Dec 10 2009

The new fundamentalists

Category: environment,global warming,government,Group-think,socialism,societyharmonicminer @ 10:04 am


One of the deeper motivations that animate global warming true believers is the totalitarian impulse. This is not to say that global warmists are closet Stalinists, but their intellectual methods are instructively similar, says columnist Bret Stephens.

Revolutionary fervor:

* There’s a distinct tendency among climate alarmists toward uncompromising radicalism, a hatred of “bourgeois” values, and disgust with democratic practices.
* So President Obama wants to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 83 percent from current levels by 2050, levels not seen since the 1870s — in effect, the Industrial Revolution in reverse.
* Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, insists that “our lifestyles are unsustainable.”
* Al Gore gets crowds going by insisting that “civil disobedience has a role to play” in strong-arming governments to do his bidding (this from the man who once sought to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution).


* In the world as it is, climate alarmists see humanity hurtling toward certain doom.
* In the world as it might be, humanity has seen the light and changed its patterns of behavior, becoming the green equivalent of the Soviet “new man.”
* At his disposal are technologies that defy the laws of thermodynamics; the problems now attributed to global warming abate or disappear.


* In his 2007 best seller “The World Without Us,” environmentalist Alan Weisman considers what the planet would be like without mankind, and finds it’s no bad thing.
* The U.N. Population Fund complains in a recent report that “no human is genuinely ‘carbon neutral'” — its latest argument against children.
* John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, cut his teeth in the policy world as an overpopulation obsessive worried about global cooling.
* But whether warming or cooling, the problem for the climate alarmists, as for other totalitarians, always seems to boil down to the human race itself.

Today, of course, the very idea of totalitarianism is considered passé. Yet the course of the 20th century was defined by totalitarian regimes, and it would be dangerous to assume that the habits of mind that sustained them have vanished into the mists, says Stephens.

It’s fashionable to speak of “religious fundamentalists” in a phrase designed to obscure the essentially benign intent of Christian fundamentalists (if you can find one anymore), by using a single-breathed phrase that also includes Islamic fundamentalists of the Islamo-fascist variety.  A couple dozen leftist columnists and some government officials have darkly hinted that, before long, “sexist, homophobic, anti-choice Christianists” will be as dangerous as Osama bin Laden, if they aren’t already.  After all, didn’t they just shoot that nice abortion doctor who was just rescuing women from a difficult situation?

I think, however, that the only non-Islamic fundamentalists who pose a real danger to the West are the eco-pagan totalitarians, who believe they have the divine dispensation to control how the rest of us live our lives and conduct our businesses, because only they have the pure vision and the purer hearts to make the judgments about just how we should be using energy, how much we should be using, when we should use it, in what form we should use it, how much we should pay for it, and what our punishment should be if we don’t comply with their enlightened prescriptions…  not to say proscriptions.

It is difficult to think of a more anti-human agenda.

But these particular fundamentalists want a LOT more than a mere tithe.  They mean to control just about every aspect of your life, to one degree or another.

Baptism may continue to be a sacrament in the eco-totalitarian regime…  but it will be in cold water.

24 Responses to “The new fundamentalists”

  1. innermore says:

    Laws are written to protect, not to create “goodness”.
    The trouble with lefties is that they’re trying to write laws that force people to “do good”; how ever the popular moral of the month describes it.
    The trouble with righties is that they’re trying to write laws that force government to “do good”; how ever the morals of a once golden age described it.
    Then, they all get on TV and call each other horrible, embarrassing names while accomplishing nothing.

  2. harmonicminer says:

    “Righties” are NOT trying to write laws that force government to “do good.” THAT is the “lefties,” too.

    “Righties” prefer to write laws that force government NOT to do anything that is not in its purview, and certainly laws that prevent government from trying to “do good.” That, in fact, was the entire point of the original Constitution’s first ten amendments… to tell the government what it could NOT do…. but still gets away with doing anyway.

