Sunday, February 8, 2009

Environmentalism as an Ideology

A reader sent me the above article by Theodore Dalrymple, entitled “The Persistence of Ideology.” The first part sounded like something I might have written, but as I read on there were differences in emphases. I was especially interested, or perhaps I should say I especially noticed an emphasis I would not have made: when he presented Environmentalism as an ideology.

At one time I was interested in the Unabomber as a sort of Luddite environmentalist. He wanted to destroy the machines and take mankind back to a simpler more pristine and presumably perfect past. Had his “manifesto” caught on, surely what his followers would have subscribed to would be termed an ideology, but as it was, he was considered mad. And it is possible to consider modern Environmentalists like Al Gore as kinder gentler unabombers.

One of the reasons I never embraced Al Gore-type environmentalism was that I once studied Anthropology. Long before Al Gore became a prophet, I worried not about global warming but the coming Ice Age. Anthropologists describe the movements of homo sapiens and all the earlier homos in terms of weather, especially the advantages derived from interglacial periods, especially the interglacial period in which we live. Why did Al Gore and his ilk not worry about the next Ice Age? I never took him seriously enough to speculate.

Someone else recently sent me the following: . This is an article by John Tomlinson entitled, “It’s time to pray for global warming,” Tomlinson writes, “Based on core samples from Russia's Vostok Station in Antarctica, we now know earth's atmosphere and temperature for the last 420,000 years. This evidence suggests that the 12,000 years of warmth we call the Holocene period is over.

“Apparently, we're headed into an ice age of about 100,000 years -- give or take. As for CO2 levels, core samples show conclusively they follow the earth's temperature rise, not lead it.”

I have worried longer about the coming ice age than I have global warming. The Environmentalists, however, should take heart, because the earth in an ice age cannot support the huge population that this interglacial period has; so the new, colder, environment will make our pollution of little consequence. The pollution may form some ugly layers in rock formations examined by our descendants, should we have any, in the next interglacial period 100,000 years from now.

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