On climate change

January 8, 2023 at 3:17 pm (Uncategorized)

I quoted (on FB) a paywalled Glenn Greenwald interview with libertarian congressman Justin Amash, who described how Congress has steadily devolved since 9/11 into a top-down, non-representative, antidemocratic rubber stamp for the corporate security state, and who saw the Raucous Caucus rebellion over Kevin McCarthy’s speakership as a perhaps deformed (from long repression) eruption of democracy. I got pushback from liberal commentators saying Amash was good when he criticized Trump but people like him want to disempower government from fighting climate change (while empowering it to fight women’s bodily autonomy).

Abortion’s a separate issue but I felt that my response regarding climate change summed up my own view of the issue as well as I ever will. So I’m saving it here.

But what [Amash] describes having evolved since 9/11 is not a functioning representative government, and it expands powers to control citizens, not corporations. It seems to me that government and business ought to be pitted against each other (as described by Greenwald’s other interview subject in this paywalled post, antitrust scholar Matt Stoller of the Substack “Big”) so that neither can get away with too much of a power grab. Presently they are in cahoots to take away rights and protections from citizens, even as they pretend otherwise.

If you are concerned about climate change, are you OK with very coercive enforcement of green norms (e.g., curbing people’s spending and travel via a central bank digital currency and UBI, and/or docking their “social credit score” and restricting their access, and/or freezing their bank accounts)? Or would you prefer people to become enlightened and persuaded (and enticed by new products) to change their own behavior? It’s a mess, because climate science is both genuinely contested and vigorously manipulated and exploited. Those who downplay anthropogenic climate change say they’re defending freedom but are funded by oil companies; those who believe strict government controls will be necessary say they’re “saving the planet” but are backed by an agenda to control the population in other ways, such as free expression of political dissent. To repeat: it is a mess.

Here’s the link to the paywalled post. It is so eye-opening, I would recommend anyone pay $5 for a one-month subscription just to be able to read it. https://greenwald.substack.com/…/who-holds-power-in…

8 Comments

  1. Andrea said,

    Since I dip in and out of FB only sporadically (and mostly to look at pictures) I missed this and appreciate your posting it here, and I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Tom Strong said,

    I did comment over there, but hadn’t really noticed this comment, and I guess… I’m confused.

    I hear you that it’s vigorously contested. But do you actually believe that the “coercive enforcement of green norms” you describe will *ever* happen?

    If so, can you point to places where any of the restrictions you mention are being enacted?

  3. amba12 said,

    Shutting down Dutch and Sri Lankan farmers for using fertilizer; Canada freezing the bank accounts of protesting truckers (in this case for legal and political, not “green,” reasons, but a kind of proof of principle). Others of those ideas for combating climate change have been proposed (I will try to track them down, not in the shady back alleys of the internet but on the likes of the WEF website), but have not so far been enacted. Now that our every transaction is recorded and our movements and activities can be tracked, something like China’s cumulative social credit score could be, but hasn’t yet been, enacted to prevent or penalize people’s releasing too much carbon or eating too much meat. Particularly if there comes to be a central bank digital currency, which is actively being worked on, people will be extremely vulnerable to being “had by the short hairs.”

    That there is anthropogenic climate change is no longer seriously contested. What proportion of our current upheaval in climate patterns is down to us, and how much to natural cycles and fluctuations (as seen throughout history and prehistory), is the question. Either way, personally I hope they are not trying or planning to geoengineer the climate (as has also been quite seriously proposed) because (IMO) that is really asking for it. We don’t know enough.

  4. Tom Strong said,

    Hmm. I am not in favor of either of those actions, though I am not familiar with all the details. But it seems to me you are weighing a possible – not even plausible, IMO – “progressive” future against a conservative past & present that has won the political contest as almost every turn. Those two things are not equivalent.

  5. amba12 said,

    I don’t care for either of the apparent futures we apparently have to choose between, the AI-managed one where my old sixties values will be enforced rather than chosen 😂, or the return to medieval feudalism, But I have really little to say about it since I won’t be here for it.

  6. Tom Strong said,

    Well, as a person who might possibly have to live with it, this is how I see it:

    The pro-fossil-fuels, pro-climate change side has won. They won! It’s over! They did it over decades, through wealth, control of elites, and canny propaganda. And we’re going to get horrific climate change and everything that comes with it now no matter what harebrained schemes get cooked up next by so-called “elites.”

    And btw, I think it’s highly likely that what history we have in a hundred years will regard the Ukraine war as the first climate war. One of the great criminal purveyors of the fossil fuel economy invaded his neighboring country in order to prepare for the famines ahead. A blow against democracy and against human civilization, in one stroke.

  7. amba12 said,

    It’s certainly obvious that Ukraine is a fossil fuel war, and that the dinosaurs of fossil fuel extraction still shake the earth with their heavy tread. We haven’t managed to exit that era at all. But I expect to hear a lot about tree planting and nuclear power, in the same breath. Also frenetic genetic engineering, of ourselves and everything else. Pandora’s tech box is open.

  8. amba12 said,

    I do think that the allure of high tech will eventually (when enough money can be made from it) usher in some kind of new energy era, if we live that long, and don’t deliver ourselves a Great Reset back to the Stone Age. But the other alarming part of the picture is the sense that there is not enough to go around and (because) the rich will make sure they get most of it, and have nice, even “natural” lives, while the rest of the population will be serfs, stoned entertainment consumers, data processors in cubicles, or disposable casualties of pandemics and famines.

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