    And the Constitution’s provisions, even without the bill of rights (which was mostly to prevent government from getting into individuals’ personal business in inappropriate ways), were designed to enumerate what the government COULD DO, so that, theoretically it would/could do ONLY those things. And none of those things involved generally “doing good” except in the most general of ways, like enforcing contracts (critical for any kind of economic stability), public safety, etc. Shoot, it took a major national decision to determine whether or not the federal government should be involved in making roads, or helping to create harbors.

    So, innermore, I totally disagree with your attempt to “thread the needle” between left and right. I think you have bought into the left’s rhetoric about the right.

    The fundamental flaw in all “moderate” positions is this: both sides are NEVER equally wrong. Even in the conflict between NAZI Germany and Communist Russia, it was Germany who attacked. Both were totalitarian states… but one was clearly far more in the wrong than the other.

    So: most pronouncements of the form “but both sides do it equally” are wrong.

    Like in this case, my friend.

    Or maybe I should have just said, “And middlies pretend that both sides transgress equally, when they don’t.”

  3. Bob says:

    ““Righties” are NOT trying to write laws that force government to “do good.” THAT is the “lefties,” too.

    “Righties” prefer to write laws that force government NOT to do anything that is not in its purview, and certainly laws that prevent government from trying to “do good.” That, in fact, was the entire point of the original Constitution’s first ten amendments… to tell the government what it could NOT do…. but still gets away with doing anyway.”

    You’re joking, right? Ever heard of prop. 8? How about the push from conservative to legally ban abortion, or pass a federal marriage amendment? You must explain how these are not attempts by the right to legislatively force people to “do good.”

  4. harmonicminer says:

    Bob, you’re confused about the difference between the government forcing people to “do good” and the government preventing people from doing evil.

    Marriage is between opposite sexes, has always been that, has never been anything else but that, and there are many excellent reasons why that is so, social, political, moral, theological, biological, and traditional. Polygamy is far easier to defend than same sex marriage… and polygamy isn’t very easy to defend in the modern world.

    Abortion is simply evil, nearly always, except in those few circumstances where it saves the mother’s life, INCREDIBLY rare.

    Do you truly not grasp the distinction between government forcing people to recycle, or to pay for other people’s failures to plan their own lives better, and government protecting the most innocent among us?

    It’s the difference between preventing evil and legally enforced extortion. It’s the difference between preventing murder and legally imposed servitude (the simple fact when government forces us to DO GOOD).

    It isn’t a “push from conservatives to legally ban abortion,” it is a “push from conservatives to return to the moral sanity that ruled for nearly 2000 years… ever since Christians convinced the Roman empire to ban infanticide.”

    Tertullian understood the distinction.

  5. Bill says:

    Interesting….”do good”. What does good mean? Does good mean what most people would do? Does good mean how we should behave according to the masses? Or, is there a better way to define “good” such as following the nature of God?

    “do good” meaning that prop 8 was anti-good? Is abortion anti-good?

    I think those that were on the right wanted to preserve what has traditionaly been known as marriage and hold that as a special separate institution. I don’t think typically they were against unions which would offer the same rights. At least those that I have discussed the issue with (and there were a great many) seem to believe.

    Banning abortion – for those with the belief that life begins at conception – is another form of an antihomicide law. Most people agree that it is “not good” to kill another. This law incorporates a fetus into the category of another.

    The founding fathers wrote our constitution with the belief that people and our country were founded on Christian principles of morals and ethics. Without those things, the country would fall apart. As we are moving further from morals and ethics, we are trying to pass laws to force these things. In order to make this country work again we need the opposite approach. We can’t force this from the outside (laws) inward (people’s behavior). We need to change people from the inside (inherent goodness – meaning trying to adhere to the nature of God). This will eliminate the need for all the laws trying to dictate our behavior.

