See Richard Landes’ comments below on “prime divider” societies- the factors that validate the elite domination of commoners. He then notes “civil polity” as the democratic principles developed to counter prime divider organization of societies. The new material starts at “The dangerous reaction of Apocalyptic prophets to the inevitable failure of their apocalyptic millennium crusades (repeated patterns in alarmism movements)”.
There’s a big background picture to our societies that I relate most things to. Prominent in that big picture is the “most dominant and influential” narrative today of Declinism- the mistaken yet widespread belief that things are getting worse, that life is declining toward collapse and ending- toward apocalypse (see YouGov survey, for example, in “Ten Global Trends”, and full historical detail in “The Idea of Decline in Western History”, by Arthur Herman).
Consequent to Declinism (arousing the survival impulse in populations), there is the equally widespread belief that we need to engage some project for “salvation” (to “save the world”). The salvation scheme common to all apocalyptic millennial crusades is the demand to purge some “evil” that is purportedly destroying the world (i.e. today the claimed evil threat to the world is industrial capitalist society). The purging of the evil prepares the way to instal the new utopian system that will be the salvation of humanity and the world. These beliefs have shaped Marxism, Nazism, and today shape environmentalism, notably climate alarmism.
The above themes then point to a deeper layer of beliefs that shaped the Declinism narrative, to ideas that are even more fundamentally influential in the big picture background- i.e. the religious beliefs that have long dominated human meta-narratives and still do today, whether in religious or “secular” versions. Declinism historian Arthur Herman details several such religious beliefs, notably the myth of a “lost paradise”, the necessity for a “violent purging” as in an apocalypse, and some form of redemption. These more primitive ideas have shaped the Declinism ideology that dominates world consciousness today.
The problem is that these ideas deform consciousness and personality (psychotherapist/theologian Zenon Lotufo in “Cruel God, Kind God”) and thereby harm societies in profoundly damaging ways. They incite, guide, and validate people’s base impulses to tribalism (engaging “righteous battles against evil enemies”), to domination of others, and to the punitive destruction of enemy others. The harmful outcomes of such ideas continues because people continue to base their behavior on their beliefs.
The French Farmer’s protests (see below). Populist revolts against Net Zero decarbonization. What is going on behind these public demonstrations? Add here the military guy who, during the ISIS outbreak of violence in Syria (2014), argued that you can tamp down these eruptions of insanity with military force, but then they will just continue to erupt. You also have to go after the beliefs/ideas behind such things. Wendell Krossa
“Let me take you down to where I’m going to…” (a paraphrase of the opening to “Strawberry Fields”, Beatles).
I look beyond the public presentation of these varied social eruptions to larger background issues that influence the protagonists and antagonists- notably, the meta-narrative themes that influence elites to undemocratically push destructive programs like Net Zero decarbonization that is destroying societies to “save the world”. The horrific damage from embracing apocalyptic narratives has now become undeniable. Look what just occurred in Sri Lanka (i.e. the collapse of agriculture in 2022- a contemporary repeat of the Xhosa cattle slaughter of 1856-57, also the outcome of embracing the apocalyptic millennial pathology). Note also the mounting damage in Britain, Germany, California, and elsewhere from decarbonization zealotry.
Fortunately for all of us, “populist” pushback is also emerging across the West. Many are refusing to cow to the elites pushing destructive policies on societies and are demanding the recovery of their freedom of choice.
My argument is that these alarmism crusades, and their destructive salvation schemes, are driven, ultimately, by primitive mythical themes, whether the crusade leaders acknowledge those deeper influences or not.
At the core of crusades like climate alarmism, I see the same old ideas/themes of the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex of myths. That narrative shapes how people view life, how they then feel about what is happening in the world, notably how people feel about unpleasant events in the natural world, such as the natural outcomes of changing weather- i.e. storms, floods, heatwaves, droughts, and so on.
Across history people have believed that destructive events/disasters in the natural realm were punishment from the gods that they believed controlled such things. Punishment for human sin. This has been arguably the single worst belief ever manufactured to darken human consciousness and burden people with additional unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, despair, fatalism, nihilism, and violence. An additional psychic burden to intensify already unbearable physical suffering.
But to primitive minds, that was the logical conclusion to arrive at. Our primitive ancestors believed that there were spirits behind all elements of natural world- behind animal and bird species, behind trees, spirits of streams, spirits of thunder and storm, gods of sun and moon, and so on.
And if the outcomes of these natural elements were harmful to people, then logically to ancient minds, the gods must be angry and retaliating against people for their sins (i.e. for breaking taboos, forgetting to make offerings/sacrifices, etc.). We see this primitive logic in the Sumerian Enki being punished with illness because he ate the 8 forbidden plants and thereby ruined the paradise of Dilmun. So also, we see this mythology in Adam eating forbidden fruit, ruining paradise, and then being punished with sickness, suffering, and death. Same basic story. Same core themes. And after the ruin and loss of paradise, God curses life with a trajectory that declines toward something worse, toward an ever-worsening condition.
This story line of decline toward apocalypse is also buttressed with myths of original “noble savage”, that original humans were a more pure and strong species that degraded to something worse in later civilization (“human degeneration” theory- Arthur Herman in “The Idea of Decline In Western History”).
Consequent to the trajectory of decline across the millennia, life then culminates in the ultimate catastrophe of a divine intervention to punish humanity with life-ending apocalypse, the destruction of everything. Note the ongoing prominence of this myth today. Look, for example, at the major public story-telling forum of Hollywood and its obsession with this pathology of apocalyptic mythology-
The Hollywood obsession with apocalyptic appears to increase over the decades. That is a major public story telling forum influencing public narratives and understanding. Hollywood stories resonate widely across the public consciousness, reaffirming commonly held beliefs, resonating with long-embedded archetypes in the human subconscious (Carl Jung).
Apocalyptic has dominated our great Western religious traditions for over three millennia, beginning with Zoroaster’s formalization of earlier primitive mythology into his theological system and thereby shaping the offspring of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The same core themes of these religious traditions have then subsequently been embraced in contemporary “secular/ideological” systems of belief.
The threat of apocalypse incites human survival terror, the primal fear of return to chaos, and consequent desperation to maintain the ordered world and survive. Mircea Eliade in “The Eternal Return” speaks to these issues in human thought and narratives.
And directly related to the perception of life-ending threat, there is the felt need to do something in response, to take action to save life and the world. This survival desperation has most commonly expressed itself in human action to fulfill the divine demand to make atonement and pacify the angry gods that are threatening life with world-ending destruction. “Divine demand” as presented by religious elites/priests.
To repeat this critical point, also made by Herman in Declinism, and by Richard Landes in his research on apocalyptic millennialism (“Heaven On Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience”):
The background archetypal ideas of primitive mythology and religious traditions, long deeply embedded in human consciousness, even subconscious, still shape so-called secular ideological systems of belief. Hardcore materialist types, even atheists, also embrace these themes of the decline of life toward world-ending destruction. “Science” has even been deluded at times to embrace these primitive mythical themes, notably the former strain of cosmology that promoted the “heat death of the cosmos” as the dominant feature defining reality. Scientists like Stephen Hawking waffled back and forth over the dominance of the 2nd Law in the trajectory of the cosmos (i.e. Julian Simon covered this in “Ultimate Resource”). Another strain of thought emerged in cosmology years ago to counter this cosmic level apocalyptic belief, a strain that suggested entropy was “virtuous” because it enable the creation of more order, higher forms of order (See, for example, physicists Huber and Mills in “The Bottomless Well”).
Nancy Pelosi offered us a recent contemporary example of the still present dominance of the belief in apocalyptic decline and the gods punishing human sin through the natural world. Read again her take on the California wildfires of 2020- “Mother Earth is angry”.
Pelosi was giving voice to what many people still believe. Pelosi’s statement resonates subconsciously with many as right and true because the theme of “natural world destruction as punishment for human sin” has long been embedded in human narratives and hence subconsciously it functions as an “archetype”- i.e. as unquestionable “model, ideal, original, pilot, prototype, pattern, standard, classic exemplar, classic, representative, forerunner, epitome, prime example”, etc.
Consequently, we then get endless automatic replays of the same old salvationist schemes in response to such panic-mongering. We must make some sacrifice (suffering as redemptive) to appease the angry God/s. Today the commonly proposed sacrifice is to abandon the good life in human civilization and return to a simpler lifestyle, to the primitivism of the past “noble savages” that many believe were more connected to nature. As hunter/gatherers they were supposedly more “in harmony with nature”, meaning- not disturbing the natural environment. A strain of nature worship mythology.
Further essential to the salvation schemes of apocalyptic prophets is the demand to purge the evil thing that is purportedly threatening life. Today alarmists have lasered in on CO2 as the great evil threat to our world. CO2 is proposed as the marker of too many people consuming too much of Earth’s resources and thereby destroying nature.
The apocalyptic prophets then emphasize the feature of “imminence” to buttress their urgent demands to do something, now, right now. We must act now. The great threat is just up ahead. This is the totalitarian impulse demanding unobstructed power over the ignorant masses that refuse to believe the exaggerated hysteria of the prophets (the “deniers… unbelievers”).
John Pfeiffer (The Creative Explosion: An Inquiry into the Origins of Art and Religion and other work of his) noted this feature in the origin of religion where some tribal people (early shaman) claimed special enlightenment as to what was going on in their world. They claimed to know the secrets of the invisible world, why the gods were angry with people, how to appease the angry gods with sacrifices, and with such claims they demanded their fellow tribals submit to them and their salvation schemes. Why do you think sacrifice to the gods emerged in prehistory and then dominated so much of religion across subsequent history?
The earliest emergence of religion involved fear-mongering that enabled some (the earliest emerging elites) to dominate others. The use of fear enabled some to control others and their property. That has always been the totalitarian’s formula- “fear=control”. The temple system was later developed to dominate the centers of early societies (raised ziggurats in the center of early settlements), evidence that religion dominated those first civilizations. Priesthoods took the best cuts of produce before passing on the leftovers to the rest.
Watch this same domination and control of “deplorable” citizens playing out with today’s prophetic/priestly elites and their demand that the “little people who pay taxes” (Leona Helmsley) eat insects while they (e.g. WEF bosses) fly their jets to elite conferences and dine on the best foods. “You will own nothing, and you will be happy”. They demand that you do so.
