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« Petition against windfarms | Main | Manmade earthquakes »
Thursday
Jun022011

Greens, scientists and bad people

Australian politician Peter Phelps has, in that quiet underspoken way that Australian politicians have, compared climatologists to scientists working for the Nazis.

At the heart of many scientists—but not all scientists—lies the heart of a totalitarian planner. One can see them now, beavering away, alone, unknown, in their laboratories. And now, through the great global warming swindle they can influence policy, they can set agendas, they can reach into everyone's lives; they can, like Lenin, proclaim "what must be done". While the humanities had a sort of warm-hearted, muddle-headed leftism, the sciences carry with them no such feeling for humanity. And it is not a new phenomenon. We should not forget that some of the strongest supporters of totalitarian regimes in the last century have been scientists and, in return, the State lavishes praise, money and respectability on them.

He elides from here into a quotation about the involvement of scientists in the rise of the Nazis. This is probably going to cause a few ructions - in fact it already is. The problem is that as soon as you invoke the N-word, you conjure up pictures of jackbooted stormtroopers rather than the mild-mannered scientists who are the problem. This is a pity, because he is making what appears to me to be a serious point.

The rise of the Nazis was abetted by well-meaning nice people who wanted only good things, such as law and order and 'schoolsnhospitals'. In just the same way, I'm sure that Schellnhuber's intentions are entirely honourable too - he's saving the planet after all. He just thinks that only way to do so involves taking us into a dictatorship, run by well-meaning nice people like him.  He's a minority of course (although I'm sure there are others who share his views but don't voice them), but that's no reason not to point to the dangers. The price of liberty is, after all, eternal vigilance.

(Could commenters note, I will be ruthless about snipping comments that are rude/off topic/aggressive on this thread.)

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Reader Comments (64)

A bit over the top and obviously a sweeping generalisation. Besides it only gets really totalitarian when the 'fuzzy' people get involved. It's easier to be sure of yourself and your policies when you don't understand the uncertainly involved in the science.

Jun 2, 2011 at 8:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterEddieo

Scientists are just people doing a job, we are no more rational than anyone else. We find ourselves sucked into the planner's world if that's where the funding comes from and our 'science' is no real defence.

Jun 2, 2011 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterA K Haart

Beware of Godwin's Law!

Jun 2, 2011 at 8:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Does the invocation of Godwin's Law mean that we should never allude to historical analogies for the dubious behaviour of present day people? Just been reading a book about Edward II (cr. 1308 England) and his noble lords. Talk about rapscallions! Plus ca change......

Jun 2, 2011 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterBaxter 75

AKHaart

Indeed. This is what central planning and the actions of the state do - they divert good people into doing bad things.

Jun 2, 2011 at 8:56 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Yes, we should certainly remember Godwin's Law although it is absolutely the case that the Universities in the Weimar Republic were hotbeds for the National Socialists. And we all know what scientists and engineers (amongst many others) were later to develop - only obeying orders, of course.

It would be quite wrong, however to try to paint the vast majority of Climate "Scientists" with this particular brush.

But in fact, despite the Nazi's very early espousal of all greenie beliefs, there is another socio-political paradigm which seems rather closer to the really hard line cAGW and Malthusian demagogues of today, with their intended return to a more simple, less industrialised, agrarian communal society. #

That of the Khmer Rouge.

Jun 2, 2011 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

On this topic, but not specifically related to science, Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism" provides some challenging ideas.

Jun 2, 2011 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

I think I see something on what he is saying but I don't think he is too clever using the Nazism or even Lysenko example - it just pleases the extremes at both ends to no purpose.
Underneath what he says I think I see an idea I agree with, the idea about a formerly impermeable barrier having broken down between scientific aspirations and social and political aspirations. How the climate scientist today measures his/her worth by how much the political landscape is shaped, not how far a theory is tested and strengthened. Once the climate scientist tastes the intoxication of getting kudos for being moral in the social sphere it is hard to go back to boring old fusty evidence shifting.

Jun 2, 2011 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Read standard analyses of totalitarianism by the likes of Hannah Arendt and Raymond Aron, and you can’t help but be struck by the similarities in the mental structures involved, and at the same time realise how morally grotesque it is to compare environmentalists with Nazis.
This is why we desperately need social scientists like Robert E. Phelan, who commented on the survey thread, to come in and give us a guiding hand, possibly with a standard reading list for the understanding of ideology and social movements in general.

