The politics of our times are very boring and anodyne. The struggle between intellectuals for philosophical ideologies —with different conceptions of the world in former times— has been replaced by a field in which citizens position themselves based on primitive instincts of belonging to a tribe comprised of different sub-tribes. As is often the case in tribal associations, the members of the tribe accept all previously established dogmas without question. Rightists usually reject and hate the arguments of leftists and vice versa. Just like the Montagues and Capulets in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet the two camps of today’s world are polarized.
As time goes on, a sentence uttered by the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset continues to make more and more sense: "Being leftist is like being rightist, each being one of the infinite ways in which a man can choose to be an idiot: both, in effect, are forms of moral hemiplegia." The philosopher’s intention behind this neologism was to criticize people who self-determine within a political group and, thus, cannot think independently rationally beyond their ideology, analogous to how a person with motor paralysis in half of his body (hemiplegia) cannot move freely. For instance, generally speaking, those who accept gender ideology automatically accept the discourse of climate emergency and vice versa. Any media with a critical intelligent attitude should not fall into these monologues, which are essentially loudspeakers for the interests of political parties. Instead, they should be a vehicle for freethinkers. We should debate ideas from unbiased, objective positions instead of dogmatizing them.
The left-wing political parties in modern Europe do not represent the revolutionary left of the past inspired by Marx, Lenin, Mao Tse-Tung and Che Guevara. They no longer aspire to change the economic order but to accommodate themselves to it. In other words, they have become bourgeois. The orientation of leftists changed fundamentally after the decline of the Soviet Union and the end of the Berlin Wall. Since then, leftists have been wandering in the dark, trying to convince old and new voters that there are still ideals to defend in this unfair world: feminism, the recognition of minority sexual orientations, ecology and illegal immigration. However, they have few social issues to fight for in Western countries, where egalitarian rights have been recognized for a long time, and where social policies are already being applied regardless of whether right-wing or left-wing parties are in power.
On the contrary, traditional rightists —defenders of the god money over human suffering (in some cases in collusion with the religious values that they defend)— have also defended praiseworthy values, such as individual freedom against the totalitarian values of an omnipotent state claimed by the leftists. However, the conservative rightists of today’s secular Western countries with weak states are not very clear about their aims. They may be either living their own disorientation or absorbing part of the pseudo-ideals of contemporary opposite parties. These parties cannot confront the self-proclaimed moral supremacy of leftists for fear of losing voters (I call these parties coward rightists). Alternatively, these parties systematically may take a diametrically opposite position without weighing the arguments for such a position (I call these brainless rightists). If "leftists say H, then I say non-H," and so they both live by one’s wits in this democratic fiction to gain some position or obtain perks to fill the pockets of professional politicians. In a welfare society where many previous notions of freedom, social rights and other ideals are already a reality, only small details remain to be dealt with, as opposed to the great political struggles of the past. Therefore, people in such societies live by their wits and exaggerate trifles.
Left-wing parties are known for spinning moralizing narratives with simple plots. One of those stories is about the imminent danger that threatens the planet due to global warming. Meanwhile, there are other potentially much more dangerous problems that haven’t had much marketing and they are usually forgotten. According to the story, all of us modern sinners are to blame. However, a particular focus is placed on that supreme representation of evil on Earth: the fierce businessman. As the story goes, salvation will eventually come from a leftist prince —so much the better if he is a homosexual or a princess. This savior will fix everything with his/her magic wand if (s)he is allowed to rule.
As in every fairy tale there is a hint of truth. Indeed, the average temperature of the planet is increasing, and the industries and machines we have created —specifically, the greenhouse gases that they emit— have something to do with it. As to whether this situation will be apocalyptic, it depends on who you ask. My country, Spain, will undoubtedly experience more problems than benefits. However, Nordic European countries have already begun to save energy on heating and expect to enjoy longer harvest times. Moreover, some transport companies view the thawing of the Arctic as favorable, as it will open up new maritime routes. Similarly, the change in temperatures may be harmful to some animal species but beneficial to other The same is true for plants. As the proverb goes, "every cloud has a silver lining." Nonetheless, we must admit that abrupt changes are always difficult to cope with. As such, the sudden change in the climatic order of the planet will surely have unpleasant consequences for much of the world’s population.
However, the vision of salvation promoted by green leftists has little verisimilitude. As in any religion—the green movement has many similarities with the religious arguments of Greta Thunberg like prophets; the idea of an apocalypse cannot be well received if it is not accompanied by the consolation of salvation. The sacred office of the environmentalist church of the United Nations continually reminds us that we have very little time to save the planet by restricting global temperature increase. They have been saying the same thing for 30 or 40 years. They are essentially mocking people as the planet’s expiration date continues to be postponed as climate summits are held —most recently, for the umpteenth time, the 2019 CoP25 World Climate Summit in Madrid— without countries agreeing to stop or reduce emissions. The moral hypocrisy of the organizers of these events is reminiscent of the Pharisees, as they seek austere solutions amidst the wastefulness of transporting tens of thousands of people on international trips.
