Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Energiesuspende | Main | Anonymity in the ivory tower »

Climate change and the left

This comment on why the left has fallen head over heels in love with global warming ideology was left on the discussion board by Lord Donoughue. I thought it worth of promotion to a full post.

The issue of why the political left is overwhelmingly supportive of the climate change alarmist ideology/faith, and hence there are relatively few left wing sceptics, is quite complex and would take more space and time than I intend to impose on you here. But may I, as a lifelong Labour supporter, offer a couple of broad observations. They are by no means comprehensive and omit many nuances. But they are major general factors which I have observed in the party for 61 years, and in Parliament for almost 30 years.

First is that most leftish British people get politically involved because they genuinely believe they wish to contribute to the common good in our society. (They tend to believe , rightly or wrongly, that the right wing wishes to contribute to their own individual or class good). At first this drew many to sympathise with Marxist ideology, until the Soviets discredited that. More sympathised and many still do with the social democratic ideals of equality and civil liberty, though that position lacks the ideological certainties and claimed scientific basis of old Marxism. With the collapse of Marxism, there was created a vacuum on the left. Those seeking an ideological faith to cling on to for moral certainty, felt bereft. They also wanted a faith which again gave them a feeling of still pursuing the common good of society, especially the new global society, and even more a feeling of moral superiority, which is a characteristic of many middle and professional types on the left. Climate change and the moral common good of saving the planet , with its claimed scientific certainties, offered to fill the vacuum. It may or may not be a coincidence that the climate change faith gained momentum in the 1990s immediately after Marxism collapsed with the Berlin Wall.

I notice that my Labour colleagues who are troubled by the cost of the war on climate change, and especially when I point out that its costs fall heavily on the poorer classes, while its financial benefits go to rich landowners and individuals on the Climate Change Committee, still won't face those facts because they want to cling on to the new climate faith because they want to believe it is in the common good. They are not bad or stupid people. Many are better and cleverer than me. But they have a need for a faith which they believe is for the global good. They don't want a moral vacuum. And the current leaders of the social democratic parties in Britain and Europe are not offering them much else. For Ed Miliband, who is not a bad or stupid man, but coming from a Marxist heritage, when asked for more vision, he grasps climate change like a drowning man clasping a lifebelt.

While this need persists and there persists the misconception that the Green faith is somehow leftish and in pursuit of the common good, then most on the political left will stay with it. To shake them it will be necessary to show them that the costs of implementing climate alarmism will actually destroy the economic hopes of the poor and is often a cynical device to enrich the wealthy. That it enables self righteous middle class posturers to parade their assumed moral superiority at the expense of the poor. And that it's so-called scientific certainties are very uncertain indeed. It is also necessary for the sceptical and realistic side to show more publicly that they accept the proven aspects of climate change (which every sceptic I know does) and care about the genuine concerns of the environment (which the Greens ignore by littering our landscapes with inefficient and costly windmills.)

My second point concerns the Stalinist tactics of the Green activists in trying to suppress any questioning of their dogmatic faith and to damage the lives and careers of any professional person who attempts to examine this subject in an honest way which might undermine their dogmatic claims. Their use of Holocaust language such as 'Denier', implying their target is akin to a neo Nazi, is but one example of the Stalinist mentality. In that political context, where any questioner is so derided, it is no surprise that most Labour supporters choose not to take the risk - especially when it immediately throws them into confrontation with their embattled leader.

Sorry to go on so long. But they are my observational conclusions on why it is not easy for the sceptical side to make progress on the political left. Interestingly, polls suggest it is among Labour working classes, always more practical than our Hampstead/Guardian types, that there is the biggest dissent from the Green religion - and some of them are already slipping off to UKIP, which shows more concern for their suffering under the Green taxes.

This battle to bring understanding to Labour that its climate policies punish its core supporters, will take a while to win, partly for the two reasons I offer above.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (224)

(except the occasional spider that eats its mate after copulation)

No - that is good for the propagation genes of the spider - it increases the chance of survival of his offspring so even for the male spider who gets eaten, it's a good deal.

