Sunday, September 04, 2005

Theodicy and environmentalism as religion

Jonah Goldberg has a column on Disastrous Faith There is something deeper going on with the attacks on Bush. They're startling and reflective of something deep going on inside people. Something deeper and bigger than politics.
On one level I think all of this is partisan opportunism. Even a casual glimpse at the data provided by the national weather service shows that big hurricanes (categories 3,4, and 5) haven't increased over the 20th century. But for years now, activists have exploited media coverage in order to make it seem like something scary is driving the rise in hurricanes. "Global warming = Worse hurricanes. George Bush just doesn't get it," blared a billboard in Florida during the run-up to the 2004 presidential election.

A great many people tried to pin the 2004 tsunami on global warming too, even though that wasn't even theoretically possible (it was caused by a deep-sea earthquake). Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth in Britain, spoke for many when he proclaimed, "Here again are yet more events in the real world that are consistent with climate change predictions."

But I also think there's something much deeper going on. It cannot be disputed that not just the activists but millions of normal people honestly believe these self-fulfilling prophecies which explain virtually every kind of weather — except nice weather of course — as the comeuppance of man. And, the key word there is "prophecy."

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