Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Right to Protest?

Recently in Social Studies, my class has been assigned a book called "How Many Lightbulbs does It Take to Change a Planet: 95 Ways to Save Planet Earth". The Idea is that we would chose one of the 95 different topics on all manners of leftist ideas about climate change, take notes and do a PowerPoint presentation about it.

One of the ideas in the book is "Protect the Right to Protest". Alright, but this is what the left, through its self-anointed moral supremacy over climate change, has been stifling. If you speak up against the IPCC, the climate change "consensus" or Al Gore, you are thrown out of the climate change debate in days, if not hours. Suddenly, you have all these environmental "scientists" pouncing on you, saying that you're wrong and giving no particular reason, only data that has been spewed up a million times. For proof, look at what happened to the Great Global Warming Swindle -and that's one of the nicer examples.

The right to protest hasn't been stifled directly in the political arena -indeed, it's the politcal arena that the left wants to avoid over opposition to climate change. The left, in all its talk of "tolerance" and "cultural/political/economic diversity", has to maintain a clean, public image of what it is, and what it stands for. To its credit, it has been pretty successful. You're unlikely to see quotes like this on the front cover of a newspaper:

"We have wished... for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us back into the stone age..."

or that:

"You think Hiroshima was bad, let me tell you mister, Hiroshima wasn't bad enough!"*

Admittedly, those two quotes were said a while ago. But if you were to tell any random earth-hugger on the street about those quotes, they'd just shake their head and call you a nutter. There are many more quotes like the two above, but you'd be lucky to find anyone who knows about them.

Consider this fact: the environmental movement has successfully manufactured their ideology around a natural, scientific phenomenon: human-induced climate change. To most people within and supportive of the environmental movement, it's not about the control or the end of industry, it isn't about human quality of life -it's about global warming, or climate change. These people see scientific climate change as a primary -they don't consider anything else in the ideology as a possible primary. For them, it's alright to sacrifice human industry, technology, wealth, comfort, etc to Gaia -because climate change is a primary. Even if that did nothing to the climate, it's still the primary.

It's that idea that has left possible unbiased environmentalists completely open to bombardment by the environmental movement and its theories on climate change.

Also, as it is supposedly based on scientific fact, the supposed primary of climate change is seen as an absolute -for instance, man's mind is an absolute (although his using it is not), reality is an absolute. This is how the environmental movement has made the scientists who are skeptical of climate change seem absolutely crazy. Climate change is neither a primary nor an absolute, but the marketability of it as such has been used to devastating effect.

So, the right to protest against envirofascists? Surely, it exists in the political realm. But the rather simple idea of climate change has been manipulated so much in the philosophical realm that it's crazy to challenge the idea of anthropogenic global warming. To outsiders, you're protesting against an absolute (no matter how many studies say otherwise). The environmental movement keeps its credibility by making climate change its primary -not the end of industry and commerce, and relegating productive man back into the slums.

And as I've said many times before, isn't the idea of us all pitching in to make a collective effort for the good of the planet and future generations just lovely? Perhaps not for us selfish Objectivists, or anyone else who can look behind all the environmental rhetoric, but for the common Joe New Zealander, who has already been brought up with such principles during NZ's socialist era, they sound great. After all, we will all die if we don't -climate change, according to what Joe's heard so many times before, is an absolute.

The only thing getting in the way -productive, selfish man. The man who produces instead of sacrifices himself for the "common good". Sounds like a certain book!

But this is even worse. If you think sacrifice on the altar of the "need" of other people was bad, this is sacrifice on the altar of the environment -the truly unthinking.

Luckily, as Libertarians, we have the chance to hit at (or to protest at) where it hurts. The left for decades, long before the environmental movement arrived, has been going on about the need "tolerance" and "diversity" -which developed into the ideal of "protecting the right to protest". These principles developed as a way to get leftist rhetoric into the classrooms and onto the TV screens, but they have tripped up over themselves. After all, at school, you're not going to get a flogging anymore for expressing an opinion -the teachers have to grin and bear it, at worst. After all, it is in the name of "tolerance" and "diversity" -and when opinions can be put to people so bluntly, no leftist will try to stop you.

So it's on this different set of ideals -originally enlightened ideals from the enlightenment, before having a post-modern spin put on them- that we need to protest to combat leftist ideals. Ironically, what were, and still are some of the most attractive ideals of the left can be used against them. Not just in environmentalism, but everywhere.

*Both quotes from The Free Radical no. 73, page 27.


Sus said...

One of your best, Callum. Well said.

Presumably "Protect the Right to Protest" will be your choice for the project? Would be a good time to briefly explain to your classmates (and teacher!) what a real "right" is! Good luck with it all. Would you consider posting it?

And don't forget to tell all concerned that TGGWS is coming up on Prime .. rescheduled for Sun 1 June at 8.30pm, I'm told. (Right in the middle of QB wknd, dammit).

Thanks for your kind comments re the conference, by the way. It was a good day - and fab to meet you and your dad!

Sus said...

While I remember:

When quoting, always name the source, if you can. It makes for credibility.

If you can't, at last acknowledge them as "anonymous" or "unnamed" for the same reason.


Sus said...

Whoops! 'at last' should read 'at least' ...

Going now!

Callum said...

That's been done, Sus. :)

Yes, the conference was good. Maybe because it's election year, we should get people around the country more. Nothing too extreme, but it's terrific meeting like-minded people, and those who you have met but don't see too often (in my case, PC).

Anyways, I already have TGGWS on DVD -it was given to me at school and even helped convert a former warmist I know!

Since the presentation of the project will have to be in powerpoint, I'll do it in school (we don't have that program at home), and it'll be made simpler. Hopefully though, the essence will remain the same.

Nancy said...

I'm sorry to hear this. I remember my own high school days in Auckland, where we had an environmental segment in social studies as well. I can't say my textbook was any better than yours. :) One of the "questions" in it was to "design a poster protesting against car pollution". I know I have the right to protest, but do I have to? :D
Apparently, some people think so.
I was 14 then, and thought Ayn Rand was a South African currency. :D I wish I'd read Atlas Shrugged then. It would have saved me so much of unnecessary guilt...

Anonymous said...

"You're unlikely to hear quotes like this on the front cover of a newspaper..."

You might watch them on the radio though. Classic.

Callum said...