Thursday, December 01, 2011

Anthropogenic Global Warming as the Progressives Long Sought After "Moral Equivalent of War"

The Dallas Federal Reserve in its online publication "Economic Insights" frames the real argument with the UN IPCC and the bevy of central planners supporting radical action regarding Global Warming when describing the environment that Hayek's work responded to in the 20th century.
"The 20th century has seen a single, unifying intellectual struggle play out across its decades, affecting all the earth's peoples. That struggle has been between those who wished the state to impose a centrally planned order on society and those who understood that the best order—and the only one consistent with democracy and individual freedom—is a spontaneous one that does not need imposition. Such an order flourishes only under democratically, or constitutionally, restrained governments that operate under the rule of law. Tens of millions of people have died in this century's wars, perished under oppressive regimes or were put to death simply because they were in the political opposition. Even those who survived have often suffered harsh economic and political deprivation. This is the most visible manifestation of the ideological struggle in which Hayek was a central participant. "  (See link below:  Hayek - Social Theorist of the Century - Economic Insights - FRB Dallas)
My concern about the Global Warming issue has been, from the beginning, that separate from the scientific argument there is a political argument in which, central planners, using the possibility of Global Warming as an excuse, a "moral equivalent of war", seek to impose their political will on the US and the world.  This is not a new idea.  William James, pacifist, philosopher, socialist, utopian and originator of the discipline of Psychology wrote an essay in 1906 entitled "The Moral Equivalent of War" in which he suggested just such tactics to accomplish utopian socialism in the United States of America.  In the essay he described the polarities of militarism, pacifism and socialist utopianism and suggested that the latter two could only be successful if they could somehow duplicate the surrender of individuality and dedication to higher cause that characterizes the military on a war footing.  In so doing he also reveals the elitism inherent in the socialist, pacifist movement and disdain for "inferiors" that has become so evident in contemporary political argument. 
"So long as antimilitarists propose no substitute for war's disciplinary function, no moral equivalent of war, analogous, as one might say, to the mechanical equivalent of heat, so long they fail to realize the full inwardness of the situation. And as a rule they do fail. The duties, penalties, and sanctions pictured in the utopias they paint are all too weak and tame to touch the military-minded."
"Let me illustrate my idea more concretely. There is nothing to make one indignant in the mere fact that life is hard, that men should toil and suffer pain. The planetary conditions once for all are such, and we can stand it. But that so many men, by mere accidents of birth and opportunity, should have a life of nothing else but toil and pain and hardness and inferiority imposed upon them, should have no vacation, while others natively no more deserving never get any taste of this campaigning life at all, — this is capable of arousing indignation in reflective minds. It may end by seeming shameful to all of us that some of us have nothing but campaigning, and others nothing but unmanly ease. If now — and this is my idea — there were, instead of military conscription, a conscription of the whole youthful population to form for a certain number of years a part of the army enlisted against Nature, the injustice would tend to be evened out, and numerous other goods to the commonwealth would remain blind as the luxurious classes now are blind, to man's relations to the globe he lives on, and to the permanently sour and hard foundations of his higher life. To coal and iron mines, to freight trains, to fishing fleets in December, to dishwashing, clotheswashing, and windowwashing, to road-building and tunnel-making, to foundries and stoke-holes, and to the frames of skyscrapers, would our gilded youths be drafted off, according to their choice, to get the childishness knocked out of them, and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and soberer ideas. They would have paid their blood-tax, done their own part in the immemorial human warfare against nature; they would tread the earth more proudly, the women would value them more highly, they would be better fathers and teachers of the following generation."
(Bold and underlining are mine for emphasis, not in the original)
"Inferiority is always with us, and merciless scorn of it is the keynote of the military temper. "Dogs, would you live forever?" shouted Frederick the Great. "Yes," say our utopians, "let us live forever, and raise our level gradually." The best thing about our "inferiors" today is that they are as tough as nails, and physically and morally almost as insensitive. Utopians would see them soft and squeamish, while militarism would keep their callousness, but transfigure it into a meritorious characteristic, needed by "the service," and redeemed by that from the suspicion of inferiority. All the qualities of a man acquire dignity when he knows that the service of the collectivity that owns him needs him. If proud of the collectivity, his own pride rises in proportion. No collectivity is like an army for nourishing such pride;..."
(Bold and underlining are mine for emphasis, not in the original)
" The martial type of character can be bred without war. Strenuous honor and disinterestedness abound everywhere. Priests and medical men are in a fashion educated to it, and we should all feel some degree if its imperative if we were conscious of our work as an obligatory service to the state. We should be owned, as soldiers are by the army, and our pride would rise accordingly. We could be poor, then, without humiliation, as army officers now are. The only thing needed henceforward is to inflame the civic temper as part history has inflamed the military temper."
(Bold and underlining are mine for emphasis, not in the original)
Anthropogenic Global Warmiing is, in the minds of Progressives, the long sought after "moral equivalent of war", a subterfuge for political conversion of the democratic, evolved and evolving  systems into a top down, socialist, elite managed system, that when openly sought has been defeated repeatedly throughout the twentieth century across the planet. The dangers of AGW are theoretical, the dangers of political chaos and the rule of elite central planners are absolutely real, supported by observation of historical fact and copious amounts of bloodshed. The central planners currently have control of the Presidency and the Senate. 

The Supercommittee failure is a great victory for the leftists and central planners.  Destruction of the military has been a goal of this political faction for over a hundred years.  The destruction of freedom is being pursued incrementally.  Remember the widely used anecdote regarding the boiling of a frog.  Slow, incremental change accomplishes the end result without alarming the frog.  Our democratic republic is the frog.
I believe that many well meaning scientists, accustomed to seeking solutions that are ill understood by the majority and thus accustomed to the existence of an elite that dictates information to the uninformed, have been drafted into a movement they ill understand.  Scientists are notoriously ill informed about history and the enduring, long term philosophical battles that underlie the bloody wars of the centuries.  Many of them advocate for policy solutions that they see as reasonable given the threat they understand, or think they understand.  Unfortunately, the history they do not understand contains a threat so real and so imminent as to dwarf Global Warming in its menace.

No comments:

Post a Comment