ANDREW GLIKSON. Climate cover-up and Orwellian newspeak.

In so far as it may have been assumed that the growing manifestations of global warming through extreme weather events will cause people to realize the reality and the implications of carbon emissions, this is only partly happening, due to ongoing attempts by large part of the mainstream media to attribute these events to natural causes., masking the existential threat posed by global climate disruption.

As conveyed by Noam Chomsky in connection with the US mid-term elections:   

“Humanity faces two imminent existential threats: environmental catastrophe and nuclear war. These were virtually ignored in the campaign rhetoric and general coverage. There was plenty of criticism of the Trump administration, but scarcely a word about by far the most ominous positions the administration has taken: increasing the already dire threat of nuclear war, and racing to destroy the physical environment that organized human society needs in order to survive” (Noam Chomsky) 

(https://johnmenadue.com/c-j-polychroniou-noam-chomsky-moral-depravity-defines-us-politics-truth-out/; https://www.monbiot.com/2018/11/19/hopeless-realism/)

While the cover-up of the global climate and nuclear calamity may reflect pure ignorance, given the overwhelming scientific evidence and the intensifying hurricanes and fires the cover-up of the relations between these events and global warming assumes a criminal dimension unprecedented in human history.

History develops in cycles, wars are followed by periods of rebuilding, and every few decades a new generation forgets the lessons of the last collective bloodshed. As perceived by George Orwell in order to condition peoples’ minds to the next atrocity the language and meaning of words are changed, altering people’s way of thinking, cf. 2 + 2 = 5 if the party says so.

Homo sapiens, so called, is a technical genius with a mythology-possessed mind, believing in spirits, deities, the after-life and flying saucers, a condition possibly stemming as far back as the  mastering of fire by Homo erectus more than a million years ago (https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319225111). Crouched around camp fires over long nights, watching the dancing flames, the species developed senses of imagination and of fear, nowadays equipped with the deadliest weapons.

It is since the dawn of the enlightenment that humanism and science have been rising above prejudices and witchcraft, in some parts of the world. The enlightenment, defined as “ideas centered on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy, advancing ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of church and state”, is nowadays in full retreat.

Recently messengers of hate and racism have been descending on public forums, while those who try to warn humanity of the climate and nuclear calamities are commonly barred from the mainstream media. As mourned by the late Patrick White, had a fraction of the tens of thousands of those attending sport carnivals participated in peace rallies, perhaps the world would have been different. But such ideas are less in evidence as the world moves back toward totalitarianism, whose basic tenets are expressed by demagogues with mass appeal, hate speech, racial vilification, anti-intellectualism, anti-science, and the promotion of war.  

The untruths propagated by advocates of climate denial emerge in context of wider untruths, including pervasive commercial advertising, watched by millions and which nullify what schools and other educational institutions are trying to teach.

Newspeak terms translate for example into:

Truth = When a lie is told enough times 

Fake News = The facts they do not want you to know.

Democracy = When every dollar has an equal vote

Economic rationalism = When everything has a price, including the Earth.

Sustainability = A cover-up term for business-as-usual 

Open-ended growth = The psychology of a cancer cell.

Morality = Might is right.

Security = Multiple rearmament leading to war 

Victory. A body bag count.

At the heart of fascism is the explicit or inadvertent promotion of demise, of individuals or of collectives, the final stage of the Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva cycle, nowadays manifested by fatal technologies, including atmospheric carbon saturation and nuclear fission. Consciously or subconsciously fascism may not be too worried by the genocidal consequences of its ideology, perhaps assuming they and their rich benefactors may survive the consequences. 

One feels a strong temptation to go bush and enjoy what remains of nature.

Andrew Glikson

Earth and paleo-climate science

26-11-2018

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