This situation is similar to the announcement of the arrival of the Messiah who never arrives but is always near. The truth is that the solutions of bourgeois pro-green individuals have never been given. Instead, we see childish individuals who refuse to forfeit their consumerist welfare but also go to the streets to shout that they want a world with less consumption or magical solutions that allow them to continue consuming and polluting without the planet noticing it. It is all goodwill, a demonstration, the expression of a childish hope that societies can become self-regulating and reduce their consumption in a rational way. On this matter, I agree with Guillaume Faye’s assertion that "Greenpeace and its corresponding ideologues (...) are politically ultra-correct and totally complicit with the system" (Archeofuturism, 1998). If these are the planet’s best friends, it does not need enemies.
On the other hand, right-wing parties without complexes —the other (cowardly) kind of right-wing parties are mere imitations of progressive left-wing parties, and rather than having a cheap copy it is better to keep the original ones— and the media, that act as its loudspeaker, have decided to take advantage of this global warming issue by offering a different narrative; as is the case in any children’s story, there has to be good characters and bad ones. According to those on the "right", the bad guys are those greenies who use climate change as an excuse to deceive people with threats that are either unfounded or based on speculative science that does not even know where its right hand is.
They claim that the relatively young climate science does not have the answers to the phenomenon. Meanwhile, the true non-ideologized science they know shows that issues related to climate change —including the present one— have occurred throughout history due to natural phenomena, not human activity. They say that the disinformation of official science has induced a state of climatic hysteria or psychosis among the masses, suffocating the development of society. The princely hero would let citizens continue polluting without remorse, thus freeing them from the communist dragon.
Again, this story contains some plausible elements, especially regarding its socio-economic analysis and the description of how green lobbying has set up businesses to profit from the situation by exaggerating catastrophism. Certainly, pessimistic approaches apply to almost any human affair, and evildoers will always think the worst of others.
However, nature and scientific observations of nature are not as subject to worldly ideologies as some people think. Our era is exceptional like no other, without mentioning prehistory. Significant changes are occurring much faster now than they ever have before, this is not a theory but something measurable.
Scientists arguing about the causes of global warming is also fanciful. What is certain is that virtually all scientists specializing in global warming acknowledge the remarkable rise in average global temperatures and predict a more significant rise in the future. It is also clear that atmospheric CO2 concentrations are increasing and are currently higher than they have been for the last three million years. Concentrations of other greenhouse gases have also increased, mainly due to the industrial human activity of the last century.
There is a non-zero probability that the temperature change in Earth is due to natural causes. It is not impossible —just as it is not impossible for it to snow in New York in August— but the probability is very low. By far, the most likely factors causing climate change are anthropogenic.
No prestigious national or international scientific organization holds a formal opinion that disagrees with any of the main points above. Perhaps a few individual scientists hold a contrary opinion; many of them are financed by oil companies and other companies that have something to gain by muddying the issue and preventing constraints from being placed on emissions. In the end, scientists are human; they are not infallible, they can be bribed, and they can give uninformed opinions on the human and the divine. Sometimes they make blunders when discussing subjects they do not understand, like a podiatrist giving an opinion on which injections are good for horses. Ten years ago, I wrote:
Any minimally sensitive soul can see and foresee the present and future environmental disaster of our civilization. The Earth is dying. There are no clear solutions for the problem, and there is no possible salvation with the current political and economic system, although there are many birds of prey that pretend to do business with the excuse of ecology: the new priests that administer green spirituality. Faced with such a situation, only the saint-ascetic who refuses to live in the consumer society or the revolutionary who tries to overthrow it have something to contribute "against the death of the Earth" (Disidencias, n. 11, 2011, pp. 59-71).
I have not changed my mind. I still do not think politicians, either rightists or leftists, will save the planet, they will do business with the issue instead. I also still think the issue has no solution in sight in the presence of the puppets we currently have in our inefficient democracy and in the absence of strong-thinking politicians. Rather, it could be said that it is already too late, that disaster is inevitable. Therefore, it might be better to start acknowledging that we must adapt to the new times. Plain truths are sad, but accepting them is better than living a tall tale of salvation or denying the anthropogenic origin of global warming, which is suitable only for moral hemiplegics.
(Translated by the author from the Spanish version “Cambio climático: verdades del barquero, cuentos chinos y hemiplejía moral”, 2019, December 19th)