Jun 2, 2011 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

As an example of the similarities in mental structures I mentioned above, think of the tendency to start from now as “year zero” and measure off the future in arbitrary periods. Hitler and Pol Pot did it. So did William Blake and St John the Divine. So do the IPCC, Sir Martin Rees, the Committee for Climate Change, and Andrew Simms in the Guardian when he’s having his monthlies. Weird, isn’t it?

Normal people don’t do that sort of thing.

Jun 2, 2011 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Agree with Geoff that some more insight from Robert E. Phelan would be good. I'd quite like George Steiner to come back and tell us more about that Marxist dialectic. Us engineering types need to get our heads around that stuff.

Jun 2, 2011 at 9:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterandyscrase

geoffchambers

Keep saying it: totalitarianism is the correct term. Not Marxism, and not fascism/Nazism.

Oh, it's such a subtle point, isn't it? ;-)

Jun 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

As Shirley Williams said in the early 80s, there is a fascism of the left as well as of the right! However, whilst I see his point, I wouldn't go that far, although the affinity with the Khmer Rouge was worthy I thought in a more benign form. With the latest report about abuse of taxpayers money running rife about the EU Commissioners, I would suggest we refer to "them" as scientists of the Peoples Democratic Republic of the European Union, the point being is that they are leading this Green Fascism/Socialism & sycophantic &/or naive scientists out to make their name & change the world are only too happy to produce the required scientific evidence on time, money is no object when it comes from the taxpayer, just when it is needed, whereas real science cannot do any such thing. If the science really is settled, why do we still pay them so much & create ever larger taxpayer fundeed institutions & organisations? It has been demonstrated time & again, that with the best will in the world, if you have a preconceived idea, it can affect your results.

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Well the term 'eco-facism' has been spoken of many times recently. Does it have any resonance with the past?

"We recognize that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole . . . This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought." Ernst Lehmann, Biologischer Wille. Wege und Ziele biologischer Arbeit im neuen Reich, München, 1934

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Here is a statistic that may prove to be controversial.

It is that two thirds of people who we now would consider to be termed environmentalists in Germany joined the Nazi party in comparison to less than 10% of the general population.

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

BBD

You are the problem , with your inflammatory comments.

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhinniethewoo

There does seem to be a totalitarian tendency in many of us, whether to dominate others or to be compliant citizens, and very often it would seem this has been motivated by vivid fears of threats, real or imagined: the evil capitalists, the evil neighbouring countries/races, the evil of people in general (bringing the threat of divine retribution). In many cases (e.g. the numerous millenium cults, the socialist extremes in the former Soviet Union and in Germany and Italy in the 1920s and 30s), mob violence and the emergence of charismatic leaders demanding trust and obedience have been features. Both of these have been lacking in the CO2 Alarmism phenomenon so far, although there are those who seem to wish for it - the brutal film 'No Pressure' comes to mind, as does the admiration for non-democratic regimes such as China's by James Hansen (e.g. http://hauntingthelibrary.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/hansen-us-democracy-not-competent-to-deal-with-global-warming-calls-on-communist-china-to-save-humanity/).

A third feature of the cults mentioned is the conviction that the existing order is intolerable and will have to be destroyed in order to attain the new golden age. Maurice Strong's wish to dismantle industrialisation comes to mind, as does the intensely malevolent editorial in the first edition of The Ecologist way back in 1970, recently highlighted by Donna Laframboise here: http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2010/01/15/green-time-capsule-1970-eco-ideas-not-pretty/.

So, this is something to watch, and something to study not just as a danger, but also for additional insight into how CO2 Alarmism was turned from a rather weak academic speculation into a major political force that has swayed governments and other institutions across the world.

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

To those of us raised by parents and influenced by older family members who fought and survived two world wars and various military 'adventures' plus the great depression, the onward march of the various 'isms' which embraced the philosophy of absolute central control through the use of 'the sciences' has been obvious. At the risk of sounding a trifle neurotic or paranoid, freedom is only retained by constant vigilance and action against the loss of freedoms. One of the biggest and most serious problems I see at the moment is the dishonesty and greed of much of the ruling elites in the Western world, aided and abetted by complacency and lack of any kind of enthusiasm for credible investigative journalism in the mainstream print and broadcast media. A supine media does not have to be Marxist for the wishes of the elite to be actioned; it merely has to continue being supine.

