Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Paul Krugman has a more optimistic view

Well, think about global warming from the point of view of someone who grew up taking Ayn Rand seriously, believing that the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest is always good and that government is always the problem, never the solution. Along come some scientists declaring that unrestricted pursuit of self-interest will destroy the world, and that government intervention is the only answer. It doesn’t matter how market-friendly you make the proposed intervention; this is a direct challenge to the libertarian worldview.
Interests, Ideology And Climate 
In Krugman's view, the only real problem is ideological. I agree. All of my arguments with libertarians have gone the most screwy at precisely the moment when I point out that the looming environmental crisis cannot be managed by the free market.

These are data points that are unassailable: we are heading for disaster, and the only solution is collective action. Libertarians can only respond by ignoring the scientific facts, ignoring the consequences of their own ideology, or by embracing defeatism - essentially, our destruction is inevitable and inescapable.

Think about that. These people would rather see the world burn than admit that their governing philosophy is simply bunk. But that's not as defamatory as it seems, since it basically describes all people ever. It is only now, with the advent of science, that people can separate their personal worth and self-esteem from the factual positions they happen to hold at the moment. And even now, most people simply can't do it.

Because most people have built an edifice on those "facts," an edifice they know is unfair and unjust, and they rightly fear that if they surrender on those "facts" they will have to dismantle their edifice, and at that point they may well be required to account for the injustice they have done (or even merely be subject to someone else's injustice). By most people, of course, I mean the entire Western world which has consumed the lion's share of the Earth's resources for centuries.

An accounting is coming, either at our own hands or at the hands of Nature, in the form of brute reality; and as any biologist will rush to assure you, Nature is not by any definition merciful.

No comments: