Collectivists are very simple minded. Unable to come to grips with the complexity of individuality, they instead lump people together into groups. For the National Socialists of Hitlerian Germany, there were groups of Jews and Aryans. For the international socialists of the communist nations, there were the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. For tribal collectivists, there is one tribe versus another. But, ultimately, all collectivism is of a tribalist mindset.
Often collectivists like to give the color of theory to their tribalism. Their preferred theory is that of the Hegelian dialect and its Marxist variation. This approach holds, in simplified form, that there are two opposing principles, a thesis and an antithesis that contradicts it, and a new synthesis that arises as a result of the conflict between thesis and antithesis. This dialectical process is often understood by Marxists and other collectivists as involving a “transformation of quantity into quality,” to put it in the words of V.I. Lenin.
Being materialists, they like to see their theory implemented. And so it has, with hideously bloody results. In Nazi Germany, the application of this approach resulted first in the demonization of the Jews and ultimately the horror of the Holocaust as the Hitler regime sought to achieve its monstrous vision of “quality” in the creation of a master race. Elsewhere, the international variety of socialists felt that the achievement of their vision of quality could be realized by the extinction of those who owned private property — the bourgeoisie who owned the “means of production.”
The result of this collectivist abomination has been the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. In Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China, Laos and most places they have taken power, collectivists have unleashed disastrous and often and bloody mayhem.
It’s a wonder that they continue to be tolerated. And yet, they are — even holding powerful positions in government.
A case in point is Secretary of State John Kerry. Speaking recently in Indonesia, he warned that country’s people that “climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”
Such a statement is hyperbolic drivel, but dangerous nonetheless. In the dialectic, it serves to lay the groundwork for identifing the collective group to be opposed or eliminated, specifically those who, in this case, would defend or deny the “fearsome weapon.” And Kerry, in his remarks, identified those in that group. These, he said, were “a tiny minority of shoddy scientists … and extreme ideologues,” as well as “a few loud interest groups” and “big companies that like it the way it is….”
Sure, Kerry wasn’t explicitly calling for the bloody repression of those he identified, but he sure was setting up the dialectic. A “transformation of quantity into quality” in Lenin’s parlance, in this case would mean the elimination of the skeptics and the achievement of some form of bureaucratic utopia where carbon dioxide would be managed by powerful and beneficent technocrats.
On both counts, the elimination of the skeptics, and the rise of a global carbon management regime, this has been the goal of the collectivists of the Left. As for the creation of a global governmental entity designed to control carbon (and thus the economy of the whole world), that much has been obvious. This was the foundational purpose of the Kyoto Protocol, of the UN’s IPCC, and of various environmental conferences bearing the UN imprimatur for several decades.
When it comes to the elimination of skeptics, this is something the “progressives” have desired for some time. Writing at the Huffington Post in 2012, James O’Dea, who is described by his bio as someone who “teaches peacebuilding and social healing,” accused skeptics of global warming of committing “crimes against humanity.” Said O’Dea: “Given the tools at our disposal to measure the adverse climate impact of human behavior and the overwhelming consensus of climate scientists about the causes of global warming any conscious choice to deny it and refuse to take action must be considered extremely risky behavior and, I believe, criminal negligence.”
O’Dea was following in the footsteps of Grist magazine that carried a column in 2006 by staff writer David Roberts calling for war crimes trials for global warming skeptics. In that column, Roberts wrote, “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
Others have called for the death penalty for global warming skeptics. These have included Richard Parncutt, an Austrian professor of music who wrote that “the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for GW deniers….” He has since retracted that statement and apologized for it. But Parncutt has not been alone in calling for the deaths of global warming skeptics.
In 2007, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said of global warming skeptics: “This is treason, and we need to start treating them as traitors.” In 2008, NASA scientist James Hansen said “CEOs of fossil energy companies … should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” The typical punishment for high crimes and for treason is often death.
A fairly comprehensive list of this kind of toxic rhetoric has been kept by Marc Morano at Climate Depot for those who want to explore this theme further (see here: http://is.gd/mjCFO7).
Secretary of State Kerry’s remarks stand in the long tradition of collectivist use of dialectic to establish conditions for revolutionary change by demonizing one group and setting it up for elimination as part of a transition from quantity to quality.
More than 2,000 years ago, the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero, argued against the collectivists of his day. Pointing to a proposal made by a Roman politician that would eliminate private property, Cicero said that that politician’s plan was so damaging and dangerous, and so opposed to Roman civilization, that he should have been stripped of his Roman citizenship.
Had we any such statesmen today, they’d be saying something similar about the current Secretary of State.
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