Of all the hot air blown out by eco-alarmists, their maddest claim, the one least founded in truth, is that they are objective. That their fuel is facts and facts alone. That their guiding light is science — pure, unsullied science — rather than grubby politics. That where we, the dim, denying public, are beholden to all sorts of agendas, they, these climate seers, these wise modellers of humanity’s self-induced future doom, are motored by pure rationalism, by a slavish devotion to truth.
It’s Grade-A bollocks. One should always be suspicious of people who claim to be pure of conviction. Indeed, it’s usually these people — be they finger-wagging priests or feminist warriors against filth or well-funded academic hand-wringers over dumb humanity’s pollution of the planet — who are the most moralistic of all.
Their purity pose, their claim to have risen above the ideological swamp the rest of us swim in, is just throat-clearing, prep for them to lecture us from an almighty height. It’s the beautiful irony: their very self-proclamation of purity lets you know they have an agenda, and usually a really bad one.
Consider the recent flounce-outs from the Climate Change Authority by eco-seers peeved that the government has refused to bow and scrape before their proposals.
Last week, Danny Price and John Quiggin resigned after it became clear the government will reject the CCA’s suggestion — read demand — that Australia institute carbon pricing for the electricity industry. They’re also really annoyed, to a foot-stomping, toy-throwing degree, that the government has failed to respond to the CCA’s third report on the policies Oz needs to adopt if it doesn’t want to resemble Dante’s Inferno. How dare the government refuse to drop everything and bore itself into a state of rigor mortis by poring over the CCA’s latest turgid missive?
Quiggin and Price’s sulk-off follows the resignation of Clive Hamilton in February. Hamilton, who once said human beings lack the ‘psychological maturity’ to deal with climate change (translation: bugger me, people are stupid), flounced out over the government’s favourable attitude towards the coal industry. I’m sure you will agree it’s incredible and outrageous that the government has more time for an industry that employs tens of thousands of people and makes mad amounts of money for Australia than it does for a pure professor motored by nothing more than The Science and a love of nature.
The most striking thing about this tantrum of the alarmists is their anger over what they view as political pollution. As the Guardian summed it up, they think the government has become ‘beholden to right-wing, anti-science’ ideology. The government is all about ‘political point-scoring and culture war rhetoric’, said Quiggin, whereas he and his CCA comrades are all about ‘objective advice based on science’. Shorter: they’re corrupted, we’re incorruptible.
Lads, come on, who you trying to kid? Climate change alarmism is political to its core. It’s a species of political prejudice, and one of the uglier ones. It’s ideology masquerading as science, or rather using science as a cover for its seemingly unspeakable black heart; which is misanthropy, a feeling of disgust for modern human society and its psychologically immature inhabitants.
If you believe the likes of Quiggin and Hamilton are post-political, above agendas, cleanly ‘objective’, you’ll believe anything. Virtually everything these folks say drips with a worldview that can only be described as political. Quiggin, who like so many of the eco-pious thinks anyone who questions the politics of climate change is a bovine idiot, has a section on his website titled ‘Boneheaded Stupidity’. It’s packed with angry tracts about right-wingers and tabloids. He rages against Daily Mail readers, who ‘enjoy malicious/salacious gossip that panders to their prejudices’ and who probably lap up the ‘climate denialism’ frequently published in that ‘rag’. He slams the ‘anti-science and anti-rational views’ of the ‘political right’, by which he seems to mean right-wingers questioning some of the more bonkers claims of the end-of-world alarmists.
It’s nakedly political, all fuming against the right, and hilariously aloof. Such sneering at the tabloid-addled throng who pay too much heed to demagogic ideologies that will harm both them and the planet in the long run has been the bread and butter of every snob in modern history. Objective? Do me a favour.
As to Hamilton, Mr Misanthropy, whose book Requiem for a Species is a fear-filled eulogy to idiot humanity — having him in the Climate Change Authority is a bit like asking the prissiest of Christians to join a government consultation on the wisdom of sex before marriage. Hamilton doesn’t even accept the IPCC’s predictions of future doom because they don’t go far enough for his fearful tastes. They’re too cautious, he says, so he magics up his own doom-laden reading of the future, which will involve ‘uncontrollable climate change’, giving rise to a ‘chaotic era lasting thousands of years’, and whether humans will survive it is a ‘moot point’. This isn’t science. It’s fantasy. It’s the rather perverse fantasies of a bloke who thinks late-capitalist consumer society is pretty nasty. It isn’t objective. It just isn’t. It’s a worldview polluted by a feeling of exhaustion with the human project.
And that is what climate change alarmism fundamentally represents: the prostitution of science to the politics of misanthropy. This is why our eco-betters can so casually slip between acting all scientific and railing against psychologically immature plebs more interested in having a big TV than saving the planet. Because they are driven by politics, and it’s the politics of fear and contempt.
The Climate Change Authority is really a secular version of Iran’s Guardian Council. That self-important, interfering council is made up of 12 Islamo-seers whose job is to offer advice to the elected government on how to keep Iran pure and uncorrupted. The CCA executes an eco-version of this, wagging its bony green finger at officialdom and tut-tutting at it for elevating such grubby concerns as industry and economic growth over the purer pursuit of a brave new eco-pious Australia. I don’t understand why Josh Frydenberg and other politicians put up with this highly political carbuncle on Australian public life. Get rid of it.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator Australia for less – just $20 for 10 issues