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

From Peter Phelps own backyard;

David Shearman (Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Adelaide, Assessor for the UN’s IPCC 3rd and 4th Assessment Reports) in proposing the end of democracy, said in 2011. “…authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity”.

Is eco-facism present in the academic population and is it on the rise in academia?

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Mac

Here is a statistic that may prove to be controversial.

It is that two thirds of people who we now would consider to be termed environmentalists in Germany joined the Nazi party in comparison to less than 10% of the general population.

Interesting. Have you got a source for this?

WRT Shearman, he is advocating a totalitarian view. Fascism and Marxism are examples of totalitarian systems incorporating specific political ideologies.

It is less emotive and more accurate to avoid characterising authoritarian environmentalism as either Fascist or Marxist, as it is essentially neither. It is totalitarian.

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

In order to create new worlds you first have to destroy the old ones.

Quote, James Hansen, 2009, "The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working."

That seems to be a common theme when it comes to environmentalism and the creation of a new green world - democracy is getting in the way.

If it is repeated often enough and long enough, especially by academic figures, it will become accepted as fact.

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

BBD

Taken from "The Environmental Movement in Germany" by Professor Raymond Dominick.

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

I like the analogy:

neo-klimate-khmer-rouge.

Jun 2, 2011 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterDead Dog Bounce

The BBC iplayer will deliver you "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace." Quite fascinating and O/T. Only #2 viewed so far.

Jun 2, 2011 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

John Shade: way to go
Mac:
The quote from Lehmann is fascinating, but be careful with syllogisms starting “All fascists are green..”. I know we’re all getting on a bit, but that doesn’t excuse Excluded Middle aged spread.

Jun 2, 2011 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Mac

Ah. Now I see:

http://www.ecofascism.com/review23.html

Geoffchambers, Ben Pile, myself etc argue for clarity, which is that authoritarian environmentalism is essentially totalitarian rather than essentially fascistic or Marxist.

This is not the same as arguing that the Nazi endorsement of 'environmentalism' (or vice versa) did not happen. There were undoubtedly fascists who espoused views at least recognisable as similar to some aspects of hard-line modern environmentalism.

But there are few Nazis now and many authoritarian environmentalists. Nor does the modern neo-Nazi 'movement' seem to be in any way linked to said authoritarian environmentalists (who are simultaneously and bizarrely characterised as Marxist, or left-leaning. Can't have it both ways).

Again, I suggest the underlying similarity is a totalitarian outlook, not a fascistic one.

The question is: is it helpful to evoke the horrors of Nazism at every turn (eg 'deniers')? Or is it provocative and counter-productive? Do you like being called a denier? Does it bring out your best argument? Or just red mist?

Jun 2, 2011 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Jun 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM | John Shade

You mentioned 'Haunting the Library'. Does anyone know what happened there? He just suddenly stopped blogging.

Jun 2, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterA Lovell

A Lovell

I have exchanged emails with HtL. He had been diverted by other things.

Jun 2, 2011 at 12:20 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

It is a characteristic of the early 20th century that facist states incorporated environmental ideas early in their ideology as opposed to communists states who didn't.

As socialism fell from grace in the late 20th century it is revealing that environmentalism was simply seen as a replacement ideology.

That is why the term eco-facism has more relevance than eco-socialism (which is pretty well non-existant).

Jun 2, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Mac

- You do not explain why authoritarian environmentalism is essentially 'fascist'

- Instead you repeat that fascist ideologies (other than Nazism? examples?) incorporate elements of a certain type of environmentalist thinking. This is not the same thing at all.

- You do not explain why authoritarian environmentalism is not essentially totalitarian

- You do not even acknowledge my final point about the calculated misuse of emotive language

Jun 2, 2011 at 1:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

This is something I have been worried about. It is not "the scientists" who came up with "catastrophic warming" It is a very small number of state funded people claiming to be "climate scientists" being used as advertising by politicians and their media friends to promote a deliberately false scare. because:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."Henry Louis Mencken..