The panic-mongering about the soon arriving apocalypse validates authoritarian, totalitarian approaches- climate alarmism prophets arguing that there is no time for normal democratic processes as the crisis is too great and immediate. To emphasize this “Hurry up, let’s do something” point, today’s apocalyptic prophets repeatedly set dates just years or a few decades up ahead. Dates are endlessly set and reset because the apocalypse never arrives. How can it when the trajectory of life continually improves across the long-term? Evidence shows that life is not declining toward something worse, towards collapse and ending, but rises toward an improving future.
In climate alarmism today we see the ongoing dominance of Declinism ideology still shaping our narratives and worldviews. Historian Arthur Herman noted correctly that the fundamental themes of this ideological system originated with primitive religious mythology. He shows, for example that both the myth of a “lost paradise” and the “demand for violent purging of evil” have Christian origins, though these mythical themes predate even Christianity. This affirms the conclusion of many that climate alarmism is a “profoundly religious movement”, like all apocalyptic crusades before it. Nothing new under the sun.
Our probing the historical background of contemporary ideas leads us to understand what brought this most destructive idea of apocalypse into our modern world. Just poking around the past two millennia of our Western history, for the origin of today’s psychopathology, takes us right to Paul’s Christ myth- the supreme icon/symbol of apocalyptic mythology in our Western tradition.
This site has repeatedly presented the longer line of historical descent from early Sumerian/Egyptian apocalyptic (i.e. Sumerian Flood, Egyptian Return to Chaos, etc.) then to Zoroaster’s apocalyptic, to later Hebrew apocalyptic, then into Christian apocalyptic, and from that into contemporary “secular/ideological” versions of apocalyptic as in climate apocalypse. Remember what we are doing with this- That military guy telling us that you will not solve such eruptions of madness with force alone (he was referring to the ISIS outbreak, a similarly apocalyptic millennial movement). You have to go after the ideas that incite, guide, and validate such “madness of crowds” eruptions.
The “most influential myth in history” that shaped Christianity has maintained the theme of apocalypse in Western religions, narratives, and consciousness for two millennia. It has subsequently shaped the many offspring alarmism movements of all stripes- 19th Century Declinism, general environmental alarmism, and notably climate alarmism.
The core themes of apocalyptic, and its salvation/millennialist response, are undeniably obvious in the climate alarmism crusade.
Climate alarmism embraces and preaches the themes of a better past (lost paradise of the previously more wilderness world), the original paradise ruined by corrupt people in civilization, life now declining toward something worse, toward collapse and ending, and then full-frontal apocalypse. Climate alarmism then urges people to make a sacrifice, a payment, to suffer something as redemptive. The sacrifice and redemptive suffering of all environmental alarmism movements involves rejecting modern consumer society, returning to primitivism, abandoning the good life in modern industrial civilization. Today this is presented as “de-development, de-industrialization, decarbonization”.
The de-development of Declinism extols Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful”. Not for elites, of course, but for the “ignorant masses” who must learn to eat insects.
Climate alarmism also embraces the prominent apocalyptic millennial theme of purging some evil that threatens life- the demonized “pollutant, poison” of CO2. And in demonizing this basic food of life, still in short supply compared to paleo-climate history, you see the lunacy of how apocalyptic deforms human consciousness with irrational mythology and thereby destroys societies and life. Decarbonization has established its reputation today in destroying societies and impoverishing people.
The very thing that helped lift us into the modern world- fossil fuels- is now demonized as the destroyer of the world. This has gone beyond the “madness of crowds” to outright insanity. And governing elites have all bought into this madness and continue to promote it worldwide.
Look, for example, at MSN Canada homepage- Daily with obsessive compulsive eco-zealotry they post their mantra of “climate crisis”.
In response, this site affirms the statement of that military guy who said that you can extinguish these eruptions of violence with force but they will continue to erupt because you have to go after the ideology that incites repeated episodes of such violence. And he was right- It is, as it always has been, about bad religious ideas inciting bad behavior. If you do not solve those at a foundational level in human narratives and thereby in human consciousness/subconscious, you are not going to solve the problem of repeated eruptions of destructive crusades whether in climate alarmism or religious violence between groups. Bad ideas incite, guide, and validate bad behavior. Always have, always will. Stated otherwise: People become just like the God that they believe in.
This site is committed to going after root causal factors, contributing factors such as the bad ideas in narratives that shape human perception, emotions, motivations, and responses. This site then offers alternatives to transform the root archetypes that have too long dominated human consciousness/subconscious.
See “Humanity’s worst ideas, better alternatives” (Old story themes, new story alternatives).
And this is why I go after the Christ myth of Paul (and I have acknowledged elsewhere the good features in that myth). That myth has played the single most dominate role in maintaining the worst of primitive mythological themes in the modern world- the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex. Most egregiously it has buried the singularly potent response to overturn the apocalyptic complex, an insight that was provided by Historical Jesus. Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy nailed this point of Paul’s “inferior thought” burying the “diamonds/pearls” of Jesus.
The breakthrough insight of Jesus that God was not retaliatory, went directly to the most fundamental issue of all- the deity ideas/theories that have always been the foundational features and ideals at the core of human narratives. Jesus stated that there was no threatening God behind the natural world, no God punishing people through nature. There was no retaliatory deity.
He confronted and overturned the long-sacralized perception of deity using natural destruction to punish human sin. To the contrary, he said, nature showed that God was unconditional love- generously giving sun and rain to both good and bad people (Matthew 5 and Luke 6). With the God of Jesus there was no discrimination/exclusion of anyone, no retaliatory punishment, no destruction. There was only love behind the natural world. (Why then so much suffering from the natural world? Theodicy arguments suggest the essential feature of freedom in the natural world as critical to many beneficial outcomes while also presenting a dangerous side.)
And, logically (theological logic), if God was not retaliatory then God won’t engage the ultimate act of retaliation that is the apocalyptic destruction of world, as the final punishment of sinful humanity. If God is non-retaliatory then there will be no condemning judgment, no exclusion of unbelievers, and no punishment in hell.
This theme of unconditional God, of God as love of a stunningly inexpressible no conditions nature, is presented in the central teaching and parables of Jesus. Note particularly Matthew 5-7 (cautiously discounting Matthew’s editorial changes that distort Jesus’ comments). Better, pay attention to Luke 6- the better version of the core message/theme of Jesus. And note the parables of the Prodigal son and scandalously generous Vineyard Owner that further affirm Jesus’ point that God was an unconditional reality.
Paul then, in a stunning 180 degree pivot and retreat, rejected that new theology to reinstate the primitive myth of a retaliatory, punitive God (see his re-affirmation of retaliatory theology in Romans 12:17-20).
Note also his affirmation of retaliatory apocalyptic theology in his earliest letters to the Thessalonians. John in Revelation then gives a most graphic portrayal of what the retaliatory apocalyptic Christ means. His visions of the apocalyptic Christ are the capstone of the Christian bible and worldview. That myth has dominated Western consciousness ever since, for two millennia. Inciting and validating endless violence and destruction. Psychologists Harold Ellens and Zenon Lotufo detail the impacts of “cruel God theology” on individual and societal scales (i.e. “The Destructive Power of Religion” and “Cruel God, Kind God”).
This is problem solving in the most thorough and fundamental manner. Go to the most foundational ideas in narratives that shape human worldviews, emotions, motivations, and responses. Try to understand and explain, as fully as possible, why people promote the destructive salvation schemes that they do. This is the project of this site.
So yes, it is critical to go after the science of climate alarmism with the good evidence on the “physics of CO2” and the fact that the warming influence of CO2 is now “saturated” and will contribute very little to any further possible warming. And focus on the massive benefits of rising CO2 levels to life, in greening our planet. Add that we are still in a too cold world where 10 times more people die every year from cold than die from warming (Lancet study). We could use many more degrees of warming, just as across the Phanerozoic era when all life flourished with temperatures much warmer than today. Note, for example, the “Mammalian paradise” of the Eocene period (55-33 million years ago) where it was 3-10 degrees C warmer than today and there was no climate crisis, no boiling oceans, and no planet on fire.
The planet did not boil or ignite on fire because the solar radiation that enters Earth mainly through tropical heating, that heat energy is then conveyed via “meridional transport” to the colder regions of Earth to even out climate and benefit life with extended habitats for more diverse life forms (the most diversity of life forms is in the warmer regions of Earth). Warming of colder regions is a benefit to life because it lessens the threat from the greatest danger to life- cold. All life prefers much more warming.
So end the lunacy of panic-mongering over ice melting on our planet. That is a good thing for life. For over 80% of the Phanerozoic history of life there has been no ice on Earth. That is a normal, natural, and optimal state for life. Javier Vinos, William Happer, and Richard Lindzen, along with many others detail these facts on climate. See Co2coalition, Wattsupwiththat.com, and related sites.
Go after the “science” of climate alarmists but then recognize that still does not convince many to abandon alarmism narratives. This is because of deeply held beliefs, subconsciously rooted things in the background of our minds that resonate with contemporary alarmism narratives. Apocalyptic stories pass over the rational part of human minds to resonate with the deeper embedded stuff. Hence, we have to go to the foundational themes in narratives, and then offer better alternatives to replace the pathologies that we have inherited at that level.
Start with the Jesus insight that overturns the very core of primitive theologies, the long-serving foundational mythology of retaliatory, punitive deity that has dominated all past human narratives. That theology has always served as the highest ideal and authority of humanity. Offer the stunning new theology of Jesus that there has never been any retaliatory, punishing God behind the natural world. That has always been the pathological projection of primitive minds.
You can now tell your children that there is no monster behind life and its going to be alright in a big picture, long-term, and ultimate sense. So kids, don’t be afraid to go out and engage life, to work and contribute toward making life better. Your contribution will succeed just as the hard work of billions of others has succeeded over past centuries.
This is a project to transform human narratives at the deepest levels and in the most profound way, and thereby transform and liberate human consciousness, to free people from primal fears, from death fears and unnecessarily agitated survival responses that are incited by primitive myths that distort reality and life. This is a project to liberate from pathological themes that lead people to exaggerate natural world elements and events as portending the threat of apocalypse. And in liberating consciousness from such psychopathology, we thereby help transform societies.
So yes, the military guy was right. These eruptions of apocalyptic climate madness (and related salvation schemes that destroy life to “save the world”) and eruptions of religious violence will keep breaking out until you deal with the core ideas, the themes in the narratives that incite, guide, and validate such outbreaks. Go after the ideas that shape how people think and feel, and thereby influence their motivations and then their responses. Calm their fears with the truth that apocalyptic has always been one of history’s greatest lies and frauds. Conspiracy theory at the epitome of lunacy.
