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The greens and the fascists

Taking a few days off from the blog has at least given me a chance to finish reading Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. This book (buy here) was a bit of an eye-opener for me, setting out in mind-boggling detail the links - both historical and philosophical - between fascism and the ideas espoused by modern day liberals and progressives. The sheer weight of evidence is extraordinary - from welfare, to land reform, to greenery, to the worship of the state it's hard to find any other areas of public policy in which the two  have so much in common. (Goldberg points out that anti-semitism was part of the Nazi creed, but not that of the Italian or Spanish fascists, and was therefore a policy of Hitlerism, but not really of fascism.)

But what struck me about the book was how often I noticed that there are also clear parallels between fascism and environmentalism. At a high level, both are alt-religions, which their adherents seek to impose on society with Jesuit fervour, spurred on by fear of impending disaster. Both are openly totalitarian, in the original sense of the word: in other words the creed is supposed to apply in every aspect of life, in every area of policy, and in the private sphere as much as in the public.

The methods are often the same too. Where fascists tried to generate an almost permanent sense of crisis in order to unite their country (Mussolini) or their volk (Hitler) around a share sense of national purpose, environmentalists try to create a permanent sense of ecological breakdown in order to unite society around their programme.

But at a detailed policy level too, the parallels are remarkable. From attempts to change diets, to the hijacking of the education system, it's the same thing. And the methods have remarkable similarities too, with guilt used as a tool, the language abused in service of political ends and the use of cod-psychologists to target dissenters. And even more sinister are the common history of fascism, environmentalism, population concerns and eugenics.

Goldberg is keen to point out that the liberal and progressive left of today do not share the violent tendencies of their fascist forebears: theirs is a gentler totalitarianism (again in the original sense of the word). The same case can be made for the greens. At least for now; it is hard to avoid observing that their rhetoric is becoming steadily more violent and the calls for unmistakably fascist policy measures are ever more common.

Watch with care.

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Reader Comments (216)

Ah yes, you say liberals are fascists
Or you say liberals are communists
But of course then you claim to be classical liberals

There is a small problem with convenient incoherence here

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Absurd little piece on Irish Sunday newspapers today.

Blaming the Irish soccer mom rather then the nature of the usury /scarcity system.

No mention of the actual number of vehicles on the road these past few years which is the main driver of emission.
Diesel consumption going from 43kbd to 53 kbd in 3 years.

In peasant societies that are either rich or poor no such waste exists.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

I found another neo-Nazi site by the far left:
Anti-racism and anti-Semitism at the same time. It has a good history of the ideology, crediting Romantism as a reaction to the Enlightenment.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric Gisin


Goldsmith built a large eco paradise in Mexico with his ill gotten gains.

It's clear that Hitler was converted from socialism when $$$$ were put under his nose (Dork of Cork too). This was the result.

"Leading figures of the left-wing Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party (NSDAP), along with its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were murdered,.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:17 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

To read Richard Tol one would think people such as Sorley Maclean was responsible for the killing fields rather then merely describing their aftermath.

Oh , that Poem Hallaig was a terrible thingie.
To think that fascist actually expressed these weird notions for his own people.
Of a kinship and bonding with the land........

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

I read this book some time ago.
Makes a very good case for not conflating Nazism with bog standard fascism.
In fact, it seems to demonstrate that there is a lot of fascism about, but we are so blinded by the Nazi/fascism identity that we just don't notice it most of the time.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Grumpy

Interesting topic - it is a connection I just made independently in a comment at WUWT regarding the COP21 agenda. It is a very plausible analysis of the collective forces of climate consensus.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterdp

The Dork of Cork

I was privileged to experience the magic of Sorley Maclean reading in person, partly in Gaelic.

Lebensraum (again)

One of the most central "doctrines" or pseudo-doctrines to the Nazi Belief System was that of "Blood and Soil" or Blut und Boden. "Blood & Soil" was the foundational concept for other concepts such as "Lebensraum and was rooted in occultic philosophies prevalent in German mysticism and Ancient legend, which posited that German Racial Identity, was essentially tied literally and metaphorically to the land.

In the beginning of the reign of the Third Reich, the concept of "Blut und Boden" was euphemized with a 'back to the land' , back-to-basics approach of bringing back the historical lifestyle of a Prussian people; a history tied in farming and rural values. The concept however was far greater than the 'back to farming ' and country life mentality which was couched in terms of patriotism and nationalism: the concept of the bloodlines of Germany being integrally tied to the soil or land necessitated a German people on a German land, with all others as intruders.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

You know nothing of socialism.
Socialists are the greatest of capitalist managers.
I believe even a former Irish Labour leader expressed sentiments along these lines during the recent bank scarcity crisis.