Where real scientists and even moreso, their professional organisations have failed is in going along with this. In the case of the professional organisations this cannot be unconnected with the government money they get (Royal Society £45 million) and cushy governent jobs & titles (eg Lord May). We have seen that it is effectively impossible for any alarmist to name a sihgle scientist not paid by politicians, worldwide, who supports alarmism but they can say that in conversation independent scientists don't actually demur either.

It is not only time for real scientists to come out of the closet on this but for them to accept that the good name of science is being harmed every time it is used to push unjustified claims, not just about global warming, or the next fraud but the next and next again so long as science has a reputation that can be misused.

I think the best thing professional organisations could do would be to write to the newspapers every time one of them published such a false report. It would keep them busy for a while but in due course the papers would learn. They might even get some science correspondents whose degree had something to do with science.

If not then attempts to "talk to" climate alarmists may turn out to be as confusing to the public as "talking about the science" with phrenologists or astrologers would be.

It is not that almost all scientists are not good men & women but "that for evil to triumph it is only necessary that good men do nothing".

Jun 2, 2011 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Mac

You say:

As socialism fell from grace in the late 20th century it is revealing that environmentalism was simply seen as a replacement ideology.

That is why the term eco-facism has more relevance than eco-socialism (which is pretty well non-existant).

This is a non sequitur. You now appear to say that environmentalism stands as 'a replacement ideology' for socialism (communism?). Not fascism. This is confusing.

At lease the reason why the term 'eco-fascism' is current and 'eco-socialism' is not is obvious enough. The former is deeply emotive and offensive. Like 'denier'.

Which is why we have Godwin's Law.

Jun 2, 2011 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I think the only scientist who became a British PM was Margaret Thatcher.

Jun 2, 2011 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick Stokes

" Any German speakers want to read the whole WGBU report and confirm? "

No translation required. The only part of the 'report' currently available is a SPM, in English (follow the link from Tamsin's twit). 26 pages of tedious waffle and propaganda from political activists - I can't be bothered to read this drivel.

Jun 2, 2011 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

Unlike PaulM, I did try to read it in German. It is indeed as he says, tedious waffle, and I gave up half way through. The tone was quite frightening and I had visions of ivory-tower zealots on a crusade to save the world. I'm not sure that any politician would dare put its suggestions into his election manifesto, because politicians don't normally set out commit electoral suicide.

Jun 2, 2011 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterFZM

By the same assumption saying we are doomed unless we stop producing CO2/driving cars/flying on holiday/using up limited supplies of nickel/copper/tin/letting soot go into the air and produce an ice age/not have children/have children/fish/have cheap nuclear electricity/launch atomic spaceships/launch spaceships/have computers/build dams/eat salt/eat butter/eat margarine etc ad nauseam would be election losers.

Unfortunately scared people huddle under leaders who say only they can stop it.

Jun 2, 2011 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Associating Green environmentalism with Nazis fascism is true and correct, but poorly known or appreciated - and where the past and present divide, still hotly debated.

My historical study of the connection predates Paul Dreissen’s “Eco-fascism: Green Power, Black Death,” and Oxford trained historian Anna Bramwell’s “Fading of the Greens: The Decline of Environmental Politics in The West,” 1994.

What’s newer in this little-appreciated corner of 20th century history? From 2005, three environmental historians produced .


This book shows how the Nazis state enacted the first environmental impact statement, and how various professions attempted to linked their ambitions to the state’s ‘green’ grab. Consider urban planning: Auschwitz was intended to become a “model city” after the war. Much of the Nazis legal regulation remained in force for many decades after Hitler’s demise.

The wikipedia entry on is worth a look for an outline of the more ideological elements.

But Bramwell’s “Fading of the Greens” still essential. Along with two overlapping works, It explores why green politics arose and failed before succeeding in the US after Rachel ‘s “Silent Spring” in the 1960s.
SEE Walter William Kay, The German intellectual roots of ecologism in the 19th century, and well as their cousin movements in Britain and US thought, until later 20th century remnants in those country’s arose, is compellingly explored.

