Climate Change as a Tool for Social Control

| September 1 2012

Typically my posts here look mostly at the nutty things the left says in promoting their environmental causes. From Bill McKibben’s views on hyper-local, communal-yet-militarized economies to Naomi Klein’s brand of eco-socialism and from Andrew Kimbrell’s ‘wild law’ to Pentti Linkola’s views on population reduction, the left is full of radical ideas to transform society.  Fortunately, most of the time, these ideas are so far from mainstream that they don’t engender serious action by all but the most radical.

Then come the really scary ideas.  Such is the case with this article in Grist.  As someone with a background in political organizing to promote freedom from government intrusion in our lives, this scared me more than Linkola’s suggestion that we think the herd.

Because bad weather is nonpartisan, the age of small government may be over for whole range of constituencies… Political elites understand that crisis breeds change. During the financial collapse, Rahm Emanuel famously quipped, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Recall how both parties emerged as socialists overnight, nationalizing huge swaths of the banking sector (while most progressives stood idly by). If the Earth has indeed decided to disrupt politics-as-usual, this is the opportunity for climate activists to step into the breach.

The author, Brendan Smith, is himself a political organizer.  He has laid out a very compelling case to turn people’s fear of violent weather into a rallying cry for nanny-state protection.  In that way, he is really not out of historical context.  After all, the priesthoods of yore brought villagers frightened of the local volcano into their flock by promising that they could protect them.  That the priests had no power over nature was lost on scared villagers.  Smith knows this and has lined out ways to use fear to get around it.

Smith identifies four ways to give the far-left more power by capitalizing on bad weather:

  • Create a rapid-response network of far-left activists ready to assist in the case of weather. Want help with that downed tree, or to regroup after a tornado?  What a perfect time to preach the dangers of climate change to someone in a distraught and vulnerable state of mind.
  • Pre-disaster community-labor agreements. Sooner or later disaster will strike.  The left should ensure that all reconstruction money flowing from the state should go only to labor friendly businesses. The added benefit is with kickbacks to union bosses and sub-par building, you’ll have to rebuild more frequently.
  • Develop an alternative economic program. When communities are torn apart, we must ensure they are rebuilt the right way – our way.  We will dictate the city planning, the power provision, and more to guarantee only the right businesses come back.
  • Build a broad-based climate movement. Smith suggests that lefty organizers should target people who are most susceptible to disaster – small business owners and the poor – as targets of organizing, rather than focusing on college campuses and unions.

Perhaps the most frightening of Smith’s statements is this:

[E]ach disaster opens an opportunity to advance new organizing strategies and alternative agendas. Out of crisis we can forge a better future. In an era of extreme weather, what appears unrealistic and radical before a storm may well appear as common-sense reform in its wake.

In other words, when someone is at the weakest, and looking for someone to blame for their lot, we should not waste an opportunity to blame it on our political opponents and a lack of giant, centralized government.  Every wildfire and every wind damaged roof must be the fault of conservatives, and we must use them to gather political capital.  It is just this sort of prey upon the weak mentality that is at the heart of the political sickness in this country. Unfortunately, and as an organizer Smith knows this, it is also terribly effective.

As people who value freedom from government mandates, it is this kind of organizing we should fear most of all.

 

Originally posted at Life in GreenLand

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