Capitalism and the creation of credit / debt is done centrally.
It is anti freedom.

Only social creditors and distributists recognize the nature of the beast.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Social creditors had a agnostic view of nazi war plans.
I.E. one was bad as the other.
I believe Douglas wrote a letter to the small fellow imploring him not to engage the war economy.

In social credit circles the war and consumer war economy is essentially the same thingy.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

The letter is the third PDF from bottom.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Sadly not for me , I have lived a uncultured existence.

I have however actually slept in Halliag village , in a bivy under a birch tree.
Its a ghostly place.
The poem is written on a stone monument .

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

People are responsible, rather than ideas.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

I agree with Richard Tol about

'Environmentalism, fascism and communism all share their historic roots in romanticism, with its adulation for an unspoilt past'

Dec 27, 2015 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmif

The Romantic Movement idealised the ancient classical past – but in reality it was just a story. The romanticism Hitler claimed that his Weltanschauung was derived from Wagner. Pure volk romanticism.
But in the end in all these cases it is about control. Control of you beliefs, control of you actions control of your thoughts. What you are all talking about is the methods used to achieve this.

I see this every day in even the smallest detail of every day life - especially with local authorities.

Dec 27, 2015 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterDunedin NZ

People are victims of the monetary system.
They have freedom without purchasing power = no freedom.

Lack of a national dividend / lack of purchasing power drives people ever further distances in search of purchasing power.
We see basic rationing of products.
The surplus created is then typically vented on the consumer war economy products . (Cars)

You have seen the massive increase in diesel miles in Ireland ?
This is the illusion of capitalistic efficiency.
Typically people must drive those extra miles to the Aldi discount store rather then the corner shop.

I don't think these dynamics can be rationally denied .
Its screaming off the Irish energy balance sheet.

Dec 27, 2015 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Bish, the commonality is much deeper and more widespread than the link you relate, and is ultimately a universal feature of gene / culture co-evolution. Strong versions of modern era left or right politics (or other dimensions since died out), or religion, or secular cultures like CAGW or the cross-cultural alliance of eugenics, anti-semitism, and national socialism in historic Germany, all work on common social mechanisms that are relatively well understood. Hence they all share common features, and not infrequently some directly inherited yet re-interpreted (evolved) emotive memes too. It is 'just' the surface detail of the particular fears and hopes and guilt and inspiration, so also the consequent actions plus modification of morals, that change; although that 'just' makes a monster difference to the individuals who happen to be in the generation and place where a new powerful culture muscles into the pack of existing ones (i.e. who is now 'good', who is now 'bad').

A major difficulty with managing the negative effects of such cultures is that because they have been a *net advantage* throughout the development of homo-sapiens-sapiens, and probably before (there are signs of religion and ancestor worship in other hominid species), then we are hugely sensitized to them. The socially enforced consensuses implemented by full cultures allow common action in the face of the unknown, a huge survival advantage that is difficult to over-state (and once we knew virtually nothing; the amount we don't know is likely still vast). Plus while innate skepticism is a natural defense to prevent over-culturalization (stable cultures and skepticism are always in a dynamic balance) this can be overcome, and is also domain orientated.

An example of such domain dependency is that most everyone in the disciplines who know about the above stuff, have no idea they should be applying their knowledge to CAGW, because one of the memes of Global Warming is that the 'certainty of climate calamity' is founded on hard and certain science. This meme serves as a means to turn off innate skepticism in many folks who are say skeptical about religion or 1930s eugenics or other domains. (A meme that inoculates against reason or against other memes is called a vaccime). Hence almost no-one who matters in the formal fields regarding the above has any idea that CAGW is, like various particular forms of fascism or communism or Christianity or sun worship or myriad other social movements long extinct, a full blown culture based on co-evolving memes within an umbrella narrative. On the upside, when these disciplines find out however, their judgement will likely be hard, and they will dissect CAGW down to its every cultural atom. Not sure I'll be alive to see that though.

Dec 27, 2015 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

“Defining the Enemy” on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

One crucial factor in creating a cohesive group is to define who is excluded from membership. Nazi propagandists contributed to the regime’s policies by publicly identifying groups for exclusion, inciting hatred or cultivating indifference, and justifying their pariah status to the populace.

