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: