Sunday, 8 July 2007

The Protocols of the Elders of Greenpeace

When not being the smug snarking git noted earlier, David Baddiel did say one interesting thing, albeit by mistake. Intending to talk about climate change deniers he accidentally said "holocaust deniers", before going on the run from his Freudian slip: of course climate change denial is not as bad as holocaust denial. But is it?

Climate change, at least from the current perspective, is much much less terrible than the holocaust. The holocaust was a planned and systematic extermination of a race of people. Climate change's victims will be drawn essentially at random from throughout humanity. No comparison.

Well, not quite. Climate change's victims will not be randomly distributed: they'll be drawn overwhelmingly from among the world's poor. The exacerbation of climate change, and its denial, is being overwhelmingly carried out by the world's rich. All they have to do to get away with it is buy a house on top of a hill, paid for with the money they made selling the underclasses the means to kill themselves.

But hold on, Dan. There has been no Wansee conference here; there is no intent to kill, no intent to exterminate a race or a class. So Esso and Shell aren't, I suppose, as bad as the Nazis. Through gritted teeth, I'll give you that one. But will that matter when there are six million dead? Or more? I put it to you: not if you lose your family.

Still, there's no equivalence between Hitler and some weasly CEO: he's pretty bad but, I grant you, not quite that bad. Drawn though I am by the call of rhetoric to suggest that he is.

But denial is a different storm altogether. At least holocaust denial, insidious and vile though it is, won't make the holocaust any worse. Climate change deniers effect a deferral of action on climate change, thus ensuring its continuation. Holocaust deniers are apologists; climate change deniers are perpetrators. It's as simple as that. The texts of the "scientists" who, in the pay of Esso and Shell, seek to quibble with the overwhelming evidence that we're hurtling towards disaster are, as far as I'm concerned, morally equivalent to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And that isn't just rhetoric.


Anonymous said...


An interesting parallel, which I pretty much entirely agree with. However, I feel the need to stick up for the sceptics of this world (and a subset of deniers probably fall into this category). I'm not defending them because they're right, in fact I completely disagree with both classes of denier, but I do defend them on the basis that most of us lay people get our information not from direct evidence, but via a proxy (eg the media, scientists, historians, politicians, the bloke down the pub, the church). Why should anyone have faith in these proxies? They've all been misleading at some point. Particularly when it comes to science, and the way research is reported in the press. It gets so ludicrously over-simplifed - tentative hypotheses suddenly become hard facts for the benefit of Johnny Thicko. Plus most people's exposure to science is via rubbish articles like today's BBC headline "Scientists cast doubt on the theory that men are the silent gender" - (note the missing prefix "One small group of..." which would have made the headline much less misleading) - I don't blame people for being sceptical of science when this is how it's generally reported.

But I agree with you that being a man-made-climate-change denier is probably very bad because it leads to the problem getting worse, probably. It's just that when one's evidence for such an assertion is "because lots of smart people think so, and the weather's been a bit weird lately" (and as far as I can tell, that is most people's evidence), well, it's far from water tight. And what with the current zeitgeist being so fervently "climate change deniers are scum" (that's not in relation to what you wrote - I honestly think that's how the majority feel), well it's only going to push the sceptics further from the center.


danbye said...

Yes, I think there was a point when scepticism was fair enough.

But when a vast, overwhelming majority of people who look closely into this stuff say "no, really, this is happening, and the people who demur are in the pay of multinationals with a vested interest in polluting, then that point has clearly passed.

Let me be clear: the lay denier is small fry; mistaken, I think, but not deserving of heavy contempt: precisely because of what you say. But this post is really aimed at the ringleaders, the Great Global Warming Swindle swindlers, the people who will jeopardise the future of life on earth because a paycheque is riding on it. This strikes me as thoroughly despicable, and fully deserving of all the contempt and scorn we can pour on it.

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,

Cool, thanks for the clarification. In that case, I agree with you entirely.


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Andrew Haydon said...

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" What you find of being only?

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