Here’s an article I wrote last year and never posted. It’s for Lewis Deane.
Today I posted the latest episode of Apocalypse Close, and wrote the final two chapters.. Apocalypse has come to a Close. I’m now working on the footnotes, which will probably be longer than the text (in homage to possibly my favourite novel, Nabokov’s “Pale Fire”)
I see I’ve let pass the first anniversary of this blog, without noticing. I don’t go for anniversaries, but I do sometimes have a look at what people are looking at on this blog. Sometimes I go back to blog posts of which I have no memory, simply because someone else has been looking at it.
That was how I came upon an article I’d written and forgotten about, on the subject of someone well-known in the world of climate change politics, someone about whom I had been very rude, someone whose career I would gladly see destroyed because of their fascistic intolerance of any opposition to the green agenda.
Now it so happens that I discovered by chance, while researching something entirely unrelated, that this person (whom I despise) has recently suffered two tragic events in their lives – events of the kind that bring you down from the heights of political struggle to save the planet to the level of ordinary human sorrow.
You can insult people on the internet, challenge them, possibly destroy their reputations. But you can’t hug them, console them, or even (easily) say you’re sorry.
This is not the first time something like this has happened. I discovered, (again more or less by chance) that Stephan Lewandowsky, whom I have treated as a liar and a charlatan, is the editor and co-author of a book of academic articles condemning the use (or the condoning) of torture by our democratic governments.
As I said in a post here
this is not such an easy thing to do. An ambitious academic whose career spans three continents might do better to keep a low profile on a subject which can only displease the powers that be. He doesn’t risk anything too life-threatening in today’s political climate, but climates can change, and therefore I salute Stephan Lewandowsky’s moral courage.
My third example was the case of the blog of a young climate militant I’d written about who published information about her personal suffering that no responsible person could possibly repeat. My intention to explore the psychological roots of climate militancy was brought up short. One’s legal right to reproduce anything one finds on the internet was in flagrant contradiction with the moral duty of any reasonable human being to shut up in the face of suffering.
My main purpose in haunting the internet has been, and is still, to point out when someone says something wrong, particularly when that someone is speaking from a position of power – for example the power of supposedly infallible peer -reviewed science. (“I can’t come to bed. Someone’s said something wrong on the Internet” goes that wonderful cartoon).
I don’t know Greek, but I imagine there is an etymological link between the word “Apocalypse”, and the name of “Calypso”, the princess who saved Ulysses, that eternal loser, which is also the name of a style of song invented in Trinidad in the mid-twentieth century. In the thirties, British subjects on trinidad were composing songs in defense of King Haile Selasse of Ethiopia (deposed by Mussolini in 1936) or Edward VIII, deposed by a conspiracy between the editor of the Times and the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1938. Both songs support the losers; (most good songs do).
I have no reason to believe that we sceptics will win the climate wars. Maybe, instead of writing serious articles about climate sensitivity, or the failings of social science, we should be writing songs to be remembered by. Songs of losers, like
Feel free to add your own