Add here how the elements of the hero’s quest are deformed by apocalyptic mythologies. Fear incites the survival impulse, and that leads people to retreat into tribal enclaves to defend their kin against some blamed and demonized outsider. And the hero’s quest is further deformed because the monster, the threatening enemy is located outside of us in differing others who must be fought and purged to save life, to save the world.
The hero’s quest, properly understood, should be focused primarily on an inner battle with the real monster and enemy of us all, the animal inheritance inside each of us (Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s point that the real battle of good against evil is not against other states, but runs down the center of every human heart). When we confront and conquer that animal inheritance inside us, we thereby achieve heroic status, we tower in stature as maturely human, and that is the successful hero’s quest. We attain that success and status by embracing universal, unconditional love as our guiding ethic, the authentically humane ideal to shape our behavior and our treatment of others in ways that help us maintain our own humanity in the face of evil.
Cruel God mythology, as in apocalyptic mythology, acts contrarily to incite fear, despair, nihilism, and violence. Arthur Mendel (Vision and Violence) was right that it is the most violent and destructive idea in history.
So this is where populism protests, such as the farmer’s protests in France, lead my thinking. I try to understand what is going on behind the surface presentations of these social conflicts, to understand what incites, guides, and validates the “salvation” schemes of the alarmists, schemes that destroy life to “save the world”.
Note: Ponder a bit what scale of transformation can occur when you embrace a radically different definition of humanity’s supreme ideal and authority. Rejecting the idea of God as retaliatory, punitive, God demanding violent sacrifice and threatening apocalypse and hell for all who refuse to believe, rejecting that pathology for an entirely new definition of God as unconditional love for all. Gutting the core of the old narratives and installing something supremely humane at the core of new narratives.
This excellent commentary from Spiked, pushback against the Net Zero decarbonization crusade that illustrates the destructive nature of apocalyptic mythology… as often highlighted on this site.
“Victory to the French farmers: Europeans are right to rise up against our eco-obsessed elites”, Fraser Myers, Jan. 30, 2024
The French protests are about fighting the insanity of the crowd madness that is climate alarmism. And remember that in the background of the climate alarm there is the lurking presence of the most destructive myth ever inflicted on humanity (Arthur Mendel in Vision and Violence)- the threat of apocalypse. Climate alarmism is a “profoundly religious movement” (not my evaluation alone).
And as expected, note the usual thoughtless tribal reaction to populist revolts- Woke Progressives in mainstream media, Democratic Party, and elsewhere have rushed forward to smear these populist revolts as “Far right extremism…”, the obsessive smear to try to discredit any pushback against Woke Progressive elitist agendas.
Quotes from article:
“A ‘siege of Paris’ is underway. Since Monday, thousands of tractors, trailers and combine harvesters have encircled the French capital, blocking key motorways in and out of the city….
“French farmers have joined the Europe-wide fightback against the green agenda….
“Every European government has proposed its own intrusive regulations or onerous tax hikes….
“Because as every farmer now knows, no amount of subsidies or tax breaks can disguise the coming catastrophe of Net Zero. A demented goal that no government seems prepared to abandon….
“The severity of these measures is hard to overstate. They will drastically cut the amount of food farmers can produce….
“‘[The Green Deal]… It is an imposition from distant, out-of-touch Eurocrats, laying waste to a sector they do not understand….
“Public anger with the climate agenda has been growing for years now….
“The elites’ push for Net Zero has sparked a new populist backlash….
“Perhaps no aspect of the green agenda is quite as irrational as the war on the farmers…
“By pushing back against the green mania of our elites, these farmers are fighting for all of us.”
The anti-populism agencies frame German farmers as “far right” extremists.
“Soros, Facebook, And Omidyar Money behind attacks on German Farmers: The foreign-funded ‘Correctiv’ fact-checking organization is spreading disinformation”, Gregor Baszak, Jan.29, 2024.
Main articles presenting critical points made on this site:
From Retaliation to Unconditional love- the story of humanity’s exodus/liberation from animal existence to become human.
Humanity’s worst ideas, better alternatives (Old story themes, new story alternatives).
The Christ myth buried the singularly profound insight of Historical Jesus. The project to recover that insight involves “separating diamonds from dung” (Thomas Jefferson, Leo Tolstoy).
Speculating with Joseph Campbell on the meaning of life– the hero’s journey and conquest. The intensely inner battle to conquer the monster of inherited animal impulses and thereby tower in stature as maturely human.
This from “Transcript: America This Week, Episode 74, February 2, 2024
“Walter and Matt discuss the crazy lawfare targeting of No Labels, RFK Jr., the Trump campaign, and anyone else trying to get on the ballot. Plus, the newly relevant “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson”, Matt Taibbi, Walter Kirn, Feb.3, 2024
Quotes from transcript:
“Yuval Harari, the more vividly psychopathic of the Klaus Schwab/Harari pair at the World Economic Forum sent out a tweet. Here, I’ll read it. “Populist leaders are on the rise around the world attacking the liberal global order. They haven’t explained what will replace the order they have destroyed, and the result is the disorder, chaos and violence we are seeing today.” So headquarters memo puts it in the most hyperbolic, apocalyptic terms. Now, his tweet doesn’t make any sense because he says that the leaders are on the rise, and yet they’ve already destroyed the liberal global order. They haven’t explained what will replace the order they have destroyed, merely by being on the rise they’ve destroyed it, and the result is the disorder, chaos and violence we see today. So this word populist has now been demonized to the point where when you hear it, you’re supposed to shudder….
“(the anti-populist war) it’s exploding all of our belief systems about the benevolent nature of our government and the traditions that it’s supposedly there to protect and uphold. Now, it appears that they’re just sort of openly at war with the idea of majorities of people rising up and deciding that they’re going to take a different course on things. And again, this is something they had locked down so well for so long….”
Then note the novel they dissect about mob mentality, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. the cruelty of scapegoating and this ugliness now evident in US democratic politics, as elsewhere also.
An interesting example of this was the actor Tim Robbins, who as Hollywood liberal had accepted the positions of US liberals on vaccines and saw only anti-vaxxer right wingers on the other side. Then he was in England and saw a protest on the streets so went down to talk to the people and was surprised to find out they were all English liberals. He then returned to the US and heard fellow liberals (Joy Behar on the View, George Clooney and Jimmy Kimmel, etc.) all stating that people not vaccinated should be left to die. That shook him- the hatred. He said, we would never do that to a drug addict who overdosed. We, out of compassion, would help him. The abandonment of such compassion for what he saw as hatred opened his eyes that something was horribly wrong on his liberal side. (This was stated in his interview with Russell Brand)
So also, we now have the psychology reports on the “psychopathology of left wing authoritarianism” and “the dark side of the claimed compassion there”. The psychopathic element.
Further quote: “Your brain is full of ancient archetypes, so-called pagan beliefs, primal drives, and you must always police them and be aware of them lest they overtake you without your knowledge and then form a conflagration that you can’t control… we’re losing touch with our own capacity for irrational action. And the people who talk about a rising fascist movement in this country, they need to look within because there has been no point in history where just the bad people do that. It’s the good people we always have. It’s the people who look good that we have to worry about. They’ve made Trump into such a caricature, and MAGA into such a despicable group of…”. And they relate this to “the lottery” in Susan Jackson’s short story.
This says so much about what has gone wrong today in our societies, that has led to the totalitarian eruption today from the left, people not long ago we knew as liberal- tolerant, inclusive, anti-war, compassionate. Now so entirely changed- pro-censorship, pro-banning opposition candidates from elections, willing to treat opponents as terrorists and enemies to be banned and silence, criminalizing for protests, and on and on… These liberal, Democratic journalists, now more independents, and smeared as “right wing” for dissenting from the Woke authoritarianism, are reporting well on all that is going on. Be informed… its all about our freedom.
This “University instructor fights back after being suspended for daring to denounce Hamas: If not resolved by immediate reinstatement, Paul Finlayson will pursue a human rights complaint under the Ontario Human Rights Code”, John Ivison, Feb. 2, 2024
“he was not suspended by Sheridan — in my opinion, quite rightly, since it is not the college’s place to protect the delicate ears of generation Z from opinions with which it may disagree….
“….I argued that Oliver Wendell Holmes had it right when he said we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions we loathe….
“Academia is in a shocking state when the desire to root out anything that a complainant disagrees with, or considers “unsafe” is gratified by academic bureaucrats.’’’
“… aware of the chilling effect on academic speech it will have if it is not challenged.”
This from a chemistry professor: Be fully woke and do something, its getting dangerous, Wendell Krossa
Before the Revers article here are my comments in posts to a discussion group that I sent the article to:
“Again- read for your life. This gay professor asks, how did we become so “Unmoored from reality”. But more- how is it possible this totalitarianism is allowed to march into all our social institutions and so many just cow before it. I sent you all that post of the lady who has a Facebook site to help women find jobs. One of the tens of thousands of members on her page offered a possible job at Fox News and the social justice warriors and zealots for DEI went full mob fury on her with all sorts of smears and threats (“White supremacist, fascist, nazi, racist…”).
“That is the totalitarian spirit common now to this multi-faceted movement, this new collectivism invading through the climate alarmism crusade, ESG, DEI, social justice, and so many more strands, all connected to the resurgence of collectivist Marxism- the neo-tribal dualism that assigns everyone to either oppressor or oppressed and hence, evil or good. Unbelievable how this has marched in so unchallenged today and taken over with too much silence from us “little people who pay taxes” (Leona Helmsley).
“Others have termed this DEI movement as “Woke Racism” (John McWhorter) or “Woke Marxism”, all branches pointing back to same collectivism source that assigns people to a group, like oppressors, and then defines membership in that group with a pejorative (“There is no form of being white that is good”, Bev DiAngelo), hence the new “Woke racism”.
“Lead DEI theorist Bev DiAngelo admitted to Christiane Amanpour (Douglas Murray in “The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity”) that she rejects individuals to class people according to a collective. And she admits being Marxist. So also the BLM leaders coming out as Marxist, and like all Marxist elites then scamming millions intended for the collective to use instead for personal mansions, while the despised peasants get crumbs. Just like Mao and Marx/Engels who also despised the ignorant peasants that they claimed virtuous compassion for.