  6. Bob says:

    Your response is a great example of why you are on the right. From a non-right perspective, prop. 8 and the like are attempts at legislating morality. From a “right” perspective, they are different. I do agree with you that there is a difference between the government enforcing recycling and outlawing abortion. FWIW, it seems to me that any society that is trying to be a lasting society would not kill off its citizens (ie allow abortion). However, that was not my argument. You said this: ““Righties” are NOT trying to write laws that force government to “do good.” THAT is the “lefties,” too.” And I showed that you were, as it turns out, incorrect. The plain fact is that the right does in fact try to write laws that force governments to do good. You can argue about degrees, or about whether certain kinds of “good” are more reasonable to legislate than others, but that was not what your original comment said.

  7. Bob says:

    Bill–I appreciate the comments in your last paragraph. I completely agree that coercive legislation is a poor builder of character. However, by your reasoning, I am not sure that you can support either prop. 8-like legislation, or anti-abortion legislation. You can argue that these are two exceptions, but the fact of the matters is that they are examples of imposing morality “from the outside”, as you put it. So, are they exceptions? If you think these two are, and there is no room for other exceptions, then consider that perhaps your thinking has been co-opted by the American political “right”.

  8. Bill says:

    What I am saying is that what this country was based on has fallen apart. In trying to “make things better” we are trying to put laws into place that try to maintain the way that things would be had our morality and ethics stayed in place.

    So there is either a choice – or a two tiered front. The choice is to put laws into place or not put laws into place. Putting laws in place – we are trying to fight evil legally (two different battlefronts evil and legality). In other words – we are fighting a battle with an improper tool. I don’t think this bunker will last long. The real answer is to change peoples hearts. Perhaps the laws will help stave total implosion while we work on hearts. I truly believe that if we didn’t have sin within each and every one of us… there wouldn’t have been a prop 8 or a Roe V Wade.

  9. harmonicminer says:

    Bob, I think all you’ve “demonstrated” is that you refuse to accept a difference between prevention of evil and the enforced performance of specific acts for the benefit of others. We call that last slavery. We call the first thing a law to protect the innocent.

    They are fundamentally different things. Your viewpoint tortures language, because it tries to define the word “do” to mean “not do,” and in so doing it violates the most basic law of logic, the law of non-contradiction.

    If it do not intend to DO anything evil, then no law that prevents me from DOing that thing has any effect on me whatsoever. I can ignore it, because it doesn’t apply to me.

    But any law that requires me to DO a specific thing (as opposed to refraining from something) is inescapable. I’m stuck with it. And that is the meaning of the word DO.

    It makes little sense to say that a law which requires me to refrain from evil is a law that requires me to DO something. The exact reverse is true. That law requires me to NOT DO something.

    It is a fundamental distinction: if we can’t agree that DO and NOT DO mean opposite things, there’s little point in further discussion.

  10. harmonicminer says:

    Bill and Bob,

    I agree that we want to change people’s hearts even more than we want to change the law to encourage people to refrain from doing evil.

    But: it is precisely central in Christian tradition to be try to change laws to encourage people to stop doing evil. It was Christians who greatly reduced infanticide in the Roman Empire by making it illegal, as well as by trying to change hearts and minds.

    It was Christians who pushed hard to end legal slavery, in Britain and the USA. And it was the use of Britain’s military force in support of that aim, more than any other single factor, that greatly reduced slavery world-wide in the 19th century. It was Christians who pushed for those laws and policies, while at the same time trying to reach people on the level of conscience.

    My point: it is a “both — and” situation. We try to reach hearts/minds, AND we try to change laws, with the intent to discourage people from DOING evil.

  11. harmonicminer says:


    You use the phrase “legislating morality” like you believe it to be pejorative. That’s how the left usually uses it, of course, all they while that they do it themselves far more than the right ever did. The left legislates “morality” by forcing people to behave in specific ways and provide specific amounts of free labor towards whatever cause the left deems “moral.” The right “legislates morality” chiefly by making it illegal for people to directly harm each other.

    Every leftist I know wants it to be illegal for someone to attack them physically… and still they complain that the right “legislates morality.”

