In 1843, well-educated people thought the Millerites were crackpots. In 2020, the consensus of the supposedly well-educated is the equivalent of Millerism.
Roy Scranton is a professor of English at Notre Dame. His discussion of his feelings of guilt over having brought a child into this doomed world appeared in the New York Times.
Anyone who pays much attention to climate change knows the outlook is grim. Itâ€™s not unreasonable to say that the challenge we face today is the greatest the human species has ever confronted. And anyone who pays much attention to politics can assume weâ€™re almost certainly going to botch it. To stop emitting waste carbon completely within the next five or 10 years, we would need to radically reorient almost all human economic and social production, a task thatâ€™s scarcely imaginable, much less feasible. It would demand centralized control of key economic sectors, enormous state investment in carbon capture and sequestration and global coordination on a scale never before seen, at the very time when the political and economic structures that held the capitalist world order together under American leadership after World War II are breaking apart. The very idea of unified national political action toward a single goal seems farcical, and unified action on a global scale mere whimsy.
And even if world leaders somehow got their act together, significant and dangerous levels of warming are still inevitable, baked into the system from all the carbon dioxide that has already been dumped. Thereâ€™s a time lag between carbon dioxide increase and subsequent effects, between the wind we sow and the whirlwind we reap. Our lives are lived in that gap. My daughter was born there.
Barring a miracle, the next 20 years are going to see increasingly chaotic systemic transformation in global climate patterns, unpredictable biological adaptation and a wild spectrum of human political and economic responses, including scapegoating and war. After that, things will get worse. The middle and later decades of the 21st century â€” my daughterâ€™s adult life â€” promise a global catastrophe whose full implications any reasonable person must turn away from in horror.
The irony here is that he may be right: civilization as we know it may be doomed. But the cause of doom is going to be the ineffable stupidity of the morons who took over our establishment institutions, not the junk science theory of Global Warming Catastrophism.