“So you see those 60s radicals succeeded in their long game approach, much like China’s long-game approach to converting Western societies to collectivism. If historian Niall Ferguson is right the long-game approach began after the 60s Marxists failed to convert the masses, so they chose then to infiltrate the teachers colleges to coopt a generation of educators/university professors.
With indoctrinated students then going out to populate news media, politics, social agencies, intelligence agencies, the Democratic party and take all those to the far left into the Woke Progressivism of today that censors all opposition, frames all who differ with McCarthyism smears of “Russian collaboration”, or the more demented and extremist smears of “White supremacist, fascists, Nazis, racists, bigots, etc.” and so on. A demonization of disagreeing others and intolerance of dissent that has always marked the totalitarian spirit.
“This new collectivism, as Shellenberger said, is a far worse totalitarianism than any before for its pervasive project to control the minds of all, and its coming, more insidiously, at us from inside our societies.”
This Marxist dualism between classes and consequent warfare is just a contemporary eruption of the same old primal animal thing of all history- the “evil triad” of impulses to tribalism, domination, and destruction of differing/”enemy” others (outsiders, unbelievers). To validate these animal impulses, people from the beginning have created mythologies, religious belief systems, and today added “secular ideologies” of “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption”, all to validate the impulses.
“As in all versions of “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” mythology, Marxists believe that life has fallen from the original communal hunter/gatherer paradise, and humanity has subsequently degenerated in industrial capitalist civilization. This industrial civilization is declining toward collapse and apocalyptic ending. To save humanity there must be a violent purging of the evil capitalism that threatens the world (“coercive purification”), and then the lost communal paradise can be restored, the new millennial kingdom installed. Same old myths, same old patterns, same old destructive outcomes.”
End of post to discussion group.
Here is the Revers article: “Even U of T’s scientists are captive to the irrational ideology of DEI: Professors subjected to diversity-based performance evaluation, lab agreements encoding ‘power’ hierarchies as identity politics takes over”, Leigh Revers, Feb. 5, 2024.
“Amid the febrile ideological skirmishes that have begun to break out across Canadian university campuses, the impartial observer would quickly conclude that dark clouds are gathering over our modern society when they notice academic scientists contemplating ushering such counter-rational notions as “Indigenous science” into their classrooms….
“Know this, then: the remorseless onslaught of critical social “justice” driven by the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) commissars who now pervade our universities’ administrations long ago approached the gates of the science, technology, engineering and medical (STEM) disciplines, and have now, Odysseus-like, smuggled a Trojan horse into the walled city of reason that was built on the foundations of the western Enlightenment. A hostile takeover is imminent….
“I attended a town hall hosted by our department at the U of T’s Mississauga campus that… succeeded in only one thing: laying bare the unvarnished reality that even the scientists are captive to an irrational and incoherent ideology — one that seeks to correct every single perceived structural imbalance in authoritarian fashion…
“The current crop of students seems not to realize, still less value, the freedom they are afforded during these precious short years that indelibly mark their intellectual lives. Universities are places to think critically, to indulge in free enquiry, to find out what you want to do in life….
“In all of this, I hold the students themselves blameless. It is we faculty who must take the responsibility, and most especially the science professors, who have sat back and wholly failed to erect the barricades on the eve of the siege. Instead, they threw open the gates and welcomed these bearers of strange ideological gifts. In the words of Peter Boghossian, the American philosopher and outspoken critic of the social justice movement, all that remains to us now is to “burn it all down.”…
“As we dispersed, it was time for reflection. My appeals for rationality — “Aren’t we all scientists here? Do we not all believe in Enlightenment values? And argue for our beliefs with evidence?” — had been met with glares of disapproval. What is going wrong? These are scientists, my people. How have we become so unmoored from reality?…. And one day quite soon, we will ask ourselves: why did we start down this path of unreason? Canada needs to wake up before it gets that far.”
End of article.
This from American Thinker- “Today’s ‘Climate Crisis’ is a Fairy Tale”, Daniel Nebert, Jan.27, 2024
Quotes (see full article at link):
“For the past 35 years, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned us that emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, predominantly carbon dioxide (CO2), are causing dangerous global warming. This myth is blindly accepted — even by many of my science colleagues who know virtually nothing about climate. As a scientist, my purpose here is to help expose this fairy tale.
“The global warming story is not a benign fantasy. It is seriously damaging Western economies. In January 2021, the White House ridiculously declared that “climate change is the most serious existential threat to humanity.” From there, America went from energy independence back to energy dependence….”
On the effort to get rid of CO2 in the atmosphere:
“Life on Earth is based on carbon! CO2 is plant food, not a pollutant!
“Generations have been brainwashed for decades into believing this imaginary “climate crisis,” from kindergarten through college, and in mainstream media and social media. Indoctrinated young teachers feel comfortable teaching this misinformation to students. Dishonest climate scientists feel justified in spreading disinformation because they need governmental support for salaries and research.
“The evidence contradicting the climate apocalypse is vast….
“Within each Interglacial Period, there’ve been warming periods, or “Mini-Summers.” For example, within the current Holocene Interglacial, there have been warmer periods known as the Minoan (1500–1200 B.C.), Roman (250 B.C.–A.D. 400), and Medieval (A.D. 900–1300). Our Modern Warming Period began with the waning of the Little Ice Age (1300–1850). Today’s Mini-Summer is colder so far than all previous Mini-Summers of the last 8,500 years.
“How did CO2 get blamed for global warming?… Irish physicist John Tyndall (1850s) performed laboratory experiments on “greenhouse gases” (GHGs), including water vapor; he proposed that CO2 elicited an important effect on temperature…. Columbia University geochemist Wallace Broecker (1975) and Columbia University adjunct professor James Hansen (1981) wrote oft-cited articles in Science magazine, both overstating the perils of CO2 causing dangerous global warming — without providing scientific proof.
“Most of Earth’s energy comes from the sun. Absorption of sunlight causes molecules of objects or surfaces to vibrate faster, increasing their temperature. This energy is then re-radiated by land and oceans as longwave, infrared radiation (heat). Princeton University physicist Will Happer defines a GHG as that which absorbs negligible incoming sunlight but captures a substantial fraction of thermal radiation as it is re-radiated from Earth’s surface and atmospheric GHGs back into space….”
Other facts on climate:
“Water vapor (clouds) has at least a hundred times greater warming effect on Earth’s temperature than all other GHGs combined.
“As atmospheric CO2 increases, its GHG effect decreases…
“Today’s global atmospheric CO2 levels are ~420 ppm. Even at these levels, plants are “partially CO2-starved.”… As shown by satellite since 1978, increased atmospheric CO2 has helped “green” the Earth by more than 15 percent, substantially enhancing crop production….
“In Earth’s history, the highest levels of atmospheric CO2 (6,000–9,000 ppm) occurred about 550–450 million years ago, which caused plant life to flourish. CO2 levels in older nuclear submarines routinely operated at 7,000 ppm, whereas newer subs keep CO2 in the 2,000- to 5,000-ppm range. Meanwhile, ice core data over the last 800,000 years show no correlation between global warming or cooling cycles and atmospheric CO2 levels….
“There is no “climate crisis.”…
“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” It is advice that our 16th president surely would have offered— had he lived to see the rise of this global warming quasi-religion.”
“Daniel W. Nebert is professor emeritus in Gene-Environment Interactions at the University of Cincinnati. He thanks Professor Will Happer (one of the CO2 Coalition directors) for valuable discussions.”
Here is an excellent but dense explanation of Earth’s atmosphere and how greenhouse gases operate in the atmosphere, by two atmospheric physicists, among the best on climate.
“The Role of Greenhouse Gases in Energy Transfer in the Earth’s Atmosphere William A. van Wijngaarden1 and William Happer, Department of Physics and Astronomy, York University, Canada Department of Physics, Princeton University, USA March 3, 2023”
A small selection of quotes from this 30-plus page report:
“We discuss the basic ways greenhouse gases affect radiation transfer in Earth’s atmosphere. We explain how greenhouse gases like water vapor, H2O, or carbon dioxide, CO2, differ from non-greenhouse gases like nitrogen, N2, or oxygen, O2. Using simple thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, we show that the atmosphere of a planet with sufficiently high concentrations of greenhouse gases must develop a convecting troposphere between the surface and the tropopause altitude. The planet must also develop a non-convecting stratosphere for altitudes above the tropopause. In the simplest approximation of an atmosphere that is transparent to sunlight and has frequency independent opacity for thermal radiation (an infrared gray atmosphere), one can find simple formulas for the tropopause altitude, and for the altitude profiles of pressure and temperature.
“The troposphere is nearly isentropic and the stratosphere is nearly isothermal. The real atmosphere of the Earth is much more complicated than the simple model, but it does have a troposphere and a stratosphere. Between the surface and the tropopause the entropy per kilogram of real tropospheric air increases slowly with altitude. The entropy increases much more rapidly with altitude in the stratosphere. The stratosphere has a nearly isothermal lower part and a hotter upper part due to absorption of solar ultraviolet radiation by ozone. The thermal opacity of the real atmosphere has a complicated frequency dependence due to the hundreds of thousands of vibration-rotation transitions of its greenhouse molecules.
“Unlike the simple model where nearly all radiation to space originates at the tropopause altitude, radiation to space from Earth’s real atmosphere originates from both the surface and all altitudes in the troposphere. A small additional amount of radiation originates in the strato-sphere. When these complications are taken into account, model calculations of the thermal radiation spectrum at the top of the atmosphere can hardly be distinguished from those observed from satellites.
“Worldwide industrialization and the associated combustion of fossil fuels have increased the concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) since 1750. These gases along with nitrous oxide (N2O) and assorted lesser players like halocarbon refrigerants are examples of “greenhouse gases”. It should be noted that by far the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapor. There is little that one can do about water vapor on our watery planet Earth, with 70% of its surface covered by oceans.