    Somehow, to the left, it’s only “legislating morality” when the right is trying to stop people from doing a specific evil thing that will harm someone else. But, somehow, it isn’t “legislating morality” when the left legally enforces servitude to achieve social aims of the left.

    Interesting, isn’t it?

  12. enharmonic says:

    Bill, Prop. 8 (which PREVENTED the definition of marriage from being hijacked) was initiated by the people and was passed by the people. The approval of ‘homosexual marriage’ (an oxymoron if ever there was one) has never been accomplished through any means other than by some renegade judges who are legislating their own personal agendas. As to the spurious argument you make about homosexuals having the same rights as married people, they have exactly the same rights. NO ONE has a ‘right’ to get married. Those who wish to commit polygamy in this country are allowed to do it while society turns a blind eye, but those relationships are not legally binding in a court of law – and because of that, the women and offspring of such relationships are almost completely unprotected under the law. The same is true of unmarried mothers and their children. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of marriage (as do most folks today). It is not to put on a pretty dress and have a party. It is to protect women and their children. The fact that our sinful culture has made a mockery of the institution over the last 50 or so years in no way lessens the true purpose of marriage. Since two or more homosexuals are incapable of procreating (God made it so) there is no complling reason to create a phony ‘marriage’ whose only purpose is to further destroy the traditional family. You may not like this truth but it is still the truth.

  13. enharmonic says:

    But back to the actual topice of the article:

    * In his 2007 best seller “The World Without Us,” environmentalist Alan Weisman considers what the planet would be like without mankind, and finds it’s no bad thing.*

    If everybody was a homosexual the planet would be without mankind in about a centry, hmmm….

  14. enharmonic says:

    Make that a century.

  15. harmonicminer says:

    Bill, I think I understand that your intent was to say that “people of the right” were not trying to legislate against homosexual activity or lifestyles in Prop 8, but rather were specifically resisting the attempt by some judges to call that marriage. In that sense, Prop 8 was about not letting a minority force the rest of us to DO something, namely, to call same-sex relationships “marriage.” And I think the rest of your point was that “people of the right” actually have mostly NOT, in recent times anyway, been for legally STOPPING gays from being gay or acting gay or being in gay relationships… rather, we have simply held to the traditional definition of marriage. Personally, I would not want society to return to some of the laws/policies that previously existed that were truly hateful, where what was done to gays because they were gay was worse sin than BEING gay, in my judgment.

    But the CA supreme court’s gay marriage decision was about forcing the rest of us to apply an inappropriate label, with all that implies. Prop 8 was about not forcing that application of the label, marriage, where it didn’t apply.

    In no way was prop 8 about “legislating morality,” in the sense that it had nothing to do with what gays could DO, but only with what society would call it.

  16. Bob says:

    Harmonicminer–I see your point about the difference between “do” and “not do”. Of course there is a difference. Your original assertion was that the left is the only side guilty of trying to make people “do good” through legislative means. However, in certain situations, by merely stating that someone may not do something, there is a particular “do” attached to the negative.

    For instance, an anti-abortion law would by definition require pregnant women to not have an abortion. In turn, it would, by virtue of a limited amount of options, require them to DO something as well: namely, carry the baby to full term (where they could keep it or give it up for adoption). What is the difference between legislation that states, “Abortions are illegal”, and legislation that states, “Pregnant mothers must carry their pregnancies to full term (to the extent that they are able)”? I agree that the second is more awkward, and opens the door to lots of bizarre questions (would every mother be required to take pre-natal vitamins, etc?), but in both statements there is both a negative and a positive action implied. To say that ONLY negative or ONLY positive actions are required in any given law is foolish.

    Tell me, is the right against all taxes for all purposes? Of course not. The federal (or at least the state) government would still levy taxes if the right was completely in control of the country, if only to collect money for the military. This is another example of coercive legislation.

    My point is not that an anti-abortion law would be bad. I am for such a law, myself. However, to say that the left is the only side that wants to make people do things via legislation is just false, and you know it (I haven’t even spoken of proposals to force public schools to teach ID along with evolution). Notice that I am not saying that the right and left do this with equal frequency, or on equally important matters. I am merely showing that your initial assertion, that the left is the only side that tries to coerce people into doing things via legislation, is incorrect.

