Did Corona Kill Climate Change?
Preliminary thoughts on Corona and Climatism as competing ideological systems, and why that might be very bad.
Conventional wisdom holds that global elites will pivot to climate change, now that Corona is ending. I’m starting to think that this might not happen and that we’ve misinterpreted the ideological significance of Corona. Perhaps Corona happened because climate change was not good enough – because, as a politically orienting ideological system, it had failed to mobilise institutions and populations in the right way, and had entered the first stages of decline. Perhaps, in the coming decades, there will be other hysterias, but no real ideological push on the climate front ever again. I’m not saying the climatologists, their institutions and associated grifts will disappear tomorrow. In any scenario, they’ll plug on for a long time. What I am imagining, though, is a future in which they’ll be steadily deprived of inertia, and ultimately fade into the background, like the war on terror.
First, to disarm some objections: Here I’m only talking about the ideological and political prescriptions that fall under the ‘climate change’ heading. We might call this phenomenon Climatism, just as I use ‘Corona’ to denote the broader political and ideological phenomenon surrounding the SARS-CovV-2 pandemic. Climatism is an ideological superstructure that rests on a foundation of empirical observations and scientific theory about the earth’s atmosphere and temperature. For the sake of argument, I’ll assume that this empirical substructure is mostly true and accurately portrayed. You can be sceptical of the Corona response without denying that there is a virus, and you can be sceptical of Climatism while accepting that the earth is getting warmer.
Importantly, ceding all that ground doesn’t return Climatism as the only or the most necessary political response. You could imagine many solutions: Nations which accept that carbon emissions are trapping greenhouse gasses and heating the earth unsustainably might engage in warfare to destroy the industrial capacity of rival nations, or they might vastly expand the generation of nuclear power, or they might count on technological developments to counter the impact of higher temperatures in the future. In the same way, mass lockdowns, mask mandates and universal vaccination are not the only or even the most obvious response to a pandemic respiratory virus. All other respiratory viruses in history were met with very different policies. Corona and Climatism both claim to be rooted in the science, but that should not distract us from the obvious truth that they are contingent cultural and ideological phenomena.
This makes it particularly intriguing, that Corona and Climatism should have so many commonalities.