“Greenhouse gases were first discovered by John Tyndall in the course of brilliant experimental work in the 1850’s . Tyndall recognized that greenhouse gases warm Earth’s surface. Some 50 years later Svante Arrhenius made the first theoretical estimates of how much surface warming would result if atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide were doubled . The atmosphere and oceans are so complicated that to this day no one knows what the exact warming will be. But basic physics and the geological record indicate that the warming will be small and probably good for life on Earth. The additional carbon dioxide of the past century has already benefitted agriculture, forestry and photosynthetic life in general [3, 4]. Both Tyndall and Arrhenius thought that greenhouse warming was a good thing…”
They explain atmospheric molecular composition, behavior, and collisions… and then continue…
“In addition to molecules, Earth’s atmosphere also contains radiation. Sunlight is present during the day. But thermal radiation is present both day and night. Like a hot coal from a campfire, Earth glows in the dark with thermal infrared radiation. There is much more thermal radiation near the warm equator than near the colder poles or near the surface than at the cold tropopause, around 11 km in altitude for temperate latitudes…
“Greenhouse gases can efficiently absorb thermal radiation with frequencies in opaque spectral regions. But greenhouse gases almost never scatter thermal radiation… Although greenhouse gases do not scatter thermal radiation, they do emit it spontaneously…
“In summary heat transport by thermal radiation in Earth’s atmosphere is orders of magnitude faster than heat transfer by molecular diffusion. Heat transfer by conduction in air (that is, by molecular diffusion) is so small that it is normally irrelevant compared to heat transfer by radiation or heat transport by convection. Heat convection by moist air, which can carry lots of latent heat, as well as sensible heat, is especially important….
“What is a greenhouse gas? It is a gas that is almost transparent to sunlight, and allows the Sun to heat the ground on a cloud-free day. But greenhouse gases have significant opacity for the thermal radiation that is constantly emitted by Earth’s surface and by the warm greenhouse gases themselves. The nitrogen molecules, N2, and oxygen molecules, O2, which make up 99% of Earth’s atmosphere, are not greenhouse gases, since they are nearly transparent to both sunlight and thermal radiation….
“A CO2 molecule can bend and vibrate after being hit by another molecule during a collision, much like a xylophone bar will vibrate after being hammered by a musician. Just as the vibrating xylophone bar emits a sound wave into the air, the vibrating CO2 molecule emits thermal radiation. A bent CO2 molecule has an electric dipole moment that points from the center of mass of the two, slightly negative O atoms toward the slightly positive C atom. The vibrations of this bending mode make the biggest contribution to the absorption and emission of thermal radiation by CO2 molecules….
“Molecules in Earth’s atmosphere not only vibrate but rotate. This adds rotational sidebands to the vibration-frequencies of molecules. Because of the transverse nature of electromagnetic waves, vibrating molecules do not easily emit nor absorb radiation propagating along the direction of the vibrational axis. The vibrating electric dipole produces an anisotropic radiation pattern with most radiation emitted at right angles to the axis of vibration. Rotating molecules produce a rotating radiation pattern, much like the light beam of a rotating searchlight or the radar beam from a rotating airport antenna…
“Solar heating drives Earth’s climate. At the mean distance of Earth from the Sun, sunlight carries an energy flux of about 1,360 Watts per square meter (W/m2). We are familiar with this flux, part of which warms us when we sunbathe at the beach on a cloudfree summer day…
“We assume that the Earth has come to complete thermal equilibrium with an absolute surface temperature T0, which is also equal to the temperature of the hypothetical, completely transparent atmosphere above. The flux of thermal radiation by the Earth to space is equal to the absorbed solar flux (2) so the surface neither heats nor cools. Then the StefanBoltzmann law of thermal radiation by blackbodies requires the thermal radiation emitted to space be (followed by a formula)…
“For many reasons, the Earth’s atmosphere is not isothermal. Here we want to focus on the most important reason: greenhouse gases force Earth’s lower atmosphere, the troposphere, to convect. The convection drives the troposphere toward an adiabatic atmosphere,… (adiabatic- process in which no heat is transferred in or out of a system- Google)…
“… most escaping thermal radiation is emitted by greenhouse gases at altitudes well above the surface. The radiation to space by greenhouse gases cools air parcels. The cooling is most pronounced at higher altitudes where the radiation has a good chance to reach outer space without being absorbed by still higher-altitude greenhouse gases. Therefore, greenhouse gases cause high-altitude air parcels to cool. As the parcels cool, contract and become heavier than the surrounding air, they sink and are replaced by rising parcels of warmer air that float up from below….
“Since greenhouse gases do not absorb solar radiation, the Sun continues to heat the surface at the rate (3). The rising and sinking air parcels exchange little heat with the surrounding air, so they behave like an adiabatic conveyor belt that carries the solar energy that has been absorbed by the surface to sufficiently high altitudes where radiating greenhouse gases can release the energy to space. The most dramatic effect of sufficiently high concentrations of greenhouse gases is to create a nearly adiabatic troposphere of convecting air….
“Energy to replace that radiated away at the emission altitude is provided by convection of warm air parcels floating up from below. Having cooled, the parcels sink back to the surface to complete the convection cycle.
“For the model of a gray atmosphere, the emission altitude (58) can be considered the tropopause, below which there is a convective troposphere, and above which there is a nearly isothermal stratosphere, with negligible convection. For this maximally simplified model, heat transport from the surface to the tropopause is almost all convective and heat transport above the troposphere is all radiative….
“The height of the troposphere in the real atmosphere of the Earth ranges from as low as 6 km over the midwinter poles to almost 20 km over the equator.
“The results of this section are summarized in Fig. 3. The simple “one-dimensional” model of a gray atmosphere is only semi-quantitative, but it leads us to a number of important insights on how greenhouse gases work.
• Greenhouse gases cool the upper atmosphere by radiating heat to space… Absorbed surface radiation is replaced by radiation emitted by greenhouse gases higher in the atmosphere.
• For optical depths, τo >> 1, atmospheres develop a lower troposphere where convection by parcels of warm air floating upward and parcels of cold air sinking downward transport most of the solar energy absorbed by the surface. Greenhouse gases radiate heat to space from altitudes close to the tropopause. Radiation to space from the surface and from greenhouse molecules in the lower troposphere is negligible.
• Radiative heat transport is negligible compared to convective heat transport below the tropopause.
• Convective heat transport is negligible compared to radiative heat transport above the tropopause.
• Without greenhouse gases, the adiabatic temperature profile of the troposphere would evolve into an isothermal profile with the same temperature as the surface.
• Greenhouse gases increase the temperature of the surface, compared to the surface temperature in an atmosphere without greenhouse gases….
“Earth’s real atmosphere responds to greenhouse gases in a more complicated way than the simple model discussed above. But as the model predicts, the Earth’s atmosphere is partitioned into a convecting troposphere between the surface and the tropopause, and a stratosphere above the tropopause where there is very little vertical convection. There is greenhouse warming of the real Earth’s surface, but much less than for the model discussed above. We briefly discuss some of the most important details of the atmosphere that must be accounted for to make a realistic model.
“The Earth is not uniformly heated by the Sun, as was assumed in the model. The midday heating is greatest at the subsolar latitudes, where the Sun is directly overhead at noon. The subsolar latitude reaches its most northern bound, the Tropic of Cancer at 23.5o north around 21 June, the northern summer solstice. The most southern bound, the Tropic of Capricorn at 23.5o south, is attained on the southern summer solstice, about 21 December.
“As shown in Fig. 4, the yearly averaged solar insolation at the top of the atmosphere is about six times larger at the equator than at either pole. A significant part of the solar energy absorbed in the tropics is convected by the atmosphere and oceans toward the poles before it is radiated to space by Earth’s surface and greenhouse gases. In the tropics the Earth radiates less energy to space than the solar energy it receives, since lots of heat is exported north and south. Near the poles, the Earth radiates more heat to space than the solar energy it receives. Heat convected toward the poles from the tropics makes up the difference.
“The intertropical convergence zone is where trade winds from the north and south converge. There, they loft huge quantities of moist air up to the stratosphere and produce heavy rainfall….
“The intertropical convergence zone migrates north and south along with the subsolar latitude. This leads to the dramatic monsoons of tropical and subtropical latitudes…
“Earth’s winds are strongly affected by the rotation of the Earth, which was also neglected in the simple model. The Coriolis forces for the rotating Earth push moving currents of atmospheric air (or ocean water) to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. A dramatic result is the formation of jet streams in the upper atmosphere….
“Unlike the model, which assumed dry air, the real atmosphere of the Earth is moist. The evaporation of water at the surface, the condensation of water to clouds in the troposphere, and the precipitation of rain and snow, transport large amounts of heat both vertically and horizontally. The condensation of moisture in upwardly convecting air parcels releases large amounts of heat to the surrounding N2 and O2 molecules that make up most of the atmosphere….
“For the gray atmosphere of Fig. 3, there is an abrupt increase of radiative flux at the tropopause, where all of the heat convected from the surface is released. As shown in Fig. 8, the varied emission altitudes of the real atmosphere ensure that convected heat continues to be released at all altitudes between the surface and the tropopause. For the real atmosphere, the radiative flux increase…
“This is where the reliability of climate modeling ends, since no one knows just how the complicated climate system of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans will respond to the small forcings. As shown in reference , if one assumes no change in solar heating, and that convective heat transfer keeps the troposphere approximately adiabatic, the surface temperature will warm by about 1 C from doubling CO2, and the upper stratosphere will cool by about 8 C.
“A surface warming of 1 C is too small a prediction for those who claim that increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases have already led to a climate emergency….
(And then some discussion of positive and negative feedbacks)
“Thick low clouds also reflect sunlight back to space before it is absorbed and converted to atmospheric heat…. Any sunlight you can see has not heated the Earth. Averaged over its surface, Earth reflects about 30% of sunlight back to space; in other words, the “Bond albedo” of Earth is about 0.3….
“Greenhouse gases are responsible for the most striking feature of Earth’s atmosphere, a lower troposphere and an upper stratosphere. In the troposphere, below the tropopause boundary, a large fraction of the energy flux from the solar heated surface is carried by convection, and not by thermal radiation. Convection maintains average temperature lapse rates in the troposphere that are close to adiabatic. In the stratosphere, most of the upward heat flux is carried by radiation. Greenhouse gases warm the surface because they increase the “thermal resistance” of the atmosphere to the vertical flow of energy from the solar-heated surface to space. The larger the thermal resistance between the surface and the emission altitude, the larger the temperature difference needed to drive the solar energy absorbed by the surface back to space. Without the thermal resistance induced by greenhouse gases, Earth’s surface would be much colder and life as we know it would not be possible.