Nov 19, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A


When we talk about the extreme right , what I understand is that it starts with the German Romanticism of the 19C. At the end of WW1 Ludendorf, the German general became a Pagan. The German Volkisch which evolved in the 19C became more influential after WW1, especially with the Nazis. This rejection of modernity, absorption of the views of R Steiner , back to nature, anti Christian pro Pagan views and pro Aryan/animals attitude became aspects of Nazi ideology.This pro Aryan/animal and anti everybody else attitude appears to have morphed into an anti-human pro animal attitude. Hitler and Himmler were vegetarians. This hatred of humans and love of animals appears similar to the attitude of British socialist intelligentsia who ridiculed physical courage and patriotism from Britons yet hero worshipped Stalin and the USSR. All these attitudes become entrenched when one can obtain employment , status and money from supporting them.

What happened with the water melons is that the anti-modernity/industry of the neo- pagans green middle class merged with the anti-capitalism anti Christian Trotskyist middle classes andfast buck capitalists, who recognised a money making scam when they saw one.

What I think we have is confluence of various streams of anti-western anti-modern anti capitalist anti- empirical/rational/logical thought combined with a totalitarian outlook which started to evolve in the early 19C and were given a boost by the massive increase in the arts, social sciences and environmental sciences in universities post mid 1960s. Global warming is mostly accepted by the middle classes, not the working classes and by people who are not craftsmen, technicians, applied scientists, numerical scientists, engineers or anyone where facts are vital and can be proven.

Global warming appeals to those who reject facts and figures and prefer ideology to common sense and the fast buck capitalists. The belief in that can save the World without personal danger to oneself, be morally and intellectually superior and makes lots of money, is almost irresistible.

Nov 19, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Martin A

Dinnae get technical wi' me, son!

Nov 19, 2014 at 10:53 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

I gave a list of the things I found unpleasant earlier (Pinochet worship, claims that Nazi's were not of the right, that Roosevelt was a war criminal, that McCarthy was proved right and that Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth). Each of these items, which come from the side bar (rhs), is unpleasant revisionist history, in my opinion. But adding in a gratuitous claim that blacks have lower IQs than whites (not that whites have IQs lower than Chinese or Japanese, note) is tantamount to white supremacist talk. If you think this is ok because he didn't explicitly say that whites are "superior" to blacks you are being intentionally obtuse in my opinion.

This doesn't of course mean that you are all racists. I find it hard to believe that anyone not on the extreme right of politics shares these views. But you are all associated with them. NikfromNYC may be marginal, but John Shade (who originally linked to the site) is not an unimportant, anonymous, figure here. It bothers me that nobody is prepared to dissociate himself from these views.

Nov 19, 2014 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

This doesn't of course mean that you are all racists. I find it hard to believe that anyone not on the extreme right of politics shares these views. But you are all associated with them.

Raff, don't be all coy, just say what you really think ie we are all racists.

Nov 19, 2014 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

@MartinA - "IQ is a nothing more than a measure of the ability to do IQ tests."

Well, yes and no. IQ tests may not mean anything in and of themselves, but high IQ scores are strongly correlated to all sorts of positive social outcomes - in terms of employment, earning power, propensity for violent crime...even health. Which is not to say that being good at IQ tests causes all those things, but perhaps there is another, overarching factor that might account for the IQ test results and all that other stuff as well...

Nov 19, 2014 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

Nazis- National Socialist Workers Party. Hitler believed in central control of industry in order to produce weapons. Hitler was critical of Christianity and industrialists. Much of Hitler's policies were similar to Stalin but without the Aryan aspects. The Nazis and Communists recruited very similar people.

When it comes to dictators, Pinochet probably murdered less than Castro and certainly less than communists post 1945. When it comes to McCarthy one should remember the Commintern. The below archive shows some of the KGB activity
Russians such as Bukovsky and Gordievsky have shown the extent of communist infiltration of the West .

McCarthy was wrong to do what he did. However, history has shown the extent of communist infiltration. McCarthy being an aggressive clown probably turned most average people away from the idea of communist infiltration and therefore did communists a favour.