  17. harmonicminer says:

    Bob, having to carry the baby to term is a natural consequence of previous decisions made by the mother. No one forced her to become pregnant, normally. Only a VERY, VERY tiny proportion of abortions are for that reason.

    I’m sure we disagree about the proper province of government. But levying taxes for direct public safety and the protection of the republic is a pretty minimal amount of coersion.

    Bob, I don’t know how much history you’ve read, what politial philosophers you’re aware of, etc. But I’ll just make the blanket statement, defensible if you want to take the time to read books I’ll recommend, that the Left has ALWAYS been about forcing people to DO, while the Right has mostly been about limiting government and allowing people to make their own choices.

    Sure, you can twist language so that “not doing” is phrased as doing. But it doesn’t change the basic fact.

    Other than that, you seem to resist the simple making of a generalization. But it is making generalizations that characterizes systematic thought. If we don’t generalize, we’re dead…. gee, do you mean THIS lion will try to eat me, too?

    The “mushy middle” non-thought of “everybody does it” so let’s not point out who does it hugely, hugely more is essentially a risible position to take.

  18. Bill Colton says:

    Harmonicminer – You are correct. When speaking to those in the gay community – their original concern was that for their type of relationship, they get equal “rights”. I am not at all in favor of that type of relationship, but I think that is an individual choice that should not be up to the government to decide. I also don’t think that they should be denied rights. I also don’t think it should be called marriage. This isn’t denying a right…it is simply a definition. There are vehicles to allow those in alternative relationships to claim their rights. I am all in favor of them coming up with another term for their relationship.

    Another point of clarification, before when I spoke of a choice…it is my belief that we need to do both…1) try to legislate to keep things from totally falling apart (which is a temporary stop-gap) and then work on changing the hearts of those in our country and beyond. This is our mission.

  19. Tom says:

    I have enjoyed the conversation here and would like to add a short comment. Morality is legislated all of the time. It has to be. People are fallen and a society can not survive if morality is not legislated. What are some examples:

    Thefts (Robbery, extortion, Petite and Grand larceny, fraud etc.)
    Preying on the weak (i.e. Crimes against children and the aged)
    Hate crimes

    and on and on.

  20. Tom says:

    BTW, did you know that NASA is being accused of “cooking the books” when it come to reporting climate change?

  21. Tom says:

    Re: NASA is being accused of “cooking the books”

    Another link

  22. amuzikman says:

    Bob, lets take your paragraph from above and change the subject from abortion to murder. See below:

    For instance, an anti-murder law would by definition require citizens to not kill another citizen. In turn, it would, by virtue of a limited amount of options, require them to DO something as well: namely, allow other people to live. What is the difference between legislation that states, “Murder is illegal”, and legislation that states, “People must allow other people to live out their normal lives?”

    The answer to your question is quite clear. The first statement describes a law specifically designed to both acknowledge the immorality of taking another person’s life and to tangibly demonstrate in a punitive way a society’s condemnation of such an immoral act, (legislating morality if you like). The second statement is simply a description of normal human existence within a commonly and mutually understood moral framework. The second statement reveals that no “action” is required, rather it simply exists to protect life, much as an anti-abortion law does. As harmonicminer has stated this is quite different than a law designed to coerce a set of behaviors that force compliance with a politically motivated and changeable definition of “good”.

  23. dave says:

    The approval of ‘homosexual marriage’ (an oxymoron if ever there was one) has never been accomplished through any means other than by some renegade judges who are legislating their own personal agendas.

    Umm… this is untrue.

    First, the Vermont legislature already approved gay marriage. Second, we have today’s news that same sex marriage has been approved in Washington, D.C.

    But hey, don’t let facts get in the way.

  24. dave says:

    Oh… and New Hamshire has gay marriage via the legislative process.

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