This lengthy review-essay of Bramwell’s three histories, along with other related titles of interest - albeit older vintage - makes acquainting oneself with this literature relatively cheap and easy.

Bramwell actually defends the virtues of aristocratic reform agrarians. Thus Prince Charles is defended and excused. (Mind you, this was BEFORE AGW-mania arose.) “Fading’s” reception, however, is telling: “The Guardian called the book ‘dangerous and perverse’. The British Green Party was upset because, as Bramwell saw it, she removed environmentalism’s history from their control. The Times Higher Education Supplement came to her defence saying she merely overturned a stone and dismayed liberals with what lay beneath.”

Thus, the book became influential and the term “ecologism,” meaning political ecology, became well-established. Textbooks were written and Political Ecology was established as a new field of scholarship within political science. And more pertinent for our purposes, Bramwell concluded that “German National Socialism had a strong ecological element.”

The problem as with most matters concerning ecology remains this: where to demarcate the bad influence of Nazism on environmentalism and where to defend their impact? This remains contested ground, but I hope BishopHill readers will begin thinking about it here, if they haven’t before.

Jun 2, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

SORRY. I cannot format hotlinks to work for this post, as required above -- perhaps a little help? THANKS!

Associating Green environmentalism with Nazis fascism is true and correct, but poorly known and appreciated - and where the past and present divide, still hotly debated

. My historical study of the connection predates Paul Dreissen’s “Eco-fascism: Green Power, Black Death,” and Oxford trained historian Anna Bramwell’s “Fading of the Greens: The Decline of Environmental Politics in The West,” 1994.

What’s newer in this little-appreciated corner of 20th century history? From 2005, three environmental historians produced “How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich”
http://www.amazon.com/How-Green-Were-Nazis-Environment/dp/0821416464

This book shows how the Nazis state enacted the first environmental impact statement, and how various professions attempted to linked their ambitions to the state’s ‘green’ grab. Consider urban planning: Auschwitz was intended to become a “model city” after the war. Much of the Nazis legal regulation remained in force for many decades after Hitler’s demise.

The wikipedia entry on Ecofascism is worth a look for an outline of the more ideological elements. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecofascism

But Bramwell’s “Fading of the Greens” still essential. It explores why green politics arose and failed before succeeding in the US after Rachel ‘s “Silent Spring” in the 1960s.
(SEE Walter Willaim Kay, "Review of Bramwell's Hidden History of Environmentalism"
http://www.ecofascism.com/review11.html) The German intellectual roots of ecologism in the 19th century, and well as their cousin movements in Britain and US thought, until later 20th century remnants in those country’s arose, is compellingly explored.

This lengthy review-essay of Bramwell’s three histories, along with other related titles of interest - albeit older vintage - makes acquainting oneself with this literature relatively cheap and easy.

“For [Bramwell], as for many others...,the outstanding figures to write about the small-holding ideal were...Knut Hamsun and Henry Williamson....Again, like many others, I had no idea...that either author had been involved in politics.”

Both were hard-core Nazis. The passage coming closest to spelling out her views is: “The habit of the English businessmen of returning to their rural homeland as soon as possible – so bewailed by critics for over two hundred years – shows that the first ‘good’ that is purchased after one’s sustenance is the quality of life we associate with the countryside. And the nurture of the countryside is the first long-term aim of those who live in it, belong to it, and wish to transfer it intact to their heirs.”

Bramwell actually defends the virtue of aristocratic reform agrarians. Thus Prince Charles is defended and excused. (Mind you, this was BEFORE AGW-mania arose.) “Fading’s” receptions, however, is telling: “The Guardian called the book ‘dangerous and perverse’. The British Green Party was upset because, as Bramwell saw it, she removed environmentalism’s history from their control. The Times Higher Education Supplement came to her defence saying she merely overturned a stone and dismayed liberals with what lay beneath.”

Thus, the book became influential and the term “ecologism,” meaning political ecology, became well-established. Textbooks were written and Political Ecology was established as a new field within political science. And more pertinent for our purposes, Bramwell concluded that “German National Socialism had a strong ecological element.”

The problem as with most matters concerning ecology remains this: where to demarcate the bad influence of Nazism on environmentalism and where to defend their impact? This remains contested ground, but I hope BishopHill readers will begin thinking about it here, if they haven’t before.

