Months into the pandemic and many unknowns still cloud our understanding of the virus. The basic parameters of its transmission rate are still contested by scientists.
Rather than shedding light, experts from prestigious institutions descend into acrimonious, politically charged, point-scoring debates.
Even the grim daily ritual of the body count is slated as either an overestimate or a grotesque underestimate.
But the biggest unknown yet is the damage the virus and attempts to control it have done to society and the economy, and how we will recover.
From this wreckage, the green blob has re-emerged from an all-too-brief period of obscurity with a list of demands that will destroy any hope of recovery.
From the outset, there has been a palpable sense of green jealousy of the virus as it stole attention from the climate fearmongers.
For half a century, greens have been prognosticating the imminent collapse of society. Yet with each new generation, deadlines to stop the destruction of the planet pass without event.
In reality, the world’s population has become healthier and wealthier, and we live longer lives than ever before.
Panic about the virus achieved in days what greens have been demanding for years: grounded planes, empty roads, and a halt in economic growth.
Countless lives and livelihoods throughout the world have been destroyed – either by the virus or by the draconian policies intended to stop it.
But the anti-population campaigner, David Attenborough, has still managed to complain that human beings have it too good. ‘Human beings have overrun the world,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr.
Attenborough said that living ‘in a more modest economic way’ should be an ‘ambition’: ‘The world is not a bowl of fruit… if we destroy it, we destroy ourselves.’
Of course, the natural world has endured despite all the green forecasts of its demise. But the experience of coronavirus shows that the kind of fear, panic, and mistrust ramped up by doom-laden forecasts has had severe consequences for humanity.
Fear of the virus has threatened to dissolve the essential relationships of mutual dependence between human beings, almost in an instant – and on a greater scale than anything Gaia can throw at us in her angry revenge.
Greta Thunberg’s maxim – ‘I want you to panic’ – should cause environmentalists to pause and consider what they actually want for society.
But such reflection is unlikely to be forthcoming. After all, lockdown gives greens what they have always wanted: the abolition of flight, and of travel deemed ‘unnecessary’ by technocrats; and the prohibition of goods which have been designated ‘non-essential’.
Indeed, this is apparently what a green utopia looks like. Green pundits have marveled at the clean air – ignoring the boarded-up shops, bars, restaurants, and cafes that may never reopen.
They have cheered the empty blue skies, while human life is confined to the home and neighborhood. We may have endless free time, but we have no money and no freedom to go anywhere. Naturally, George Monbiot is delighted.
The virus of green thinking has infected political leaders and their plans for economic recovery, too.
‘No one hesitates to make very profound, brutal choices when it’s a matter of saving lives,’ French President Emmanuel Macron told the FT: ‘It’s the same for climate risk.’
Meanwhile, an unconvincing Dominic Raab, standing in for the prime minister, appeared to contradict him.
‘There is no choice between cutting emissions and growing our economy – that’s a myth the UK has helped to shatter over the past decade,’ he said in a Twitter address from 10 Downing Street.
Climate policy, promised Raab, was an ‘essential element to our strategy to rebound’ from the pandemic.
But which will it be? Raab’s green growth or Macron’s ‘brutal choices’? It cannot be both.
The Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat– France’s undemocratic climate assembly, set up by Macron to develop climate policy – has called for the strict rolling back of industrial society to be part of the post-coronavirus ‘recovery’.
Its proposal even includes the abolition of out-of-town supermarkets. But then, what would you expect?
No politician, anywhere, has ever been able to explain how green restraints on an economy – and hence material constraints on people, including price rises and travel restrictions – can allow, much less create, growth.
Green platitudes are nothing more than a veneer of bullshit for no-mark politicians to hide behind.
‘We can turn the crisis of this pandemic into an opportunity to rebuild our economies differently and make them more resilient,’ said the unelected president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, while promoting her ‘EU Green Deal’.
Undemocratic technocrats everywhere – from every national and global political institution, from the UN to the town hall – are agreed on the necessity of rebuilding and redesigning economies along green lines.
But they cannot answer how they will rebuild them. Who will pay for it? What do we, the people, get out of it? And when do we get to vote on it?
We do not get any say on it, of course. Political necessity, not democracy, shall dictate the action. The climate agenda rescues Macron from his deep domestic crises.
Climate change even makes Raab look like he stands for something. And it gives the hollow European project purpose.
The green agenda is being brought forward, and the viral crisis is being rolled into the climate crisis because the pandemic has revealed the emptiness of the political class.
Not only are the elites devoid of any ideas for kickstarting economic growth — they have even run out of ideas for how to sustain economic stagnation.
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