Over 282,700 French people, many clad in yellow vests, protested on foot while drivers blocked roads at about 2,000 places, causing miles of traffic jams and a death. Meanwhile, copycat protests in Belgium, the Netherlands and Egypt brew. Many stories portray the unrest as a populist revolt against carbon taxes, while socialists point out those were regressive taxes that avoided responsibility by the rich and fossil fuel industry.
Tim Watkins cautions that so far climate...
...“solutions” (wind turbines and solar panels, electric cars, closing selective industries, etc.) all involve taking money off the working poor and handing it over to members of the affluent class in the forms of subsidies, grants and tax-breaks.
And working people are
… unlikely to take kindly to being told that they will have to pay more to have some energy for cooking and heating by some billionaire failed politician, movie star or documentary maker who insists on flying around the planet producing more greenhouse gas in a year than many of them will generate in a lifetime.
… as the political left abandoned the working class, the political right has stepped in to fill the void. And reversing the prevailing climate change policy is just one of the promises that bolster their popularity. [italics changed to bold]
As John Michael Greer says,
Why should anyone else take the problem seriously and stop using carbon if climate change activists themselves aren't willing to accept even modest cuts to their own carbon-fueled lifestyles?
Imagine … that instead of talking about stopping climate change, we were talking about stopping rape. Imagine that there were big organizations dedicated to stopping rape, and curiously enough, most of their membership consisted of serial rapists. Imagine, then, that people pointed out to the serial rapists that if they really wanted to stop rape, they ought to start by not committing any more rapes themselves -- and every time, the serial rapists responded by insisting that you can't stop rape by just having the members of anti-rape organizations give up raping people, that the problem's much bigger than that, and how can they find a way to communicate to everyone in the world that rape is wrong? The answer, of course, is that they can't, because nobody will take them seriously until they themselves stop committing rape.
Climate change activism these days is almost entirely a concern of middle- and upper middle-class people in the industrial world: people, that is, whose lifestyles are disproportionately responsible for the dumping of greenhouse gases; people who use much more fossil fuel energy, and many more of the products of fossil fuel energy, than the average human being. This fact isn't lost on anybody outside the climate change movement -- and the fact that climate change activists by and large insist on leading carbon-intensive lifestyles, while insisting that everyone else has to do something about climate change, has done more to scuttle the movement to stop climate change than any other factor I can think of.
Kevin Anderson (who no longer uses planes) makes a related point.
…the idea that 10 percent of the global population are responsible for 50 percent of global emissions … tells us that we need to be tailoring our policies towards that small group, rather than trying to squeeze the emissions out of the majority of the world’s population, who are hardly emitting anything at all.
… if that 10 percent of high emitters reduce their carbon footprint, their individual carbon footprint, to the level of the average European citizen, that would be equivalent of a one-third cut in global emissions, even if the other 90 percent did nothing.
… very approximately, ... the U.S. is twice the emissions of the average European.
Meanwhile, I’ve completely lost faith in the Democratic Party, despite Bernie Sanders participation. Paul Street sums up:
While the Republicans make no serious pretense of being anything but an oligarchic organization, [Nick] Brana says, the Democrats play a more “insidious” and disingenuous part. Their “counterrevolutionary” role is to masquerade as the people’s voice and function as a great “black hole for progressive energies and passions.”
… Noam Chomsky, whose description of the U.S. as “a one-party state with two right-wing parties” (Brana’s words) resonated with his own experience.
Corporate forces have … solidified and enhanced the power of anti-democratic superdelegates, many of them corporate lobbyists, while moving to eliminate party caucuses, seen as too friendly to progressive insurgents in the Sanders mode. They have also imposed a neo-McCarthyite “loyalty test” that empowers the DNC to advance-veto any presidential nominee deemed insufficiently faithful to the Democratic Party. All of these steps and more aim to further insulate the party from another dreaded populist insurgency.
So there's our mess.
This form of Platonism has deep ties to ecological concerns (or rather to the lack thereof) because if only the world of the "life to come" matters, we don't need to give a shit what happens in this world.
Bert, I agree with whoever once said philiosophers (Plato included) are troubled people who describe their conclusions in words no one else uses.
If no one else already said it, I’m saying it now.
A Viet Nam War veteran who earned a Ph.D. and in the 1980s was teaching classics wrote that the ancient Greeks whose names we know had been in their wars and show the symptoms of PTS. i have his info in a bibliography somewhere but will leave it where it is.
Oscar Wilde? What is his evidence for a vulgar realism and a void idealism?
If you were to give the final word to yourself, what would it in your madness say? Would souls exist?
My final word? Eat, drink and be merry, fuckhead.
[For those hobbled by positivism soul can be translated as mind or consciousness.]
Evidence? Look around or read the news.
And if you think there's a human being on this planet who's not troubled, I'd love to meet the fucker.
GC, re Thoreau’s view on building castles in the air:
Realists build the foundations BEFORE they build the castles.