Jun 2, 2011 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

Let me add a trenchent quote from William Walter Kay:


The Nazis promoted organic farming, reforestation, species preservation, naturalism, neo-paganism, holistic science, animal rights, sun-worship, herbalism, anti-capitalism, ecology, anti-urbanism, alternative energy, hysterical anti-pollutionism and apocalyptic anti-industrialism. At the same time the British ecology movement was stridently, treasonously fascist. While these aspects of Bramwell’s writings have been commented on, however inadequately, much less has been said about her treatment of post-WWII environmentalism. Here she provides useful insights into the wholesale corruption of the scientific community, the capturing of key organizations and the manipulation of the mass media by the environmental movement.

http://www.ecofascism.com/review11.html

It goes without saying that how environmentalism can corrupt science, media, communities and politics is a central theme here at Bishop Hill. Thus, what an Aussie pol says it not without relevance to climate debates in Great Britain, Canada, the USA and elsewhere.

Jun 2, 2011 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

I would argue that an appeal to authoritarianism, an anti-democratic response, is correctly termed as facist.

Socialism doesn't reject the ideas of democracy it may do in practice, but not in ideological terms.

Facism on the other hand not only rejects the idea of democracy it is vehemently opposed to it.

So when we hear scientists saying that democracy doesn't work and calling for authoritarian regimes to replace democratic governments then we are dealing with facism.

All of this has a historical context when tied in with environmentalism. The past and the present are linked.

Jun 2, 2011 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Over the top claim -yes it is. But lets remember there really have be calls for people that don't support AGW to tired for this 'crimes' ,for the people like the the good Bishop to be banned from public speaking,attempts to link AGW skeptics to Holocaust deniers and racists etc. So the demonetization of people that is a feature of a fascist outlook can certainly be seen from some sections of the green community. While the idea that democracy should be suspended, for the good of the people of course, is one that is promoted even by some of the leading lights of the greens.

Jun 2, 2011 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

BBD,
'Fascism' is offensive, so we shouldn't use the term?

I suppose the same logic doesn't apply to fascists, who shouldn't therefore be fascist?

Fascism as a label is offensive, if used inaccurately. But individuals and ideologies with a fascist streak try to evade precise characterization precisely under the same cowl of moral outrage; they act as though they are deeply offended when in fact they were only being precisely identified. Historically, fascism fell to disrepute when its ideas failed to be capitalized into any long-term gains for populations that enthusiastically supported it, for a while. Many of the subcomponents of fascism (if you will) - majoritarianism, authoritarianism, strong nationalism and hierarchialism are present in across political systems and movements, as well - Nazism included.

These same subcomponents do come together in many green movements and ideologies, although it may not be evident at the surface, and things may even look to be the opposite. For eg., in the third world, radical environmentalism is a kissing cousin of workers movements and countryside communist uprisings (for instance, the Indian Naxalites today) and so is essentially leftist in its nature. Radical environmentalism in Western democracies, for eg in Britain, is leftist (protesting against Heathrow runway) and and non-leftwing as well .

In this avatar, it has close links with fascist political thinking. This is where one has to would place all the Malthusians - Crispin Tickell, David Attenborough etc. This is where George Monbiot falls. This is where falls JT Trevors James Saier, Paul Ehrlich, Jeffrey Sachs, and Schellnhuber and his entire coterie are accurately placed - for their promotion of an authoritarian rigidly heirarchial state for the (pious) purpose of saving the environment.

Let me quote Delingpole who uses the same word - eco-fascism:

One of the many reasons, I’m fully aware, that I inspire such foaming hatred among the Guardianistas, Independent readers, and young Twitterers with their as-yet-undeveloped frontal lobes and their post-Thatcher “uni” era pretend education in non-subjects like “Climate Science” and “Media Studies” is because they seriously object to my use of the word “Eco-Nazis” and “Eco-Fascists” when talking about the Green movement. But the thing is, see, because I read English at Oxford – in an era when they weren’t giving away degrees free with packets of cornflakes – I was taught to write with a certain rigour and to choose my words carefully.