If one wants to assess IQ according to race , Ashkenazi Jews have higher average IQs than Europeans, as do Indians from S India, Chinese from Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai plus people from S Korea and Japan. What is revealing is percentage of race with IQs above 150. The way things are going in the USA, the top 10 engineering and science universities will be run by Jews, Indians, Chinese, Koreans and Japanese, in a few years time. Apparently some Far East Asians are complaining about Harvard limiting their numbers.

Nov 19, 2014 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Charlie, Wiki says "A majority of scholars identify Nazism in practice as a form of far-right politics". Maybe you dismiss Wiki and are prepared to believe Nazism is of the left. That is your choice; a malign choice in my view.

Your defence of Pinochet and McCarthy is that they were not as bad as Castro and Commintern. Marvellous!

You don't mention Roosevelt or Lincoln.

Assessing racial IQs is of academic interest. That is fine, but that is also where it should remain. Once it leaves academe for the more malevolent shores of nationalism and racism it becomes a dangerous tool.

Nov 19, 2014 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Raff - the scholars seem to be blinkered. There are so many similarities between the regimes of Lenin/Stalin and Hitler that it seems nonsensical to say one was left-wing and the other right-wing. The idea that power was exercised through a party mechanism is central to both. The expropriation of industrial assets is central to both, for use by the Party rather than by the owner. The war against Jews is central to both - the last purge that Stalin waged was against Jews - the so-called Doctors' Plot. Your academics should wise up.

I don't believe that Lincoln and Roosevelt were worse than Castro or the Comintern either. Look at the malign effects of Mao, Pol Pot, the Korean dynasty and tell us how Pinochet even gets into the roundings in terms of killings and suppression of liberty, deliberate creation of mass poverty etc.

Nov 19, 2014 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I'd normally hate taking part in such absurd discussion but I've heard this nonsense revisionism before and it just demeans those repeating it and indeed the entire blog with it. Hitlers first victims were Communists and real Socialists. Trotsky in exile tried to get these two groups to unite in order to defeat the Nazis at the polls. Moreover most wartime resistance was carried out by Communists. These facts alone are enough to tell us Nazis were more nationalist than socialist; as indeed it does to every historian except apparently Jonah Goldberg, who is clearly selling pure BS. I've also seen the BS that the greens are Nazis - apparently on the basis that Nazis revered the countryside. That facile reasoning puts quite a lot of us in the Nazi category. But wait - surely being green means Nazis were anti-industry? Well gawdelpus didn't that just burst the argument very easily?

Orwell was a very radical left-winger but also the most vociferous critic of communism and coffee table socialists to the extent that he is continually quoted by right-wingers seemingly unaware of his leftyism. Maybe we should be more aware that there is no such thing as ideological truth. Alas people believe precisely what it suits them to believe.

But if you really want to try to avoid sounding like a complete twit then just attempt to seek out the obvious stupidities inherent in your logic. MI5 would not try to run Princess Di's Merc off the road with a Fiat Uno. Rumsfeld would not be sitting in the Pentagon if he knew a plane was coming to hit it. Obviously excess debt must lead to a debt crisis and blindingly obviously, warming does not cause cooling and heat cannot hide. etc, etc. In a world of PR and BS (much the same thing) we should be skeptical of almost everything. You can achieve that by reading both sides to an argument.

My main concern with the enviro-nuts (including scientists) whether from the left or right, is that they genuinely seem to think they are on the moral high ground, simply because they cannot imagine it otherwise and seemingly it doesn't matter how many folk might die or be pushed into poverty - it will never sink in through their santimonious protective shell. If 6 million extra deaths didn't convince them of the evils of a DDT ban then what does it take?

Michael moore once wrote that you cannot convince a right winger by appealing to morality - you have to tell them how they will save money. I wonder what the equivalent argument is against environmentalists.

Nov 20, 2014 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

There have been several TV series on the rise of the Nazis ( recently on Yesterday Chanel, Biography of Hitler, and World at War) which explained at length the influence of folk groups on the Nazis. A Large folk group which involved extensive camping back to nature was absorbed by the Nazis. Hitler in the 1920s and up to 1933 spoke out in extreme language against industry which was almost identical to the communists in tone. After 1933, Hitler changed his comments because he wanted to develop the weapons industry which then supported him because of a massive increase in orders. Mussolini was friendly with Lenin in Switzerland prior to WW1. The conflict between the Nazis and the Communists in the 1920s in Germany was so violent because they were arguing over similar issues and recruiting similar people: many communists became Nazis.

