February 5, 2019



They call this “the natural rhythm and harmony” of the forest.

(The clear-cut in that photo was approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, a mainstay of the proposition that in order to save the Earth you have to destroy it.)
I’ve been reading a book about trees which began very well and has rhapsodic descriptions of forest and soil ecology. But here in the second chapter I already run into an all too common piece of vicious ideology, the false notion that modern commodity production can be assimilated to “natural” rhythms and harmonies. (The author uses those words.)
Since it’s still early in the book I won’t name it yet, since I don’t want to sound like a panning review of what’s been mostly a very good book. Maybe this will just turn out to be a lapse. But I’m mentioning this because it goes to show how deep the rot runs even among those most seemingly conscious of the ecology, where they’ve nevertheless been corrupted by the economic civilization and feel the need to shill for it.
To be clear, those who claim that modern production-consumption can be ecological and evolutionary are claiming that leaping from the roof of a hundred-story skyscraper is the same thing as slowly descending a staircase. They claim that the radical acceleration and impact don’t add up to a qualitative difference, though none of them seems willing to test out their theory in practice. In reality this is such a difference as to comprise an attempt by modern civilization to leap completely out of all ecological frameworks and out of evolution itself.
This is the purpose of the “Anthropocene” propaganda gambit. More and more civilizationists sense the self-destructiveness of their onslaught, how this can’t be sustained for much longer, and they feel the ground shake under their feet.
But they’re religiously committed to all the aspects of the extreme energy civilization: Dominion theology (in its original de jure Christian form or in its secularized economic/science version), production-consumption, capitalism, scientism, “progress”, Mammon. Therefore they can’t face the truth, so they’ve cobbled together the “anthropocene” ideology which tries to normalize civilization’s anti-ecological depredations simply by plotting a new name on the geophysiological timeline to characterize the period where modern civilization has been destroying humanity and the Earth. In this way they try to convince themselves that everything happening is “natural” and therefore sustainable. Therefore their Sodom and Gomorrah saturnalia of murder and destruction can continue. As the mythologist put it, they’ll continue “free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy. The liberated Old Ones [fossil fuels] would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth will flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.”
The lie of the anthropocene is for those who feel qualms about this but are determined to continue regardless. The mainstream environmental movement, especially the climate-industrial movement, long has served the same purpose, to help hand-wringing crocodile-tearing good Western middle-class individualists to have their fake idea of “saving the earth” while continuing to murder it.
And yet the very fact of the growing popularity of this ideology (even corporations and conservatives mostly have moved on from direct climate denial to various profitable “green” scams) is a symptom of the deteriorating moral and existential confidence of the civilizationists. Those who are self-confident don’t need such ideological justifications, they just go ahead and do what they want without thinking about it. But we see how today’s status quo-mongers feel the need to reassure themselves and find retorts to the rising recognition that this civilization is destroying the Earth and that there is no way forward within this framework.
Of course, the anthropocene/greenscam ideology which would try to “ecologize” eco-destruction contradicts another fundamental of civilization, the Dominion theology of Man vs. Nature, Nature as an enemy to be subjugated and exploited by Man, a woman to be raped by science (h/t Francis Bacon), an automaton to be tortured (Descartes), Gaia as the realm of Satan to be Reclaimed in preparation for the Rapture/Second Coming/Singularity.
But as we see, the most shrill priests and devotees of the Christian-Scientism dominion theology don’t have much confidence in it. They shriek so hysterically in a vain try to prop up their own faltering faith.
And this inability to sustain their direct belligerence, their good conscience in their own murderousness, is what’s causing so many of them to resort to the anodyne of trying to convince themselves that their dominion isn’t really a war on nature at all, but a part of nature.
Gaia ain’t buying it.

October 8, 2015

Liberal Climate Change Denial (“the Anthropocene”)


Climate change denial at NPR. The correct definition of climate change denial is either denying climate change is happening at all or that industrial activity is causing it, or to insist that the answer to it is anything other than: Reduce emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, start rebuilding carbon sinks. The liberal variety is usually of this latter sort, though there’s increasing overlap.
The scam here is to use the faddish propaganda meme of “the Anthropocene” to say, in effect, that nuclear war is the same thing as a chimpanzee throwing a rock. The real goal of the “Anthropocene” notion, as I predicted the first time I heard of it, is to absolve industrialization and capitalism of blame for environmental destruction. The implication is that civilization can go ahead with business as usual. The convergence of liberals and conservatives to the point of being indistinguishable continues. Today the only difference between a liberal “believer” in climate change and a conservative “denier” is those empty words. Both agree that under no circumstances must we reduce emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, and start rebuilding carbon sinks, which are the only three things to be done if you actually want to prevent the worst. Both also agree that certain highly subsidized and profitable technologies like GMOs (via “climate smart agriculture”) and geoengineering should be deployed, even though neither of those could possibly do anything but make climate change worse while wreaking every other kind of environmental carnage.
To correct the corporate publicist who writes the NPR blog, indeed it isn’t “we” who are destroying the Earth, but it is most definitely one faction among humanity – Western capitalists, their supporters, and their imitators around the world – which is doing so. The magnitude of environmental destruction since the onset of the industrial era and its mode of economic organization is orders of magnitude beyond anything that went before, and is qualitatively different. But, much like apologists for imperialism claiming that the British Empire was “acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness”, today we have corporate apologists like this one writing “We didn’t change the climate because we were greedy. We did it by mistake.”
“Anthropocene” means nothing more than denial of modern capitalism’s unique destructiveness. It therefore is a form of climate change denial, since by definition anthropogenic climate change is impossible other than within the framework of capitalist organization of fossil fuel extraction and burning. The point of this propaganda campaign is to lend pseudo-scientific credibility to the hackneyed lie that “we’re all equally to blame”. The purpose of such a universal attribution is to sow despair and fatalism, and specifically to be anti-political, to denigrate all political solutions since these must necessarily target one element of what, according to the lie, is a universal syndrome. On the other hand it’s well-suited to advocacy of technocratic rule and technological “solutions”. In this way it dovetails perfectly with scientism ideology and corporate goals. Indeed, both formally and in its genesis and function it’s similar to the lie of pro-GMO activists that genetic engineering is a form of natural evolution.
The most bizarre thing about the Anthropocene lie is how internally self-contradictory it is. If humans can’t help themselves and have no choice other than to be ecologically destructive, than that’s all the more reason to stop deploying such inherently or potentially destructive technologies. How can the NPR scribbler maintain that “While triggering climate change might not be our fault, not doing everything we can about it now that we know it’s happening — that would be our fault”? On his own telling, this new consciousness is impossible for humans. After all, even the extreme environmental changes wrought by fossil-fueled capitalism were allegedly the result of a process as unconscious as ants building an anthill.
But if such a change in consciousness is in fact possible, as the NPR piece itself admits, this refutes Anthropocene determinism and puts us right back in the political realm where we should have remained in the first place. The fact is that climate change and all other environmental crises are nothing but the result of political choices which societies have made. We can make different choices at will. All that’s needed is for enough people to recognize what we have to do and commit to doing it. I write in order to help propagate the new ideas of what is necessary and what will lead to a much better world for all of humanity. That’s the first step, getting the new ideas out there.