There’s a picture you can find online of the “stereotypical Jew”, which was drawn by Nazi cartoonist Philipp “Fips” Rupprecht and published in the newspaper Der Stürmer sometime before the end of World War II. Although different in some respects to the “stereotypical Denier” in the NYT, there are a number of similarities. Both subjects are male, well-dressed, rather plump and well-fed and standing with their chests slightly thrust out. Both have distinctive noses – the Jew has a large hooked nose and the Denier has one that is more reminiscent of a pig’s snout. Both are smoking a cigar, which is clearly the mark of an evil plutocrat anywhere, Jewish or otherwise. The similarities are quite unsettling.

Dec 27, 2015 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

P.S. regarding the romanticism that Richard Tol points to, this is just one of many memes that are constantly recycled by full cultures, some of which are millennia old, and I guess is loosely part of the family 'the past is always better', which has very many variants, likely crossed with the guilt meme 'man is not part of nature' (and hence 'man is bad' and / or man is bad for nature, or man should pay back / 'restore' nature). The latter may be based on an anthropomorphic interpretation of environment, in which our social brains seek the normal altruistic bargain in our interactions. The latter is apparently psychology regarding protected childhood. A recovered verse from ancient Sumeria, about 5500 years old, shows a variant of 'the past is always better' meme.

Dec 27, 2015 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Back in the days of the Irish economy blog I argued for a reduction or elimination of excise and Vat on pub beer.
This would get 50 bachelor pensioners out of the atomised TV house and into the pub.
Saving 49 house energy inputs.

Richard Tol cannot accept that a return of purchasing power (peasant Culture) in Ireland would totally crash energy inputs.
But now you see the dark secret of euro greens.
They are not green at all.
The euro boys are doing everything in their power to keep the show inflated.(via pointless Gdp Rises)
A return to village life would mark a end of their power over us.

Ps Tol.
I must admit I had a fondness for the "Waters and the wild "
Garet van Geldren was a great naturalist and Dutchman.
I think I know how yee poor guys have been twisted by the linear artifical zoo that is Holland.
I have seen so many Dutch casualties wash up in South Kerry over the years....

Dec 27, 2015 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

My own impression is that the environmental fascists dreams of Utopia is to have the trappings, luxuries and benefits that industry has brought us without the unfortunate side-effect of… well … industry. Of course, these benefits are only to be enjoyed by the privileged elite (i.e them); those who are perceived to be against their ideals (i.e. virtually everyone else) shall live their lives in penury, as befits them.

Dec 27, 2015 at 9:13 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

I have woken up to a discussion of political ideology! My apologies for not joining the thread earlier.

I can recommend Robert Proctor's book 'The Nazi War on Cancer', which sets out the 'progressive' nature of the Nazi regime, including not only the better known 'Blood and Soil' strand of thought and nature worship, but also its public health campaigns against chemical additives in food, cigarette smoking, vivisection, etc. There was even an organic garden at Dachau. A Google search should turn up at least one of Proctor's shorter journal articles.

Jeffrey Herf described all this as 'reactionary modernism', and pretty much agrees with Richard Tol, though 'romanticism' alone misses the modernist aspects.

What Nazism, Communism and (at least radical) Environmentalism have in common is an essentially millenarian belief structure: they are reactions to rapid social change that promise, after some apocalyptic transition, an unchanging utopia (the 1000 year Reich, communism with the withering away of the state, the steady state or sustainable society). I should add that simply wanting a decent environment in which to live (which most of us wish for) does not make one a millenarian.

Interestingly, Leon Festinger developed his theory of cognitive dissonance after first studying the responses of millenarian movements to the falsification of their predictions of the coming apocalypse. Rather than reject their hypothesis, they find fresh interpretations of scripture or the auguries that lead them to conclude they were previously mistaken, and they adhere to their beliefs even more strongly. (Sound familiar: Missing heat is hiding in the deep oceans; reintepretation of the data finds that it really is warming, etc).

The crucial safeguard is to insist on the classical liberal separation between the individual and the state. The book under discussion seems to use the American meaning of 'liberal', which is really 'social democracy' embodying substantial illiberalism.

Dec 27, 2015 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

@Aynsley Kellow

You say "The crucial safeguard is to insist on the classical liberal separation between the individual and the state."

