By the time Trump had finished burbling his way through the oath of office, all references to Climate Change had been erased from the White House website.
As I have been saying all along to anyone who would listen, this is what Trumpism is ultimately all about.
It is a coup by the corporate climate denial movement.
I predicted that this would happen:
It now looks highly probable that within our own lifetimes the problem of ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ will, in one limited sense, disappear. It seems likely to me that the Trump administration will follow the lead of Florida Governor Rick Scott, who forbade government agencies from mentioning it, and former UK Environment Minister Owen Paterson, who refused to read any document containing either phrase.
If they hadn’t gained power this way, they would have done it by means of violence.
Trump’s supporters among ordinary working and not-working people know the facts at some level – only a psychotic could truly ignore the spate of floods, droughts, hurricanes, etc — but they are prevented from articulating their fears by the cover-up campaign and by the social taboo it has generated. Their repressed fears express themselves as furious denial and hatred against any easily identifiable target they are presented with.
And then there’s the rest of us. You, for example. When was the last time you had a serious conversation about the changing climate?
If we continue to avoid discussing the causes and the consequences of the changing climate with our friends, families and colleagues, we are part of the “Trump Revolution”.
In the meantime, I want to say once again to anyone who is listening: Climate Denial and Holocaust Denial are, on a moral plane, identical. Dedicated climate liars should be treated with absolute contempt. Climate denial involves dismissing – indeed facilitating – the suffering unto death of billions of human beings, principally those who are considered to be far away and different. Those who perpetuate it, whether out of personal interest or misanthropy, are involved in the planning and execution of the corporate genocide of the entire human species. And what is taking place inside the White House is the “alt-right” equivalent of the Wannsea Conference. This is the Endlösung for the climate.
It is no accident, therefore, that very many of the same individuals who insist on disrupting all and any discussion of global warming also deny the massacre of millions of people by Hitler. The 2016 film about the Nazi activist David Irving, ‘Denial’, was also, implicitly, a film about climate denial.
Hence there is no need to check on what the stances of Marine Le Pen or Frauke Petry are on environmental questions. We know. They are serving the interests of the most evil forces to have ever held sway over the future of our species.
The most painful aspect is that we are all to some extent climate deniers. We have to be, or life would be impossible.
To explain this I want to post something I wrote on the subject in August 2010. I should have found some way to shout it louder at the time, or worked harder on working harder with people who felt the same way:
Why are so many otherwise entirely rational and intelligent people so prepared to give credence to the denialists? Of course it is partly to do with the media hegemony of corporate power, but not entirely. Personally I comfort myself in the secure knowledge that I myself am prepared to ‘believe’ in the reality of what is happening and what we face, that I ‘know’ that it is happening and will continue to happen; but I’ve come to think that I may be mistaken about my own belief.
There are after all very many things we think we believe, but actually we don’t, and to ‘know’ something is not the same as, in the words of Sven Lvindquist, to understand what we know and to draw conclusions. Despite my firmly held and rationally based opinions, my own actions suggest that I am not a strong believer in the reality of climate change. I do not place much importance in recycling, for example, choosing to regard it as something of a superstitious action akin to shouting at the TV to influence the result of a football match (nobody of course would ‘believe’ for a second that doing so would have any impact, but their ‘irrational’ behaviour might make one think otherwise). My position on recycling could probably be characterised as something of a ‘beautiful soul‘ one: given that other people refuse to change, and given the immense complexities involved, I refuse to act, regarding it (entirely logically, if not rationally) as both utterly ineffective and beneath me. Nevertheless it’s one that I have until now felt entirely comfortable with.
It’s very difficult, impossible perhaps, to take a realistic and rational view of climate change. There is no level of fear or anger that is proportionate, and none of our individual actions are remotely sufficient. I have come to realise, however, that gestures are important, contrary to what I’ve always thought and contrary to what Slavoj Zizek so entertainingly argues. My actions suggest that subconsciously, like anyone else, I refuse to accept the reality of climate change. The trauma is too great to integrate into my notion of the world, the future of the world and my place in it, and so I act as if I will never be affected. But changing my habits can force me into believing at a deeper level. In Alcoholic’s Anonymous they apparently call this ‘acting as if’: first you change your behaviour, and then hopefully, gradually, your beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, about your ability to manage your life without a drink in your hand begin to change.
To slip briefly into amateur Lacanese: because the Real of climate change is impossible to apprehend, we have to act within the realm of the symbolic. Symbolic tokens in the form of gestures do have a value; they can be exchanged for genuine belief. Not just recycling but skills shares and community gardens are important, as are all other forms of exchange not based purely on exploitation. Staying out of supermarkets is a good move for all sorts of reasons.
Nowadays, again like anyone else, we consume constantly, indiscriminately, or ironically, consuming our own gestures of consumption. This is the age of McDonalds happy meals consumed in a constant low-level muzak hum of cynicism, apathy and despair, flat screen Tvs gorged down in the midst of a recession. We consume because we are: what else are we, what else are we to do?
There is of course no substitute for collective political action, for maximum anger gathered and launched at those in power who notice our failure to genuinely believe and so pretend to act, understanding that for us, for now, pretending to act is enough. But it can serve to help us accept the anger and fear that climate change generates, to live with it and try to live differently.
I think I believe in the reality of climate change. But the fact that I fail for the moment to begin to live differently shows that I do not, yet. I first have to change the way I live my life.
Welcome back to 2016. We are now governed by a regime of climate trolls. Such creatures are, whether they like it or no, mouthpieces for the fossil fuel industry. In ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ Pynchon writes:
Death converted into more death. Perfecting its reign, just as the buried coal grows denser, and overlaid with more strata – epoch on top of epoch, city on top of ruined city.
I don’t know what will now happen to the squads of trolls that have been mobilised. They can no longer pretend to themselves that there’s anything other than doglike obedience to corporate power motivating their actions. Some will continue to fight online battles, too stupid and/or rabid to realise that they’ve won. Their owners will probably give them another scented rag to chase down. Vigilante gangs may be formed offline in addition to online in order to help police dissent. In the meantime this blog will soon go much quieter, as I will have a bigger priority: our first child (thankfully a daughter). We have to protect and sustain life in the face of forces which represent nothing but death.