“Increasing carbon dioxide will cause a small additional surface warming. It is difficult to calculate exactly how much, but our best estimate is that it is about 1 C for every doubling of CO2 concentration, when all feedbacks are correctly accounted for. Alarming predictions of dangerous warming require large positive feedbacks. The most commonly invoked feedback is an increase in the concentration of water vapor in the upper troposphere. But most climate models have predicted much more warming than has been observed, so there is no observational support for strong positive feedbacks [18, 19]. Indeed, most feedbacks in nature are negative as expressed by Le Chatelier’s Principle…
“Earth’s atmosphere works like an extremely complicated engine that transforms heat from the Sun into the work that drives the winds, the weather and ocean dynamics. Greenhouse gases are the heat exchanger which allows the atmospheric heat engine to dump waste heat into cold space.”
End of report quotes. Note their conclusion that a doubling of CO2 levels from the 420 ppm of today to 800 ppm might only cause a small additional surface warming. Meaning- There is no “climate crisis”.
The dangerous reaction of Apocalyptic prophets to the inevitable failure of their apocalyptic millennia crusades (repeated patterns in alarmism movements): Wendell Krossa
Historian Richard Landes repeatedly warns in “Heaven On Earth” that a society enters a most dangerous period when an apocalyptic movement begins to fail. The apocalyptic prophets, not wanting to face humiliation, or the loss of power/control/influence, then react by doubling down on their destructive “salvation” schemes that “destroy the world to save it”.
With the prospect of failure, and loss of influence and power, the prophets are faced with a choice says Landes:
“Either they stick with their demotic ideology that force, even if necessary at the start, should rapidly shift to education and voluntarism, or they abandon it for a more cataclysmic, apocalyptic scenario in which they take an increasingly coercive role. Most often, adherents, once engaged in apocalyptic time, resist giving up its promises. Instead, they “up the ante” and follow ever more radical paths. Like the Xhosa, they greet every disappointment by raising the stakes.
“The key to the inevitable apocalyptic re-entry into normal time revolves around the way in which the leaders and powerholders handle the imperfections that all millennial movements must confront. Those that view even insider opposition as betrayal, who seize upon demonizing narratives about the sins of “others” (as was the case with the Xhosa and the Taiping) are capable of killing vast numbers of people. The Chinese ‘Great Peace’ ceased only after some 20-35 million Chinese had lost their lives in a “total” millennial war, and their successors under Mao may have killed as many as 70 million of their own people, most of them in peacetime! The ideologies of revolutionary terror, shahada, and apocalyptic devastation come out of frustrated totalitarians, who, unable to coerce reality to fit their desires, conclude that only by destroying the world can they save it”, (page 242-43, “Heaven On Earth”).
Add here the equally deadly belief of apocalyptic zealots that they can act to spark the onset of the apocalyptic ending of the old, corrupted world (self-fulfillment of prophecy). By aggressive and even violent actions they can spark the final cataclysm that will become a great and final purging of evil in the world, a coercive purification of the evil that they claim has corrupted life and led to the threat of looming apocalypse.
Critical to bringing on the end of days is to violently purge the enemies of apocalyptic millennialism, those challenging and hindering the establishment of the utopian millennium (infidels, unbelievers, deniers). Apocalyptic prophets believe that the violent purging of the “evil” that they claim has corrupted the world is necessary to set the stage for the introduction of the promised millennial paradise that will then be installed exclusively for true believers. By taking action to instigate the “coercive purification”, apocalyptic crusaders believe that they can prod their God to get going, to begin to intervene and take over with the final destruction of all enemies, the final purging of evil.
We saw this impatient prodding of the apocalyptic God to get moving when ISIS terrorists began slaughtering their enemies in Syria (2014). They sincerely believed that, by their violence, they would provoke the final Armageddon battle and God would then intervene to grant them full victory in the spread of the millennial caliphate. We hesitate to imagine what might happen should Iran obtain nuclear weapons and then make their own provoking moves to incite the great “end of days” purging. Iran guides, funds, and promotes varied proxy terrorist groups like ISIS and Hamas. Like father, like son.
We are seeing a similar pro-active “purging of evil” in the climate alarmism crusade. Climate apocalypse prophets are censoring, silencing, banning, discrediting, and criminalizing all climate alarmism unbelievers/deniers that are hindering the salvation schemes of the alarmists. Most critical to climate alarmism purging is to rid the world of the fossil fuels that today’s apocalyptics claim is the main element corrupting life and threatening apocalypse. Decarbonization is then central to purifying the world in order to restore the lost paradise. This required stage of “coercive purification”, in apocalyptic mythologies, is believed to be the necessary precedent for the recovery of the lost paradise or installation of the new utopian millennium.
These projects to initiate the purge of evil, in order to incite the final climatic battle for salvation, become most dangerous when apocalyptic millennial movements begin to evidence their inevitable decline to failure (i.e. the 100% failure rate of apocalyptic across history). Note for example the angry, railing Al Gore at the last WEF conference, urging more aggressive activism. Get the destructive decarbonization crusade moving faster and with more intensity, he cried. Destroy the world to save the world, and if millions die collaterally due to state-created energy poverty, so be it (i.e. mass death from excess cold mortality every year, and the unnecessary mortality that results from blocking the fossil fuels necessary to lift people out of poverty).
Further, the psychopathology of collectivist compassion (“The dark side of compassion”, Christine Brophy) provides insight into why apocalyptic collectivists defend and excuse their violence against all who dissent from their narrative. Apocalyptic millennialists have repeatedly excused the mass slaughters of their past crusades as the necessary “breaking of eggs in order to make an omelet”. That’s all mass-death means, they claim. It’s like a necessary step in cooking, mass-death as necessary to achieve some “greater good”- i.e. “saving the world”.
And yes, I am associating the climate alarmism movement with the larger resurgence of Marxist collectivism. The relationship is undeniable. A few articles on this…
Don’t ignore or defend the “religious” ideas in the mix… Wendell Krossa
Intro: There he goes again, badmouthing religion. No. Actually, I am responding to the common bewailing over “the loss of religion” in our societies. I believe that misses the real point. Its not about taking some pro or con religion stance, but more about what in religion benefits or harms human life and society. I argue to distinguish these things because the influence of religious ideas has always been significant and the outcomes can be horrific. What is good and what is bad in the mix of what we know as religion and religious belief systems? Don’t just sloppily fall back on broad undefined categories- i.e. pro-religion or no religion.
What are we really talking about? Define, distinguish. Do what Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy so wisely did. Tell us exactly what the diamonds are and what the dung is. I have devoted much comment on this site to clearly presenting such issues, notably in defining clearly the core message of Historical Jesus as contrasted with the entirely opposite Christ of Paul that has distorted and buried the core teaching of Jesus in the larger New Testament context.
The critical distinctions and contradictions are about “Unconditional vs highly conditional”. “Non-retaliation vs supreme ultimate retaliation”. “Non-punitive vs punitive”. “Non-violent vs violent”. “Universally inclusive vs exclusive”. “Love of enemies vs hatred of enemies”. The most profound of distinctions in life and society.
Its about the core features that define humanity’s highest ideal and authority and the influence of such features on human thought, emotion, motivation, and response/behavior. Influencing outcomes for good and bad in society.
Now on to this…
Over the past few months (2023-24) I have read regular articles (e.g. National Post) recounting what happened Oct. 7 in Israel. Writers describe the horror of what those men did to many Israelis, notably what they did to young women, gang-raping, torturing, burning, then murdering or kidnapping. Our minds reel with mental nausea at what those young women suffered in the final minutes of their lives, and that savagery orients me to one thing that has to be focused on as critical to any future efforts to prevent such madness from recurring. I am talking about bad ideas, and most specifically about bad “religious” ideas. “Religious”. Get it? Religious.
And my outrage burns because these ideas are still everywhere present in our main religious traditions, as well as now being embraced by so-called “secular” offspring belief systems. We hear those bad religious ideas behind the insane screams of “Allahu Akbar” as Hamas terrorists slaughtered innocent people. And we hear them in the mantra of climate alarmists that “Mother Earth is angry” at us for enjoying the good life in civilization.
Its all the same old primitive ideas/themes generating the same destructive outcomes as ever before from the “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” complex. The same bad religious ideas that have always deformed human consciousness, personality, and then moved out to harm entire societies, with unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, despair, fatalism, nihilism, and violence.
Religious folks naturally react defensively to any criticism of their beliefs and deny the causal or contributing role that those religious themes play in mass-harm and mass-death movements. Despite that protective denial, bad religious ideas have a well-established historical track record of inciting, guiding, and validating our worst impulses to tribalism, domination, and punitive destruction of enemy others. As a priest once concluded- Religion has shed more blood across history than anything else (I won’t state just which religion he referenced).
I get the protective urge of religious people to defend their systems and I repeatedly offer a qualifier: Yes, of course there are good ideas in their traditions, and those have produced good outcomes. But here is the issue, the good is too often overwhelmed and defined by the bad in the same context of religious belief systems and holy books. That weakening and burying of the good is the result of merging and mixing things that are entirely contrary, as in good mixed with bad. I am trying to keep things simple and clear here.
The bad deforms the good, renders it something less than it should be, or buries it entirely. Here I affirm, for example, Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy’s point that the “diamonds/pearls” of Jesus were buried by the larger New Testament context dominated by Paul’s entirely contrary Christ myth. Illustration? Love in religious traditions like Christianity is not the universal, unconditional form of love that ought to define authentic human love, the universal, unconditional love as taught by Historical Jesus.
No, religious love is more often essentially tribal love, limited love, discriminating love that favors true believers and threatens unbelievers with ultimate exclusion, judgment, condemnation, and destruction in hell, if they refuse to believe and join the “true religion”. That is the love taught by Paul in his Christ myth. There is no inclusive, universal “love your enemy” in such religious traditions. Not ultimately. That is how the “diamonds” of Jesus are redefined in some limited, conditional, non-universal manner. Deformed and buried by the larger context.
Hence, my argument that you cannot merge the central discovery of Historical Jesus that God was an unconditional reality with the contradicting highly conditional theology of Paul and his Christ. You cannot preserve and properly communicate the true nature of that unconditional reality when it is placed in a highly conditional religious context that then distorts and buries it. That merging project just does not work because you have then lost the single most profound discovery ever made to liberate human consciousness, life, and society- i.e. the Jesus insight on God as no conditions love. That insight, now buried for two millennia in Christianity has never been permitted to express what Jesus intended for it- i.e. to liberate people from the fallacies of the threat theology that undergirds “lost paradise/apocalypse/redemption” mythology, a complex of themes about an angry, retaliatory God who demands the condition of violent blood sacrifice to appease his wrath and thereby avoid destruction (see Paul’s detail on this, for example, in his letter to the Romans). Those ideas have always incited and validated the worst of human impulses, the evil triad of tribalism (excluding differing others), domination of “enemy” others, and destruction of differing others (see also Zenon Lotufo in “Cruel God, Kind God”).
