by Jerome a Paris
Thu Jun 14th, 2007 at 05:28:49 AM EST
Freedom, not climate, is at risk by Vaclav Klaus
As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning.
Mr Klaus will answer questions in an online Q&A (in a section of the FT website called "ask the expert" - irony is dead). Post a question now. Time for action...
I am posting more extracts below. That article is useful, because it concentrates in one place all the usual arguments and techniques of the climate change negationists, and because it underlines an imortant political point: the extremist hard right sees no need to triangulate. They push for their ideas unashamedly, consistently, loudly, from the very top (this is the President of a EU country writing) to the lower rungs of the think tank machinery, and are successful in slowly impregnating the discourse with their insane ideas and thus in no longer appearing like the extremist hard righters they've always been.
If the left does not make an effort to stand by its ideas loudly and proudly, the debate will keep on moving to the right, as the pundit "centrists" keep on looking at the halfway position as the "reasonable" one. The middle needs to be brought back leftwards, which means making lefty discourse heard louder.
The environmentalists ask for immediate political action because they do not believe in the long-term positive impact of economic growth and ignore both the technological progress that future generations will undoubtedly enjoy, and the proven fact that the higher the wealth of society, the higher is the quality of the environment. They are Malthusian pessimists.
The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.
As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
- Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures;
- Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided;
- Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants;
- Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority;
- Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour;
- Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction;
- Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.