Yes, yes yes. And that is what is being constantly eroded - everywhere.

Dec 27, 2015 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDouglas

The parallels between modern leftism (and environmentalism) and fascism have been noted before. The following was written by Jose Ortega in the 1920s.

Substitute "elite" for "masses" and the parallels are frightening:

"When all these things are lacking there is no culture; there is in the strictest sense of the word, barbarism. And let us not deceive ourselves, this is what is beginning to appear in Europe under the progressive rebellion of the masses. The traveler knows that in the territory there are no ruling principles to which it is possible to appeal. Properly speaking, there are no barbarian standards. Barbarism is the absence of standards to which appeal can be made.

"Under Fascism there appears for the first time in Europe a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions. This is the new thing: the right not to be reasonable, the "reason of unreason." Here I see the most palpable manifestation of the new mentality of the masses, due to their having decided to rule society without the capacity for doing so. In their political conduct the structure of the new mentality is revealed in the rawest, most convincing manner. The average man finds himself with "ideas" in his head, but he lacks the faculty of ideation. He has no conception even of the rare atmosphere in which ideals live. He wishes to have opinions, but is unwilling to accept the conditions and presuppositions that underlie all opinion. Hence his ideas are in effect nothing more than appetites in words.

"To have an idea means believing one is in possession of the reasons for having it, and consequently means believing that there is such a thing as reason, a world of intelligible truths. To have ideas, to form opinions, is identical with appealing to such an authority, submitting oneself to it, accepting its code and its decisions, and therefore believing that the highest form of intercommunication is the dialogue in which the reasons for our ideas are discussed. But the mass-man would feel himself lost if he accepted discussion, and instinctively repudiates the obligation of accepting that supreme authority lying outside himself. Hence the "new thing" in Europe is "to have done with discussions," and detestation is expressed for all forms of intercommunication, which imply acceptance of objective standards, ranging from conversation to Parliament, and taking in science. This means that there is a renunciation of the common life of barbarism. All the normal processes are suppressed in order to arrive directly at the imposition of what is desired. The hermeticism of the soul which, as we have seen before, urges the mass to intervene in the whole of public life."

Dec 27, 2015 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterWFC

...'The Nazi War on Cancer' ...sets out the 'progressive' nature of the Nazi regime, including not only the better known 'Blood and Soil' strand of thought and nature worship, but also its public health campaigns against chemical additives in food, cigarette smoking, vivisection, etc. Aynsley Kellow

Speaking of Nazi-style nature worship and German Romanticism:

"The extended-arm “Sieg Heil” salute...was a ritual of the Wandervoegel, a male youth society [est'd. circa 1901]...the German equivalent of the Boy Scouts...Hans Blueher, a homosexual Nazi philosopher and important early member of the Wandervoegel...told how the movement had become one in which young boys could be introduced into the homosexual lifestyle (Rector:39f). The Wandervoegel...were later merged into the Hitler Youth (which itself became known among the populace as the “Homo Youth,” because of rampant homosexuality. - Rector:52)."

Other sources state that the Hitler Youth served as a feeder organization to supply young male partners for highly-placed Nazi predators. I once worked with a former Hitler Youth member. He didn't say much about it except that it was "just like joining the Boy Scouts." I attempted to look him up a few years ago on the Internet, but found only an old photo of him on the front page of a US newspaper, charged with child molestation. I decided not to look any further.

Dec 27, 2015 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

"Goldberg points out that anti-semitism was part of the Nazi creed, but not that of the Italian or Spanish fascists, and was therefore a policy of Hitlerism, but not really of fascism."

But nevertheless there is a Hitler mustache on the front cover. Hypocritical much?

The fact that someone can find spurious similarities does not allow such wholesale extrapolation to any liberal (which Goldberg simply means anyone to the left of US republicans) most of whom are now appalled at fascism in all its forms. You don't have to be left or right to practice totalitarianism. Hence I trust you read what real liberals and real historians wrote in review of this pap in order to be appropriately skeptical. Otherwise you are in danger of being described as someone who dislikes climate activism out of crazy, failed neocon dogma,

Of course the biggest enemies of Italian, Spanish and German fascists were real socialists, who formed the backbone of the resistance, suffered the largest persecution and in the case of the Spanish had been forming the actual government deposed by Franco.