Richard Landes insights on “prime divider” societies and the response of democracy (“civil polity”). His terms/definitions- i.e. “prime divider… demotic…etc.”- sometimes obfuscate a bit, making following his arguments more difficult, but still worth the read, Wendell Krossa
Journalist and podcaster Glen Greenwald, along with others, has offered the interesting insight that there has been a significant shift in a traditional divide in our societies, a reformulation of social division. It is no longer so much the old left/right divide and opposition (though elements of this still remain) but it has now become more a divide between commoners and elites. Commoners that now include citizens from the right, left, and center of the political spectrum. This, they claim, more accurately describes the social divide and conflict between notable sectors of the population that is occurring today in our Western societies, prominently so in the US.
However, this “new polarized divide” is as old as humanity. Its just another iteration of primitive tribal dualism, tribe against tribe, group and against group, or class against class. Tribal dualisms have always involved opposition between groups of people, with domination by the more powerful over the weaker others, and too often punitive destruction of the weaker others.
Today this ancient tribal dualism has erupted once again, now notably in US Democrats positioning themselves as the new elite of solely righteous ones destined/ordained to guide, enlighten, and govern all others. US Democrats, once the party of equality, inclusion, tolerance, pro-democracy, pro-free speech, and compassion for the weak and oppressed, have now undergone a recent and profound transformation that has abandoned those past ideals to become the party that protects and promotes elite domination and privilege. What the fuck has happened and why?
Is this new Democratic authoritarianism due to “the dark side of compassion”? (compassion for the weak and oppressed has often claimed been by the left as their primary impulse). The outcome of such compassion has been a resurgence of “left-wing authoritarianism”.
We have seen this before in 20th Century Marxism, and other versions of collectivist socialism where enlightened elites (vanguards) claimed to be operating out of compassion for oppressed masses, a compassion that has too often inevitably resulted in elite totalitarianism.
Insert from previous postings:
Understanding the psychology behind left-wing authoritarianism, Wendell Krossa
Some comment and quotes from Christine Brophy’s research: “Narcissism behind Left-wing authoritarianism: New psychological research finds that behind the progressive “be kind” agenda often lies a far darker set of motivations”, article by Beige Luciano-Adams, Sept. 2023
And similar comment from Michael Shellenberger on the deformity of compassion in left-wing authoritarianism:
Richard Landes further helps us understand this commoner/elite divide, this persisting tribalism in contemporary human societies. Ultimately, its a residual from our previous existence in animal reality (small band groups living under alpha male/female domination).
Landes offers interesting detail on this ancient form of relating in human societies that arises mainly from the second element of the evil triad of inherited animal impulses- elites striving to dominate commoners. And of course, the first element of the triad also intrudes here- the tribal impulse.
Landes also notes the bottom-up pushback against these society-destroying impulses, the resistance to elite domination that often ends with violence, violence from elite oppressors seeking to maintain power and control, crushing dissent. Aso, the violence from commoners seeking liberation from oppression.
However, I part company with Landes on his argument that modern era democratic policies arose from the beliefs and practises of the Hebrew religion and Christianity. While people from these traditions certainly played important roles in modern liberation and democracy movements, I take the view that commonly shared human impulses, whether found in religious or secular groups of people, were the motivating, influencing factors in creating modern liberal democratic societies. The impulse to create liberal democracy is not a religious impulse as religion has long been dominantly a conditional and controlling social institution. The highest ideals in the religious traditions of the ancient Hebrews and Christians embody many ideals of domination and control.
Both religions, for example, have long revered ultimate domination by their God as ultimate king and lord, a God who ordains mediator kings and priests to rule commoners with extensive complexes of rules covering all details of life, along with demanded sacrifices and offerings, and a tightly proscribed religious lifestyle that permits little creative diversity. Landes ignores the prominence of such features in these religious traditions that work to affirm elite powerholding and commoner submission. Look, for example, at Paul’s advocacy (Romans 13:1-7) for cowering submission to governing powers as the will of a God who appoints those leaders to rule the population. Where is there any “government of, by, and for the people” in Paul’s teaching?
Elites seeking to vent their impulse to domination will find home bases and projects, both religious and secular, to promote their agendas of domination. We saw how elites found a comfortable home base with Marxist collectivism. As one political commentator noted regarding collectivism approaches to organizing societies, someone has to run the collective and such people create systems of affirming ideas (ideologies) to validate their domination and control. Power-mongering elites have found no more persuasive, though insidious, argument to cloak their lust for power than the claim to superior compassion. Add further the argument that their project is for a “greater or common good” as found only in collectivism approaches, and well, who can argue against such high-sounding ideals?
Insert on “someone has to run the collective for all others” – With the centralization of power and control in state bureaucracies you get the Ponerology issue: from Editor’s Introduction to “Political Ponerology: The Science of Evil, Psychopathy, and the Origins of Totalitarianism”. Those lusting for power over others move in to take advantage of positions of power in state bureaucracies…
“Power is not a means. It is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship”, from Orwell’s 1984.
“All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people (also) have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted”, Chapterhouse: Dune.”
End of insert.
As someone pointed out, with all collectivist projects, someone, some enlightened elite must run the collective for the greater or common good. This was exhibited repeatedly over the past century in the collectivist’s coercive appropriation of the “means of production”, i.e. the state takeover of sectors of economies/businesses, claimed by collectivist elites as necessary to ensure that the means of production functioned for the benefit of the workers. That centralizing of control over society’s resources and wealth creation inevitably unleashed the elite impulse to totalitarian privilege (the corrupting influence of power). The inevitable result was elites using society’s resources, foremost, for elite benefit while the peasants lined up for the remaining scraps on empty store shelves.
A severe deformity in elite perspective arises from their insistence on framing individualism as all about the evil of “selfishness and greed”, as contrasted with their claim to moral superiority in collectivist concern for greater or common good as true unselfish love. I mean, who can argue against such logical framing of love and good as contrasted with evil? Even early Christianity presented this understanding of “sharing all in common” as true love (i.e. Acts 2:44-45). Hence, the often comfortable affiliation of Christianity with Marxist collectivism across the last century (e.g. the “Liberation theology” of Latin America).
The delusional belief in their moral superiority blinds collectivists to awareness of the inherent faults and dangers in their system and renders them unable to admit the repeated collectivist failures across the last century or so. In response to the repeated failures of socialist experiments, collectivists defensively respond- Oh, that wasn’t true socialism. If we just get another chance to implement real socialism, then it will work. But they never detail just exactly what they would change next time to make their system work. Kristian Niemietz details this inability of socialists to admit that something is fundamentally wrong with their system in “Socialism: The failed idea that never dies”.
Historically the subjection of individuals and individual rights (i.e. property rights) to collectives has resulted in the destruction of societies and horrific immiseration and mass-death of tens of millions of people. Remember the millions of deaths under Stalin’s collectivism and the estimated 70 million deaths in China under Mao’s collectivism (Chang and Halliday in “Mao”).
We are being conditioned to accept this same outcome of widespread immiseration in the World Economic Forum projects that are preparing us for a return to primitivism- i.e. You should prepare to eat insects, to own nothing and be happy. While the new collectivist elites continue their lives of ever-expanding property and luxury. The “you will east insects and be happy” is the outcome of concentrating control of the resources of societies in state bureaucracies, a centralizing that then unleashes the totalitarian’s lust for power, and related selfishness and greed. And what is then left for the rest? Well, eat insects. Insects as in “de-development, decarbonization”, a return to primitivism, to a low consumption lifestyle as “morally superior”.
Note, that while selfishness and greed plague all human projects, including the capitalist system, such greed was worse in collectivism systems that obsessively prohibited dissent as in free press/free speech to challenge elites and expose such corruption.
Landes also warns about the reversal of the oppressor/oppressed relationship where the former oppressed become the new oppressors (e.g. French Revolution). We see this potential danger of reversing the oppressor/oppressed relationship, for example, in the current reframing of the race issue under DEI approaches where many are responding to the old race problem with a new “Woke racism” that seeks to now oppress former perceived oppressors. But as others respond- the new discrimination is just the same old discrimination and racism. It is the same old evil and is not solved by responding with that same evil as in new forms of special segregation for minorities where other races are prohibited. Boston presented an example in a party where the mayor forbade whites from attending, thereby violating anti-segregation laws https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12863869/Boston-Mayor-Michelle-Wu-party.html .
How are we liberated from the old evils when the formerly oppressed seek to then, in turn, subject their old oppressors? Vengeance is such an ugly thing, ruining societies. Eye for eye is never an answer, only making all blind. Today’s progressivism is in danger of promoting severe regressivism.
Landes outlines the response to elite domination in the development of “civil polity” with principles designed to counter the “prime divider” societies. These civil polity principles come from the Enlightenment era, modern scientific revolution, and more particularly from the English discovery and implementation of “Classic Liberal” principles, institutions, and systems of common law, all designed to protect and promote the rights and freedoms of individual citizens, equally. Principles and institutions that honor such things as the full equality of everyone under the same system of law, principles of respect for the diversity and self-determination of all others (live and let live), laws to protect others from unlawful arrest and seizure of private property, to ensure fair treatment in justice/legal systems, laws and institutions to protect the freedom of opinion and speech, to guarantee free assembly (free choice for association), to protect private property and private contracts, and so much more.
The English tradition of Classic Liberalism has been the great Western contribution of liberal democracy to the world, where governing elites are obligated to serve the people, not themselves or other powerful elites. “Government of, by, and for the people”. The development of Classic Liberal institutions and laws was, among other things, to counter the second element of the evil triad- the impulse to dominate and control others, the totalitarian impulse.
And as Frederick Hayek said- Classic Liberalism/Libertarianism best protects against totalitarianism because it distributes power among competing individuals, among competing institutions such as in the division of powers in government institutions. That decentralization of power counters the natural tendency of elites to centralize power as in collectivist approaches where some enlightened elite must then run the collective for the rest (for, as they claim, the “greater or common good”).
Centralizing power and control inevitably unleashes the totalitarian impulse. The enlightened elites running collectives are the most dangerously deluded people who believe that they know what is best for all others and will coerce others, with state force, to submit to their collective views and programs.
