Many global warming alarmists exhibit traits, of what Jonah Goldberg has so deftly elucidated as “liberal fascism.”
Paul, Isaac this means you.
They brook no dissent from the dogma of their secular religion. Alarmists like Paul and Isaac incessantly invoke the findings of “the experts” in their call for massive, authoritarian governmental intrusions into the economy and our private lives. Forget for a moment that the apocalyptic prognostications of many of “the experts” may well be sheer balderdash, the use of appeals to the wisdom of “the experts” as a means to set policy, is quite dangerous.
First, a quick explanation.
The title of Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism, is not a bomb-throwing pejorative. In fact, the term comes from the Fabian socialist H.G. Wells, perhaps the most prominent progressive of his time. Goldberg writes:
Nor did Wells coin the term phrase as an indictment, but as a badge of
honor. Progressives must become “liberal fascists” and
“enlightened Nazis,” he told the Young Liberals at Oxford in a speech at in July 1932...
Throughout his work he championed the idea that special men—variously identified as scientists, priests, warriors, or “samurai”—must impose progress on the masses in order to create a “New Republic” or a “world theocracy”. Only through militant Progressivism—by whatever name—could mankind achieve the fulfillment of the kingdom of God. Wells simply put, was enthralled by the totalitarian temptation. “I have never been able to escape altogether this from its relentless logic,” he declared.
Wells called for a phoenix like rebirth of liberalism, which he labeled “liberal fascism”
Obviously, there is more to the story, but the point is clear that progressives were clearly in thrall of the fascist movements in Italy and Germany (and the communist movement in Russia) at the time, and modern liberalism i.e., progressivism shares common DNA with the various fascist movements of the early 20th century. The common progressive trope that fascism lurks just beneath the surface of American conservatism is nothing but slander. Don’t believe me? Then read the damn book and make an argument against it.
Okay, the key take away from this is that Wells and the progressives of his era constantly invoked the notion that “the experts” should run society and set policy. Modern progressives are no different. They believe that by tweaking this economic input/output here or reducing that carbon emission there, they can immanentize the eschaton.
We see the same thing with modern progressives regarding global warming.
Roger Pielke observed the liberal fascism of global warming alarmists and asked a crucial question alarmists never want to engage.
Have you ever heard anyone make the argument that we must take a certain course of action because the experts tell us we must? The issue might be the threat of another country or an environmental risk, but increasingly we see appeals to authority used as the basis for arguing for this or that action.
In a new book, David Shearman and Joseph Wayne Smith take the appeal to experts somewhat further and argue that in order to deal with climate change we need to replace liberal democracy with an authoritarianism of scientific expertise.
They write in a recent op-ed:
Liberal democracy is sweet and addictive and indeed in the most extreme case, the USA, unbridled individual liberty overwhelms many of the collective needs of the citizens. . . There must be open minds to look critically at liberal democracy. Reform must involve the adoption of structures to act quickly regardless of some perceived liberties. . . We are going to have to look how authoritarian decisions based on consensus science can be implemented to contain greenhouse emissions.
On their book page they write:
[T]he authors conclude that an authoritarian form of government is necessary, but this will be governance by experts and not by those who seek power.
So whenever you hear (or invoke) an argument from expertise (i.e., "the experts tell us that we must ...") ask if we should listen to the experts in just this one case, or if we should turn over all decisions to experts. If just this one case, why this one and not others? If a general prescription, should we do away with democracy in favor of an authoritarianism of expertise?
Don’t believe Pielke? How about this beautiful example from one of “the experts:”
"What I would challenge you to do is to put a lot of effort into trying to see whether there's a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they're doing is a criminal act," said Dr. Suzuki, a former board member of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
"It's an intergenerational crime in the face of all the knowledge and science from over 20 years."
The statement elicited rounds of applause.
The local voices of alarmism become furious and launch into spittle-flecked rants anytime someone dares to disagree or voice a conservative critique of their position or policy prescriptions. Implicit in their rhetoric is the fascist notion that if you are not part of their solution you are part of the problem.
Forget inquiries into the alarmist advocacy group to which our governor farmed out the state’s climate policy; forget about transparent and open government; forget about the draconian ramifications alarmist policy prescriptions will impose upon the economy; “the experts” say the time to act is now.
Nothing, including liberty, and the quaint, obsolete notions of the American founding should get in the way.