Yes in truth liberalism is certainly complex in comparison to conservatism - who can all neatly be summed up with the phrase 'I'm alright jack'. Unlike conservatives, liberals also have the ability to be self-critical. The most quoted author against lefty totalitarianism was the radical lefty George Orwell. By contrast, as Michael Moore once truly wrote, to change the mind of a Conservative you will get nowhere discussing morals; instead you have to tell them how much money it will save. So now how do you like such cartoon-cutout philosophy?

Dec 27, 2015 at 10:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Mussolini, Hitler and Franco are usually lumped together as “fascists” but there were significant differences between them which must be taken into account when considering their relationship to any modern ideology.

Mussolini started out as a Marxist but split with conventional Marxism over the question of Italy’s involvement in WWI. His version of Fascism was a revolutionary ideology which sought to overthrow all existing institutions in favour of a new order overseen by an all-powerful state – in his own words, “all within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”.

Italian Fascism = Marxism – Internationalism + Nationalism

Nazism was all about race. It had many features in common with Italian Fascism but the core elements of Nazi belief were Hitler’s theories about racial identity and destiny. That’s why the Nazi state continued to pursue the Final Solution with unbending zeal even as the war turned against them and it became a drain on resources that were urgently needed elsewhere. It appeared irrational to everyone else but to people who saw everything in terms of race it was the whole point of the war.

Nazism = Racial Paranoia + Italian Fascism

Franco was an extreme reactionary who seized power to prevent any change to the traditional social and economic structures of Spain. His view of government was based on tradition and piety, with the state and the Catholic Church working together to save the ignorant masses from damnation. He used the modern techniques of Fascism to preserve a pre-modern social order.

Francoism = Feudalism + Machine Guns

Therefore much of what is now called “progressivism” belongs to the “all within the state” tradition of Marxism and Italian Fascism. But environmentalism is closer to Francoism because it seeks to use the power of the state to push society back towards an idealised past. It also promotes a mystical view of human nature and humanity’s relationship to the natural world instead of a materialist one.

Environmentalism = Francoism – Catholicism + Paganism

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndrewZ

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndrewZ

While I think the formulas are more subtle than that, I think you're right that cultures can be reduced to such formulas, *all* of which are driven by common social mechanisms, hence leading to similar features even when the particular cultures are separated by era and / or geography.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy West

Eli Rabett demonstrates at Dec 27, 2015 at 7:01 PM why scientists should stick to their area of expertise. A classical liberal (e.g. John Locke, Adam Smith, FA Hayek) places a strong emphasis on individual liberty, which requires limited government both in the economic and moral realms. In the USA, socialists adopted the term liberal, but have a collectivist view of the world - like all forms of fascism. They tend to believe in Government policy as a universal panacea for any dimly perceived issue. It is not surprising that these left-liberals have so solidly embraced climatology.

Dec 28, 2015 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Very well formulated distinctions.
Spot on.

Although the practitioners would gladly blur the lines, as the theory is not followed well in reality.

But you do capture a truth there.
Thank you.

Dec 28, 2015 at 12:42 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

A classical liberal (e.g. John Locke, Adam Smith, FA Hayek) places a strong emphasis on individual liberty,

Which, of course, in the US explains why the American Civil Liberties Union supports the fascists right to march. They, at least according to Kevin Marshall, are all liberalszah

Dec 28, 2015 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterEli Rabett

Yet another thread totally derailed by the bog-trotting eejit.

Dork, please go and find some other forum to expound your bizarre theories of 19th century-based irish nationalist socialism.

Maybe you should try asking Jeremy Corbyn round for tea, you both seem to have a similar grip on reality.

Dec 28, 2015 at 1:09 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

I've not read the book and only briefly scanned the comments. I'm pretty sure that arguments such as those advanced by the book could be levelled at any organisation trying to gain popular support and are not limited to the provocative notion that there is some sort of "association" between environmentalism and fascism (other than the rather obvious one that both will only flourish with popular support).

The post does not advance the luke-warmist agenda but only invites unhelpful comments and less-than-savoury pet theories to be made. I prefer the posts which highlight/discuss/corrrect specific events/data/publications that warmists make over this one.

Dec 28, 2015 at 1:32 AM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

Eli Rabett

If you don't understand why the ACLU supports the right of fascists to march, you don't understand the concept of liberty at all.

Dec 28, 2015 at 1:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterWFC

Political constructs are created to achieve a desired result. To date there has been no limit to the numbers of such constructs that man has been able to create. To date there has been no political construct which man has been unable to corrupt totally.

