Real Panic

A couple of days back I found myself listening to Brendan O’Neill talking to People Before Profit counsellor Fiona Ferguson about Greta Thunberg, the teenage Swedish global warming alarmist, and thinking that the global warming alarmism, which I had thought was mercifully fading away, was now gathering new strength.

Fiona Ferguson was a big fan of Greta Thunberg, and Brendan O’Neill was not. She said that Thunberg had become “terrified” of global warming by a teacher at her school. And as someone who was genuinely terrified of a “world on fire”, she had become the poster child and the spokesperson for all the other similarly terrified people in the world – which is why she’s become the toast of a great many alarmist politicians.

What we’re seeing here, I fear, is real panic. A lot of people (and Fiona Ferguson is just one of many) are genuinely terrified by the prospect of catastrophic global warming.

She’s terrified in the same way that a great may antismokers are genuinely terrified of tobacco smoke, and panic at the sight of anyone smoking anything anywhere.

One thing that the terrified antismokers and the terrified global warming alarmists share is a profound faith in science and scientists. The antismokers believe the doctors who tell them that smoking causes pretty much every disease known to man, and the global warming alarmists believe the climate scientists who tell them that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing global warming, sea level rise, hurricanes, droughts, and any number of other disasters. They are people who believe everything they’re told by anyone who claims to be an expert.

These days nobody has any faith in priests and bishops and popes. But really all that’s happened is that they instead place their faith in “experts” of one kind or other. They put their faith in doctors and scientists in the same way that they once put their faith in monks and priests and holy men.

Nothing has really changed at all. We live in an age as superstitious and credulous as any that came before it. But instead of worrying about demons and spirits, people worry about tobacco smoke and carbon dioxide, both of which possess what can only be described as supernatural carcinogenic and thermogenic powers.

And the odd thing about it is that it seems that the less anyone knows about medicine, the greater the trust they have for doctors. And the less they know about science, the greater the trust that they place in scientists.

And the doctors and the scientists and all the other experts are using this trust to sow terror in the hearts of the credulous. They’ve already made millions of people terrified of tobacco smoke, and now they’re making them terrified of carbon dioxide too.

But there are plenty of other panics to go round. In Britain there’s the great Brexit panic. And in America there’s the great Donald Trump panic, and the gun control panic. And we are probably overdue for a great financial panic as well.

We seem to be on the brink of a general, climactic, all-consuming pandemonium. Perhaps there’s no stopping it. Perhaps these things gather momentum like avalanches or forest fires, the hysteria building to an inescapable climax.

Which brings to mind an old poem:

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

About Frank Davis

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8 Responses to Real Panic

  1. RdM says:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    “If—” is a poem by English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, written circa 1895

    • beobrigitte says:

      Which brings to mind an old poem:
      I remember Rudyard Kipling’s poem being a 21st birthday present from fathers to sons.
      Perhaps it could be a gift to incoming prime ministers in future.

      • RdM says:

        This bit

        If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
        And treat those two impostors just the same;

        reminds me of both William Blake and Buddhism

  2. beobrigitte says:

    These days nobody has any faith in priests and bishops and popes. But really all that’s happened is that they instead place their faith in “experts” of one kind or other.
    Priest, bishops and popes have in common with “experts” one thing: The only way their ideologies are distributed is by fear-mongering. Last weekend I asked a snowflake (who objected to this term, btw,) when it was the last time he/she spent time not being worried about one thing or the other. Snowflake had no answer to this question.
    The Greta Thunbergs of this world, who become frantically scared by one person or another peddling fear, perhaps are not only afraid of dying, they are even more afraid of living.

  3. Algernon Struthers says:

    Frank once again comes through triumphant. I’ve experienced the, ‘smoking is evil incarnate’ reaction – cost me a relationship – but, but, I’d been smoking outside! She hadn’t even whiffed my nicotine! Oh but I’d touched it! There has to be money in the equivalent of crucifixes for warding off evil nicotine. Hell bells, ‘how did the Nazis influence the Germans?’ – answered by Frank in a couple of sentences. Greta has that ‘superior race’ look somehow, even the name. Maybe an anthem is needed, copyrighted of course, something about glorious mud and cabbages. Greta on the prow of her boat looking west, no plastic water bottles – hidden with the plastic wrapped foods and tin cans, but not a cabbage in sight, in theory at least.
    As “beobrigitte” says, the Gretas are scared; fear-driven, desperate, hunted, while the rest of us look on scratching our heads. Dare we question, but the nicotine has surely possessed us; the luxuries of today twisted our logic! Don’t even mention Brexit!
    They’re sucking up lies through their paper straws, and the problem with lies is that they can’t be reason with.

  4. waltc says:

    Delingpole on Greta. Well worth the read:

    I think what the smoke/warming fearers have in common to begin with is a sense of their personal fragility and defenselessness –and, therefore, a sense of doom–in a world of forces beyond their control. Given that as a precursor, they’re then open to the experts who give a name to their angst. And, even better, provide a cure. (“I’ll be safe–in fact the whole world would be safe–if only the boy next door would stop smoking and driving that car.”)

  5. roobeedoo2 says:

    ‘The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed 13 new warnings that would appear on all cigarettes, including images of cancerous neck tumors, diseased lungs and feet with amputated toes.

    ‘Other color illustrations would warn smokers that cigarettes can cause heart disease, impotence and diabetes. The labels would take up half of the front of cigarette packages and include text warnings, such as “Smoking causes head and neck cancer.” The labels would also appear on tobacco advertisements.’

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