When I bandy about terms like “Eco-Nazi” and “Eco-Fascist”, I am not using them in the manner of the lazy ad homs I see so frequently directed at me by the ignorant, puerile trolls who lurk below this blog. I do it because they are apt. Furthermore, I generally take care – using a method unfamiliar to trolls called “constructing an argument” – to explain precisely why I am using those terms. [...]
...
If we call someone a Nazi or a Fascist it’s because we recognise in their ideological leanings they same belief in an all-powerful state, in diminished property rights, in corporatism, in heavy regulation and against liberty and free speech which were prevalent in Thirties Germany and Italy. The Greens would have been right at home there.

Note the penchant of environmentalists and climate activists for declaring planetary emergencies. Compare that with (again, Jonah Goldberg from Delingpole):

Crisis is routinely identified as a core mechanism of fascism because it short-circuits debate and democratic deliberation. Hence all fascist movements commit considerable energy to prolonging a heightened state of emergency.

Fascism, unfortunaly therefore, has strong affinities with the modern green movement. No escaping it.

And by the way, Goodwin's law is bullshit. Goodwin's law states that someone will make the Nazi comparision and the argument will degenerate. Why will that apply to regular human beings having a conversation about these political labels and concepts?

Jun 2, 2011 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

I've set out my reasons above. Like Delingpole, I am the privileged recipient of an excellent and rigorous eduction, and I believe that in this instance my argument is both carefully constructed and valid.

We are now going round in circles (as usual).

Just read it again, a little more carefully. I don't even think we are in significant disagreement except in my aversion to the broad-brush application of the term 'eco-fascism' by people who are more interested in picking a fight than constructive debate.

Jun 2, 2011 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Some really interesting comments on here and thanks especially to Orson for the links.

Calling someone an eco-fascist, or a denier, is clearly a double edged sword. I've used the former on a number of occasions and personally don't get as upset by "denier" as most people, as I strongly agree with Lindzen's point when he denies that the trivial proportion of CO2 emissions attributable to mankind is even a plausible hypothesis to be a primary driver of the climate.

Of course, I'm well aware why the D word is frequently used. Just as Jolly Jim Hansen's "Death Factories" and "Death Trains". But it seems likely that this kind of extreme language is likely to be counter productive with most normal listeners.

So whilst calling someone an eco-fascist may often be fully justified, it isn't necessarily the best approach. Often mickey taking and laughing about people ("nasty school child" name calling as our favourite Troll calls it) gets up the warmists' noses just as well. One remembers some of the sallies that the Dennises (Healey and Skinner) used to come out with to taunt Thatcher and her cabinet. Childish? Probably. But far more damaging than a tedious bloviation by Kinnock.

Historical parallels are always interesting, at least. I agree with BBD that the Greens are perhaps more accurately described as "totalitarian" that "fascist", although I'm not convinced that "eco-totalitarian" has much of a ring about it. And, turning it round, I would MUCH rather be described as a libertarian than a conservative or a right- winger. Some old habits die hard.

But it has been remarked many times that the roots of the modern Greens in Europe are very close indeed to the old "socialist" groups, often directly in the pay of the DDR's Stasi. There are also some links to the Baader-Meinhof goup. And certainly to the 1968 Student Protests. Think of the co-president of the group "European Greens–European Free Alliance in the European Parliament", none other than our old chum Danny "the Red" Cohn - Bendit. (Now Danny "the Green", of course).

I was at University myself 1966-1968. But I had far too much work to do keeping up with an Honours course in Civil & Structural Engineering (and too much oil in my lamp) to get involved with the rituals of wealthy or at least middle class kids trying to beat up cops, (the kids of the working class), whilst spouting socialist nonsense. I also remember being absolutely outraged when the tanks rolled into Prague, and noted how few of the "student protesters" were to be seen or heard then.

And then we had the merry team that went round with Mao's little red book. From the time of the Cultural Revolution. Nice!

How many of the more senior enthusiasts for the Greens have a copy of "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung" somewhere in their attic? I wonder.

And it might be worth noting that (for those who still feel a bit defensive about Marxism and Socialism) that I think it is a bit of a stretch to accept Mao's Cultural Revolution or Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge as particularly marxist or socialist phenomena. More nationalist. And yes, pro-small population, close to the soil and anti - business and commerce.