I agree with Richard Toll:

People are responsible, rather than ideas."

Dec 28, 2015 at 2:03 AM | Registered CommenterDung

@JamesG: 'conservatism - who can all neatly be summed up with the phrase 'I'm alright jack'." This is a pastiche of conservatism, which sees virtue in existing customs and institutions and is reluctant to overthrow them. It emerged as a response to the liberalism of the French Revolution, which led to The Terror (and ushered in the Age of Ideology), so Burke and others counselled against haste in rejecting the past. There is little value in creating straw men, as does JamesG.

Incidentally, it is interesting that Rachel Carson's scientific mentor, Wilhelm Hueper, (as Proctor notes) sought to migrate back to Germany once the Nazi's came to power, but (as Matt Ridley has noted - Hueper contested the link between tobacco and lung cancer, which was accepted by the Nazis, who embarked on public health campaigns against smoking. Thisi is not about the validity of science, but the social and political context within it is located.

Incidentally, I do not think fascism as such contains millenarian elements in its belief system. And it should also be noted that the German Greens expelled the fascists that their cause had attracted. But that does not mean that that radical environmentalism is immune from millenarian tendencies, the key elements of which are: a belief that society is going to hell in a handcart; that there threatens to be some kind of apocalyptic event; and that some kind of unchanging utopia will eventually come. Most millenarian movements, of course are not sufficiently reflexive to be aware of the structure of their belief system, so their adherents simply exhibit these elements - believing, in the case of radical environmentalism, that the sustainable society awaits.

Many climate scientists also exhibit these characteristics, and have little awareness that their response to contrary evidence (such as the unpredicted pause) are classic examples of cognitive dissonance first identified by Festinger in his study of such movements, titled 'When Prophecy Fails.'

Dec 28, 2015 at 2:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow
So Merry Christmas.

this on the subject of Green ancestry in the 19thC AD

'The Roots of Green Politics in German Romanticism.'
Brian Wimborne
Quadrant (Australia) July -August 2012 p 46

You may like to read it in conjunction with this book.

Dec 28, 2015 at 4:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterM E

Richard Evans’ magisterial (I’ve always wanted to use that word) The Third Reich in Power describes the government’s early attempts to nazify science, activist student mobs catcalling whistling and shouting down lecturers, blackballing of nonconformists, Lenard’s and Stark’s opposition to “Jewish science”, Heisenberg and so on, and which all sounds disturbingly familiar.
IPCC climate change™ science is worse than “Deutsche Physik” which was soon ditched by the government in favour of any research remotely related to war, outside the universities, and which was spectacularly successful.
IPCC science seems to have infected every field where genuflection to ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ is a prerequisite for a government grant and where the government has become big daddy of research funding.

Dec 28, 2015 at 6:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Hanley

Martin Durkin noticed this some time ago. Nazi Greens inconvenient history.

Dec 28, 2015 at 6:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndysaurus

Goldberg's book is certainly interesting and shows that in proportion as a movement's goal is the radical reordering of society, they have to limit individual freedom of choice.

This isn't stupid or unreasonable - it does have a real basis in the fact that individual choices to optimise one's own situation often result in something that none of the individuals would have voted for, but the only choice they had was the individual one.

Something like this has happened with automobiles. If you had put it to the vote back in 1900 that we could introduce a means of personal transport with these characteristics, the accident and death rate, the costs of roads, the air pollution, the effect on liveability of neighborhoods through which the cars and trucks drive, it must be most doubtful that it could have got endorsement in a referendum.

But because the only choices the individual had was either to buy a car or not, the optimal choice was generally to buy as soon as you could afford one, and the result was the traffic choked cities and thousands of deaths and injuries every year that no-one wanted.

In the case of the 'progressive' left, this metamorphoses into a blurring of the boundaries between the individual and societal issues in a way that Goldberg documents most interestingly. Hilary Clinton, for instance, is quoted as referring to children as basically the property and interest of society as a whole. There is a general tendency on the part of both the extreme left and right to regard areas which most of us would find purely personal as being of state or general social interest. If you read the story of the Stasi, you find that there was almost no area of life that was not considered publicly important. So an interest in Schoenberg's compositions or a taste in landscape painting or fondness for cheese omelettes becomes something that has to be recorded in the files, along with political views and sexual tastes.

