Energy & Environment

The Hedonistic Left and Global Warming

All the fretting over "the future" from global warming alarmists is a little hard to take, given that they normally support live-for-today hedonism. Does British billionaire Richard Branson and other members of the elite, who are presiding over an historic demographic implosion in Europe, really toss and turn at night worrying about the future quality of life for "the children"? Can a decadent elite which ushered in decades of self-indulgent, drugs-and-promiscuity-laden lifestyles credibly warn of "death and destruction," civilizational collapse and the need for abstemiousness?

Nothing in their customary moral philosophy would suggest seriousness about civilization’s future or place any emphasis on behaving responsibly. Note also that the elitists who make the most noise about the "purity" of nature never apply that concern to human nature: they have made careers out of corrupting it. The self-appointed prophets of an environmental apocalypse from Hollywood and New York are the forces most responsible for engineering a secularist culture which is remarkable in the history of all cultures for its moral obliviousness and its utter indifference to the future, much less the moral welfare of children.

The polluted culture they have spread throughout the world poses a much greater threat to children’s lives than global warming ever could. All the moral energies they refuse to spend on crises in front of their noses they are busy transferring to a fictitious future one, which is based not upon ironclad science but upon a style of grand ideological conjecture their egos find satisfying.

Why in the world should ordinary people believe the Al Gores when they pronounce on future moral threats if they can’t even identify present ones? If anything, keeping children from entering the world is more in line with their relativistic philosophy than ensuring they are born into a clean one. Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe has now famously compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers, bringing to bear a stern moral certainty about protecting the earth she can’t find in her hear for the protection of unborn children. What dogmatic rigor from a columnist who usually tells her readers that moral issues are "complicated" and "nuanced" and pooh-poohs clear and present moral threats to children, such as the disintegration of the traditional family, as alarmist hyperbole. According to her moral calculus, carbon emissions do more damage to the lives of children than abortion or same-sex marriage and adoption.

The moral relativists of the last few decades can only manage to turn absolutist on questions unrelated to morality, particularly those touching upon environmental fads. Their faith in global warming is so strong they find themselves demanding the sorts of duties and sacrifices they discount in any other area of life. The pushy and judgmental piety of relativists on environmental issues is bottomless, amounting to a quasi-pantheism. It appears that what pop scientist Carl Sagan once said is coming to pass: "A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge."

Except environmentalism is more like feel-good mythology than religion. The same secularists and relativists who consider it ridiculous to offer sacrifices to God or regulate their conduct in accordance with the Ten Commandments are busy devising an elaborate system of irrational blandishments to serve their nature mythology. They spell out the details of this new regimen of discipline and abstinence with the confident knowledge they’ll never have to carry it out. Like Marxism, this mythology is supposed to sustain civilization not through individual virtue but through regulation and centralized planning. An elite whose goodness is measured not by their own moral behavior but by the brilliance of their statist schemes will apparently save the earth.

In the meantime, the propagandists for global warming, while speaking darkly of the future and the need for greater and greater "responsibility," will continue to deepen a hedonistic culture of irresponsibility in the here and now — a culture under which children are the first to suffer, and which, far from caring about the future, considers it the height of enlightenment to prevent children from seeing it.

Sign Up