Knowledge is power. Treating adults as children and therefore removing the responsibility to discuss knowledge produces children. If one reads Orwell's diaries 1940-1950, he explains that the intelligentsia ( mostly left wing/marxist middle class) had pronounced totalitarian outlooks.

In 1940, at Dunkirk, a 17 year old midshipman was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery: some of the pilots in the Battle of Britain were 18 years old( G Wellum); the youngest Wing Commander ( Finucane ) was 21 years old. I would suggest a teenager who has held a battle field command has the emotional maturity far in excess than the vast majority of todays academics.

Since the 1960s,many left wing students and academics have shouted down and abused in writing all those who disagree with them in a manner similar to a spoilt child having a temper tantrum. The result is that the phrase " a scholar and a gentleman ) is now largely obsolete. A major aspect is that by the early 1980s all those academics who had served in combat or intelligence work ( Bletchley, SOE) had retired and even those who had undertaken National Service in combat operations such as Malaya, were coming to the end of their careers. Consequently, academics had no experience of making life of death decisions in difficult circumstances which forces people to become emotionally mature: often the decision is the lesser of evils; people will die whatever happens but which produces less deaths.

Many academics who entered universities since the 1960s, especially in the arts and social sciences and outside of applied science and engineering appear to have maintained a certain "huitard " mentality. Anthony Sampson in his 1982 Anatomy of Britain explains some of the problems.

Nov 20, 2014 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

My website. Lessons from anti progress ideology (aka ecofascism). The roots of modern ecology in the Third Reich

Nov 20, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterE. Smiff

"We recognize that separating humanity from nature, from the whole of life, leads to humankind’s own destruction and to the death of nations. Only through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger. That is the fundamental point of the biological tasks of our age. Humankind alone is no longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole . . . This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life, with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist thought."

Ernst Lehmann, Biologischer Wille. Wege und Ziele biologischer Arbeit im neuen Reich, München, 1934

Nov 20, 2014 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterE. Smiff

Entropic Man

My view from the beginning is that the global warming (carbon trading) campaign will cause massive environmental damage as clean industry (1st world) is replaced by dirty industry (3rd world) due to increased fuel costs in the 1st world.

Nov 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterE. Smiff

Mike Jackson, E Smiff

I studied ecology as a science, then taught it as a science for 24 years.

In a natural ecosystem a herbivore species can sometimes have its normal constraints of predation and disease removed. Its population then grows beyond the carrying capacity of its environment. After doing considerable damage to the normal vegetation of the system the species population crashes back to a much lower level as its food supply runs out.

This pattern can also be seen in microcosm in past human history and observed in present human history on a worldwide scale. A past example is Easter Island and current examples include Rwanda, Sudan and Syria.

Humanity, at least in theory, knows enough to avoid the usual consequences of this path.In practical terms all the likely solutions are morally repugnant or impractical. If commenters at BH are any indication, the preferred option is to do nothing and let it happen.

Nov 20, 2014 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Good article and interesting comments. Both frequently mentioning "left" and "right" politics. I've been a long-time skeptic of the concept that a government committee can "manage" a national economy. Particularly when for thousands of years there has been no such thing as a national economy. This becomes very obvious when a financial contraction hits. Cicero observed that when there is a credit problem in the Eastern Mediterranean it would soon spread to Rome. For this indifference, I've been described as right wing or as a Nazi.

Also as a skeptic of man-caused global warming the same epithets have been used.

Now, as someone who seeks more freedom and less intrusion being called a Nazi or right-winger does not fit.

"Left" and "Right" are archaic and no longer apply. These were useful in the early 1900s to describe the differences between "international socialists" and "national socialists". The term "authoritarian" covers all of the ambitious political movements.

There is an elegant definition of an authoritarian system: "That which is not prohibited is compulsory".

