The Doomers vs Humanity

Global warming is the Doomers’ excuse to voice their hatred of people.

By Phil Hall

The debate about global warming parallels the debate about nuclear catastrophe. We are as close as we ever were to catastrophe, to the danger of bio-warfare, chemical warfare and nuclear warfare. To this we have now added cyber-warfare. Despite this danger, CND is utterly invisible. Has the danger disappeared? It has not. How can we explain CND’s disappearance? I asked a young activist about CND. She had never heard of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The forgotten symbol of CND

In the 1980s anyone who claimed nuclear war was survivable was shouted down; they were screamed at by weeping militants, people who shed hot, passionate tears for the future generations of mutant, starving children; the ones you see all around you.

They are looking fondly at albums of marches and their camps around missile sites, as if it were all just an old hobby. Where are those camps now? Has the danger passed? It has not! Where are those middle-class activists now?

They are here. The people who glue themselves to trains and wear billboards saying the world is about to end behave in much the same way as their apolitical middle class counterparts did in the 80s when we faced the prospect of nuclear war. They don’t believe in socialism and they don’t point the finger squarely at capitalism. Instead they just bleat: For heaven’s sake, someone do something!

Worse than the ultra middle class ecologists are the Doomers. They have joined Extinction Rebellion. Philosophers of Deep Ecology and their fellow travellers often compare humans to parasites. They are misanthropes and hardly the right people to guide us. Fascists can be ecologists too. The Green Party is a Trojan horse that anyone can use. The Green Party is hollow, it is not a socialist party.

It’s too late. Don’t bother trying to save the planet. Game over.

The philosophers of Deep Ecology don’t even argue for the survival of humanity, but for the survival of systems and they make grand generalisations about destruction with hysterical gravitas to support their arguments; arguments for the end of civilisation, for the death of the cities and the depopulation of the Earth.

These are sometimes the same people who want to save the Amazon from the depredations of those pesky poor farming mulattos; all those brown people ruining the ecology for sensitive first world oxygen breathers, for gap year students. These are the new eco imperialists. Save Africa for the lions and rhinos and to hell with the Africans.

For some people global catastrophe is a kind of pathetic fallacy, the reflection of their own psyche and their sweet longing for Thanatos. Survivalists dribble in anticipation of the destruction of civilisation.

The dangers of global warming are real.

The dangers of global warming are real. The best estimates are that global temperatures will go up by 6 degrees by the end of the century and that sea levels will increase to 5 metres and that impoverished low-lying nations like Bangladesh, which has a population of 161 million crammed into a river delta, will see terrible suffering from sea level rise. There are many terrible consequences. Rivers will run dry. Places that were warm will become very cold. Places that were cold might become very hot. Fires will rage. Hurricanes and typhoons will dash against coasts everywhere. It’s biblical.

Some scientists are even more pessimistic. But even their pessimism has its limits. What will happen, awful as it may be, seems to be just about within the limits of human tolerance. Hundreds of millions of people will be displaced, tens of millions will suffer terribly, millions will die. That’s bad, as bad as a world war but it will not mean the end of the world.

To catastrophise and exaggerate and to whip the younger generation into a frenzy of fear and despair is an evil act.

Meanwhile, the North West Passage opens and Greenland actually becomes green, and the north of Russia melts into arable land. The prospect of capitalism’s Lebensraum growing makes ruthless corporations rub their hands.

Piazzetta san Marco during the 1966 flooding, Wikimedia commons

The enemies of humanity are the self-declared enemies of humanity. They are misanthropes. People haters. They are the people who see other people as a plague, but who don’t consider themselves to be members of that set. They remind me of those tourists who go to Venice and complain about all the tourists. They are complaining about people poorer than themselves. They are Doomers.

The Doomers are philistines. They believe in the God of nature and in the self-healing powers of natural systems. Although there is some truth in this, in fact there can no longer be any real rewilding because there is no longer any real wild. French philosophers explained this fact to us in the 1980s.

The wild is partitioned off and managed. Ask the people in charge of the safari parks and they will explain to you how they manage the wilderness, how careful and studied their actions are. Nature can never be left to heal on its own. It needs a knowledgeable push.

If a wild and natural meteor headed wildly and naturally towards earth in order to smash into Earth in a natural, wild way, causing a wild and natural extinction, it is astronomy and rocketry that will allow us to divert it. It is technology and understanding that will rescue the environment, not letting systems recover.

Doomers don’t generate a feeling of constructive engagement, but of nihilistic outrage.

Doomers don’t generate a feeling of constructive, positive engagement, but of nihilistic outrage. They know how to catastrophise without pointing the finger at the cause of the catastrophe: capitalism.

Extreme climate change activists get their jollies from frightening millions of people with the prospect of the end of the world. They do immense psychological damage in their attempts to manipulate. Their visions are a form of nihilistic, castrating, disempowering, terrorism.

Doomsday cultists are always dangerous – from Jim Jones to the survivalists – even when they are partly right. Some of the people who were partly right about nuclear war also used it as a form of social and personal catharsis. The problem continues, but they felt better after they did their primal screaming, and then they moved on. They left CND and forgot about it. It makes you suspicious. What was the purpose of all those protests? Was it just to scream; to emote and feel better afterwards?

Doomsday fantasists are always dangerous people – from Jim Jones to the survivalists – even when they are partly right.

Doris Lessing wrote a book about surviving in a nuclear holocaust. The Swiss government made it the law that every house had to be built with a proper nuclear bunker under it. Nuclear war is eminently survivable and not everyone is going to die. The Swiss were preparing for it. The dangers of nuclear fallout were exaggerated, though the dangers were real. Cynically, you can manipulate and herd people using fear.

Their visions are a form of nihilistic, castrating, disempowering, terrorism.

To catastrophise and exaggerate and to whip the younger generation into a frenzy of fear and despair is evil. It is enough that global warming is real without it being the opportunity for people with damaged psyches to allow themselves the indulgence of emoting about it and project their own unpleasantness onto the external world.

After the very middle class Extinction demonstration, a street cleaner was left to tidy up the huge amount of detritus its well off, organically fed participants left behind.

It was as if I was invisible to them’ he said. Not one of them thanked me for cleaning up after them. I would vote Brexit again just to annoy them.

Phil Hall is a college lecturer. He is a committed socialist and humanitarian. Phil was born in South Africa where his parents were in the ANC. There, his mother was imprisoned and his father was the first journalist from a national paper to be banned. Phil grew up in East Africa and settled in Kingston-upon-Thames. He has also lived and worked in the Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Phil has blogged for the Guardian, the Morning Star and several other publications and he has written stories for The London Magazine. He started Ars Notoria in May 2020.

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