss this with all the contempt it deserves. We the people don’t need fake hope, and we certainly don’t need lies. We need truth and we need action. The only real climate action is action against the economic civilization driving climate chaos and all other ecological crises. The economic civilization these establishment scientists and NGOs represent.
They’re proposing nothing and doing nothing. They’ll never do anything but destroy, since their civilization is capable of nothing but destruction. That’s why all their prescriptions, from industrial renewables to piggy-backing industrial recycling on the regular waste/destruction stream to electric cars to cap-and-trade to carbon taxes (taxes on ongoing waste and destruction), comprise nothing but scams and further environmental insults, in many cases (geoengineering, fracking, the escalation of poison agriculture under the Orwellian “climate smart” slogan, expanding nukes and/or CCS) adding or promising to add new ecological catastrophes on top of the climate crisis and all the other crises.
All of this is false and evil. There is one and only one way to avert the worst:
Stop emitting; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks.
All else is a lie. Most of all, the Big Lie is that anything constructive can be done within the congenitally destructive framework of the economic civilization.
Where does this leave the civilization consecrated to economic extraction and production? Where does this leave technocracy? Where does this leave Mammon? I think the answer is obvious, and the more people comprehend the truth of the great crisis of the age, the more will awaken to what’s obvious. This awakening is what our “scientists” and “environmentalists” want to prevent. “I shop, therefore I lie.”


  1. Great stuff, Russell. Can’t be said often enough. As I wrote to a friend today about identity politics, the US electorate is probably more like a WallMart shopper on Black Friday than they’d like to believe.

    In work and art (the late Joe Bageant), Steve.

    Comment by onceagain489 — September 27, 2018 @ 3:09 pm

    • That’s a precision analogy. By now almost all incorrigible voters, and especially any partisan voter, isn’t a political person at all but a celebrity fan and/or consumer of a corporate product.

      Comment by Russell Bangs — September 27, 2018 @ 3:20 pm

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