Our own green movement has taken this one step further. You find in the pages of the Guardian comments the commonly expressed view that the real enemy is not so much the burning of fossil fuels. It is rather the expression of scepticism about the climate agenda, so we find repeated proposals to ban or limit or criminalise that.

We also find a focus on the symbolic, which is similar in many ways. It does not seem that the green movement actually wants to do anything effective to lower the tonnage of emissions. Nothing that would do that is ever seriously proposed - such things as eliminating cars, moving the population into energy efficient high density housing, for instance.

Instead, there are endless campaigns directed to vague, long future, or purely symbolic targets - the Guardian's Leave it in the Ground campaign is an example. The support for the Climate Change Act is another.

Most striking is the refusal to admit that the problem, if there is one, comes from the largest emitter, China and its billions of tons. Instead there is a furious effort to demand that everyone buy into reducing UK's tiny emissions. But the emphasis is, buy into the idea, because there is no advocacy of any measures that would actually make signficant reductions.

Similarly the fury is directed at Exxon or BP. But its not directed at the oil producing countries, who could simply stop supplying immediately if they wanted to. Or indeed the coal producing countries, who could also stop production immediately.

When the history of all this is written, one of the most important topics in the literature will be the effort to disentangle means advocated versus end nominally aimed at, and the complete disconnection between them. The way in which expression of sceptical view was targeted as the real problem, rather that real emissions, will assume centre stage.

Dec 28, 2015 at 7:42 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

I am certainly no supporter of political absolutism. Absolutism, whether it be from the left or the right and let it be said, at either end of the political spectrum what difference is there between the two?
Further to that, remember the German dictator who rose out of the financial calamity that was Wiemar Germany exhorted to his bully boys, thugs and henchmen that they named themselves as the: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei.

Also, ask the question - why were conditions so bad for Germany and the German people, in the aftermath of WWI? It has been argued and I can see merit in the argument, that and indirectly the Allies were responsible for the rise of German Fascism. But who helped Lenin to swan off to Russia, and with long involvement and fomenting trouble in Russia? What the hell was Ludendorff playing at?

In simple terms what is the problem?

Answer/ In the end, nobody really can solve the ills of the world and in that, government is always the problem and never can be the solution.

shub said:

All cultures and countries are equally susceptible.

Now then, I pretty much agree with most of your reasoning shub, however loathe I am to 'dicker'. I simply cannot let that go, not all cultures are "equally susceptible" and at that, by a long chalk. The agony comes, in observing just how susceptible we have become - for me it became a deeply personal vexation, for at one time, we were so different and independent - and not that long ago.............

By accident of geography we are next to the continent but not "of it" as Churchill once wryly remarked, rather sublimely imho.
Indeed, the peoples of these islands are rightly and fiercely [or were] proud of their independence, traditions and cultures, Irish, Welsh, Scots and English.

The constant ills and vale of troubles Europe had suffered since well before the internecine slaughter that was 'The Thiry years war". Across the continent, from Moscow to Lisbon and Sweden to the Balkans, at no point had any European known anything like the relative stability of [apart from a few very uncivil civil wars] the British Isles.

Europeans knew, lived under quite awful dynasties, of dictatorial Kings and Queens, their lives were worth not much and frequently they slaughtered each other on the whim of a distant monarch.

Meanwhile over here in Britain, ever since 1215 we were used to putting Kings back into their boxes. Indeed in 1645, we topped our King and for the hegemony of the monarchy things were never quite the same afterwards, the stirrings of British democracy - familiar to Brits since the days of the Witan and 'one oar one vote' on the Long Ships - the people were stretching their sinews. The 'Lord protector' had come to the rescue though, they restored the King but despite the royal protestations - Parliament now wielded the power.

Yeah its true, with rotten boroughs, entitlements and bent politicians - we'd seen it all before ever Europe 'got' democracy, the French came closest but it could be argued even today: they still don't get it. The Germans like order and being under, instructed by a benign dictator, that's why they all obey and augment 'le grand projet' - Europeans never love being told what to do - it's in their genes.

Genes, aye but not in ours.....though and through, despite! the constant drone of Brussels permeating all of our institutions, the media and Westminster the whole administration - we are a contrary lot and mostly we grate against it but we can't be bovvered to argue and mostly we now Kowtow. Alack, but the rot is setting in - admittedly, the Brits now eat the bread and watch the circuses and e.g. premier league where outside every ground is the statue of the footballing icon of the past glories [how thick are we?]....... and politicians smoothly do, as they ****ing well please, I call it an 'elective dictatorship'. "Susceptible" - it has been engineered.

