Fracking and the cult of Green Gnosticism
From Brother Ivo:
For many decades we have lived with a succession of failed predictions by the Doom Sayers of the environmental movement.
1972 saw the Club of Rome publishing The Limits to Growth which looked at human population, resource depletion, industrialisation, pollution and food production, and made a series of catastrophic predictions for the world we live in today, none of which came to pass at the predicted time. In the same year The Blueprint for Survival imagined a future necessarily modelled upon a cross between tribal societies and a William Morris agrarian village of philosopher saints.
Somehow we have survived, and while nobody should be complacent about our relationship with the natural world which underpins our existence, it is plain that chance, human ingenuity, hard work, and unforeseen factors continue to reset the future in ways that seem to elude those who confidently predict that disaster is just around the corner.
Foremost in their predictive failure was the underestimation of the power of the computer, and with it the Internet. The transitions from the hunter-gatherer economy, through the agrarian model, the industrial and on to global trading economies were assumed to have run their full course, and yet the knowledge economy has superseded anything we might have known, such that massive economic gain can be built on a significantly reduced resource footprint. The ubiquity of the mobile telephone alone has created an economy and social re-organisation way beyond that which the early Green campaigners imagined.
Just as Karl Marx seriously underestimated the flexibility of market capitalism, so the Green movement has consistently failed to re-adjust its old vision of those limits to growth.
The argument that physical constraints must force societal re-organisation failed on so many levels, as new reserves of physical resources were found and techniques to exploit them were developed. With new science and technology we can feed the multitudes, raise living standards, educate more and better, and begin to build a scientific ark to preserve endangered species. Yet still we have many who seem to regret the potential of human beings to confound the worst of their predictions.
That cause for regret was recently supercharged when the rock star Bono proclaimed at Georgetown University that 'Capitalism takes more people out of poverty than Aid'.
This is seriously bad news for the Greens.
As the assertions of physical limits were discredited, a different technique had to be adopted if the prejudices against the benefits of capitalism were to be sustained. We entered into the world of uber-catastrophe.
If we will not give up our attachment to capitalism because of physical constraints, then a super threat would need to to compel us. The list is impressive: nuclear waste storage, acid rain, GM crops, the Millennium Bug, global cooling, global warming, and the latest - fracking.
Each of these may have different attributed causes and predicted consequences, yet the solution has one common feature - we have to surrender our volition to those who know better and reconfigure society as they say.
This is by no means a modern phenomenon.
In ancient times it was the Gnostics who declared themselves possessed of secret knowledge and whose grasp thereof gave them an advantage over those dealing with everyday life on a more prosaic level.
The impulse to claim powers and immunities based upon special understanding has had a wide appeal. The Bible was kept from non-Latin speakers for centuries. The virtual unreadability of Das Kapital secured Marxists a guaranteed sense of superiority in their insistence that they alone understood the historical mechanism of dialectical materialism, and as its promise began to unravel, we were offered the even more impenetrable works of such academics as Herbert Marcuse, whose Frankfurt School of Marxism blessed the world with political correctness.
If that were not bad enough, we have the gnosis of the conspiracy theorists - those who know that the moon landings were filmed on a Hollywood backlot, aliens landed at Roswell, and the US auto industry bought up a non-existent patent that enabled cars to run on water. It is, incidentally, always the Americans who perpetrate these cover-ups; never truly secretive societies or those pesky Finns or Canadians.
These disparate movements, beliefs and creeds confer a sense of exclusivity, superiority and appeal to those otherwise lacking self-esteem. It calls to the outsider and reinforces his or her sense of frustration with their ordinary fellow citizens who will not acknowledge their special status - their gnosis.
One of the fundamental aspects of these Gnostic-lite philosophies, apart from the admiration we ought rightly to feel for those who know better than we do, is their claimed right to break the law; to enforce where they cannot persuade, for, whether we are talking roads, railways, or fracking, the ordinary rules of democracy cannot apply to them.
In this, they and the Jihadist share a common philosophical heritage: they are right and we are wrong. Our only proper response to them and their minority world view is one of submission.