Nov 20, 2014 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob Hoye

Entropic man exhibits the simplistic limits-to-growth Malthusian logic that has failed every time yet doesn't seem to die out. Human endeavour and progress demands slightly more complex logic and the facts tell us there is actually nothing to worry about. So there is no need to consider anything morally repugnant or impactical or even worry about doing nothing. The preferred option is business as usual only because it works....I prescribe a healthy dose of Dr Hans Rosling here....

And of course tone of the most stark and depressing findings of Rosling is that the general public know very few facts about population and progress; certainly less than random guesswork (or monkeys) would produce and educated people like EM do even worse. Probably this is because they didn't ever bother to keep up to date and for reasons known only to themselves they prefer the pessimism peddled by Ehlich & co. to reality.

Nov 20, 2014 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Bob Hoye

"There is an elegant definition of an authoritarian system: "That which is not prohibited is compulsory"."

Agreed. Governments in modern liberal democracies are dependant on the good will of their voters, which limits them to policies giving considerable individual freedom.

As you move further into socialism and communism, they become more authoritarian as individual freedom is sacrificed "for the good of the people".

Move the other way into the corporate state and fascism and individual freedom is sacrificed " for the good of the state".

Nov 20, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Bob Hoye

"There is an elegant definition of an authoritarian system: "That which is not prohibited is compulsory"."

Agreed. Governments in modern liberal democracies are dependant on the good will of their voters, which limits them to policies giving considerable individual freedom.

As you move further into socialism and communism, they become more authoritarian as individual freedom is sacrificed "for the good of the people".

Move the other way into the corporate state and fascism and individual freedom is sacrificed " for the good of the state".

Nov 20, 2014 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


A leader who raised a resistance group in Normandy said from 1940 they were of risk of betrayal by communists to the Gestapo up to May 1941 and then in 1944, many communists tried to murder resistance fighter who opposed them - read M Muggeridge. The murder of non-communist resistance groups in the Balkans by communists was a major problem for SOE personnel and greatly reduced their effectiveness. Some SAS/SBS officers in Albania operated by ignoring communist resistance fighters. In Poland in 1945, catholic resistance fighters, trained by the SOE were murdered by communists who had not fought the Nazis. Polish people warned Polish service personnel in letters NOT to return to Poland because they would be murdered by communists. Communists were always looking at how take over a country after the Nazis were defeated and were prepared to kill or allow the Nazis to do the filling for them. The Red Army waited outside of Warsaw while the SS killed the resistance fighters and ignored the pleadings of Poles to intervene.

If one looks at which resistance groups which supported the Allies from 1940 onwards, then conservative patriotic democrats and royalists were probably the most consistent in fighting the Nazis. Communists and communist supporters in the UK were very successful in persuading the World that were the only group which effectively fought the Nazis.

Orwell was socialists but he had breadth of knowledge ( 7 languages ) and experience which enabled him to view the World as it is. Orwell's views changed as new facts became apparent. Consequently , Orwell was able to articulate certain truths which were universal and therefore of no political persuasion.

Nov 20, 2014 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie


The Red Army waited outside of Warsaw while the SS killed the resistance fighters and ignored the pleadings of Poles to intervene.
Have a look at a map of the Soviet Army advance after Stalingrad and note carefully the direct route to the German frontier and the route they actually took.
Warsaw was the least of it!

Nov 20, 2014 at 4:46 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


No doubt the Assyrians said much the same things as yourself and showed the same foolish optimism about the future; before overpopulation and climate change destroyed them.

Nov 20, 2014 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

interesting Entropic you have any reputable source about climate change and the Assyrians? My books attribute the decline to the fact of continual warfare and just exhaustion - the decline of population because of 300 years of warfare.. And besides, at assyrian latitudes, is climate change a big worry? Isn't the climate supposed to be stable in those places? Does the Bible reference abnormal weather when the Assyrian Empire toppled?

Nov 21, 2014 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

I understand that AGW first came to light when Margaret Thatcher used it as a scare story to undermine the UK Coal Industry and destroy it once and for all along with it's troublesome union...the NUM.
It certainly worked......mining areas became ghost towns and the pits were either closed or mothballed.
Labour and the socialist's heartland bore the brunt of ironic that 30 years later the trendy left has picked up the mantra that could once again destroy jobs and communities.

Dec 5, 2015 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterFred Holby

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>