Finally, I'll never forgive the Micks [here I do have to declare Irish ancestry], they grandly threw off the 'yoke' of the British for some obscure reasons of history and then allowed themselves to be browbeaten and enslaved by Brussels. Yup independence is a fine thing, provided you stay independent.

Britain is being forcefully Europeanized and thus, we islanders are made more susceptible to the bane of absolutism.

Dec 28, 2015 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

That was a great post Athelstan!

Dec 28, 2015 at 9:15 AM | Registered CommenterDung

The greens have taken over the labour movement that originally came up for the factory worker. The greens want to evict the factory workers from their well earned cars, and want to hike up energy pricing because factory workers are living wicked ways. No wonder UKIP is gaining strength.

Dec 28, 2015 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterHans Erren

I'd also recommend Jonah Goldberg's later book, 'The Tyranny of Clichés'. A curious title, but it is essentially about the shallow thinking of self-styled 'liberals', or 'leftists' or 'progressives' as they as more widely known outside of the States.

The clichés of the title are the catch-phrases which take the place of arguments , a phenomenon familiar to anyone who has tried to talk with one of the more demented ones. 'The polar bears are dying out thanks to fossil fuels' 'The ice caps are melting' 'Bad storms are more frequent now' 'We are all going to fry because our CO2 traps heat', and so on. Dig behind, or contradict, or try to qualify the assertions and you are heading for whatever the current put-downs are - maybe starting from 'micro-aggressor' through 'Big Coal shill' or 'Fossil fool', 'denier' of course, and soon (perhaps 5 minutes from the start of your queries?) 'fascist' and 'racist'. These are intended to stop you speaking. Your assigned motives have rendered you beyond the pale.

This process of turning critics into hate-objects is I think crucial to the success of those two extreme developments of socialism - fascism and communism. And I think you can see hatred in environmental campaigns as well. The 10:10 video 'No Pressure', for example, is nothing if not a display of extreme contempt and hatred for non-conformers.

Dec 28, 2015 at 9:31 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Careful Athelstan, you sound like you have a 'thousand yard stare' gazing back into the golden years in the far distance...

Personally, I like Martin Durkins idea that it was down to migration to cities after the black death in GB that gave us our sense of personal independence. "F8ck his lordship and his plough, I can make more money in town...I'm off"

Is it really true that Fuedaliism only really ended in Germany in the 1920's?

Dec 28, 2015 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfused

errata: - Is it really true that Fuedaliism only really ended in Germany in the 1850's?

Dec 28, 2015 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfused


Dec 28, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila


I am not a fan of the 19th century.....Irish or otherwise.
However elements of nationalism throughout this period was obviously a rejection of victorian scarcity and globalisation.

Some guys above talk of Franco as a feudalist...
Some guys talk of feudalism as somehow worse then capitalism.
Again by his fruits you shall know him.
Franco cleared upland Spains villages.
Villagers replaced their rights and responsibilities for a wage.

He was not a Carlist.

Dec 28, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Again to throw Greens all in one box is a mistake.
You have the capitalist greens who want to add costs to people's way of life via the introduction of new rentier structures and or diffuse energy into industrial settings.
Agrarian greens who wish to recreate the pre capitalistic village structure.

And wilderness greens who wish to see the preservation or extension of wild lands.

Although many of these greens irrationally overlap
There is a inherent conflict between these philosophies.

Dec 28, 2015 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

John Shade:

This process of turning critics into hate-objects is I think crucial to the success of those two extreme developments of socialism - fascism and communism....
Yes, spot on!

Dec 28, 2015 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Unlike many I am proud of my Bog trotting
I have spent over a year of my life passing recently or not so recently deceased Pyrenees villages.
I know petty much every pass on the Franco- Spanish border and each valley large and small which flanks both sides.
These were major Templar lines of communication.

I have a stamp collecting geographic view of the world with enough knowledge to grasp the true meaning of the world of Martin Guerre.
Add in a geographic knowledge of western Scotland that exceeds most Scots....

To live under Spanish Scots pine trees for months or years at a time Nick Crane style is a privilege.
You can only see the world with fresh eyes as a walking bum.
It's why Nick Cranes greatest writing on geography is so great.
He has a appropriate sense of scale.

Dec 28, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

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