But whilst I doubt that we'll see the good people of Brighton decending on their neighbours to hack them to death with pickaxes any time soon, it has to be said that it is doubtful that the Khmer Rouge always had it in mind to go in that direction.

And I have to confess that I wouldn't trust the smiling Caroline Lucas as far as I could throw her.

Jun 2, 2011 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

I prefer the term "Authoritarian" regardless of left or right leanings. Most people think that an Authoritarian regime is a bad thing, regardless of its real or apparent intentions.
The word Authoritarian avoids the left/right diversion and the fact that most Authoritarians don't look or sound like Nazis. To call someone Fascist or Nazi has become such a lazy and often inaccurate term of abuse that it usually makes the accuser look worse than the accused. To call someone Authoritarian however (as long as it's justifiable) can be seen as a valid accusation aimed at someone who is nowhere near advocating gas chambers.

Jun 2, 2011 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

Why would you think I didn't read your argument carefully?

As you say, we are fairly in good agreement. But however three things happen

[1] Like you say, some might use 'eco-fascism' in broadbrush fashion - they are well and truly labelling and not presenting valid arguments, and yes, this is a problem
[2] On other occasions, ecofascism gets employed as an accurate label, as in, 'the shoe fits'. But these arguments are then sought be shut down by their targets, by comparing them to those making frivolous analogies (vis a vis [1])
[3] And then there are those who, for expedient purposes, simply seek to draw off cordons around certain concepts, like Nazism and fascism, as a form of an argumentative and moral short-cut. 'You called me a fascist, therefore your entire argument must be bunk'. Comparison with Nazism and Fascism, both painful truths of human history is simply declared off-bounds, once and for all.

My point was to simply say that many greens pointedly carry out [2] and [3], when the reality is, that a dispassionate examination only reveals that there is some substance between 'fascism' and ecologic environmentalism.

Trying to 'soften the blow' by calling ecologic environmentalism totalitarian may be somewhat useful (otherwise they simply label you as a labeller and run away, don't they), but I feel, that by doing so we are losing the valuable opportunity to learn and point out that political thought patterns tend to funnel down into certain common pathways, one important instance being namely fascism.

Jun 2, 2011 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

This is hard. First, I agree with what you are saying at 5:13pm. But, like geoffchambers, artwest, Martin Brumby and (usually) Ben Pile, I will continue to avoid the term eco-fascist. As you say in your last paragraph, it just gives the other side of the debate a large bucket to empty over your head.

Ecologic environmentalism IS totalitarian. So is fascism. And communism. Surely it is better to nail them with exactly the right FUNDAMENTAL description? I believe that as soon as the word 'fascist' is used, the facts and balance go out of the window. You say Godwin's Law is 'bullshit'.

I say that is extremely naive, and I disagree utterly.

Jun 2, 2011 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"Ecologic environmentalism IS totalitarian. So is fascism. And communism. Surely it is better to nail them with exactly the right FUNDAMENTAL description?"--BBD

Absolutely not, BBD, because we're dealing with neither science nor logic. We've been dragged into the arena of propaganda--broad brush art, not pointillism. "Eco-nazi" is short, pithy, and instantly conveys the intended image: ecology twisted into an odious totalitarian weapon.

This thread mostly argues about how many angels can goosestep on the head of a pin, and would they be Red angels or Brownshirt angels. These finer distinctions are meaningless sophistry and of no utility in the battle we're engaged in.

Jun 2, 2011 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Isn't this shit what Judith Curry was trying to stop?

Jun 2, 2011 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

@ Mac


Is eco-facism present in the academic population and is it on the rise in academia?

I woudn't use that word at this point, but I can assure you that German Academia is extremely authoritarian and the degree of submissiveness of subordinates is shocking. For that reason alone I would be very suspicious of Schellnhuber's intentions.

I was educated in Edinburgh, and by the way I had Boulton as a lecturer in my first year. I can say he wad a good lecturer. In Edinburgh dissent was encouraged, data valued over hypothesis an discussion live and productive. Later I had the chance to work with a few German professors. That was a very different situation, dissent was punished, discussion suffocated and any intellectual rebelion was met with ostracism and even lost of employment.

So beware of any Grand Masterplan coming from German Academics, democracy is alien to them

Jun 2, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterPatagon

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