The Book!

Monday, January 09, 2017

The End is Near

The tunnel at the end of the light.

I have a leftish friend, a distinguished editor and journalist, who, in retirement, still writes a regular column. It is a window on what the left is thinking, at least in Canada.

His latest column clarifies something. It is titled, “DENYING THE EPIDEMIC OF DEMENTIA.”

That is the main premise: that there is a current epidemic, dementia, and we are foolishly doing nothing about it.

“It’s hard to call dementia an epidemic. Epidemics typically involve infectious diseases. But when one in every 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has some form of dementia, some 700,000 Canadians, it’s hard to call dementia anything but an epidemic. Every year, about 25,000 new cases are diagnosed.

Apply those figures to any other illness -- measles, cancer, AIDS -- and you’d have not just an epidemic, but panic.”

In pointing out our folly, he lists other matters about which we seem to be willfully blind:

“ So we deny climate change. Even though the figures are clear. Global temperatures are rising. So are sea levels. Polar ice is melting. Storms, floods, and fires escalate in violence. But we’d rather debate it than fight it.”

“ We deny the massive extinction of species. As with climate change, we’d rather argue about possible causes than acknowledge the problem.”

“ We haven’t even begun to consider the effects of living in a bath of wireless transmissions, relying on safety standards drafted before cell phones and Bluetooth even existed.”

“ And the topic of over-population is utterly taboo. We humans are already the most invasive species on earth. No other species has had such a devastating effect on other species, or on the environment. But we can’t talk about it, because we consider all solutions unthinkable.”

In a superficially unrelated remark, a reader responds to the immediate past column with the comment:

“Look into the future, . What do you see for us? The Tyee, which is a decidedly left wing newspaper, took a poll of its readers regarding their prognosis for the coming year. Over 80% said they view the future as hopeless.”

And that, it seems to me, is an apt summary of the movement that currently calls itself “progressive.” far from believing in the possibility of progress in any sense, it seems convinced that the sky is falling. One way or another, these are the last days. The world is about to end.

This view is not realistic. Start with dementia. A smaller proportion of people than ever before, at every age group, are getting dementia. That is not characteristic of an epidemic. What is also happening, of course, is that with the improvement in life expectancy, more people than before are living long enough to risk dementia.

But this then seems an effort to put the most depressing spin possible on good news. It is as though either the left wants to believe the world is going to Hell in a handcart, or they are somehow traumatized and cannot get past negative thoughts.

Quickly, on the pressing danger of climate change: to avoid being called a “climate change denier,” it is not enough to believe just that the earth is getting steadily and significantly warmer. Although there is already room enough to doubt that. You must also believe that man is the principal cause, that this will be a bad thing, that it is realistically possible to stop it by government action, that the actions proposed will cost less than the eventual damage from climate change, and that there are no more pressing problems on which the money might be better spent. 

Bertrand Russell, public atheist, leads "ban the bomb" march, 1961.

Buying all that takes quite a leap of faith. It is a complicated dogma, and improbable on its face. Most improbable is the idea that climate change, if real, means impending universal doom. At its core seems a conviction that man is evil, and must somehow repent, to avoid the imminent wrath of an angry God.

So too with the idea of an impending imminent mass extinction. There is no hard evidence of it, only predictions based on computer models. Again, a leap of faith that violates the scientific sine qua non of skepticism and demanding evidence rather than relying on authority. It does not come from science; from whence does this conviction come?

The ultimate concern mentioned, revealingly, is overpopulation. That perhaps gets to the nub. The problem is too many people; with the self-contradictory assumption that too many people by their existence will kill all people. In other words, the problem is with the sinful nature of people. People are bad per se; people are evil in their essence.

Far from ignoring or refusing to discuss the problem, it has been done to death. When I was in high school, back in 1970, our biology teacher required us all to buy and read The Population Bomb. This nagging negative thought has been pervasive ever since, for at least 50 years now. It is, granted, at last apparently fading. Because all the predictions of “overpopulation” turned out not to be true. Scientific evidence did not support the theory. Instead of running out of water, food, and everything else, poverty has declined worldwide. Famines have become much more rare. And the world population is, on present trends, soon to level off on its own.

As men are evil, anything made by man is also evil. That is, civilization is bad. Hence the concern with “pollution.” And new inventions like cell phones or Bluetooth must necessarily be somehow poisonous. The idea that they might be has in fact been studied again and again; and no significant harmful effects have yet been found. The concern seems based on irrational fear, not science.

To be fair, a lot of the present pessimism on the left is connected with the fact that their girl lost the recent US election. Still, they do seem generally to be taking an apocalyptic view of that too. It’s Hitler? Trump is going to send them all to concentration camps! And that has been their attitude for fifty or sixty years, hasn’t it? Since the “ban the bomb” movement in the fifties. The world will end soon from global cooling, or global warming, or overpopulation, or peak oil, or nuclear holocaust, or pollution, or if not that, surely something. There is always a nagging sense of threatening epidemic.

The four horsemen of the apocalypse: overpopulation, dementia, global warming, and Donald Trump

Granted, the right can be apocalyptic too, on a smaller scale. They worry about the decline and fall of civilization, or at least “Western” civilization. But in this is an original optimism and hope In progress: that civilization is worthwhile and that mankind has indeed built something over the years.

What we seem to see on the left is an obvious pervasive sense of free-floating guilt. The human conscience is acting up, and disturbing our sleep.

What happened? What is driving the left, literally, crazy?

This comes from turning away from God.

No comments: