Monday, July 09, 2007
The Global Warming Horror Show.
THE GODS. It's not news by now that the worldwide Live Earth concerts were a bust. It's not all that surprising either. Global Warming has to be the dullest crisis ever, championed by the dullest demagogue ever. The closest I came to watching it was sitting through the first half of a rerun of the South Park Manbearpig episode last night. When I chanced this morning to hear an audio clip of Al Gore's pledge speech (seven points!) at one of the concerts, he sounded exactly like the fruity illiterate Stan and Kyle were trying to avoid.
What's really odd is that I think the South Park boys were actually on to something with Manbearpig. The obvious absurdity masks a subtler but nevertheless quite real absurdity. And mask is the right word. The mask of Global Warming is science, but the underlying passion that's driving it is paganism. Manbearpig is a classic pagan god, two parts animal, one part human, adding up to an archaic godhead. And Global Warming is really an outgrowth of a pagan yearning. How else is it that this cobbled-together -- and remotely consequential -- theory has become part of a cluster of 'progressive' causes that most notably include gay rights, hard-line feminist rejection of 'the patriarchy' (excepting Islam, of course), anti-Christian campaigns that are disingenuously positioned as expressions of secularism and humanism, extreme sexual libertarianism, an obsessive focus on health and nutrition as if they were morality, and an irrational Luddite condemnation of all things technological (excepting cell phones, the internet, and MP3 players)?
Would the scientists who think their rationalism is saving the planet from mankind's baser instincts be happy to know that their most ardent followers are the same people who wear crystals, read auras, channel ancient eastern spirits, dance Wiccan spells naked under the full moon, and perform imaginary Druid ceremonies at Stonehenge during the solstices? Or that some of their most vocal fellow travellers are defying the imperatives of evolution by engaging in non-reproductive sexual activities which have been scientifically proven (more than Global Warming, anyway) to reduce their chances of survival by 30 to 60 percent?
What's going on here isn't an enlightened transformation of medieval superstition (Christianity) into rational planetary consciousness (green progressivism). It's an act of reversion to pre-conscious paganism -- a violent divorce of theology from morality, a sundering whose ultimate purpose is 180 degrees antithetical to science. Why? Because the opposite of science is magic, which is based on the notion that purely symbolic actions can have an impact on matter at a distance, without physical contact or logical cause and effect. What's the difference? The cultures of antiquity (including the increasingly self-righteous native peoples of North, Central, and South America) employed human sacrifice as an act of magic, a brutal and bloody transaction that had to be repeated every time Gaia or Quetzalcoatl seemed to be punishing the earth. Christians elevated sacrifice to a divine concept, one that was performed once, to perfection, and so needed never to be performed again except in symbolic form. Because its purpose was not to slake the appetites of a vicious nature god like the sun or the storm, but to imbue the human spirit with an internal sense of right and wrong and transcendant truth.
It was Christianity's focus on mind and spirit that liberated science from the shackles the originating Greeks had constrained it with. The idea of a relationship with the divine that was not based on transactions but an aspiration to know the beauty of creation inspired every scientist from Newton to Einstein. Now we are reduced, once again, to the level of mere animals. Good is what makes us feel good -- sexual gratification, prolonged physical health, the comfort of rituals that make no demand on minds that have grown weary of complexity. For their excessive demands on our minds, the gods of complexity must be destroyed, utterly, by the most potent and ancient of magic. All their mores must be trampled. All their virtues must be mocked. Everything must be turned on its head. Rich must become poor. Evil must become good. Man must become woman, woman must become man, commandments must be broken, and the rituals we perform must be magical, not spiritual.
So they accept the ridiculous magical notion that a concert can change climate -- provided that we say and do all the right things along the way, regardless of the facts. It's the performance that matters, not anything like a chain of cause and effect as scientists might understand it.
What's actually amazing about all this is not the conduct of the crazies, but the ambivalent reactions of the people you don't expect to be crazy. That's where you see the real power of magic and paganism and the irrational generally. I won't be forgiven for this (but who cares?), and besides it was Camille Paglia in our time who has made the strongest case for the theory that men invented rationality as a defense against the native paganism of women, which is another way of saying that if you want to see the cracks in the edifice of rationality, look first to the women.
I've previously commented here on the peculiar response of the famous Ann Althouse to Al Gore's idiot Global Warming movie. Today, we have her equally ambivalent response to the Live Earth concerts. Yes, she knows the whole exercise was silly. But:
I watched some of the show. I TiVo'd everything, then fast-forwarded through most of it. I enjoyed Crowded House and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And everyone likes Madonna now. She works so hard. She's still willing to get out on the dance floor flat on her belly and writhe until we are entertained.
Everyone likes Madonna now? No. Sorry. Not everyone does. Some of us think Madonna is as much of a woman as Al Gore is of a man, and we're not comfortable with either of them. And the idea that time somehow alchemizes old vice into present-day respectability is uniquely female -- and definitively amoral. Men who once thought Madonna physically attractive but whorish haven't changed their perception of anything but her attractiveness. Once a whore, always a whore. It's only from the women that you hear the excuses and qualifications -- but she's been so successful, for so long, and she keeps reinventing her.... what? Her whorishness.
To most men I know she's reached the worst stage of whorishness -- she's reached the stage of kidding herself that a bunch of superficial makeup -- a British accent, authoring children's books, playing the grande dame expatriate from her native Queens -- will somehow undo the nights she spent cruising Manhattan in her limo picking up gigolos for wanton sex. That's an act of magic that makes sense to a large number of women, but not to men. To men, you are what you do. To women, you are what you can convince other women you are.
And if Madonna is somehow slowly transmogrifying -- like other English women -- into a man, women are also strangely comforted, it seems, by the fact that so many men, Al Gore included, are gradually morphing into the sitzenpissers of Germany. To the pagan mind, which resides deep in the minds of many, this is the ultimate victory against rationalism, a milestone in the return to the prehistorical times that are supposed to have been matriarchal, when the Eleusinian Mysteries prevailed, and men were subservient to women throughout the course of a single, endlessly repeated year in which no history occurred, no writing disrupted the cycle of the moon, no manufactured art competed with naked breasts, and the earth was a merciless mother who still managed to screw every man, woman, and child like a satyr.
Deep down, though, that's what most women still want. The Return. Scroll through Ms. Althouse's site, with special emphasis on her photography, and then look at this. Then take a look at this and this, and tell me how much faith you have in women to rescue western civilization with their more highly evolved values.
Richard Dawkins actually thinks he's winning. You can take it from me, he's losing the house, the barn, and the car.
UPDATE. A new controversy. And more yuck.
Keith Richard? No.
But we all love her now, right? Right.