Someone wisely offered the warning that there is no such thing as “benevolent rulers”. All of us possess this dangerous impulse to dominate and control others, and we all need societal institutions and laws to restrain our natural tendency to dominate, built-in mechanisms to take power away from any of us tending to indulge domination of others, mechanisms to redistribute power among competing individuals and institutions.
The main tools that today’s elites use to intervene in the lives of others and to control others include state taxation (coercively taking the money of others which reduces the choices, the freedom of those others), regulations as the most direct interference in other’s freedom and choice, and state control of programs that are run by state bureaucrats who often position themselves against citizens as enemies, nuisances, forgetting that they should responsibly hold their positions to serve the people whose very taxes fund the bureaucracies they are fortunate to find employment in.
Unfortunately, in a great democracy like the US we are seeing this totalitarian impulse being unleashed today as Democratics have moved far left toward Woke collectivism that through varied projects and policies is trying to crush commoner opposition. Some note this as the outcome of the Democrat party shift to become the party of the urban, educated elites in coastal urban areas that now form the core of the Democratic party. Others note the intensifying Democratic authoritarianism in the demonizing of differing others with consequent projects to silence all opposition, particularly to control more rural working class commoners. Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi, and others detail the agents, organizations, and projects involved in this new totalitarianism and its psychopathologies.
Many of those we have known as former liberals have now become highly illiberal, authoritarian, and oppressive. A great “switcheroo” has taken place. Add features like the old McCarthyism now being pushed from the liberal/Democratic side with the smear that opinions contrary to Woke Progressivism are “Russian disinformation” or other forms of “disinformation, misinformation, mal-information… or hate speech, etc. “. Add the fact a majority of Democrats today favor censorship of opponents and banning unacceptable candidates from elections. The intelligence agencies now serve the far left Democrats with programs to frame and demonize opponents as evil enemies, using a complex of smears such as “fascist, nazi, racist, bigot, threat to democracy, etc.”. All common features of elite domination today.
Landes quotes from chapter 8 of “Heaven On Earth”: Insight on the impulse to dominate and modern projects to counter the impulse…
“To understand the dynamics of millennialism in modern industrial societies one has to understand the culture and psychological framework of agro-literate societies from which they arise… Premodern societies have a variety of key features in common all of which center around the creation of a vast and profound division between elites and commoners… the elites monopolize weapons, communications technology, and wealth….. in such cultures, elites, especially the armed warriors, had a great deal of discretionary power in their dealings with commoners…
“Research supports the idea that “prime dividers” dominate the structures of agrarian societies… prime dividers that… are oppressive…
“Elites construct prime dividers along four major lines: legal privilege, stigmatization of manual labor, restricted access to the technologies of knowledge, and weaponry- all imposed by (powerholders) who possess honor and status…
“1. Privilege legalized: Aristocrats have special status before the law: they legislate, they judge, they execute. They pay fewer taxes. Laws favor their persons and their property over the person of the commoner….
“2. Manual labor stigmatized: Labor defines commoners. It the eyes of elites it represents a disgrace that disqualifies laborers from public life, public discourse, and elite education. Elites are defined by their freedom from manual labor…
“3. Technologies of knowledge and weaponry monopolized: Elites try to maintain as much control over information as possible… they try to keep weapons, especially the best weapons out of the hands of commoners…
“4. Honor and the Elite: The basic elements of honor-shame cultures… a particular privilege of the elites, whose recourse to force allows them to establish their dominion… by their possession of honor… In an honor-shame culture one may, even must, shed blood for the sake of honor… the most exalted form of violence is war, the sport of kings, the passion of the warrior aristocracy…
“These prime dividers between elites and commoners act as a kind of social membrane that maintains two different cultural spheres… two radically different cultures…
“Elites protect prime dividers by making the passage from below into their advantageous situation difficult…
“Prime dividers arise out of political cultures that take the “dominating imperative” as axiomatic: rule or be ruled, dominate or be dominated, enslave or be enslaved. This golden rule- do unto others before they do unto you- takes its imperative nature from its assumption about other’s response. If “we” do not subject “them” then “they” will subject us. One must dominate as a defensive measure…
“Obviously, in a world where others palpably intend to do precisely the same, it not only makes sense to play by those rules but it becomes dangerous to abstain…
(But some commoners rebelled against elite domination)
Quoting someone: “There was no longer fear or respect for superiors. All strove to acquire liberty, saying that it belonged to them… They did not understand that serfdom is the punishment for sin. The result was that there was no longer any distinction between the great and the small but a fatal confusion tending to ruin the institutions which rule us all…”
“Medieval elites held inequality as self-evident and hierarchy as endowed by the Creator. The aristocracy controlled productive surpluses: They had the leisure time, at meat to their fill, and lived by the sweat of other men’s brows… The social order depended on their superiority, their honor.”
Landes then comments on the emergence of democracy or civil polity.
“Civil polities attack the ideological and institutional foundations of prime divider societies… their cultural and legal supports. Instead of privilege before the law they insist on equality before the law… Such societies systematically substitute a discourse of fairness for violence in dispute settlement… discourse rather than violence governs decision making and dispute settlement…
“Civil polities have to come up with an alternative to the coercive, fear-induced obedience that characterizes ‘top down’ polities… Civil polities seek social cohesion and order from consensus rather than coercion, from a social contract or covenant, from bottom up rather than top down. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you demands a degree of empathy and mutual respect that aristocrats or ruling elites categorically reject in their dealings with the peasantry (subjects). Only when such principles of empathy and equality become widely accepted can a society attempt to dismantle the prime divider…
“Civil polity inverts prime-divider structures…
“Equality before the law… is a victory for the common people greater than anything since the dawn of history… equality before the law is a notion whose boldness and rarity cannot be overstressed… (it) challenges the core of hierarchy… (In elite resistance to such laws you realize) how threatening aristocratic groups find such measures…
“We should not underestimate the anger and resistance that this loss of arbitrary power provoked in the ruling classes…
(On the need for commoner access to information)… “only an informed citizenry could hope to protect its legal rights against the constant encroachment of those in power… widespread access to the text of law means widespread awareness of rights and protection…”
(On countering the stigmatization of manual labor) “Manual labor serves prime divider societies as a kind of mark of disgrace, a stigma that excludes the laborer from participating in political and cultural life… and the positive valuation of manual labor represents perhaps the most radical of the egalitarian principles discussed here…”
(On countering honor-shame culture and that claimed honor validates powerholding with force over commoners) “Perhaps most fundamental element in the creation of a civil polity comes from the notable increase in the tolerance of adult males for public contradiction. This results to some extent from an internal shift in the ability to contain anger, and to some extent from a change in the peer group which ceases to honor violence as an appropriate response to insult… this shift occurred in Western civilization in the context of a contrast between rational and irrational behavior. ‘Rational’ described the positive sum interaction that in benefitting all made sense; ‘irrational’ described the hot-headed often self-destructive demands of overwhelming emotions like rage at humiliation, destructive envy, or the drive to dominate…
“Compromise is the essence of democracy, going for hard zero-sum outcomes blights growth and mutual prosperity… (but positive-sum interactions) demands that we renounce or sublimate such pervasive and nearly irresistible emotions as envy and pleasure in other’s misfortunes… generosity can render one vulnerable just as much as laying down one’s weapons..
“Perhaps the most critical dimension of this problem of honor concerns the ability of commoners to criticize elites publicly without incurring a violent reaction. This in turn depends on the capacity of those criticized elites to tolerate such public ‘affronts’, rather than treat them as assaults on their manhood. While ‘honor’ demands violence in response to ‘insult’… civil polities cannot survive without a highly developed culture of self-criticism…”
Summary of the four counters to elite domination in prime divider societies- “equality before the law, manual labor as unique source of dignity, commoners caring about contents of texts (accessing information), overcoming obsession with honor…”
Quoting an ancient Greek: “Each single one of our citizens in all the manifold aspects of life, is able to show himself the rightful lord and owner of his own person… freedom empowers all its citizens to act autonomously.”
“Civil polities… represent experiments against the grain, struggling against the dominating imperative, always resisting its gravitational pull…”
Then commenting on biblical teaching… “’love your neighbor as yourself’ exacts an empathy that makes mutual freedom possible… Jesus’ teachings… take many of these demotic elements to even greater levels of intensity…he demands people love their enemies, rather than not bear a grudge and not take vengeance, he demands that one forgive seven times seventy and turn the other cheek… ethical demands of the new Testament represent a massive attack on- indeed a superhuman negation of- the most elementary aspects of honor-shame culture”.
End of Landes quotes.
Gad Saad adds his fundamental principles to protect from totalitarianism. ”The ethical debasement of the West puts us at risk of mayhem, misery: Meritocracy, freedom of speech and the presumption of innocence are all principles that must be maintained for society’s sake”, Feb. 9, 2024
“Deontological ethics on the other hand are absolute statements of right or wrong. If you were to say that it is never acceptable to lie, this would be a deontological statement. In my 2020 book, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense, I argue that the West is built on foundational principles that are deontological by definition. These include freedom of speech, presumption of innocence, journalistic integrity, freedom of inquiry and the ethos of meritocracy.
“When Donald Trump was banned from Twitter (now X) in 2021, many of his detractors quickly argued that while they fully supported free speech in spirit, they recognized that the then-president of the United States was simply too dangerous an ogre to be permitted to spout nonsense. He was an existential threat, a meteorite hurling toward Earth and as such freedom of speech did not apply to him. Well, I am Jewish, and I support the right of Holocaust deniers to spew arguably the most offensive and insulting of all historical lies. Such is the price that you pay to live in a free society. Racists, bigots, cretins, imbeciles, loud-mouths and falsehood spreaders must be tolerated in order to protect the most fundamental of all deontological principles: freedom of speech.”
And some other comment….
Tracey Chapman singing her signature hit- “Fast Car”
Beautifully giving voice to something so fundamental to being human… Voicing human aspiration for something better, that deep inner impulse to escape the imperfections of life, to find a better life, to work to create something better, so fundamental to being human. This has driven us from our days wandering the plains of Africa, suffering the miseries of living like animals, to what we have created across the millennia in civilization…
Enya tried to voice this same impulse in her “Orinoco Flow”, as she once said it was a desire for something wonderful, some inexpressible longing to sail away toward a better world…to explore, go on a journey to wonderful places.
Media daily obsession with climate alarmism, note this typical title- “Government incentives- take action- climate crisis”. Then these links…